Admin Fee Action Alert

By NYC Hospitality Alliance

May 3, 2017

The Alliance has been working with Mayor de Blasio's administration urging them to change the 40-year-old rule that prohibits restaurants from adding a clearly disclosed administrative fee to menus.

But decades old laws don't often get changed quickly, so The Alliance has been persistent in our advocacy. That is why Mayor de Blasio and his administration need to hear, once again, from as many constituents as possible, from every single one of your restaurants explaining why you want the option of using an administrative fee ASAP! 

                                                                           ACTION #1: EMAIL THE MAYOR & HIS TEAM

You and representatives from each of your restaurants need to send emails to Mayor de Blasio and his team.  

INSTRUCTIONS: Write your email urging them to allow your restaurant(s) to use an administrative fee. We've provided email examples and talking points at the bottom of this email. Cut & paste the following email addresses and send.;;;;;

You and representatives from each of your restaurants need to call Mayor de Blasio at 212-788-3000. Leave a message urging him to allow your restaurant(s) to use an administrative fee. Below we've provided two messages you can leave and talking points. Email and let us know the people who left message and from what restaurants.

Option # 1: 
"Hello Mayor de Blasio and Deputy Mayor Shorris and Glen and Commissioners. I am urging you to approve restaurants being allowed to add a clearly disclosed administrative fee to menus. I understand it has been under consideration for over a year now.  Our business and employees are hurting and we need it now, please."
Option # 2: 

"Hello Mayor de Blasio and Deputy Mayor Shorris and Glen and Commissioners. My name is [INSERT FIRST/LAST NAME] and I operate [ENTER NAME OF RESTAURANT(S) & HOW MANY YOU OPERATE]. I employ [ENTER # OF PEOPLE YOU EMPLOYEE] and pay a lot of money in taxes. I cannot wait any longer. I urge you to give my business an answer immediately letting me know that you will amend "Rule 5-59 Restaurant Surcharges" to allow my restaurant the option of using a clearly disclosed administrative fee on my menu. I need this option to keep my business competitive in this challenging business environment. The revenue I collect from the charge will help to pay my sky-high rents, ever increasing operating costs and help me reduce the disparity in wages between tipped and non-tipped workers. Thank you for your consideration, Mr. Mayor."

 The following points were provided to us by members to assist you in writing your emails:

  • The cost to operate a restaurant in NYC has risen dramatically in the past few years due to sky high rents, significantly increased labor costs, higher real estate and commercial rent taxes,  new and costlier employee benefit mandates, and intense competition. 
  • Please support my business by amending Rule 5-59 Restaurant Surcharges to allow me the option of using an administrative fee, as is done throughout our State and the rest of the country.
  • My business contributes so much to our city. Don't continue to wait and leave me unsure if you will enact this important regulatory reform.  I have been waiting long enough. We must be on a level playing field with the rest of the country.
  • Using a clearly disclosed administrative fee listed wherever prices are listed is not a panacea but it can be one tool to help my business be successful so I can stay open, employ people, pay fair and competitive wages, pay taxes and create great dining experiences for New Yorker's, visitors and tourists.
  • Micromanaging my business when other industries are free to include all types of extra fees is beyond unfair.
  • Because of increased menu prices and a 50%+ increase to the tipped minimum wage for employees already earning 2,3,4 or 5 times the minimum wage, the disparity in wages continues to grow between front-of-house workers (who earn tips) and back-of-house kitchen workers (who can't legally share in tips). Revenue from an administrative fee can help our restaurant collect money to pay the higher wages of kitchen workers. We hope to reduce the wage disparity. Kitchen workers deserve it. 
  • I want to use an administrative fee to collect needed revenue for my business and employees because empirical evidence and research shows that if I only raise my prices (again) customers will spend less money that will hurt my business and employees. 
  • Restaurants throughout the country, even everywhere else in New York State are allowed to use an administrative fee, and they do so successfully. Why in NYC, the most challenging and competitive place in the world to operate a restaurant am I prohibited from the option of using this business model?
  • Even the Supreme Court recently ruled that my commercial free speech is unlawfully impacted when I am prohibited from clearly stating what I want to charge and how I want to charge it.
  • Thank you for your consideration and supporting local restaurants like mine.
If you want to help change the system you must be proactive. Contact Andrew Rigie of the NYC Hospitality Alliance with questions at


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