Standalone restaurants have historically been featured and rated free of charge, while those in a building with accommodation have had to pay through various schemes.
But several chefs have shared letters from the AA on Twitter, requesting payment of £180 (£150 plus VAT) by 27 March.
BigHospitality understands that only restaurants that hold one or two rosettes out of a maximum five will be subject to the fee. New sites the AA has judged to meet the standard will be invited to pay to join the rosette scheme.
The AA told BigHospitality that if a qualifying restaurant fails to pay it will not appear in the AA Restaurant Guide 2021, which is published in September.
If a restaurant is deemed no longer up to standard and loses its rosette, it will not be be charged any fee.
The AA says in a statement: “The Rosette awards have become a symbol of excellence for both the culinary industry and the general public. AA inspectors visit, pay their own bill, and provide feedback that results in Rosette plates being posted out and proudly displayed on restaurant walls up and down the country.
"In addition, standalone restaurants (those not owned by a hotel or B&B) currently appear without charge in guidebooks, website and receive many of the same marketing benefits as AA scheme members. To help the AA continue this valuable service, the AA is introducing an annual scheme fee of £180 (£150 plus VAT) for standalone restaurants.
"At present the AA scheme fee applies to standalone restaurants with one or two Rosettes. The AA recognises over 2,000 restaurants in the UK with a Rosette Award and inclusion in the Guide. A huge amount of work goes into compiling the Guide and issuing restaurants across the country with Rosette plates. The introduction of the scheme fee will ensure that the AA can continue to provide this benchmark for excellence to a broad range of establishments at all levels."
Restaurants with rooms and within hotels will continue to pay the same fee going forwards.
The AA’s hospitality consultancy services will remain a separate cost, which can range from £600 for a food tasting to £840 for mystery guest programmes.
The first AA Rosette was awarded in 1956 and the annual scheme now sees restaurants graded between one and a maximum five rosettes based on a meal visit by one or more inspectors.
The company estimates only 10% of restaurants in the UK meet its standards for one rosette and above.