Had dinner at the Brentwood last evening. As usual the fried chicken, maui onion rings and casamigos tequila were great (if not especially healthy). Was surprised however when the check came and the server said that the bill included a 20% “living wage” charge. Neither the server, nor the note on the bill referred to the charge as “gratuity”. Never seen it done this way and seldom at a restaurant that is fairly high end patronized and especially for a party of just two. This is not a place where one would expect the diners to stiff the staff on tips. In any event, I chose to consider it a “gratuity” and might have even left more had I not been slightly put off by the approach. Wont stop me from going back, but found the charge and approach worth mentioning.
A service charge is by definition not a gratuity. What was the line item called on the receipt? Did they charge sales tax on it?
the real question: was there an additional tip line on the receipt
That is indeed the question. Gjelina for example has a surcharge - I think it’s 18% - and no tip line on the credit card receipt.
Adding a service charge to increase the pay for the back of the house staff effectively means a pay cut for servers. Removing the tip line increases that effect.
Switching to a no-tipping model is likely to fail unless there’s a strong team spirit among all employees, front and back.