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Old 17.03.2010, 17:28
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Re: Should tap water be free in Swiss restaurants?

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Now, that I didn't know... what's the reasoning behind?

Trying to convince some group of do gooders were not all raving alcoholics
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Old 17.03.2010, 17:30
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Re: Should tap water be free in Swiss restaurants?

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By law, French restaurants are required to serve tap water on request.
Sure. Might take some time though if you do not order enough.

"At the Aux Lyonnais restaurant in Paris, owned by the celebrity chef Alain Ducasse, diners who decline to order an aperitif are told that their meals "will take a long time to prepare"." Source.

And let's honstly not start the entire "Switzerland is expensive" discussion for the 100th time. The rent is higher here, the waitress earns three times as much and the costs to source your steak are also huge. So obviously, your meal here will cost. (But your salary is also slightly higher than the average French salary, right?)
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Old 17.03.2010, 17:32
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Re: Should tap water be free in Swiss restaurants?

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And let's honstly not start the entire "Switzerland is expensive" discussion for the 100th time. The rent is higher here, the waitress earns three times as much and the costs to source your steak are also huge. So obviously, your meal here will cost. (But your salary is also slightly higher than the average French salary, right?)
Yeah, but charging 50 rps for a glass of water ain't gonna make the difference is it now? To me it is just badwill (vs. goodwill).

I should also add that I have been to places where they charge the same for a glass of water as they do a bottle of water. That is fleecing you.
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Old 17.03.2010, 17:32
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Re: Law about serving tap water in restaurants?

I've alwys felt like a bit of an idiot ordering bottled water here, given the high quality of the tap water. I've never been refused or charged for Hahnenwasser though, though mostly this was alongside an alcoholic drink.
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Old 17.03.2010, 17:33
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Re: Should tap water be free in Swiss restaurants?

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seriously though, is anyone really going to avoid a good restaurant because they charge you for tap water? I know I wouldn't...
You know, I think I might seriously think about avoiding such a place even if the food is tasty, as in the end that's not my definition of a good restaurant experience! for me, good will gestures go a long long way!

I eat out for the experience not just the food.
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Old 17.03.2010, 17:35
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Re: Should tap water be free in Swiss restaurants?

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As the law states, there should be also 3 non alcoholic drinks that are CHEAPER than the cheapest alcoholic drink. Not many restaurants provide this service.
Now, that I didn't know... what's the reasoning behind?
Simple: people buying food and drinks based on price will not be "forced" to drink alcohol.

The inverse parallel situation is in the US, where buying a 2L bottle of Coke is cheaper than buying milk, so kids are being given Coke instead of milk. (So I've heard )
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Old 17.03.2010, 17:41
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Re: Should tap water be free in Swiss restaurants?

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You know, I think I might seriously think about avoiding such a place even if the food is tasty, as in the end that's not my definition of a good restaurant experience! for me, good will gestures go a long long way!

I eat out for the experience not just the food.
I fully agree that I usually do not go to a restaurant for nutrition alone, it is the experience. For me, free tap water is something I never really worried about, it was for me always "normal" to order a bottled water instead with the exception of the glass of water next to a good coffee. So I guess it is simply a cultural difference: You are used to free tap water and expect it as a part of a dinner.

Both standpoints are logical: "Water is cheap so they could give it for free" on the one hand and "The work to bring you a tap water or a 5CHF coke is the same and the larger chunk of the costs, so why not charge for it" on the other. It simply depends on the culture and what people are used to... and here in Switzerland I am used to pay for pretty much everything you can possibly charge for.
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Old 17.03.2010, 17:42
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Re: Should tap water be free in Swiss restaurants?

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Simple: people buying food and drinks based on price will not be "forced" to drink alcohol.
cool, thanks

But they will be able to drink free tap water soon, won't they?
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Old 17.03.2010, 18:05
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Re: Law about serving tap water in restaurants?

I went to a restaurant in Zurich, ordered a nice plate of food, and asked for tap water. 2 CHF I was told, unless I ordered a glass of wine. WTF? Why bring it for free if I order a 8 CHF drink, but charge when I order a 30 CHF plate of food?

And as for charging for the "service" let's be honest - I worked in a lot of restaurants, and taking a glass of a shelf and turning on the faucet to fill it up - it's not that hard. Especially if you're already paying for the waiter's service with that plate of food.
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Old 17.03.2010, 18:55
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Re: Should tap water be free in Swiss restaurants?

