[San Diego Tribune] Restaurants respond to wage hike with dining surcharge

Here’s another link on the same topic.

In my opinion, this is a slippery practice. Restaurants can pass on increased costs to the customer by way of the menu price; that should be the only way. Do owners really believe that patrons will go elsewhere if a $20 menu item has a price increase of 60 cents?

The surcharge is not strategy; it’s a political statement.

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If so, I’d prefer that the statement be made indirectly, such as by listing new menu prices exactly; e.g., $20.62. Patrons will scratch their heads about such a precise cost, and ask their server about it. It would all be cordial. Tacking on an unexpected charge at the time the bill is rendered isn’t right, in my opinion, whether its purpose is politically- or strategy-motivated.

I suppose we could use this as a jumping off point to the everlasting tipping debate.

Personally, I dislike all the ‘unbundling’ of fees surrounding any sort of service. But that’s what the legal framework allows, and it’s a no-brainer to any business that advertising your widget at $5.99 will get more sold than $6.27

I really liked the policy I encountered in NZ. What was on the menu was what you paid, all tax, gratuity, service charges and such included. I thought it was a legal requirement there, but I might be mistaken.

I’d like to see ALL sale prices listed with tax, etc. included, but we’d never hear the end of retailers bellowing about govt. wanting to hide the burden from the people. And as we’ve seen with airlines, they can always shave down the actual item purchased and make everything adjacent to it an ‘option’. (Water? Certainly, 1.00/glass for tap. Ice cubes are .10/ea. Oh, you want a steak knife? One is available for a $5 surcharge).


I see that the City is going to “crack down” on restaurants that tack on surcharges without giving patrons any notice before the bill arrives. This from the SD Union yesterday.

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