I feel like I am being nickel and dimed to death these days. Just the other day, I ordered some spicy crunch chicken wraps to-go from one of my favorite local restaurants and was shocked to see a posted sign about preposterous surcharge called a “takeout fee”. I just need to know is this legal and if so, why?


Take Out Fees
TSM/Reesha Cosby


I know I am not the only one who is sometimes in a rush to grab food to-go in a restaurant during a lunch break or a little something to eat before heading home from work. Perhaps you, like me, gets furious when being taxed with this extra surcharge?


This reminds me of the fury felt when we get charged “resort fees” in Las Vegas hotels. Or when food delivery rideshares charge taxes, delivery fee, and service fees. Or when we get charged service fees plus “convenience” fees for concert tickets!


All of these extra fees are just becoming too unbearable anymore. I wish I could start charging my own fees right back at them: An Annoyed Customer Fee. (My 11-year-old daughter says that makes me a ‘Karen’.)



If the extra takeout fee is because the cost of to-go box containers are rising and the restaurant wants to pass along that cost to customers, can we make a compromise? Do we need to start bringing in our own food containers and have them place our food to-go in that, because I am not cool with this new “takeout fee.”



Unfortunately, yes, it is very legal for restaurants to charge a takeout fee.

RCW 49.46.160

Automatic service charges.

“(1) An employer that imposes an automatic service charge related to food, beverages, entertainment, or porterage provided to a customer must disclose in an itemized receipt and in any menu provided to the customer…”



As long as the restaurant posts the information someplace, whether on your receipt or on a countertop inside the “To Go” area, they can charge whatever the heck they want.



There is never going to be a win-win situation in this. The cost of food and supplies continues to rise so you either pay out the ying-yang for groceries or in a restaurant. Or we can just go back to raising our own livestock and crops and live like Little House on the Prairie, which in my opinion is a lose-lose situation.


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