Famed Peru restaurant pays price for special ‘ladies’ menu’
LIMA, Peru (AP) — A famed restaurant in Peru’s capital is learning an expensive lesson when it comes to giving women menus that don’t include prices.
The pricey seaside La Rosa Nautica restaurant is being fined $62,000 for its practice of handing a gold menu void of any details on what the fish ceviche or seared scallops might cost to women who are dining with men.
Men are given blue menus with the price beside each option, a custom the restaurant defended during legal proceedings as one that allows women to “enjoy a romantic evening” without having to worry about the cost of their food.
Authorities found otherwise, ruling that the restaurant has been discriminating against women.
“These small things may seem harmless,” Liliana Cerrón, an official with the agency that issued the fine, said Monday. “But at the end of the day they are the basis of a chauvinistic construct reinforcing differences between men and women.”
La Rosa Nautica is popular with international tourists and Peru’s upper class in a country world renowned for its food. The restaurant is often featured in guidebooks and lists of recommended restaurants.
The owners of La Rosa Nautica did not respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press but denied that the practice should be considered discriminatory while defending the restaurant before a tribunal.
Menus without prices “extoll the position of women, considering it a pleasure for them to enjoy a romantic evening with their partner, without taking into account the cost of the services,” they argued.
The National Institute for the Defense of Free Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property disagreed. In a 3-2 ruling last week, it declared that women should have “access to the same list of dishes with prices included.”
In addition to the fine, the restaurant will have to immediately begin offering men and women the same menu with prices, train staff and post a sign clearly stating that discrimination will not be tolerated.
La Rosa Nautica isn’t the first restaurant to come under scrutiny for gender discrimination by issuing separate menus for women - but it has been decades since other world-famous establishments eliminated the practice.
In the 1980s, the renowned L’Orangerie in Los Angeles was sued for sex discrimination by diners who objected to waiters handing women a special white menu without prices and men a green-colored one including them. The restaurant relented and agreed to drop the “ladies’ menu.”