Miami Beach Menus Scrutinized in New Crackdown

The City of Miami Beach wants to clean up its overpriced image for tourists and hopes cracking down on the way restaurants display prices can help.

Currently all menus on South Beach need to have prices in the same font size as the food or drink item listed. But many restaurant owners haven’t complied.

The NBC 6 Investigators found city code enforcement officers have written up and ticketed 20 Miami Beach restaurants since last year for not properly displaying prices on menus. The city requires prices be displayed not only on food and drink menus but also on menu boards at sidewalk cafes.

For example, La Baguette on Ocean Drive was cited five times for not properly displaying prices on menus.

“The big stuff wasn’t on the menu,” said Benjamin Fontanez, a tourist from Pennsylvania who ate at the restaurant during his honeymoon.

“It was totally unfair,” Fontanez said, after getting a bill for $256 after ordering two drinks and an appetizer at the sidewalk café. He complained to his credit card company, and they removed the charge.

The City shut down La Baguette in January for alcohol violations. It's allowed to reopen this summer. An attorney for La Baguette did not return NBC 6 phone calls or emails.

“It’s horrible for the brand of the city,” said Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales.

He wants all menus to display prices in a similar way to cut down on confusion.

Starting on July 1, the city will have new, stronger requirements for restaurant menus.

Every single item on a menu will now have to have a price directly next to it, including dinner specials. Plus, all sidewalk cafes must submit a copy of their menus to the city before getting a permit. The city can also revoke a business license if the restaurant is a repeat offender.

“We’re really trying to target the behavior on Ocean Drive because that is where the problem has been identified,” Morales said.

Miami Beach will continue enforcement with the new law to try and ensure a tourist’s last impression, is a good one.

“We recognize this is something we’ll have to do forever,” said Morales.

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