HONOLULU (KHON2) — Zippy’s has added a 2% kitchen charge for those who dine in at their restaurants. The company said it’s to offset escalating costs and attract more kitchen workers.

Those in the industry have said more restaurants could also add a kitchen charge.

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Zippy’s started adding the charge last week but only for customers who dine in at their restaurants, so take-out orders have not been affected.

“We really want to reward our kitchen staff who don’t receive a portion of the tips the guests leave at the front of the house, especially during the busy period,” said Vice President of Marketing and Communications Kevin Yim.

Management points out that when the restaurant is busy servers get more tips. This way, the kitchen crew will also be rewarded for working harder.

Other restaurants started implementing it years ago such as Highway Inn after a court ruling that made it illegal for restaurants to pool their tips, meaning servers sharing their tips with kitchen staff. Gyotaku also added the extra charge but stopped after customer complaints.

Zippy’s said the company tried to hold off on the extra charge but with the cost of doing business rising and workers still hard to find, it had to be done.

“Because there’s been an increase in the cost of energy, the increase in the cost of food — the difficulty, quite honestly, in finding enough staff to work back of house,” said Yim.

Industry officials pointed out that it will only get harder. On Oahu, the single use plastic ban will be in full effect on Sept. 6. Then the minimum wage will go up statewide from $10.10 an hour to $12 an hour. So restaurants will be looking for ways to offset those costs.

“I hear from the restaurants that they all are looking at different ways of how they can ensure to stay in business and a service fee for the kitchen staff it’s a very creative one,” said Sheryl Matsuoka, Hawaii Restaurant Association executive director.

Matsuoka said restaurants can raise their prices but that doesn’t always lead to more revenue.

“Our guests, they have a certain budget in mind, they only can afford to spend so much money,” she said. “So they don’t order that additional dessert or the additional appetizer because they have to stay within their family budget.”

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Matsuoka said the extra charge is good way to keep workers happy.