Enjoying a beer in the sun could now be cheaper – for the restaurants and cafés at least – as the City Council has decided to apply 15 million kroner of its unexpected 872 million kroner windfall towards waiving a fee on outdoor service for the rest of 2012.
As part of the plans for the surplus funds, the council agreed to waive the current fees for outdoor service, which they say contribute negatively to the vibrancy of the city because cafés and restaurants pass the costs on to customers, making it very expensive to eat and drink outdoors.
Allan Agerholm, the regional chairman of Horesta – the national association for the hotel, restaurant and tourism industries – greeted the decision with enthusiasm.
“It’s fantastic news,” he told Berlingske newspaper. “We have wanted improved conditions for tourism for a long time and now it’s happening. It will create a more vivid city life, and I also expect it to increase employment.”
Agerholm said that cafés and restaurants would likely be able to reduce the prices on drinks, and that more cafés would be likely to offer outdoor service.
“I can’t find any losers in this, and I would be very surprised if the amount of applicants for outdoor service wouldn’t increase,” he said.
Carsten Krusse, a spokesperson for the trade association Danmarks Restauranter og Cafeer told Politiken newspaper that waving the fee would benefit restaurant owners and consumers – particularly tourists, who will view the city as more friendly and open.
“In the end, it will mean cost-competitive prices for consumers,” he said.
During peak tourist season, Copenhagen restaurants have paid up to 364 kroner a month per outside square metre.
Though the outdoor service fee has been waived, restaurants and cafés still need to get authorisation before putting up tables and chairs outside. Depending on the effect of the fee removal – if it creates more life in the city and growth at the restaurants – the council will evaluate the arrangement at the end of 2012 and consider if it should continue.