Dining out in Chicago the last few years has been expensive. That’s why Chicago Redditors are documenting surcharges at restaurants across the city.
Why Did Restaurants Add Surcharges?
More restaurants adopted service fees during the early days of the pandemic to help offset inflation costs, pay for higher wages, and cover employee health care, Eater reported. But restaurants have come to rely on those fees to help retain staff and keep up with inflation-related food costs.
Why Are Diners Mad?
Some feel like the extra costs aren’t clear. That’s despite city requirements that fees be disclosed for customers ahead of time and aren’t disguised as taxes.
According to the spreadsheet, Chicago restaurants’ fees range:
- On the lower end, the Duck Inn in Bridgeport charges 3% for health insurance.
- Daisies in Logan Square charges 25% for equitable pay and benefits, but says tipping isn’t expected.
Some Places Use Service Fees to Replace Tips
Chef Rick Bayless has long charged service fees at his restaurants so servers can have hourly wages up to $30, he told Axios. The debate over the additional fees comes amid a yearslong effort to get rid of subminimum wage for restaurant workers.
A protester attends a rally outside the National Restaurant Association trade show in Chicago May 22. (Daniel Boczarski / Getty / One Fair Wage)
+ Know a restaurant with surcharges? You can add it to the spreadsheet.