LA Redditors are creating a list of restaurants with additional fees, as customers become more annoyed with added charges.

LA Redditors are creating a list of restaurants with additional fees, as customers become more annoyed with added charges.

Los Angeles Restaurants Facing Backlash for Extra Charges on Diners’ Checks

Restaurant Charges in Los Angeles

As the cost of living in Los Angeles remains high, customers have grown increasingly frustrated with companies adding extra charges to their advertised prices. Restaurants, in particular, have come under scrutiny as patrons notice additional fees being added to their checks. This has sparked a debate about whether these surcharges should simply be included in the menu prices. A Reddit thread in r/LosAngeles has gained traction, with users compiling a list of over 200 Los Angeles restaurants that charge diners additional fees on their checks.

The Google Sheets document created by Redditors features a range of fees, including security charges, service charges, card fees, and vaguely labeled “administrative fees” or “restaurant fees.” Some of these charges are optional and can be removed upon request, while others are mandatory, particularly for larger parties where suggested gratuities are automatically added.

Interestingly, many of these fees are explicitly stated as contributions to staff health insurance and wages. For example, Xuntos in Santa Monica imposes a 20% “mandatory service charge” that the restaurant insists is non-negotiable and non-removable. According to the restaurant, this charge aims to achieve a more equitable wage distribution between the kitchen, bar, and floor teams. While the tipping culture does not expect additional gratuities, customers are still welcome to leave a tip if they wish.

Other establishments, such as Kali in Hollywood, add a 5% “kitchen appreciation charge” to support their dedicated kitchen team and provide benefits for eligible team members. Meanwhile, Chulita in Venice levies a 4% surcharge for the explicit purpose of supporting their kitchen team, with no sharing of the surcharge amongst the service staff. Similarly, Il Fornaio, an Italian restaurant chain, applies a 3% surcharge to meet wage, benefit, and insurance requirements while continuing to provide healthcare, benefits, paid sick days, training, 401(k) plans, and staff meals.

Not all restaurants follow the traditional tipping model. Some establishments discard tipping altogether and instead incorporate a set-percentage service fee. Hinoki & The Bird in Century City, for example, adds a 20% fee to all checks, clarifying that it is not a gratuity or tip. Similarly, the chain KazuNori implements a 16% fee to fund all operations.

Apart from these service-oriented charges, some restaurants in Los Angeles impose alternative fees. For example, customers paying with cash can dine at Vino Wine & Tapas Room in Encino for a reduced price, as card transactions incur a 3.8% fee. Oceanview Cafe in Manhattan Beach also offers a cash discount of 4%, as seen on a customer receipt shared on Reddit.

In addition, some restaurants charge security, card, or eco fees. The Ruby Fruit in Silver Lake and Perch in Downtown Los Angeles, for instance, apply security fees of 4% and 4.5% respectively, citing them as necessary to ensure the safety of their guests and staff. Hodori Korean Cuisine in Eagle Rock enforces a $1 surcharge for each item ordered to-go. Additionally, Yang’s Kitchen in Alhambra adds a 1% Zero Footprint Restore the Planet fee to contribute towards initiatives such as building healthy soil and carbon farming. However, customers have the option to opt out of this fee.

While some of these charges may be justified, others appear to be vague. Restaurants such as Otium in Downtown Los Angeles and Katsuya in Hollywood tack on a 5% surcharge to help “defray” the rising costs of the restaurant industry. It is worth noting that customers can have this surcharge removed from their bills upon request.

The issue of extra charges in Los Angeles restaurants has sparked a wave of frustration among diners. If you’ve encountered such fees, or if you work at a restaurant dealing with the wrath of irritated customers, we would love to hear from you. Contact this reporter at [email protected].

In conclusion, the practice of imposing additional charges on diners’ checks in Los Angeles restaurants has stirred controversy. From mandatory service charges supporting equitable wage distribution to fees contributing to staff benefits and eco-initiatives, the reasons behind these charges vary. As customers question the transparency and fairness of these fees, it remains to be seen if restaurants will adjust their pricing strategies to avoid backlash.