State wants restaurants to display service charge rule

State wants restaurants to display service charge rule

Hotels and restaurants in Karnataka will soon have to display boards saying ‘service charge’ is voluntary. They can’t add the charge in their bills either.

Food and Civil Supplies Minister U T Khader told a press conference on Tuesday the government was acting on guidelines issued recently by the Centre.

Service charge, a term used by restaurants for ‘tips,’ should remain voluntary, the Centre has said.
Khader said he would meet the hotel owners’ association and issue a notification soon. Hotels and restaurants cannot deny entry to consumers who refuse to pay service charge. Consumers who find violations can file complaints with the consumer courts, he said.

Many restaurants collect 6 to 8% of the bill as service charge, with consumers remaining unaware that they are paying tips.

Food inspectors and legal metrology officials will conduct random inspections, Khader said.

The Centre has issued an advisory to all states, including Karnataka, to educate people on the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act of 1986.

Khader said the department would also prevent waste of food at hotels, restaurants and marriage halls. The plan is to involve non-government organisations in a big way. They will distribute leftover food among the needy. “We have the right to food, but not the right to waste food,” he remarked.

The minister said the government would supply a litre of kerosene every month to  BPL families in rural areas, even if they have LPG connections.

Two LED bulbs will be given free to each BPL family not using kerosene, he announced.
The government has relaxed the procedure to issue ration cards. All it takes is an application with eligibility self-certification, minister Khader said.

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