County requires restaurants to disclose daily specials prices

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Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy this week signed a bill into law requiring restaurants to disclose the prices of their daily specials.

The measure was authored by Legislator Lynne Nowick of St. James and Mr. Levy signed the measure Tuesday at Oscar’s of St. James restaurant and bar.

Ms. Nowick was present and commented that “too often a diner will order a special thinking the price should be more attractive than the regular menu. Many consumers are embarrassed to ask the price and are often shocked when the bill arrives. This is just disclosure to the patron and fair to all.”

Mr. Levy added that the law will provide consumers with a “right to know” when dining. It “will ensure that there is greater consistency for restaurants throughout the county when it comes to informing patrons,” he said.

Restaurant owners, meanwhile, will face an unappetizing penalty for non-compliance: between $50 and $500 for each violation.

Ms. Nowick said the measure doesn’t “take the right away of a restaurant to charge double or triple” for a special as compared to the prices of other dishes they offer, “but they must inform the public” about this.

The new law opens by declaring that “certain restaurants in Suffolk County do not recognize this ‘right to know’ when it comes to their policy for so-called ‘daily specials.’” These do not appear on the regular menu, and restaurants, in many cases, fail to voluntarily apprise their customers who much these special cost.

All restaurants in Suffolk County will have to give their patrons adequate notice of the prices of all food items offered for sale including those items known as ‘daily specials.’ This could be by including the price of specials on the regular menu or on a printed daily specials page or otherwise posted in a manner and location so the price would be readily observable by patrons.

The county’s Department of Consumer Affairs will enforce the law which will take effect 90 days after its filing.

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