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San Francisco Restaurant Fish & Farm to Eliminate Taxes and Tips

San Francisco Restaurant Eliminates Taxes and Tips

Earlier this year, we broached the question of whether it was fair for establishments to impose a built-in surcharge for large dinner parties — and many of you were strongly opposed. But how would you feel if taxes and gratuities were eliminated altogether?

Frank Klein, owner of San Francisco's Fish & Farm, thinks the idea has potential to succeed in times like these. According to San Francisco Chronicle restaurant critic Michael Bauer, Klein will remodel Fish & Farm, reopening with a new menu that has all-inclusive prices.

The restaurant's new tabs will have "no surcharges, no extras, no nothing above what it says on the menu. We are going to become the anti-surcharge restaurant." The waitstaff will still be adequately compensated because the computer will automatically deduct sales tax and 18.5 percent gratuity for every check.

Although this isn't a new concept — it's standard in many countries like France — it's uncommon to see in America. At a time when many Americans feel nickel-and-dimed, does this strategy have the potential to succeed — and catch on in other restaurants?

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ilanac13 ilanac13 7 years
i kind of like it. i mean as long as the restaurant is accounting properly for the taxes and the tips then it makes sense. that way you don't have to worry about tax on top of a cost or the tip. it's pretty smart if you think about it. (as long as the government gets what it wants, i'm all for it)
geniegurl21 geniegurl21 7 years
In France taxes and service charges are built in to the price of your meal (hence higher prices). So if the restaurant is deducting the tax and tip from the price of the check, they're going to have to raise prices (or else they have a huuuuuge markup and can afford to take the hit). So they're not eliminating them, they're including them. Yes it's less of a surprise when you get the bill, but it's unfair to say they're eliminating them. I think it makes sense to ensure proper compensation, whether it's by paying servers adequately or imposing tip (Either by adding it on top of the bill or including it in the price of the food). As a waitress in a small restaurant in a big city tipping can be incredibly varied, which is frustrating - some people leave 20% some people don't tip on alcohol (and let me tell you, opening the bottle of wine gracefully at the table is one of the hardest things I do), some people think 15% is a standard good tip. I also agree that it's definitely fair to include tip on large parties. They're often difficult and time consuming. I don't think service would suffer by not having tip-based pay. In France things just move at a different pace, that's why it takes longer to get your food (I now live in France after living in the US all my life), not because the servers don't care - their whole attitude is different. If a server is bad, s/he's not necessarily going to quit because s/he's not getting tipped well, so you might as well just reprimand bad servers, or cut them loose. I would think most people want to do well in their jobs (however temporary or permanent - for references, good karma, whatever) and I don't think that tipping is an effective way to control employee behavior because people's standards vary so wildly and since it's after the fact, a server doesn't know what s/he has done wrong when the tip is 12%. I've looked at checks trying to figure out if they've excluded alcohol or if I horribly offended them in some way or if they're just bad tippers or from somewhere where a lower tip is normal.
floppyfish1986 floppyfish1986 7 years
I'm surprised people are so opposed to large group tips being required, maybe a lot of those people haven't been servers. It really sucks to have a large party of 20 people and get stiffed only tipped by a few of the dinners when you've put a lot of time and work into that party. And usually when you've got a large party that's it for the shift. I like this idea though!
lickety-split lickety-split 7 years
i would tip more at a restaurant like that, so it sounds good to me.
VeeKeeTee VeeKeeTee 7 years
i think it makes splitting up the check a lot easier but the service might be worse than before (which is why it takes forever to get your food in france)
margokhal margokhal 7 years
They're not ELIMINATED, there's just no option to NOT pay them. And considering they're taking large-group gratuity fees from EACH INDIVIDUAL PERSON/CHECK, sounds like they're going to be making a LOT more money than the old way. Why can't restaurants just pay hourly minimum wage, and if people complain about the service, staff gets reprimanded or fired? I think we'd still get adequate service...and then you can choose to give a tip if you think the service was over-the-top awesome.
Coco-Aylese Coco-Aylese 7 years
hmmmm, not sure what I think yet, I'll be back a little later
chiefdishwasher chiefdishwasher 7 years
I think they would become complacent....why go the extra mile when you have already won the (tip) race. Also, I usually tip more than that and I know if I return to a bar or restaurant where the servers know me, I always get great service from them.
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