Spanish café adds “rude tax” for customers who don’t say please: Could it work in Australia?

restaurant cafe

A cafe in Spain has attracted attention from across the globe, after introducing what’s been dubbed a “rude tax” for customers who don’t say please when ordering their coffee.

Marisel Valencia Madrid, owner of the Restaurant Blau Grifeu in Llança on the Costa Brava in Catalonia, told The Local she introduced the penalty after becoming fed up with less than friendly customers.

According to a sign placed in the cafe’s window, customers will be charged €5 ($7.37) if they fail to say please when placing their order, while those who use their manners will only need to pay €3 (4.42). Patrons who greet staff with “Buenos dias” get an even better deal, with their coffee priced at €1.30 ($1.92).

“I put a sign in the window with the price system and it has made all the difference,” Madrid said.

“People are now super polite in all matters and it has really improved daily life.

“I’m not singling out Spanish people as rude. We are just off the seafront so have a lot of tourists as well, French, German and British, and I think generally people could just be more polite.”

Could it work in Australia?

Back in 2014, a cafe on the New South Wales coast found itself in the headlines for its stance on good manners, after displaying a sign that offered patrons discounted coffees if they used the work “please” with their order.

Kylie Pickett, co-owner of Seven Mile Beach Kiosk in Gerroa, south of Wollongong, told SmartCompany at the time the offer was adapted from a similar sign seen by one of the cafe’s staff members in Adelaide and it wasn’t intended to be a strict policy.

“The whole idea behind it is to put a smile on people’s faces before they come in the door,” she says.

“For all the guys who work here it’s such a nice experience. To say please it takes a second and it makes all the difference.”

However, Narissa Corrigan, principal at Ampersand Legal, told SmartCompany cafe operators in Australia would be within their rights to add any extra charges to their menus, as long as they disclose the cost to patrons in advance.

Business owners must make it clear that the extra charge is in addition to the menu price, Corrigan says.

“Menus need to state what extra taxes will apply,” she says, referencing the common practice of restaurants and cafes adding a surcharge for public holiday trade.

“It might not be popular but they can do it as long as they disclose what the price is.”

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Rohan Baker
Rohan Baker
4 years ago

Great idea. We need to put civility back in our society. Best of all it’s free to do so.