Do cafes have to show prices?

I've noticed a lot of cafe don't show prices of cakes, sandwiches etc now unless you ask.

Is it legal to not show pricing?


    • +1

      That always annoys me — everything is in Cantonese/Mandarin unless you ask the prices, you won't know — last w/e had a light yumcha lunch at Chadstone for family of 2 adults and 3 young kids, $86 exc. drinks, (vs <$20 at a sushi bar) talk about bill shock!

      • +3

        If you are referring to Oriental Teahouse, please do not go there. Overpriced yum cha.

      • +8

        2 adults and 3 kids is under $20 at a sushi bar!!! you must not eat much.

        • +3

          Yet they eat $86 worth at yum cha.

          Maybe they don't like sushi - that's one way of saving money! :-)

      • +12

        Where is this mystical sushi place that can feed 2 adults and 3 children for under $20?

        • +1

          Coles and woolworths.

          You just have to make it yourself.
          When on special.
          After a coupon.
          And another coupon.
          And ME/ING discount.

    • +1

      Ask for the menu and order from it exclusively.

      After a few polite but assertive "No thankyou"s and avoidance of eye-contact, I find that the trolley pushers usually let you be.

  • +5

    It's the same at pubs/clubs. My local has more than 20 different beers on tap, most at different prices and the prices change at different times of the day. And there's no way to tell what the price is apart from asking for each one individually.

    I know it would be easy to put a small electronic sign on each tap that could be updated from the office but that could lead to customers making decisions that were influenced by price.

    • why would they do that? customers should just ask if they dont know how much something costs

      • +2

        I'm not saying they would do it voluntarily. But I do think it should be mandatory.

        It's simply not practical to stand there and ask for the price of every drink. Many people couldn't and others simply wouldn't.

      • +5

        Yes they should indeed. what's needed in such places is customers constantly asking the price of each and every tap, including different glass sizes, then, when you've been through the lot, "Sorry how much did you say for the Cascade Draught? Gee that's pricey, how much is the Four X Gold?" After a few days of this they just might get the message it would save a lot of time to put up some prices.

        • +3

          exactly. If enough customers did this businesses would do it themselves.

          Right now, it's working for them because most people don't bother asking.

        • +3


          Because most people are stupid and waste money. Unfortunately, that's not going to change anytime soon. ><

        • I get your point but honestly it's not wasting their time that I'm concerned about. I can think of many things I'd rather be doing other than spending 5 minutes talking to the bartender every time I want a drink.

          Having said that every so often it could be fun to wait until the bar is jammed with people wanting to place an order and then decide it's time to slowly ask for each price.

    • Pubs/clubs are different.

      And if you buy 1 drink regardless of what it is, you can make it fair assumption based on the 1 drink whether it will be reasonably or overpriced across the spectrum of drinks.

      • -1

        not necc. so — like most franchises, most pubs work on a loss leader principle: a pot of the house branded beer (from the brewery that usually owns the pub) might be $4-5, but a different local brew could be $8-9.

        • Fair enough, but a loss leader will be much cheaper than $4-5 for a beer, maybe $1!!!

          I guess sometimes they have happy hour and $2 beers, however they are advertised accordingly and you would expect other drinks to higher.

        • +6

          As the head manager of a tavern (drive through bottleshop/ sports bar/ normal bar/ and restaurant in one) I can confirm that is completely incorrect.

          I was responsible for all the ordering (except food) for the tavern and arranging deals with the 2 major beer companies (Fosters and Lion Nathan) for over 3 years. The majors had the cheapest prices and smaller breweries (Coopers or Little Creatures for example) would advertise as being a more premium product and charged slightly more. To suggest that we would sell one for $4 and one for $8 is nonsense.

          The way it works with beer sales is the smaller the amount you buy the more margin we made. So if you buy a pot or middy of beer the margin would run between 29-45%. On the other scale if you buy a jug it worked out at roughly 15-25%, dependent on the beer and the quantities we could buy as well as any specials.

          We did not have any products that would be sold at a loss. The closest thing we did to something like that would be a steak and chips in the sports bar only for $5 on a Tuesday night to get more customers through the door which was done close to cost to entice people to buy a beer with the meal or possibly bet at the TAB.

    • I remember many years ago in Ireland they passed a law fircing pubs to display prices outside the premises.

      My theory for anything retailer, if they don't display their prices they're to embarrassed. So don't buy anything.

