May 10th, 2012
11:15 AM ET
Our sister site HLN reports that a Houston, Texas family claims they were locked inside La Fisherman restaurant after refusing to pay a 17 percent tip on their meal. The restaurant's policy states that the percentage will be automatically added to the tab for parties of five or more.
Customer Jasmine Marks told Click2Houston.com that the staff was rude, the drinks weren't refilled and her group received generally poor service. Marks asked if she could speak to a manager to have the auto-gratuity stripped from the bill, but claims the staff locked the doors and told her that her options were to pay the 17 percent or speak with the police outside.
Automatic tips, or "autograts" as they're sometimes called, are often used by restaurants to ensure that their staff is fairly compensated for the greater amount of effort it takes to tend to larger parties. The server will sometimes have a larger table as their sole focus for the duration of the meal, and won't be making tips from any other tables. This tip, which is generally clearly stated on a menu, or when making a reservation for a larger group, ensures that a server will be compensated for their time and not miss out on earning money for that shift. Often, the tip is shared with other members of the floor staff, like bussers and bartenders.
Having a stated policy in place - usually 18 percent of the pre-tax amount - can eliminate awkwardness and confusion over tipping etiquette, especially if you're dining with business colleagues or people you don't know especially well. On the flip side, patrons sometimes feel they're being tricked into tipping more (especially if the server hasn't pointed out that the gratuity was already included) or discriminated against if the auto-grat isn't always applied. And servers, while they're ensured a base tip, run the risk of earning a lower tip than they would have if diners had been able to decide on the percentage, themselves.
Our tip: always check the restaurant's policy when you're dining with a large group, and be sure to pore over the bill at the end. Weigh in on the auto-grat in the comments below, and we'll share our favorites from both sides of the table in an upcoming post.
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Just pay the fuking tip people and go on with life. There are more important things to worry about than a stupid fuking auto tip. These stories make me realize we need a nuclear holocaust to rid the world of idiots like this.
Yes, cause nuclear attacks solve everything, including your bad spelling. You are either a child, a Republican, or both, because your reaction just radiates stupidity.
Wow, are you nuts. Glad you're not my neighbor.
People overseas think tipping is weird. I have gotten strange looks for putting money on the bar after getting a drink. They usually ask what I want.
Yes, and apparently they feed dog to children in Indonesia. What's your point? You understand that the USA isn't Europe, right?
Really Walter? Thank for pointing that out. I'm talking about the UK, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, not Indonesia. But thanks for pointing out that Europe isn't the United States, thank you so much Walter.
Yes, I know you're talking about Europe. Europe is different than America. Indonesia is different than America. Pointing out that other countries do something different is about as useful as noting that the moon is made of rock. Yeah, so what? We ain't talking about Europe, Indonesia, or the moon. We're talking about tipping and autograts IN AMERICA.
You're right. The USA ain't Europe....what a pity.
I save all my pity for folks like you.
It's called a gratuity for good service not a demand to offset the employees wages.
And it's PRINTED and STATED so that even an idiot can leave the restaurant or complain PRIOR to the bill being presented.
Yea, and you don't know if the service is going to sucks until after it happens.
It is nice when it is clearly printed and stated, so that you can make your reservation elsewhere, or make certain to never return to a dining establishment that took your assigned tip but gave crappy service. It's good to know for the next time you want to dine out.
a simple solution to this would have been to ask them to break up the bill into a party of 2 and a party of 3. That would remove the auto gratuity. The manager is a moron. You do whatever you can to avoid an unhappy patron.
Hey, here's a brilliant idea! If you don't like the autograt policy, DON'T EAT AT THE RESTAURANT.
Waiting until AFTER service (without complaining to management either, I'll note) means that you're just a douche and a moron and this is absolutely more about your cheapness than any principle or intelligence.
But I'm sure we could all tell that if we saw a picture of Jasmine.
Just saw Jasmine in the linked video. Theory confirmed.
Yes definitely complain to management about your server in the middle of the meal. Especially do it if you like spit in your food and drinks.
I think we can all agree that Walter is a crappy waiter. Crappy waiters like Walter love autotips because then he can do what he normally does which is be lazy and not work hard and still get paid. I feel sorry for whomever eats in Walter's station tonight because I'm sure spit and boogers are just part of the meal like he feels his tips are.
ohh noo 5 whole people at my table, waaah
Totally aside from the merits of tipping (and I have been a waiter and been stiffed on large tables, so I understand), Lord help the bonehead who locks me in a restaurant. Aside from the chair going through the front door, there would be the kidnapping charge and/or false imprisonment lawsuit.
Pay the auto-tip you cheapskates. If you didn't like the service, tell all your friends and don't go back. Trying to make a federal case out of it is just psycho.
Being locked in a building is psycho
They had a chance to talk to the cops. Apparently the cop sided with the restaurant. I see that these people did Yelp their issues. They should leave it at that. It's good they got this article coverage too. But refusing to pay the tip that you knew you were going to have to pay is just lame-o. It's puts the bad on you. Keep the bad all on the restaurant by paying the tip and advertising the bad restaurant. BTW, the photos of the redneck-looking LA Fisherman on Yelp is nothing like the classy photo in this article. lulz
You have to wonder what they expected from a place called "La Fisherman"
It screams pretentious wannabe to me.
It screams cheap illiterate to me.....
Fisherman in french is Pecheur – and it would be LE PECHEUR –
If you are going to use another language – use it right – this place sounds like Denny's that sells fish – or maybe IHOF
I think it is supposed to be "LA" (as in Louisiana) Fisherman.
I hate the auto-tip. Generally when I go out I tip more than 20%. However if I receive very bad service (just the kind outlined in this article) I like to reserve the right to tip a smaller amount, maybe 10%. The author's point that your large group may be the only one the wait on during your meal really isn't valid in this case. If that were true in this case, the table should have recieved better service and not worse. Also since you have a large table, the tip will be larger since the overall check will be higher. The auto-tip is an insult. 1 way around that is take cash when you go out to eat with a large group. You can pay the cost of your meal and tip appropriate to your level of service, keeping in mind great service deserves a great tip.
I beleive the majority of the public needs an education on tipping. Everyone must understand that servers depend on tips as their hourly salary in less tha $4.00.hour. I would never tip less than 20% regardless of service. These people can only make a living if people tip at least 20%. Tipping is NOT for exceptional service and I think resturants have every right to add the tip for large groups!
