OpEd: What’s the right tip?

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It was Ray’s birthday so we headed to Bottega Louie.    A friend Jim came along.   We got a nice table in the back of the restaurant.   

I was eating light and ordered the avocado toast.   Both Ray and Jim order the King Louie salad.   The total of the check came to $68.   A 5% surcharge was added to the check along with the 10.25% sales tax.   The grand total was $78.71.    

On the bottom of the check was a disclaimer that stated “A 5% SURCHARGE IS ADDED TO ALL GUEST CHECKS TO MITIGATE INFLATION & OTHER RESTAURANT OPERATING COSTS.  IT IS NOT A SERVICE CHARGE, GRATUITY, OR PAID TO EMPLOYEES.   

This was a strange post.  Many of the other restaurants who add a surcharge say they are for the ‘waiter staff’, but Bottega’s Louie’s surcharge was for the ‘house’ 

As you may know waiters and waitresses in West Hollywood are paid the highest minimum wage in the United States and the tips are on top of that.   Many of the top restaurants report the wait staff is benefiting more than the ‘back of the restaurant’ who do not get tips.   The current minimum wage in Beverly hills is $15.50, verss $19.08 in West Hollywood, or more than $3.50 cents per hour less.   So who is paying for the increase?   

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It made little sense.   The prices on the menu were higher than most.   A single slice of avocado toast at $18, —.   Should the business add a surcharge or simply raise their prices?   Should there be a policy that surcharges must go to the waiter staff?      

Do all of us consumers need to figure out which restaurants have a surcharge and then again which goes to the ‘house’ or which goes to the ‘staff’?    Seems like the city has created something that has run amok.   Its not ‘consumer friendly’, – in fact its downright confusing/

So what is the right tip these days?   

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hifi5000
hifi5000
6 months ago

$18 for a avocado toast?? There is your problem right there.I like a nice dinner like anybody else,but you need to check the prices before ordering anything. Maybe it is time to find a less expensive place with a better menu selection.

Joseph Bologna
Joseph Bologna
6 months ago

The extra charge nonsense is why I stopped going out as much. Don’t miss it. And I just bought myself an $800 guitar with the dough I’ve saved in a relatively short time.

Morty
Morty
6 months ago

Why should the surcharge go to the wait staff? They are already making $19.08/hour plus tips. The restaurant is using the 5% to offset some of their increased labor costs due to the new higher minimum wage plus the new benefits they must now provide even to part time employees. This will be the demise of any affordable restaurants in West Hollywood. Soon only rich people will be able to eat and drink in WEHO. The people on the city council are idiots with absolutely no business experience. There is no way restaurants and bars can survive in WEHO with… Read more »

Uron
Uron
6 months ago

When reading stories like this most people forget that the prices are PLUS tax and tip, which is 30-35% on top.

I don’t feel sorry for these corporate restaurants masquerading as small single owner businesses. They are really in the liquor sales business not in the food business. Profit margins on drinks are huge, and the tip and tax on that is even larger.

John Allen
John Allen
6 months ago

This allows funds to go to the kitchen staff / cooks which are not allowed to receive any tips so they can hire better kitchen staff and be competitive. If they just raised the prices then the landlord who gets a % of revenue would receive more money. Servers there are making $80k+ and chefs are making $50k so this allow them to compensate kitchen employees fairly. Keep in mind in LA the servers are legally different from the back of house which does 50% of the work. Just raising prices sends money to the landlord and the IRS but… Read more »

Mighty Player
Mighty Player
6 months ago

Do you think the current resident in the Oval Office who spent $8+ trillion dollars with no goods or services attached has anything to do with hyperinflation? In case you need some educational material on inflation and where it comes from please look up Milton Friedman. There are videos for the reading challenged as well. Hint: Inflation is a government by-product.

You get what you vote for: Enjoy the inflation!! It ain’t gonna stop.

Buster Garcia
Buster Garcia
6 months ago
Reply to  Mighty Player

SPOT ON!! And just wait until CA imposes a surcharge on your taxes to pay for the $68 billion dollar deficit as middle class residents flee the state leaving it with only the very rich and the very poor. In the meantime, open the borders to the third world and let’s pay for all their social services, health care, education, food, shelter, and all. Forget about the US taxpayer. Forget about our homeless and our veterans. Vote blue and you get what you deserve. Enjoy your surcharges!

Morty
Morty
6 months ago
Reply to  Buster Garcia

Unfortunately vote red and you get judges that hate gay people and hate women. Donald Trump appointed the worst possible judges in our history. It won’t be long until the Supreme Court takes away gay marriage. Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito even want to revisit Lawrence v. Texas. It was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that sanctions of criminal punishment for consensual, adult non-procreative sexual activity are unconstitutional. I don’t like inflation and I don’t like paying higher taxes but I also don’t want more homophobic bigoted politicians and judges in power.