Nothing against restaurants making money as a business, and I'm probably more lenient than most on how much meals out cost in Switzerland, it's just fleecing which I hate. Which according to Merriam-Webster is "to charge excessively for goods or services."

Maybe it is a weird piece of criteria and for me it's one of several, but like I said, eating's an emotional thing for me. If a restaurant gets that one wrong within a few minutes of me sitting down, how can I help but feel all they want to do is dupe me...

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any restaurant will always fleece you (especially around here... ) but bechmarking a restaurant according to the price of tap water may be a bit pushing it? I think there should be more important criteria...

But I see your point...
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Old 18.11.2011, 13:13
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Re: Law about serving tap water in restaurants?

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Hey everyone, so a while back my German language teacher claimed it was "illegal" for restaurants to not serve you tap water or to charge you for tap water if you requested it in Zurich. Last night another friend of mine claimed this to be true as well. I find this hard to believe since most restaurants I go to in Zurich often refuse to serve tap water if you don't order another drink, or try to charge you for it. Does anyone know if there is really a law surrounding the serving of tap water in restaurants and if it's "illegal" for you to be refused free tap water in a restaurant? I searched the other posts about tap water but didn't find any discussion of a law.

Thanks, just curious!

Hi there, the question about the Laws relating to being charged for Tap Water in Switzerland has been speculated to Death. But as the Question has been asked here. Does anyone one know the Law on it. I posted a similar question.
`Would it kill the Restaurants here to give you Free Tap Water?". I received loads of opinions and scenario's. BUT NO REAL ACTUAL FACTS ABOUT THE LAW?
So does anyone Actually know?
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Old 18.11.2011, 13:37
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Re: Law about serving tap water in restaurants?

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Hi there, the question about the Laws relating to being charged for Tap Water in Switzerland has been speculated to Death. But as the Question has been asked here. Does anyone one know the Law on it. I posted a similar question.
`Would it kill the Restaurants here to give you Free Tap Water?". I received loads of opinions and scenario's. BUT NO REAL ACTUAL FACTS ABOUT THE LAW?
So does anyone Actually know?
Given that the restaurant websites / forums are debating it and saying which of them offer it and which don't, I would say it's not a legal requirement for restaurants to offer free tap water.

To be honest I agree with it otherwise you will get people coming into a restaurant, taking up a table and nursing glass after glass of free tap water because they are legally allowed to do it.

Free glasses of water are normally given with coffees and wine but free glasses of water on their own seem to be reserved for if you've had a fainting spell.
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  #73  
Old 18.11.2011, 13:51
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Re: Law about serving tap water in restaurants?

Don't know about laws, but if people are ordering other drinks, including espresso's after the meal, a jug of tap water should be free of charge.

If they only want the water it is reasonable for a small charge, 5 CHF is reasonable. The water isn't free to the business and they have to pay for the washing and sanitizing of the glasses after the guests leave, that all costs money.
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Old 18.11.2011, 18:23
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Re: Law about serving tap water in restaurants?

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Don't know about laws, but if people are ordering other drinks, including espresso's after the meal, a jug of tap water should be free of charge.

If they only want the water it is reasonable for a small charge, 5 CHF is reasonable. The water isn't free to the business and they have to pay for the washing and sanitizing of the glasses after the guests leave, that all costs money.
Hi there i totally agree with the two previous posts here. If you order nothing else but water, you should pay for it. I do lunch with a Woman's Expat group in Zug every week. So far we have been to nearly every Restaurant there. Only one place offers free water. All others charged us for tap water even after order loads of wine, coffee and soft drinks. I needed to take some cold medication, I asked for some tap water and they charged me three francs for it. I made a point of telling the Manager that our Group were never going to their restaurant ever again and we planned to tell all the other members, the Manager couldn't have cared less.
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Old 18.11.2011, 18:42
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Re: Should tap water be free in Swiss restaurants?

I frequently have nothing to drink at a restaurant. With the prices being what they are here, the cost of a drink is what will tip my budget - I'd rather spend the money towards having a dessert. However, if I get free tap water during the meal, I may feel mellow enough at the end to also order a tea or coffee to finish with - a win-win.
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  #76  
Old 18.11.2011, 18:47
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Re: Law about serving tap water in restaurants?

