As a customer, I do not care what they do with the money they get as tips or service charges. I usually will pay 20% of the total bill (that is total after taxes, even the ridiculous health fee sometimes) and move on.
No way I am going to add anything on top of 20%. If the service charge is included, I will consider it to be the tip and add nothing on top of it. If the service is outstanding, I might give $20 in cash to the server.
A few years ago at J&V’s when I first encountered this, the server was very clear that nothing additional was expected. So I’ve always treated that way and generally added a flat $15 to $20 depending on the size of the bill (which can be an additional 15% or significantly less depending on our alcohol intake). I’ve never had anyone pressure me to leave anything more but maybe that’s because I haven’t asked about it…
I believe the J&V restaurants had service charges from day one, but they changed the language to suggest that you add a tip. Whether they changed how the service charge was distributed … Eater? LA Times?
Went to Son of a Gun over the weekend, and the verbiage is now something like “there is an 18% service charge, and any additional tip you add will be shared between the servers and the kitchen” (not exact but that’s the gist) But it had a tip line and the 12/15/20% tip amounts as well.
So it cost $23 to just attend? Does this include the tip & other fees? Still excessive IYAM. I recently went to Son of a Gun. They add 18% to your bill and then don’t tell you, but also expect a tip. Huh? This is straight out restaurant extortion.
That 2015 lawsuit was about price-fixing. Nothing to do with health insurance or service charges per se.
It’s likely most of the former Zuni servers wouldn’t have come back when the restaurant reopened (after being closed for over a year) regardless of the tipping policy. Lots of people changed careers,.moved out of the area, or retired. Attributing it all to the tipping policy is shitty journalism.