Staff will suffer, feel restaurateurs; customers happy
On Monday, the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) prohibited eateries from automatically or by default levying service charges on food bills
On Monday, the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) prohibited eateries from automatically or by default levying service charges on food bills. It also allowed customers to file complaints in the event of a violation, requesting the concerned establishment to remove it from the bill amount.
This decision has left restaurateurs feeling anxious as they think this isn’t in the best interests of their staff. Divyam Oza, co-founder of Gosip-The Happy Bar, Viman Nagar, is extremely disappointed with the decision. Oza shares, “Service charge keeps employees motivated to work harder in such a huge, short-staffed environment.”
Amrut Mehta, director of Little Italy, says tipping culture is non-existent in India and adds, “Unfortunately, in India, consumers somehow think that a service charge is not legal or should not be levied. It is because the restaurant should be paid only for the dish itself. I would like people to understand that the service charge is only for the employees and that it’s something the restaurant imparts on these daily wage workers so they can have a little something to live a better life.” Meanwhile, Mauji Time Cafe, a small cafe in Ashok Nagar, doesn’t levy service charges as its founder, Vandita Purohit, is against the idea: “If that charge is vital to maintain the standard of your service, it can be a part of the cost of a customer for the food. Putting it as an add-on on top of the other charges and that too, 10% is perceived in a different way and I don’t subscribe to that.”
Customers, on the other hand, feel that they can now decide how much to tip based on their experience and the service. Punekar Tony Thankachan is happy with this move: “Service charges by the restaurants must not be included in the bill. If the service is good, then the customer will certainly leave a tip.” Saif Mulla, 29, from Hadapsar, agrees. Recalling one of his experiences, he shares, “Once I had requested one of the restaurants in Pune to cancel the service charge on my bill as I was already paying a good amount, which included the GST. Although the manager did agree politely and removed the service charge, there was a certain look that he gave. I did tip him accordingly. I feel when you understand the customer’s wants, even if the customer respects and appreciates your service and doesn’t hesitate to pay a little more.”
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