The next trend in dining may be tipping not just your waiter but the kitchen staff as well.
Earlier this week, Alimento, a restaurant in Los Angeles’s hip Silver Lake neighborhood, began adding an extra gratuity line labeled “kitchen” to all of their checks. The idea isn’t that patrons will necessarily be expected to shell out an extra 20 percent for the cooking staff, but that if diners want to add a little extra something specifically for those making their food, they can.
Restaurant owner Zach Pollack told Los Angeles Magazine, “I’m guessing people will still default to giving service 15 to 20 percent, but even if they give only a few bucks to the guys in back, it will make a huge difference.”
Pollack, who came up with the idea after losing two of his best line cooks, further explains the concept with a little industry insight: “The logical conclusion would be that the restaurants serving the best food would garner the best tips for cooks, which means the best restaurants would be able to sustain better cooks rather than losing them to hotels, country clubs or lounge restaurants that are able to subsidize kitchen labor with extra income.”
If the idea of a kitchen gratuity line does catch on, keep an eye out for the next big restaurant breakthrough: checks that are nothing more than a photo of the owner shrugging and a caption that says, “You figure it out.”