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Banana row: Marriott’s conduct not illegal, says hotel body

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 30, 2019 Published on July 30, 2019

The FHRAI contends that Chandigarh's JW Marriott did not do anything illegal by charging actor Rahul Bose ₹ 442 for two bananas.

A hotel offers service, quality, plate, cutlery, accompaniment, sanitised fruit, ambience and luxury and not the commodity alone, it said.

The Federation of Hotels and Restaurants of India (FHRAI) on Tuesday clarified that Chandigarh's JW Marriott did not do anything illegal by charging actor Rahul Bose ₹ 442 for two bananas. The hotel body said charging 18 per cent GST is a legal requirement incumbent upon the hotel.

“Chain hotels have a presence across several cities and follow Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Unlike a retail store where bananas can be purchased at market price, a hotel offers service, quality, plate, cutlery, accompaniment, sanitised fruit, ambience and luxury and not the commodity alone. A coffee available at Rs 10 at a roadside stall could be served at Rs 250 in a luxury hotel,” says Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, Vice-President, FHRAI.

FHRAI also clarified that the hotel has done the right thing by charging 18 per cent GST on food and beverage served in the hotel premises. GST laws are not optional, but are to be charged to the customer and passed on to the Government according to provisions of the law.

"While bananas, or other unpacked fruits, are outside the purview of GST at a retail store, when served in a restaurant or hotel, whether as a fruit platter or a whole fruit, as per existing GST laws, a levy of 18 per cent is applicable. This is what the laws demand of us, and we don’t have a say in the matter,” says Pradeep Shetty, Joint Secretary, FHRAI.

However, the apex hospitality body has issued an advisory to its members on ways to handle such situations, where a guest may have ordered eatables, including fruits, from outside the menu.

“Our immediate concern is conflict resolution and for such a situation to not repeat. We will advise our members to sensitise the staff on the subject and will advise precautionary measures to avoid such happenings in the future,” said D. V. S. Somaraju, Treasurer, FHRAI.

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Published on July 30, 2019
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