DOHA: The authorities have launched a crackdown on eateries that fail to display their prices prominently at their premises.
Eateries that fail to comply with the declared prices will face stern action, including hefty fines.
The Consumer Protection Department (CPD) at the Ministry of Economy and Commerce has started collecting the price lists of all eateries for reference and comparison.
The Department recently made it mandatory for all eateries to prepare a price list and display it prominently at their entrance for information of the public.
The Department swung into action after repeated complaints about the lack of monitoring of restaurants, especially their prices. Only some leading fast food outlets and major restaurants had been following the practice of issuing a menu card to the customers.
In the absence of an approved list, customers had no way to know the prices in advance and ensure they are not charged more. There have been complaints about discrepancies in the prices of some eateries, especially those catering to different expatriate communities.
They allegedly charge their regular customers lower prices while others are charged higher. The absence of an approved list made it easier for them to manipulate the prices.
“We have been asked to display the prices both in Arabic and English and most restaurants are now doing it for fear of hefty fines,” said an expatriate running an eatery in the Najma area.
The Ministry action is considered to be the first step towards controlling the prices of eateries. The CPD inspectors are now busy collecting the price lists of all eateries, which they can use as a reference while investigating complaints related to prices.
The Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning has already imposed strict health and safety regulations for eateries and now the CPD has stepped in to monitor the prices.
The CPD, in the past, had intervened to regulate the prices at fruits and vegetable shops as well as supermarkets and hypermarkets. Fruits and vegetable shops are required to abide by a daily price list issued by the Department, which is also issuing a comparative price list of all leading hypermarkets.
Eateries had largely been spared such measures and the new move is interpreted to be the first step towards more stringent regulations. The Peninsula