A popular restaurant chain has landed in more hot water just months after its mystery five per cent “service fee” angered customers.
In September, a diner at The Bavarian Bier Cafe was confused by an unexpected surcharge on their bill at Queensland’s Sunshine Coast branch of the German-themed pub and restaurant.
Responding to questions about the receipt, a spokesman for The Bavarian’s umbrella company told news.com.au they added the fee due to “soaring inflation” and “Covid-19 induced hospitality hardship”.
The only mention of the charge was inside tiny small print at the bottom of the menu, along with all the other surcharges.
Now, another fed-up diner has lashed out at the popular chain, accusing one of its outlets of concealing the service fee disclaimer on its door menu.
The door menu of one Bavarian Bier Cafe branch hides one of their surcharges. Picture: Reddit
In a post on Reddit, the critic shared a picture of a large menu perched on a stand outside the Bavarian Bier Cafe which was bordered by a thick black frame that appeared to cover up a line explaining the five per cent surcharge.
“This is already a dodgy practice by having a five percent mark-up everyday of the week written in fine print at the bottom of the menu, now they have it covered up on the main menu outside,” they wrote.
The full surcharge statement explains additional fees for credit cards, surcharges of 10 and 15 per cent on Sundays and public holidays, and a compulsory 5 per cent surcharge on Monday through to Friday.
But the last two sentences of the fee disclaimer – which is printed at the very bottom of the menu in tiny font – are completely hidden.
On their online menu, the second line referencing the five percent surcharge is visible
Just as users were outraged at the existence of the fee in the first place, many were perplexed at the apparent move to hide the surcharge on the menu.
One person wrote: “So basically everyone should go and eat there and refuse to pay the surcharges because they aren’t displayed legally”.
It’s not the first time frustration has brewed about the venue’s practices. Picture: Contributed
Another person pointed out the surcharge is listed on their menus inside the restaurant, despite being covered at the door.
“I’d bet that once you’re inside and seated you’d be less likely to up and leave over a five per cent surcharge,” they wrote, adding: “Even people with a photographic memory would doubt what they saw at the door”.
According to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, some restaurants and cafes charge and “unavoidable” surcharge on certain days – usually weekends or public holidays.
In September, a post about the unexpected surcharge on a receipt at the Bavarian sparked outrage. Picture: Reddit
“They don’t need to include this charge in the total price displayed for their products, as an exemption under the law applies to them,” the ACCC website reads.
“However, if they charge such a surcharge, they must include these words on the menu: A surcharge of [percentage] applies on [day or days]. These words must be at least as prominent as the most prominent price on the menu”.
In both the photo posted to Reddit and the online menu on The Bavarian’s website seen by news.com.au, the surcharge sentences are clearly written in smaller text and shown less prominently than the prices.
The Bavarian is owned by Pacific Concepts, which runs several popular restaurant brands.
The Bavarian has around 30 outlets across Australia with branches concentrated in and around Sydney and Brisbane.
Its owner, Pacific Concepts, also runs a number of other restaurant brands including El Camino, Winghaus, Munich Brahaus and Fratelli Fresh.
News.com.au has seen the online menus of the other four restaurant chains, which all include the five percent surcharge fee from Monday to Saturday.
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It is not known if their full surcharge statement is visible on their door menus.
Pacific Concepts has been contacted for comment.