Brussels restaurant adds Covid-19 surcharge

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Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 49 total)

  • AFlyingDutchman
    Participant

    For all those who think this is ok, would you agree as well to airlines adding yet another surcharge to your ticket, being a Co-Vid surcharge, and what/how much would be acceptable. How about Hotels, after all the differnt taxes and tourism surcharges, would a Co-Vid surcharghe be something you would also now accept. I am in the hotel business, and believe the additional cleaning measures we are now taking are a part of doing business in this new ‘normal.’ I doubt sincerely our customers would be happy to pay an additional surcharge for us cleaning more thoroughly, or to sponsor the masks worn by my teams. Had I eaten at this restaurant I would have crossed the charge off, just as I would cross off a service charge if the service was poor. I live in Antwerp, and luckily have not seen this here yet. Not everyone living in Brussels is on an expense account paid by the EU, so I am sure this practice will not be appreciated by the Bruxellois.


    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    But not as bad as the Sheraton at Schiphol; there, in the coffee shop, having ordered a Club Sandwich, I asked for some ketchup. When my bill arrived, it included “Ketchup, 1.75 euros”.

    I would have refused to pay it, on the basis it was not shown on the menu and neither did the server alert me of a charge. This type of behavior infuriates me and it has happened on many an occasion. Once in foreign climes, the owner called the police who where obviously friends and who then threatened to arrest me. I laughed and said this was a civil matter not a criminal one, that they are overstepping their authority and I would make a complaint to the Minister of Justice. But I would be happy to go to court and would leave my details. Police apologized and left and the surcharge was removed. I actually hate doing this but I equally hate being ripped off. It was EUR 2 for a BBQ sauce added to a total bill of EUR240 (5 of us).

    Going back to Alex’s point, we have all suffered during this crisis. I’m fortunate but nonetheless saw my income halved. Others have been less fortunate, especially the self employed and those running their own businesses, so to add a C19 surcharge I think is morally wrong, unethical and should not be permitted. Further, if that is their intention, they should be upfront about it giving the consumer the option to accept or walk away.

    5 users thanked author for this post.

    SimonS1
    Participant

    For all those who think this is ok, would you agree as well to airlines adding yet another surcharge to your ticket, being a Co-Vid surcharge, and what/how much would be acceptable.

    I’m surprised they haven’t done it already. Like the fuel surcharge that never left when fuel prices fell and was just changed into an “airline surcharge”. If they were smart they could offer negative fares, for example minus £40 return to Brussels plus about £200 in carrier/covid surcharges.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    Cedric_Statherby
    Participant

    I wonder how many people who object to this charge have ever tried to run a small restaurant. You are forcibly closed for three months or more (though your rent is not suspended); your insurance company wriggles out of their business prevention cover on a preposterous lie and your bank puts huge obstacles in your way when you try to avail yourself of the government’s business protection loan scheme (thank you so much to the faceless world of corporate finance, always there to screw the little man); you have to deal with upset and worried staff; you don’t know when or if you will be allowed to reopen, and if you are, whether suppliers will still be in place, how quickly you can restock (having had to dispose of a whole kitchen-full of food last March), or where to get or how to pay for all the newly required and expensive PPE; and finally, you have no idea whether anyone will actually be brave enough to come when you do open your doors.

    And people object to a €5 surcharge?

    I have a friend who runs a (gentleman’s) hairdresser. He has decided not to increase his charges, despite fully expecting the average customer to take twice as long at least as he not only cuts through the thick thatch that has grown over the lockdown but tries to reimpose a modicum of shape and style to the mess. But he has put up a sign saying “Delighted to be here for you again. All tips to show your appreciation at us getting you back in shape will go directly to our loyal staff”.

    Given how much we have all saved by not going to the barber or hairdresser in the last 3 months, how would you respond to that sign?

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    Johnnyg
    Participant

    Given how much we have all saved by not going to the barber or hairdresser in the last 3 months, how would you respond to that sign?

    The difference being that a customer knows in advance and not an extra charge plus the obligatory tip !!

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    AFlyingDutchman
    Participant

    I wonder how many people who object to this charge have ever tried to run a small restaurant. You are forcibly closed for three months or more (though your rent is not suspended); your insurance company wriggles out of their business prevention cover on a preposterous lie and your bank puts huge obstacles in your way when you try to avail yourself of the government’s business protection loan scheme (thank you so much to the faceless world of corporate finance, always there to screw the little man); you have to deal with upset and worried staff; you don’t know when or if you will be allowed to reopen, and if you are, whether suppliers will still be in place, how quickly you can restock (having had to dispose of a whole kitchen-full of food last March), or where to get or how to pay for all the newly required and expensive PPE; and finally, you have no idea whether anyone will actually be brave enough to come when you do open your doors.

