MiamiHerald / Miami Beach wants to crack down on restaurants that use deceptive sales tactics to lure unsuspecting tourists to cafe tables and then hit them with exorbitant bills.

A few Ocean Drive restaurants have developed a reputation for angering customers who feel ripped off by pushy servers and menu-hawkers who don’t always provide prices for drink or food specials. In some cases, menus don’t even include prices – a problem highlighted by the Miami Herald in December that ignited a conversation at City Hall.

Customers take to online restaurant review sites to document their frustrations over being seated at a cafe for a “special” or “two-for-one,” orally advertised by a server, that ends up being way more alcohol – and money – than the customer anticipated. Think of a $55 oversized margarita with Coronas upside down in it. Or a meal special with an unadvertised price that far exceeds the regular menu’s price range.

City Commissioner Mark Samuelian is proposing an ordinance that would empower the city to revoke restaurants’ permits for sidewalk cafe tables if they don’t clearly advertise prices and display the city’s consumer protection laws on tabletop information cards. The city manager could even have the ability to strip away violators’ business licenses.


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