Government Affairs

Administrative Fees

Allow hospitality businesses in New York City the option of adding a clearly disclosed administrative fee to restaurant menus, which is allowed everywhere in the country, even elsewhere in New York State. This antiqued rule, implemented for an unrelated reason over 40 years ago by the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs, can be interpreted to prohibit this practice. The administrative fee works successfully in other progressive cities like San Francisco as a way for local businesses to generate revenue to cover skyrocketing operating costs and reduce wage disparity between the front of house workers who earn big tips and kitchen works who legally cannot. 

We need your help! It is imperative that the City Council hears directly from restaurateurs on the use of a clearly disclosed admin fee.

If you operate a restaurant that wants the freedom to use a clearly disclosed surcharge, then YOU WILL NEED TO TESTIFY at this public hearing. It is critical the City Council hears directly from restaurateurs.

Email ASAP for instructions how to testify. 

Click here to read the proposed legislation.

For nearly two years, the NYC Hospitality Alliance has urged Mayor de Blasio to allow restaurants the option of applying a clearly disclosed surcharge to menu prices, a right given to restaurants throughout the rest of New York state and around the country. Now after two years of inaction by the Mayor, members of the City Council have heard our industry’s voice and will intervene.

Legislation has been reintroduced, that if passed, will supersede the Department of Consumer Affair’s prohibition against surcharges, as long as a clear written disclosure describing the surcharge is provided to customers. 

The public hearing for this legislation has been scheduled for June 21 at 1:00 PM and will be held at Council Chambers - City Hall, New York, NY 10007.

Read Transcription of PDF Letter to Mayor on Admin Fee 4/25/18

NYC Restaurants Need City Approval For an Optional Surcharge

Dear Mayor de Blasio,

WE, the full-service restaurant operators of New York City, implore you to permit our establishments to
include an optional surcharge on dining checks. This practice is allowed everywhere around the country,
including throughout the rest of New York State. Our payrolls and rents have skyrocketed, which has had
a catastrophic impact on our businesses and employees. If you want to support local restaurants and staff,
allow us the option of using a clearly disclosed surcharge to generate the revenue to simply survive.
The cost to run a restaurant and employ people in New York City is unbearable for many full-service
By the end of this year, there will be nine mandated wage increases in three years:
- The tipped minimum wage has increased 100%.
- The regular minimum wage increased 71%.
- Salary minimum for exempt employees increased 36%.
As restaurateurs we are suffering, and our employees’ livelihood are being threatened too:
• We have laid off tipped employees including, servers, bartenders, bussers and runners
• We have cut hours for many employees.
• We have laid off highly compensated employees.
• We have changed our menus to try to control kitchen payroll.
• We have closed restaurants, which will continue closing at an increasing rate.
• We have been forced to increase menu prices. These price increases have not
and cannot come close to offsetting mandated wage increases and real estate costs.
• We do not consider opening new full-services restaurants in NYC.
We know these wage increases were not intended to have these consequences, but the full-service
restaurants in NYC are now closing in unprecedented numbers, leaving vacant storefronts and limited
service businesses that create fewer jobs and do not offer the renowned dining experiences that help draw
millions of visitors to our city.

We have been waiting in good faith, for two years, for our city to allow us to use a clearly disclosed surcharge.
During that time our business have been further damaged. We need the option to use a clearly disclosed surcharge,
and we need it now!
Mr. Mayor, we urge you to listen to the voice of your local restaurant community.
We need our city’s support now.
Thank you for your immediate action.
Alicia Glen, Deputy Mayor of Economic Development
Lorelei Salas, Commissioner of Consumer Affairs
Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of Small Business Services

Several restaurant logos and signers of the letter are listed.

