SF Servers Want Tipped 25 Percent

Mandatory 25 percent tips in SF restaurants could make an easier time for San Francisco servers, but could irritate out-of-town diners

By Chris Roberts
|  Thursday, Oct 13, 2011  |  Updated 12:41 PM PDT
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Kate Bernot/The Feast

The staff is seasoned: Servers join 2Sparrows after stints at L2O and the Ria, and one of the line cooks comes from Alinea.

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Eating out in San Francisco is about to get a few percentage points more expensive, if service industry workers get their way.

There's a movement afoot to make a 25 percent gratuity the norm in San Francisco restaurants, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Some high-end restaurant owners support the move, which would force customers used to 15 to 20 percent gratuities to dig deeper into their pockets.

But will it work, especially in a city frequented by tourists from Europe, where tipping -- seemingly -- doesn't exist?

A survey of Contra Costa County locals, some of whom claim to eat in San Francisco from time to time, would suggest that the gratuity boost will be failed policy -- and indeed, could result in less tips.

Mike Alexander of Antioch said, "They have to be kidding. The whole purpose of a tip is to reward service. If the price is dictated it's not a tip. If they're serious they'll meet a lot of resistance. It seems like everyone is trying to squeeze another buck out of us."

"If they try it, people will vote with their feet," said Candel Garcia. "Tips should be earned, not expected. I usually tip 10 percent or 15 percent, which I think is fair. If they really want a bigger tip they might try to increase their service to justify it."

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