SAN FRANCISCO -- Five restaurants in the Bay Area will soon no longer be taking tips. Instead, they'll add a flat 20 percent service charge to your bill. It's all tied to the expected approval of a higher minimum wage next week.
Bar Agricole in SOMA has earned a reputation for great cocktails. And its newer sister restaurant, Trou Normand in the Financial District, is earning a reputation for freshly butchered meats.
But very soon, they'll both be known for being among the city's only non-tipping eating establishments.
"You go to Europe, you go to Japan, service is a line item or it's included in the price of food," said restaurant co-owner Thad Vogler. "We've always thought that that was a nice idea. It gets rid of the awkward thing at the end of the meal."
Vogler says he fully expects a $15 minimum wage hike in San Francisco's future. So instead of tips, his team's two restaurants will collect a flat 20 percent service charge.
It's something other restaurant owners are looking at, too, because a hike in minimum wages only boosts pay for tipped employees; making already lopsided restaurant wages even worse.
"The back of the house doesn't get any of it, because most of the people from the back already get more than minimum wage," said Cafe Bastile owner Olivier Azancot.
Customers ABC7 News talked with had mixed reactions.
"I'm a good tipper," said customer Ashur Yoseph. "And I think the waiters and waitresses are going to miss out on tips."
Customer Marsha Raulston added, "Not so much restaurant owners being dishonest, but it's just a complicated task to make sure that 20 percent gets doled out equitably to everybody every time."
Vogler says some of his wait staff are also skeptical about the plan.
"I think they're nervous that their quality of life is going to suffer," he said. "And I think that's understandable."
He also says customers who are not satisfied with the level of service they got can talk to a manager, and the 20 percent service charge might be adjusted or removed completely.
The other restaurants that are doing away with tipping include Comal in Berkeley, and Camino and Duende in Oakland.