A video from Noida has emerged showing a violent clash between a family and restaurant employees over the issue of a service charge in the bill. On Sunday, the incident occurred at Float by Duty-Free in Spectrum Mall. The video shows some customers throwing punches and dragging restaurant employees away, who push them back. A few women are also involved in the conflict.
The video was captured by those there at the time and quickly went viral after it was shared on social media. The video depicts a fight between members of the family and bouncers from the restaurant, who are also abusing them.
A few others, presumably restaurant employees, are seen attempting to calm the gathering down and terminate the brawl, but their attempts are futile.
According to one of the family members’ tweets, some staff employees abused them. According to the tweets, 30 persons were part of the attack, and all of them were linked to the restaurant.
According to Harish Chandra, DCP, Noida Zone, the brawl erupted after the family received the bill, which included the service charge.
“The fight broke out over a service charge. We have identified the accused and are following the process of law. We will ensure that those who resorted to violence are arrested,” said Mr Chandra. Sector 113 police station has opened an investigation.
The topic of restaurant service charges has long been a source of contention. The Ministry of Consumer Affairs stated last year that restaurants are levying service charges as a default billing option, despite the fact that it is entirely voluntary and not required by law.
Customers are unwilling to pay the extra tax, even if they are dissatisfied with the service, according to the Centre, which told the Delhi High Court. The high court had suspended the Central Consumer Protection Authority’s (CCPA) guideline for a ban on service charges, but stressed in April that its ruling must not be displayed to clients in a way that implied the charge was approved by it.
Justice Prathiba M Singh directed two organisations, the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) and the Federation of Hotels and Restaurant Associations (FHRAI), to convene a meeting of their members and report back to the court on how many of their members are willing to inform customers that service charges are not mandatory and are a voluntary contribution.
NRAI president Varun Khera said levying service charges is the sole discretion of a restaurant. “Earlier there was a misconception among some people that restaurants cannot levy service charges. However, a court order has ruled that restaurants can impose service charges as long as they make it clear to customers,” Mr Khera said.
If the service charge is mentioned on the menu card, it means that the customer is aware of it and they have the choice to walk out if they do not agree with the condition,” he added.