    And people object to a €5 surcharge?

    I have a friend who runs a (gentleman’s) hairdresser. He has decided not to increase his charges, despite fully expecting the average customer to take twice as long at least as he not only cuts through the thick thatch that has grown over the lockdown but tries to reimpose a modicum of shape and style to the mess. But he has put up a sign saying “Delighted to be here for you again. All tips to show your appreciation at us getting you back in shape will go directly to our loyal staff”.

    Given how much we have all saved by not going to the barber or hairdresser in the last 3 months, how would you respond to that sign?

    Cedric, I certainly take your point, but the entire service industry has taken a massive hit, Hotels, Airlines and Restaurants (Viva M Boma is no small mom and pop restaurant by the way, very affluent owners, specialist restaurant in organ meats, not my cup of tea at all, but a beautiful restaurant). I think as already stated, the placing of the surcharge without fore warning is offensive. It is not on their menu, not on their web site, just as a surprise when you ask for the bill. I live in Belgium, and service charge is an automatic on restaurant bills, its no surprise, and it is stated in the menu by law, a CoVid surcharge should have at least been advised. My better half is a hairdresser, so fully understand your comment about your friend. But he too has not raised his prices as the situation is the new normal, and while it takes a bit longer now due to the sanitizing after each client, the hope is people will appreciate that and show their appreciation. Its their choice. Being in the hospitality industry, I tend to over tip as I know what team members normally earn in this industry, but that is my choice, its not imposed on me.

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    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    Like LP, it infuriates me to be quoted one price and then receive a bill for a higher price with all the add ons and surcharges. Guilty of this are hotels (especially in the USA & Asia) who quote a net price and then add all surcharges at check out.

    In my professional life where ever prices/fees/commissions/revenue need to be presented as part of a ‘sales pitch’ – item 1 on any agenda are the costs. That way, if the ‘money’ becomes an issue, it can be resolved before anyone gets too involved. So many presentations leave the charges to the end of the presentation. Get the hard stuff sorted out first…

    If suppliers, retailers, hotel chains, restaurants etc were honest, open and upfront about surcharges, I don’t think there would be a need for this thread.

    My favourite Japanese restaurant in London is now charging a £20 non refundable deposit per person per booking. I have been going to the restaurant for years and I do not have any issue with this new booking deposit. I would though have an issue if they slapped a £20 Covid 19 surcharge without telling me.

    I would also have no problem if my dentist advised me at point of booking a charge is being made for PPE equipment.

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    Cedric_Statherby
    Participant

    it infuriates me to be quoted one price and then receive a bill for a higher price with all the add ons and surcharges

    I totally agree, and possibly missed the point that the Brussels restaurant was not open enough about the charge. I apologise. But I still think the charge itself, if advertised, is entirely fair. And I think my friend at his barber shop has it right too – the sign is prominent as you walk in and you can always walk out again.

    Tips, and tipping customs, bedevilled my time travelling on business. Every time I went to a new country i would have to re-calibrate what a simple price sticker meant. For example, the apparently straightforward sign “Haircut, 17” (pounds, euros, dollars, whatever) means to a European that it will cost 17, to an American that it will cost anything from 20 to perhaps even 25 with tip, and to much of the third world “will they do it for 12”.

    And of course airlines are among the worst, as the headline “Fly to X for £19.99” mushrooms into about £80 by the time one has paid for checked luggage, pre-assigned seats, meals, boarding cards, etc.

    It is not just immoral but should be illegal to charge for something that is not advertised openly before one commits to a purchase.

    4 users thanked author for this post.

    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    But I still think the charge itself, if advertised, is entirely fair.

    I wonder what reaction your barber friend would have if at the point of booking he explained to his customer he was adding £ x to cover the required PPE equipment. Further explain, this charge would be removed when the requirement for PPE is removed.


    SimonS1
    Participant

    it infuriates me to be quoted one price and then receive a bill for a higher price with all the add ons and surcharges

    I totally agree, and possibly missed the point that the Brussels restaurant was not open enough about the charge. I apologise. But I still think the charge itself, if advertised, is entirely fair. And I think my friend at his barber shop has it right too – the sign is prominent as you walk in and you can always walk out again.

    Tips, and tipping customs, bedevilled my time travelling on business. Every time I went to a new country i would have to re-calibrate what a simple price sticker meant. For example, the apparently straightforward sign “Haircut, 17” (pounds, euros, dollars, whatever) means to a European that it will cost 17, to an American that it will cost anything from 20 to perhaps even 25 with tip, and to much of the third world “will they do it for 12”.

    And of course airlines are among the worst, as the headline “Fly to X for £19.99” mushrooms into about £80 by the time one has paid for checked luggage, pre-assigned seats, meals, boarding cards, etc.

    It is not just immoral but should be illegal to charge for something that is not advertised openly before one commits to a purchase.

