Tipping point – family locked in restaurant for skimping on mandatory gratuity
May 10th, 2012
11:15 AM ET
Share this on:

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.

According to Marks, the police officer who was summoned was unable to give her a straight answer on the legality of the situation. Her party eventually paid the tip in order to avoid any further difficulty.

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.

Posted by:
Filed under: Lunchtime Poll • Restaurants • Service • Tipping

soundoff (1,424 Responses)
  1. A Server

    If you received service you have to pay for it even if you hated the service. It's like eating the whole damn hamburger and then trying to say you hated it so you don't have to pay the bill. Skipping the gratuity might not be theft legally, but that is essentially what it is. You are stealing the service that was provided to you.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:19 am |
    • Revres A Ton

      You're just saying that because it's what you do for a living. You probably give good service to your customers. But you have to know there are servers out there with a misplaced sense of enti tlment who don't do their jobs and don't deserve a full 20% tip.

      May 11, 2012 at 7:17 am |
    • Jay Miller

      How can you possibly justify not paying a tip as stealing? A tip is something optional that a customer gives a server out of gratuity for serving them. If it were stealing it would be a fixed price that was included in the meal and NOT listed as a tip. Am I wrong or is the entire point of a tip to pay for what level of service you feel you received?

      Get rid of the tipping system and just raise the price of the meal or something. There is no real difference. It is NOT illegal to not tip-sue for false arrest affidavit if they want to prosecute and you WILL win. If tipping is to become 'mandatory' then what is the point other than a marketing gimmick to give the perception of lower food prices?

      There are great servers out there. And I will tip well for great service that I think is above and beyond the expected. However there is awful service that I feel isn't warranted. Why should I give a server 15-20% of my meal price for simply handing me a menu, stating their name and disappearing until time for the check? No thanks. I'm not giving you anything because you didn't deserve it. And yes, I saw you standing behind the wall texting instead of noticing me trying to wave at you since we hadn't been bothered with a drink refill request for about 40 minutes!

      May 11, 2012 at 8:26 am |
      • Melanie

        I totally agree with you. Unfortunately, there certain groups of people that expect anything and everything that is not nailed down, and leave a $5.00 tip for a party of 10. That stinks, I know I used to be a Server for almost 20 years. On the flip side, there are plenty of Servers who don't deserve a tip. They are either yakking with fellow Servers, text or just plain don't do their job. I liked what I did, so 95% the time I received a proper, or great tip. I do not believe that tipping should be mandatory. In Europe, the tip is included in the price of the meal, and the owner still makes money. In this Country, everybody expects a tip, which I think is bull.

        May 11, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Chris

      Not every country requires or expects tips. In Japan, it is an honor to provide excellent service. Tipping is almost offensive, as if the server would not have done their best unless you bribed them. Restaurants also have the option of wrapping the cost of 'service' into their operational costs...that way, their employees are guaranteed their pay. But, if you want to gamble with both the generosity of your patrons and the excellence of your service, you risk being unhappy with the results. On another note, a party of 5 being a "large" party is simply ridiculous. I would love to hear the local police department's official stance on the case. Detaining the diners for not paying the bill is one thing. But for not tipping sufficiently? Rather subjective.

      May 11, 2012 at 9:52 am |
  2. Mike

    I have worked in the Service industry for over 12 years, I work in a restaurant that does NOT apply an automatic gratuity to any bill unless it is over a 20 person booking.. An average meal/drink in my store will run a person around $15. I recently served a table of 31 people, The manager setting up the set menu ($10 per person for a drink and meal) forgot to include a gratuity. Another server and i worked the table for almost 2 hours (filled both out sections) The table was Extremely happy with the service and the speed of the kitchen.. The total bill (before tax) was $310.00 The person paying left a $5 tip.

    So in my opinion Yes (if the service is good) A mandatory tip of at least 15% should be added to any large table. And to be completely honest, If it weren't for the tips that i make, I would not continue as a server, It simply is not enough to live on $9/hour when Rent alone is $800/month (you do the math)

    May 10, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Ryan

      I would not blame you for quitting job if your employer did not give you something extra to make up for that party's poor tip. I live in NYC, rent here is 1500 and up, severs do not get state mandated min. wage, just tips. So servers should perform well no matter what they expect to receive at the end because until they receive it, they have no idea what will be left. Many waiters believe in stereotypes which affect their service and create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Read some of the posts below yours and you will see that everyone server claims that they are the best which is statistically impossible. Some were brave enough to admit that they discriminate.

