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"The 17% is a service charge, sir, it is not a tip."

"The 17% is a service charge, sir, it is not a tip."

Old Aug 29, 09, 12:24 am
  #1  
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"The 17% is a service charge, sir, it is not a tip."

Place: an old line San Francisco steakhouse called "Alfred's."

They actually have handouts explaining

(a) that the charge is subject to sales tax (making it more like 18.5%)

and

(b) that if you want to give something JUST to your waiter, you should tip in addition.

The waiter claimed he only got 45% of the service charge so we should tip him in addition. Haven't waiters always had to split their tips with bus boys and such?

This is a scam, and I don't like it. Really spoiled the dinner for me.
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Old Aug 29, 09, 12:36 am
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The point of the forced tip....oh sorry I mean "service charge" is that service is included so no need to tip.

I do not find it appealing to go to a place that begs in the way that you describe.
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Old Aug 29, 09, 1:17 am
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I am not a fan of this either -- I dislike restaurants and especially hotels which add the service charge and still expect an additional gratuity. I tend to tip more when not "boxed" in like this.....
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Old Aug 29, 09, 7:26 am
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This entire tip thing in the US really does go a little toooo far sometimes...
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Old Aug 29, 09, 7:36 am
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Thumbs down poor management decision!

since when do kitchen staff employees get tipped anyway?? that's absurd, they get paid a fair wage where servers get less than 1/2 of minimum wage. this is just the restaurant's way of paying the kitchen staff less...
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Old Aug 29, 09, 7:41 am
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Is this like a $35pp kind of place? More or less?

If it's $35pp...that's $5.95 per person. If he has 2 tables on 4 and everyone stays for 2 hours he is making $21 just from the service charge for those 2 hours. That means he's making $8/hr CA minimum wage (CA doesn't do tip wage from what I've read) + $11/hour just from service charge.
...do they do a surcharge for the mandatory health insurance too?

Last edited by gj83; Aug 29, 09 at 7:53 am
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Old Aug 29, 09, 7:52 am
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Get the Better Business Bureau involved?
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Old Aug 29, 09, 7:57 am
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Originally Posted by srfrgirl4 View Post
since when do kitchen staff employees get tipped anyway?? that's absurd, they get paid a fair wage where servers get less than 1/2 of minimum wage. this is just the restaurant's way of paying the kitchen staff less...
Probably not kitchen staff, but the water refiller people. In CA they don't do tipped wage and minimum wage is $8/hr from what I found online. $8/hr for kitchen help isn't much, but I'd hope any good steak house pays kitchen staff above minimum wage.

17% is an odd number. I typically tip more than that, but autograt me and that's all you get.
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Old Aug 29, 09, 8:05 am
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Originally Posted by mjcewl1284 View Post
Get the Better Business Bureau involved?
good idea... ^
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Old Aug 29, 09, 8:09 am
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17% seems customary for parties 6 and up. As for being dogged by the waiter for insufficient tip, this is crazy. He should be taking that up with management not complaining to the customers if he is getting screwed. How should the customer know the percent breakdown?

When I worked in a restaurant, the front of the house staff divvied the tips (host/ess, wait, bus) and the kitchen were paid their regular salary.

While I would be inclined to add a couple % to bring it close to 20%, I would probably complain to the manager about poor service.
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Old Aug 29, 09, 10:38 am
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Originally Posted by gj83 View Post
Is this like a $35pp kind of place? More or less?

If it's $35pp...that's $5.95 per person. If he has 2 tables on 4 and everyone stays for 2 hours he is making $21 just from the service charge for those 2 hours. That means he's making $8/hr CA minimum wage (CA doesn't do tip wage from what I've read) + $11/hour just from service charge.
...do they do a surcharge for the mandatory health insurance too?
No, it's an $85 pp kind of place. No health insurance surcharge. However, this is the only restaurant I've been to in California that managed to make this "service charge" subject to sales tax!
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Old Aug 29, 09, 11:22 am
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health insurance surcharge..??? are you guys serious...? patrons are supposed to chip-in to pay for staff health insurance..???!!!!

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Old Aug 29, 09, 5:08 pm
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Thehealth insurance surcharge is vaguely related to an SF law that requires restaurants to provide insurance to employees. As part of a protest of this by some owners, some restaurants started putting a surcharge on the bill for what is allegedly their cost for insurance. Why this is any different than charging for butter is unclear.
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Old Aug 29, 09, 6:37 pm
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I don’t like the idea of tipping at all. It isn’t the customer’s job to pay the staff, it is the employers.

All tipping does is create an entitlement which leads to many people in those jobs doing shoddy work and then demanding a tip. I’ll tip someone if the service deserves it. If the service is just ‘average’ then to bad, no tip for you.
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Old Aug 29, 09, 6:45 pm
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Originally Posted by biggestbopper View Post
Thehealth insurance surcharge is vaguely related to an SF law that requires restaurants to provide insurance to employees. As part of a protest of this by some owners, some restaurants started putting a surcharge on the bill for what is allegedly their cost for insurance. Why this is any different than charging for butter is unclear.
Oddly enough, I have my own sort of protest. I would choose not to eat at those places. If enough people chose to do so, then the owners wouldn't have to worry at all about paying for the insurance for their staff.

Mike
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