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Customers may not eat, if they do not want to pay service charges, say Restaurants

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Restaurant

New Delhi, January 3: A strong disagreement has sprung between industry and government body after the Department of Consumer Affairs reiterated on Monday that paying service charge is optional for customers.

Meanwhile National Restaurant Association of India in reply has said the statement will affect around 8.5 million employees associated with the food service industry. Riyaaz Amlani, President of NRAI criticised the government’s move and said that customers who are not willing to pay service charges are free to not choose the service.

He said: If this kind of statement is made without application of mind it will be extremely detrimental to the employees. It is not just the owner but all the employees who are associated with a restaurant including the dishwasher, the caretaker, the toilet cleaner, all depend on service charge. How can you take away their livelihood without application.

Currently, restaurants and eatries 5- 20 % service charge over the bill from the customers. The DCA on Monday issued a statement saying that customers dissatisfied with service at any hotel or restaurant can opt for the service charge not being levied, as this is optional or discretionary.

Amlani in a relpy said, “It is a matter of policy for a restaurant to decide if service charge is to be levied or not.” He  further said information regarding service charge is clearly mentioned by restaurants on their menu cards so customers are well aware of this charge before availing the services and can use their discretion of not using the facility offered by the restaurant.

The decision was taken in lieu of complaints received from consumers that they were “forced to pay irrespective of the kind of service provided”, the department said.

“This decision is a double-edged sword. If the same becomes voluntary then the salaries will have to be renegotiated and the whole industry would go into a tizzy,” Shivam Bhaskar, owner of Number 31 said.

A clarification was sought from the Hotel Association of India which replied that the “service charge is completely discretionary and should a customer be dissatisfied with the dining experience they can have it waived off”, as per the department.

The department has asked the state governments to advise hotels and restaurants to disseminate information, such as through displays, that “the service charges are discretionary or voluntary” and to sensitise the companies, hotels and restaurants regarding provisions of the Act.

Wefornews Bureau

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India’s WPI inflation rises to 5.28% in Oct

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Inflation

New Delhi, Nov 14: India’s annual rate of inflation based on wholesale prices increased to 5.28 per cent in October from 5.13 per cent in September, according to official data. 

Even, on a year-on-year (YoY) basis, the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) data furnished by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry was higher than 3.68 per cent reported for the corresponding period of 2017.

“The annual rate of inflation, based on monthly WPI, stood at 5.28 per cent (provisional) for the month of October (over October, 2017) as compared to 5.13 per cent (provisional) for the previous month and 3.68 per cent during the corresponding month of the previous year,” the data showed.

“Build up inflation rate in the financial year so far was 4.64 per cent compared to a build up rate of 2.12 per cent in the corresponding period of the previous year,” the Commerce Ministry official statement said.

On a sequential basis, the expenses on primary articles, which constitute 22.62 per cent of the WPI’s total weightage eased to 1.79 per cent, from a rise of 2.97 per cent in September.

Similarly, the prices of food articles declined. The category has a weightage of 15.26 per cent in the WPI index.

However, the cost of fuel and power segment, which commands a 13.15 per cent weightage, edged higher by 18.44 per cent from a growth of 16.65 per cent.

The expenses on manufactured products registered a rise of 4.49 per cent from 4.22 per cent.

On a YoY basis, onion prices declined by 31.69 per cent, whereas potatoes became dearer by 93.65 per cent.

In contrast, the overall vegetable prices in the month under review declined by 18.65 per cent, against a rise of 36.67 per cent in the same month a year ago.

Among the non-food items, the price of high-speed diesel rose by 19.85 per cent on a YoY basis, petrol by 31.39 per cent and LPG by 18.44 per cent.

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Chinese investors to invest $30 Million in 8 Indian start-ups

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India China

New Delhi, Nov 13 :Chinese venture capital (VC) funds are likely to invest around $30 million in eight Indian start-ups, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said after the 2nd Startup India Investment Seminar held in Beijing on Tuesday.

“In the 1st Startup India Investment seminar, 12 Indian start-ups participated, of which 4 secured a funding of $15 million from Chinese VCs. In the current round, 8 start-ups out of 20 participants are set to get commitment of around $30 million,” it said.

The Ministry said the seminar was organised by the Embassy of India in China in partnership with Startup India Association and Venture Gurukool to foster innovation and entrepreneurship among the Indian youth. The first seminar was held in November 2017.

“The event was planned to expose Chinese VCs and investors to the promising Indian start-ups and also help Indian start-ups to reach out to the large Chinese investors for receiving investment for their companies,” the Ministry said in a statement.

42 Indian entrepreneurs representing 20 Indian start-ups participated in the event and pitched before Chinese investors. More than 350 Chinese VC funds and angel investors participated in the day-long seminar, it said.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) CEO Zheng Bin shared ICBC’s experience in India and gave an overview of the Indian start-up ecosystem and explained the process of investment.

ICBC India has established a $200 million fund for investing in promising Indian MSMEs and ventures, he said.

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Swiggy to engage 2,000 women for food delivery

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Bengaluru, Nov 13: Leading food ordering and delivery start-up Swiggy on Tuesday said it would engage about 2,000 women as delivery personnel by March 2019.

“About 2,000 women will join our delivery team by March next year. Over the last few months, we have been working on training women for opportunities in this growing food delivery sector,” the city-based online food delivery platform said in a statement here.

By deploying more women as delivery personnel across the country, the company said it aimed to create an inclusive workforce.

The company engages around a lakh personnel daily to deliver food across 45 Indian cities it operates in.

Currently, about 60 women are tied up with Swiggy across 10 cities, including Ahmedabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Nagpur and Pune, to deliver food.

World over, the employment of women as delivery personnel has been meagre.

“We are creating a women-friendly work environment with a dedicated helpline for any concern, as well as appointing more women in managerial roles,” the company said.

Swiggy is identifying ‘safe zones’ for women delivery personnel to operate in and will allow them to complete their deliveries by 6 p.m., it added.

“Since inception, we have seen the potential in investing in logistical prowess, which has helped us in having end-to-end control over the food delivery experience,” Swiggy Vice President (Operations) Sachin Kotangale said in the statement.

Set up in 2014, the food delivery platform claims to receive about 20 million orders a month across 45,000 restaurants in 45 cities, including New Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Gurugram and Pune.

It raised $210 million (around Rs 1,500 crore) from multiple investment firms, and has so far raised over $460 million (around Rs 3,350 crore).

The company, which has over 4,000 employees, reported an operating revenue of Rs 442-crore for the fiscal 2017-18.

IANS

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