Restaurant hits back after backlash to its 'harsh' service charge rule for parties of one or more
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Featured Image Credit: FOX/u/TRTL2k /reddit
Tipping is a topic of often controversy the world over, with the US being one of the only countries where tipping is generally expected.
For many service workers, tips can be the make-or-break of a hard day's work - which is often why generous amounts of cash are met with shock and happiness.
The federal minimum wage for employees who receive tips is just $2.13 per hour, though it must be at least equal to $7.25 an hour factoring in tips.
In simpler terms, in the United States tipping is not optional.
But that hasn't stopped people getting furious online after discovering that a California restaurant has decided to include a 'service charge' of 18 percent in the bill.
While this is usually standard for large parties, Pho Ha Noi introduced it in November last year for parties of one or more.
A user posted an image of a receipt to the 'Middle Infuriating page' on Reddit.
The receipt contained a message written at the bottom which read: "18.00% Service Charge Included.
"For parties of 1 or larger, a 18.00% gratuity is applied automatically. If you have any questions, please speak with a manager."
The caption alongside the image also read: "I’ve seen restaurants include gratuity when it’s a large party but never for parties of 1!"
This was met with plenty of angry comments, with many calling it 'crazy' and suggesting that this was a 'neat way to lose customers'.
However, in November, the restaurant explained in a sign posted on their door that the charge is used to benefit their staff by increasing wages and covering health insurance, adding that the charge is still optional.
The note explained: "The service charge is not gratuity, but is used in part, to increase our employees' wages, and to cover other employee-related costs and health insurance.
"A service charge allows more equitable distribution to all employees of the restaurant. Additional gratuity is appreciated, but is not expected.
"We will be happy to remove the service charge if our service doesn't satisfy your needs."
But it seems as though this has gone over a few people's heads.
Harry Nguyen, the co-owner of Pho Ha Noi, told KTVU 2 Fox: "A lot of people are racist, they call to my restaurant, and they yell at my employees, and they ask us to close the business. That’s not nice to do that.
"We are trying to do that because the service worker doesn’t have enough pay for the very expensive living in the Bay Area right now."
And Helen Nguyen, the restaurant's other co-owner, added that they want to 'serve the customer better and keep the good worker' as if they don't 'they have the right to leave my restaurant'.
They also added that other restaurants have an automatic service charge.
Staff have praised the charge, however, with one employee saying that it means he doesn't have to work two jobs anymore.