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?
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?