Can tap water cost something in the restaurant? A Twitter user sparked a controversial discussion at the weekend after sharing her receipt from the customs restaurant in Basel.
A glass of tap water was also billed to a visitor in the Basel Zoo restaurant.
The Basel native expressed her astonishment on Twitter, where a controversial debate broke out as to whether this was okay.
The zoo justifies the price with a service charge.
A Twitter user experienced a nasty surprise at the weekend when she was at the Basel Zoo with child and cone and treated herself to a snack there in the restaurant. She had to pay 1.50 francs for 3 dl of tap water. On Twitter, she vented her anger and promptly sparked a lively discussion. Opinions differ widely: «Switzerland is known for substantial prices. But that’s just outrageous! » However, other users show understanding for the catering business: “Infrastructure, wages, etc. that is completely understandable.”
According to the customs spokeswoman Tanja Dietrich, the reason for the chargeable tap water is the associated service: “Tap water must be dispensed and the glass washed as with other drinks”. Maurus Ebneter from the Wirtenverband Basel-Stadt also believes that in the long run no entrepreneur can afford to sell products and services free of charge or at their own expense. However, each company can decide for itself.
Gastro expert for free water
There are also companies that offer their guests tap water for free. For example the popular cafe-bar “Zum Kuss” at the SBB train station. “We do not charge a fee here because it is already included in the service,” said host Markus Engeler to Telebasel: in his bar, every guest gets as much tap water as he wants, but only as long as something else is consumed, otherwise five francs would be charged .
When compared to 20 minutes, the gastronomy expert Leo Egloff questions the argument that the tap water is more about the service than the price of the water. In his opinion, a glass of water is an elementary service that every guest can expect free of charge.
Pioneering canton of Ticino
This already applies in the canton of Ticino. The cantonal gastronomy law there prescribes innkeepers to offer free tap water for every main meal. The condition here, however, is that the guest consume a meal. Egloff also sympathizes with this: “The guest has to buy something, otherwise the water is not free.”