Sunday/Public Holiday Surcharges + Customer Service

Bit of a whinge, but also a genuine question;

I had some Indian takeaway last night, ordered directly from the restaurant for pickup (i.e didn't do Ubereats). It had a public holiday surcharge on top of the normal price. They had told me 25min wait, and in the end it was a 50min wait for the food. They weren't busy, there was only 8 people dining in (restaurant was probably good for about 40-50 people), and barely anyone coming in for takeaway. They just had no staff - only a single person serving/front desk/apologising for the delays, and it sounded like 1-2 people cooking in the kitchen. Food was fine in the end, not great, but not bad.

My question: do you think it is reasonable when restaurants whack the customer with the extra staffing cost for a Sunday meal for e.g, and similarly do you think poor customer service is acceptable on these days simply because they don't like to pay to bring the right number of staff in? It seems like double dipping to me to do both!


        • +1

          Difference is they CHOOSE to not charge more.

      • they are not PH's so no.

    • I don't get it - if people can't be bothered to work, especially weekends, employers have to pay staff penalty rates on weekends…then where are al these hospitality/retail workers getting their money from??

  • +4

    I went to a well known sushi franchise located in a busy shopping centre on Saturday for take away and was told there would be a public holiday surcharge. Several people including myself chose to go elsewhere just like they chose to apply the surcharge.

  • +8

    I could almost guarantee that not one of you all would work on a public holiday whether a contractor or staff and not expect to get paid more. Way more than 10% or a few dollars that most charge. Cook your own meal lazy gits or pay for there convenience on inconvenient days.

  • +2

    Of course it is reasonable. Your choice as a customer is to decide whether or not you wish to pay that amount of money, or alternatively find an alternative location to buy from or make your own meal at home.

    • Your choice as a customer is to decide

      Yeah, but they said 25 minutes to OP, and then he had to wait an extra 25 minutes on top of that.
      Not really a choice once you've driven there and sat in the restaurant is it?

  • -2

    Employees should be paid more for public holiday work. Businesses shouldn't charge customers more for the same productservice on a public holiday.

    • +1

      What? Haha

      Where does the money come to pay the staff more? The customers, if staff get penalty rates, the customer needs to cover this cost with a slightly higher bill.

      • +1

        I would honestly prefer that restaurants just don't open if they don't want to do so without a public holiday surcharge.

        When so many restaurants can do it without a surcharge, going into an overpriced cafe that then charges another 15-20% on top is just ridiculous, and most places won't mention the surcharge on Facebook etc, so you have limited options once you arrive.

        • The option to not order?
          That's the key option. You can check menus before you decide on a place, I usually go to the website or socials for a pdf or picture.

          and its usually 10% - so you're inflating the cost to suit your point.

          But all I'm hearing are excuses.

          Can't afford to open, can't afford not to open.
          Just kill the small business hospitality industry instead and there wont be an issue any more

          • @diddy50: Check menu's? Most companies don't have a dynamic menu for public holidays… some might that there is some sort of surcharge on a public holiday, most won't say the percentage.

            Many places won't mention it on their social media, or won't mention the percentage.

            I've seen plenty with 15-20%, I literally went to one recently.

  • Once the isolation rules are dropped this will reduce the staffing problems.

  • +3

    Having worked on couple of different Indian Restaurants throughout my student years, I can guarantee you that money is not going to staff's pocket.

    IMO it is just a way of grabbing more money of people, why ? because they can if you let them.

    In terms of wait time unless if you have access to kitchen or walk into kitchen you would not have a clue how empty or busy it is.

    At times we had 0 tables but 50 takeaways pending in the kitchen and everyone is normally given more time so you don't have to come and wait for it.

    • +1

      100% spot on. I refuse to pay Sunday or PH surcharges so I just don't order from those places. Even wage theft kings like Dominos have a Sunday surcharge for shitty pizzas.

  • When people running ethnic restaurants blame covid for staffing problems, the question is whether its because some of their staff are sick or isolating, or because the closing of the borders meant that they didn't have access to a whole lot of people they could underpay to keep their costs down. Exploiting people who are here on student and other similar visas seems to be the backbone of the restaurant business, particularly the ethnic restaurants.

  • +1

    I went to Din Tai Fung on the weekend and they charged an extra 10% for the public holiday. We ordered everything on a iPad and the food was served by a roaming robot. so glad these robots need the extra 10% on public holidays.

    • +4

      Because the robot also makes your food?

  • +2

    Fair enough. If a business needs to pay penalty rates for Sundays and public holidays, then customers need to expect to pay the higher staff wages to cover this cost.

    The covid thing isn't also just someone is sick or isolated, it also means the staff are just not here in the country. We've had no Immigration, holiday and student workers come in, as in they are close to zero. These are the hospitality workers that get employed.

    Edit: I'm not even sure a 10% surcharge would cover the penalty rates for staff.

  • Sounds like you just had crappy service at a crappy restaurant

  • Just realised, I also had a public surcharge yesterday on a Tuesday pick-up order directly placed in an Indian restaurant of 10%. Clearly it is not a public holiday or Sunday:(

    Will check this with the restaurant.

  • -1

    Imagine if the price of everything went up 20% on a public holiday. Coles/Woolworths shopping up 20%. Petrol up 20%. Telephone calls up 20%. Private Health Care 20%. Gym Membership 20%. All fees 20%.

    • +5

      We would either pay for the convenience or organise ourselves the day before. Remember when most shops used to be closed on Sunday/public holidays?

      • I remember when Saturday was a half day in the UK.

    • Colesworth make billions in profit, it would be crazy if they started doing a surcharge. Their annual profits is already the surcharge.

