Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Bar Agricole and Trou Normand: Tipping and Tax All Included


Owner Thad Vogler is going the way of a select few other restaurant and bars in the San Francisco and, starting this year, began including service in the menu prices at his ever popular SOMA restaurants and cocktail watering holes, Bar Agricole and Trou Normand. In other words, the price you see on the menu is what you get. The reasoning behind the change, said the staff, was to ensure that the cooks, who typically don't get a share of tips, benefited from service charges as much as the front of house.

I can't seem to tear myself from either restaurant and was initially unsure of whether I liked the change or not. $21 for my favorite pasta? $13 for that divine pâté? $15 for those expertly mixed cocktails?

As I thought about it, I came to realize what a noble gesture this is for the consumer. Totally transparency. All in. What you see is what you get. No hidden costs.

I watched the couple next to me finish their charcuterie and cheese plate, and when the check came, the guy exclaimed, "This is awesome! The tip is included in the check!" My mom kept making similar remarks when I brought her to Trou Normand the previous week: "No math!" she told her friends.

And so I've come around. What works especially well for the Bar Agricole family is their impeccable dedication to service and quite simply their delicious cocktails and food. So it makes any sticker shock much more palatable, so to speak.

Now the only problem is that I can't tip more.

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