Paradise Point's Barefoot Bar & Grill Has To Pay City $34,500 Settlement Fee For Illegal Surcharge

March 22, 2019

Paradise Point Resort's casual waterfront Barefoot Bar & Grill will pay the city of San Diego $34,500 to settle a lawsuit filed by the city attorney's office after the eatery continued to charge customers a hidden surcharge fee despite being previously warned that it was in violation of state law.

City Attorney Mara Elliott’s office confirmed that Barefoot Bar & Grill, located inside Paradise Point Resort on Mission Bay, has agreed to pay the fine after failing to adequately disclose that it was adding a 3% surcharge to customers' tabs. The restaurant had already received a warning letter from the city attorney's office, which went out to more than 11 restaurants in early 2017. Some local restaurants - included those owned by Whisknladle Hospitality and the Cohn Restaurant Group - have added surcharges to customers' bills after the minimum wage across California went up to $11.50 an hour in 2017. In November 2017, private lawsuits were filed against local restaurants, alleging surcharges violated laws meant to protect consumers from false advertising. Allegedly, Barefoot continued the practice while others modified their behavior to comply with state law. The San Diego City Attorney's office asserted that Barefoot Bar's hidden surcharge was a violation of California’s False Advertising and Unfair Competition Law. 

“When you order a meal, you trust the menu to clearly state the price," said San Diego City Attorney City Attorney Mara Elliott in a news release. "It is dishonest, unfair, and illegal to dupe customers into paying a hidden charge after they get the bill. Protecting consumers is one of my priorities, and our office will continue to prosecute businesses that think they are above the law."

The city attorney's office plans to continue investigating the restaurant surcharge issue, and any consumer who believes they may have been victims of false advertising is asked to call 619.533.5800.