Servers know what kind of industry they are getting into and the pay that goes with it. If they don't like it they can do something else, like getting a real job.
And just what constitutes a "REAL" job? Waiting tables is a real job. Yes, when you go into food service, you know what you are getting into, and for a lot of people you can make a lot of money, but that's only if people play by the rules.
Doctors know, when entering that industry, that they will not make the money that they bill (usually at most they make 50% from an insured patient), but that doesn't make it okay when people don't pay their bills, or when an insurance company does not pay out what they should. Simply because something "is" that way it "is," doesn't make it acceptable.
Also, waiting tables is often the best line of work for a lot of people for numerous reasons. I waiting tables in college because it worked with my schedule, and was the way I could make the most money, even though I knew what I would make would vary a great deal depending on the guests. As someone who often earned at least 20% tips, I understand this from both sides, I would get angry seeing customers tipping servers well who did a terrible job, and would get angry when I did really well and didn't get tipped.
No, what this country needs is to pay the wait staff a fair wage and then eliminate the tipping system altogether.
The tip is an incentive to perform hence the reason wages are low. Work harder, earn more. Screw up, take a loss. That's the way the system works. Don't like it, find another career.
I totally agree! I always hated seeing people feel like they needed to tip well when they received bad service because they felt they had to, BUT I was also equally (if not more) annoyed when I would have customers who, hopefully out of ignorance, did not tip me what I deserved. One exception to the latter was a wonderful little old couple I used to wait on once a week, who, no matter the bill, always tipped me one dollar. They were the sweetest, most adorable couple and thought this was SUCH a good tip, and it was my favorite dollar of the week. If customers are great, I can sometimes excuse a lower tip. :)
No. You are the one that needs an "education". Tipping is not some sort of entitlement. A tip is earned. That's what makes it a tip as opposed to what they do in Europe.
Yeah, but it works both ways. Servers also need to understand that if they give poor service, they do not automatically deserve a tip. Average service gets 15-20% from me (depending on what I can afford), while great service gets 25-30%. Poor service gets nothing. Why should I pay a server anything at all just to ignore me?
unfortunatley good service does not mean good tip. So many cheap people out there. I have been to many places where I have witnessed excellent service next to me and the diners left a $5.00 tip on a $65.00 meal. Just tip and don;t go back.
Gratuity should be paid for extraordinary service. The problem with the autograt is that it is guaranteed and a lot of times you get poor service. A customer should be allowed to talk with the manager if they get poor service and cut the autograt. Of course, tipping is just the restaurants way of having the customers pay the wages for the servers. It would be much easier if, like in other countries, the servers are paid a higher wage and tipping is completely discretionary and not expected.
I completely agree with Huckleberry's comment. Tipping is out of control in the US, often times, very little service is given, often times service is marginal at best! It should not be customer's responsibility to pay server's wages just because a restaurant owner is too cheap to pay a decent salary. I too like the European/Asisn method of either no tip or a 10%VAT, I found service to be exceptional in all cases overseas and tipping is not expected, plus it is often discouraged!
Although I agree (with you and the first reply) I must say a lot of the poor service is the restaurants fault. I can't tell you how many times my tips suffered because I was oversat on tables. I always felt so terrible, and luckily my regulars usually knew what was going on, and I finally quit that restaurant. A lot of the problem has to go with the restaurant industry: It's expensive to run a restaurant in the U.S. versus other countries, and a lot of restauranteurs do not give a crap about anything but profit.
Restaurants and servers have forgotten what tips are for. Even in this article they say that tips are to compensate servers, wrong! A tip is a customers way of showing appreciation for good service. Typically the better the service, the better the tip! If a restaurant feels that their servers need compensation then they are not paying them enough to do the job they have hired them for. If you automatically give them a tip, no matter what the service was like then you are not encouraging them to perform their best!
The sad truth though is that establishments don't pay minimum wages to their waitstaff. The staff earns about two dollars an hour. Tips bring their pay up to minimum wages so this is legal. By law if the server doesn't make enough tips to make minimum wage the establishment pays the difference. It is sad that the wages fall on the customer. In a perfect world the servers would be paid a liveable wage from the establishment and customers could show appreciation for exceptional service by giving a little extra.
you do realize that waitresses and waiters don't get min wage, right? There total comp is tips. My rule is 20% no matter what, with exceptions like spitting in food, but that has never happened to me...25%+ if they did an amazing job. What's another extra few bucks to let someone know you appreciate them? it goes a long way. I have never worked in the restaurant industry but have dated a few waitresses so I hear stories. Some people are cheap and rude. Get over yourselves.
I ran a club and restaurant for 14 years. So I think I know a little. You would actually tip a server that is rude and obnoxious and poor serving skills a 20 % tip? I would certainly love to work for you, I wouldn't even have to perform and still get paid! I typically pay way over 20% tips because I am well aware of what the servers deal with. But I will not pay that for poor service, I still tip, but just to show my appreciation of you bringing me my meal. Believe me if I show up in a restaurant and you are my server and you do a great job, I very well may tip you what the average person makes in a days wages. There is nothing for me to get over!
Another great comment, I totally agree!
Good to hear. I'm headed to Houston the week after next, and I'll be certain to scratch La Fisherman off my list of dining options since this is how they treat their customers.
Tipping is important to me because I have worked for tips most of my life. Automatic tipping is wrong to me though. I tip twenty percent for average service and it goes up with the waitstaff's performance. I don't deduct from their tip for things that are out of their control but I'll tip ten percent if you obviously don't want to be doing your job and treat my table as a hassle. Also if I am with a big party I tip well over the mandatory 17 or 18 but many people will only tip that. I understand why establishments do this because there are some cheap bastards out. If you can't afford to tip you can't afford to go out to eat. At the same time if your in service industry the best way to get stiffed is to expect a tip from the start. Sucking up isn't necessary either, being prompt and competent is more important.
My family just got back from a vacation to Japan and there is no tipping at all in that Country. They are truly very clean and quiet people. The service and hospitality was the best we have ever had and we have traveled all over the world. The Japanese believe in Harmony, most of which the USA is missing completely. The gratuity stuff in this Country is just ridiculous. Coming home from Japan to American was like traveling down the most smoothest road in the world and then all of a sudden you are in America on a potholed trash lined highway. No tipping and a lot most respect for the patrons is what this Country needs. Come on America we can do better than this. For the last twenty years in the United States things have been going downhill. Uneducated,filthy cities and a society that could care less is what is ruining this great Country of ours. Along with a government that is only looking after itself and not the citizens things will never change. I love this Country but enough is enough, Japan is looking like my retirement place. Remember they are about Harmony not greed. Tipping is something that should be completely eliminated , but that's the least of things to worry about.
