GEORGE TOWN: Customers eating at coffee shops here should be prepared to fork out between 30 sen and RM1 in surcharge if they choose not to order drinks.
While some coffee shops only insist on a drink per table, some want every customer to order a drink.
A coffee shop in Macalister Road has put up a banner to inform customers of its “house rules”.
“Our customers need to order at least one drink per table,” said the owner, who wanted to be known only as Tatt.
“Managing a coffee shop is not easy. We have to pay our workers, utility bills and other expenses,” he said here yesterday.
Other coffee shops, he claimed, were requesting for at least one drink per person.
However, a coffee shop owner in Jalan Tan Sri Teh Ewe Lim, Batu Lanchang, said he had never asked his customers to pay surcharge.
“However, we do tell them about our plight and the expenses we have to bear. Our coffee shop rental is RM19,000 per month after a discount from the landlord.
“This excludes other expenses such as the salary of our workers and utility bills,” said the owner, known only as Gan, 54.
Federation of Penang Hawkers Associations president Lam Tong Ying advised operators to be reasonable when imposing the surcharge.
“It is not right to charge a customer who does not order a drink when four of his friends are already drinking.
“However, it is also not right for only one person in a big group to order a drink,” he said.
Consumers Association of Penang president S.M. Mohamed Idris urged consumers to boycott coffee shops that charged unreasonably.
“Consumers have the right to choose which coffee shops they want to patronise.
“It is not fair to penalise consumers to cover for the expenses of the operators.”
State Religious Affairs, Domestic Trade and Consumers Affairs Committee chairman Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim said currently, there were no regulations on such surcharges.
“Consumers can leave the coffee shops if they are unhappy with the services,” he said.