Restaurant bills to see 30% hike come July 1

Restaurant patrons will soon begin paying 30 per cent on their tabs at restaurants, as the new 12 per cent value-added tax rate is about to take effect in less than 48 hours.

The increase will mean an additional $30 on your restaurant bill if you spend $100.00 beginning July 1.

Jhene Smith, who spoke with Eyewitness News while dining at Bahama Grill said, she will continue going out as she’s already started budgeting.

“I have two kids,” Smith said.

“I don’t want to always cook, so going out to eat is sometimes just easier – but it is an expense. I’m willing to take on that sacrifice sometimes only because I don’t always want to be stressed in the kitchen.”

Another customer dining at another popular restaurant, and did not want to be named, opined that nothing will change even with the increase.

“VAT is coming. Bring the VAT on. Nothing’s going to change. Bahamians are still going to go out,” he said.

General Manager of Compass Point Philip Smith, also weighed in on the new tax and said, the resort has been preparing for the big day for more than a month.

“It’s POS (point of sale) systems that need to be readjusted,” Smith said. “We started making changes since the government made the announcement.”

Another restaurant owner who wished to remain anonymous noted that he wished he could remove the standard 15 per cent gratuity from customers’ bills.

While that may not be a welcome notion or even a legal one, he said he knows it would make his staff a little more accountable and cause them to push just a little harder to make a tip.

One customer, however, backed the decision to pass the fees on to restaurant patrons.

“We have to maintain our industry of service, it remains our number one industry,” he said.

“The standard gratuity is essential for waiters and waitresses. They’re already making minimum wage, and that’s almost close to nothing.”