A New Type Of Charge When Dining Out

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Kaneohegirlinaz

Wannabe TV Chef
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Central/Northern AZ, gateway to The Grand Canyon
Have you seen this on your bill when dining out at a restaurant?
A "Kitchen Charge".

We're here on Oahu, Hawaii and went to a local iconic "fast casual" restaurant that we adore, but in a different part of town that we usually do not go to.
There menu is exactly the same as any of their other locations, but the one difference that sent DH through the roof was that Kitchen Charge.

DH: WTH is this? (mind you this was after the fact, I had paid the bill, saw it, but felt at the time it was best to keep my yap shut)
Moi: I'm not sure, but you know how they love to add loads of different taxes & fees

So I looked it up on the WWW.

Some restaurants have taken to adding a “kitchen fee” that goes to back of the house workers in an effort to lessen the gap of financial inequity between tipped and non-tipped employees.Jan 11, 2024
(a quote from Foodandwine.com)

I found this that points directly at our favorite restaurant:

We had never seen this fee on our restaurant bill before, but then, we've lived in Cowboyville Arizona for a number of years, away from an big city.

Have you encountered this fee when dining out?
 
Fool me once, shame on you…😉🤭😂

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Why not just raise food prices in order to pay the back-of-house staff a living wage? Do they think customers are stupid? Well, maybe some are, but most are going to be at least perturbed about this fee. Listing it on the bill is calling attention to it.

I also don't trust the restaurant owners to actually pass that fee money onto the workers. It would not surprise me one bit if the owners were pocketing most of that fee. The workers have no way of knowing.

CD
 
Normally total tips are distributed among all employees and not just the wait staff. It takes everyone to deliver a decent dinning experience. It's the way I've always done it.
 
Normally total tips are distributed among all employees and not just the wait staff. It takes everyone to deliver a decent dinning experience. It's the way I've always done it.

I'm sure it is different in different places. I know in Texas, minimum wage of waitstaff/bar staff is $2.13/hour. Kitchen staff make considerably more money -- the Minimum wage for them in Texas is $7.50, but due to supply and demand, they probably make at least double that in the bigger metropolitan areas.

I'm thinking the situation is considerably different in Canada.

On a regular basis, you see news stories about owners and managers pocketing a percentage of tips here.

CD
 
I know several places we go fairly often do not split tips with the kitchen because I've asked the servers with whom we are familiar.

I try to tip in cash when I have enough and keep a good supply of $5s and $1s in my wallet for when we eat lunches out. The waitresses appreciate that because they've told me so. They haven't complained about the owners taking some of the CC tips, but they have mentioned they have to wait for a week or more.

I've seen surcharges to use a CC in several places.

We've had a service charge/tip of 18% added to a fine dining bill when it was just the 2 of us, and it wasn't made clear so I didn't catch it at first and tipped on top of that. Fortunately, I did catch it before we left so made them void the first one. They did have an automatic gratuity charge for parties of 8 or more, but it was just the 2 of us. The waiter acted like it was a mistake, but... We have never returned.

So far, no "kitchen charges" though.
 
I don't like the element of surprise . I'd rather just pay a higher price that covers everything, then get nickel and dimed. I rarely go out anymore. I just pick the food up and eat it at home. In many cases I find dining out to be more of a hassle than fun. I hate waiting to be seated ( especially when you have a reservation). I hate the luck of the draw on the wait staff, the occasional inconsistency of food... Sure, there are reliable places that I return to, and when we're out on a road trip, we got no other choice. I feel bad about the above, but when things happen over and over again, it ruins the experience and lowers the expectations.
 
Oh, I forgot. There is a chain restaurant here that has a 20% tip built into their pricing so you don't have to tip at all. They advertise this. Of course, they also note that you can tip if you have exceptional service and want to give your server extra.

They have teams, your server who takes your order, checks with you about your food, if you want anything else, etc., and runners that go to bar and kitchen. The server never leaves the dining area. All the running is done by the other team members. I did a mystery shop job for this chain so had to ask the hostess and our server how this worked and about the breakdown, among other things. The server we had actually did a big no-no and basically told us we did need to give her additional money because she didn't get enough in the breakdown.

I doubt that server had a job after my report.

Before you think bad of me, I have to give honest reports because mystery shopping goes both ways. They could have been checking to see if I was being honest in my reports. Had that happen once actually and was informed I passed after the fact.
 
I don't like the element of surprise . I'd rather just pay a higher price that covers everything, then get nickel and dimed. I rarely go out anymore. I just pick the food up and eat it at home. In many cases I find dining out to be more of a hassle than fun. I hate waiting to be seated ( especially when you have a reservation). I hate the luck of the draw on the wait staff, the occasional inconsistency of food... Sure, there are reliable places that I return to, and when we're out on a road trip, we got no other choice. I feel bad about the above, but when things happen over and over again, it ruins the experience and lowers the expectations.

I'm like you, I don't eat out a lot. Because of that, if a restaurant were to raise the price of a menu item from 10 bucks to 12, I probably wouldn't notice, and really wouldn't care. But, if you keep the price at 10 bucks, and add a 20% kitchen fee to it when the total bill comes, I'm going to notice, and assume it is just a sneaky way for the restaurant to charge more for the food without actually raising the menu price. Basically, the restaurant menu says 10 bucks, but the actual price is 12, but you don't know that until you get the bill.