As a former waitress- I do agree with an automatic gratuity being applied, but with limitations. If a table asked to have it taken off, I always brought it to my managers attention. As a server, TYPICALLY you do not have the authority to remove it and need someone in management to do so.
As far as the controversy over tipping being mandatory- i think it is highly expected within the industry to receive tips from a table. Every restaurant I worked in, I had to tip out the bartenders, hosts, and bus boys a certain percentage of my total sales. If one table stiffed me on a tip (or if multiple did) – I would end up having to pay the remaining people out of my own pocket and would end up working for free or losing money in an evening.
Tipping is standard in America- to have one restaurant change the policy and include a tip in the price of the meal would run them out of business- unless every restaurant did this all at once. Not going to happen- until then, if you can't afford to tip your server- go make your own meal or go through a drive through.
Why would you have to pay anybody else a portion of your tips? That makes no sense to me, since they are being paid a higher wage than you are in the first place.
I've had to tip out before too, and unless I am swamped and the bartender is making me complex drinks that I couldn't do cause I am running, I didn't like it either
Not true. In the U.S., servers and busboys and bartenders are paid a very small wage, sometimes lower than minimum wage becuse tips are factored in. This does reduce the cost of your meal. Having said that better service deserves a better tip. When I get really bad service (and that doesn't happen often) I will leave 10%. Really good service should get 20% or more.
so if you dont tip the waiters are still going to get minimun wage I know several waters that make more on the hour with there tips than I do as a skilled trade person. Is that fair
Hate to break it to you Timbo- being a GOOD server is a skilled trade. It requires professionalism, hospitality, multi-tasking, patience- all while making sure the that the kitchen did not mess up an order that you may have entered correctly. Or even worse, that the kitchen is backed up to no fault of your own. A "Skilled" server will recognize this before it happens- and be able to let the table know things are slow- sometimes offering an appetizer or bread to hold them over.
I am not saying that every server out there is up to par with what should be expected- but the fact is, good servers can make a very living off of this- because it requires skill.
Bartenders, Hosts, Bus Boys and Waitresses are all paid under minimum wage (usually between $2-$3/hour). It is expected that since the hosts, bartenders and bus boys are helping you provide the best service, they should be compensated. At one restaurant I worked at, I had to tip each of those positions 1% of my total sales. So 3% total – if I had one large party who decided tipping is not a requirement – I would end up paying to work for an evening.
I know people have a lot of opinions on this subject- but the truth of the matter is- while tipping is "optional" it is required for anyone serving you food to make any money in an evening.
I never provided bad service to groups just because auto grat was included- I always exceeded expectations with the hopes of either getting a larger tip, or customers returning and asking for me as their server due to the customer service I delivered. I am not saying every server is like that- but making a blanket statement that servers are lazy when there is a large group is an awful assumption to make.
"Tipping is standard in America" – perhaps but unfortunately, good service is not. Tips are still gratuities; if restaurants want to make it a fixed cost, they should factor it into the cost of the meal. As another commenter said, a tip is something you leave as thanks for exceptional service. Adding a predetermined "thanks" for exceptional service is not acceptable. While restaurants do it, to be honest, I am so offended by the practice that the restaurant gets nothing for from me where in other cases, I would have tipped more generously for good service.
I understand that having a large party monopolizes a server's time, so restaurants want to make sure the server gets fair compensation for his/her work. But if I don't care what the ridiculous excuse is, if my party receives bad service I reserve the right to give the waitress a crappy tip or stiff her if the experience is just awful. Regardless of the autogratuity.
When I go out to eat I expect to be served a meal in a prompt and courteous manner. That's all.
Just read the rest of your post. You sound like the kind of waitress that would have engendered the kinds of tip responses that this family gave. I understand your reasoning but would put your conclusion back on you. If I go to a restaurant, I pay for the food and good service. If the service is bad, I shouldn't have to settle for a drive through. What I would say to you is that if you can't provide good service, you shouldn't be in the restaurant business and if you don't like your wages, do something else. I owe you nothing.
I'm a former waitress also. I disagree with the whole concept of tips. The restaurant industry should pay workers whatever wage general labor earns and stop expecting the public to compensate workers for wages the employer should be paying their staff. The general laborer cleaning streets or digging holes in the ground don't get tips, why should a server? Tips should never be expected, they're intended to be for extraordinary service, which often doesn't happen. I don't want to hear the bull about 'we can't survive on what we're being paid!", I KNOW how tough it is. In the 70's I was being paid 1.25 an hour so I know how important tips are. BUT, it's wrong to expect diners to tip you and it's really wrong when diners won't come back to a restaurant because they're expected to tip, especially for lousy service. Change the industry wage standard, then earn any tips you receive.
Once a tip is mandatory, it loses it's ability to motivate the server. I usually tip pretty well, (I am a rounder upper) but the flip side to that is when a server just stinks, I don't tip well at all.
TIP = "To Insure Performance" If they don't perform, they don't deserve a TIP of 18%.
TIP = A gratuity (a VOLUNTARY additional payment made for services rendered)
Please report your tip to the IRS ! Let's see how honest the staff is then.
Report the tip to the IRS?!?!?! Bwahahahaha! Hey, Wregg, your ignorance is showing. Restaurants REQUIRE their servers to report ALL tips (including autograts), usually through their computer system.
And that's been going on since **I** was a server about 20 years ago.
But, hey, welcome to the 21st century. It's real nice here. You should like it.
and from personal experience, they come down hard on you when you don't comply
There are current restaurants (chain ones included) that employees only report to the IRS the tips paid via credit cards. Many empolyees don't list the cash tips due to the fact most places don't pay the difference between what is made and what should be made. By labor laws owners are to pay the difference in payroll from expected and actural paid, but the empolyee has to tell the manager when they don't make the pay for that day or week that was to be made. If the manager is not told they guess the payroll is correct. So since a lot don't tell, they lose income so they try to make it up on cash tips in the pocket.
