A Vietnamese restaurant in California was put on blast when a customer shared a photo of a receipt that appeared to include an automatic 18% service charge “for parties of one or larger.”
“I’ve seen restaurants include gratuity when it’s a large party but never for parties of 1!” irked patron and Reddit user TRTL2k posted on the site’s “mildly infuriating” thread.
Their meal — reportedly eaten at the Cupertino location of Pho Ha Noi — had a subtotal of $49.50 but rang up at a frustrating $62.93, thanks to the fee ($8.91) plus sales tax ($4.52), according to a posted image of the receipt.
Calls to Pho Ha Noi by The Post were not immediately returned.
Many on Reddit also took exception to the protocol amid growing backlash to similar phenomena — including “guilt tipping” on tablet screens.
“That’s the tip as far as I’m concerned,” wrote one user of the service charge.
“F–k that then. Just another place I wouldn’t need to eat out at,” added another.
“No better way of saying ‘we definitely do not pay our workers enough,'” a third commented about the seemingly new take on tipping etiquette.
It is also becoming increasingly common for eateries to tack on bizarre charges — ones usually referred to as a “wellness fee,” “kitchen appreciation fee” or a “living wage charge,” which restaurants say go to workers.
Upper West Sider Anna Nikkinen was floored to see a $15 fee appear on a recent bill while dining out at trendy Italian mainstay Mother Wolf in Los Angeles.
“It’s just kind of crazy because it’s not like the food and drinks are cheaper — and we’re still paying for employees’ benefits,” she previously told The Post.
Many on the recent Reddit thread also questioned why restaurants — almost all of which have navigated the turmoil of inflation and supply shortages since COVID — don’t simply raise their prices rather than implementing a charge of these kinds.
“Every couple of months, we will have a guest that wants to speak to a manager to understand why we do that instead of increasing our prices,” Romain Turpault, owner of upscale New Haven, Connecticut, eatery Union League Cafe, previously told The Post about tacking on a 4% kitchen appreciation fee post-pandemic.
“To me, at the end of the day, it’s actually exactly the same thing. Only we show why the price has actually increased.”