Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Food & Drinks
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Published on March 26, 2024
San Francisco's Che Fico Cuts Pandemic Surcharge in Half, Announces New Location at Chase CenterSource: Google Street View

In an age where you typically see restaurant prices climbing, San Francisco's renowned Italian eatery Che Fico has decided to buck the trend – they are trimming their much-talked-about surcharge. Initially introducing a 10% dine-in fee to support equitable pay during the pandemic, they've slashed it in half to a 5% "SF mandates" charge, SFist reported.

While some consumers have vocally criticized surcharge transparency and fairness, Che Fico insists that these funds have gone a long way toward creating more financial security for their staff. As SFist noted, the owners claimed, "the proceeds [from the surcharge] were used judiciously," mentioning a contribution of over $300,000 to their employees' 401(k) plans and distributing "more than $100k to employees through our profit-sharing program."

Users on Reddit expressed mixed feelings about the surcharge strategies, with one user questioning the purpose of explicit fees. At the same time, another signaled support for restaurants like Zazie, which have adopted a no-tipping model in favor of higher wages. As pointed out by a Reddit user, one criticism contends that municipal fees should not be percentage-based, referring to the new charge as "another random charge," posted on the platform.

Despite the pushback, the move to reduce the fee coincides with Che Fico's plans to open another location, proving the restaurant's enduring popularity and business savvy. According to SFist, the upcoming Che Fico Pizzeria at the Chase Center stands as their third San Francisco location and is set to open its doors "pretty soon."

At the heart of Che Fico's business philosophy is a commitment to its people – be they patrons or employees. Chef and co-owner David Nayfeld emphasized this sentiment, stating, "We wouldn’t be here without them," about their guests during a time of rising prices and economic challenges, according to an interview with SFGate. Nayfeld also highlighted the comprehensive impact of their business model, affecting "vendors, to diners, landlords, employees and investors."