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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Tips period are a farce. Bump up the price, pay your employee's enough so they don't need extra and do away with them.
Ok, champ. I hope you're prepared to pay $50 for that steak instead of $40. And $5 for that drink instead of $3.50. And $12 for that side instead of $10. You get my point.
I have worked as a waitress. I know how little they make and how hard they have to work to earn their tips. I tip high when I get good, attentive service. I tip average when I get mediocre service. I have only not tipped twice in my life and that was because the waitress left the food and we never saw her again until it was time to go and at that we had to hunt her down to get our bill. It takes a less than a minute to ask people if they need anything else and goes a long way to presenting good service.
When did a group of five people constitute grounds for the "Auto tip"? I have seen it for groups of 8 or more, but 5? Come on! That's pushing it a bit!
Tipping should not be mandated by any business. It is intended to be a reward for good service not an entitlement. If management feels waiting on large groups is a financial buden to their employees then maybe they should offer a premium pay incentive – why do customers have to pay the owner for the food and then also have to cover the employees for service that increasing seems to fall short of any acceptable standard. It is the employers responsibility to pay their employees. That said it is customary to tip for certain services and that is fine as long as the tipper is the one who gets to decide what the tip is. Otherwise let the business owners add on a "service charge" but do not add insult to injury by calling it a gratuity when the service stinks.
It seems that since the auto gratuity was on the policy it is part of the cost of the meal BUT since the restaurant did not deliver the service that it is for, the customers don't have to pay for it any more than they would have to pay for food that was ordered but not served.
Large groups should get a quantity discount.
A few things come to mind here:
#1 Five people is not "a party"....it's a family.
#2 Locking people inside a restaurant against their will is called kidnapping. I hope these people sue.
#3 I don't live anywhere near this restaurant, but if I did, guess where I would NOT be dining at? Hope all that bad publicity was worth a $20 tip.
You hit the nail on the head! They have lowered the head count to the point where they've forced almost everyone to tip (and thus lowered the expectations on the server) and broken the law at the same time. I hope costs them their business as well.
One other thing comes to mind as well.
1) We don't know that the people were just being snooty and wanted to make the lives of the servers miserable.
2) Working in a restraunt it is not the first time that a customer has tried to cut out on the gratuity and claim it was bad service. (jmo – if you don't want to pay someone for serving you hand and foot stay at home and cook yourself.)
3) Restraunts have made parties smaller and smaller, yes families, because a large group of people out there skip on the grat when they leave. If you work in a tips to minimum area and you put your heart and sould into provideing a family/party with food, drink and atmosphere you too would get made at the end of the time you put in they racked up and 150$ or more bill and you get from 0 to 5 dollars. ( Trust me being a former server you will take care of 4-5 of the larger tables in one night and while your collegues serve tables to couples and smaller groups walk out with an earning of 100 to 150 dollars for thier service you are left with 20 to 30 and you havn't even tipped the bartender and the busser yet who take 10% of your total (busser) and 10% of your total alchahol sales.
4) If gratuity bothers you in the first palce, a practice since the dark ages when weches were not even paid to work in taverns, then stop eating out. Most of you have two legs and two arms with a woking mind in some capacity as well as a functioning upper torso; break out the grill or use your stove other wise plan on paying a little extra to those who just served you. They make far less than you think.
That's four other things.
LOL, your right. I can't count.
Forget the whole tipping thing – but they locked them in? Uh, that's not legal.
If it were a criminal matter, that's one thing, but tipping is a civil matter. It's a contract dispute. If they didn't include the word "gratuity" in there, but simply stated: "service charge" then they would have better ground. Gratuity is synonomous with tip and tipping is optional. Service charges are not optional.
Also, consider this: the police can't decide the law on this one because they tell tons of businesses that money that people agree to pay them, but then they don't pay – is a civil matter. People go to hospitals and rack up tens of thousands in bills that they will not pay – and the police cannot even make them give their true name or address. So do you expect the cops to put these 5 people in jail over a dispute about 10 bucks? Take them to small claims court.
But if you imprison people, that is a clear cut case that should have gotten the manager of La Fisherman at least a stern warning about not doing it again. The customers were smart enough not to dispute paying for the food.
Police were contacted and the patrons were given an option. I know many managers who will side with caution and give the people what they are asking for in terms of what the recieved. If a small business owner is not allowed to detain a person trying to skip on part or on whole of thier bill then it should be illegal for mall cops to chase down and detain children for stealing a sweater or other wanted item; however it is there right to impede someone from leaving who is unwillingly comlying with thier policies of payment and restitution.
I come from a single-parent family where my mother relied on tips. Now that I have money, I always tip. I tip %10 for takeout, even at pizza joints. I tip %20 for eating at a table. If I don't like the place, especially because of bad service, I make sure I leave a nice big tip so they really miss me when I don't come back.
This, especially the last sentence, really made me smile!
When I go out I always provide a tip but i never conform to a %. I dont understand why I need to pay more because i wanted a coke not water or a steak not a hamburger as both required the same service. I expect the same service at Denny's as I do at an expensive steakhouse.
