Italian restaurant's surprising service charge
Left: Picture of the bill that the customer received. Right: Stock image used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Trip Advisor and Pexels

A cafe in Italy is going viral for charging a customer €2 (Dh8.50) to cut a sandwich in half — and for defending the decision.

The shocked traveller took to the internet to complain with a picture of the bill, starting a debate about whether it was okay for the restaurant to charge the extra fee.

Reportedly, the man from Milan was visiting a restaurant in the upscale Lake Como region of Italy, home to movie stars and business magnates. He had ordered a vegetarian sandwich with French fries stuffed inside, to share with a friend.

After the two friends finished splitting the snack and asked for the bill, they were shocked to find an unwanted upcharge.

According to an article on the New York Post website, the customer paid up without complaining to the restaurant but later posted a negative review on TripAdvisor (an online travel booking site).

“Unbelievable but true,” the man captioned a photo of the receipt on TripAdvisor and gave the restaurant one star – far below the average of four and a half stars, based on over 100 reviews.

The receipt lists the costs of the sandwich, a soda, a bottle of water, an espresso, and the debated “diviso a meta”, or “cutting in half” fee.

The disgruntled diner explained that the duo had ordered the sandwich to split with their friend, but they had never asked for it to be cut into halves.

The sandwich in question was supposed to come cut in half anyway, as a matter of course, he added.

According to a report on the news website, the cafe owner, Cristina Biacchi, said it wasn’t just about the halving: “We had to use two plates instead of one, and the time to wash them doubled. And then two placemats.”

According to la Repubblica, an Italian daily, Biacchi, said to the anonymous disgruntled customer: “If you had said something immediately, you would not have paid this supplement. And none of this would have happened.” Thereby blaming the customer for not escalating the matter immediately.