Eateries that waive holiday surcharge deserve custom

By Editorial

Surcharges imposed by some cafes and restaurants on public holidays are something we will have to learn to live with but we do have a choice. We can choose not to go to places that impose the charge.
Many Tauranga eateries were choosing not to impose a surcharge on their customers this Easter, more than half of those surveyed by this newspaper earlier this month said they would not because of public backlash and increased competition.
Under the Holidays Act 2003, employees have to be paid time-and-a-half and get time off in lieu when they work on a public holiday.
To compensate, some restaurants and cafes pass the cost along by imposing a surcharge and they're entitled to do so. In fact, they can impose a surcharge on any day they have to pay staff more than their normal rate.
Many members of the public consider the surcharge a rip-off but some businesses feel they have to recover the extra costs they incur by being open on a public holiday.
It's a bit of a catch-22 for businesses. They are under pressure to open but it costs them more to do so and then they come under fire if they add a surcharge.
Not everyone is against the surcharge, though. Plenty of people accept it as "one of those things" and they will pay the extra so they can enjoy a meal at the restaurant of their choice.
Some might say the extra staff costs have been around for some time and businesses should be factoring it into their annual budgets but it is quite a considerable extra expense. Businesses are essentially paying staff two-and-a-half times what they usually get for working one shift.

Given that many businesses are choosing not to charge customers extra this Easter, it's up to the community to make it worth their while and, if it isn't and they subsequently choose not to open on the next public holiday, not to criticise them for doing so.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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