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Tipped Off: the 20% House Charge at Masa

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Welcome to Tipped Off, a new forum for complaining about, discussing, and shedding light upon service charges throughout the city.


Columbus Circle: Here's a thing many diners may not know about New York City's most expensive restaurant, Masa: a meal here includes a 20% service charge regardless of party size. The answering machine at the restaurant states the fact and diners are reminded upon confirmation. But this is what's unusual—the receipt at the end of the meal states that the service charge is not a gratuity. Rather, it's an administrative charge. Naturally!

A receptionist explains that this money goes to "the house," and it covers a variety of operating costs, including but definitely not limited to bolstering the servers' wages. So, the question becomes—in addition to "Why don't they just add that into the cost of the meal?" and "With 26 seats how much 'administration' can they have?"—should diners tip on top of it? "It's totally up to the guest. Some don't tip at all. Some tip hundreds of dollars." Crystal clear.

The tipster who sent in the above receipt added on $300 and notes, "That whole experience was very ridiculous." Your mileage may, of course, vary.
Have a complaint about mandatory service charges? Send them this way.
· Mandatory Gratuities: 25% at Maz Mezcal [~E~]
· Eater Investigative Report: Getting to the Bottom of Mandatory Services Charges [~E~]