Food & Drink May 20, 2015 at 4:00 am

As Restaurant Owners Consider Replacing Tips with Service Charges, the Rules Regulating Them Are Confusing and the City Is Ill-Equipped to Enforce Them


And who eats in restaurants anyway? Microwaves to thaw, heat and cook, introducing carcinogenic radiolytic compounds into all food. Destroying vitamins damaging proteins.…

Using aluminium, Al, cookware. and foil. Al is implicated in neurofibrillary tangles, NFT, the death of neurons in the brain, THAT leading to dementia, Alzheimers, and seizures.

Neurotoxic Msg in nearly all food to cheat on spices. Dr. Russell Blaylock, practicing Neurosurgeon, author of several books including Excitotoxins, The Taste That Kills.

Then comes the toxic rapeseed, canola and soy oils. google Dr. Betty Martini..There's much more you need to to what is and what isn't healthy.. that from the free Articles/Healthy eating in
Restaurant servers get a pay increase AND 59.5% of a "Service Fee" ? just for bringing me a plate of food that they didn't cook and a coke? FUCK THAT!

What makes them so special that a worker at Subway can't get that deal too!

@2 They have to put up with assholes like you is what makes them so special. Clearly you've never tried it. At Subway they only have to deal with your entitled ass for a few minutes. At a restaurant they have to put up with you for much longer.
Those owners in the article opening 3 new places aren't going to staff them? The restaurant industry is expanding round these parts, not shrinking
@5 - trolllolololololololololllll
"In lots of cases, service charges impersonate tips from the consumer's perspective but actually just go into the pocket of the employer," wrote Sage Wilson of Working Washington, a worker-advocacy organization, in an e-mail.

Yeah...unless a disinterested third party is handling the books, I'm not going to assume (pretend?) that the 18.5% is all going to go to the help. I'd say the owners are getting a raise (windfall?).
We were in Italy recently where tipping is not the practice. Service seemed much the same as Seattle restaurants in similar price ranges. I doubt very much that service charges in lieu of tips would result in any noticeable changes in quality of service.

"The plus of service charges is that it's really kind of like a full-on Uber experience," said prolific Seattle restaurateur Ethan Stowell. "You just sign the check and it's done."…
I drive for Uber and have given more than 500 rides. I have been tipped six times. Three of those tips came from Chinese exchange students. Zero came from the well-paid, well-served tech employees who are the bulk of my business. The tip is NOT included on your Uber ride. But deep down, you knew that, didn't you? ... I know it seems unbelievable, but the rate doesn't include a tip. Shocking, right? You had no idea, right? So instead of telling me how great Uber is and how nice my car is, give a little love if you think the service is good. "Nice car! You got here quick!" doesn't put tires on the car. Tip your driver. Now you know. Now if you don't tip, you're just an asshole.

You're right, it probably won't. What WILL change is that servers will no longer have to kow-tow to asswipes who insist on being treated like they're the only ones sitting in a full-up restaurant, or else they'll express their displeasure by not tipping, just because they can.
Are service charges subject to sales tax?
@10, you mean like how the pizza delivery guy only gets a tiny portion of the "delivery fee" ? Yeah.

I sure wish more journalists that review restaurants would actually ask about how the tip is divided and wages are distributed. It's nice that the one chef who made your gnocci that day did a good job, but consistency is a strived-for non-absolute whereas the pay policies are less flexible at any particular establishment.
@16, according to the law, no, but that requires someone who hasn't coked their mind away to program the registers properly.…
@4 - most estimates are that the increase required to raise the minimum for everyone to the $15 base rate is ~2% of current prices - this will vary depending on the restaurant (and the price points on the menu). My question is, assuming 15% tipping (nevermind these service charges are higher), where's the remaining 13% going?
@4 of course prices are going up. They SHOULD go up. We've just been paying on the other side of the equation in social problems, pollution, and poverty.

Americans have been living in an exploitative dream world for so long you have no idea what the true costs of good and services really are.

