Select Committee on Catering First Report

V. Peak pricing

60. At the start of the inquiry, we invited specific comment on pricing mechanisms. The concept of peak and off-peak pricing, by which higher prices might be charged at peak times (or lower prices at off-peak times), received almost no support from witnesses. The IPU suggested that they "would send out the wrong message",[90] and others voiced similar concerns.[91] The House's Board of Management pointed out that some staff had "little or no discretion" about the time they took their meal breaks.[92] The Refreshment Department User Group and the TUS took a similar line, although they were not opposed to the introduction of discounts at off-peak times.[93] However, we suspect that in practice, off-peak discounts would be seen as being no different from peak supplements. In all, there is little to be said in favour of "peak" pricing, and we are opposed to the idea. We suspect that it would be difficult to enforce.

90   Ev 19. Back

91   Q 30; Ev 6 and 54. Back

92   Ev 12. Back

93   Ev 1 and 31. Back

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