Comments

1
I am glad this guy is demonstrating just how cheap and easy it is for restuarants to pay their employees a decent wage. Only a 2% surcharge on a meal so that thousands of minimum wage workers can improve their lot in life and contribute more to the economy is a great fucking deal. I'll take that deal any day,
2
That would be Tom Douglas.
3
I'd be happy to join a boycott of Tom Douglas's restaurants if I could afford to eat there.

Hrmmmm....
4
Tired of wealthy shitbags such as T.Douglas whining about the pennies falling out from his pocket? Don't patronize his businesses; here's a convenient list of spots to ignore: http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=Tom…
5
I have zero problem with this and am more than happy to pay it. Upping labor costs certainly impacts a restraunts bottom line and there is nothing wrong with passing that cost on.
6
As a customer I don't mind the increase but didn't really need it to be itemized on the receipt. I'd prefer if they just replaced tipping with a service fee like Ivar's just did.
7
Just raise your prices 2%, Tom. No need for public grandstanding. I, too, will be avoiding his restaurants until this wording is removed from customers' checks.
8

I'm sick of this wealthy douchebag trying to sabotage $15 when it was in play, and being a whiny sore loser after the fact. Here's a quick stab at a list of restaurants to be avoided.

Dahlia Lounge
Etta's
Lola (Greek-inspired)
Palace Kitchen
Seatown Seabar and Rotisserie
Serious Pie (downtown)
Serious Pie and Biscuit (South Lake Union)
Cuoco (Northern-Italian cuisine)
Brave Horse Tavern (21 and older)
TanakaSan (Asian Inspired Cuisine)
9
Probably easier to program it into the cash register instead of reprinting all the menus? Honestly have no problem with this, even if there is a slight (but real) oder of passive aggression.
10
Just 2%? I wonder if anyone would even notice if they just raised prices 2% across the board.
11
Who is doing a price comparison before deciding to go to a Tom Douglas restaurant? I'm pretty sure anyone who can afford a $30 entrée can afford it at $31. Why go out of your way to mislead customers (the menus on his website don't mention an extra fee) and create negative press?
12
What exactly is the problem with this? Lets say the entree is priced at 20.99. Would you rather see it bumped up to 21.41 or leave it the same and just note that there will be a 2% surcharge on all orders?

There can literally be no argument that if the restaurant has to pay more in wages, prices have to go up. We should be fine with that.
13
I don't know that I believe that 2% is going to the workers. Who will enforce that? That's the point of a minimum wage, it goes to the workers.
14
What happens when food costs go up? Do they raise prices or do they put an extra fee on the tab? I've never seen a fee on a tab for anything other than employee wages/benefits costs going up. This reeks of resenting people in this town for wanting a living wage.

Raise the prices accordingly or add a service fee and ban tipping. Adding more percentage fees (on top of tax and tip) just makes the cost of the meal a bigger guessing game. As a person with limited funds for eating out, I'm not inclined to play guessing games with menu prices.
15
What @6 and @7 said.

Just raise the prices. It's not THAT difficult to reprint menus, restaurants do it all the time. Printing out a "wage equity" fee is passive aggressive whining bitching bullshit.
16
@14 I have seen them for fuel.

If you spent 200 on a dinner this would cost you 4 extra dollars. I much prefer that over a service fee, which is generally 15-20% and pocketed by the restaurant.
17
@12) What exactly is *your* problem here? Nobody in the thread says he has no right to charge a higher price. It's his douchebaggy grandstanding about wage law that nobody likes.
18
What about the staff that doesn't work there at the end of the year give out? Are we to believe he's going to be sending the cash to that ex-employee?

I eat out 3 or 4 times a week, the Dalhia used to be a place after work to meet up with my husband, Palace the place before Cinerama, etc....Now that I know what an asshole Douglas is we'll be heading else where. Total smuck.
19
The phrasing is certainly snarky. However, service charges, automatic gratuities, and other new "wage" surcharges MUST be paid to staff. Raising prices on menu items does not accomplish this.
20
Tom or whoever this is....raise your prices a bit, sure. I guess you like your profit more than I like my available money to spend eating out, whatever. I'm more interested in my wait staff to be paid well than that whole argument.

