Restaurant surcharges & service charges: threat or menace?

Why not ask for 100% tip? Or for the keys to the car or house?

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didn’t say

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I honestly would’ve tipped 18-20%, unless the service is really good.

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I’d have liked more of an explanation from the owners about how they thought such an unequal split was making things more equitable. I guess it was, a tiny bit.


14% share of tips > 0% share of tips

More like getting 7% of that 14% if all their shares were equal.

“11 front-of-house employees split about $14,500 in tips, or about 86 percent of the total distributed tip pool… Meanwhile, 14 back-of-house employees split a $2,263.99 pool, about 14 percent of the total distributed tip pool.”


Those reddit threads are always a mess

She seems to be doing it right, hope all goes well

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but is there an additional tip line?


Based on the picture of the receipt in the reddit thread it doesn’t seem like it. I think the tip would have to be a line item, even if the amount was $0.


For those of you that are in law… what would it take to get the process started so that restaurants with service charges are required to show the breakdown of the service charge (even if it’s not to the public but at least to the employees)?

I spoke with a restaurant owner recently and they mentioned that they started a service charge so they didn’t have to “worry about tips and complaints from the employees”. I’ve spoken with countless restaurant owners over the years and have had weeks, months worth of discussions on this issue but have never been so disgusted. Said owner also followed up by saying “This way I can decide how much I pay them base on how hard they’re working” and I was just…baffled.

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There is no real way (at least to my knowledge) short state or federal regulation.

Tipping is governed by similarly intentioned laws so there are requirements where tips go and what owners are required to do with them. Restaurants somewhat regularly get popped for wage theft, which includes skimming/keeping tips intended for servers.

As @robert has pointed out, if service charges are integrated into general revenue there’s no way to quite know where they go, except the owner’s pocket.



Tipping, at least in my mind, is more easily tracked by the service staff and any good restaurant (with any reasonably seasoned staff) will be transparent about how much is being taken and how the pool is divvied (whether it’s front or back). PLUS at least it’s governed by laws with requirements on where they go.

Hearing that a restaurant owner is changing the system to a service charge just so that they can legally keep tips intended for service staff because he doesn’t think they work hard enough is just insane to me.

One restaurant owner I worked for actually did the math for the staff once and showed them how much was being taken in by the service charge vs the amount that actually went into hourly wage. They ended up losing a good chunk of employees over the next month (all service staff). It’s definitely possible to calculate this but I think most place are too lazy to do so or don’t want to disclose the information because they know they’ll be losing their senior staff members.

Now I just sound like I’m complaining haha, but I just wish there was something I can do to encourage people from being more transparent about the service charges.
I haven’t boycotted service charge restaurants but I do make it a point to ask the servers how much they are paid and if they know where it is going when I do come across one.

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Performance based compensation? Goddam how awful.

I agree. As much as it’s an imperfect system, overall I trust tips more than service charges. A 70/30 split is the best I’ve seen between foh/boh

I’d love to see that owner be forced to establish what exactly their criteria is for hard working when they’re not forced to disclose how they’re utilizing the charge

Pay the bill in cash . Tip the server . Service charge . Ehhhh I dont think so . What are they going to do. Call the service charge police.
I dont have a service charge for my employees in a contracting business . Lets go to court . Who cares about the small print. Ill bet its a no show .

You’re basically advocating service charge as vehicle for wage theft right?

“Now that I control the money that used to go to you, I decide whether or not you get it”