Restaurant and hotel owners in Bhopal said they would either waive off service charge or deal with diplomatically the situation arisen after the union consumer affairs ministry made service charge optional.
Restaurant owners feel that common man might not differentiate between service charge and service tax, which is a government levy, and there was hardly any method to find if a customer is not satisfied with the dining experience.
Chef Siddhartha said: “People here are a bit possessive about what is being served to them and love to appreciate, if it is worth.”
Chef Ajay Chaudhary said: “The concept of service charge was introduced because it seemed unfair that only the person attending the customer gets the tip. Rest of the contributors were exempted from this joy.”
Harjappan Singh, a cafe owner, said: “It can be embarrassing to ask a customer whether we should charge him for our service . And if we charge without asking him, he might have issues.”
Tanmay Gulati, who frequents restaurants, said, “This is a good initiative. Many a time, we would feel the food and services are not apt even to pay for, forget extra service charge.”
Asked about how he will handle the situation, chef Chaudhary told HT, “We would continue to include service charge. Instead of explaining the customers about it, I would rather explain to my staff that if a customer is willing to tip them after his meal, we should refuse and tell him that he has already paid service charge.
“Secondly, any customer who doesn’t wish to pay service charge would be a rare case, but even if it happens, we cannot force him to pay.”
Food blogger Mudra Keswani said, “This as a good opportunity for restaurants to improve their services. Rarely, I have seen any incident of argument on service charge in a restaurant. But now, restaurants will work on their services.”
The consumer affairs ministry on January 2 said service charge was payable on a consumer’s discretion and can be waived off if the customer was not happy with the service. The service charge is levied by restaurants and usually falls in the range of 5-20% of the total bill amount.