But politicize it? Be a little bitch about it? I'll never go back to your place, and I'll spend the money at your competitors instead. I did the same with Cherry Street the last round of this we went through.
21
First off, what's up with being so sheepish with the name of the restaurant? I find that as maddening as the itemized "I am a douchebag" surcharge. It's a political statement, and a really Koch-ish one at that. If a supplier started charging 2% more for veggies, would you also itemize that? Nobody who goes out to a restaurant in Seattle is going to notice 2%, at least at the sort of place I'm assuming this KOMO reporter was eating.
22
I have no problem whatsoever paying an additional 2% for any restaurant meal if it means their workers make a decent minimal wage.

But the 2% surcharge on the receipt is such a passive-agressive, whiny, sore loser move that it just makes the owner look like an asshole. Just raise the prices on your menu already, and stop being such a douche.
23
You do realize that raising prices will cost you as the consumer more in general. Lets say your entree was 20.99. With a 2% service charge that would be 21.41. When's the last time you saw a price like that on the menu? You probably haven't. So if they're raising prices the new prices is probably going to be 21.99. That's closer to a 5% jump in price.

If you know you have to raise prices by 2% exactly across the board to keep your margins the same. A 2% charge is the best way to do it.

Now, you can argue that the phrasing of the charge could be a whole lot better, and I'd agree with that statement. But adding the charge in and of itself is probably the best case scenario. Unless you think the restaurant is run by fat cats who can absorb the increase in salary without raising prices.
24
@19: "Raising prices on menu items does not accomplish this."

No, but a minimum wage does. This surcharge is not going directly to staff, it's merely covering the increased wage he's legally mandated to pay his employees. Just like increased menu prices would.
25
@23 I don't think anyone here is saying that a restaurant shouldn't be able to raise prices to cover increased operating costs (or for whatever reason, really), it's just the ridiculously tone-deaf way the issue is being politicized on the receipt. If prices were increased by 2% without the stupid receipt antics, I doubt that anyone would even notice.
26
@23, In my completely imaginary scenario the restaurant raised the price to $21.49. In either my case or yours I didn't even notice the price increase, the workers still get paid more, and there is no need to passive-aggressively blame the workers for a minor price change.
27
Lindsey Cohen, a reporter at KOMO, doesn't work for the Stranger, and doesn't have to give away her story.
28
Where is the "I bought a boat" charge on the receipt?
Where is the "I bought a second home" charge on the receipt?
Where is the "I bought a third car" charge on the receipt?

I guess the owners of restaurants don't want to point that part out.

29
@23) TD's restaurants ARE RUN BY FAT CATS. Literally and figuratively.

And do you think any time an expense increases, an "across the board" percent increase is automatically called for? And the increase is automatically itemized on CUSTOMER checks?

What made you such a douchebag apologist? Why the need to rationalize douchebaggery in the world?

What about the time & expense of the managers who had to update the register printouts? is that listed on the check, too?
30
@26 But there's no way that the $21.49 shows up on the menu. If you raised all your prices 2%, you're going to have all sorts of odd prices on the menu. Customers are going to wonder why. In fact, most menus try to have everything even. For instance, look at the menu at Lark

https://larkseattle.com/menu

Every thing is a whole dollar amount. Now you could conceivably raise the prices of some things by a dollar and leave some things the same and have an overall price jump of 2%. But then you're not hitting all diners the same. Plus, if you miscalculate and everyone orders a dish where the price wasn't raised, your margins go down. The most likely outcome would be to raise every price 2% and round up to the nearest dollar. But now, you're charging your diners more.

The 2% surcharge really is the best way to do it. You really can't argue with that. If prices need to go up, it's the fairest way to do it for everyone.

Now, how you word that on the menu is another thing. This wording sucks. But I'm not sure what the correct better wording would be.
31
I think the real motivation for this is to suppress tips. If he increased the menu price, then people would tip on that increase. By moving this to a separate line item (especially if it is not included in the subtotal), some people won't include it in their tipping calculation. And even worse, some people will deduct this 2% from what they otherwise would have tipped. So if he has to pay his workers more, he'll make sure it comes out of their tips instead of out of his profit. It's a tip credit, but he has to trick customers into doing it for him since it isn't legal for him to do it directly.
32
#1: It wasn't Tom Douglas you fucking idiots.

#2: So WHAT? 2%! Two god damned percent is what get's you hypocritical morons all worked up? 2%? My GOD something might cost you a whole $2 more! OHES NOES!

