The elimination of tipping—and the push for a living wage—is undoubtably where the service industry is headed, and should make the experience of paying even easier: no awkward sprints back to the table after Uncle Earl leaves his customary 15% and, most importantly, no math. But in the transition, as different restaurants employ different methods, there's bound to be confusion. Administrative fee, service included, hospitality included, Obamacare surcharges and now "Surcharge Mandates," as applied by a Manhattan restaurant.

Hillstone, which operates two Manhattan locations and others on Long Island, had been applying a 2% line item to guest checks billed as a "Surcharge Mandate" until today. The restaurant's vice president told NBC New York they didn't want to "hide these increased operational costs in our menu prices such that our guests might then question the value of what we offer." Though they don't say so explicitly, it's likely the state's increased minimum wage may have spawned the fee.

While other major cities like Los Angeles are accustomed to surcharges of this variety, the practice isn't legal in New York City, according to the Department of Consumer Affairs. The DCA didn't immediately return requests for comment on how a restaurant would be disciplined for employing the fee, but an attorney told NBC it would likely be around $500 per plate. Apparently, the only time the DCA investigates is following a complaint from a customer who observes the illegal fee.

It's unsurprising that restaurants are trying whatever they can to both guarantee a living wage for their employees while also trying to offset what will inevitably be increased operational costs. While some restaurants employ the administrative fee—a percentage of the bill tacked on at the end—others are making bolder steps by raising menu prices and building in employee wages to the base cost of the meal.

For big name restaurants like Eleven Madison Park, restaurateurs like Danny Meyer and neighborhood joints like Diner, destination diners and loyal fans are likely tuned in to the changes; for restaurants in more touristy spots, like Hillstone, it may take more time to get the message out.