It takes a server just as much effort do deliver a sandwich to my table as a steak dinner. Delivering a soda large soda takes no more time than a small one. So why should the server's pay be dependent on whether I buy a steak or a sandwich? If you go to McDonald's, they don't pay the staff based on what you order; why should a sit-down restaurant?
Think about it from the server's point of view, PLEASE. The serevr at a fine steakhouse is generally MUCH more experienced and knowledgeable as one at Denny's. It may have taken them MUCH longer, and with a better work record, to get hired there than at Denny's. They likely have knowledge of wine pairings, good recommendations on food combinations, and may even know where your food comes from and how it is handled. So you want to tip $5 on a $100 check? (Because $5 on a $20 Denny's check is ok?) You are WRONG, sir.
Just like a good contractor working on your house deserves better compensation than a 'handyman', so too does a knoweldgeable server (and the many knowledgeable servers he/she works with), deserves a proportionately higher tip for a job well done. Learn to be a human being and treat others as you would like to be treated.
Where is the empathy for people that get paid less than minimum wage and work on their feet all day? Have you non-tippers (because a 'flat' tip completely misses the point of a tip) ever been a server?
If they automatically put a tip on the tab fine. If the service was terrible I'll say something then never go back no excuses. I always over tip except when they auto tip. When they auto tip I will not add anything to it at all... no matter how good the service was. In those cases that is all the restaurant thinks it's employees are worth.
The auto tip doesn't bother me and most of the time tip more on top of it. As to getting bad service I usually cut the waiter some slack and chalk it up to them dealing with jerk offs all day.
There's a seriously excessive amount of collar in that photo.
The only time I have ever had a problem with this is when I was visiting my father in law and his girlfriend. We all went out to dinner 4 adults and 2 children, both under 8 yrs old. When we receive the bill there was 20% tip automatically added to the bill. My in-laws questioned it and they said that it was policy for parties of 6 or more and it was stated on the menu. I am sorry but my children should not even count! First of all they had chicken and french fries, and second of all we ordered for them so its not like it was taking all of our waitresses time or anything. Any other time I have not had a problem forking over the tip!
If I were this family, I would consult an attorney and consider complaints for harassment and false imprisonment.
I am not an attorney, however I have a number of years in sales and management. In most jurisdictions, refusing to pay a proscribed tip on a large party is at worst an alleged breach of contract- the restaurant might be able to sue for damages or send it to collections- but it is NOT theft. What the restaurant did by locking the patrons in was an unjustified response that exposes them to serious potential liability.
Even if the patrons committed an act of theft, most jurisdictions restrict how much restraint and power to involuntarily detain that a business may use, and common sense about liability should make anyone who is not an experienced law enforcement officer (police, or other sworn peace officer) think twice about restraining a customer.
I would have said "Please unlock the door" and hope that they let me out at that moment. If not, I would say "I believe that you are unlawfully detaining me and if you do not let me out, I am going to file a legal complaint against you and your establishment."
Bottom line: this is a consumer dispute and nobody would likely be arrested as long as they behaved in an orderly fashion. But the goodwill damage to this establishment, along with possible civil damages could be significant.
I agree with this completely. Regardless of the tip situation, this was clearly proscribed behavior, almost certainly illegal.
I hate tipping poor service. Especially when auto-grat is involved. I wrote a lengthy paper over this subject: http://jake4102.hubpages.com/hub/Tipping-Why-I-Hate-It
I despise the auto-tip... I was taught to tip 20% and that is genrally what I tip at all times (plus I tend to round up so generally the server gets 22-25%). If it's awful service I usually give less than 20%, but this has been VERY rare and the service needs to be atrocious with the wait staff being rude. However, because I hate the auto-tip, I do not round up when my bill includes the tip already. They make less money from me when this happens.
Honestly, the terms "Auto-Tip or Auto-Gratuity" for large groups should be eliminated from restaurants all together. Essentially, it's a "service charge" you're being assessed based upon the size of your group.
I have no problems paying a "service charge" for coming into a restaurant with a large group, but I do have an issue of being forced to "auto-tip/gratuity" without even knowing what type of service I'm going to receive.
I have worked in the restaurant industry in the past, large groups are more time consuming to take care for. However, having a large group to take care of should "NEVER" decrease the quality of service that the staff gives them because of said service charge. The restaurant adding a meager 5-10% service charge to accommodate the additional staff and time larger tables need is a reasonable figure and calling it a "service charge" allows the diners to know it's not a tip, but a charge for the size of the group.
That being said, I have not nor will I ever leave any type of tip for what I consider bad service from the staff. So for those saying, "Just pay it!!", you're the type of people that give this type of crappy service because you think you're owed something from us because you brought our food. That's not Customer Service and only good Customer Service should require a tip.
They should suggest the appropriate tip amount on the bill for large groups. In the end it is up to the patron. If the server does a lousy job then they get a lousy tip. I usually tip between 10 to 20 percent with 15 as an average. There have been 2 occasions in my life where I put in my 2 cents. Literally. The poor service warranted it. These guys are just lucky they aren't in Asia. Most Asian's don't tip because it's not customary to do so. They believe if you don't like it you can find a better job.
