Restaurant Imposes 1% Property Maintenance Fee On Tabs, Hopes No One Notices

A reporter's tab.

A reporter’s tab.

When you go out to eat, you generally pay the price on the menu, then a tip for the service staff. Should you also have to pay an extra fee for the maintenance of the building and grounds of the restaurant? One Florida restaurant thought so…at least, until the “personal usage fee” caught the attention of a local TV channel. Then the fee suddenly disappeared.

According to WESH, the fee appeared on customers’ tabs as “Ravaudage PUF.” The restaurant is part of a mixed-use development called Ravaudage. It wasn’t the fee itself that was the problem: it’s perfectly legal, as long as the property doesn’t pretend that it’s a tax. The problem was that it wasn’t disclosed on the menus or on any signs on the restaurant’s walls. The majority of diners stopped outside of the restaurant after their meals didn’t even notice the fee.

“I’ll have to take that off the tip next time,” one woman told the WESH reporter. Fighting words in the restaurant business.

Miller’s Ale House drops usage fee to patrons (Thanks, Joe!)