Buster Garcia
Buster Garcia
6 months ago
Reply to  Morty

This administration is the biggest dumpster fire ever. Record level inflation, 13 marines dead and Afghanis falling off military airplanes in botched withdrawal (leaving billions of military equipment behind), 2 significant wars, gas and groceries through the roof, interest rates at 30 year high, illegal migration at record rates (8 million people +), with the US taxpayer footing the bill, crime and homelessness through the roof, and fentanyl killing more people than all wars combined. Well done! Vote for the senile while you live in denial and think the world is thriving under the blue. Gay marriage is codified. Stop… Read more »

Buster G
Buster G
6 months ago
Reply to  Morty

Censor me. Gay marriage is codified. The fear mongering has no validity. And you know Joe Biden is an epic failure. But enjoy California. Enjoy the decline while you watch the beautiful sunset. Denial is just like the senile president saying he’s sharp. It’s all pretty but y’all know it’s awful. Drive your Mercedes and rent the rest of your life. You know who you are.

LADoug
LADoug
6 months ago
Reply to  Morty

Well said!

Absurd
Absurd
6 months ago

$18. plus tip for an Avocado Toast? Outrageous! Maybe you guys could learn how to make sandwiches and go have a picnic somewhere. A few baguettes, avocados and other ingredients, several beers and Voila! Less than $20. and no need to have the hassle of writing an article. Taking the living out of life.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
6 months ago

Tipping has become really complicated, particularly in light of the current minimum wage, which should mitigate the need for “tips”. I tend to tip more in places that charge less because tipping 20% in a high end restaurant in WeHo or Beverly Hills makes no sense. I also actually consider the level of service and my positive interactions with wait staff.
But given that many restaurants have cut wait staff to save money, the people waiting tables are often stressed, distracted and over worked. But I no longer feel beholden to the 20% rule.

Jerome Cleary
Jerome Cleary
6 months ago

$12 is the right tip for this

Peter Buckley
Peter Buckley
6 months ago

Why would you go there if the bill kills the deal? Not sure where in WeHo is good value anymore. Got sick at the small portions at La Boheme last week.

Jimmy palmieri
Jimmy palmieri
6 months ago

Some of the restaurants are out of control. Increased prices, surcharges, tax and tips. We seek out affordable places at this point. Sadly not always in weho. And that bothers me. A lot.

JF1
JF1
6 months ago
Reply to  Jimmy palmieri

Me too.

WehoQueen
WehoQueen
6 months ago
Reply to  Jimmy palmieri

I’m not aware of any restaurant that forces people to go there and pay high prices. You seem to feel Weho restaurants should be running a charity for people who don’t like paying high prices.

JF1
JF1
6 months ago

Things have gotten so ridiculously expensive in West Hollywood that I no longer dine here…I go to Beverly Hills where nine times out of ten, it’s less expensive for a nice meal. For a city that talks endlessly about affordability, the council has made this city UNaffordable with their policies. Highest sales tax, highest minimum wage means highest prices for consumers. I don’t eat at Bottega Louie -way too expensive. When I do dine out in West Hollywood, I never leave more than 15% tip now (always used to leave 20%). I went from dining out frequently each week to… Read more »

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
6 months ago
Reply to  JF1

Have you considered just moving to Beverly Hills? Why stay here if you hate it so much?

JF1
JF1
6 months ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Didn’t someone throw a bucket of water on you? (No logical counter argument. Just petty, immature comments and your blind, unconditional devotion to the ruling body).

Last edited 6 months ago by JF1
greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
6 months ago
Reply to  JF1

If I was so unhappy living somewhere, I would simply take myself out of that situation. Just trying to help you out!

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
6 months ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

You’re back, and as JF1 said, it appears you haven’t learned a thing! To suggest that someone give up their home because they are disappointed in rising restaurant prices is dismissive, condescending, and arrogant. Which is exactly what you were exposed to be.

And yet, here you are.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
6 months ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

Oh it’s not just about rising restaurant prices. This particular commenter complains about a myriad of issues.

Daily Oberver
Daily Oberver
6 months ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Hang in there Bub. Things are going to get worse, way worse in ’24. Inflation is not going to stop. Your boy in the Oval doesn’t care about you or anyone else for that matter. My sincere hope is that one day you realize the err in your ways. Here’s a synopsis of what you voted for; crime? Up!, Prices of staples? Way up! Energy costs? Sky high. Jew Hatred all over town and in the universities. And I am not talking about Russia or Iran or Lebanon. I am referencing WeHo.

JF1
JF1
6 months ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

(And for the record, I don’t hate this city. I hate what our current “leaders“ have done to it.)

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