Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of the fast-casual Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries.
First it was a 3 to 5 per cent charge added to restaurant checks to contribute to employees’ healthcare costs. This was reversable upon request. Now it’s a mandatory 18 per cent (sometimes 20 per cent) service fee added to restaurant checks that is not a gratuity or tip but (hopefully) goes to elevating the compensation of all hourly employees and other operational expenses. (As a savvy diner you should specifically ask how the Service Fee is allocated.) Should the server also get a real gratuity? Confused? Chef Andrew weighs in.