Segovia (EFE).- The restaurant La Olma de Pedraza, in the Segovian town of Pedraza, offers free tap water to its customers, thus complying with the Law on Waste and Contaminated Soils for a Circular Economy, but charges 4.5 per serve it, a way of circumventing this rule that has earned him a complaint by FACUA Castilla y León.
“We price our work, like anyone else in this country, unless it is an NGO… at the moment, we are a company,” Sergio Blázquez, the owner of the establishment, explained this Thursday in statements to Efe.
free tap water
The innkeeper has specified that in his dining room “water is free”: “In fact, you go to the bathroom and water is not charged. The water in the restaurant is free. Now, we, as a service company, charge for our work”, he explained.
For Blázquez, who has run the restaurant since 2005 although the establishment has been open since 1993, “everything that is served must be charged for”, in the same way that all his employees receive their payroll at the beginning of the month.
The organization in defense of consumer rights FACUA Castilla y León, which has denounced the establishment before the Territorial Service for Culture, Tourism and Sports of the Junta de Castilla y León, does not see it in the same way, as it has been published in a communicated the association this Thursday.
Facua: the restaurant makes a twisted interpretation of the law
In his opinion, this restaurant makes a “torticous interpretation” of Law 7/2022, of April 8, on waste and contaminated soil for a circular economy.
This standard establishes that “in establishments in the hotel and restaurant sector, consumers, clients or users of their services must always be offered the possibility of consuming unpackaged water free of charge and complementary to the offer of the same establishment.” ».
What La Olma de Pedraza does is offer free tap water but charge the customer 4.50 euros for serving it in a glass, as can be read in the menu, where among different items to be charged, there is “The water service from the tap (per person), we give you the water as a gift».
Paying this price, as explained by the innkeeper, gives the right to “a clean glass, freshly washed, served by a waiter, and then that glass is cleaned again and recycled again”, and includes expenses such as the use of the dishwasher or the Social Security of employees: “What a business entails”, sums up the owner.
In this restaurant, which specializes in suckling pig and lamb and located in Pedraza, with 341 registered inhabitants, four people work permanently and seven “extra” people during the weekends, when the demand for tourism skyrockets.
Water Km. 0
Regarding the complaint, Blázquez assures that they never serve glasses of tap water, since, when someone asks for it and is informed of the price, they choose the other option that the restaurant has: what they call “KM 0 Water”, which is “microfiltered” water from “smells” and “earth” and which is bottled by them.
In the Google reviews of the establishment, you can read several opinions of customers who complain about this, considering that this filtered water has a high price (2.75 euros per bottle) for not being mineral.
Sergio Blázquez responds to these criticisms like this: «In this country we are all very ecological until we have to pay for environmentalism. So they complain, of course. But in this, in the end you, when you bet on something, you have to be consistent with those you bet on.
FACUA has informed that he sent a letter to the restaurant where he was invited to remove this concept from the menu, but the owner assures EFE that he has not received this communication, but directly a “note” from the Junta de Castilla y León, in front of the one that will now make its allegations.
Regarding a possible fine, as requested by FACUA, Sergio Blázquez acknowledges that “things are not in place to be paying any penalty”, but he has not considered, for the moment, making any change in the restaurant’s policy. EFE