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Customer in utter disbelief over restaurant's 4% 'wellness charge' on bill: 'Not my responsibility'

The 'supplemental wellness charge' contributed to a significant amount of the bill and the customer wondered why he had to pay it.

Customer in utter disbelief over restaurant's 4% 'wellness charge' on bill: 'Not my responsibility'
Cover Image Source: TikTok | @tactical.realtor

With the skyrocketing cost of living troubling people on one side, the tipping culture is getting much worse. Many instances available on the internet talk about how even self-checkouts ask for tips and restaurants add unreasonable surcharges, harnessing the customer's lack of attention. Recently, a South California realtor named Cary Tong–who goes by @tactical.realtor on TikTok–shared how a restaurant robbed him of a few dollars in the name of a "supplemental wellness charge." The video shared on Mother's Day garnered huge attention, with nearly 2 million views and thousands of people could relate to Tong's bafflement.

Image Source: TikTok | @tactical.realtor
Image Source: TikTok | @tactical.realtor

Displaying the restaurant's bill in the video, he shared his experience. On Mother's Day, Tong decided to take his wife out on a celebratory dinner at a fine dining restaurant named Funke in Beverly Hills. Once they had a hearty meal, they received the bill and Tong was shocked when he noticed a "supplemental wellness charge" of 4%. "I asked the waiter what it was for and apparently, it's for the wellness and health benefits of the kitchen staff," Tong explained.

Turns out, Tong didn't notice the note written at the bottom of the bill. It said, "A 4% charge will be added to each guest check. This charge does not replace a customary guest gratuity and will be retained by the restaurant to help supplement the compensation of the kitchen staff and provide health and wellness benefits to our employees."

Image Source: TikTok | @tactical.realtor
Image Source: TikTok | @tactical.realtor

The note also mentioned that customers could notify the restaurant workers if they wish to remove the 4% wellness charge from their bill. However, Tong was unaware of the same and said, "By the time I found out, it was too late. So we ended up paying for it." Because it was a fine dining restaurant and the bill would usually amount to hundreds of dollars, the 4% surcharge was a significant gain. So, since Tong's dinner cost nearly $700, the wellness charge alone was $26. "I'm not sure why we're paying the kitchen staff's health benefits," the realtor said.

Image Source: TikTok | @txkaos_medic
Image Source: TikTok | @txkaos_medic
Image Source: TikTok | @jorge9726
Image Source: TikTok | @jorge9726

People couldn't believe their eyes knowing about this unfair pricing. "They are charging $700 for a dinner for 2? That's so tacky to add that surcharge. Did they also add a 3% charge for paying by credit card? Places near me are doing that- I think it's nuts," said @kayl.a1. "We have a local restaurant adding 2% to the bill to provide a 'living wage' to the kitchen staff. Prices are already higher than average. That is not my responsibility, it's the employers!" remarked @cleo_sasha. "These prices are way jacked up for employees' compensations, then, adding another 4% more? I understand that employees need wellness and health benefits - it's the employer's responsibility - not mine!" added @pawpaw0329.

In another similar instance, an 18% "voluntary" gratuity on the bill left the customer so surprised that they chose to add a "zero" tip. The Reddit user shared the image of the bill, which amounted to nearly $74, out of which $10 gratuity was added by the restaurant. "Please note that an 18% gratuity has been added to the check. Please feel free to increase, decrease or remove the gratuity. This gratuity will be paid to your server, is voluntary and is added for your convenience," the note at the bottom of the bill read. So, the customer wrote "0" next to the "Tip" option.

You can follow Cary Tong (@tactical.realtor) on TikTok for more lifestyle and real-estate content.

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