... but are they paid less than the minimum wage there? Because in America, They ARE. Remember this.
People have forgotten that TIPPING was based on quality of service. The better the server, the better the tip. It meant that your server worked to EARN the tip. I tip. But it is based on quality of service and not cost of meal. For instance. There is a Chinese buffet not far from work. Sometimes I go there for lunch. It's $7.25 for all you can eat. The servers are great!! Tea is always filled. Plates are always removed quickly. So even if I were to tip %20, they would still only get $1.40. Yet I go to a sit down service and get a $20.00 dollar entree, plus drinks, etc. The server could suck and still get a $6.00 or better tip? NOT A CHANCE. A tip is based on how well you serve. And no restaurant should hold to a predetermined amount that would indicate great service!!!
This one is easy to solve. Pay the tip and then go to the restaurant website and complain. You generally get what you want in the end (in this case– your tip money back) and you can show your face in the restaurant again without fear of a loogie in your burger. In this case, I would have saved money with the autotip. I generally tip 20%.
What used to be a reward for great service is now mandatory. Welcome to Obama's Amerikka...
um...autotips have been around for many many years how in the world can that be obama's fault?! really people grow up
How the hell did you turn that into a political slam?
Oh, good grief. Obama doesn't have anything to do with mandatory tipping. Mandatory tipping has been around since I waited tables in high school 20 years ago. Get over yourself.
Oh yes, Obama is now responsible for every thing YOU don't like. Bad weather, your dog piddling on the rug, and most certainly the gratuity policies of restaurants. This has nothing to do with politics, other than servers in many states are paid far less than standard minimum wage because tips are included in their base salary. That said, I think this is pure extortion and should be considered illegal seizure of the individuals who were locked inside. If the restaurant wants 17% more, regardless of how good the service is, they should just raise their menu prices by 17%. I avoid at all costs establishments that have apply an auto-grat. A tip is a GRATUITY (look up the word in a dictionary) for service well done, not a legal right.
Your an idiot
Snorlax, you're an absolute Idiot! What does this have to do with the President? These types of policies from restaurants have been around long before President Obama took office. I can't believe some of the stupidity the spews out of some people on these boards.
OMG!! You mean this started happening in last two years???? Oh dear!!!
Oh wait!! Isn't Tx govt being run by a Republican named Rick Perry?
NOW I get it. He must not be doing any work, so Obama has to do everything. That is why........
I completely empathise with you.
your kidding right? Auto tips for large parties have been around since at LEAST the 70's WHY would you turn this into a political matter...
Seriously? Seriously irrelevant. That or I must have missed where the President dictated tipping policy.
And forced tipping on large parties isn't exaclty a development over the past two years.
My local store stopped selling Diet coke with lime. Must be Obama's fault too.
@Snorlax , you obviously don't get out much, at least with other people. Including the tip in the bill for large groups has been the norm for years in the restaurant business. Loser
Your're an idiot
haha thanks for the spelling correction.
If the restaurants were forced to pay full minimum wage then tipping would not be required. I spent time in Australia where the restaurant staff gets a full wage. They appreciated my tip but they pointed out that it was not the norm there.
The last time I was at a "mandatory gratuity" table and received poor service from my server, another worker filled our drinks when I went looking for a refill. I asked their name and specifically requested that my gratuity go to that server. The note was on the bill I signed, plus a note that I gave to the manager when I caught him. He was so upset that he actually refunded the entire meal and told me that this was the final complaint he was taking regarding that server.
Tips are a commission on sales. Anyone who works in sales should know that. For those who get paid hourly or salary when you do a poor job you still get paid. When you don't do your job you get paid. Anyone who thinks servers are not worthy of the "gratuity" 'commission should take a job if a restaurant and get a clue. The server pays out %40-50 to the support staff from the gratuity. From $100 -$10-bar $10 runner-$20 busser $10 Sommelier. What gratuity would you give yourself for your performance at your job today.
NO, when I do a poor job I get reprimanded by my boss. If I continue to do a poor job I get reprimanded by the owner and if I still persist I get to send my resume out and hope for the best. If I do a marginal job I get low/no raise. If I do an excellent job I get a great raise. If I do just enough to meet the requirements, I get an average raise. This is how tips should work too. That's the point.
I used to work for tips, so I always tip well. I find that people who have worked for tips understand that you can not give EVERYONE perfect service. So even if I get bad service I still tend to tip well. With that said, I no longer work for tips and I have a much better life because of it. I have a good feeling that both parties were in the wrong in the article above. I've been preaching that the US should change the tipping procedure, if people tipped before receiving service things would drastically improve. Try it, put a twenty down on a table and tell the waiter/waitress that you want your food prompt and glasses always filled. I guarantee you will get good service. Part of the issue is that the staff just does not trust they will be compensated for good service so they slack off. If it is presented first... they will always do their best. My two cents.
As a server, I averaged about $30 an hour in tips plus my $7.25 hour wage. I did not work in a high end establishment. Also, the tax law is a server must declare minimum 8 percent tip income on total sales. That does not mean they pay 8 percent tax on total sales, just include the 8 percent as part of their income. Then they would pay the percentage of that based on their tax bracket. So, they are really coming out ahead on the taxes considering I use to average 20 percent income on sales. (servers must report all tips that come from credit cards though- but they can factor that into their 8 percent total).