@19 because many servers earn more than $15 hour in tips. So that 2% increase calculation doesn't mean much to them. And I think that 2% figure was more or less for large chain restaurants (I was always suspicious of that math). Most the the cafe owners I know have had to increase more like 8-15%. Which admittedly still isn't that bad.
Get rid of tips. Match the wage+tips that the server was making before, DON'T charge a service fee (because it's ridiculous and asinine) and then raise your prices to accomodate. Don't want to do that? Then close your restaurant and let the bajillion others open one that will do it right. I have no sympathy for employers who count on their customers to pay a living wage (outside of the actual price of the product.) If someone does tip, it should be EXTRA. It should be a BONUS, not part of the actual expected wage.
@19, "most estimates are that the increase required to raise the minimum for everyone to the $15 base rate is ~2% of current prices"

No, sir. If a restaurant's payroll is the standard ~33%, that means that at $15, this is a 60% rise in payroll. So, 60% of 35% is ~20%. This means that 20% of their costs are going to rise. Add to that the raises for employees that are near, at or over $15 that'll have to have a raise now that the dishwasher is getting $15, that means that the portion of payroll as an expense of business will be over 20% rise in cost.

If you're following me here, that means that if their entire expense for running the business is going up 20%+, how in the world will the "increase [of prices]" be just 2%?

Again...60% rise in what is ~35% of the operational cost...just 2%?

And, other things will go up in price. Purveyors will be raising prices because the MW rise will affect them in one way or another. Insurance will go up because part of the cost of insurance is based on payroll...

And, don't forget that these businesses are taxed ~17% on top of every dollarof the wage as taxes, right? So, that $15 is really ~$17.50.

Problem with this discussion is that it's a macro-economic issue discussed by people that have macro-economic bias, agendas and ideology. Not a good way to have an educated discussion.

People voted for the $15 minimum wage, which means they accepted that prices will go up. Raise the prices on the menu to cover the higher salary costs, let people tip what they want for the service they got. Putting s service charge in and eliminate tips is a bad idea. Too murky as to how much will be going to employees and to easy for wage theft.
@17 My suggested tip out for the busser today was $23, in case you were curious. For two fucking weeks of work. I don't care if she's slower than molasses in January and doesn't seem to understand the importance of keeping people hydrated, she should still be able to buy groceries. I don't have to ask about the breakdown because I'm reminded every two weeks how broken our system is.
@23, the people in SeaTac voted for the $15 minimum wage. Here in Seattle, elected representatives cast their votes.
Many restaurants owners in Washington such as Arnies charge their waitresses for the credit card fees that they, the restaurant owner, pays to Visa, MasterCard, Amex etc just for the ability to use those cards. So next time you pay with a credit card at Arnies know that a percentage of your tip is going directly into the owner's pocket, not the wait staff's. Why this is legal and not legally required to be disclosed seems very predatory to me.
@ 27&28
Just a little clarity on what you're saying and what your article is saying. Some restaurants charge the credit card processing fees for tips not for all credit card transaction charges. The range is between 1-3% so let's just assume it's 2%. So a server that gets a $5 tip might have a 2% fee put on it and get $4.90 after its all done. I don't have an opinion on the practice, I just wanted the correct information out there.
29 - if you pay with a visa at aries your waitress is being fined for it. Spin it as you may.
I guess that's a question of opinion, you opinion is that they are. The other side is, should the restaurant pay for a server's tip to be processed? Every time a server gets a credit card tip the business loses money that they wouldn't if the customer paid in cash. And like I said, I don't have an opinion but idiot was me I'd probably just follow along what the others are doing about it.
Sorry, if it was me. Not idiot was me
I don't work there. Know someone who did. It just seems that if the owner is saving the time it takes to use cash or check then they are making more because they save on hourly labor costs. The waitress shouldn't have to absorb the costs of that benefit to the owner. And if they do it should be legally required for it to be clearly posted. Imo
The wait staff are benefiting too. A person can tip potentially more freely on a card than with whatever "extra" cash they might have on them. I suspect that's worth the credit card fee to everyone on the restaurant side.

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