OC restaurant owners remove tip option from checks; tips added to menu prices

COSTA MESA, Calif. (KABC) -- Customers venturing to the new Restaurant Marin in Costa Mesa might be surprised by what's not on their check - a line for a tip.

Marin Von Blom and her husband Noah instituted a no-tipping policy, believed to be the first in Orange County.

"It's the price people are already paying for their food. It's just all compiled into one number," she said.

The policy results in an average 20 percent increase on menu prices. For example, a gourmet breakfast sandwich costs $22 and donut holes are about $17.

The Von Bloms said they made the decision with their employees in mind.

"We love treating our people like family, and in order to do that we need to be able to offer them incentives and raises and all of those things that come with a longevity of a career," Noah said.

The owners offer health insurance and a 401K to their staff. They also said the move is helping them respond to the increase in California's minimum wage. But the policy is still drawing criticism on social media and from some people who count on tips.

The Von Bloms have also extended the policy to their other restaurant, Arc. Customers who spoke with Eyewitness News said they understand it.

"There's a bit of sticker shock, especially on the drinks. But you know, the tip's included and we're here for having a good time and a nice lunch," one customer said.

While the Von Bloms continue to see how customers respond, they hope it encourages their employees to pursue futures in hospitality.
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