This week The Caterer reported an increase in the number of hoteliers who have introduced a practice of charging "cakeage". 'Cakeage' is a charge by restaurants to those customers who want to bring their own cake.
The Sunday Times recently conducted a survey and the findings highlighted that restaurants around London are charging up to £9 per person if the table arrive to the venue with a cake.
People are familiar with the term 'corkage' and that is where the similar term of 'cakeage' has derived from. The charges vary considerably between restaurants, ranging from £1.50 per head at barbecue chain Bodean's, to as much as £9 at Kaspar's Seafood Bar & Grill in London's Savoy hotel (the price equivalent to the cost of a dessert).
The survey highlighted that St John restaurant in London's Smithfield will charge £7.50 per person if dessert is not ordered, and some of Gordon Ramsay's restaurants, including the Savoy Grill and Maze in Mayfair charge £5.
With so many people celebrating birthdays, baby showers and even weddings in restaurants, it is understandable that businesses are finding a way to cash in on their potential loss of after dinner sales - however if this trend continues it is likely to stop consumers from bringing in the cakes in the first instance as the 'cakeage' fee is likely to exceed that of the cost of the cake itself.
However there were still a number of restaurants that didn't demand a cakeage fee. Chains including PizzaExpress, Byron, Wagamama, Jamie's Italian, Carluccio's and Nando's all told the paper they would not charge customers for bringing their own cake, as well as some branches of JD Wetherspoon.
The main restaurant at the Ritz also confirmed that it would not charge a fee, and when the Sunday Times asked a staff member at the bar at Claridge's, it was told: "I don't see it being a problem at all, sir...as long as it's not a five-tier cake that has to be wheeled in on a horse."