Scammy restaurant in San Francisco

San Francisco Restaurant “Healthy SF Fee” Scam

In recent years, San Francisco restaurants have been under scrutiny for adding a peculiar line item to their bills – the so-called “Healthy SF fee.” However, it’s essential to clarify that this fee is not what it appears to be.

Contrary to what some restaurants may claim, San Francisco does not have a “Healthy SF fee” or similar charges. These fees are, in fact, fabrications designed to boost profits under the guise of providing healthcare for employees. The reality is that San Francisco imposes a healthcare requirement on businesses above a certain size, irrespective of their industry. Some restaurants introduced these “fees” as a form of protest, expressing their resistance to providing health insurance for employees. Moreover, these fees serve as a means to bolster profits without visibly increasing menu prices, mirroring the model employed by hotels with “resort fees.”

Your Right to Challenge

Some friends found it successful if you politely requesting the removal of this fee from my bill. Remember that the only line item genuinely going to the City of San Francisco is the sales tax. I really haven’t try this. I begrudgingly accepted this and deduct 5% of what I would have tipped.

How much should I tip in San Francisco restaurants?

Or, simply do not tip your regular amount. If they charge 5% for SF Health Mandate, then get rid or reduce your tip by 5%. You can tip whatever amount you feel comfortable on if an acceptable (or better) service is provided to you. I typically do not tip to-go orders since the level of interaction is not high as a serviced restaurant.

A Ray of Hope: Senate Bill 478

The situation is expected to change for the better with Senate Bill 478, set to take effect in July 2024. This law aims to ban “junk fees” in California, defined as mandatory charges not disclosed in the advertised price. Restaurants will need to adhere to more transparent pricing practices.


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