Restaurants reluctant to remove service charge from customers’ bills

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KATHMANDU, Feb 10: Although the Restaurant and Bar Association Nepal (REBAN) had announced to remove 10 percent service charge on restaurant bills in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Sauraha, some restaurants in the Kathmandu Valley are yet to implement the decision.

In order to address customers’ complaints about unnecessary charges, REBAN had announced on January 29 to remove the 10 percent service charge from the bill amount. The decision was supposed to be implemented immediately.

However, as it did not happen, customers have started criticizing REBAN’s decision on the social media by posting pictures of bills with service charge.

Meanwhile, REBAN has said it has found it difficult to implement the decision due to protest of worker unions.

Restaurant chains of The Bakery Cafe, ND’s, Alina’s Bakery, Dalle Restaurant, and some others are yet to remove service charge from the bills given to customers.

According to Araniko Raj Bhandari, general secretary of REBAN, these restaurants were not ready to remove service charge from the bill citing worker issues. “Indeed, some restaurant managers are not supporting our decision. They have continued to levy service charge on the customers,” he said.

He also said that REBAN itself was receiving several complaints from customers about these restaurants. Currently, REBAN has 200 restaurants from Kathmandu, 160 from Pokhara, and 60 from Sauraha as its members. Of them, only around 150 have implemented the decision till date, Bhandari said.

“Gradually we are ensuring that this decision is implemented by all our member restaurants of Kathmandu, Pokhara and Sauraha,” he said. “Almost all restaurants in Pokhara and Sauraha have implemented it. We are making effort to get it done in Kathmandu as well.”

Chain outlets of Aagan, Gulab, KKFC, Redmud, and Himalayan Java in Kathmandu have already removed service charge from the customers’ bills, he added. “It will take a bit more time to settle this issue.”

He further said that REBAN was lobbying with workers, assuring them that their minimum wage and other facilities will be guaranteed.

All Nepal Hotel Casino and Restaurant Workers Association, Casino & Restaurant Workers Union, and National Tourism and Hotel Associated Workers’ Union had recently organized a joint protest rally in Kathmandu demanding REBAN to withdraw its decision of cutting off 10 percent service charge. Before the rally, the unions had given a 24-hour ultimatum to REBAN to take back its decision.

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