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Los Cabos Tourists Warned Of This Illegal Practice At Bars And Restaurants

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The Mexican Commission to Protect the Consumer, or PROFECO, just issued a new ruling that impacts bars and restaurants nationwide.

The new regulations state that no establishment can force customers to leave tips.

In the new code it also states that these venues won’t be able to place a minimum consumption rate on their services.

Paying the tab at a bar

Minimum consumption rates are very popular, particularly in night and beach clubs throughout Los Cabos. They are usually tied to bottle services at these venues.

What local servers would typically tell customers at a nightclub is that access to specific tables requires a minimum consumption rate. How the new code will now affect how bars operate in that regard remains to be seen. 

Senor Frogs in cabo with people enjoying the bar

Another important element in the new ruling states that establishments must have all their rates clearly stated on the menu.

This last requirement can help avoid an issue that’s occurred in Los Cabos on at least more than one occasion where tourists believe that they are paying a bill in Mexican Pesos when the rate is really in U.S. Dollars.

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People eating at restaurant in cabo

Establishments that don’t abide by the new laws could be hit with hefty fines. Repeat offenders could even potentially lose their operating license.

The head of the commission that’s promoting these laws mentioned, “The main objective of this measure is to protect the rights of Mexican consumers and promote a fair and transparent experience in bars and restaurants. Consumers should have the freedom to decide how much they want to spend and how much they want to tip, without feeling pressured or coerced.”

Tourists at a Mexican Restaurant

How Local Cabo Restaurants Abide By These New Laws Remains To Be Seen

One of the main concerns with these “new” regulations is that they aren’t necessarily new. Mexican law already states that restaurants or bars can’t set mandatory tip rates.

Yet, it’s a practice that has been present throughout the country for years.

The way that most servers get by the no mandatory tips laws, particularly at nightclubs, is by promising upgrades for tips.

Tourists Dining Outdoors at Night in Cabo San Lucas Marina Area

This is an example of a common scenario that takes place at local nightclubs. A group will arrive at the club and ask for a table near the dance floor.

The server will grant the request in exchange for a set tip rate. In that situation, the tip is technically not mandatory but part of a “gentleman’s agreement.”

These types of scenarios can make it hard for the commission to truly abolish the mandatory tipping practices. 

Waiter wearing mask cleaning restaurant

What’s potentially going to change drastically will be making a reservation at Cabo nightclubs and beach clubs.

In these spots, the minimum consumption rate is a common practice, and it’s handled similarly to the mandatory tips. Customers are promised better tables and premium bottle service if they agree on a minimum fee. 

tables set up early in the morning on a cabo beach club

Tips For Tourists Regarding The New Guidelines 

Legally, tourists eating a Cabo restaurant can’t be pushed into providing a specific tip rate.

Restaurants and bars will be more under the microscope with this new legislation. However, tourists who agree to service upgrades in exchange for a set service fee would still do well to keep their word.

man in restaurant complaining

They should be given the option, though, to agree to the fee before receiving any drinks or food from the establishment.

That can help avoid any potential confrontations with the staff at that particular venue.

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L Salatich

Wednesday 6th of September 2023

Up until 2018 I traveled to Cabo 2 or 3 times a year and have been doing so for 50 plus years. I no longer travel to Cabo because of the over building of mega resorts in the region. Now the area suffers from power outages and water shortage and the resorts are not immune to these events. The increase in tourism has also bought out of the woodwork cooks, swindlers and bad business practices by bars and restaurants. Cabo was such a lovely place until 20 years ago.


Tuesday 5th of September 2023

What your missing is what we americans are saying About coming in by cruise Ship. Hundreds get off the ships and are verthally Attacked by locals following them pushing Drugs and be generally Annoying. Also the first thing they see is trash by the Harbor. This gives these people Who can afford a cruise A bad taste. Ive been living in Cabo And phoenix for 35 years And im getting alot Of negative reaction. Do something about it Or feel the lack of interest!!!!