San Francisco Hotel Threatening Slow Eaters With $30 Fine

If you linger over breakfast, you will pay. That's the policy in place at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco this week, thanks to the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference that is currently jamming up the hotel's common areas.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that anyone wishing to grab breakfast in the hotel's Laurel Court Restaurant and Bar now through January 16 (when the conference ends) must spend a minimum of $50 on food, and anyone who stays longer than 90 minutes at their table will be charged $30 for each extra hour they remain in their seats. This is another form of "congestive pricing" that you might see an airline enact during peak travel times, explains the head of the San Francisco Travel Association. Costs of hotel rooms often go up during peak seasons, too, but the restaurant's minimum spending requirements and dilly-dallying penalties definitely came as an unwelcome surprise to some diners this week.

Given the length of a typical restaurant visit, most diners will probably avoid the $30 fee, leaving them to contend with the $50 requirement. On that point, the Chronicle says it best: "With prices at Laurel Court ranging from $22 for buttermilk pancakes to steak and eggs at $28 and fresh-squeezed orange juice at $10 a glass, it wouldn't be hard to hit the $50-per-guest minimum."