You want income equality,fair labor non-exploitative practices, a clean environment, and quality products?

You want ALL that. But you don't want to ay for it. You want it cheap. But that's not how the world works.

You want all your costs externalized to somebody else. Sorry. If you want a better world YOU have to do something to pony up for it. And some of that will include paying more for shit. Americans have been living in the dreamworld of externalized costs for so long they can't stand it when shit costs what it actually costs.

Welcome to reality.
33
This wouldn't be an issue if he changed his prices. But is it technically even legal to add a charge to the prices listed on the menu? I mean, he could easily add a sticker to the menus announcing a 2% price hike, but that doesn't seem to have happened. The only time I've ever been billed for something different than was printed on the menu, I didn't pay it. And just to be clear, as others have said, it's really douchy to go about it this way. That's the only real objection I have is his attitude. And frankly, it was hard enough for smaller restaurants to compete against his empire and his economies of scale so I don't feel very sorry for him.
34
@32, while this example may not be Douglas, he is doing the same exact thing (and admits it on his blog)

Also, most of us here don't mind the increase. What we have a problem with is the political nature of making it a passive aggressive surcharge on the bill. Why exactly does a living wage automatically have to be passed on to the customer instead of hitting his profits first?
35
Have you ever been to a starbucks when the prices when up a nickel? Almost everyone ends up shitting themselves over being charged an extra $0.05 on a $4 drink. So yeah no matter how inane the price increase people complain and ask why, here he's telling you on the receipt, so you don't start foaming at the mouth when you see the bill.

Calm the fuck down and realize that this is the result of increasing the minimum wage. If a business's costs go up, they charge more.

if you read the blog post you might realize that his beef is that his business is large enough to qualify for a higher wage, were as the smaller ones aren't. So yeah he has a right to bitch about it. This isn't about him not wanting to pay his employees more, in fact he's chastising everyone that 15 in 15 is really 15 in 18 or whenever the fuck it happens. Seems like a reasonable point to me.
36
@32) YOU COMPLETE FUCKING MORON. Nobody here is outraged by a price hike. You'd know this if you read rather than BLATHER.
37
Screw Tom Douglas and other restauranteurs who feel the need to be passive aggressive. If the wage increase takes away some of your profit - you can adjust your pricing without being such a dick. I would also argue that restauranteurs acting like dickheads hurts their businesses much more than paying their employees slightly more.
38
@34 Do you know what his profits are? I don't.

And. Seriously. You think that's how it's going to work? That business owners were going to reduce profits? You can't possibly be that naive.

I thought the minimum wage increase was to help working class people. Not some kind of back-end moralized punishment tax for small business owners you assume make too much profit.

Admit it. You just don't want to pay YOUR share for shit. too bad. You need to pay more things.

That's just the reality. The ONLY expenses we get gouged over are rent and healthcare. Just about everything else is way too cheap and it's what things are so fucked up.

Anyway. Personally, if that's what this was about, I think a more efficient way to distribute wealth would be to increase income taxes and implement a state income tax.

PS. you know before the Farm Bills people spent over a third of their incomes on food.
39
@30, Ohhh right, I forgot restaurants can only have prices that end in the same number. Also, math is hard. Can't argue with any of that.
40
@36 Have you ever worked in a restaurant? Or maybe stopped shitting your own pants long enough to be allowed to eat in one? Of course you haven't.

A surcharge is literally the simplest and most common way to do this.

And again, dip shit: This receipt is NOT from Douglas's restaurants.

Just pay more for shit and shut the fuck up about it.
41
The "Grand Total" on the receipt is $60.2 (the final digit is not shown). If the 2% "restaurant owner whining fee" was part of this "Grand Total", then the bill without it was $59 and a few cents. (Either way, Ms. Cohen got a really good deal on a meal downtown!) As Mr. Gorath noted, in the very first comment here, this is very little extra to pay for our improved minimum wage here in Seattle. I can't speak for anyone else, but I fully expected the price of dining out to rise slightly when our law went into effect, and as a "regular" at several restaurants in Seattle, that doesn't bother me one bit.

My only problem with calling the increase, "Seattle Ordinance Wage Equity Surcharge" is the possible (erroneous) implication that our minimum-wage law mandated a surcharge. Since many persons who dine downtown are travelers from out of town, they may not know much about our new law.