So, you admit that you cheat on your taxes if you can? Excellent.
Well put, Andy! More people should cheat on their taxes, it will help move our country in the right direction!
Because neither the Republicans nor the Democrats (since they are the same, hereafter called Republicrats) are willing to cut spending to match income. They just differ on what to spend it on (guns or butter). If we were truly responsible we would admit that spending 47% of the total world outlay on defense is outrageous and cut it significantly and look at our entitlement programs and see how to cut them back or, better yet, implement mandatory work programs for people using welfare and food stamps .I'm sure they can dig ditches, pick up trash, answer phones, mail junkmail, make license plates and perform other tasks such as this – we get criminals to do it and I would propose that anyone not in prison is more qualified plus we already pay them
Here's the problem with a majority of big parties: It's a bunch of couples, or friends, who get together for dinner, but at the end they want separate tabs. Then the server has the extra work of splitting the bills up and running each credit card, while they still have other customers in the restaurant besides that table. If you have worked in a restaurant, you know what I'm talking about. What was a $100 tab gets split up five ways and you get $2 on each $20 because so and so thinks "I didn't drink as much wine as everyone else" blah blah blah. And the server ends up getting a $10 total tip instead of $15 that they were expecting.
However, I don't like auto grat, because I can recognize a business dinner that will be expensed or a family where the patriarch or matriarch will take care of the whole bill and usually take good care of the server too. My point is this, have a little courtesy and respect for your servers. We feed you, and for some people out there you are incapable of cooking for and feeding yourselves, so be nice. We work for tips, it's true. But we are human too. Servers, not servants, so don't be bossy jerks. We also have good memories of every cheap a hole that comes in, so when you stiff us, don't bother coming back!
Too bad. Get a different job.
I'm looking Jim. I was laid off in finance a hole.
Jim, your incredibly well thought out response required comment.
The original commenter was stating every day facts of serving tables. My experience serving tables I never added autograt. I provided better service than that. My average weekly tip percentage was 22. However, I've waited on you before, Jim. You're the guy who needs his free bread refilled 2 or 3 times, his drink refilled every time your server turns his/her back, and proceeds to complain about the quality of food and service the entire meal to the people you are eating with. You're a jerk. Everyone knows it. The funny thing is, the server that your are demeaning the entire time provides you with equally as excellent service as the regular who comes in every Tuesday and always tips $20 regardless of the price of the meal.
Perhaps before admonishing someone's choice of work you should start cooking for yourself and stop eating out. You obviously don't want people to serve anyway. Maybe a compromise would be for you to go to Picadilly's. But make sure to bring a towel and cleaning solution. You wouldn't want someone having a job to clean up after you.
Running just the math on this. Taking a table of 6 who are couples who pay separately should be easier not harder than running 3 tables of 2 people. You go to one table for 6 people, you handle them all at once, you do all the bills in a stack. Less to get confused, etc. A large party is easier than the same number of patrons in a small party. They should not be penalized for this.
From my experience your sales will be higher on three 2 tops than on one 6 top. It is easier to sell a bottle of wine to a couple than it is 3 bottles of wine to 6 people. It is easier to sell one appetizer to a couple than it is to sell 3 to 6 people. It is easier to sell one dessert to a couple than it is to sell 3 to 6 people. I can continue, but I think you get the point. What hurts severs the most is the difficulty of providing personal service to large groups of people. In sales, and serving in the US is most certainly sales, the first thing you sell is yourself. Once again, it is easier to do that to a smaller group of people. Also, with large groups of people you typically need some sort of back up to fill drink and run food. The money to compensate this back up comes from the server not the restaurant.
The autograt is not punishment. It is recognition of a trend. Statistically larger parties have lower sales per head and tip a lower percentage of total bill.
Exactly! Not to mention the fact that in this day and age, most servers will ask big parties before they take the order if the checks need to be separate, then they can do it from the get go since most computer systems do all the splitting for you. So, the server is not doing all that much work to split the bill.
I was a server for many years and can see both sides of this. But in a nutshell, I don't think anyone should add the tip for you. You should be able to decide based on the service you receive. I've had good tips and bad tips through the years because some people don't tip well regardless of what the service was like. I never had a complaint by any customer so I was usually tipped well. And since I was in the business for so long, I generally tip well, but NOT IF THE SERVER DOESN'T earn it. They are not entitled to it simply because that is the job they are choosing to do. If you want a good tip, give good service. It's really not any more complicated than that.
I hate it when a waitress does not write anything down and then goofs up the meal or even the drink order...and you expect a tip? Really?! Sure, I am not eating at home but for that you have a job....i cook at home and I work all day...so if I want to eat at a restuarant..its because I would like to relax....not because I am lazy. Obviously, if you don't want to be a waitress you shouldn't be there either. I feel bad that some people rely on tips for a living, but if that was me....you're damn straight I am going to bust my ass for a tip I deserve and not something I expect. I was a waitress for 3 months, it is not the easiest job but it is easily attained and entirely optional, not forced upon anyone. Our biggest tip was 200% for two reasons...we walked in 10 minutes till closing and both the cook and the waitress welcomed us and made us feel comfortable instead of slamming the door in our face with a closed sign...that was service with a smile and we enjoyed making them smile! It works both ways!