Bryant Park Grill
Bryant Park Café
Southwest Porch
Cafe D’Alsace
5Napkin Burger 14th St
5Napkin Burger 45th St
5Napkin Burger 70th St.
5Napkin Burger 84th St.
French Roast
Le Monde
Nice Mati
Playa Betty’s
Dallas BBQ
Tony’s Di Napoli
Bistro Le Steak
Havana Central Restaurants
PJ Clarke’s
Heartland Brewery
Heartland Brewery & Chophouse
Heartland Brewery & Rotisserie
HB Burger
Houston Hall
Flatiron Hall
67 Orange Street
Solomon and Ku
St. Ambroeus - Madison Ave.
St. Ambroeus - West Village
Felice 64
Felice 84
Felice 15
Tribeca Grill
Nobu Downtown
Nobu Fi y Seven
Porsche Grille
Daily Burger
Aqua Grill
Freemans Restaurant
Hill Country Barbecue Market
Hill Country Chicken
Hill Country Hospitality
Knickerbocker Bar & Grill
Rainbow Room
Smith & Wollensky
Sylvia’s Restaurant
TAO Downtown
TAO Uptown
Bar Boulud
Boulud Sud
Café Boulud
Bar Pleiades
db Bistro Moderne
Épicerie Boulud Lincoln Center
Épicerie Boulud e Plaza
Épicerie Boulud World Trade Ctr
Big Daddy’s Gramercy Park
Big Daddy’s Upper West Side
Duke’s Murray Hill
Duke’s Gramercy
3 Sheets Salon
Amity Hall Downtown
Amity Hall Uptown
Amy Ruth’s Restaurant
Andrew’s Co ee Shop
Antun’s of Queeens
Arlenes Grocery
Avra Estiatorio
Avra Madison
Bar D’eau
Bar Italia
Baz Bagel and Restaurant
Beauty & Essex
BLT Prime
BLT Steak
Bodegra Negra
Bond 45 New York
Boulud Sud
Brasserie Ruhlmann
Brooklyn Diner 57th Street
Brooklyn Diner Time Square
Café Fiorello
Café Katja
Casa Lever
Casa Nonna
Cornerstone Tavern
Crave Fishbar Midtown
Crave Fishbar UWS
Distilled NY
Don Angie
Down the Hatch
El Colmado
Eleven Madison Park
Estate Garden Grill
Fette Sau
Flute Beekman
Gina Amaricana 93 St
Gina Italiana 91 St
Gina Italiana Broadway
Gina Italiana Lexington
Gina Mexicana 61 St
Gleason’s Tavern of Times Square
Hair of the Dog
Harlem Hookah
Hotel Chantelle
Houndstooth Pub
Il Gattopardo
Jack’s Wife Freda
Jake’s Dilemma
Jake’s Handcra ed
Junoon Restaurants
Kitchen at Cobble Hill
La Goulue
Lake Trout
Le Colonial
Le Marais
Lecheile Bar and Restaurant
Luzzo’s BK
Made Nice
Marco Polo Ristorante
Melba’s Restaurant
Michael’s Restaurant
Mozerella & Vino
Mr Bing - Beijing Foods (5 locations)
Mr. Jones
North Square Restaurant
O the Wagon
Park Avenue Summer
Penthouse 808
Pera Mediterranean Brasserie
Pera Soho
Pier 1 Café
Pouring Ribbons
Punch Bar & Grill
Quality Eats
Quality Eats
Quality Italian
Quality Meats
Rare Bar & Grill
Rare Bar & Grill
Redeye Grill
Rose Water
Rue 57
Russo’s on the Bay
Ryan Maguire’s Ale House
Rye House
Sala One Nine
Salt & Bone
Scratcher Café
Shrine World Music Venue
Soho Cigar Bar
SommTime Wine Bar
Spring & Varick
Spuyten Duyvil
St Anselm
Stanton Social
Stitch Bar & Lounge
Stout Grand Central
Sugar Cane Raw Bar & Grill
Sweetwater Social
Tavern 62
13th Step
Frying Pan
Gin Mill
Good Fork
Half Pint
Leopard at des Artistes
Long Room
Red Cat
Regal Diner
Stag’s Head
Stumble Inn
Trattoria Dell’ Arte
Trattoria Italienne
Wined Up Wine Bar
Wrays Caribbean & Seafood Cuisine
Yatenga French Restaurant & Bar

Read Transcription of PDF Hearing Agenda

The New York City Council Committee Green Sheet City Hall New York, NY 10007 Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing Rafael L. Espinal, Jr., Chair Members: Margaret S. Chin, Peter A. Koo, Karen Koslowitz and Brad S. Lander Thursday, June 21, 2018 1:00 PM 250 Broadway - Committee Rm, 14th Fl. Int 0823-2018 A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to allowing restaurant surcharges Int 0936-2018 A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to prohibiting single-use plastic beverage straws and beverage stirrers The New York City Council Page 1 Printed on 5/30/18

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