Diners hit with venue surcharge at popular restaurants

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Consumers have shared their fury over popular dining venues slinging them an unexpected exxy surcharge on top of already pricey menu items.

As anger builds over QR code ordering systems making tipping a default option when paying, customers have noticed another way establishments may be attempting to beef-up their bottom line.

Venues owned by dining group Pacific Concepts – previously part of Rockpool Dining Group – have begun stinging customers with a 6.5 per cent “venue surcharge”.

A customer who had one cocktail at El Camino Cantina, a Pacific Concepts business, on Friday evening has revealed his shock after checking an invoice.

One 700ml drink – a Cadillac Mango Margarita – set him back an astounding $34.54.

The price was bolstered by an unexpected $2.08 “venue surcharge” and additional 0.46 card processing fee.

This diner paid a $2.08 venue surcharge fee on Friday. Picture: SuppliedThis diner paid a $2.08 venue surcharge fee on Friday. Picture: Supplied

“Prices are already extremely high, then at the end they sting you with a 6.5 per cent venue charge, a credit card charge, and then they ask you for a tip,” the customer told news.com.au.

“This should be all paid by the restaurant as an expense they provide … can’t they claim that on tax anyway as a business expense?”

The customer said the sneaky tactic added a layer of unease to going out to a restaurant.

“I am appalled by how businesses really destroy customer confidence in going out for a meal,” he said.

Pacific Concepts confirmed all its restaurants required customers to pay a 6.5 per cent venue surcharge but claimed it was “commonplace” across the industry.

“Card processing fees and service charges are commonplace across the Australian hospitality industry and cover various costs incurred by businesses,” a spokesperson told news.com.au.

“We are fully transparent about charges, which are noted on our menus, websites, and receipts across Pacific Concepts restaurants.”

Diners however, don’t seem overly familiar with the fee.

“I’m sorry why is this restaurant charging a ‘venue surcharge’??????? Of 6.5%???????” someone recently tweeted.

“So ‘Venue Surcharge’ is a new one on a restaurant bill,” someone else said in a tweet.

El Camino Cantina is among the businesses charging a venue surcharge.El Camino Cantina is among the businesses charging a venue surcharge.

Anger over QR code ordering

QR code ordering, one of the lasting by-products of the Covid pandemic, was recently slammed by customers upset over being asked for tips before staff had provided a service.

A news.com.au poll asking if businesses should ask for tips found 98 per cent of readers thought workers got paid enough already.

Consumer advocate Adam Glezer, from Consumer Champion, disagreed with venues asking patrons for tips before they had any interaction with staff.

“A tip is something you pay for good service and it’s optional,” Mr Glezer told news.com.au.

“In Australia, the waiting staff are on a much higher wage than those in America, where they rely on their tips,” he said.

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“It sounds like Australian businesses are trying to Americanise themselves. There is no justification for paying a tip before a service is provided.”

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