The B-Side

What’s that fee on your dinner bill? 🧾

Plus: 🏀 Basketball wellness check

The B-Side
Welcome to The B-Side, the daily dose of news you actually want to hear. Katie Cole


It’s Monday, Boston.

🌷 It’s also the first day of spring! And it’s definitely going to feel like it with sunny skies and temps in the 50s. 

🥳 It’s also my dad’s birthday, so wish Papa Schario, one of The B-Side’s most devout readers, a happy 74th!

👀 What’s on tap today:

  • Fifth warmest winter
  • Basketball wellness check
  • Grieving the Dunkaccino

Up first…


RESTAURANTS 

Translating your dinner bill

Illustration: Katie Cole

What’s that extra 3, 5, or even 20% fee on your dinner bill? Yes, food prices are stubbornly high already. Don’t grumble about these fees, though. They’re a way to close the pay gap between restaurant workers. And they’re working.

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Here’s a quick translation of what they mean and what they do: 

🧑‍🍳 Kitchen appreciation fee. Also known as a kitchen fee, kitchen administrative fee, or hospitality administrative fee, this 3 to 6-ish% charge goes directly to kitchen workers in the form of increased pay and benefits. The 3.5% appreciation fee at Democracy Brewing has bumped kitchen workers’ wages up $3 to $5 an hour, with most taking home at least $20 an hour.  

Local restaurants doing it:

  • Comfort Kitchen: 5%
  • ShyBird: 4%
  • Chickadee: 4%

⚖️ Fair wage surcharge. Also labeled as an admin fee, this is likely the heftiest extra you’ll encounter, with some local restaurants charging 20% of the bill. It functions similarly to a tip pool but allows restaurants to include back-of-house staff. And it also means that tips are appreciated but not required, so you don’t have to shell out an additional 20%. 

Local restaurants doing it:

  • Brassica Kitchen + Cafe: 20%
  • State Park: 20%
  • Vincent’s: 20%

🩺 Benefits fee. This one is a little less common and it does exactly what it sounds like: help provide restaurant staff with health and dental insurance, retirement funds, and more.  

Local restaurants doing it: 

  • Brassica Kitchen + Cafe: 3%

🤔 Why not just raise prices? It would actually widen the gap between tipped and non-tipped workers since a higher bill usually equals a higher tip (which kitchen workers can’t get). Plus, there’s worry that the sticker shock on a pricier menu will turn customers away.

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🧾 What difference does it make on the bill? Not a ton. On the low end, a $25 bill with a 5% Kitchen Appreciation fee would make your bill $26.25 before tax and tip. On the high end, a 20% fair wage surcharge on a $100 bill makes it $120 before tax (and remember, the tip in this case is optional). Nothing to lose sleep over.


CITY

Quick & dirty headlines

Image: Lane Turner/Globe Staff

🌡️ This winter was how warm? It was Boston’s fifth warmest meteorological winter on record. Across the board, southern New England set records for warm winter temps, with Worcester having its warmest winter on record. So it shouldn’t surprise you that it was also Boston’s seventh least snowy winter on record; only 11.5 inches fell by the end of February. Four of Boston’s five warmest winters have happened since 2000. Smells like climate change to me. 

🔌 Your summer electric bill is going down. Good news! National Grid filed plans to cut its electric supply rates by 58% this summer. This means that starting May 1, the average residential customer should see a 39% drop in their monthly bill ($297.22 to $181.83). But even with the cuts, rates would be 18% higher than at the same time last year. Still, it will be a welcome relief from the exceptionally high winter bills.

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🪧 Climate protests close Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The museum made the call to close on the 33rd anniversary of its infamous art heist after learning that a group of climate activists were planning to stage a “guerilla art installation” in the museum. One organizer said they were there to “protest the fact that everyone’s still talking about the heist 33 years after it occurred… and no one talks about the loss of biodiversity.” The activists instead held a rally outside the museum, where they staged a “die-in.”

🏀 Just doing a wellness check on local basketball fans. If you really rooted for the home teams in your March Madness brackets, you were probably disappointed this weekend as the men’s and women’s teams from UConn were the only ones to survive the first round. And it wasn’t pretty on the professional side either, as the Celtics blew a 19-point lead to the Utah Jazz, taking the L by one point. They did, however, officially clinch a playoff spot, so it wasn’t all bad.


THINGS TO DO

Weekly checklist

🚲 Spin to Taylor Swift Tuesdays at Rev’d Indoor Cycling. Class starts at 7:30 a.m. at their Copley location. Your first class is free!

☪️ Celebrate Ramadan with iftar boxes from Shanti Boston. The $20 boxes are filled with Kala Chana, lentil fritters, vegetable biryani, dates, and other treats.

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✏️ Learn to make crossword puzzles at Lamplighter Brewing Co. from New York Times crossword maker Ross Trudeau. 


ONE LAST THING

Grieving the Dunkaccino

Image: Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff. Illustration: Katie Cole

Fans of the Dunkaccino are mourning its retirement. 

On Friday we told you that Dunkin’ has officially retired the Dunkaccino, their hot chocolate and coffee combo drink. Boston.com asked fans for their reaction, and they delivered. Katie from Somerville wrote that she loved the drink so much it was her high school email address. Megan wrote that it “Seems like everyone’s asleep at the wheel at Dunkin’ headquarters, probably because they can’t get their Dunkaccinos.” But Mark from Framingham may have said it best: “Just another betrayal.”

Want to add your two cents? Join the conversation by filling out the poll here.


⚾ Thanks for reading! If we’re exposing our high school email addresses, mine was [email protected] because what 14-year-old in New England didn’t have the hots for the former Sox star? Then he left for the Yankees. Just another betrayal. 

💃 Keep up with us @BostonBSide on IGTikTok, and Twitter. Send comments and suggestions to [email protected]