As other commenters have noted, raising the menu prices slightly would have accomplished the same thing, without the fanfare this restaurant clearly wanted.

42
@38, no I am not that naive, but it is a fair question to ask. Why are you automatically defending someones profits without questioning why the end user has to make up for his inability to pay his staff a living wage (and trying to cheat them out of tips)

And again dipshit, look at Tom's own admittance on his blog HE IS DOING THIS EXACT FUCKING THING: http://tomdouglas.com/blog/2015/03/the-n…
43
@38 and 40

There goes tkc on another strawman riddled, emotionally driven rant.

Calm the fuck down, you're behaving like a crazy person.
44
@42 You have evidence he is cheating his employees out of tips? How so? If he is let's go after him. Let's see proof.

But as for THIS POST, again: SO WHAT if TD is charging more.

SO what? If you don't eat there what the fuck do you care (and I thought nobody cared about the price hike. anyway? )? His customers can pay more. You don't have to do shit.

You guys are all over the place. Make up your minds. Which is it? Do you want to pay people more -OR- do you want business owners to make less? What is your fucking goal?

Looks like Douglas is meeting the requirements of the law. Do you have evidence otherwise? Let's see it.

Look, I'm emphatically for the raise in the minimum wage. In fact it turned out exactly as I expected and wanted - with a reasonable set of adjustments over time.

I wish we'd not defined "Small Business" as any business under 500 employees (a small business should be an actual small business of under 50 employees) and those large franchisees and chain businesses weren't getting exceptions they shouldn't get.

But otherwise it turned out pretty well.

The fact is this is cognitive dissonance typical of entitled spoiled assholes. You want all these social reforms that you won't have to make any sacrifice to get.
45
@41 How dare you sound reasonable, Sir! How dare you! This is SLOG. It's like Sparta. You have to stomp, shit, and yell!

Anyway. Exactly right.

You can argue over the wording of the surcharge. And you can argue if you think that is confusing or conflating a price hike with some implied mandate. Sure.

But going from there to claiming TD is cheating employees or that he needs to eat cost increases entirely out of his own profits is idiotic.

Particularly without knowing how big those profits are or how much this labor increase actually impacts it.
46
@43) The tkc moron doesn't even understand what the topic of this thread is.
47
Chicagoan here, and an attorney (so take this with a grain of salt), but under Illinois law, what (s)he's doing would potentially be a form of consumer fraud and open them up to pretty big penalties. While it's obviously not illegal to increase prices, that 2% fee could open the restaurant up to a nice civil judgment and attorneys fees if it's not disclosed on the menu.

Anyway, like pretty much everyone else has noted, the 2% increase itself is quite reasonable... But the way it's being handled is asinine, and potentially illegal. If you all were in Chicago it'd be a fun little lawsuit.
48
You can argue over the wording of the surcharge. And you can argue if you think that is confusing or conflating a price hike with some implied mandate. Sure.

All of that was the owner's responsibility, when (s)he authorized the message to appear on the bill. When the price of ingredients rises, will there be a "food cost surcharge" added? Probably not; the menu items will change, prices will rise, or both; there won't be a whiny notice on the bill.

But going from there to claiming TD is cheating employees or that he needs to eat cost increases entirely out of his own profits is idiotic.

He did put an ambiguous notice on the bill. That, by itself, is not evidence of any nefarious behavior, but it does not make him look particularly honest, either. (I never made any claim of cheating; I'm just noting how this surcharge may appear less than honest.)

49
The bottom line is this. If you're a business owner and your model of success is paying the very least you can to your employees you're not a successful business owner: you're a plantation owner.

Secondly, business owners (small and large) have collectively fought any effort to raise the minimum wage over the past 30 fucking years. Not a few years but for decades. So if they want to bitch about this law my question is why didn't you try to keep pace with inflation and keep your employees wages ahead of the game? Had they done that to begin with the law never would have been necessary.
50
@49 Bottom line if you work at a 'plantation' as you call them i'd call you a failed employee. Nothing says you can't quite and get a better job.
51
@50 Nothing says you can't open your business in Arkansas instead of Seattle, either.
53
@50 Nothing says you can't open your restaurant in Arkansas instead of Seattle. Or does the rule just apply to Tom Douglas' economic inferiors?
54
@52 Tom Douglas wants the $$$ from rich Seattlites but whines about having to abide by thecity's laws, and I'M the deadbeat? Got it.
55
@48 Is that notice appearing on his receipts? The recipe pictured is not from his restaurants so do we know for a fact that's how this surcharge appears?

