‘Stop expecting everything free’: Nobu chef weighs in on Perth ‘cakeage’ wars

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Cakeage fees are becoming the norm in Perth. Perth’s ‘cakeage’ debate shows no signs of going away… Photo: Robert Shakespeare
Nanjing Night Net

A pastry chef of renowned upscale Perth restaurant has hit out at criticism of the industry’s controversial “cakeage” fee, and called for restaurant goers to “stop expecting everything free or complimentary”.

The issue of “cakeage” in Perth initially made its way into the spotlight earlier this week, when WAtoday journo David Prestipino expressed his surprise at a $25 fee for those taken along their own birthday cake to Homestead Brewery in Mandoon Estate.

The estate defended it’s actions, saying the fee had been the subject of “many meetings.” And Crown Perth Nobu’s pastry chef Samad Khan has now lent the levy his support.

“The cakeage fee goes beyond covering costs; it pays for an actual SERVICE,” he said in a Facebook post.

“Not only does it pay for storage of the item but it pays for the time taken to properly present it, redecorate (if necessary), cut it, plate it, run it, serve it, clean up after the job, and neatly repackage it and return it to the customer.

“I have to cut your cake perfectly, evenly (I use rulers!), divide up edible decorations to go on the plate, provide sides if asked for, carefully put it back without damaging what is usually a mangled cake TO BEGIN WITH (I’ve gotten cakes that look like they’ve been sat on I swear).

“All of this is usually done on a bloody Saturday night when I’m hip deep in dessert orders and all the other servers are having kittens wondering why I’m not playing their desserts.

“It’s because I’m totally focused on doing the best that I can for YOUR cake, YOUR special occasion.”

It doesn’t seem the cakeage fee will be disappearing any time soon, with high end restaurants the Shorehouse and Masonmill adopting the practice too.

Restaurant and Catering Association WA spokesperson Carlita Warren told WAtoday said the decision to charge “cakeage” was up to the business.

“The trick remains balancing the cost to the operator with the expectation of customers that the service should be provided for free,” she said.

Mr Khan summed up his opinion of the Perth customer’s expectation free cake-cutting expectation in his sign off:

“It’s hospitality people…you want free cake cutting, then go to your mumma’s house.”

Perth Now reported that Crown had said it did not endorse Mr Khan’s comments.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.