The Neumarkt restaurant warns diners of the charge on its menu but is facing a social media backlash from some who feel the financial charge is unwarranted and unethical.
One unhappy customer posted a photo on Facebook of the menu showing the charge.
“Who in Zurich has only a small appetite and therefore only wants a starter has to pay ten francs more,” the post said.
“Typical of Zurich,” commented another on the social media site.
The restaurant’s owner, René Zimmermann, defended the policy in media interviews and on his restaurant’s website.
“We are confronted with a growing number of people who spend all night without eating anything,” Zimmermann told the Zürcher Unterländer.
He said the problem also occurs during the day when it is not unusual to see customers sipping their tea all afternoon.
“We are a restaurant,” he is quoted as saying.
“If people eat nothing we can no longer make ends meet — we must cover the costs related to staffing.”
On the restaurant’s website, he acknowledged the media coverage of the issue “and we have to justify ourselves for our quite fair and judicious pricing policy”.
He said the prices for Neumarkt’s “quality” food are low.
And he pointed out that anyone who orders two appetizers or an appetizer and a dessert does not pay the ten-franc supplement.
Additionally anyone “wants to eat something very light is welcome in our bar-café.”
Ernst Bachmann, president of restaurant association GastroZurich, told the 20 Minuten newspaper there was nothing illegal in charging the extra fee.
But he advised patrons of other restaurants to show some tolerance.
“It can happen that a customer is not very hungry,” he said.
“In our role as hosts, we should accept that.”