      May 11, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  3. RL

    waiters and waitesses are paid MUCH below minimum wage. tipping is supposed to supplement that and that's why they can get buy paying them so low.

    do you expect people to be slave laborers for you? either they should get mimum wage or tipping needs to be required, you can't expect people to serve you for free.

    unless you want the cost of the food at restarants to skyrocket so that you can pay for a mimimum wage for these workers.

    May 10, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Ryan

      I fail to see the difference between tips being included in the cost of the meal or not. If I order a steak which costs $50 without tip included and then tip 20% that is the same as ordering a steak that costs $60 with tip included. The math is the same.

      May 11, 2012 at 8:30 am |
  4. Carolyn

    In Texas the law states that restaurants cannot collect gratuities. While restaurants can impose a gratuity for large groups they have no legal standing to collect. I have found that some waiters/waitresses don't provide service in these situations because they believe that they will receive a gratuity regardless. In the cases where my waiter brought my party's food and was never seen again I have not left a gratuity, luckily each time I talked with the manager they were aware of the law and I had no troubles.

    May 10, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
  5. Scott Allen

    If they were informed before the meal and went ahead with the meal the restaurant has grounds to demand the tip because there was an understood agreement. I would press charges against the restaurant for kidnapping for locking me in. They, in essence, detained the group without any lawful right. I think the staff of the restaurant should be arrested.

    May 10, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  6. twang

    Locking someone in a resturant against thier will is kiddnaping.With a good lawyer they will own that resturant and they can do things like they want

    May 10, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • springs1

      If you saw Inside Edition they could have gone out the back.


      May 10, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
      • Me

        They technically couldn't though. The back door is for employee use only and to get to it you would have to go through the kitchen and legally customers are not supposed to go back there.

        May 11, 2012 at 6:57 am |
        • Schmechnicality

          Technicality schmechnicality. If they're holding me against my will, they can shove their customary practices. I'm walking thru their kitchen, thru their employee only door and I'm GTFO – straight to the cops to file kidnapping charges.

          May 11, 2012 at 7:06 am |
        • Ryan

          It was smart of them to not look for other exists. Now they can claim that they thought they were being falsely imprisoned and thats all that matters to the jury; what THEIR perception was and not whether or not they could climb out a window or backdoor.

          May 11, 2012 at 8:33 am |
      • gatecrasher1

        It's not a defense for the restaurant to say "they could have used the fire door, jumped out a window, etc." The intent to unjustifiably, and possibly unlawfully, detain this group was clear by them obstructing the main door of egress.

        As I said in an earlier post, if you are the owner or manager of a business, unless you or your staff have police or professional security training, it is better to allow a party in a dispute to leave, and then call the police and/or file a civil or criminal complaint against them, as opposed to excessively confronting or physically detaining them. On one hand, it is for your own protection, because you do not want a bad situation to escalate to the point where you truly need law enforcement intervention. Also, the legal liability to your business can be significant if you run afoul of civil and criminal guidelines regarding false imprisonment, harassment, and assault.

        If one is trained as a police officer or has gone through competent security guard training, that is a different issue, as they would likely know their rights and responsibilities under the law.

        May 11, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • Alyssa

      It's not kidnapping. It is false imprisonment. The difference is that kidnapping requires an aggravating factor, such as forcibly moving the person to an alternate location against their will.

      May 11, 2012 at 8:42 am |
  7. Auto Tipping Cheats the Server

    I always tip more than 18% for good service. If the restaraunt autotips, I never add more to it. I figure that is the cost to the server for being guaranteed a set amount, no matter what kind of service they give.. They make sure they get "something" and since I lose the abiltiy to determine what they deserve, they do not deserve any more than that. It's a cheater's game so that's all they get. Fair enough.

    May 10, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Daniel Bein

      If your server is serving a large party, they deserve a tip. You should NOT tip less than you would have otherwise tipped just because they have protected themselves by autogratting you. They are simply trying to ensure that they don't get screwed. They DO NOT KNOW YOU, and thus they have no choice to protect themselves because MANY parties will tip a paltry 10%, 5% or even 0%. It is wrong to punish the server for protecting themselves from having to WORK FOR FREE, which is essentially what happens if people don't tip. The $2.15 per hour servers typically make goes mostly towards taxes.

