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« Blue Bottle @ Mint Plaza, SF: I have been kissed by g-d. | Main | chef pick-up lines. »

22 July 2008


Okay. Maybe I lied last week. That is classic SFL at its best.

I'd MUCH rather see prices raised than a surcharge. It's obnoxious. I know restaurateurs have to make a living, I know their costs rise all the time. I expect to pay for it. But when the rent goes up there is no surcharge. When the price of ingredients goes up there is no surcharge. Charge what you have to charge but quit sneaking "surcharges" onto my bill!

Nothin' sticky about Israel: They need to get the hell out the West Bank and Gaza, learn to live within their pre-1967 border, and let the Palestinians have their damn state. Simple as that, right? Ugh, I guess I just proved your point...

As for the surcharge, I'm with Amy. Raise prices instead. Surcharges are disingenuous at best. The market will bear what the market will bear. There will be winners and there will be losers. It's ugly and cruel and unduly darwinistic but that's America for you.

I actually like the surcharge because it creates discussions like the one above about the crazy health care "system" in the United States. It may inspire people to ask why it is that health care is attached to your job (if you are lucky enough to have that benefit). Or why health care is a privilege and not a right in this country. If prices are raised to offset the health care expense, we won't think about the problem so often. But whether this debate will do any good or not is hard to say... And there could be more effective approaches that aren't taken, like the restaurant industry enlisting their customers, suppliers and so on to fight for a better system.

I agree with Marc, and as long as the government is dictating and choosing selective groups for providing health care, there's always going to be divisiveness and infighting. I think it helps to make people acutely aware of the serious problem. These surcharges add to the discussion and keep the problem visible in the public eye.

If a few dollars here and there could rile up people to take some action, all the better. (It's like the war in Iraq; if there was a mandatory draft, I'll bet there would have been much more opposition to the war, as witnessed during the Vietnam era.)

If Americans want the universal coverage which they should have access to and deserve, they should adopt a single-payer system like most other countries and not rely on the government to hand-pick certain groups that will, or won't, have to provide coverage.

I think the real issue is getting everyone to agree that health care for food industry workers is a good, best, only acceptable idea. In that worker's comp, running a business, having healthy people serve good, well made food to people is a priority. The people who grow it, deliver it and prepare it should have and deserve to have health insurance. In the end the customer has to agree and understand that everyone involved in the food chain should have health insurance. Okay so owners don't want to offer it because it costs money. Some customers don't want to pay for it because it costs money and they want cheaper food. It's getting everyone to agree that healthy, well employees and food chain grunts will feel respected for their contribution to society if they get what most jobs offer these days- health insurance to keep them healthy and well. Must customers have it so why can't most food grunts have it also? In other countries food people are a valuable part of society. We are need to try to support health insurance for all.

I am trying to select a high-end restaurant for a 30-head client dinner in SF and have just encountered this phenomenon. A little research indicates that (a) some have raised prices; (b) some are charging a flat per-head fee and some are charging a percentage of the bill. If I am paying $150-$200 per head for dinner and the fee is 4%, then for 30 people that comes to an upcharge of between $180 and $240, and that is if they calculate the 4% on food and wine before they add in the sales tax and gratuity. If they add tax and gratuity in first, and then tack on the 4% we are talking $300 or more. Who are they kidding? In my very small company (most restaurants have a far bigger staff than I do) people get paid, they do not have to contribute to a very generous retirement plan, and they all get a monthly bump-up for health care. And guess what, my clients never see a surcharge on my bill. Again, who are these people kidding?

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