Have to keep guests, workers happy: Restaurateurs split over service charge | India News

Have to keep guests, workers happy: Restaurateurs split over service charge | India News

NEW DELHI: Restaurateurs are divided over the issue of service charge even as the government is set to come up with a framework to check the levy of the add-on cost by hotels and restaurants.
While several restaurant owners, from fine-dining chains to small eateries, said diners have the option of not paying service charge at their properties, others argued that guests automatically enter into an agreement with the restaurant, once they are made aware of such a charge in advance.
“We don’t pressurise our consumers to pay service charges as we have kept it discretionary ,” said Anjan Chaterjee, founder of Specialty Restaurants. “In fact, 4-5% of our consumers don’t pay it all. Service charge, however, is held as gratuity globally, as one doesn’t tip the waiter if service charge is levied on the bill. ”
Other restaurateurs, too, quoted similar numbers, adding that customers are offered a discount if they don’t wish to pay the service charge amount.
“We are in the hospitality business and have to keep our guests happy. At the same time, all our workers in the restaurant wait for service charge collections a t the end of the day as the money is divided among them. So, in most cases, we don’t cancel the service charge and instead offer a discount to the customer,” said a top restaurateur.
With the government announcing on Thursday that it will come up with measures to ensure strict compliance on levy of service charge, the National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI) said there is no illegality in levying such a charge. Consumers remained confused on Friday, with many saying they don’t have the option to not pay service charge as it is bundled in the bill without their consent.

Assam Press