      Pretty much anyone who disagrees with this has NO CLUE what it's like to have their income be dependent on how nice someone is willing to be.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
      • Alyssa

        I think a tip on a large party should be a lesser percentage than that on a small party. A 20% tip on a $30 bill is a lot less than a 10% tip on a $300 bill.

        May 11, 2012 at 8:45 am |
        • really?

          even though the sever is waiting on more people and thus is working harder?

          May 11, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Scott Allen

      I disagree with Dan. Tipping is not a right, but is earned. I've had sucky service, complained to the management and was not given any satisfaction – I left 2 cents – a known insult. I have also walked out for being mistreated. I've also tipped well when a whole glass of tea was spilled down my back. They were apologetic, sincere and service was otherwise excellent. If I'm in a party and given cruddy service, I would not tip. Let them call the cops – I'll make such a scene that others will never come back. I may end of up paying the tip, but the restaurant will always lose in the end. Word of mouth is a life and death to a restaurant.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  8. Samuel Ling

    At least you guys get a choice. Over here in Singapore, mandatory pre-tax autograts of 10% are 99.99% present in restaurant bills, whether or not the server has done a good job. On a bad service, I still have to pay, but I make it a point to let the server know "you don't deserve this."

    May 10, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  9. Tylene

    I would pay it if the service was good, otherwise I would leave a smaller tip or none at all.

    May 10, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
  10. jolly

    I don't like autotips because that is normally when u get the worse service!

    May 10, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  11. kerry

    TIP = To Insure Promptness. If the restaurant does not live up to this, then no tip should be required. A guaranteed tip does not encourage good service.

    May 10, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  12. john

    having been a a waiter, and owner of a food establishment for many years, I am against auto-tipping. I have a very simple policy I live by in this regard. I goto a restaurant and do not eat at home to be served. The cost of paying the wait staff while going out is included in the higher food cost of going out. My tipping meter starts AFTER I get my food.
    When I goto a place to eat, I cannot go into the kitchen myself and get my food. it is simply part of it. Tipping starts after I have my food at the table.

    I am a person who drinks a lot when out. I always start at a 10% tip. 5% for each refill without being asked. if my drink is refilled 2x, that means my server was paying attention to me, and they deserve a something extra. I live in California, and I feel that for the most part, this is accomplished and i almost always tip 20%.

    that being said, if the server is not attentive, or just downright rude, or terrible service, i do not feel bad about not tipping at all. a tip is something extra for great service, AFTER i have got my food.

    when i have amazing service, I always will tell the manager how great my server was. the same with terrible service. I believe like most things in life it goes both ways.

    anyway, in closing. tipping should in NO WAY be mandatory, its extra for extra special service, not to pay the living wage. that is the employers responsibility. I always pay all of my employees more than minimum wage, and the cost is reflected in my food pricing.

    just my 2c from an every day eat outer.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • springs1

      "My tipping meter starts AFTER I get my food."

      Why is it not starting from the moment you sit down? Waiting 10-15 minutes to get greeted is a good reason already to lower the tip from 20%.

      "5% for each refill without being asked."

      If you want that type of MIND READER service you should *ASK* for it at the GREETING "Can I please get refills without being asked throughout my service?"

      I count OFF tip points when servers do this, especially when send them back switching drinks up that I want something else.

      No server should be ruling my service but *ME* since they want *MY* money, NOT the other way around.

      WHY do you want a mind reader in your service? Most servers don't give refills without being asked or asking, so WHY don't you just SPEAK UP to let your server know you want that, huh?

      To me, it's OVERSTEPPING to ORDER for me my next drink. I have switched from dr. pepper to coke to iced tea. My husband has switched after 2 diet cokes to water and once he switched from a cup of coffee to a diet coke. Customers may want something different so WHY should a server RISKS WASTING TIME if they don't know, huh?

      If you want that type of service, you should TELL your server this. When you place your order, you are ordering *ONE* GLASS of whatever it, NOT refills of the SAME EXACT ITEM. Soft drinks, tea, and water all are free refillable drinks that the customer can switch to. Also, the customer may decide to get a bar drink instead.


