Restaurants meal card concern: Preparing for discounts to cash

While the development shared by President Erdogan that the obligation to load the meal fee paid to the employees on the meal card will be lifted, is generally welcomed in the food and beverage industry, some industry representatives warn that if cash payments are used other than eating and drinking, there may be a loss of customers for restaurants. Some restaurants have started preparations for a 7 percent discount for their customers who will now prefer to pay in cash instead of cards.

Meal card companies, another interlocutor of the issue, are cautious. Companies state that it would not be right to make an assessment without a legislation on the subject for now.

Evaluating the decision in the news in Dünya newspaper, President of All Restaurants and Tourism Association (TÜRES) Ramazan Bingöl reminded that they have been fighting for meal card commissions for a long time, and expressed that they welcome the removal of the meal card requirement. In the next period, he argued that restaurants should take some actions for customers who used to use meal cards and will now receive their meal fee in cash.


Bingöl made a call to the entire sector and said, “We reduced the commission rate of 12 percent, which was previously applied by meal card companies, to 7 percent. Now, restaurants with a high number of meal cards should immediately offer discounts to their customers at those commission rates. He should not miss that customer by saying that we give 7 percent to you, not to the meal card company. We will start a campaign about it,” he said.

Restaurants meal card concern: Discount preparation for cash payment - 1


Kaya Demirer, President of Tourism, Restaurant Investors and Gastronomy Businesses Association (TURYID), said that the practice carries both opportunities and risks for the food and beverage industry. He pointed out that the removal of the commission cost is an opportunity, and the employee’s opportunity to use this support outside of eating now will cause a loss.

Pointing out that the expenditure made with meal cards in the restaurants within TURYİD has a share of 3 to 5 percent in the total turnover of the business, Demirer said, “The employee’s choice may be to meet his different needs instead of spending it on food, instead of paying with meal cards to the employee in cash. . In addition, there will be a tendency to spend a part of the income from the cash in restaurants. In this case, business owners will lose some business. The profit of the business owner, who will spend a part of the monthly 1000 TL in cash, will be spent in restaurants and which will be impossible to measure, and the profit of the business owner will be freed from the obligation to pay the commission in the 6 percent to 8 percent band, which he pays to the meal card companies.


President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that cash paid meals will be exempt from taxation. Erdogan said, “The tax exemption method for the meal fee paid to the employees will change. We have increased the meal fee tax exemption from 34 lira to 51 lira. We will determine this number again at the end of the year. We are removing the obligation to use a restaurant card for meal payments. The meal fee amounts paid in cash will also be included in the tax exemption.”