Time to review service charges at dining places

Owners of food and beverage businesses should review the 10 per cent service charge they impose on their customers in order to keep the industry competitive.

At many F&B outlets, customers now use self-service monitors and tablets to place their orders or to ask for the bill.

That being the case, I wonder if it is still appropriate for consumers to continue paying the 10 per cent service charge.

Many businesses may be claiming grants under the Productivity and Innovation Credit scheme, or get a tax offset for their purchases of software and hardware.

At the same time, they could be reducing the number of service staff to lower costs.

Yet, they still impose the service charge.

Only a dining experience which includes interaction with service staff, and tapping their knowledge as a guide on the selection of the food and drink warrants a service charge.

Sum Kam Weng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 25, 2017, with the headline 'Time to review service charges at dining places'. Print Edition | Subscribe