      May 10, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
      • James K

        Springs, you're obviously ok with tipping for bad service, but most people expect good service and will tip well for it. I good server will know what's expected of them and mind reading has nothing to do with it. A good server will ask questions and stop by the tables they are serving to see how the diner is doing. Drink refills, these days, are an expected part of this service and when stopping by a table the server will ask about refills. A good server will have a smile and will do their best to give the people they are serving an enjoyable experience. This is not magic or mind reading. Like I said before, it's obvious that you enjoy bad service, but most diners do not.

        May 10, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
        • springs1

          James K.
          "mind reading has nothing to do with it."

          It does. If I order a coke, that doesn't mean don't *ASK ME* if I want another coke and just bring it without *MY* CONSENT that you *ORDERED* for me.

          "Drink refills, these days, are an expected part of this service and when stopping by a table the server will ask about refills"

          I want my server to ask you IDIOT. You OBVIOUSLY DIDN'T *READ* did you?

          "mind reading."

          It *IS* if you are ORDERING for your customers. If I order a coke, that doesn't mean I want another coke. *ASK* MY PERMISSION FIRST. I have SENT servers back before and they didn't even say they were sorry for "ASSUMING(TRYING TO READ MY MIND), WRONG* even. All I did was say "Can I get a coke instead"(I ordered a dr. pepper originally).

          May 10, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
        • David

          Springs1- you're silly. I just clocked out not 15 minutes ago from my job WAITING TABLES. Tonight I waited on the same group of ladies I do EVERY thursday night (and they had an "autograt" of over 95$). I refill their drinks without asking, and they appreciate it. There have been times when they didn't touch the refill, but they still appreciated the attentiveness. They are sweet, and compensate me above the 18% gratuity. Also- "switching" beverages means that there are no FREE REFILLS! If you switch from DP to Diet coke to coffee, you'll be charged for every individual drink. You're server is being kind to refill your drinks for free instead of building up their check average with all of your new drinks. and the whole "they don't even say they're sorry when I send them away with the courteous refill" nonsense... yeah lady- cuz their too busy spitting in your new one. Douche.

          May 10, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
        • springs1

          "Springs1- you're silly."

          HOW when it's *NOT* YOUR MONEY TO RULE US?

          "Tonight I waited on the same group of ladies I do EVERY thursday night (and they had an "autograt" of over 95$). I refill their drinks without asking, and they appreciate it"


          "There have been times when they didn't touch the refill, but they still appreciated the attentiveness."

          NO ONE WANTS THEIR TIME WASTED AND YOU SHOULDN'T BE WASTING YOUR TIME EITHER! You don't realize you just costs OTHER CUSTOMERS TIME wasted by you wasting time getting unwanted items IDIOT!!


          "They are sweet, and compensate me above the 18% gratuity."


          " Also- "switching" beverages means that there are no FREE REFILLS!"


          "If you switch from DP to Diet coke to coffee, you'll be charged for every individual drink."

          NO, you get charged for the HIGHER ONE, because both are free refillable beverages. We didn't get charged when one time my husband ordered a coffee, then he switched to diet coke, he only got charged for the coffee(should have been charged the diet coke price).

          " You're server is being kind to refill your drinks for free instead of building up their check average with all of your new drinks"


          " and the whole "they don't even say they're sorry when I send them away with the courteous refill" nonsense... yeah lady- cuz their too busy spitting in your new one."

          What A MEAN PERSON ARE! You are supposed to say you are sorry if you are getting something wrong! YOU ARE A MEAN PERSON, YOU REALLY ARE! QUIT TRYING TO READ MINDS!

          May 11, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
      • indymrs

        You are exactly the type of person every server hates to wait on. Ordering three different beverages in a single sitting is ridiculous ( I would understand if they were three different alcoholic beverages). It seems like you are intentionally being difficult. Stay home, waiting on you is like pulling teeth and we don't want your crappy tip anyways.

        May 11, 2012 at 9:13 am |
        • springs1

          "You are exactly the type of person every server hates to wait on. Ordering three different beverages in a single sitting is ridiculous ( I would understand if they were three different alcoholic beverages). It seems like you are intentionally being difficult. Stay home, waiting on you is like pulling teeth and we don't want your crappy tip anyways."

          NO, if you are THAT LAZY then you need to get another job!

          WHY should I cater to making YOU happy when you want MY MONEY LAZY? YOU ARE RIDICULOUS. I can change up if I want to. WHO THE HELL ARE YOU TO TELL ME WHAT ******I************* want for **********MY********* MONEY THAT I AM PAYING YOU FOR THE SERVICE YOU ARE PROVIDING ME, HUH? CONTROL FREAK!