Many Americans (not implying anyone here specifically and its not limited to Americans only) have a misunderstanding about 'free' or 'complimentary' foods and beverages at a restaurant; they believe them to be truly free, which they are most certainly not. All the costs associated with these items, in the US, are typically part of a more integrated cost structure.
The filet mignon at a fancy restaurant costs a little bit more, because of the additional cost of the 'complimentary' bread & softened butter served as an appetizer before the meal. Even though this bread is not itemized on the check, the business is still building the cost into something else , and is still making a profit (in the long run) on the 'free' bread.

As a former restaurant manager in the US, I watched as my High-Quality Casual Dining market segment chain went from not offering any complimentary bread to offering fresh-baked garlic-cheddar biscuits. Someone in our company figured out that average consumption of these items would be between 1.2-1.35 biscuits per guest. This figure includes loss due to staleness (biscuits cooked more than 25 minutes prior would be tossed from the warmer), some dropped on the floor, etc. The cost, and the company's expected profit margin (as a function of cost) was factored into entree prices on the menu revision that rolled out concurrently with the biscuits, and prices were higher on specific, popular (high volume) items.

The same model applies to complimentary water- all the costs have been factored in somewhere. In Switzerland, it seems that most restaurants do not factor this cost in to their menu prices (probably because they're already horribly expensive ), and as such, must charge an appropriate premium to cover their additional cost. Then, there is also the fear that 'free' water will encourage guests to 'camp' and not spend money, and restaurants live and die by turning tables over to subsequent guests.

As to the legal question, I don't know in who's interests it would be to go to all the effort to legislate a requirement for free water.
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Old 18.11.2011, 20:25
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Re: Law about serving tap water in restaurants?

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That's for drinks that are sold and the law actualy states 3 non alcoholic drinks must be priced below the cheapest alcoholic drink. This law is rarely enforced or adhered too !

The actual tap water is not sold, what is sold is the service of tap water, they can charge whatever they like, it's up to you to say yes or no. As i said before, if you ask for tap water and there is a charge, then it must be clearly stated at the time of the order.
Its actually a selection of non alcoholic drinks at the same size (ie 3dl, 4dl, 5dl) must be cheaper. Selection being more than 1. I know this because the Lebensmittelkontroller (hygeine controller) controls this yearly. It must be adhered to or places face fines or eventually closure
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Old 18.11.2011, 23:18
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Re: Should tap water be free in Swiss restaurants?

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Yeah, but charging 50 rps for a glass of water ain't gonna make the difference is it now? To me it is just badwill (vs. goodwill).

I should also add that I have been to places where they charge the same for a glass of water as they do a bottle of water. That is fleecing you.
but do you go to a restaurant to drink tap-water ?

tap-water of course should be sold here for CHF 4.95 per decilitre

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I've alwys felt like a bit of an idiot ordering bottled water here, given the high quality of the tap water. I've never been refused or charged for Hahnenwasser though, though mostly this was alongside an alcoholic drink.
Sure, if you order a meal and some wine (or beer) your wish for some "Hahnenwasser" will be accepted

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I went to a restaurant in Zurich, ordered a nice plate of food, and asked for tap water. 2 CHF I was told, unless I ordered a glass of wine. WTF? Why bring it for free if I order a 8 CHF drink, but charge when I order a 30 CHF plate of food?

And as for charging for the "service" let's be honest - I worked in a lot of restaurants, and taking a glass of a shelf and turning on the faucet to fill it up - it's not that hard. Especially if you're already paying for the waiter's service with that plate of food.
Perfectly correct of course, except that I still fail to see why you need tapwater in the restaurant

Last edited by Wollishofener; 18.11.2011 at 23:30.
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Old 19.11.2011, 15:00
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Re: Should tap water be free in Swiss restaurants?

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Perfectly correct of course, except that I still fail to see why you need tapwater in the restaurant
I don't drink bottled water on principle. Why should I? The tap water is really good (at least in Zurich). Bottled water comes at too high a price, environmentally speaking, and is totally unnecessary in Switzerland, unless you are a poser.

I usually only order water in a restaurant if I am having wine, anyway, otherwise I don't bother.
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Old 19.11.2011, 16:07
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Re: Law about serving tap water in restaurants?

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The only rule I have heard of is:
The cheapest non-alcoholic drink must be priced below the cheapest alcoholic drink.
I absolutely agree!
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