To say that they don't report cash tips because they don't receive what they should is disingenuous at best. Perhaps they do feel entitled to it, but the truth is, they are not. Rather, they are entitled to pay taxes on their income the same as anyone else earning a wage in this country. It may be on a small scale, but this is still illegal and unethical I find it particularly distasteful if they are in a state that requires companies to make up this difference – I don't believe this is the case everywhere. I appreciate good servers and I generally tip above the norm, but I don't appreciate anyone who makes excuses for unethical behavior.
Having been in the restaurant industry for many years, I can say with certainty that most waiters and waitresses do NOT report all of their tips. It is one of the reasons I tip on my credit card – then there is a record that they have no choice but to report. Cash tips often go unreported. This also means that they don't tip out to bartenders and busboys on the full amount of their tips.
Taxing of tips has always bothered me, especially for restaurant staff that pretty much get nothing in terms of labor protections compared to everyone else. Since they are exempt from minimum wage laws, then the tips should be tax free to balance out the fact that are being left to fend for themselves.
WREGG - "What Really Egregious General Goofiness"
WREGG - A person who really has no idea what he's talking about.
You need to come off your high horse and do your homework. The definitions of TIP are correct and have been around for far longer than you.
Except for the acronym version...yes.
I agree with the policy, IF and ONLY IF, the proprietor is required to make sure the policy is stated and posted upfront and in plain sight of all patrons. As long as the party is aware of what to expect when it comes time to settle the bill, then alls fair. Once notified, it's the patron's decision whether to make the reservation or decide whether to eat at the establishment at all. As for me, I'm personally not above walking out of a restraunt if I don't agree with their tipping policy. That will probably be the last time they see me anyway so I didn't lose any friends by walking out and finding someplace else to dine.
I have no problem with tipping and often tip very well.... however I have noticed when I travel (which I do quite a bit for work) whenever I'm in an area with the tip included (think Miami for starters) the level of service goes way, way down.
It strikes me as intensely dishonest to force me to reward someone for a poor work ethic.
Eat out less. You can eat better at home. Plus if they think you're cheap they'll spit in your food back there in the kitchen.
I wonder how many people just decided not to eat out after that comment
and one more thing, not 100% on topic, but I hate it when I am with a few others, and I am paying the bill (cause I'm the oldest one there, and maybe they are family), and they have to order appetizers, specialty drinks, specialty orders, more this, hold that, take home containers for extra sauce, etc., .etc., and I am seeing my expected tip go ding, ding, ding, through the ROOF. ok, thanks for letting me say that.
DON'T FORGET TO TIP ON SUBTOTAL, NOT TOTAL. You shouldn't have to tip on top of the tax, especially like here in DC where tax is 10% but in MD it's 6%.
In CA, it's like 9%, so I just usually double the tax and add more if the service was excellent, or decrease it if the experience was not.
Waiters, here's a note to you. Guaranteed way for you to lose 5% of your tip off the bat is refuse to split the check when I'm out with my friends, if I tell you at the beginning to split the check.
I got old somewhere, people are paying way more tip than I do
I thought 10% was unhappy with performance, 15% was good service
you must be over 20%, and in California that is significant tip
Yeah, I agree. I checked on Wikipedia and it says the customary used to be 15% up until the 1980s. Now the customary is 18%. Can't say as I agree with much.
Here in Ontario it's 11.5%, and I can think of a handful of people that tip after tax. It's a bit much.
In my experience with larger parties (i.e. autotip), you often get poorer service. One server wants the whole table (for the tip), but doesn't have time to service it properly, so you wait and wait and wait.
i've been a server, and traditionally larger tables are poorer tippers. BUT i've also been a customer who has had to pay the mandatory gratuity for very poor service. sometimes servers take the mandatory tip for granted, and give their better service to the tables that they have to work for the tip. shame on the restaurant that locked the customers inside.
I generally tip 20-30% (sometimes much more at the bar I go to regularly), but I would gladly pay extra for my meal if it meant not having to deal with tipping. I think everyone should be paid a fair wage and not have to rely on the generosity of customers. People don't dine out to save money so it looks really bad to be stingy with the tip. If you can't afford it, don't do it.
You are probably too young, but dinner at an East German resturant would have changed your mind. When the server is not working for a tip they lose the will to please.
"Tip properly"??? What is tipping properly? A tip is not a right. It is a gratuity that should be left up to the customer.
I think tipping is a great process. Basically, you buy a product (service) and after the fact determine how much it is worth to you. I'd like to have that same option for buying cars, cell phones, etc. I don't have a problem with the mandatory tip for larger groups. Typically the waiter/waitress has to pay the chef and others, often over 10% of the bill, as their share of the tip. This is regardless of how much a tip, if any, they receive. So if they get tipped 7%, the other 3% comes out of their pocket. If they don’t get any tip, they pay 10% themselves. In the case of large parties, this can be a considerable chunk of money.
However, the minimum tip is to protect the wait person from cheap or uninformed customers, not allow them to be ensured a tip, regardless of performance. This staff was completely out of line and I'd be shocked if a lawsuit isn't filed. Any customer has the right to speak to a manager if they so desire. If the manager has any sense at all, he will immediately waive the automatic tip if the service was not good. He will either comp at lease part of the meal or provide gift vouchers for a future visit. You cannot put a price tag on customer dissatisfaction and the resulting word of mouth bad publicity.
Tipping is part of dining out. If you don't like it, if you don't agree with it, if you tip the same whether its a $10 dinner for one, or a $100 dinner for one, then you shouldn't go out to eat. Its not opinionated, its not arguable. Its customary and fact. How another corporation runs their business, how another country sets their protocol on tipping, none of this makes sense or is applicable. If you can't afford to tip at the proper rate, or don't like to, or find it confusing because you can't do simple percentages and addition in math, or you like the way another country does it, you are wrong and should not be dining out. Think of tipping as tax. You can't argue adding tax, you can't argue not tipping. Now if service isn't good, and this is broad because everyone has a different view of what they think good service is, and more often than not people think good service is either getting their food right away (nothing to do with service, thats the kitchen) or getting free stuff ( you know who you are, and that includes trying a sample of the wine to make sure you like it, are you out of your mind??), then you should be saying something when it happens so it is corrected. You don't go out to eat to not have great service and great food, so if the service is lagging, tell them, if the food isn't great, send it back, if the bartender takes too long, tell someone! No, instead you just justify leaving them less right? Not your problem right? You should expect nothing less than a great dining experience when you dine out, and you should tip appropriately at the end, not counting inconsistencies til the bill arrives and then justify why you are not paying or tipping what is normal and customary. Don't forget that 18% is baseline, as in two guests that had ok service. If service is better it should go up. If you have kids at the table it goes up, if you have allergies, it goes up. If you have a special occasion that is accommodated, it goes up. Remember, if you don't agree with any of this, its fine, you are just arguing what is normal and what the rest of the general population deems general and acceptable. Not saying you can't be different, or not do what others do, just know that the only thing your indifference does is hurt others financially.
