I think if it isn't printed somewhere on the menu you don't charge for something people are assuming is free.. In Vegas I have literally counted my money before eating and even an extra.50 per person could cause an embarassing situation. That being said... they obviously have the right to charge for what they want as a business... and as consumers we have the right (which I would probably exercise) to either refuse the water or go elsewhere.
It's nice to see that they're providing a refreshing, eco-friendly alternative to tap or bottled water. I would gladly pay the $0.50 as long as I was aware of it prior to ordering.
IF the restaurant wants to charge for water, then they should allow patrons to bring in their own drinks if they don't want to pay for the water!
Border Grill PR representative Ken Langdon told us on Monday that the charge for H20 is due to the restaurant's use of the Natura water purification system -- what Delish describes as "essentially a very fancy Brita filter mixed with a soda maker" and what Langdon says is more environmentally friendly than conventional bottled water since it allows for the reuse of containers. Border Grill's GM elaborates:
"It's important to us that our guests know the 50-cent per person charge is not just tap water, it's filtered with the Natura system, which provides a great-tasting, eco-friendly product, reducing our restaurant's carbon footprint," said Border Grill Las Vegas General Manager Kent Harman. "We have reprinted all of our brunch menus to include the same water policy listed on our lunch and dinner menus, based off feedback we read on the previous post, so hopefully that will help clarify this situation in the future."
The touchpoint of the debate, however, isn't really about what kind of water it is (we still call the Brita on our kitchen sink "tap" water, but whatev') or how much it is (clearly, .50 cents isn't going to break anyone's bank.. well, almost anyone's). The real issue is why regular ol' it-may-not-be-healthy-but-at-least-it's-free tap water isn't an option, too. Or, at least one that's stated.
We're glad to hear Border Grill has corrected the fee's absence from its brunch menu, but if the point is to be eco-friendly, why have an automatic opt-in policy, at all? Isn't it even more environmentally friendly to just not pour unless asked versus "unless you request no water, we will pour unlimited still or sparkling water for every guest at .50 per person."
While we're sure the debate will rage on (add your comments below) we, at least, shouldn't fear the start of a trend. Border Grill says the fee has been in place for close to two years now and it's the only place we know of, in Vegas, to charge it.