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Aug 7, 2012 05:23 PM

Sugarfish service charge on takeout

i'm just miffed and need to vent.

i got takeout from Sugarfish a few weeks ago. the quality was barely decent. the fish looked lackluster and tasted ok but nothing to write home about. the person that got the food to me was indifferent. we ate thinking that wasn't worth it. well, i looked at the stinking receipt today and they charge a 16% service fee pretax, even on takeout. i usually tip even on takeout but this is crazy. ok, done venting. thanks.

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  1. wow, thanks for the heads up.

    was considering using sugarfish for backup take-out, but 16% markup on $50 tray for takeout is ridiculous.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ns1

      apparently they charge this with everyone. eat in or takeout.

      1. re: trolley

        yeah, it's their tip that is already included with everything.

        whether takeout or to-go, but i guess you could say that since they aren't serving you in the same way as if you sat down it is pricey.

        1. re: kevin

          sure, eating in, maybe i'll accept it. i've been a server before during college and post college. there are many people that'll leave you 5-10% after making you run thru hoops. but i just don't agree with it. it's like telling the customer that they don't trust you to be a decent patron and it doesn't give the staff incentive to work and be decent servers. but on takeout? that's when i draw the line. i just don't think this will work for them in the long run especially in LA where there's so much decent sushi at this price point.

    2. Wow that's wrong.

      Which Sugarfish location did you do takeout from? I go to the Brentwood Sugarfish for takeout regularly, and the service fee is not on my bill, AND the sushi is decent to boot. You should complain to management about this one.

      In my opinion, restaurants should never assume a service fee upfront on a takeout order. And even if for some reason they include a tip upfront, it's also gotta be clearly communicated to the customer upfront .

      1 Reply
      1. re: J.L.

        it was the MDR location. I just sent them a nice email wanting to discuss this 16% service charge. i also looked at their website and the PDF file of the menu and no where do they mention the 16% service charge on the takeout menu however it does state this on their dinner menu. I'm sure they'll be rushing to the phone to call me!

      2. By the By Sugar Fish is opening in BH on Cannon.

        10 Replies
        1. re: Thor123

          i have ordered takeout from the Brentwood location. I don't recall if a tip was included. I do know that the food was packed beautifully. I predict great success for the BH location.

          1. re: maudies5

            wow, sadly it seems like it is even going downhill from about a year ago or so.


            i did like the place.

            1. re: kevin

              they got back to me and they said that was a 'mistake' and would refund my $8 or so dollars. they only charge the 16% to eating in. i'm glad they're going to resolve this but i wonder how many 'mistakes' they make on this. i still don't agree with this practice of charging tip and this comes from someone who was in the service industry. yes, the food is well packed but i don't know. there's a bakery in SF called Miette. Their cakes are beautifully presented but tastes like cardboard. just bc something comes in a pretty package it doesn't mean it's good.

              1. re: trolley

                well, good to hear.

                i bet you some don't even realize the tip. i always or at least usually scrutinize the bills. because more times than not they have made mistakes on the bill, a couple times i let it slide because it was a buck or two. but in this day and age, i don't think anyone what's to let it slide anymore.

                i have to say that some tip on takeout but i've never really understood that, that would be a great inflammatory, possibly inciting topic for one of the other boards though.

                i may to stop going there do to the quality of the food. but i don't know. i kinda like that place though it was much better i think in the first year when it was open and there was only the Marina location besides the original Nozawa in SC. i think this back in 2009.

                1. re: kevin

                  i'm sure many people walk out giving a 30% not realizing. i just think it's wrong. i also think it breeds apathy on both customer and server. i always tip for takeout. not the full 15-20% but somewhere bet 5-10%. when i worked at this thai/sushi joint in college we had a lot of takeout. i would take the order, fire the food at the same time and pack it. it was a lot of work when it got busy and took me away from being on the floor when it was understaffed.

                  as for Sugarfish i really liked the food when i first went there last year. mom and i got takeout as usual and had a great meal. i do feel like the quality has gone way down since. i did even comment about the decline in the fish quality in another thread.

                  this week we got takeout from Irori and for $16.50 we got 6 nigiri with spicy tuna or california rolls with miso, salad, sunomono, and fruit. not bad. no blue crab but a lot more for your money and the quality of the fish was about equal.

                  1. re: trolley

                    When I went to SUGARFISH and paid by credit card, there was no tip line, so I couldn't leave a (non-cash) tip even if I wanted to.

                    1. re: PeterCC

                      aha! so there's my other problem with that. you can't leave more than 16% if you only have a cc. so even if you had outstanding service and wanted to leave more than 16% you have to have cash on you. and you can also get really bad service and want to leave 12% but you're tied to 16%.

                      1. re: trolley

                        Quite frankly, I love the 16% autocharge, with no ability to tip more.

                        As a customer, I find it to be a huge relief-- not because I want to shaft the servers, but because obligating the customer to make a value judgment on another human is, quite frankly, not something I want to do to at end of a meal. At all.

                        Just charge me what you need to charge in order to pay your servers a living wage (ideally just wrapping the cost up in the price and eliminating the line-item "service fee") and we can each go on our merry ways.

                        Mr Taster

                      2. re: PeterCC

                        Yeah, i think because it's already included in your bill.

                        in fact, about the time they first started they actually rolled the service in to the sushi price meals, so if you had a $20 trust me omakase at the time, the tip would already be rolled in there.

                        1. re: kevin

                          Yes, I was replying to trolley's "i'm sure many people walk out giving a 30% not realizing" comment, just interjecting that it's actually not possible to accidentally over-"tip" if paying with a credit card.

          2. mandatory gratuity, how ironic.