Bemidji hotels drop pizza surcharge proposal

May 12, 2003

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- Hotel operators here won't assess pizzerias 50 cents for every pizza delivered to guests of their properties.

According to reports published in The Pioneer (See related story Bemidji hotels slap delivery fee on pizzerias) and PizzaMarketplace (See related story Operators surprised by delivery fee at Bemidji hotels), hoteliers in the lake resort town threatened in April to tax pizza delivery to help cover the cost of cleaning up after guests who ate pizza in their rooms.

In a letter sent to pizza operators by a group called the Innkeepers of Bemidji, hoteliers claimed pizza operators should share the burden of cleaning or replacing their pizza-sauce-stained towels and carpets.

To generate revenue for the additional cleaning, hotel owners proposed that pizza delivery drivers stop at their properties' front desks and have their pizzas counted. At the end of each month, each pizzeria owner would be billed at a rate of 50 cents each for the number of pies delivered.

Pioneer Columnist Ryan Bakken stated pizza operators' counter-argument this way: "Pizzas don't create messes; messy pizza-eaters create messes. If you want to level a surcharge, level it on the mess-makers. Increase their room rate 50 cents per pizza."

The resulting tension between the hotels and pizza businesses culminated in a private May 1 meeting between both groups. A May 2 Pioneer report said neither hotel nor pizza operators said much to the press following the meeting, but Bakken's May 12 column said it was later mentioned that the proposed surcharge was dropped altogether.

In an agreement between the two sides, according to the column, pizza operators promised to address the situation by delivering ample paper plates, napkins and towelettes for guest use.

Topics: Operations Management

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