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So Sue Me... [moved from San Diego]

Apparently, from what The Linkery's blog indicates, they're being sued by the City Attorney's office over their charge for table service rather than tips. It will interesting to see where this one goes


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  1. Maybe the city attorney's office of san diego doesn't want a san diego restaurant to have "real, non corporate food — ingredients from local farmers, the kind of food that’s widely available in the Bay Area ".

    I am sure they would be happier with another cheesecake factory.

    This is really something that is wrong in America today.

    It is their buisness, they should be able to do what they like, whether or not that is charging table service, allowing smoking, or serving booze 24 hours a day.

    The people who don't like these things can always just stay home and sulk.

    1 Reply
    1. re: stevewag23

      I am sure that the powers that be would love another Cheescake Factory. With their sales volumne, I am sure the sales tax revenue is pretty good. Jeez if you don't like the policy then don't eat at the freakin resturant . You have plenty of other options, maybe not as good but then you don't have to a service charge.

    2. Has Jan Goldsmith bothered to serve any of the Cohn Group restaurants that charges a mandatory 18% for parties of 6 or more?

      Edit: What the? Why did this thread get moved? It should be in "San Diego."

      1. The stupidity of this is really astounding. Especially given how poor the economic climate is. Suing a successful business, that is contributing to the local tax base, over something that's clearly marked on the menu is beyond bizarre.

        1. While I don't agree with the mandatory tips they charge as it makes for an unbelievably lazy wait staff with zero attention to detail or the customer. This is something I've experienced just about everytime I've visited The Linkery, I have to say that the City Attorney's office going after them is a bit over the top and heavy handed. Surely they have more pressing issues to address in the City rather than messing with a well established tax paying business.

          1. The city attorney website has an email address. Perhaps they need to hear how ridiculous this sounds...


            1. Your tax dollars hard at work.

              1. It doesn't seem like they did a lot of research before filing suit. Ugh.

                I have heard a lot of people that disagree with the mandatory fee, but they often haven't truly thought it out. I have also heard a lot of people complain that the sales tax is AFTER the fee, but as I understand it that is due to State law haha.

                1. Could this be motivated by jealous competitors?

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: stevewag23

                    I would think this is closer to the truth. Corporate restaurants getting hurt by the little guys. Corporate can battle anything in court because they have the resources and funds to do it.

                    1. re: SDGourmand

                      Which competitors? I don't think there are many people eating at the Linkery who would otherwise be eating at Friday's or the Cheesecake Factory.

                      1. re: mayache

                        I have no idea what competitors it could be. There is a lot of greedy, jealous people with some strange motives out there especially in these times.

                        1. re: mayache

                          I recall a little hubbub about Small Bar printing on their menus something along the lines of: "We do not include a mandatory 18% gratuity, because we're not a$$holes."

                          Not to say the people behind that establishment are behind the dealings with the City Attorney, but certainly shows that there are a lot of people who are fired up about the issue.

                      2. re: stevewag23

                        That conspiracy theory is pretty far out there. More plausable was that Goldsmith actually ate there one time and was appalled by the terrible service and innability to show that distain by a small or non-existant tip.

                        1. re: mjill

                          Strange, I have only been there twice, but both times I had great service. However, I am not a high maintenance customer.

                          I for one love seeing an auto-gratuity of 18% it saves me money and it makes me happy not to be subsidizing the meals of those who do not tip properly.

                          1. re: mjill

                            mjill, you think that's plausible?
                            I've eaten there with my family five times since last November. I've never had "terrible service." If I had, I'd have complained to them and they would have (as they have stated) waived the 18%.

                            I don't really see your point unless you were just trolling with that comment ... or you think Mr. Goldsmith is more likely to use City resources to further a personal grudge rather than ask for the manager.

                            1. re: The Office Goat

                              I just feel Jay is a contrarian both in food and business. He presents a good alterantive to standard fare chow and for tippig his staff. Wonder how much this wil cost the city of SD in legal fees before they lose.

                              1. re: The Office Goat

                                It was actually a joke, re: Jan visiting the restaurant and basing this on a poor experience. I still think the conspiracy theory though is pretty far out there.

                                18% is fine with me, since I pay more than that as a minimum having worked in the industry all through college. But, that 18% is only fair provided the wait staff is attentative to the customer's needs. I had to hustle to make 15% back then. When the table is out of drinks and you have to constantly ask for another round, someone just isn't doing their job and doesn't deserve it. When you can to ask the hostess to send over one of the waiters who have grouped at the server station chit chatting about whatever, eh, to me they're slacking off.

                              2. re: mjill

                                "That conspiracy theory is pretty far out there. "

                                An anonymous phone call to get the ball rolling isn't that far out there.

                            2. What a waste. Thanks for posting the city attorney's email address, JR. If this is how Mr. Goldsmith intends to 'make his name', by challenging state code, he must have asked his interns to bring him the most ridiculously frivolous cause they could find.

                              I spent a little while last night Googling around to read reactions to Jay's tipping policy.

                              What I learned is that there are plenty of cheap bastards out there who aren't tipping close to 18% on a regular basis.

                              I guess this might be why I tend to get such excellent service at restaurants I frequent. And here I thought it was because of my charming personality. :)

                              1. Here's my favorite line from someone named Charlie on the Linker's blog:
                                "Just call the city of San Diego and ask if mandatory gratuity for parties of X is legal, and if it is then change the menu to say manditory gratuty of 18% is added for parties of 1 or more."

                                1. I agree with the city restaurants should just raise their prices and pay their servers more... Even though I always tip well a tip is not mandatory and changes according to how good the service is. It isnt a tip if you are forced to pay it.

                                  1. I just don't see how the City Attorney can call this a "hidden" charge when it is so clearly stated on the menu. I actually feel a little bad about the 18% gratuity as we usually tip 20% and the service at the Linkery has been outstanding every time we've been there.

                                    1. They just announced the City is dropping its inquiry into the whole thing. Woohoo!!

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: The Office Goat

                                        Please see statement below from Assistant City Attorney Tricia Pummill:

                                        The Consumer Protection Unit has decided not to file a court case against The Linkery Restaurant for its pricing policy. Instead, we will work with the San Diego Restaurant Association to develop guidelines that address the complaints we have received from the public about hidden charges and surcharges.

                                        Tricia Pummill
                                        Assistant City Attorney
                                        Chief, Consumer Protection Unit

                                        1. re: The Office Goat

                                          Yeh, and if this tempest in a beer mug got The Linkery mentioned a few times in the Union Trib and other media, then Jay can be smiling with the free publicity.

                                        2. Definitely something not quite right in this....the City Attorney is incredibly understaffed right now, this is a blatant waste of manpower.