Eating out? New disclosure requirements for DC restaurants charging service fees – WTOP News


When you get the check at a D.C. restaurant, those extra service fees can be confusing.

When you get the check at a D.C. restaurant, those extra service fees can be confusing.

Whether those charges go to operating costs or wages, restaurants are now required to make clear where the money will go before you order.

“I think that the pandemic has certainly elevated this issue. Restaurant fees and charges can be confusing,” said D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb. “We continue to hear from consumers that they are oftentimes confused and frustrated.”

The Supplemental Business Advisory issued by the attorney general is about making sure restaurants comply with the District’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act and ensuring consumers understand their rights.

Schwalb said the new requirement is also about increasing transparency while allowing diners to continue supporting local businesses.

“It’s important for our office to make sure we address this, so that restaurant owners and consumers can know what the law requires and know how to protect themselves,” added Schwalb.

“We have always felt that letting guests know about any fees before they order is not just an obligation, it’s also good business,” said Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington President and CEO Shawn Townsend.

Schwalb said reaction from business owners and consumers has been positive, adding that the majority of businesses, “want to do right by their consumers.”

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