You sound like you are unhappy with your base wage. You also sound like you think you are entitled to a "TIP." Try educating yourself on what "TIP" means. If you are so entitled, get an education and a better job. I am in the camp that thinks establishments should pay their people rather than expect customers to help pay their employees wages. I will walk out of a place that has a mandatory gratuity (an oxymoron, by the way), and have. I will think about starting at 10% and go up or down from there based on service. Considering the actual amount of time a server spends on my service, it averages out to about $20 an hour. Which is well above the minimum wage. Starting/demanding at 18% or more is rediculous.
I can tell you are working in restaurant industry, but probably not at a really good restaurant, because at a good restaurant you won't be badgered or roughed up for a tip. Here is the news for you. Customer is still always right and tip is not a tax. Food has to be good and service has to be good for the waiter to get a good tip. There is nothing you can do about it, because it is the customer, who decides where to eat out and how much to tip. If you insist on 18% being a tax, you will be out of business soon, mostly because it a sign that people don't tip generously at your place, and if they don't, something is wrong with the restaurant, not with the customer.
I think we need a few definitions from Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
Tax: a charge usually of money imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes
Tip: : a gift or a sum of money tendered for a service performed
Look at the definitions of those two words and tell me how, other than having to do with money, those two words are related at all.
"more often than not people think good service is either getting their food right away (nothing to do with service, thats the kitchen) "
YES IT SURE THE HELL DOES IDIOT:
1. When did you put in my order?
2. Did you forget to bring something from the kitchen I ordered:
3. Did you put in my order wrong?
4. Did you bring out something OBVIOUSLY wrong to my table?
5. Did you DELAY in putting in my order due to things like bussing a table or VOLUNTARILY going to other tables that did NOT call you over or did not have any tasks that were asked for *BEFORE* I just ordered?
6. Did you drop my food?
7. Did you know that servers PURPOSELY WAIT to put entrée orders if you order an appetizer or soup or salad with your meal? That means sometimes they wait TOO LONG spacing things out.
Those are MANY issues to think about. YOU ARE VERY WRONG! I see it A LOT when servers wait to put in your order like when they are double or triple sat by HOLDING your order in their hands that ENTIRE TIME they are taking 2 other table's orders that could take up to 10 mins. or more time meanwhile your order hasn't even been entered.
I also have servers forget things like our waitress forgetting my entire side dish (potato salad) I saw it on the *TRAY* even or bring out DUH mistakes to the table like DUH a waitress once brought out 2 sets of beans when my husband ordered the meal as it came with beans & rice at On the Border.
You have *NO* common sense, NONE!! You obviously are an IDIOT!!
The only way the server is not at fault is if they put in the order AS SOON as they could in a fair manner(such as I don't expect them to do that if they have hot food to deliver for example) and they bring you your food out when it's done(IF THEY CAN) with the order being put in correctly and if they bring it OBVIOUSLY correct. If it's another server, then your server could have still gotten your condiments out *BEFORE* your food arrived.
Springs1 – you sure seem grouchy .... and then to refer to someone else that they are an idiot..? Take a look at yourself please.
"Springs1 – you sure seem grouchy .... and then to refer to someone else that they are an idiot..? Take a look at yourself please."
WHY when *I* KNOW MORE THAN MOST PEOPLE, HUH?
One issue that could have complicated things legally is if the family was trying to pay by credit card and the establishment was refusing to run the card without the auto-grat. Under that scenario, leaving could have been construed as skipping out on the bill - which could be criminal.
Agree with many others, establishments auto-grat at their staff's peril. I will tip 25% for good service...maybe even 30% for good service with a difficult crowd. But if there is an auto-grat (or service fee) - that's it, not a penny more from me.
John this also makes no sense. It is blatantly disrespectful based on inappropriate defiance. "I tip and I tip good! But try and tell me what to tip and I won't!" Why wouldn't you just tip good no matter what and not change your sentiment just because you lose full control over the decision of tipping? Especially when this is a policy implemented by the restaurant not the servers! You think the server wants to add an auto-grat of 18%?? Absolutely not, I would be ok with an auto-grat of 22% because I think thats more appropriate, but adding 18% is rightfully dismissed as it doesn't reflect a proper percentage to charge, its too low. Yes, too low. And judging by what you said about how you like to tip at sometimes 25%, I would think the 22% auto-grat would still be favored to save money?
Assuming they make it clear ahead of time, it is the restaurant's prerogative. That said, if the service is acceptable, I always tip at least 20%, and an "autograt" just screws the server out of the difference.
And, I completely disagree with a restaurant locking their doors. I don't oppose calling the police if the policy is stated in the company's menu or posted in the restaurant, but I also don't know the legality of that. I suspect a guest is not legally required to tip, no matter what.
Having said that, for those of you who don't want to tip (generally speaking)... you're hurting the world. I'm sorry but it's true. I'd rather not go into it in depth about it on a message board but you're contributing to the problem.
Restaurants like this one need to be more careful in these situations. In this age of social media, one stupid mistake by a boneheaded, lives in his mom's basement restaurant manager can really hurt a reputation. Did he have any idea CNN would pick this up nationally and thousands of people would read it? Probably not. But businesses in general need to realize there are millions of "bloggers" that have nothing better to do than spread this story around the web. This idiot manager stood up for the right of 15% gratuity, what maybe $20-$30 for the group? And now the restuarant will surely lose thousands of dollars in revenue.
A mandatory gratuity for larger parties is fine but if the service is substandard the restaurant should be willing to lower the percentage. If service is excellent I will leave a larger gratuity.
