Suit Against Mondrian Manager SBE Gives Tips on Tipping at Its Restaurant

If you’re looking for a tip on how to tip at the Mondrian Hotel’s Ivory on Sunset restaurant, you might want to take a look at the class action lawsuit filed on Wednesday by an unhappy diner.

In his complaint, filed in L.A. County Superior Court, Alon Aliav alleges that SBE Entertainment Group, manager of the Mondrian, deliberately misleads diners by telling them on its menus that a tip is not included in the bill, when in fact it is.

sbe entertainment, lawsuit,
Ivory on Sunset restaurant at SBE’s Mondrian hotel.

“In actual fact, a 20% fixed gratuity is already added to the purchaser’s bill prior to the purchaser ever receiving it with no option for the purchaser to modify this percentage,” Aliav alleges. “… Defendant then deceptively misleads consumers by asking for a discretionary gratuity from consumers on their bills, in addition to the 20% mandatory gratuity that is added to the bill as a required service charge.”

Aliav’s tip about tips is a result of his Dec. 22 stay at the Mondrian, which is at 8440 Sunset Blvd. After checking in, Aliav looked over the Ivory on Sunset’s room service menu and decided to order a “Social” burger ($18), a sliced avocado ($6), one margherita flatbread ($17), an ahi tartare ($18) and a Rocky Road dessert ($14). The cost of all that totaled $73. The bill that arrived for his signature showed a total of $95.48 and offered tip options of 18%, 20% and 22%. Aliav added an $18 tip to his bill, apparently not noticing the $14.60 tip that was automatically included along with $7.88 tax. That brought the total for his meal to $105.48.

In his court filing, Aliav includes a copy of the menu that clearly states “Gratuity is not included and lies within the hotel guest’s discretion.” Aliav argues that that statement, and the list of tip options on the bill, would lead a guest to assume that he would decide whether and how much to tip, not SBE.

“Defendant benefits from this deception in the form of being able to entice their staff with additional wage, thereby offering its staff lower hourly wages, by shifting this cost of doing business onto its customers through its misleading practices,” the lawsuit claims.

The class that Aliav’s lawsuit purports to represent includes all people who ate at an SBE restaurant that also said tips were discretionary while including a mandatory tip on the bill. The suit asks that SBE reimburse Aliav and others who inadvertently tipped and that the court levy a punitive fine on the company.

An SBE representative refused to connect WEHOville with the company’s communications office today, instead asking that WEHOville send its questions regarding the lawsuit by email. As of publication that email has not been responded to.

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Nadav Zohar
Nadav Zohar
5 years ago

@dan I thikk you didn’t read the complaint. The complaint alleges that SBE distributes printed menus into everyone of their rooms. The menus clearly state that “gratuity is not included and lies within the hotel guest sole discretion”. However, as alleged in the complaint, contrary to the unambiguous statement on the printed menus, SBE does charge the hotel guests a mandatory gratuity.

Jason Pinyan
Jason Pinyan
5 years ago

@Dan…you are correct. They only charge the 20% on room service, not in the actual restaurant. Every hotel I’ve ever ordered room service from does this. There is a ‘room delivery fee’ AND “service charge of 20%” along with a line of suggested additional tip percentages. I just stayed at a Starwood property in Palm Springs last weekend and this was the case.

Dan Morin
Dan Morin
5 years ago

Aliva appears to have ordered from room service, not from being in the restaurant. There may be a difference, especially if the menu he has is from the restaurant not room service.

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