Restaurants in the Italian city of Genoa have united to abolish cover charges in an effort to attract clients, both locals and tourists.
The cover charge added to restaurant clients’ bills is typically from €1.50 to €3 per person whatever they may have eaten, be it a pizza at a table with a paper tablecloth or an aperitivo consumed while taking in a view of the sea. The proposal to abolish it – along with any extra charges for bread and service – has been launched by Genoa’s Fepag-Ascom restaurant association.
President of Fepag-Ascom Giorgio Bove said of the cover charge: “It’s a heavy tax that exists only in Italy... which foreigners do not understand. When a bill arrives, they protest because they fail to understand what they have to pay in addition to the dishes selected from the menu. In Northern Europe, bread and service charges are already included but here, everyone does their own thing, there is no specific legislation.”
Bove explained that the initiative has been launched in response to the current economic crisis, because for many people going out for dinner has become a luxury and even those who can afford to do so spend less. He told Italian newspaper ‘La Repubblica’: “Now people order just one dish and drink coffee, those who have a full meal have become the exception. We must do something to jumpstart the market.”