Come on people. Wait staff are underpaid by the restaurant owners - it's ridiculous what they are paid. If they were paid a decent wage, this would not be an issue. So, until then, groups of 10 or more in a decent restaurant (not a pie shop or Perkins/Denny's) should have to pay at least 15%. In any other place, the tip should be reasonable and based on the quality of service and food.
I hate going to places where the waiter takes your order but others deliver the food and fill your drinks. The waiter does not deserve 15% for taking your order and dropping off the check.
However, locking them inside is the same as unlawful detaining or perhaps even kidnapping and charges should be file.
I don't have any problem with an auto-tip on a large group, if it is stated in advance, and if the service is reasonable. However, if the service is so bad that the customer feels the need to complain, and the manager is going to not only make adjustments, but lock the doors on someone bringing in a large crowd, well that is just bad business. Also, I don't tip on the tax portion of the bill, and if I use a discount or BOGOF coupon, I tip on what the full amount would have been. I am also very generous if the service is exceptional, and I let the server know so.
I normally tip between 25-30% when I go out. Whenever I ever receive a bill with an autograt of 15-18% then that's all they get.
I have an issue with the whole concept of tipping. In my opinion a tip should be just that, a tip on top of, over and above. It should be way for me to express my appreciation for the service provided to me. I disagree that it should be the means to ensure that the service provider gets to an acceptable wage.
I will usually tip 20% for decent service. I have had family work in a service capacity and know how it currently works. However, I have a problem with autograts, as I takes away my right to tip what I think is fair based on the service provided. If the service is just ok, the autograt is all I will tip.
Agree with you 100%.
If the service is exceptional I will go 20% usually I stay at 15%. I have also been so displeased by the service I have left two pennies on the table face down. I will walk out of any restaurant that tries to dictate a tip to me. If I had been the woman in this story I would have demanded managment to come forth, or I would have left the cash for the meal on the table NO TIP and demanded to be let out. Sorry , no way a restaurant can force you to pay a tip that is at your discretion. Let them call the police. They have nothing to stand on.
You left the pennies "face down"?!?!? oh no you didn't...
What a weird thing to say that you'd disagree with the concept of tipping? Do you disagree with the concept of paying for things you buy or services you get? This is an opportunity to adjust your pay according to the quality of service. Does you having to think bother you? If you didn't tip, the restaurant would pay the server and you'd just pay more for your burger.
My opinion, people who disagree with the 'concept' of tipping are usually people who disagree with the concept of choice or are just cheap.
ugh, Kevin.... can you read or no?
I meant I have a problem with the concept of tipping as it currently practiced. I assumed the rest of my post explained that.
A gratuity CANNOT be mandatory. The word gratuity itself means, in gratitude. If the service is no good, they don't get a tip. Nor can any restaurant REQUIRE a gratuity. The courts have already ruled on this.
A mandatory SERVICE CHARGE for larger groups, on the other hand, would be legal.
But you CANNOT force someone to pay a gratuity.
Large tables that take more time and effort to wait on will be balanced out over time by small tables that require little attention. It all evens out for the server, so the logic of a high mandatory tip for large tables is flawed. I will not support any restaurant that forces a certain tip. It's based on service. To the server above who ignorantly said "if you can't afford a tip, don't eat out"...I say: if you can't afford to live on your base server's wage, get a better education so you don't have to wait tables. Do I actually mean that? No. But that's the type of rude response your statement deserves.
@ Mark and anyone who agrees: you are a server's worst nightmare. The server wage you speak of in my home state of Texas is $2.13 an hour, 100% of which goes to taxes, therefore a server's check is always ZERO dollars and ZERO cents. All income comes from tips. The rules are not hard to understand: 15% for good service, 20% for outstanding service (or if you have been a royal pain of a customer and have the courage to acknowledge this), and absolutely never less than 10%–if there was really that much of a problem then management needs to know about it, and they will take care of you.
Nope, you're flat out wrong. It is accurate that you should go into a restaurant knowing that tipping is part of the payment. And it is also accurate that you should not go out to enjoy a service if you have a problem paying for it. You're absolutely wrong.
You don't always get smaller tables to make up for the larger one. I once had a 20 top take up my entire section and stay for the bulk of the lunch shift, and while they tipped 15%, I still did not make the money I would have had I had a full section. If they'd tipped less, it would have barely been worth going in.
I've been a waitress for a few years now and am a more generous tipper because of it. If a server does a good job, or at least is kind, courteous, and tries, I tip at least 30-40%, knowing what it's like to be a server. That being said, I have definitely worked with some servers that feel a great amount of entitlement to a good tip, whether they do a standout job or treat the table terribly, which I do not agree with at all. Customers go out to eat not only for the food but the atmosphere and experience as well and if the experience sucks, the person should not feel obligated to leave a good tip. I have definitely left 10% or less on a bill because the server was rude, inattentive, and detrimental to the overall experience of enjoying a good meal and I don't feel bad about it at all. You don't get rewarded in other social situations for treating someone poorly so why should I pay you more for ruining my meal?
I'm sick of wait staff attitudes. If they want more money they should go to school and get a better job.
You're paid to be pretty and smile for the customer. Do it!
Most wait staff is very friendly. It's possible that they're just not friendly to YOU. Look in the mirror and figure out why. Your post is a pretty good indication.
Get a real job, Mark and you won't have to depend on the generosity of strangers.
I have a real job and would put quite a bit of money on it that I make more than you. However, paying for a service that you receive is not a gesture of generosity. Are you being generous when you pay your mechanic?
I don't have to tip my mechanic because his employer can get away with paying him a 3rd world wage.
In a situation where the restaurant staff and management are confrontational as described. The patrons could have paid and then followed up by contesting their bill with their credit card company.
I would also followup with negative feed back on the Restaurants web site as well as any social media sites they participate on.
Complaining on websites is becoming a problem. There are now companies out there that eliominate the negative posts about a company. Worst idea ever in my opinion, you will never know now if no negative reviews means they are really good or if they are so bad they had to hire a company to eradicate the bad posts.
I'm pretty sure that kidnapping (locking someone in a building against their will) carries a much harsher sentence than theft of service.
What difference does it make if the there are more than 5 patrons at a table? Is it harder? How so? If anything I'd think it'd be easier because you only have to go to one table to serve 20 people rather than 5 tables to serve 4 people each. If somebody can tell me otherwise I'm all ears. I guess writing 20 orders on 2 pieces of paper is tougher than writing 4 orders on 5 separate pieces of paper? I don't get it. How does 20 people at 5 tables produce different tip results than 20 people at 1 table? If we're using standard math here 20% or 15% or whatever is still the same whether they're at 1 table or 5. Just saying.....
