Customer questions 'kitchen service charge' on bill, says owner wants to pay back-of-house more money

@marinaa.rudan/TikTok Monkey Business/Adobe Stock (Licensed)

‘Shouldn’t you be paying your staff more?’: Restaurant guest questions ‘kitchen service charge’ added to bill to pay back-of-house workers

'If I see of service charge I consider that the tip.'


Braden Bjella


Posted on May 12, 2024

Eaters around North America have reported experiencing what they are calling “tipflation.” This refers to the idea that those visiting businesses are expected to tip more often, and in higher amounts, than ever before.

As a result, many are reporting a feeling of “tip fatigue,” responding by both calling out places that expect high tips and refraining from tipping whenever possible.

The rise of ‘tipping fatigue’

For example, one internet user claimed she was done with unnecessary tipping and feeling like she was “getting peer pressured by a tablet.” Another said he was done with tipping entirely unless he received exceptional service. A further user stated that she would no longer be tipping more than 15% on any given purchase.

However, sometimes, these additional charges cannot be avoided. Restaurants have recently been seen implementing “service charges” into their bills, with numerous restaurants being caught adding these fees reportedly to increase staff wages.

Although few have virally shared opposition to the latter idea, the method of collecting these additional payments—a non-negotiable fee added on top of the bill—is rubbing some internet users the wrong way.

In a recent video from TikTok user Marina Rudan (@marinaa.rudan), she says she received her bill at a restaurant called Liberty Kitchen in Surrey, BC, Canada, when she noticed a “kitchen service charge” on her bill.

“I had asked my server—I’m like, ‘Hey, can you explain to me please what this kitchen service charge is?’” Rudan recalls. “And she had informed me that the owner decided that his kitchen staff should be paid more money, and he automatically now has a kitchen service charge added to the bill.”

When Rudan followed up by asking whether the server still needed to tip out to the kitchen staff, the server allegedly stated that she did.

Rudan says she takes issue with this idea, calling this method of collection “shady” and asking, “If the owner wants the kitchen staff to make more money, shouldn’t you be paying your staff more per hour instead of charging us? Or, as an option, ‘Would you like to add a kitchen service charge?’”

@marinaa.rudan Can’t say it enough…always check your bill before you pay #restaurant ♬ original sound – Marina Rudan

Commenters largely agreed with Rudan’s assessment.

“That just means 0% tip for the server and I don’t come back to the restaurant again,” declared a commenter.

“If I see of service charge I consider that the tip,” added another.

“So the owner wants to pay the kitchen staff more but doesn’t want it to come out of their pocket?” questioned a third.

The Daily Dot reached out to Liberty Kitchen and Rudan via email. 

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*First Published: May 12, 2024, 8:00 am CDT