DC restaurants add supplements; what they call them is not so clear

A growing number of DC restaurants are adding supplements to customer bills to help offset higher staff costs and rising inflation in food and provisioning expenses.

A growing number of DC restaurants are adding supplements to customer bills to help offset higher staff costs and rising inflation in food and provisioning expenses.

But there has been some setback on social media regarding the transparency of these additional fees.



They go by a variety of names, ranging from processing fees to a government mandate surcharge.

The popular Twitter account Barred In DC has multiple threads with readers discussing the supplements.

“I think it’s important that restaurants choose words to be accurate and truthful,” said Dan Simons, whose The founding farmers is one of the largest independent restaurant groups in the DC area. “Restaurants are figuring out these things. I saw a lot of different verbiage there. Soon all restaurants will have specific verbiage that they feel comfortable with.

Its restaurants call the 5% restaurant recovery fee supplement, and waiters will automatically remove it if the customer questions it. Simons says only about 4% of diners did.

A surtax is not universally viewed as a short-term solution to dramatically increasing expenses.

Geoff tracy Chef Geoff’s Restaurant Group includes two Chef Geoff locations, as well as Lia’s and Tortilla Coast.

“I sympathize with any restaurant operator right now in getting the right amount of money back into their bottom line. But it wasn’t my choice to do the supplements because I think it’s confusing for the client, ”Tracy said.

Instead, Tracy plans to raise prices in 2022 to keep up with the spike in spending.

“At the end of the day, the consumer has to come to terms with the fact that prices are going up because the cost of the products we sell to them is going up,” he said.

Raising prices may seem like a simple solution, but there is a risk in doing so, even if the customer is able to pay more for one of their favorite dishes at one of their favorite restaurants.

“It doesn’t work that way,” Simons said. “When you increase the price, sometimes even 50 cents, they can look at that price and the psychological impact is that they choose a cheaper item, which can mean a $ 15 or $ 16 pasta dish.”

Tracy agreed, saying that in her experience increasing menu prices by, say, 3% doesn’t exactly equate to a 3% increase in sales.

The customer message also applies to restaurants that switch to no-tip models or that automatically add a tip.

Nick Freshman, including Mother sauce partners the wallet includes The Freshman in Crystal City, adds an additional 15% tagged a Fair wage costs. It is used for staff compensation, with all additional tips being pooled for all employees.

“We’ve tried to be as candid as possible with the communication, and in fact my email is listed in all the verbiage for people who want to know more – or want to tell me why this is a horrible idea. “said Freshman.

“I think because there are a few cohesive places to put, customers are confused and some sort of standard is ideal if it were to emerge, but there are a lot of different opinions in our industry on how to do it. ‘tackling this new normal, we’re in it,’ he said.



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