And how did you like it when you busted ass and got 5%?
I'm usually a 20% tipper after the tax is added. Usually the auto tip is pretax percentage so I just pay whats on it. Saves me money. But if I have crappy service I don't pay the full tip, I'll talk to a cop about it no problem. They get zero tip if it gets to that point.
How much for the purple tip?
I have no problem paying a fixed gratuity..however a party of 5 should not be considered a large party. Hell I'd be stuck with that every time I went out with my wife and kids (6 of us).
I don't know if this has been said or not already (because I was just too lazy to read ALL of the comments), but I totally am fine with them having a mandatory gratuity on large parties as long as they let you know the policy ahead of time. But seriously, how is a party of FIVE a large party? That's ridiculous. I just had that happen to me a few weeks ago when five of us went out for dinner and they charged a mandatory tip for us. I tipped a little extra to what I would have tipped normally, but vowed never to go to that restaurant again. Eight or more is a large party...and for some that's still just one family!
I've grown so tired of tips over the last decade. Service is increasingly disappointing, auto-tipping is increasingly common. Coincidence? I typically tip 10%-15% for average service at a chain sit down restaurant (i.e. Applebees). I expect that for such a tip I should get what I consider to be the minimum level of service. My drink should never become completely empty and you should check on my table at least 2 times during a 40 minute meal. if you miss on either of these two things I am very likely not going to leave a tip at all, or if I do it will be in the $1 range.
I can and do tip more for excellent service. Whenever I have a friendly waiter or waitress who is on top of my table, is intelligent about the menu and confident with good interaction and etiquette I will go over the top on my tip. Perhaps 50% or more and I will always ask the host or hostess at the front for the manager as we are leaving so I can quickly congratulate them on a fine employee who takes care of customers. Sadly, this is very very rare. Most seem content with providing the minimum, just getting by.
Recently however I was at lunch with some co-workers at a small strip mall Thai restaurant. When we arrived we had 4 people. All paying separately. Even though there were only 2 other tables with patrons in the dining room it took some minutes before we saw anyone. The hostess was not present at the door and we seated ourselves. She took drink orders but did not return for several minutes to take our food order. In the meantime another coworker who happened to be walking by spotted us and asked to join. We made room.
Our orders were finally taken and after another longer than acceptable wait we got our food. The food was good, the orders were correct, etc. Basically we got what we paid for. Our drinks (all waters) were regularly allowed to go empty at our table and our waitress never asked if everything was okay.
At the end of our meal she passed out our checks and proudly announced that she had applied an 18% gratuity as if it was to our benefit. I was stunned and honestly more than a little upset. I told her to remove it, she refused saying that parties of 5 required it. I told her that if I was to sit one spot over at another table we all would have avoided it and her workload would have been no different. That did not matter. I told we got what we paid for, and the service did not warrant a tip of that amount. She didn't budge. I asked to talk to the manager – she was the manager. I asked how to contact the owner – she was married to the owner. I told her I would dispute the charge, she said go ahead.
In the end I used the online form at my bank to dispute the charge, which they refunded (free meal now).
I get why you were upset with the autograt on your table – I would be too. By I can just tell by your tone what it's like to wait on you.
Yes, I am very kind and friendly to my wait staff if they bother to come by. Thanks for noticing!
I've been waiting tables for nearly 15 years now. I understand your frustration with gratuity and I will, most definitely, leave it off the bill if I don't feel I've provided the level of service deserving of the 18% we include on parties of 6 or more. Nevertheless, I can totally tell by the tone of your post what it's like to wait on you.
I totally agree 5 people isn't a party the average family is larger then that. Good for you on standing up to that.
Don't go to Texas Roadhouse in Abilene Tx they can't count, they charge on tables of 8 and over and we CLEARLY only had 7(five adults and 2 children who mom took care of so what was the point), plus the table servic was mediocre at best, I understand the charge when valid, if normally tip over the 15% but if you did not do your job then NO you are not entitled to MY hard earned money. Oh and Texas Roadhouse did not even apolgize for the error and the server seemed offended that I complained.
Since when is a party of five a "large group"? That's a Mom, Dad and three kids... not a group taking up a couple tables and a server's undivided attention. I understand the concept of auto-tip for large groups (8, 10 or more) but not for groups of 5. Sounds like this place was routinely getting lousy tips and decided to slap it on darn near everyone. If the customer's experience is accurate it's clear why they were getting left lousy tips and had to go to this.
2700 people voted for "Yes, and I would tip on top of that" apparently a lot of waiters and waitresses have high speed internet. Lock me in your restaurant to force me to pay a "tip" ?? and I'm likely to throw you through the glass to get out. I may go to jail but your definitely going to the hospital.