    Fair points – it is tough for many businesses, and I don’t think a cover charge is unreasonable. Also I don’t disagree with the barber’s approach either – an optional tip reflecting the time/effort and costs involved.

    One thing I have tried to do in the last couple of months is support local businesses more, whilst recognising that it is dangerous to jump to conclusions as the bigger chains are sometimes family owned franchises and create jobs.

    However where do you draw the line. Should Starbucks add £1 to a cup of coffee as they have been closed and have had to reduce capacity/spend on partitioning? Should my local pub add £1 to a pint as they have to do waiter/waitress service only and spend time taking everyone’s name? Should Lidl charge £1 a customer entering the shop as they have had to spend money on screens and PPE for staff? And how long should it do on for?

    The only thing I disagree with is the airlines….the £19.99 only increases to £80 if you need the extras. If I am going on a day’s business trip to Brussels and don’t care where I sit, why should I subsidise someone who wants a specific seat, or needs a checked bag, or can’t last an hour without food/drink? The £19.99 doesn’t need to mushroom at all. Where the airlines take the p!ss is the ‘carrier surcharge’ (aka fuel surcharge that was never removed when oil prices collapsed). That to me is a bit questionable.


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    However where do you draw the line. Should Starbucks add £1 to a cup of coffee as they have been closed and have had to reduce capacity/spend on partitioning? Should my local pub add £1 to a pint as they have to do waiter/waitress service only and spend time taking everyone’s name? Should Lidl charge £1 a customer entering the shop as they have had to spend money on screens and PPE for staff? And how long should it do on for?

    Down to individual businesses to test the market to decide. No business should run at a loss… some will be able to absorb the additional costs, some wont and then there will be some that as you suggest will just take the p**s.

    As far as the supermarkets are concerned, there is some produce/items that can vary by up to 50% in any week, due to special offers. I think it is easier for the likes of Lidl and similar to absorb the additional costs more easily, especially going by some supermarket shares prices seen of late…

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    prosborn
    Participant

    Never been to the Brussels restaurant Viva M’Boma. Never shall, nor will anyone I know or hears my recommendations for the next 70 years.
    In Dutch, we call such scourgers “schurkers” and that is high end. Weg daarmee!

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    capetonianm
    Participant

    I won’t be going there even though we often used to eat out in Brussels and hope to be able to do so when we can travel more easily. Not so much because of the surcharge, although I agree that applying it after the fact is devious practice, but I don’t fancy some of the offal based dishes they cook. I suppose it’s west African based as M’Boma is a common name from that part of the world. Just a personal preference – my wife eats stuff I wouldn’t touch with a bargepole! Brussels is replete with restaurants, and most of those we’ve tried on spec have been excellent.

    I am reminded of last year when I was on a Swiss flight, longhaul, business class, and I wanted a packet of the lovely Zweifel Paprika crisps that they sell off the shopping trolley. The request seemed to cause some concern to the crew, and eventually one came back to me and said I could have a packet but I would be charged 5 Francs for it. No problem with that but it just seemed a little ‘geizig’, then I thought ‘it’s just typical Swiss fairness and precision’. In the end they didn’t charge me for it!


    ASK1945
    Participant

    Martyn wrote:

    ” …………………… I would also have no problem if my dentist advised me at point of booking a charge is being made for PPE equipment”.

    I have upcoming appointments with my barber, podiatrist, optometrist and dentist – and all have told me in advance that they have increased their prices to cover their extra costs arising out of Covid-19. For the three in healthcare, they are all in regulated professions and all the healthcare professions have to advise patients in advance about all charges, as part of the consent process, which has to be informed consent.


    AFlyingDutchman
    Participant

    I won’t be going there even though we often used to eat out in Brussels and hope to be able to do so when we can travel more easily. Not so much because of the surcharge, although I agree that applying it after the fact is devious practice, but I don’t fancy some of the offal based dishes they cook. I suppose it’s west African based as M’Boma is a common name from that part of the world. Just a personal preference – my wife eats stuff I wouldn’t touch with a bargepole! Brussels is replete with restaurants, and most of those we’ve tried on spec have been excellent.

    Hi Capetonianm, its actually a beautiful very Belgian restaurant, but like you, I dont eat organ meats or Offal. They serve things such as Pigs Head, Sweetbreads, veal brain, etc. Having lived throughout southern and eastern africa as a child and then in a few as an adult, not the usual on African diets either. The chefs pride themselves on using ‘the bits others throw away.’ They have the typical Belgian staples of Vol au Vent and Beef Tartar, but the menu really is not for me. A real shame as the interior, the srevice, and the wine list are all top notch. Of course, none of this draws away from the original fact, they should have been upfront about the CoVid surcharge!

    2 users thanked author for this post.
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