Australian diners are expressing frustration as more restaurants across the country introduce a fee for cutting their cakes. Similar to corkage fees for bringing your own wine, this practice, dubbed "cakeage," has been causing outrage among customers. The trend, which originated overseas, has slowly made its way to Australian shores, sparking debates about fair pricing.
Recently, an influencer took to TikTok to complain about the escalating cost of cakeage in Sydney restaurants. Jules Rangiheuea, a former Big Brother contestant, expressed her disappointment after being charged $10 per person for cakeage. She argued that these prices were disproportionate, especially considering the soaring cost of living in the country.
While some argue that the cakeage fee covers the costs of storing, preparing, presenting, and serving a customer's external cake, the rising prices have raised concerns. Diners like Rangiheuea question whether the increased fees truly reflect the actual expenses incurred by restaurants. They argue that celebrations often include cake and that people are now more conscious of their spending due to the cost-of-living crisis.
The hospitality industry in Australia has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors, such as rising energy and produce costs. Small businesses are struggling, with many iconic eateries closing their doors. These circumstances have led some restaurants to introduce higher cakeage fees in an attempt to discourage customers from bringing their own cakes and instead order desserts from the establishment's menu.
Although some customers underestimate the work involved in accommodating external desserts, others argue that the fees should be reasonable and disclosed upfront. There is a consensus among customers and restaurant owners that the fee should not be excessive but should reflect the rising costs of running a hospitality business.
As the debate continues, some restaurants have implemented bans on bringing in external cakes, instead offering a selection of in-house cakes for customers to enjoy. The aim is to provide a hassle-free celebration experience while supporting local hospitality businesses during challenging times.
Despite the varying opinions on cakeage fees, it is evident that transparency and reasonable pricing are crucial for both diners and business owners. Customers are encouraged to consider the hospitality sector's struggles and support local establishments by purchasing desserts from the restaurant's own menu instead of bringing in their own cakes.