Honeymooner Zuckerberg leaves no tip after lunch

May 30, 2012, 06:16 IST | Agencies

He may be worth USD 20 billion, but when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg took his new wife to lunch during their secret honeymoon in Rome he spent just 32 euros (Rs 2,200) � and did not leave a tip.

The owners of the kosher restaurant in Rome’s Jewish Ghetto — a historic quarter in the centre of the city — were surprised when Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan walked away without leaving a gratuity. Their bill came to just 32 euros after a lunch consisting of deep-fried artichokes – a Roman Jewish speciality – fried pumpkin flowers and ravioli stuffed with sea bass and artichokes.

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Instead of wine or beer they opted for a bottle of water and a pot of tea.  Waiters at Nonna Betta, which specialises in Roman Jewish cuisine, were amazed by Zuckerberg’s parsimony, not just because of his huge wealth but because of Americans’ reputation for tipping generously, as is expected of them at home.

It was not a case of not enjoying the meal, said the owner of the restaurant. “I asked him ‘how was it?’ and he said ‘very good’”, the owner, identified only as Umberto, told Corriere della Sera newspaper. “I had gone up to him and said ‘Are you ...?’ and he said ‘Yes’.” It was not the first time that the multi-billionaire chose not to tip — he reportedly did the same thing the night before at Pierluigi, a historic trattoria near Campo de’ Fiori.

The couple’s honeymoon was a closely guarded secret until a Polish tourist spotted them in the Sistine Chapel, snapped a blurry photograph, and posted it on Twitter — Facebook’s social network rival. True to his casual style, the young internet tycoon was wearing jeans, a T-shirt and trainers. They left Rome on Monday, with speculation that they might be heading towards the Amalfi Coast south of Naples before heading back to the US.

Zuckerberg (28), whose shares in Facebook are worth nearly USD 20 billion, married his long-time girlfriend on May 19 in Palo Alto, California. Their wedding took place a day after Facebook’s initial public offering on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The couple had planned the exchange of vows for four months, but surprised their guests, who thought they were to celebrate Chan’s recent graduation from medical school, a celebrity magazine reported.

Zuckerberg, Time magazine’s Person of the Year in 2010, started Facebook in his Harvard University dorm room eight years ago, before dropping out of the Ivy League school. Chan just graduated from medical school at the University of California, San Francisco. The couple met while at Harvard.

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Facebook Inc shares slid below USD 30 to a new low yesterday as nervous investors fled the company’s shares, concerned about the social network’s long-term growth prospects and an initial offering price that in retrospect may have been too rich. 

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