A new trend seems to becoming pretty widespread amongst the hottest new restaurants in southern California. Many of these restaurants (Bestia, Republique, Red Bird, etc.) are now adding a 3% surcharge to all checks to "provide healthcare to our employees"...or as some say, "to help properly compensate our kitchen staff who do not share in the tip pool".
I personally find this very offensive, and wonder what other CH's think. To me, taking proper care of employees is an essential part of any business. Restaurants (and other businesses) should, of course, charge customers what they need to, to meet all business expenses (including caring for all employees), and make a reasonable profit. Any business model that fails to do this is faulty.
One could make the argument that health care coverage should be totally unhinged from employment and provided through other means (something I consider to be the case...it would benefit all individuals and businesses), but that's an entirely separate matter.
What will come next...a restroom maintenance surcharge, a glassware breakage surcharge, a surcharge for reservations at peak hours, etc? What do others think?
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