Lucas says there are “absolutely” going to be more restaurants introducing Sunday surcharges across Melbourne bringing the restaurant industry into line with Sydney where surcharges are more common.
It’s a business move
Victor Liong has also imposed a 15 per cent surcharge on Sundays at his restaurant Lee Ho Fook to cover staffing costs.
Lee Ho Fook business partners David Mackintosh and Victor Liong have introduced a 15 per cent surcharge on Sundays. Photo: Pat Scala
“We want to play ball and have everyone paid what they have to be paid,” he says. “If I have to put a surcharge on to stay open on a Sunday so be it.”
Liong says staff in his restaurant are paid “above and beyond” award rates and opening on a Sunday has been “terrible” for his business.
“It just got to the point when we couldn’t afford to continue to operate on Sundays and public holidays, we were left with no choice.”
“My accountant told me if I want to open Sundays I have to do something,” he says. “I’m a business before I’m a restaurant. I didn’t just go ‘Hey let’s make another 15 per cent on a Sunday,’ I just went ‘this is what it’s going to cost to open’. I will just keep my head above water with this.”
The Sunday surcharge has been running for a month now and Liong says he hasn’t received any complaints.
Liong says he is running a business first at Lee Ho Fook. Photo: Kristoffer Paulsen
“To be honest the clientele have just accepted the fact that it’s Melbourne, it’s Sunday. It is what it is.”
Liong says he has been upfront about the surcharge.
“We are not hiding it,” he says. “It’s a business decision, not an ego move.”
Liong employs just under 30 people and says hospitality is a hard industry to make money in once wages are taken into account.
“Everyone thinks ‘You’re a restauranteur, you’re a millionaire’. Guess what, you’re not. I owe the bank about $1 million. I will be paying this off well into my 40s don’t worry.”
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