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Dear PoPville – What the Hell? Two Different Pricing Systems at Masa 14?


“Dear PoPville,

I was wondering if any of your readers had experienced this at Masa 14 [1825 14th Street, NW].

Went for brunch, decided against the bottomless brunch, and received the bill on the left. “Sp” follows many of the food items. When I compared the bill to the menu, all of the items with “sp” had their prices inflated. Pointed it out to the server and she–while feigning an apology brought the second, correctly-priced bill.

Trying to rip off the customer? Not freaking cool, and totally unnecessary.

I wonder how many people have enjoyed the brunch and, after a few drinks, are actually tricked into paying the inflated prices.”

What do you guys think the “sp” could be? Dinner pricing? An honest mistake or something more intentional?

Update from Masa 14:

“At Masa 14, guests have 2 different options for brunch. They may order the All You Can Eat brunch special for $35, which includes unlimited small plates and free flowing beverages, or they may order individually priced items from the A La Carte menu.

When a staff member inputs the $35 all you can eat brunch special into the order system, they then order all the accompanying small plates that are requested by the guest with the abbreviation “sp” (which stands for special) linking these items to the brunch package.

The “sp” abbreviation has several effects. When rung up with the brunch special, it brings the cost of each small plate order to zero, allowing the guest to eat and drink as much as they desire without the check increasing. It also alerts the kitchen to the fact that this is an all you can eat small plate, allowing them to make the necessary adjustments to presentation, or timing, that is required.

The “sp” items, when not rang in accompaniment with the brunch special, default to a $10 price. This is programmed to alert a server that they are making a mistake and is never intended to be a price that is charged or presented on a receipt. If they ever see a $10 price on multiple menu items they realize either a)They forgot to ring in the $35 brunch special, and as a result may be overcharging the guest or b)They are accidentally ringing all you can eat food items when they should be ringing a la carte. This allows them to alert a manager, and make the necessary corrections before additional items are rang and/or a check is presented to the guest.

The majority of guests at Masa 14 order the all you can eat brunch special, and the “sp” programming is ultimately designed to protect the guest experience and prevent this type of occurrence.

In this particular case, despite the warnings presented as a result of the system, the check was accidentally presented to the guest. When the server was notified of the mishap, the check was then rung up correctly.

At Masa 14, we cherish the brunch experience and work tirelessly to ensure that every guest leaves having their expectations exceeded. We are extremely disappointed that, in this case, we failed to live up to those expectations.”

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