San Francisco restaurants ponder new law

A new law that goes into effect next summer is causing some concerns for San Francisco restaurants.

Restaurants want more details on the so-called "junk fees" law to see if it will force them to change the way they charge customers.

Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 478 into law earlier this month, the bill is aimed at making pricing more transparent.

Now, the Golden Gate Restaurant Association is among those looking to California Attorney General Rob Bonta to see what the potential impact the new law have on the restaurant industry, and how customers get charged.

"There are costs that are really high to do business in San Francisco, and some people choose to offset those with service charges, which are legal in California, and we need to see how does this modify it at all," said Laurie Thomas from the Golden Gate Restaurant Association. "We need clarity from the Attorney General office and the bill's sponsors."

Take this bill for an upcoming engagement party for example, you can see the health mandate fee and service charge. 

That is one of the areas that still need clarification, as are cases where there is a large party and a built-in tip, that customers may not have known about.

Senator Nancy Skinner's office says as long as restaurants prominently display what they're charging, that should be OK. 

The senator's office is monitoring any developments coming from Bonta's office and will adjust accordingly before any legislation goes into effect.

The restaurant industry says they're looking for clarity sooner rather than later, so they can plan for the upcoming year.

"We're going into budgeting. We're trying to decide what are we going to do next year. Can we keep running the restaurants, can we expand, do we have to cut back. So, that's why I ask that we get clarity now," said Thomas.

Bonta's office has not yet responded to KTVU's request for comment.

In previous statements to other news outlets, the attorney general's office said it would work with industry groups in the coming months to work out details on implementation of the law that goes into effect July 1, 2024.