Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Restaurateurs unite

Restaurateurs unite

Restaurateurs unite

Bar and restaurant owners have formed an association to offer advice on dealing

with unofficial fees, set minimum standards for the industry and provide

customer service training.

The Restaurant and Bar Operators Association

of Cambodia (ROAC) held its inaugural meeting in Phnom Penh on February 11 and

was endorsed by the Ministry of Tourism.

Branches were also formed in

Siem Reap on February 14 and in Sihanoukville.

ROAC will be the

industry's central representative body to government and will help new

businesses negotiate the myriad of licenses and fees.

"The more

experience you have of Cambodia then usually the less you pay," said David

Channell, the owner of Goo Chi who was elected president of ROAC.

"One

of the essential things we have to do is get from the Ministry of Tourism a list

of all the requirements to run a restaurant or bar and then the appropriate

charges for those requirements," Channell said.

Unofficial fees for

business licenses means that the $5 actually charged by the ministry can blow

out to around $150, he said.

With tourist numbers topping one million in

2004, those in the industry want to boost standards of training and service to

enhance the experience for travelers.

"We have a 2000-year-old culture

in Cambodia; people want to see that and experience that, but at the same time

once they start coming in numbers they will expect standards," Channell said.

The Minister of Tourism Lay Prohas said it was important that the

industry have an association to assist in the quality of service to the

industry.

"We need this; it is a wonderful thing," Prohas told the

Post.

While foreign restaurant and bar owners have expressed enthusiasm

for the new association, Channell admits the key to its success will be getting

Cambodian businesses to see the value of joining ROAC.

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