Like the new Magpie? Tip your line cook

Magpie Cafe has a new location at 1601 16th St., Sacramento
Magpie Cafe has a new location at 1601 16th St., Sacramento

With Magpie Café’s move to 16th and P streets in Sacramento comes a new tipping option: Instead of just offering a tip for service, diners can earmark a gratuity for the kitchen staff. There are separate lines for each on the bill.

Our cashier at lunch last week said Magpie was trying out the new system and gave me a note with information. The note gives an example of a gratuity being distributed thusly: 3-5 percent for the kitchen, 15-18 percent for service.

The note also stresses that tipping altogether is “voluntary and greatly appreciated,” and that diners can tip “as usual” if they prefer.

Magpie follows a trend of Northern California restaurants rethinking the traditional tipping model. In San Francisco and Oakland, where the minimum wage hit $12.25 earlier this year, some restaurants have eliminated tips and instituted surcharges and service charges that go toward wages and also can help bridge the longtime gap between the kitchen and front-of-the-house staff.

Sacramento’s minimum wage remains at the state-mandated $9, but Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has convened a task force to study a possible increase.