Friday, 10 October 2014

Restaurants that give you more than just a receipt

Paying the bill in the restaurant doesn’t have to be a boring obligation but can be a creative discovery.

So is there anything that can make paying the bill at a restaurant more enjoyable or even fun? Yes, there is and I am not necessarily talking about financial bonuses such as discounts or meal deals but I am talking about creative ways of presenting a receipt to the customers, like the one below from Muriel's Kitchen in South Kensington, London. It goes together with the style of the place and its menu which relates to traditional recipes of family's granny.

Receipt in a pink bucket from Muriel's Kitchen in South Kensington, London

Any restaurant can give you just a bill in a black leather pouch or cover and pass an ordinary message to you and other customers: “could you just please pay for the meal”. But not any and every place can make an effort and present the receipt in a different way. I think that those that do, rather say to their customers “we really enjoyed your visit today and we’re glad you chose us and not our competition; we know that paying the bill is not most interesting part of it, so we want to make it a bit nicer by bringing the bill in a bit different way; we hope you enjoy it and will came back to us again and again”. Doesn’t it sound better?
Even if it’s only marketing trick which is supposed to encourage us, the customers, to come again and spend some more money, I prefer to spend more money in a place that “likes me” than in a place which doesn’t even bother to think outside the box.
On my various visits to restaurants in London and beyond I came across different ways of bringing the receipts to the customers and I am not ashamed to give you the names of the restaurants, because if they’re doing something creative and different, why not.
I especially like the one I saw in Dijon, France. They not only put receipt in a candy bag but add a candy for each guest. Just to make paying a bit sweeter (or less bitter).

Receipt in a candy bag from L'Epicerie et Cie in Dijon, France

Sometimes, you don't have to think a lot to come up with something interesting, like those who run Buttery Cafe in Burgh House in London. They're giving a receipt in a shot size glass. So simple, yet different than usual.

But everything started in Ask Italian branch in Oxford. When I saw they way the give the receipts to their customer (see below) something clicked in my mind and I thought that I would start collecting them. I found this one interesting, because (again) it fits in with the idea of the restaurant (cork from wine and the shape of pizza) and is simple but functional - it displays the name of the restaurant and has space for the money/card.

Receipt in a cork from Ask Italian, branch in Oxford

After the first one, I had to wait awhile to find another creative example but it was worthy waiting. In the Restaurant de Paul in Covent Garden, London I've got this gem. At the end of an amazing meal comes another surprise and that is the receipt hidden in a book. I found it discrete and stylish. Even if the waiter or waitress bring the receipt you may not notice it, because it is done in such a gentle way. What's more, it encourages you to spend more time in the restaurant, reading, if you know French, of course.

One of my favourite - receipt in a French book in Le Restaurant de Paul
I had a lot of fun searching for those different ways of bringing a receipt to the customers in restaurants and I'll keep searching and telling you not only where you can get a tasty meal but also, where you can enjoy being in a creative environment with people who, even tough they want your money, can say it in a very kind or funny way.

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