      • +1

        I am just pointing out that not everybody was charging a 20% surcharge, as most businesses factor the cost into their just doing business.

        The fact that the entire weekend was treated as a public holiday was a little rich, I can understand the Friday and Monday, but Saturday. The guy was chilling in his cave, not much happening other than preparing to roll a stone the next day.

  • Restaurants use to take a loss on a slow Sunday because of the higher rates they pay on Sunday. Now they are deciding to cover their costs. I don't blame them for this, but if I get poor service and I don't like it, I'll go somewhere else.

  • +2

    We're currently at Hamilton Island. We stayed over the long weekend and everywhere you go there's a 15%PH surcharge. There are literally hundreds of staff who are sacrificing their Easter break in order to make our holiday (and those of thousands of others here on the island) enjoyable. Pretty much every single one of them with a smile on their face.

    It's against the OzB spirit but in this case I'm happy to pay a bit extra!

    • Was the pricing of the accommodation the same as any other time? Was the flights normal pricing too?

      • Flights were more expensive than surrounding dates but accommodation seemed to be standard pricing luckily!

  • Best way to keep the riff raff out of the restaurants. Should be a 50% surcharge.

    • you tell em clive ! dont forget to order the parma

  • +1

    Happy to pay a surcharge where it's genuinely due. I worry that some of these surcharges just end up in an owner's pocket and not going towards the staff.

  • Small businesses are very short sighted. They don’t seem to understand how to just price things so their total annual sales lines up with their total annual staff costs. Better to charge 1% extra every day than 25% extra on public holidays. And some days and times of day will be leaner than others or even be ran at a loss, but that’s just the cost of doing business. Most Dominos have a few hours every day where they lose money per hour, but they more than make up for it during the dinner rush. But small businesses would rather close for those slow hours or out on just one staff on holidays. They don’t care about a consistent experience or quality when they laser focus on the immediate dollars and cents. They will demand their best workers come in sick even if they have the flu. They will deliberately restrict access to hand wash station because washing and drying hands for 30 seconds doesn’t make them any money.

  • I wonder if the increased time for meal prep was because it was not busy.

    perhaps they did very little prep to reduce wastage and were cooking everything from scratch.

  • +1

    Seriously this isn't hard. Businesses have a choice to do whatever hell they want and customers can do whatever hell they want. Doesn't require an in depth analysis of the reasons.
    There's no shortage of food outlets and no shortage of hungry ppl. Just goto the ones that meet your criteria.

  • sometimes you can negotiate with them like how about if i do take away or what if i just use One Knife without a fork

    Yesterday I even paid cash and got 50 cents off so that was a good day for me

    If you want the highest discount you gotta bring you own cutlery and drink bottle. Then you are saving them 20 cent dishwashing fee.

  • +2

    So you think you were the only delivery order?
    If you don't like the surcharge on public holidays, then don't buy takeaway on public holidays, wait a day. Can you do that… and possibly consider the fact that although they had 8 customers in store, that maybe you were not the only takeaway/delivery order, can you do that

  • +1

    Hospitality has been on struggle street every since Covid started. If you are on the outside sure it seems that covid is being used as an excuse but if you have no experience or background there’s no way to know how the industry has been on its knees. First with the job keeper where a LOT of people who work in hospo were not eligible. Those who were eligible chose to work 10hrs a week and sit at home instead of ‘keeping thier jobs’ and they couldn’t be made to work. It has been near impossible to recruit new people in small cafes/restaurants. The wage rates are upto 49$ per hour on public holidays if you rely on casual staff. This may not be a problem for big businesses but for the small businesses the struggle is real. Most owners are working without a wage and hardly any profits. Its not as easy as charging 1% extra through the year instead of 15% on public holidays as the cost of goods has increased and keeps increasing by 20 to 30%. In the absence of some form of surcharge the other option is for the business to be closed and no one wins neither the employees nor the employers and not even the customers. And I am sure some businesses might be taking advantage of the surcharge but the majority (none that i know of) aren’t. I have worked in hospo and our cafe used to charge a surcharge on public holidays way back in 2006. We were given our share and it made a huge difference and back then pays were about 18$ an hour if that. If unhappy with the surcharge by all means don’t proceed with the order cause there are plenty of people who will.

  • Yes it is acceptable to charge as long as it is advertised. No it is not acceptable to provide bad service.

  • i don't agree at all on ph surcharge. but i do really like no forced tip system in australia. no best system. guess try avoid dine one need to paid or choose a later day if can do

  • I am glad this is being asked, meaning this is becoming an issue (hopefully an election issue especially on cost of living issue).

    In another forum, I have said this surcharging is becoming more like a drug, cartel, and out of control.

    In my shopping town's food court, almost all of mainly Asian establishment charged surchages and some even charged 15% Surcharges on Sunday or Public Holiday. This is before adding Credit Card surcharges.

    Given a lot of places have shut down, they must have thought if everyone's doing it at the same time, then customers will have no choice but to go with it.

    Who is to say in a few years time, Saturday becomes surchargable and soon Friday/Thursday and the rate may go up to 20-25% and credit card goes beyond RBA accepted rate of 1.5% maximum (eg: Ezidebit charged 2.5% and they got away with it!)

  • Money doesn't make someone give better customer service. It's the person, you could pay someone 90 dollars an hour on a Sunday and they can still give bad service.

    I worked in some retail chains for 5+ years, everyone got paid different rates based on day and morning or night shifts but they still acted the same towards customers.

    I can pretty much say there is very little chance if you do get great service, it's not because of pay.

  • @jellykingdom - How about you work hard for a month at agreed salary decided at the start. Then employer negotiate after month to pay you. Would you prefer those negotiations?

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