Japanese Restaurant causes heated debate after adding 16% fee to bill
Yesterday, the Japanese restaurant Hiro Nori in San Diego, was the source of a heated debate after one eagle-eyed customer spotted a key part of their menu. Below the ramen section, it read: ‘Please, no tipping. A 16% service charge will be added to your bill. This is not a tip or gratuity.’
Naturally, customers may be annoyed at this small print. This is because a tip is optional, whereas this service charge reads like a compulsory fee. News of this addition was first posted to Reddit which prompted a heated debate as to whether the fee was justified or merely an act of greed.
Here, the original poster asked: ‘ I was perusing the menu for HiroNori ramen on Yelp and noticed this. With the amount of over-tipping that is expected of us at most places, it seems like this might be a good place to support. Yes/no?’
Replying to this, one user claimed: “What you have to understand is that a “service charge” is not a gratuity. If it doesn’t say gratuity/tip the management can do whatever it likes with those funds, including keeping all or most of it. Most places I’ve worked that routinely add service charges distribute at least some of that money to ownership/management. In California, if it says gratuity/tip it must by law go to the tipped employees. Not saying that this restaurant does this, just be aware that it doesn’t mean you are giving 16% to the staff. Source: 50 years in the industry.”
Irrespective of your take on things, it looks like Hiro Nori is still doing well and it’s a case of business as usual. Based on this, it looks like many are continuing to support the restaurant.