Restaurant customer asks why there's service charge for takeaway, staff says it's for the container

Submitted by Stomper Alvin

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He feels it is not right.

A restaurant customer asked why he had to pay a service charge for his takeaway order and a staff member told him it was for the container.

Stomper Alvin had gone to the newly renovated Boon Tong Kee outlet in River Valley to order food for takeaway on Jan 8.

Boon Tong Kee specialises in chicken rice and has eight outlets around Singapore.

After paying the bill, the Stomper noticed the 2 per cent service charge, which puzzled him.

"There was no service charge imposed on my takeaway before the restaurant was renovated and I have not seen other F&B establishments charging service charge for takeaway," said the Stomper.

"As I was not dining in the restaurant, it was also surprising to note that they issued me a receipt showing a table number."

A photo of the receipt showed that the table number was 60 and the service charge was 54 cents for $27 worth of food.

"When I asked about the service charge, they pointed to an in-house printout that stated that service charge was applicable for dine-in and takeaway," the Stomper continued.

"One of the staff then explains that it is for the recovery of the costs of the container. I find the reasons given to be unacceptable as there were clearly no services rendered for over-the-counter takeaway.

"Additionally, if the charges are intended for containers, they should have clearly stated the cost of each container and not disguise these charges as part of a variable 2 per cent service charge."

Stomp has contacted Boon Tong Kee for more info.

The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) website states: "F&B establishments that provide both dine-in and takeaway/delivery for the same food items, but service charge is imposed on dine-in only, are also allowed to display GST-exclusive prices."

This suggests that a service charge is not expected for takeaway/delivery.

Iras added: "It is common for businesses in the hotel or food and beverage industry to impose a service charge on their goods and services provided. Iras does not interfere with such business decisions.

"Whether the customer should pay for the service charge depends on the agreement between the customer and the business on the price payable for the goods and services provided."