“Some of the signage up there just isn’t 100% clear,” Miami Beach Commissioner Mark Samuelian said. “Sometimes it says, ‘2 for 1,’ but the customers got charged. Some of our customers come from overseas. They’re not clear on what they’re getting. I’ve heard from the community. I’ve seen it myself that there are some bad operators taking advantage of people. That has got to stop.”
Miami Beach officials flexed their legislative muscle on Wednesday, passing a new ordinance banning boards advertising specials at sidewalk cafes and giving initial approval to a new Sidewalk Cafe Code of Conduct.
“We’re trying to improve the experience for our customers [and] any issues of deceptive practices,” Commissioner Mark Samuelian.
Ordinance sponsor Commissioner Mark Samuelian said, “It’s an issue that we’ve had in this community for way too long.”
“The signage is not clear and can be misleading, it’s aesthetically not pleasing, and anything that slows down pedestrian traffic is a problem,” he said, noting the boards clog the narrow pedestrian walkways and slow things down as visitors stop to read the signs.
I asked Samuelian, the ordinance sponsor, about my experience. “I’m not familiar with the circumstances around that one business,” he said, but added “We are making progress. We are committed to making more progress. My bottom line is, enough is enough.”
“We think that this is going to be a step as part of our overall umbrella to help with / eliminate bait and switch.”
Samuelian acknowledged there may be other ways around the issue such as making a 2 for 1 offer verbally at a table but he said the problem “doesn’t lend itself to one silver bullet. It takes a multi-prong approach.” He noted updated requirements for menu pricing and an increased emphasis on enforcement. “I never expect that one change is going to be that one final solution but I see it as a basket of good ideas that, in combination, I think we’re actually addressing the problem.” He pointed out that some businesses that used to engage in bad behavior are no longer doing so or are gone.
El plan se debe a “algunas manzanas podridas que se aprovechan” de los clientes que acuden a las terrazas de arterias como la icónica Ocean Drive, según dijo a Efe este miércoles el comisionado Mark Samuelian, autor de la propuesta que ya ha salido adelante en la comisión financiera de la ciudad.
“Tenemos que estar seguros de que están haciendo caso y mantienen buenos estándares”, advierte el comisionado Samuelian sobre los propietarios de estos comercios, muchos de ellos con camareros que anuncian las ofertas a los transeúntes.
“La meta es que los clientes tengan la mejor experiencia posible, eso incluye tanto residentes como turistas internacionales”, afirma Samuelian, quien cree que el plan a base de “clientes misteriosos” permitirá identificar con precisión los problemas a los que se enfrentan.
“Our goal is to make sure that all Miami Beach customers are having the best experience possible and unfortunately we have had some problems with bad apples with these deceptive business practices,” said Commissioner Mark Samuelian, who sponsored the proposal.
Although commissioners have only allocated funding for undercover shoppers to patrol the entertainment district, they said they would consider additional funding to expand the pilot to Lincoln Road and Española Way. If the secret shoppers are successful, Samuelian said, the program could eventually be implemented citywide. Miami Beach already has six part-time employees who pose as customers to secretly evaluate trolleys, parking garages and other city services.
Aunque la noticia general fue dada a conocer a inicios de abril, cuando los comisionados votaron a favor de la ordenanza propuesta por el comisionado Mark Samuelian, durante una reunión de la Comisión de Miami Beach ayer lunes fueron aprobadas las pautas concretas de diseño que deberá tener cada menú.
“Estamos tratando de garantizar que el cliente tenga claridad sobre lo que está a punto de pagar y que lo sepa”, dijo el comisionado Mark Samuelian cuando se se aprobó la medida en abril, y sus palabras van camino de convertirse en realidad.
“We’re trying to ensure that the customer has clarity on what they’re about to pay and that they know,” Commissioner Mark Samuelian said when the measure was discussed in an April meeting. “That is the basic principle.”
The regulations come in response to complaints that some Ocean Drive restaurants trick customers into ordering expensive food and drinks at outdoor tables or fail to include prices on menus, hitting unsuspecting tourists with hefty bills. At a few restaurants on the popular South Beach street, a single cocktail can cost more than $50 and food specials can stick tourists with checks in the hundreds of dollars, the Miami Herald has found.
The rules aim to “improve the way some bad apples have been treating our customers on Ocean Drive,” said Commissioner Mark Samuelian, who sponsored the amendment. “We’re trying to ensure that the customer has clarity on what they’re going to pay,” he added.
“The few bad apples on Ocean Drive need to clean up their act,” said Commissioner Mark Samuelian, who is sponsoring an ordinance that would give the city more power to crack down on businesses that do not clearly advertise prices at sidewalk cafes. “This ruling shows the consequences will be severe.”
Some Ocean Drive restaurants attract customers to sidewalk cafes using misleading food or drink specials or fail to include prices on menus, the Miami Herald has found. A tourist hoping to take advantage of a 2-for-1 drink special, for example, might unknowingly end up ordering a $55 fishbowl-sized cocktail.
The sidewalk cafe ordinance sponsored by Samuelian, which is up for a final vote at the Miami Beach commission’s April 11 meeting, would enable the city to revoke restaurants’ permits for sidewalk cafe tables if they don’t clearly advertise prices.
The ordinance “will be another step toward improving Ocean Drive for residents and visitors,” Samuelian said in a text message.
City Commissioner Mark Samuelian is proposing an ordinance that would empower the city to revoke restaurants’ permits for sidewalk cafe tables if they don’t clearly advertise prices and display the city’s consumer protection laws on tabletop information cards. The city manager could even have the ability to strip away violators’ business licenses.