Is It Right? – Setting Mandatory Restaurant Gratuity And Service Fees
I'm telling you something you don't already know. The price of products continues to rise almost everywhere. Well, gas prices have fallen a bit, but I don't consider a drop to $4.75 per gallon price anything to cheer about.
But, we as consumers aren't the only ones feeling the pain. Many business owners are as well. Especially local, small business owners. Take, for example, restaurants that have seen their food prices increase, as well as paper products, cleaning supplies, and those to-go boxes from New York State restaurants that have recently been converted from styrofoam to other acceptable containers. I'm betting that costs more as well.
Who absorbs that cost? The local business owner. If any came to the point that they would have to raise the price of their food a bit, who could really object? After all, they are trying to make a living the same as us.
And I'm guessing many local business owners across the country are absorbing those added costs rather than passing them along to the customer. But will it get to the point that they can no longer afford to do so without raising prices?
The CNYCentral website recently published an article about a restaurant in Cinncinatti, through WKRC-TV Local 12 that one owner has added a mandatory 20 percent gratuity to each customer's food bill. I don't think that's a bad thing, do you?
According to the article, the owner of the Cincinnati restaurant states that "We offer living wages to our employees partially funded by a 20 percent automatic gratuity".
Of course, some will balk at that, stating that the tip should be based on the good or not-so-good service. But in this case, the 20 percent gratuity is split between the entire staff, so maybe your wait staff wasn't the best, but the kitchen staff did their job and it's not fair to punish them, correct?
What are your thoughts? Is it fair for a restaurant business, especially small locally owned, to add a mandatory tip fee or service fee to help offset the rising costs they bear? And if it's for the gratuity, should it remain up to the customer to decide the amount depending on the service provided?