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Restaurants That Pay $15 Base Wage Would Be Able to Add 15 Percent Surcharge: New Bill

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Nov. 23, 2020 By Allie Griffin

A council member who represents parts of Brooklyn and Queens introduced a bill Thursday that would allow restaurants to add a 15 percent surcharge to the tab if they pay all their employees a base wage of at least $15 per hour.

Council Member Antonio Reynoso, who represents parts of Ridgewood, Bushwick and Williamsburg, introduced the legislation to help compensate restaurants that decide to pay their tipped employees the $15 general minimum wage.

Employers are allowed to pay tipped workers a lower minimum wage than standard employees, since these workers are expected to make up the difference through gratuities.

Reynoso has named the surcharge in his legislation the “Food Service Establishment Surcharge.” The surcharge would need to be clearly disclosed on the menu, final bill and receipt should a restaurant decide to take advantage of it.

The surcharge cannot be applied to take-out or delivery orders.

Reynoso’s bill also mandates that restaurants make it clear that the additional charge is not a gratuity. All tips would still go to the workers.

The bill would repeal and replace a new local law that temporarily allows eateries to charge customers a “COVID-19 Recovery Charge.”

The current COVID-19 law allows restaurants to add a surcharge of up to 10 percent of the tab. The COVID-19 law ends 90 days after full indoor dining is once again permitted.

Reynoso’s legislation would allow establishments to add a higher surcharge to diners’ bills on a permanent basis.

The bill is co-sponsored by Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer, Adrienne Adams, Brad Lander, Ben Kallos and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

If passed, the legislation would go into effect 120 days after becoming a law.

The legislation has the support of One Fair Wage, a nonprofit that lobbies for the elimination of the tipped minimum wage, according to Eater.

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Jimmy C

Councilman Antonio Reynoso, another guy who doesn’t have a clue how a business works, never ran a business, or worked in a “for profit” business. Yet he’s putting forth a bill that affects small business. Think about that one.

Let me explain for Antonio. Now diners have to pay tax, tip and the surcharge. So they will simply cut down on eating out or stop it altogether (see comments here). Which means the restaurants will bring in even LESS revenue which the “surcharge” will not make up for.

So now the restaurant will have to lay off more staff because of lower revenues. Bottom line – the staff is either laid off or gets less tips and the business loses even more money. Both are in WORSE shape after this bill. Not that difficult to understand, right Antonio?

“Progressives” aka socialists sending our neighborhoods and businesses down the sewer!

Round and round

Used to be easier the old way. Lower minimum wage, more cash tips directly into the pockets of the staff, restaurant able to remain open.

Craig folk

So if you still tip 20% and get the surcharge of 15% you end up paying 35%. Who would even eat there?


WTF? so, most restaurant already jacked up the prices to make up for lost revenues, PLUS now the practice of including the gratuities in the bill have been pushed to a standard 20%, PLUS restaurateurs can add a 10% Covid surcharge,PLUS now they want to get the money to pay their employees fairly from the clients by adding another 15% more? Let’s not get me started with a 9% tax……I dunno, maybe will you see even fewer people dining out like that? Just saying…


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