As restaurants open up in California’s Bay Area, diners may be surprised to see a new charge added to their meal tab: a fee operators say is necessary to pay workers more in a post-pandemic economy where millions of Americans are still getting paid to stay home.
At the Refuge restaurant in San Mateo an explanation is included on the bill: to “compensate (for) high labor costs in the Bay.”
Refuge co-owner Matt Levin told the San Francisco Chronicle that the two percent “wellness fee” is tied to the struggle to find workers. He is already paying 15 to 20 percent more than he paid pre-pandemic hires.
The Chronicle reported on the trend of adding fees for restaurant dining services directly related to the high cost of labor and worker shortages:
Although replacing tipping with automatic service charges is already gaining momentum, some of these new fees