Working in the newsroom during Christmas and New Year, I have had to travel further afield for lunch as, to my dismay, the cafe where I regularly chow down, I Love Rosie, has been closed over the holidays.

I guess the business owners deserve a break, and if they can afford to, then good on them.

It is a pity though that visiting tourists cannot sample its delights.

I was surprised when I ventured downtown to buy lunch to find some cafes closed. Luckily, two of my favourite downtown joints, The Med and Sammies, were open. They were packed with locals and tourists alike. On Boxing Day The Med was chocka and not imposing surcharges.


This is what you would expect for a town that prides itself on being a tourist destination.

It puzzles me that other local businesses either close or have reduced hours on Sundays or public holidays.

On last year's Father's Day, reporter John Cousins found 60 per cent of Tauranga downtown retailers closed.

As for our recent public holidays, in some eateries that did open, Ruth Keber reported last week that customers were sucking up surcharges.

More than 10 years have passed since the Holidays Act 2003 enforced additional payments to employees working on public holidays. Why have our restaurants that do impose surcharges not got their act together to work these costs into their annual budget?

I am with Bravo owner Ryan Gregorash who says with correct labour modelling a surcharge is not necessary.

Retailers do not charge a surcharge to get customers in the door for the January sales yet they also have to pay staff costs.

Not only is surcharging ripping off regular locals but it is also a bad image for tourists.


For this reason, most restaurants in Auckland and Rotorua have given up on the idea.

It may be a financial risk to open on a public holiday, but if a cafe is confident in its quality of food and service, its popularity all year round and on public holidays should offset any additional costs.

Being in the service industry means serving the needs of customers and especially our visitors.