Does Adding Mandatory Gratuity Violate City Law?

A new lawsuit targets Per Se.
A new lawsuit targets Per Se. Photo:

Danny Meyer, David Chang, and Tom Colicchio are considering abolishing optional tipping, but they might not have a choice: It turns out that automatically adding tips might be illegal in New York City. The Daily News reports that Ted Dimond, a “tennis pro,” has filed a class-action lawsuit that cites more than a dozen restaurants. (Doesn’t he have anything better to do? Maybe he’s just upset over a bad meal at Sushi Yasuda?) Dimond says that restaurants don’t have the right to add mandatory gratuities to tabs that cover fewer than eight people and that the Department of Consumer Affairs needs to crack down. His list of opponents includes Per Se, Lavo, Morton’s, and Gallagher’s. It seems unlikely that Dimond will win, but if implementing an actual service fee isn’t allowed, these restaurants can always just raise prices instead. [Earlier, NYDN, Earlier]