More specifically, a handful of restaurant owners and regional managers made that decision — it’s very likely the wait staff and dishwashers weren’t consulted on this policy before it was implemented.

Well, it’s none of the staff’s business, so you’re probably correct.

So. These additional charges are bullshit.

Service Fees are not at all uncommon in other countries, it should be said.

The thing is, restaurants incur expenses all the time. …. And we insist that businesses follow certain standards that we agree on as a community.

That’s a rather impassioned non-argument.

Now imagine that business added an “ADA surcharge” to the bottom of its checks, along with a passive-aggressive note explaining that the fee is to pay for the installation of the ramp.

Sorry, but the “ADA surcharge” WAS added to the checks; it’s just that the business buried it into the sales cost rather than calling it out explicitly. (Or, they took it out of wages/salaries/benefits. But you can bet the owner found somebody else to pay for the ramp.)

Business 101: When government raises the cost of doing business, you find a way to raise your prices to recoup the profits. You either do that by either raising your prices (if you have pricing power to do so) OR you cut expenses, normally by messing with the wages/salaries/benefits.

Either you paid for the ADA ramp, or the employees did. The business owner didn’t. You just didn’t notice it.

Rather than just raising prices naturally, these restaurant managers are making an overtly political statement when they add minimum wage surcharges to their menus.

Yes, they are. Just as the entire $15 a hour thing was an overtly political statement not backed up by sound economics.

They are protesting the fact that they have to pay their workers a living wage.

They are protesting having to choose between automating what is normally a very personal business and cutting down on waitstaff. Those annoying little ordering tablets so their customers order without waitstaff come next.

(As an aside: it’s interesting that restaurants are the only business that feels as though they can get away with this kind of fee structure..)

See above. Everyone does it. The restaurateur simply has a more public platform to voice their dissent from. And they’re using it. Welcome to democracy.

Look at the bright side; they haven’t decided (yet) to move out of Seattle.

I have a hard time imagining what other purpose the public announcement of these charges could be, other than to turn the public against the minimum wage.

There’s not question that they’re doing it for that reason. They are showing the nutcases that thought $15 a hour was a good idea their middle finger, very noticeably. Why would you mess with somebody’s business to that extent and not expect them to say something?

If you should find one of these alerts on your bill when you’re out for lunch, the first thing you should do is make sure the restaurant is charging tax on the surcharge. If they’re not collecting tax on their extra charges, they are violating Washington State’s tax code.

If so, that’s an easy programming fix that raises the bill a bit more. And gets Washington State on the side of the restaurateur, it should be said. States love sales tax revenue. It helps pay for education.

Make yourself heard.

There is some irony in “making yourself heard” when what you’re complaining about is the restauranteur “making themselves heard”. But we’ll leave that aside for the moment.

Once a business does the right thing and removes the fees from their menus, you should reward them with your business again.

Enjoy the ordering tablet.

Written by

Data Driven Econophile. Muslim, USA born. Been “woke” 2x: 1st, when I realized the world isn’t fair; 2nd, when I realized the “woke” people are full of shit.

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