          May 11, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
        • springs1

          One more thing:
          "You are exactly the type of person every server hates to wait on."

          It's not more work if I want coke vs. dr. pepper. You are coming to ask me what I want ANYWAYS!! I don't get WHY you are so BOTHERED BY IT? It takes the same work. The only thing I can see is that you get refills without asking permission because you are too LAZY to come to the table to ask first. Why don't you just ask at the GREETING if customers want that and then they won't send you back? THAT WOULD BE SMART, don't ya think? I don't have to tell you don't order for me, because you aren't supposed to be doing that and you know it.

          It's not more work just because I switch up and if you don't want to work HARD, may I suggest you find another line of work LAZY?

          May 11, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
        • springs1

          Another thing:
          "You are exactly the type of person every server hates to wait on. Ordering three different beverages in a single sitting is ridiculous ( I would understand if they were three different alcoholic beverages)."

          If *YOU* were PAYING US, then you could tell us how to order, but you want *OUR* money so it's not up to you, it's up to *US* customers to RULE YOU. YOU DON'T GET TO RULE US!! WE ARE THE RULERS OF OUR DINING EXPERIENCE. EVERY SINGLE STEP IS RULED BY OUR MONEY, NOT BY YOU SINCE YOU AREN'T PAYING US TO DO ANYTHING!!


          Alcoholic beverages aren't *ANY* different than switching soft drinks. I don't get WHY you feel be different for the customer's money, huh? Just because the refills are for free for soft drinks and tea doesn't mean that the "SERVICE" is being paid any differently? We are still tipping you based on the refills. If refills are what *WE* want and how long it takes to get refills. If you want to provide refills without asking, you should ask the customer's PERMISSION first. It's *NOT* YOUR MONEY to decide what we want. It's OURS!!

          WHY does it bother you if someone would switch? It's not going to take any longer to get me a coke vs. a dr. pepper. It's the SAME AMOUNT OF WORK, THE SAME EFFORT!


          I think it's ridiculous you are SO LAZY that you are BOTHERED BY THIS and the fact that it's NO MORE WORK if you come to ask us. WHY is it "RIDICULOUS" to want what **********YOU************ want for *************YOUR************* MONEY, HUH? It's not ridiculous. I think you are ridiculous to think that you shouldn't ***********EARN*********** YOUR MONEY. You aren't there to just stand and look pretty. You are there to satisfy *US* so we can pay you a nice big tip. We are not there to make your life easier. I do actually stack up my dishes all the time to get them out the way, because I am not lazy like you are. I do that for us mostly and our server as well, but I cannot go into the soda station or kitchen to get our own refills. If we could get our own, we wouldn't be tipping much, so YES, even if it's free the refills, it DOES MAJORLY COUNT in the service just because it doesn't show up on our bill.

          Customer service is that "CUSTOMER SERVICE", NOT what satisfies the server!! I am not there to please you. YOU ARE THERE TO GET ME WHAT *I* WANT!! If you are that lazy, you really should consider getting another type of job.

          May 11, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
      • john

        Jeez man, you are all over the place with your comments. Im not sure you even know the points you are making. tone it down a bit. be civil. this is supposed to be a discussion about the way people view things. whats with all the anger?

        May 11, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
        • springs1

          "whats with all the anger?"

          The fact that people want to RULE your service rather than it be *YOUR* CHOICE. The fact that they don't understand most issues are caused by your SERVER that you have in your service that goes wrong.

          As a customer, it should be "MY" choice to say I want a refill or not. It shouldn't be ruled by the server or management what *I* want for "MY" money that I am paying my server for. It's MY CHOICE of if I want something to drink or what drink it is I want. Some servers seem too LAZY to do the job. How can anyone be a "CARING" server that says that it's ridiculous to switch free refillable drinks 3 times? That's NOT CARING, that's PURE LAZINESS AND BEING VERY UNCARING about pleasing the customer. The servers don't understand they have to PLEASE US IN ORDER FOR THEM TO BE PLEASED BACK IN THE TIP. It's a give and take process. All most want to do is take, not give.