Tip people...tip. Do you not think that we when you come to our restaurants and bars that we learn who tips well and who doesn't. Perhaps you get shit service because you demand everything and tip little or nothing. I have been a bartender for a very long time so try some of these things and see where it gets you: Tip early and often. Don't tell the bartender you will get them at the end of the night, we have heard this by so many people who don't tip. Don't ask for extra liquor without tipping. The more you come to our bar and you don't tip, well lets just say your drinks will tend to get weaker. A standard tip is $1 per drink for anything under $8 a drink, as the drink price soars so should the tip. The next time you go to a new place where nobody knows you throw your waitress or bartender $20 the first round and say "take care of us" and see what happens.
They werent "locked in the restaurant" – they were given the choice to either pay or take it up with the police.
I've heard of some servers who will put stuff in your food the next time you come in if you don't tip well. Leave 20%+ or get the treatment!
What irks me is that at everyone of these places that does the auto-tip, they always add that 18% of the taxed amount, not the pretax. So I'm essentially tipping them for the tax. That should be illegal. Also, should they get 18% even if the service is lousy? Tips are there to reward good service and to encourage good service.
That is illegal.
I'd look at the amount next time. I've worked in many restaurants and never has the auto gratuity been applied to the gross amount of the check.
Also, as a career server, I am not a fan of the automatic gratuity. I always ask larger parties if, for their convenience, I should apply a gratuity for the total check. More often than not, they allow it.
A new one for me: A couple of weeks ago, it appeared on our bill as a "service charge." I get the point. We took 13 high school kids to a restaurant. They probably wouldn't have tipped much if at all (or I would have had to make up for some of it). I had to explain to the kids the notion of a tip/gratuity for large parties. I didn't like the term "service charge," because the kids were asking me if they had to tip, too. It can be seemingly deceptive, but really that's what it is – a charge for service.
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.
If you want to eliminate gratuities and have the restaurant pay everyone a regular wage, be prepared for the cost of your meal to nearly double.
Unless it's not clearly stated under which conditions the tip will be added, it's the restaurant's choice to do this or not. If you don't like it, don't eat there.
If you receive bad service the customer should reserve the right to tip or not. Even if my service was bad I usually give a dollar. Servers believe it is their right to be tipped, however, if you are not very good at your job you don't deserve it!. Auto tipping is kind of like cheating customers, they nee
d to study restaurants that use this service and examine how their staff works, see if there is a difference in their behavior.
As I said, if you don't like the practice of auto-tipping, don't go to restaurants that do so.
It's okay to add it by default, but if your service was genuinely substandard and they refuse to remove it from your bill, that's not acceptable; in fact, charging for a service that you did not provide is considered credit card fraud, and can get the restaurant's merchant account terminated.
If I were in the situation described in this article, I would pay with a credit card, but by the time my foot hit the curb, I would already be on the phone with the CC company requesting a chargeback for the *entire* tip amount. Not only will it force the restaurant to eat the tip amount (after all, it's on the bill, so they legally owe it to the servers), but if enough people request chargebacks, the restaurant's merchant account will be terminated, and they will no longer be able to accept credit cards.
a mandatory tip of 18% is obscene–no service is worth that. Restaurants that impose these excessive charges provide the worst service and mediocre food since no one will ever leave a good tip. I avoid them at all costs.
And the servers around the nation did much rejoicing for Dino wouldn't be darkening their doorsteps!
Eighteen percent is obscene? LOL! How's West Virginia treating you there, Dino? You still married to your sister?
Wow are you incredibly obnoxious.
Right on Walter, nobody in the service industry wants these people around. In fact, many restaurant and club owners will tell you the same thing. You think you are doing the restaurant a service by dining there...pleeeeease. We don't want ya and we don't need ya. He is a little side note for ya, I work at a college dance club for 2 hours each night on the weekend and I make on average $100 an hour in tips. I bust my ass, I don't always smile because I have 60 people (we hold 600) always screaming my name while i'm making 8 drinks at once but they know which bar (we have 3) to come to get a great drink fast. In fact, if you don't tip I will skip you. 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! One time a certain customer flashing cash around ordered 6 various shots and two drinks with a total price of $29.75, he tried to leave the quarter for a tip, I slid it back across the bar and told him he obviously needed it more than me. He never had an issue with tipping thereafter. You get what you pay for people and not the other way around
I don't think this article relates to anything you just typed, you sound like you work hard, do a good job and are good at handling it when you don't feel like you have been complensated
you certainly don't sound rude, you sound like you are to the point and efficient, a far cry from what these customers in the article experienced, in addition you are a bar tender, they are talking about a waiter
You don't get much tips, Waiter, right? With that attitude you would get a penny from me.
Obviously, YOU have never worked at a restaurant and have never had to wait on an obnoxious group of patrons with an exaggerated sense of self-importance, such as yourself! Just like you, I would prefer to choose my own amount of tip at a restaurant, but I understand their reasons for the aumatic gratuity. The sad fact is that MOST large groups of restaurant patrons tip VERY LITTLE, if they tip AT ALL, no matter how good or bad the service was! There is something about being in a large group that makes most people feel "anonymous" and gives them the idea that "someone else" in the group will probably "cover the tip" and maybe no one will notice if I don't leave anything at all. You can ask ANYONE who works in a restaurant, and I will assure you that they will confirm what I am saying, that VERY FEW patrons in groups will tip anything at all no matter HOW GOOD the service is! No, the auto-gratuity is NOT my preference, but I completely understand why some restaurants insist on enforcing it!
