It was bound to start happening some time. In California, where increased minimum wages are being imposed on small business owners all over the state rising to $15 over the next five years, some restaurants are dealing with the extra cost by dipping into the gratuity fund.
Already in San Francisco and Seattle many restaurants are going tip free. Instead an additional surcharge is being added to the bill from which restaurants take a portion and pay a portion to the food server.
According to the Breitbart piece, that surcharge in one restaurant in Oakland, CA, is 16%. Given that tips are supposed to be 15- 18% in American culture depending on where you are and some of us will tip more with good service since servers, dining room captains, etc., work on their feet and put up with a lot of nonsense, this is going to confuse the heck out of everyone, and make the price of eating out entirely too expensive for most people.
Increasing minimum wage will, in the end, destroy the restaurant industry where ever wages are allowed to rise high enough for the owners to confiscate all gratuities in order to meet payroll. It would be more honest to raise the prices 16% or whatever the difference is in operational costs with increased wages than just add in the gratuity and then take half.
Then maybe the union apologists will see the folly of raising minimum wages of jobs that were never meant to be bread winning positions in order to promote union activity for what it is – more expensive for everyone else. Doubtful, but we can hope.