EMM Group’s Nightclub ‘Operations Fee’ Is Probably Illegal

Posted on: April 1st, 2013 at 6:48 am by
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EMM Group is in the press for all the wrong reasons lately, most notably stemming from their epic missteps at 199 Bowery; it’s a PR nightmare.

In covering the multifaceted story a couple months ago, we published a receipt from the backroom Finale nightclub, which levied an “operations fee” in addition to tax and gratuity. This extra charge is apparently applied to “offset a variety of ever-changing costs that affect our particular business.” The New York Post expounded on the issue in the Friday paper (what they claim is an exclusive), and found that doing so is probably illegal. And that EMM and the likeminded Tao Group are both guilty of including this line item on customer bills.

Another EMM club, Finale on the Bowery, adds operations fees of 5 percent for booze and 22 percent for bottle service, receipts show. Drinks there average $16 each.

Along with SL and Finale, other EMM clubs, like Bow and Tenjune, are also being investigated for the charges, the city Department of Consumer Affairs said.

Jason Strauss and Noah Tepperberg’s Tao Group — which owns Lavo, Tao and Avenue — is also under investigation , officials said.

“Even if listed on a menu or receipt, surcharges are illegal in New York,” said Consumer Affairs spokeswoman Abigail Lootens.

“Consumers may not be charged for something they did not ask for and receive.”

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