Cakeage Fee Causes Fierce Debate

Perth restaurant cakeage issue

Is Your Restaurant Justified To Charge For Cakeage?

A local Perth restaurant has ignited debate over its decision to charge patrons a fee known as “cakeage” for cutting up a serving cakes that patrons bring with them to the restaurant.  There are two very clear sides to the debate, with justification for morale victory being found on both sides.  From the perspective of the business owner, generally the opportunity to buy a cake on premesis exists, and as such a byo cake situation decreases revenue for the business.  Added to this, is the fact that there are costs incurred in serving the cake by way of staff time to do the cutting and serving, not to mention the wear and tear on crockery and utensils (plates will get broken, cutlery will get lost or stolen), and finally the cost to wash the dishes.

Customers argue that they have already provided enough value by way of what they have spent during their meal, and choosing the spend this money with the restaurant.  The costs associated with the cutting and serving of the cake are minimal compared to the profit that is made via the celebratory dinner.  Some patrons see this extra charge simply as a way for restaurant owners to make more money.

AN ONLINE rant over customers complaining about a“cakeage” fee at a leading Perth restaurant has sparked a heated debate about whether the practice is justified.

The Sunday Times revealed that Crown Perth’s Nobu pastry chef Samad Khan took to Facebook this week to defend restaurants that charge up to $25 a cake or $15 a person when people bring in their own dessert.

He argued the fee “pays for an actual service” and scoffed at the suggestion all the work had been done for staff.

“We as chefs don’t want to take advantage of your celebrations, but please realise that we are still entitled to be paid for something you want us to do FOR YOU! Stop expecting everything free or complimentary,” he wrote on Friday.

“It’s hospitality people … you want free cake cutting then go to your mumma’s house.”

The story sparked a flurry of debate on PerthNow’s Facebook page with readers weighing in on the subject.

One of the first to defend Mr Khan’s rant was colleague, trainee chef at Nobu Perth, Vinnie Nguyen.

He posted that restaurant patrons shouldn’t be asking why a top chef can’t cut up a cake for free in a fine dining restaurant.

“You are bringing something outside of their premises — a building they pay for, a kitchen they have to maintain, chefs they pay to create some of the best desserts in Perth, expecting them to cut and serve the cake, and asking the dishes to be washed by dish washing staff that they will also have to pay,” Mr Nguyen wrote.

“Nobu offers quality service of the highest standard.

“Learn to respect the hard efforts of others, and not ask why a top quality chef can’t cut cake for free and serve them on paper plates in a fine dining restaurant.”

Mr Nguyen’s comment has been liked by more than 145 people.

Several people agreed with Mr Nguyen including Claudia Mazzone who wrote: “If you choose a restaurant that has cakes, why bring your own? It’s payment by choice, why are people whingeing?”

Dylan Halliday wrote that he never understood why people brought a cake into a restaurant adding that he did not have no issue with a cakeage charge.

Thomas Curtis.

But Mary Atkinson disagreed: “He calls it hospitality so therefore he can charge to cut up a cake!!!! What about some good old fashioned friendly customer service! Now there’s a thought.”

But Nobu Perth is not the only restaurant in Perth to charge the fee with many of the city’s top spots admitting to the practice.

The Reveley’s venue manager Thomas Curtis, who previously worked at Nobu, said Nobu’s cakeage fee of $7 per person was in line with the rest of the restaurant’s prices.

“That’s just Crown — Nobu is great, but the prices are ridiculous,” Mr Curtis said.

The Reveley recently decided to stop allowing people to bring in their own cake and instead has a selection of cakes available for people to purchase at the restaurant.

“We did (charge cakeage) up until recently. That change happened two weeks ago,” Mr Curtis said.

“We were charging $3 per person.”

Mr Curtis said the restaurant would honour bookings made before the cake policy changed.

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