  • +5

    Yeah I just think its bad customer service.
    Especially in Perth where a ham and cheese croissant can cost anywhere between $5 and $13…
    I guess I'll just ask and slow their sales down :p

    • +2

      bad customer service, but definitely not illegal or unethical

    • +8

      Holy Fk…. ham and cheese croissant for $13.

      No wonder people from the East Coast don't visit WA.

      The mining boom ending may be the best thing to happen to some residents of Perth as Cafes/Restaurants will have to reassess their prices.

      Any place in Melbourne that charges $13 for a ham and cheese croissant will be bankrupt by the end of the year.

      • +1

        if only that were true — my local bread shop charges $9 for a cheese toastie (cost to make it yourself prob. <50c).

      • The rent in wa is killer. Not all Cafe owners in wa end up millionaires..

        • yeah but lots of wannabe get-rich-quick millionaires start up derivative cafes thinking they can cash in on complacent consumers willing to cough up stupid prices for crap coffee and food.

          there was a time when they could get away with such gouging. now, not so much.

    • +5

      Or $18 if you visit the Margaret River Chocolate Factory cafe!!

    • +1

      qld is the same. and try the Gold Coast airport (I guess any airport), bought a ham, cheese, tomato croissant for $14, looked ok in the display, when I got it it was Half a croissant - no wonder people were buying Hungry Jacks breakies.

      • +1

        Or just cross the highway & buy a counter meal for under $10. We just goto Subway, then the bottlo & have a picnic on the grass near the old Tiger terminal.

      • +1

        While I expect to be ripped off an Australian airport (I've had fabulous meals at Asian airports at very reasonable prices) I've never seen half a croissant sold anywhere..that's just plain shifty.

        I'll be asking where the other half is or magically find that my wallet is missing.

        • my wife got the other half, and they were toasted flat as a pancake. And the coffee was basically hot milk.
          Across from it is a Bar that also sells coffee and food, that was great and cost was OK.

          These were both near the HJ store in the airport.

  • +1

    Same as carparks, when I worked as a valet, people would drive down and baulk at the price, some people couldn't reverse fast enough!
    Imagine if petrol stations didn't advertise their prices, people would drive through each one comparing them… (or just not care and pay?)

    • +1

      That shits me when car parks (self parking) don't advertise the price from the street and you gotta drive in one way (and reverse out) to find the price.

      I avoid them, I assume they don't advertise from the street because it's expensive.

      • If they advertise, no one would have entered !

      • +2

        Enter the carpark and drive straight out. They won't charge you. It's standard practice.

        • Is there actually a "grace" period of sorts for car parks? How long are they generally? I've always been worried that they'll charge me as soon as I drive in so I usually just book a bay online if I ever need to park at a car park. Usually $10 for a night in the city on a weekend.

        • +2

          @ProjectZero: Yes there is. Most will let you drive straight out again without payment. Others allow a bit longer grace period for you to find a carpark, so if you find the place is full you can leave without payment.

        • @Level380: Interesting… didn't know there was, based on what you said, I'm assuming there isn't a standardised amount of time?

        • +3

          @ProjectZero: I don't think there is any 'set law' to the amount of time given. I'm guessing it would be in the range of 10-15mins. From memory its posted on the T&C board on the way in, you know, all that writing in 6 point font that you have no chance of reading from the CAR!

          It would also depend on the carpark owner etc. I know they all have to all exit straight away if you say you don't agree to the terms/pricing due to the silly one way entry and you only finding out the pricing on entry.

          But basically if I entered a carpark, didn't like the pricing and couldn't get out (ie reverse/turn around) and was FORCED to enter, and then made a exit ASAP and they wanted me to pay, well I'll be sitting/blocking the exit lane until they released me for free ;)

  • +4

    Very shitty and annoying. Hate this practice.

  • We may certainly not like it, but cant imagine it being illegal.
    eg. News break: Fund raising stall prosecuted for not putting price tag on lemonade cups. Potential customers suffer doubt over what price product may be if not asking for it. Owner denies wrongdoing and claims label was stolen by thugs…
    Conclusion: Call it unethical, bad business, but certainly not illegal.

  • +1

    are public holiday x% surcharge on menu still illegal ? found many places still doing that

    • when was it illegal?
      many still do it, even though penalty rates for casuals were removed.

