Restaurants and Cafes

If you sell food to be consumed on your premises there are various rules about how shops and services must display their prices, so that consumers can make price comparisons and informed choices.

Price displays

If you run a restaurant, café, hotel or pub offering food for sale and consumption on the premises, there is specific legislation about how you display these food prices.

The particular regulations are called the Retail Price (Food in Catering Establishments) Display Order, 1984 and are enforced by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

Where the establishment consists solely of one or more food outlets, the notice must be displayed immediately outside or inside the entrance.

However, where some other business is carried on (e.g. retail selling), the notice is to be displayed immediately outside or inside the entrance to the catering area.

In the case of a hotel or public house, the notice can be displayed either at the entrance to the premises or at the entrance to the catering area.

Restaurants and other eating establishments also have to display prices on their menus. If you don’t give out individual menus, you will need a clear display in the room, such as a blackboard.

The price list must indicate if there is

  • A minimum charge
  • A service charge – and whether this is included in the price of the food
  • A cover charge or any similar charge

If you charge different prices at different times or days, the price display should specify these different prices and what items they relate to.

If you fail to have a price display, you may be in breach of the regulations.

If the prices you charge are different to the prices displayed, this constitutes a Misleading Price Indication, and you may be in breach of the Consumer Protection Act. The Commission has the power, if such breaches are found, to take enforcement action, including the issuing of a Compliance Notice.

If you are a licensed premises, don’t forget that there are separate regulations about how you must display your drinks prices. The particular piece of legislation is called the Retail Price (Beverages in Licensed Premises) Display Order, 1999.

Tax inclusive prices

Like other services, you are obliged whenever you display your prices or charges to give the final price, inclusive of taxes and charges.

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