Restaurant owners who have to pass along surcharges are in a difficult situation. Surcharges are legal, but the law around how to notify and pass along these surcharges to customers isn’t clear.
When possible, businesses are encouraged to eliminate surcharges. If you have to pass along surcharges, be aware of the risks and ensure the surcharge is listed in every possible location. Menus, the POS, website, app, on the check and any other place you think will help notify customers of the charge.
If you’re selling an item that requires a surcharge, list the surcharge near the item, on your website, ordering app, on menu, and as many places as possible. It may seem excessive, but now customers are litigating restaurants who don’t clearly display or explain the surcharge, and plaintiff’s attorneys are looking for any ammunition to bring a claim.
In talking with business lawyers, ala carte found restauranteurs are not in a great position to fight these claims. “The sad reality is that it is far more expensive to fight these claims than to pay a little money to resolve them quickly,” a business attorney explains. “Plaintiff’s attorneys know that, and they are banking on quick settlements.”
Protect yourself from frivolous lawsuits by being proactive about your risk – before you’re contacted by a customers attorney.