          May 11, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
        • john

          I personally appreciate having a drink brought to me before I ask for it, for me, it is what I expect from a good server. it is not a waste of time, and much more often than not, i drink it. i almost always leave a generous tip. without this attention I leave less.

          just my opinion, but it seems to be shared by many here. servers and customers alike. I agree, the waiter is there to server the customer. what I am stating is that for me, having my drink refilled without asking me when it is low is what I expect, if I need a new drink, i do not hesitate to ask for a new variety.

          May 11, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
        • springs1

          "I personally appreciate having a drink brought to me before I ask for it, for me, it is what I expect from a good server"

          But that's what *YOU* want so you should *ASK* for what you want since MOST servers TRULY DON'T DO THIS as far as what we have experienced over the 12yrs we have been going out to eat just about every single weekend 2-3 times a weekend at times even.

          If you want it so badly, *YOU* request to get refills without asking.

          "it is not a waste of time, and much more often than not, i drink it."

          That's because you want it that your time isn't wasted for me sometimes it is. Even if it didn't waste time like if they predicted correctly, I still hate the fact that the CONTROLLED my dining experience when it's *NOT* their right!

          So what if you drink it, you want it!! Not everyone does.

          "i almost always leave a generous tip. without this attention I leave less."

          Why not just *TELL* your server what you want then? I don't have to tell my server not to "ORDER" for me, because it's COMMON SENSE you don't get to ORDER FOR ME, I AM THE CUSTOMER, I RULE YOU, YOU DON'T RULE ME!!

          "just my opinion, but it seems to be shared by many here. servers and customers alike."

          It doesn't matter HOW MANY people agree, because service should be 100% ON ************INDIVIDUALITY NOT EVER, EVER, EVER MAJORITY, because they are getting an individual tip from each customer and NOT ALL customers want the same things.

          " I agree, the waiter is there to server the customer. what I am stating is that for me, having my drink refilled without asking me when it is low is what I expect, if I need a new drink, i do not hesitate to ask for a new variety.""

          If you expect it, you want a MIND READER. WHY? WHY EXPECT SOMETHING THAT YOU DON'T ORDER, HUH? ORDER THAT WAY IF YOU WANT IT THAT WAY!! I know when I want a glass of water for example, I ********ORDER******** IT. I don't think my server is going to magically know I want water with a bar drink for example. WHY you EXPECT IT when you didn't *TELL* your server you wanted it that way, huh? Especially when most servers don't do this and EVERYONE DOESN'T LIKE THIS. SOME PEOPLE DON'T LIKE IT, SO WHY WOULD ANYBODY BE STUPID ENOUGH TO WASTE THEIR TIME GETTING AN UNWANTED ITEM, HUH? Those servers are stupid to RISKS WASTING TIME.

          May 11, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
      • Bonnie

        If you don't want a "mind reader" serving you, then don't sit there and expect them to know without you saying that you would prefer to be asked before each refill, you f**ktard. MOST people do not wish to have their conversation interrupted every time the waiter or waitress sees a half-empty beverage – they want their server to quietly bring them a fresh soft drink and to remove the empty glass.

        You are an idiot – SO much an idiot. I can't believe people like you actually exist.

        May 17, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • sharon huston

      Well, John good for you for paying more than minimum wage.. But sorry, every other restaurant does not. What they are paid is not enough to live on w/o tips. It's just not. It sickens me here in the south how cheap people are, saying a tip is never necessary and that those people waiting on me just better be happy they have a job at all. We seriously have to treat our servers better, people!

      May 10, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
  13. Anomic Office Drone

    If they put that they are going to charge the fee to large parties right in the menu, it's on the customer for staying after they saw that.

    Personally, I don't like that, but it's their business and right.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Ryan

      Would you also pay for food that was disgusting? You ordered it so you should pay for it right? Wrong! You pay for food that is tasty not disgusting the same for mandatory tipping. If there was no service then don't pay for it.

      May 10, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
      • Anomic Office Drone

        I, personally, have to good sense to see if a place has mandatory tipping before I sit down and start ordering. Being too lazy or shy to ask to see a menu before you request a table is on the consumer.

        Again, I don't agree with the policy, but no one is forcing anyone to eat at restaurants that have mandatory tipping. If the service is really so bad that you don't want to tip, why stay for a whole meal? Why not get up and leave? I've cancelled my order and left because of bad service before, and back before I made my little rule for myself, I tipped on top of the mandatory tip when receiving excellent service.