Well. Regardless, the notice is more petulant and snarky than really dishonest. Other people have made claims he's ripping off his staff but provide no evidence other than rage-outs. That's what I find idiotic.

@49 and everybody else: Douglas has been paying $15 an hour to his Kitchen and around $12 an hour to his Dishwashers since 2013. I understand he also used to offer some family good benefits.

I'm not sure this the way it is at all his restaurants. But he's been ahead of the curve in terms a reasonably good wages for a while.

Other than his needlessly pissy attitude towards Sawant on his blog I really don't see why he draws so much ire. He's obeying the law AND he's been paying above market rates and the minimum - plus offering benefits - for a while. His only other crime seems to be wanting to make money just like everybody else.
56
Oh come on, you act like it's major media's job to INFORM. It's not. It's to ENCOURAGE DEBATE. Meaning, in other words, be stuck in the same UNINFORMED GRIDLOCKED CLUSTERFUCK that is modern society. A smart populace has a bad ROI.
57
Interestingly enough Tom seems to have deleted that blog entry he posted.
58
So if you didn't see Lindsey Cohen story, it's a restaurant on 1st Ave. called Black Bottle.
59
So if you didn't see Lindsay Cohen story, it's a restaurant on 1st Ave. called Black Bottle.
60
The most delighting quality of this story is that the culprit is the ultra liberal Tom Douglass. Poor Tommy just figured out that -- inherent to Statism -- they eventually turn on everyone!
61
Here's the KOMO story that aired tonight:

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Resta…
62
Tom,
The difference between adding a 2% charge across the board and simply increasing your prices by the same amount is that the charge was a way of sticking your middle finger up at everyone who supports employees getting a decent wage. So, congratulations. You could have offset the cost of this in a professional way, but you wanted to shout "fuck you" and now people think you're an asshole. Think about that when you're lamenting how unfair this backlash is.
63
Who cares.
64
More interesting, is Jen Graves still on staff? She hasnt posted in a month and a half.
65
It would appear that customers have spoken and Mr. Douglas has changed mind. http://tomdouglas.com/blog/2015/04/35796…

This might have played out differently elsewhere, but in Seattle? There was no way that was going to stand...
66
@49

You're 100% wrong. Paying as little as I can for material and labor and administration of my business is my job as a business owner. Finding the most cist effective way to produce food or build a house or make an airplane is the business owner or ygeor management's JOB.

Potential employees and suppliers represent their interests in negotiating wage or pricing. I don't. I won't. I don't even want an employee so deficient in basic job skills thst they can't negotiate for their wage package. Actually, the government also negotiates on the side of employees and against business owners in the form of mandated 'benefits' and wages. So a restaurateur isn't negotiating with an actress or musician or artist (who's never made a living at their professed skill) who is only waiting tables until her break into film or recording. The owner is being held up by the government their taxes pay for!

Under those circumstances a bit of annoyance is understandable. To adults.
67
@62

Know how you get a "decent wage?" Learn a skill or profession that commands one. A dishwasher put nothing into their means of making a living. Why should I treat them as though they did?
68
@67 Because then you wouldn't be a shitty excuse for a human being? Oh wait, look who I'm talking to...
69
Fuck yeah, poors! Command the fuck out of those wages or quit crying!

70
@66,67:

LOOK, THERE! EVIL PURE AND SIMPLE!
71
@32: "It wasn't Tom Douglas you fucking idiots."

Except that it was. Her twitter even linked to the Tom Douglas receipt.
72
@67: I have a coworker who has a bachelor's degree (in communications, I believe?) and nearly two decades of experience as a surgical assistant. She makes ~$10/hr just like I do at the retail job we work. My dad, an engineer with a graduate school education and roughly twenty years of experience in the field, took a job as a limousine driver and a Starbucks barista after he was laid off.
Please tell me about how underemployed people need to learn more skills in order to deserve a better wage. I'm sure that your pithy declarations can make all that pesky evidence just up and go away.
73
@72 they should just take seattleblues' advice and COMMAND A WAGE, bitches!


Please wait...

Comments are closed.

Commenting on this item is available only to members of the site. You can sign in here or create an account here.


Add a comment
Preview

By posting this comment, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use.