Following in the footsteps of Magpie, Ella has added a kitchen tip option to their receipts.
For those unfamiliar with the way tips are distributed, generally, only service staff can legally share in the tips. Kitchen staff is prohibited by law from getting a cut (unless servers choose to share their tips as a gift), and this leads to great pay disparities between the front of the house and back of the house staff.
Magpie was the first Sacramento restaurant to add a line where diners could choose to leave a tip of any amount for kitchen staff. Ella's option is similar, but the receipt asks if you want to "allocate 5% of the above tip to the Kitchen Staff." My server clarified that it meant that for every $100 in tips collected, $5 would go to the kitchen staff. This does not mean that if you leave a 20 percent tip, 5 percent goes to the kitchen, with the remaining 15 percent going to the servers.
One of the criticisims of the Magpie system is that some servers started to see less take home pay as diners started splitting the same tip percentage between service and kitchen staff. The Ella system seems to try to tackle this issue by strongly suggesting that 5 percent go to the kitchen, though I suppose one could change that 5 percent split to any number.
Selland's PR contact did not respond to a phone and e-mail request for comment and elaboration on Wednesday afternoon. My server at Ella during an afternoon visit said that the change took place at the beginning of the year.
While we're on the topic of tipping, there was a great San Francisco Chronicle article earlier this month that examined what's happened to restaurants that have tried to eliminate tipping and increase wages.
So when Sous Beurre Kitchen opened in the Mission in February, Mauschbaugh followed the example of five Bay Area restaurants that abandoned tipping in late 2014. He printed all-inclusive prices on his menu, which allowed him to pay his kitchen staff well above minimum wage and offer health insurance.
This October, though, Mauschbaugh aban-doned the tipless model and issued pay cuts. “We got overrun with taxes, and it became unsustainable,” he said.
Read the entire article in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Rum Rok - The weather may be cooling down but this newly opened Tiki bar has been heating up the downtown bar scene ever since it opened Dec. 9...Co-owner Bob Simpson hopes that the bar, which occupies a former nightclub space on the corner of H and 15th streets, will become a go-to stop for concert and theater-goers attending shows at nearby Memorial Auditorium and Wells Fargo Pavilion. In Sactown Magazine. (Fifth item.)
Soup as medicine: Aka Tonkotsu, Ryujin Ramen House - But there’s no rest for the busy, so I load up on soothing soups like the Aka Tonkotsu ($8.95) from Ryujin Ramen House. With spicy red ginger, green onions, BBQ pork and plenty of super-hot broth, it’s like medicine in a bowl. I love the semicooked egg, too, for its creamy smoothness. Ann Martin Rolke in Sac News & Review.
That parm, tho - Rocklin recently got its first Jimboy’s Tacos, which held its official grand opening last week. Welcome to Parmesan-dusted heaven, Rocklin. The Rocklin Jimboy’s (5410 Crossings Drive) joins the Folsom location and a few spots further away in testing new Jimboy’s menu items. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.
Tea, please - More and more boba shops keep opening in Natomas. The latest is T4 U, which boasts hip decor and excellent credentials. The first T4 opened in Taiwan in 2004, slowly adding more Taiwan locations before expanding to Malaysia in 2012. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review. (Fourth item.)
Bakery’s invisible expansion - Its customers may not realize it, but the popular Karen’s Bakery & Cafe in Old Folsom has practically doubled its space. After years of having its cooking and baking staff squeeze into a tiny kitchen, the business has leased a nearby building that formerly housed the Thai Siam Restaurant. Bob Shallit in the Sac Bee.