Can a Service Charge be Added to our Alcoholic Drinks Bill?
Question …Can a service charge be added to our alcoholic drinks bill?
Answer…..Yes if the restaurant or hotel or bar clearly advertises outside of the premises that they will add a service charge to drinks.
Under the Licensing (Jersey) Law 1974 Restaurants are obliged to display a list of the prices charged for intoxicating liquor (Article 42(c)) and for meals and refreshments other than intoxicating liquor (Article 42 (d)). It is an offence to charge a higher price than the price displayed.
What this means is that if a 10% service charge be applied and this is displayed on the pricelists inside and outside of the premises (and any menus) this would be acceptable, however if this was not displayed and the premises added 10% at the end of the meal, they would likely be committing an offence.
In the first instance if you feel that a service charge has been incorrectly added to your bill – ask the staff at the time for clarification. If the additional charges are not advertised as above you are NOT required to pay them.
If you believe that an establishment is committing an offence you will need to contact the Jersey Police Licensing Support Team on 612416 and keep a copy of your drinks bill.
A service charge is, however, challengeable if you receive and evidence poor service. It is important that you raise your concern with the staff or manager at the time if you are challenging the service charge.
A snapshot of St Helier establishments showed that the majority of restaurants and pubs do not add service charge to bills. They leave it up to the customer to give staff tips for good service. However some establishments confirmed that Service Charge is added for large parties, if in doubt ask prior to booking. Establishments that took part in this review felt it was more important to deliver excellent customer service and if this had been achieved the customer would generally leave a gratuity which would go direct to the staff.
Under GST queries on Gov.je it states
Gratuities, service charges and tips are monies that are given at the discretion of patrons are not subject to GST. A number of business within the hospitality industry add a service charge to their bills which is subject to GST. Monies paid directly by the customer to members of staff are not subject to GST.