I’m wondering what others think of the mandatory service charges popping up in some restaurants.
I went to Navi Kitchen last week. When I ordered, there was a little sign by the register saying there was a 15% service charge included. Lo and behold, it is additional to the already expensive prices listed on the menu. My lunch of chai tea and vegetarian mac and cheese came out to almost $20! I thought I’d maybe misread the sign at the counter but their menu online says “15% service charge included.”
This charge is also at Ike’s sandwich locations (75 cents in Emeryville) and they ask if you’d like to tip on top of that. They said they will happily remove it if you ask, but who wants to do that? You just feel like a bit of jerk!
My thoughts about this are if owners really want to give their employees better wages and want to raise prices by doing so, they should just include it in the price. This would be preferable for me than spending 15-20% more than the list price. The whole thing reeks of using social justice to justify higher prices and either guilt their customers into accepting higher prices or letting customers feel morally superior over their lunchtime sandwich. The lunchtime sandwich which will cost you $12 or more.
Little side note, at navi kitchen you order at the counter, get your own water, utensils and napkins and bus your own table. The “servers” only service is bringing your food to your table. The employees were very nice though!
Curious if others are as curmudgeonly as I am about this issue or if I need to just accept this new pricing model and get over my righteous lunch cause. Bring back the $8 lunch or bust!