Restaurant surcharges & service charges: threat or menace?

Very good babka. May be worth a mail order.
The place is owned by Daniel & Alicia. Daniel was a long time poster on all the food boards; sort of our own Rancho Gordo (whose beans are also sold at the store). They’re also friends, so I’m biased.

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Oh! Well, that just closed, like, 10 minutes ago. Of course I know Odessa. But it wasn’t Polish (the name’s a clue), which is why I didn’t mention it.

Where’d he go, anyway?

Yeah, sorta. It’s funny, cause I never went next door to the 24 hour restaurant that was a spin off & closed relatively recently. I forgot it was even there. From Eater in 2020:
“… Odessa Restaurant opened on Avenue A back in 1994 as a 24-hour spin-off to the longstanding Odessa Bar and Cafe next door. The bar, which closed in August 2013 [due to rent increases] dates back to 1965…”
I believe that the owner of the Odessa Cafe (the place I went in the '80s & was talking about) fled Poland (as so many did, including my grandparents), but went to Odessa before coming here, moving to the E.Village with other E.European immigrants & opening one of many restaurants in the area that were all (since we were so attuned to geographic specificity back then) referred to as “Polish”.

As an aside, my grandparents told my parents (who told me) that they were “Russian”. The fact that my father’s parents belonged to the Brooklyn Jewish Bialystoker Society organization & are buried in that section of the cemetery didn’t faze my parents in the least. For those not looking at a map, Bialystok is in Poland, although folks from outside the city might have actually been across the current border & in Belarus. Russia did annex the area during some periods, but it was a stretch for anyone living there to think of themselves as Russian.

Daniel doesn’t post much on any of the food boards but is on Facebook.

I think a lot of people from that part of the world (I know a few) refer to themselves as “Russian” when they’re from another part of the former USSR, maybe Ukraine, maybe Lithuania. Just because a lot of Americans - until this past February, at least - couldn’t name any other countries over there.

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Oh, maybe I’ll do a little light stalking.

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Got charged 20% fee from tock. Another 20% fee assessed at restaurant. Dropped another $20 in cash before realizing we were getting hit with the service fee twice.

$180 in service fees/tips on $400 base god I hate eating out.


on the flip side of this, during a recent visit to hamlet’s kitchen (expensive as it is), they were resolute about returning my $2 in change. chinese restaurants also still seem to in the land of 15% as base level…

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If I prepaid a service fee on Tock and then got charged for it again at the restaurant, I’d complain to the manager.


Name and shame!

This is the first time I heard of 2 separate service fees being charged on Tock.

Did they mention this upfront before you made the reservation?

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You can only order at a kiosk


No add your own option :thinking:

The writer from Siteline visiting LA had a not so perfect finish to a meal at Petit Trois.

As he handed us the check, the server recited a speech about how the service charge gets distributed among the entire staff, and if we wanted to tip him directly, too, that was up to us. It didn’t feel like a choice. I understand that simply raising prices scares off some customers, but this smelled like a bait-and-switch, and the exchange ended the meal on an unpleasant note.


It makes me wonder what their average hourly rate works out to be.

Though this might be way off, judging from the Kismet worker comments referenced earlier in the thread, I’d guess around $25/h.

When the server said that the 18% is ‘distributed’ among the staff that would seem to be inaccurate based on what’s printed on the bill. ‘Distributed’ suggests that it goes to them directly while the bill statement suggests that the owners take the money and use it to offset labor/benefit costs. IMHO that’s not really the same thing, though it may be from the 30,000 foot perspective.


Given the conflicts between what it says on the receipt and what the server said, there’s definitely something wrong, though who knows exactly what’s going on.

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Have become fully blackpilled on this.

Got a large ish takeout order from Courage Bagels recently (i know). Compulsory Large Order Service Charge, 18%. And then compulsory tip on post tax, post service charge subtotal, 15%. Large ish order, but this added over $160 to the bill, was 35% of the post tax subtotal.

Insane and extractive.


I wouldn’t give these fucking scam places a fucking penny.

The fees are out of control and until people stop paying them, these places are going to keep testing the water on new and improved fees.

I would’ve told courage bagels to piss off. It wasn’t enough that you were giving them a massive order. But they penalize you for giving them a massive order. Fuck them. I would also leave a nasty review on yelp for them. Something that they’ll see.