3% Kitchen Appreciation Fee

Effective April 12, 2022, Sweetwaters will begin to incorporate a 3% Kitchen Appreciation service charge to help balance the industry-wide discrepancy between Front of House (FOH) and Back of House wages. We are passionate about adopting a business model that allows for a more even distribution of wages and an increase in quality of life for our employees. We ask that you help support us with this new approach.

A service fee is an additional charge added to the pre-taxed bill that directly supplements the wages of non-tipped employees. By law, kitchen staff may not be included in the tip pool.  The labor laws only allow employees who regularly receive tips to be part of the tip pool.
Statistics show that tipped employees make 2.2 to 2.6 times more than non-tipped employees. It is our goal to bridge this gap and join the pioneers of our industry paving the way for a more balanced workplace. 
Many restaurants throughout the country have adopted similar service fees to promote better quality of life for their staff and the growth of the industry.

Some guests will ask the question “How is this our problem? You should just raise your prices.” And they are essentially correct. Price increase is a common way for restaurants to cover increases in costs. However, these increases affect top line revenue but very little of this increase trickles down to expenses. In reality, price increases actually create a bigger disproportion between front and back wages. The 3% fee is essentially “raising prices”; it is just doing so in a way that enforces a more rounded and direct solution to this wage gap issue. 

This does not supplement the gratuity for the front of the house and we encourage you to still tip as you see fit.  The earnings from this service charge will directly benefit our kitchen staff ONLY. Our servers, bartenders, hosts, and bussers will continue to receive tip compensation and appreciate your continued generosity.  
After much deliberation, we believe that the 3% kitchen appreciation service charge is the best solution to take better care of the hard-working members of our restaurant team and we hope you feel this way too! We thank you for the opportunity to allow us to explain our goals, transparently and honestly.