It is directly related to liquor service. If 20 people are all drinking alchohol it takes a well trained experienced server to just keep up with the drink service. 20 people drinking can easily prevent 1 server from being able to do anything but get more drinks.
So then would it make more sense to add auto gratuity to a party whose drinking or who requires more than one server? Besides, when you add booze to a meal, you can basically bet on doubling the bill which means you're going to double the tip. Say I order a $25 lunch with soda. 20% tip equals $5. Then let's say I order a $25 lunch with booze (awesome lunch) which makes the bill $50. 20% tip on that is $10. So while you're still serving drinks (albeit, booze = tougher to handle) you're raking in the tip money for each on of those spendy beers that you're serving so I'd think you'd want people drinking. At least the places I drink at, beers are expensive and I can't imagine the tip you're receiving on top of it isn't worth the extra 3 seconds to pour it from a tap rather than from a pop machine.
Most people do not think as you do. A large table IS a lot more work... but it doesn't mean that you are definitely going to get 20% (or more if the people really watch and see how much work the server is doing..) I've had large groups who then tip very poorly – even though I provided great customer service, made sure everyone had what they were wanting, make sure all of their drinks were up to par, glasses filled it getting low, etc... I would much rather have 6-8 separate tails and make sure they are provided excellent customer service – as they are at different stages, etc and even though I may be running like crazy – I have control over making sure each of those tables are right on que as they should be. It also gives me the opportunity to develope a friendly connection with each table so their experience is a more personal / friendly experience. I also don't agree with those posting that IF a restaurant rule is the 'group gratuity' that they would only tip that much, no more. It's not the server who has made this rule – and if that server really does their job and your group is happy – then that server should be tipped more than the 'group gratuity' amount. Servers usually turn around and tip their helpers (bus folks, bartender staff, etc) out of their tips. :) Hope everyone out there is having a great day !! Happy Mothers Day to all the MOMS out there !! :D
It does make a difference. Serving 20 people that all expect to receive their drinks at the same time, need refills at the same time, need new drinks from the bar at the same time, want their food at the same time, desserts at the same time, bills at the same time, etc. Rather than 4 people at 5 tables who are all in different "stages" of their dining experience. The server is better able to stagger service and provide excellent care than when serving 20 people at the same time.
THEN PUT MORE STAFF AT THE TABLE! It's not really that hard to figure out. If you can't handle the number of people, don't whine when you get a lousy tip -BECAUSE YOU DID NOT PROVIDE THE SERVICE !
Agreed! But with the other guy. Unless you would like to pay an additional 18% charge to each added server, that would be fine. So if it takes three servers to handle your table, then 18% each server should be added, not 18% total to be divided amongst them.
You're missing the point; there's a finite amount of tables in a restaurant. It's a matter of that server getting all of their tables turn into one big table. If that table stiffs the server, it accounts for all of their pay.
Well I don't want to be an arse cause I've never done the job but I still am failing to see the logic here. So what happens right after you serve all the drinks? Downtime. Then what happens after you serve the food? Downtime Not saying it's downtime per se but I'm just saying, with soda, bring a pitcher. It costs 5 cents for a glass of soda. The portrait you paint is assuming 5 tables all come in separately. I'm saying if 20 people come in at the same time regardless if they sit together or at 5 different tables, they all be in the same "stage" of eating at the same time so I'm thinking it would be easier to serve 20 at one table rather than 4 at 5 tables. I'll stop now but I just don't see why this is such a huge issue. 1 table to take care of = 100% attention where as 5 tables = 20% attention. Seems easier with 1. Again I've never done it so I can't say boo about it. =)
I appreciate that you have stated you've never done this type of work before – so I can see where you're not understanding that handling separate tables is better than a huge group. I no longer work in the restaurant industry, but because I did do that job for years, and I know how much work it takes, the long shifts, sore feet, aching backs, etc.. I can appreciate the folks who wait on me now when I go out to eat. There really is no 'down' time as you were stating when working with a large group. Trust me on that. I do think it would really take a person the opportunity to work in that industry to really be able to realize what it takes.. That being said – that doesn't mean there are not poor servers out there. I've had a few times with borderline service – but I do try to remember that I don't know what that server has going on in their life. Do they have sick children at home ? Did they recently receive bad news of some sort ? Lost a friend, family member, a pet ..?? Or are they really just not into their job – which requires a lot of customer service and being able to relate to many different personalities, etc... Most servers are truly there not only for a paycheck, but to also make sure that people have an enjoyable meal and experience. Have a great day !! :D
"with soda, bring a pitcher."
I sorry, I don't agree. WHO wants WATERED DOWN drink, huh? Also, if I am going to "PAY" to be served, then "SERVE" me. I am not going to pour myself and then have to tip them 20%, that AIN'T HAPPENING. I am not there to serve myself.
If you want a pitcher, ******ORDER********* one!!
"but I do try to remember that I don't know what that server has going on in their life. Do they have sick children at home ? Did they recently receive bad news of some sort ? Lost a friend, family member, a pet ..?? "
NONE of that matters considering they don't care about *OUR* personal lives, do they? They are in it for the **********MONEY*************!!
Also, if they did care, they wouldn't come to work if they can't concentrate and if they do go to work, they'd try their best instead of thinking of other stuff.
If they have a sick child, guess what? THEY***********DECIDED************** to have sexual intercourse to have a child. I don't feel bad for people that make their OWN issues in life. It's a *CHOICE*. WE AREN'T RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR CHOICES I LIFE! Especially if you sleep around and get pregnant, HOW is that our issue that you were irresponsible, huh?
I could care less about their personal lives considering they are a STRANGER. Seriously, this is a *********JOB*************. It's business, not some type of charity event or pity party.
"but I do try to remember that I don't know what that server has going on in their life. Do they have sick children at home ? Did they recently receive bad news of some sort ? Lost a friend, family member, a pet ..?? "
NONE of that matters considering they don't care about *OUR* personal lives, do they? They are in it for the **********MONEY*************!!
Also, if they did care, they wouldn't come to work if they can't concentrate and if they do go to work, they'd try their best instead of thinking of other stuff.
