Restaurant surcharges & service charges: threat or menace?

But does the Kato 18% service charge go towards all of those things? Or does anywhere from 1-5% of that service charge ultimately go to operational costs? How would we know the distribution?
Doesn’t having the service go towards health insurance also means that it goes towards going paying for benefits of salaried employees, which it usually wouldn’t in a tip pooling system?

Ryan Bailey of Kato told the LA Times how they use the money.

Californians, how much do you tip at restaurants?

Servers are guaranteed a minimum wage of $16/hr regardless of tips, so I’m wondering if that affects your tips.

I usually tip 20%, though I’m wondering if I should lower it down to 15% at most places.

I miss Vietnam. I didn’t need to worry about tipping there.

It doesn’t for me, I still tip 20%


Who can live in LA or the SF Bay Area on $16 an hour?

I tip 20%, probably 25% at places where I’m a regular. I prefer places where there’s a service charge or service compris and no tip line on the bill.


I like the restaurants where the receipt offers options for tip with the total printed out. Usually see the options at 18%, 20% and 25% tip. You can add a custom tip but the boxes makes it much easier. Check the box and sign.

Most of those receipts calculate the suggested tips on the total bill including the tax. I tip on the pre-tax total.


20% for table service. 15% for Limited Service. 10% for Coffee/Tea. I do not tip for Grocery Items.


Yeah I sometimes wonder if that’s intentional or if they’re just idiots and don’t know how to configure their POS properly or don’t pay attention. One simple setting. I configure with pre-tax.

Ok, yeah it’s intentional.

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My guess is that in most cases there’s a default setting and restaurants use it.

I know that you are correct in that many list the tips suggestions based on the total check including tax

I do this by auto pilot so I really had to rack my brain to remember what the default setting is. So I had to look it up. This is Revel, a huge POS company.

  • Print Suggested Tips:
    If enabled, this feature prints a small table of suggested tips at the bottom of the receipt. The suggested tips are calculated against the pre-tax, pre-discount order totals.

Toast, which I’m seeing more often these days, gives a choice. Docs don’t say which is the default.

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Revel actually gives you a choice too. But in reading that documentation I posted above, we know what the default is. So anytime I see a Revel POS system with a suggested tip calculated after taxes I’ll know it’s intentional.

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Service charges are about to go through a big change starting July 1st this year with SB478, this is a fun money grabbing move for 3 months before it all goes away?


I just got charged a mandatory to go gratuitiy the other day at El Segundo Slice and Pint it was pretty ridiculous.


What was the %?


I’m not sure it was late and I was coming back from the airport. I was just like wtf and the cashier then pointed out that I didn’t need to tip on the next screen because it was already included like she was doing me a favor lol