TIPS means "to ensure prompt service" If a restaurant wants their servers to make more money, then they need to pay them more money, & not depend on the customer to do so. A tip is optional, at least it's supposed to be. If a restaurant wants to REQUIRE a tip, then they need to just add that cost into the cost of food, and stop calling it a TIP. I never tip for poor or rude service, I don't care how many is in my party. That said, one waiter or waitress is not enough to cover a party of 12 or more.
Tips does not mean "to insure prompt service". That's an urban legend (check snopes.com).
Actually, he is correct as this has come to mean one of the terms accepted meanings.
Actually, he is incorrect. I don't think there is any reputable source that would list a definition of "tips" that way. And just because a lot of people think it is correct does not make it so.
wow, thank god I don't waiter and have to deal with pompous self righteous folks like you. That's fantastic that you sit back like some sort of big shot while someone took your order, shlepped it out to you, refilled your drinks and then at the end you'll decide if they smiled enough to get paid for it. Pathetic.
Dear No Tip No Service No Problem,
Your knowledge of economics is amazing! You should be either an advanced economics teacher at an Ivy League college or an high-ranking member of the Obama administration!
CUSTOMERS PAY FOR THE WAGES OF EMPLOYEES ALREADY! IT'S CALLED "MENU PRICES" AND IT'S WHAT THE RESTAURANT CHARGES FOR THEIR FOOD. THEY TAKE SOME OF THAT MONEY FOR INVENTORY AND OVERHEAD AND THEN THE REST GOES TO EMPLOYEES AND MANAGEMENT AND SHAREHOLDERS.
Now, a restaurant could just say eff it and add 10 percent to the price of everything (every single customers menu prices) and allocate all of it to big tables and never tell a soul and you'd be none the wiser, but instead they just decide to charge a little bit more to big tables and let the smaller tables decide for themselves.
But being that you're so bright, I'm sure that you'd rather every single other table pay for your privilege to sit at one big table. And not tip.
I'm pretty sure that's not what TIP means...at least not literally.
I am a very generous tipper. However, when I receive a bill with a gratuity automatically included (and it is not pointed out to me – I always go through the bill carefully, so I notice whether it's there or not) that's all they get. And it is generally at least 5% less than I would have given on my own.
i completely agree with this. i usually tip 20%. rarely will i leave a low tip and restraunts that include tip into the bill will always receive lower than what i usually put out. it should be earned and based on the consumer hence why it is a "tip"
Had lunch with the girls last week,, did not know 18% was added to bill as we were all talking. So we gathered money to leave another tip. She got asbout 40% tip and did not bother to inform us of our mistake!
Some of you folks are EXACTLY why I'd spit in some food or shove a straw up my bum before sticking it in your glass.
Don't want to tip? Enjoy the salty savory taste of butt-crack and loogie, you lowlifes!
Also, I'd bet dollars to donut holes that most of the same geniuses who are bemoaning tipping and autograts (I'm looking at you, Jasmine) ALSO complain about the "unfairness" of low wages.
I worked in food service for over 13 years of my life. I lived and died by my tips. I never worked at a business that had auto-gratuity. My service spoke for itself. I do not like going to places where the tips is automatically added, I want to be the one to make that call. I lived that life, I know what they go through, but if the service sucked then I have the right to make that choice, just like my customers did for me.
Nobody is arguing that you shouldn't tip. People are saying that if the service sucks, you don't *owe* the waiter a tip. A tip is a gratuity—a gift—to reward the service staff for good service. You've already paid the wait staff for the bare minimum level of service as part of the cost of your food; that payment covers the wait staff's paychecks. If those paychecks are too low, they have two choices: provide service sufficient to warrant a better tip or collectively tell their bosses that they want a raise. Helpful hint: the former tends to be more effective than the latter.
As for you, if you're spitting in people's food, then you don't deserve a tip. For that matter, you don't deserve a job. There are plenty of people out there who would love to have your job and who would actually treat customers with the respect they deserve. If you aren't getting tips, it is probably because you're an arrogant little **** whose sense of entitlement is exceeded only by how much he hates his job. If you really hate your job that much, quit. Go find work somewhere else where you won't hate working. There are plenty of people in line waiting for your job, and no one will be sad to see someone with your attitude leave—not the customers, not your coworkers, and frankly, probably not even your boss.
If you actually do what you say in this response you are a nasty foul disgusting person and it is no wonder that you don't get tips. God help you because you need mental counseling and job counseling if you truly do those things!!
There shouldn't be any mandatory tips; That totally defeats the purpose of tips; a tip should NOT be a charge!!!!
A tip is NOT part of a bill; It is supposed to be a "tip" for going above and beyond and not just normal service.
Restaurants should pay their employees fairly, and they do not; They shove it over to the customer, making them feel guilty for not tipping. The "tip" should not be a charge added to the bill; It should not be expected. It should be a "thank you" for good customer service, above the normal service.
