Restaurants and hotels add a service charge of 5-10 percent, which is apart from the service tax that is charged to the customers. With the recent news which has made service charges, optional, meaning that if the customers are dissatisfied with the service, they can refuse to pay the service charge. It has created confusion and lead to friction between guests and the hospitality staff.
Yes, it is true that a lot many time customers end up spending a lot of money despite being unhappy with the service or the experience. There are two situations that occur. First, is that the customer is really unsatisfied with the service and then paying an amount for that service leaves them unhappy. On the contrary, sometimes the customer is so happy and satisfied with the hospitality, that he/she also pays a tip for the good experience. Many hoteliers and restaurateurs are implementing service charges and tip pools in order to meet rising costs and help workers earn consistent and livable wages. While restaurateurs and customers continue to debate over the service charge issue, the ones who are affected most by it is the hospitality staff who are struggling to find a voice.
Lets see what the industry experts and veterans have to say about it:
Mr. Umag Tewari, Founder, Big Fish Ventures shares, “As its a decision taken by our Govt., we'll abide by the rules however, it’s a bane for our restaurant staff who was getting this service charge on top of their salary. Thus, if some changes can be brought to the same it will be beneficial.”
Mr. Yash Jaiswal, Founder & Director, Rainforest Restobar shares, "Our menu clearly states the service charge levied, and we have been very efficiently catering to our customers and trying to make fine dining an experience worth savoring. The services and hospitality provided is worth every penny, so any requests to waive off the service charge would only give rise to unnecessary disputes and defamation. Nevertheless, any feedbacks and suggestions for making the services better are appreciated and are taken well into consideration."
Chef Abhimanyu Chauhan, a renowned chef and consultant shares, “When world celebrates we sacrifice our celebration to make yours a memorable one. We work for 15 hours a day, late nights to provide you with experience. In return you put a smile back on our face by putting that cheery on a peanut salary. It feels like the government has taken that cherry away. The service charge is half of the salary at most of the places. Thanks for making a passionate low waged worker more poor and depressed.”
Ms. Samira Chopra, Director, Cybiz BrightStar Restaurants Pvt. Ltd. (Carl's Jr. India) shares, “As Carl’s Jr. we believe that the customer is the king. We believe in giving SUPERSTAR service to the customers. As a premium burger chain, our restaurants give the best service to each and every guest irrespective of his order. The service charge should be at the complete discretion of the customer and his satisfaction. It should not be imposed on them. Unfortunately, many restaurants charge 10% or more, but give only an insignificant portion of the same to their employees. The restaurants should focus on giving premium services to all their guests and let the customers decide if they want to pay for better service rendered.” She adds, “We at Carl's Jr. are a partial service, premium fast and casual restaurant and neither a full service casual dining restaurant nor a self service, quick service restaurant so we can ideally charge service charge. While we're okay with having a low base service charge like 2% or even 5%, but anything above that must be purely on the customers discretion.”
Mr. Tarun Gulati, Co-Founder, DJUBO shares, “We don't expect that to be a major issue because hotels are still continuing the levy the same service charge and if guest's wish to not spend extra for service then they can simply go to cheaper restaurants/ hotels."