Avoiding bill shock at restaurants

We kicked ourselves for not doing enough research, but we heaved a sigh of relief at the same time. We were slapped with a cover charge for five pax at a restaurant in Sapporo (see image below) on our second last night in Hokkaido. Thankfully, this was the one and only instance.

Costing 2,105 Yen, the cover charge came up to 21% of our total bill. And my, we didn’t know about the charge till we got the receipt. With loads of gesturing at the menu, Google Translating and speaking in simple English, we found out from the cashier than the cover charge would apply even if we were to order a glass of water, and water is chargeable too.


So in essence, the cover charge would apply once you sit your butt on the chair – non negotiable; compulsory. The English menu contained mention of “cover charge”, but we assumed it was for consumption of alcoholic drinks. How wrong we were! Aside from “cover charge”, restaurants may use other terms like “seat charge”, “table charge” or “appetiser charge”, based on an online search.

Food was no doubt good, and we ate a lot, but it was surely a painful experience. We learnt from this; hope you won’t fall into the same pit.


Click here for the Itinerary in Summary; details in the following articles:

Protip #1: Taking the wheel in Hokkaido
Protip #2: Enjoying some rest in the restroom 
Protip #3: Avoiding bill shock at restaurants [You are here]
Protip #4: Chilling and dropping off at convenience stores
Protip #5: Taking the Dreamliner Boeing 787



8 thoughts on “Avoiding bill shock at restaurants

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  2. Pingback: Enjoying some rest in the restroom | big_mouse..confusingABCrandom123

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