The highlights: "Actually, they prefer no plastic at all. When you're going for the quick, dishonest buck, cash is what counts. Pickhardt says waiters "encourage" diners to pay cash through a trick called "putting them on ice." Pickhardt walked "20/20" through the tactic: "Ma'am, I'm afraid our credit card's been actin' a little funny today. " This might take 15 or 20 minutes. At that point, of course, I disappear, and I go smoke a cigarette, eat my lunch or whatever, come back."
"Tipping is another area where patrons can be prime targets of conniving waiters, particularly when service is already included. So there's a whole science of getting double tips, what we call the "thank you and thank you again." For instance, I stamp the check and smear it a little bit so you can't read that it's 15 percent gratuity. Or you might write on [the bill]'have a great trip' right over the total," Pickhardt explained."
You may also be getting shortchanged on your plate. Call it restaurant recycling. Some eateries will reuse bread. "The half eaten goes in the bread pudding or the stuffing box and the other loaf goes in the next person's dinner," he said.
"Or they make croutons. Everything is — can be reusable. Nothing is thrown away in a restaurant at all, ever," said Collins. "I would never eat salsa because I've seen buckets of salsa … you have your salsa on the table and you dump it back in the pot and, and constantly reused," Collins. Restaurants also reuse butter, the authors say. And that butter, according to Bourdain, can turn up in your appetizer. "Many restaurants save up their table butter, used table butter in a big crock of softened butter that they take out of your little, you know, butter dishes at the table. They'll heat it up, strain out the cigarette butts and the bread crumbs and use that for the hollandaise."