May 28, 2024

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A new California law would prohibit surcharges on restaurant bills on top of other fees

A new California law would prohibit surcharges on restaurant bills on top of other fees

A new California law aimed at banning hidden service fees could eliminate surcharges some restaurants add to customers' bills.

Diners in San Francisco often think twice when they see a common line at the bottom of a menu warning of a mandatory service charge that can range from 4% to 20%.

While the proposed new law may eventually eliminate these notices, customers may also have to bear the cost elsewhere.

Food experts like Marcia Gagliardi, who authored the 18-year-old nutrition newsletter Table bouncy He says this isn't great news for customers or the restaurants they eat at.

“Just when you thought your pork chop was already expensive, guess what? We're going to see higher prices, because there's nowhere else these restaurants can put these higher fees and wages in order to keep these employees,” Gagliardi told CBS. “. Bay Area News.

The law, which will take effect on July 1, bans unwanted fees that typically appear in ticket sales. But on Tuesday, the state's attorney general reportedly confirmed that that also applies to restaurant service fees.

“It is used to create a fair model for employees. Servers typically make a lot more money than back-end companies.” [workers] Gagliardi explained that this paves the way for distributing these funds fairly.

The law, co-sponsored by two Bay Area senators, Sen. Nancy Skinner of Berkeley and Sen. Bill Dodd of Napa, seeks to ban “the use of trickle pricing, a practice in which companies advertise only a portion of what a customer will actually pay.” For a specific product or service,” according to a statement posted by Skinner.

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“The law does not prevent companies from setting prices, but it regulates how companies advertise or display costs,” the press release added.

Tom Medine has been leading food tours in San Francisco for decades. He's watched the prices of restaurants in the city, and says the change may not be all bad news, turning attention back to family restaurants.

“Restaurants that you walk into and you feel like you're a part of it, this one is kind of secondary,” he said of the additional fees. “I want your employees to do well. And I think as long as restaurants really keep knowing their customers, I think they'll do OK.”

But some fear the change could make restaurants less fair to employees. Restaurants will be in a dilemma about how to maintain their wages while also keeping customers coming, says Lori Thomas, director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association.

“Do you now lower their prices and go to an old-fashioned tipping model and tell your servers you have to tip the entire house but that drives everyone's paychecks down or do you raise your prices by 20% or 25%?” She told CBS News Bay Area. “It might make a lot of customers happier. They might say: ‘We understand why the prices are going up.’ Let’s hope that happens, but I don’t know if our industry can hope that happens, they are still struggling. It’s been a tough year.”

But for Marcia, she says that while clients may feel some relief by not seeing the extra fees, they will still feel it in their wallets.

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She explained: “I see restaurants easily raising prices by 5%, or 15%. It will be difficult.” “We will see a higher price based on this unfortunate interpretation, but all is not lost…things can change.”