    • Not illegal anymore, a surcharge notice is enough again now…

    • It use to be, but the law changed AGAIN and now its legal to put xyz% surcharge on public holidays/weekends etc :(

  • +2

    McDonalds and Hungry Jacks are like that - try to find the prices of individual items - you only see certain meal combos. Some stores have the full menu on a side wall but not all.

  • +4

    most cafes in Perth are way too expensive so i just walk by them. don't even notice there's a cafe sometimes lol. and i always ask the price first. if they get annoyed or surprised by people asking the price before buying, they're not worth doing business with.

    • +2

      pretty much the reason why i left, that whole idea of customers having to bend over / beg to be supplied was too insane. Not just cafes, but business in general in Perth.

      • +2

        no kidding, there's this whole false sense of superiority, pretentiousness and even pride that we're overpriced and have shitty levels of service. that's Perth in its insular nutshell.

        it's not so much about whether you can afford those LOL prices, you're simply not getting what you paid for i.e. value. hell, if i suddenly became a multi-millionaire overnight i'd hardly change my spending habits.

  • If you have to ask, you cant afford it

  • +3

    I find hipster cafes that sell coffee by ounces confusing. I don't really know what's an 8 oz or a 10 oz. I'm just used to ordering a regular.

    Also annoying is when they upsell and don't tell you it costs extra like mashmellow in a hot chocolate. Not me BTW, for some girl.

    • +1

      I bet 'some girl' feels really special upon reading this

    • if they're asking if you want something extra, it's always going to cost more…

    • +2

      I also don't like it when their "regular" is actually a "medium" and you've gotta say "small" explicitly.

    • +1

      That's why it's a hipster cafe… they like to think they are special and use special ways of doing things that annoys the heck out of non-hipsters…

  • +2

    I once went to a restaurant and ordered the "special", I didn't realise at the time there was no price next to it. I was shocked when the bill came. Easily twice the price as any other menu item (and it wasn't even that special). A deliberate money grab. Lesson learnt.

  • My private school canteen is like that….. They don't show prices….

    • teaching the kids to swallow any price early.

      tell your friends that it is OK to me smart and savvy.

  • +4

    I like to mess with these places. I say something like "how much for that one over there, no not that one the funny looking, no the one with the stuff on it, NO NOT THAT One the one BEHIDN that one, ahh forget it.

    Then I walk out.

  • You can't get a drink after three, you can't eat after nine, is the war still on?

  • +1

    I got fed up. I no longer buy from cafes full stop*. I pack my lunch the night before and have coffee at home and in the office (we have a nespresso in the office and I buy pods in bulk from places listed here on Ozbargain!)

    With the money I save I bought a great espresso machine for home and I'm still ahead by about a grand a year!

    *A couple times a year I might forget my lunch in the fridge or want to met a work mate for lunch but then I avoid stuffy, smart ass cafes which don't post prices. The ACCC and Fair Trading are probably not going to prosecute a café even if it's illegal. We just have to vote with our feet and take our business elsewhere.

  • +1

    I went to my local pick up pizza place and couldnt find prices anywhere.
    They had small, medium and large but no dishes hanging on the wall to illustrate the size and no prices anywhere.
    I guess you had to order to find out the price hoping you then wouldnt cancel.

    I walked out without ordering and they have lost a customer, just too difficult and underhanded I cant be bothered so took my money elsewhere

  • -1

    grocery/corner store near my home they do not have price label on most of their item? i dont know if this is legal or not. it is annoying to go and ask for price of almost each item. i have stop shopping there. anyone legal expert?

    • +1

      Have you bothered to read any of this thread?

    • +3

      You're funny… no one is complaining about the person behind the counter but the practice of the establishment… I agree that there are some people that take it out on the staff but as the staff, if you have a way to improve the practices of the establishment, shouldn't you voice it with the manager or the owner?

      E.G. if a couple of customers come in, ask for prices before ordering, don't you think that it would be better to show prices?

  • Cafes that cater extensively to business customers tend to do this.

    People having a coffee and a bite to eat on the company credit card is quite common… and people don't care about cost so much.

  • My rule is that if they cant be bothered or dont want to put prices up, I wont be bothered walking in or going to the counter. Why make us the customer do the work of asking as its just not worth my time.

  • No prices are annoying. I would figure that it's way too expensive to show.

    You should call them over and go through the entire menu asking for each price. :D

Login or Join to leave a comment