If they have a sick child, guess what? THEY DECIDED to have a child. I don't feel bad for people that make their OWN issues in life. It's a *CHOICE*. WE AREN'T RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR CHOICES I LIFE! Especially if you sleep around and get pregnant, HOW is that our issue that you were irresponsible, huh?
I could care less about their personal lives considering they are a STRANGER. Seriously, this is a JOB. It's business, not some type of charity event or pity party.
"but I do try to remember that I don't know what that server has going on in their life. Do they have sick children at home ? Did they recently receive bad news of some sort ? Lost a friend, family member, a pet ..?"
Tony T said this:
"Do you know how many people on a given night tell me I'm the best and still leave no money? Don't tell me, show me the money! "
See, do they care about "US?" OBVIOUSLY NOT, so WHY don't us customers do the same, huh?
Since you seem to be relying on logic, let's use logic to show why it's more difficult for a server to handle a large table group rather than multiple smaller groups. When people dine together, they expect to eat together. Serving food and drinks to 10 or more people in order to assure a smooth, singular dining experience is very different from attending to multiple smaller tables who are not seated at the same time and don't all need to be attended to at the same time. When you see your server unloading a tray at the table next to you, you don't expect to be served instantly. Your meal generally comes within five to ten minutes of the table preceeding you. When you are sitting at a table with many others, you do not expect that your food will arrive five minutes later than your tablemate. The tip percentages may work out the same in the end. but the effort expended is very different.
This is rediculous...I have worked in the industry for 12 years now. That restaurant is run by idiots. Look, the reason there is an auto grat simply stems from the fact that the workload is excessive on larger parties. Try working in the biz and see what it's like or shut it. On occasion, I have actually taken off an auto grat simply because it's the right thing to do. I am not going to auto grat two young parents with four kids. At the same time, when you are working a large party of 14 or so, if you have never worked in the biz, you have no idea the demands that go into it. Legally, you have every right to aks for it to be removed and I (as a server) would expect that if you got terrible service (and I would also respect it). But there is a reason that this policy is in place. So for those of you taking cheap shots....do yourself a favor....buy yourself a clue and don't worry about the tip, better yet ...stay home.
Lots of restaurants are run by idiots and frequented by idiots Brian .
Its a shame I read your post and followed it in the circle that took us nowhere. Blah blah Blah... First you derail the restaurant for being idiots, the you side with them and whine about how hard it is to wait tables. HEN you you have the nerve to criticize anyone who agrees with the patrons and tell them to stay home. With an attitude like that it is clear that if YOU were running a restaurant, I know I would never go there.
Sounds like a false imprisonment lawsuit to me.
When was the last time you tipped the nurse the whipped your butt when you were in the hospital. The Policeman who gave you a speeding ticket. The Fireman who risked his life for yours and saved your home. Or made a large donation to servicemen group for their service that you could afford to go out to dinner while they ate out of a box in the desert. Then work for less than minimum wage and expect Tips to compensate your employer taking advantage of you. A Tip or Gratuity is a gift of money, over and above payment due for service. To a waitress, waiter or bellhop. A tip is for something/service given without claim or demand. Serve the meal I ordered in a professional clean manner. Attend to my needs or wants without having to flag you down. Then that is being attentive to my wants, then that is worthy of gratuity. Other than that, it is extortion. Webster said it I didn't
Here is another example I hate auto pretex. It changes my words no matter if I use spell check or not. I guess Microsoft said that. Otherwise I am sure you understand my point.
Nurses, policeman, and just about every profession is guaranteed their pay. The unfairness of the situation lies in the fact that servers and similar professions are paid next to nothing for their duties. And, the general public berates the service industry for 'tipping', all the while never questioning or being upset that most other professions, maybe even yours, you don't lose pay because you have an off day or you're set up for failure by the restaurant's operations or a really busy day or because someone you're serving is having a bad day and just can't see the good in anything. Being in a career or job where your salary can be subject to perspective, frugality, misunderstanding, and pure meanness is something that deserves a little more compassion than some of the posters here point out.
You have no clue do you? You've never worked in the industry have you? Most servers are paid a flat salary that is less than minimum wage (@$2 to $4 per hour). The tip makes up the difference, and it is shared with others (busser, food delivery). In addition, some restaurants take a piece of the tip for themselves. So a 17% tip is closer to a 8% – 10% (or less) tip for the server. As another poster said, it is the restaurant industry cost-shifting the salary. Do you have a right to refuse a tip for poor service – absolutely! But get educated first. There are many times the server takes the blame for someone else's mistake.
Serving is a thankless job. Too many think they own the server and often treat them as second class people. So get a clue before you spout nonsense like this.
I'm in favor of auto gratuity on all tables no matter the size of the group because of the percentage of rednecks, teens, foreigners, seniors, and cheap rich folks who refuse to tip properly no matter what their service is like.
If you're underpaid, blame your boss, not your customer.
Or better yet, get some skills to go with your pretty smile.
If you're any good at what you do then you can defect from your current employer and work some place else that pays better and has a better work environment.
Boy you name an awful lot of people you claim are not good tippers. How about this– Maybe YOU are the problem?! If there are that many people out there who don't tip you well, I would like to suggest you work elsewhere. I can't say I never got a bad tip, but the great majority of people I served tipped at or above the 15% standard when I worked for tips. In fact, my tips routinely were well above the rest of my compatriots.
have you ever waited tables?
Super. Charge that 18%. I was gonna pay 20, but not now.
I can agree with points on both sides. Folks remember TIPS (to ensure prompt or personal service) is just that a GIFT for good service, it is NOT A RIGHT. The real problem with the TIP idea is that back in the 80's, REAGAN decided that tips were part the wait help salary and made us claim tips on taxes. But, what he and his buddies really did was make it where the restaurant owner could pay us less than the federal minimum wage. In their minds $2.80 cents from the restaurant plus tips equaled the minimum wage. The problem they overlooked is that tips vary in amount so our "hourly wage" varies. Many people, I doubt, remember this action by Reagan. At the time he did this many wait staff bemoaned this but nothing was done. And, yes, when I tip I take into account the turn over speed of the restaurant and how my fellow wait help adjust to it and if they can keep track of their tables, etc Last point, I have waited on tables for sixteen years and THANK YOU to the people who tip well, I'll do my best to earn that GIFT.
Reagan did the right thing there, the restaurant owenrs are the culprits. Tips should be include din wages. It is part of your income.