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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
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Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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Regarding service charges in a restaurant. What is the legal

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Regarding service charges in a restaurant.
What is the legal difference between a discretionary and a mandatory service charge.

Thank you for your question and welcome.

My name is ***** ***** I will assist you.

Eating in a restaurant is a contractual arrangement like any other, an exchange of money for services.

In order for a service charges to be mandatory (i.e not at your discretion), the restaurant has to give you advance warning of the service charge before you make an order for the food. It cannot be imposed on you, there has to be some advance notice (i.e on the menu) that you will be charged this so you can accept or reject it. That way it just because a term of your "contract" with the restaurant. It is likely, if you reject it when brought to you attention before ordering, the restaurant will decline to serve you.

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