Eater­ies urged to slap on sur­charges

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

Get­ting out on a pub­lic hol­i­day for a meal is often up there with beach go­ing and a coun­try drive, but why are some eater­ies adding a sur­charge?

Hospi­tal­ity New Zealand na­tional trea­surer Tony Cros­bie said big­ger cities, in­clud­ing Welling­ton and Auck­land, were ‘‘re­ally hit­ting hard’’ with the hol­i­day sur­charge while op­er­a­tors in smaller cities were less in­clined to charge ex­tra or opt­ing to close.

Clos­ing in peak tourist time wasn’t ideal ei­ther, he said.

Cros­bie said dur­ing vis­its to Kaiko¯ ura and Blen­heim over the Christ­mas pe­riod, he saw 60 per cent of eater­ies shut for busi­ness.

‘‘It’s quite con­cern­ing be­cause all the ac­com­mo­da­tion is chocka and a lot of peo­ple had nowhere to go.’’

He said eater­ies should be open­ing and pass­ing on the costs to cus­tomers ‘‘where they can’’ to al­low for the in­creased cost of wages.

Many cafes and res­tau­rants around Nel­son were split on hik­ing the prices. Nel­son’s Lam­bretta’s Cafe Bar co-owner Rhys Odey said adding a 10 per cent sur­charge, which was lower than the stan­dard 15 per cent, was nec­es­sary.

In ac­cor­dance with Em­ploy­ment New Zealand, staff work­ing on a pub­lic hol­i­day are re­quired to be paid at least time and a half, and if the day falls on a nor­mal work day for the em­ployee, they are also en­ti­tled to an­other day off on pay (day in lieu).

But Odey said the 10 per cent sur­charge didn’t come close to re­cov­er­ing the ex­tra costs. ‘‘It’s the days in lieu that kill you.’’

River Kitchen Nel­son opens nine out of the 11 an­nual pub­lic hol­i­days and doesn’t in­crease the bill. Co-owner Clare Flem­ing said em­ploy­ers had to ‘‘suck it up’’.

‘‘Be­fore we had a cafe, I just wouldn’t go to places that charge a sur­charge. It just an­noys me.’’

She said more than half their turnover on a pub­lic hol­i­day went to­wards staff wages.

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