If a tip is forced at any time, it is NOT a tip, it is a charge to the customer for bringing in more people, basically a penalty for giving the business more business.
This "charge" also acts a disincentive to the waitperson to not take care of that table/group as much because they are already guaranteed a "tip". It is bad business.
Thank you Danny – you said it. Total agreement – if the service warrants an extra thank you, then I tip. If the service is crap, I don't.
I agree that servers who do a good job and are pleasant deserve to be tipped. That being said if a worker is rude, does not do anything and is generally terrible because they choose to be I will not tip them my normal amount. when I have a good, enjoyable server I will sometimes tip them 30% depending on cost of the meal. That being said, I have also had some pretty horrible servers too (probably not so different from yourself). He never refilled our drinks (I had to go find someone else to get my cup refilled), he forgot some of our food and when asked where a childs noodles with white sauce was he left, came back 5 mins later and said it would be about 20 mins. who on earth takes 20 mins to make some noodles and put some premade sauce on it? I asked him 3 times for a water for my son and to have our drinks refilled and finally got our drinks when I asked the bar-man for them when he was brigning soem beer to the table next to us. I was ver upset with the service I had recieved and had never had a problem there before, and in fact I was half tempted to take the tip that was for the server and give it to the bar-man because he was the one that actually served us.
There is a growing problem in the United States of horrible service, so when someone is decent, honest, nice, and actually does there job I feel they should be compensated for that generously. But if you give horrible service, dont do your job, and are rude and inconsiderate, dont expect to get a tip for your non-service.
That being said, I hope you get fired and sued for spitting in someones food and sticking straws up your butt, you certainly deserve to be.
If you did what you said you did, you could be fired and arrested- and clowns like you have been picked up by the cops for messing with food. Willful food adulteration is a crime, look it up.
When there is an automatic tip (large parties, room service at hotels), as long as I know beforehand, it annoys me but I pay it. However, I pay exactly that, and not one penny more. So they might have a mandatory 15 or more likely 18% tip tagged onto my bill, but because of it I order fewer appetizers or drinks, maybe choose a less expensive entree, and they don't receive any additional amount I might have paid in a free market tipping situation. For good service, I will usually tip 20%, so if there was an auto-tip on the tab, they get less than I would have paid if I had felt that I was in control of the tip amount. I do know that large groups sometimes unknowingly stiff the waitstaff, in the thinking that someone else has taken care of the tip amount, or whatever reason. Just divvying up the bill can take over everyone's brain and the tip can be left out, so that's likely why businesses do this. However, if there is a set tip, there had better be excellent service to the group, and that includes wilingly providing separate checks to a large group, good timing of the delivery of all food and drinks, and a well-orchestrated meal by the appropriate number of staff to keep everything moving smoothly. I also hate an auto-tip because if service is terrible, so is my tip amount, and I hate this ability to match the tip to the service being taken away from me. It is up to the customer. Pay your staff a living wage. Tips are for excellent service, not a mandatory event.
It's a form of contract that you implicitly agree to, when your group sits down to dine in a restaurant with a mandatory tip policy for groups. These folks had no argument.
They had miserable service. How is that not an excuse?
What's the excuse? What? Do you get to not pay for the food, too, if you think it's bad? AFTER you've consumed it all.
How about Internet service? Or your car? Or a movie? You get to just decide, AFTER using them, that they weren't worth it and demand either your money back or not to have to pay? You must be a real treasure in the marketplace, Matt, and a real sought after customer.
By the way, go take a good long look at Jasmine in the attached video and ask yourself why there's a stereotype about some people's tipping in the restaurant industry.
Also ask yourself, if the service was SOOOOO miserable, why Jasmine waited until AFTER the meal and the service to voice her complaints? And why Jasmine assented to the charge BEFORE THE SERVICE?
Miserable service? Miserable, lowlife, no tipping customer who was looking for an excuse is more like it.
Walter, you are just a miserable excuse for a human being. Even though you claim that you tip well (at least 30% in some cases), I can only imagine what it must be like to wait on someone as smug, condescending and in love with their own opinion as you. Would the extra 10-15% even be worth the soul sucking experience of being near you? Probably not. While I generally agree with your overall stance that seems to be pro-employee in this situation, the way you go about making your point speaks volumes about you.
"Your knowledge of economics is amazing! You should be either an advanced economics teacher at an Ivy League college or an high-ranking member of the Obama administration! "
Really? "An" smug, condescending, know-it-all with no respect for anyone else's opinions actually brings the Obama administration into an issue that has nothing to do with it? Big surprise!
Tipping is supposed to be a reward for good service. An "auto-tip" is just another cost of the food.
My preference is countries where the food is completely priced, including tax, like Germany. They pay the staff enough so that they do not depend on tips, and customers know exactly what the food costs. I usually tip a small amount there anyway, for good service.
An "auto-tip" for a 5-top is ridiculous. I can see it for 8, or perhaps 6, but not 5.
Quite. 5 people is not a large party. 5 people is a small family in Houston. That policy is just absurd.
This place just needs to be blacklisted. It's as simple as that. Give them a nice public shaming.