        May 10, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
        • Ryan

          You missed my pint entirely. The questions is: Would you pay for food that you thought was disgusting? If no, why cannot the same logic be applied to a mandatory tip, if said service was not received.

          May 10, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
        • Anomic Office Drone

          I didn't miss the point. I just won't legitimize your victim mentality.

          By ordering from a menu that says gratuity will be added automatically, you're agreeing to those terms. It's like going to a Mexican restaurant and feeling bullied because they only offer Mexican food. Grow up, get over yourself, and accept responsibility for your own choices.

          May 10, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
      • David

        Absolute nonsense. This story is an exception. If you tell the manager that you had poor service, they will not only take off the gratuity, but reprimand the server (taking away shifts, not letting them take the more lucrative parties next time, et cetera). Once I had a guest ask to have my gratuity removed, and I freaked. LAter I found out he wanted to leave me a 50% tip (phew). Stop being silly.

        May 10, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
  14. Jason

    I'm pretty suprised there are people that don't tip 20% as the norm.

    Unless there was something particularly off about the service, I think that if you can afford to eat out you can afford to pay what's fair. And 20% is completely reasonable given the base wages we all know the staff are paid.

    If anything, I think restaurants that have that 17-18% policy for parties of 5 or more are low-balling themeslves.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Ryan

      Waiters do get paid very well. In many states waiters get the state min. wage plus tips. In Cali it is 9/hr plus tips. Unless the tip is left via CC many waiters under report their earnings and therefore are taxed less. So tipping 20% as a base is ridiculous.

      P.S. There is a difference between a waiter and server. Waiters have less than 5 tables and pay attention to their patrons like a hawk. They refill the drinks without being noticed and anticipate needs like extra condiments, napkins, bread etc. A Waiter is butler for food. A server on the other hand simply takes your order, delivers your food and waits for you to flag her down to get you something.

      May 10, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
      • Lindsey

        Ryan – FALSE. Actually, it's more common to NOT get Federal minimum wage plus tips. I serve in North Dakota, and granted the cost of living isn't as high as somewhere like Cali, we get paid only $4.86/hr. In some states, servers make even less – somewhere along the lines of $3/hr. I wouldn't say I EXPECT a tip, but because my wages suck and my paycheck for a full week of work is never more than $100 (after tax), I rely on tips. Therefore, I make sure my service is far above par and sometimes I still get stiffed. I know it's not me, because I am there to serve. It's the people that don't think they should have to tip. And yes, when I was working at a different establishment, whether I got tipped or not, 3% of all my sales for the day went to paying bussers, hosts, and bartenders.

        This SHOULDN'T be the guest's problem. But it's just common courtesy to tip for good service, and some people just don't get that.

        May 10, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
      • Cindy

        When I was serving/waitering in Southwest Florida I was making $2.11 an hour. I made good tips because I kept an eye on my tables.

        May 10, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
        • Lewis

          I live in Houston and I am a server in a popular restaurant in town. I am paid the federal minimum of $2.13/hr + tips and what I have to endure sometimes is out of bounds. Yes, I made the choice of jobs after being laid off and not finding something in my field. I make a good living for my FAMILY. I give it my all to support my family and the families of those who support me in serving my guests. I don't always look forward to going to work everyday, but I do and give a honest effort to each table that I serve. I do not condone what was done to the patrons of the restaurant in the story. I do hope that if anyone thinks that I gave poor service would voice their displeasure. I have had bad days and have received
          tips that I felt that I didn't deserve. I have also had to pay for a lot of people to sit in my station and run me ragged and not leave one red cent. I love my job for the experience I hope I provide to the people who choose to come to the restaurant. I also hope to be rewarded for making their time in my station very special. Just remember those who are your server are not your servants.

          May 10, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
  15. Servernchicago

    As a server in a high-volume, well respected Chicago institution, I would like to point out that if a guest doesn't tip me, I actually will be paying out of my pocket to tip the other support staff based on my sales. If a group of 5 spends $250 and leaves no tip, then I will have to pay about $20 on that check to support staff. And while bad service can indeed happen, there are also demographics that simply refuse to tip, no matter how great the service is. Waiting tables can be a great, lucrative job, but it can also be a level of hell on Earth. People who don't tip because they are cheap and ignorant had better hope that the concept of kharma is a myth.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Ryan

      Not everyone can have a great job. Even going to college no longer guarantees a high-paying career or even a job. It is unfortunate that your specific workplace requires you to tip out even if you did not receive a tip but, don't complain about just do something about it. Find a better job.