CD
 
Everyone wants a friggin' tip now days! You see tip jars on the counter of just about every establishmnet you visit. But what really annoys me is places that expect you to decide on a tip BEFORE a service is provided.

Yesterday I had Wendy's delivered. I believe they use Door Dash. I added the suggested tip, which I do not normally do and here is why: I was notified that my order was picked up from Wendy's at 6:47. I live about 15 minutes from Wendy's. The driver showed up at 7:39! My burger was wrong, my fries were cold and my Frosty wasn't, it was chocolate soup! I called either Door Dash or Wendy's (the complaint number didn't say to whom it belonged) and bemanded they refund my purchase price, including, no especially, the driver's tip!

When I order groceries on line, I make sure the tip box says $0 because half of the time their driver can't find my apartment building (it's pink, it's four stores high and the address is emblazoned on the front in 3 foot tall numbers) and the rest of the time they can' be bothered to bring the groceries to my apartment door, so they leave them in the lobby or outside the building, and I have to get down from the fourth floor to the lobby and hope someone doesn't help themselves before I can get there. Oh, and the drivers don't speak English, Spanish, Italian, German or Tagalog. I think they speak Haitian Creole, which at my age I have no desire to learn. I'll telll you what, if I move to your country I wll learn your language, if I don't already know it. If you move to my country, you learn mine!
 
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I'm sure it is different in different places. I know in Texas, minimum wage of waitstaff/bar staff is $2.13/hour. Kitchen staff make considerably more money -- the Minimum wage for them in Texas is $7.50, but due to supply and demand, they probably make at least double that in the bigger metropolitan areas.

I'm thinking the situation is considerably different in Canada.

On a regular basis, you see news stories about owners and managers pocketing a percentage of tips here.

CD
Minimum wage in Canada is decided by each province (and I imagine by each of the territories, as well). In Quebec, min wage is currently CAD15.75 per hour and CAD12.60 for gratuity earners.
 
Nothing is simple and straightforward in my area.

The basic minimum wage is $15.00/hour but for tipped workers the cash wage can vary from $10.00-$12.50/hour depending on job classification and the employee declares tips of $2.50-$5.00/hour to bring them up to $15.00.

I would prefer to eliminate tipping in favor of a living wage but once you build a bureaucracy around any issue that bureaucracy will fight to survive.
 
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Nothing is simple and straightforward in my area.

The basic minimum wage is $15.00/hour but for tipped workers the cash wage can vary from $10.00-$12.50/hour depending on job classification and the employee declares tips of $2.50-$5.00/hour to bring them up to $15.00.

I would prefer to eliminate tipping in favor of a living wage but once you build a bureaucracy around any issue that bureaucracy will fight to survive.

The Texas legislature and Governot Abbott would prefer to have no minimum wage at all, and let "the free market" decide what people make. But, they have not found a way around the Federal minimum wage of $7.50/hour. I don't know where the $2.13/hour minimum for tipped workers came from, but I'm sure they would like to get rid of that bit of "socialism," too.

Like many Texans, I have a love/hate relationship with my state.

CD
 
I don't mind tipping, and I usually tip very well ( pending quality of the service). I just hate the nickel and diming , and surprise unannounced fees tagged onto the bill. I also hate when they include the tip on the bill ( sometimes to subtly, that you didnt even realize they did it , so you tip on top of your tip ( only happened to me once, and I was really pissed off). When I go out, I want it to be an uneventful, stress free, relaxing experience . The last thing I want to do is have to break out my abacus to start figuring out the bill. Or have to use my magnifying glass to see the unannounced fees tagged on to the bill.

Its kinda like when you buy concert tickets now, there are handling fees,venue fees ... One site I go to they have a button to click that allows you to see the final price ( up front) with all the fees added. They may have even made that a law, I'm not sure.

And hotels have the ' resort fee' they tag on to your room fee. It's like an extra $25. I don't remember what it ' includes'. but I remember it was nothing that I took advantage of, so I wrote a letter to whatever hotel it was complaining that I have to pay for something I didnt ask for and will not use. Still waiting for a reply, and that was at least 5 + years ago.
 
I've never seen a kitchen fee added to a restaurant bill. (Tipping is rather different in the UK in any case.) If a 15% tip hasn't been automatically added to a bill (and a lot of restaurants are doing this now), then a standard tip is usually around 10% or 15% if you are particularly happy with the food/service. We have a minimum wage in the UK so I wouldn't expect to see a "kitchen tip" appearing on a bill.
 
This has been happening in Boston and New York for maybe 3 years. Right after restaurants came back after the pandemic.

It has engendered A LOT of discussion in the food/restaurant community here.

I think it’s one of those things where time will tell if it will be successful for the restaurant owner. It may just piss of their customers too much to work.

 
Also sky high cancellation fees


I would NEVER agree to a cancellation fee when making a reservation. I just wouldn't make the reservation, and tell them I'll dine someplace else -- forever.

I do understand that there are people who cancel reservations on a whim, just as those same people RSVP to parties and don't show up. But, sometimes things happen, and you have to cancel.

If I RSVP to a party, and can't come, I will call the host, and tell them I can't come, and why. It's rude to just not show up. Likewise, if I must cancel a dinner reservation, I would call the restaurant and tell them as far in advance as possible so they can give my table to another customer. That is just common courtesy.

CD
 
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I just had another thought... if a restaurant in Boston or NYC can't fill a cancelation, even a last-minute cancellation, they must not be a very good restaurant.

CD
 

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