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Mimosa lovers beware: Your boozy brunch could cost you a 'vomit fee'

Mimosa overindulgers may face a "vomit fee" in some San Francisco restaurants if they go overboard.
Mimosa lovers beware: Your boozy brunch could cost you a 'vomit fee'
Posted at 8:16 PM, Oct 12, 2023

Unlimited mimosas are a brunching staple for drinking customers hoping to get a big bang for their buck, as well as for restaurants trying to draw the indulgers in the door. But the deal can push some patrons' bottomless binges past their limits, landing the sugary cocktail on the restaurant floor instead of in the thirsty customer's stomach.

That possible scenario has prompted some California restaurants to bump the price of their boozy brunch deal — but only for customers who can't hold it in.

It's called a "vomit fee," and it's being imposed at some San Francisco Bay Area brunch spots to curb thirsty drinkers from going too far.

One Oakland restaurant Kitchen Story, which offers an hour of bottomless mimosas for $23 per person, has made sure its customers know of the penalty by plastering a sign about it in an apt place: the bathroom.

"Dear all mimosa lovers, Please drink responsibly and know your limits," the sign complete with a smiley face reads. "A $50 cleaning fee will automatically be included in your tap when you throw up in our public areas. Thank you so much for understanding."

Before putting the sign up two years ago, co-owner Chaiporn Kitsadaviseksak told SFGate customer vomit was a big problem burdening the restaurant, but after, he can't recall even having to charge anyone a cleanup fee.

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"It was really tough cleaning. People were scared with COVID. And this was happening a lot. My workers don't want to do that. It got better. Now [customers] know they have to pay. They understand," he told the publication.

"Pretty much the same policy" was instated at San Francisco's Home Plate restaurant in 2021, its owner Teerut Boon told SFGate. Though signs put up about the policy in 2021 have since been taken down, it's still listed at the bottom of the menu, and Boon says it's helped.

Other restaurants prevent overindulgent customers by limiting drinking time windows or having an employee create a guest's drink, helping to prevent a guest from pouring past their limit themselves if they were given the ingredients themselves.

This strategy was adopted by The Sycamore in San Francisco, which has a trained "mimosa fairy" top off guests' glasses every 15 minutes or so while also keeping a close eye on who's in need of being cut off — an ability stemming from a mandatory training for all California restaurant employees who handle alcohol.

"There are ways to cut people off without them realizing it. This is the kind of thing they teach you. We practice eye contact and engagement. We come by with a pitcher of water," Liz Ryan, co-owner of The Sycamore, told SFGate. "Nobody wants to see people throwing up. That sort of spoils the party vibe that we're trying to create."

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