      May 10, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
      • Lindsey

        And p.s. I'm putting myself through college to be a Physical Therapist – so I AM getting a better job. But until then, I have bills to pay, and unfortunately, I wasn't a trust fund baby. You people who think that servers are doing what they do because they can't find a better job are the most ignorant pieces of crap on the planet. The most hated patrons in restaurants are those who treat the waitstaff like garbage just because they're working in the service industry. While I don't agree with adding an automatic gratuity, sometimes it IS necessary, because the servers who bust their asses despite knowing the tip is guaranteed do occasionally get hosed.

        May 10, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
        • Ryan

          1. You ARE doing what you do because you cannot find a better job, at least not one that will grant you the flexible hours you need to complete your PT training.
          2. I never once said I treat my waitstaff like garbage. I actually treat them very well. Yes Sir, No ma'am, thank your... are all words that I use when dining out. I also do tip 20% as a base for waiter, I also tip 15% and down for severs, see above for my definition and distinction between the two.
          3. I'm a regular at Mesa Grill in NYC. I go there once a week and my bill is never less than 250 and the tip is never less than 50. I have a waiter that gave me her personal number so that she can make sure she gets my table because she knows how well I tip.
          4. I cannot judge how well you personally perform at your job because I do not know you and therefore cannot refute your claim but, I think you can concede to agree that your service should be the same to all patrons as that is what your employer hired you to do.

          May 10, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Tim

      I have always been taught that if you can't afford to tip then you can't afford that restaurant. On the same hand the tip should recognize the level of service received.

      May 10, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  16. Grace

    Why can't we just pay wait staff a living wage and get rid of tipping altogether? It would make a lot more sense.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Jason

      Because they're incentivized to provide better service if the call if left to the customer. Why would someone go out of their way to make you happy if they're getting that percentage no matter what?

      And would you be happy with having all the prices marked up automatically to cover that cost, especially when the staff could care less about you?

      If the staff provides good service and the customer tips a fair, deserved amount the system works great. Problem is that there are cheap a-holes out there who think it's appropriate to leave a measly 10-12% when the norm is 20%.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
      • Ryan

        Incentives disappear when stereotypes rule your behavior. Since you judge certain ethnic groups as non-tippers I am sure you provide slower service to those people.

        May 10, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
      • Kaye

        I lived in Japan for many years, where there is no tipping and the servers/waiters get paid a decent wage. I never ONCE got bad service. In fact, the service there was exceptional compared to most places here in the US. It all comes down to work ethic and simply doing a good job because you are paid to. I personally think tipping should go away as well. Too many things require it when I am already paying a nice price for the service.

        May 10, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
      • Alyssa

        @Jason, like the rest of us, they would go out of their way to do a good job because they care about still having that job.

        May 11, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • Geig

      This is a cultural issue in the US. Many people (not just restaurant employees) think they are entitled to fairness in the United States because it's the land of opportunity. This is obviously a fallacy because opportunity is reliant on the individual and what they make of it. LUCK comes from circumstance. When you start putting energy into doing something for the "greater good" and not for "greater return" you might find your self LUCKY. This applies to life in general. If you are dependant on someONE or someTHING for whatever reason, it's your responsibility to ensure that dependency is filled and if not you must move on and seek other opportunities for yourself. No one else can be made responsible. DO NOT RELY ON THE GENERAL PUBLIC FOR YOUR INCOME.

      May 11, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  17. Pete

    I waited tables during college at a popular food and ice cream establishment (1970's). Although I generally made amongst the highest tips of the waiters, tips in the house were usually very light, the large parties (8+ and up to 40) were notorious for being the cheapest if they tipped at all. Through all that, I kept in mind an old saying that a TIP was To Insure Promptness, and not to be expected if service was mediocre. In the years since, my experience has been that autograts 1) are a disincentive to good service, waiters are generally more distant, less personable, and even curt where autograts exist, 2) in very few cases has the use of an autograt been pointed out to me, causing me to believe the wait staff passively takes advantage of the customer who tips in addition to the autograt, 3) there has been a sly and self-serving escalation of the old rule of a tip being 15%; autograts routinely are 18% and up to 25% of the billing. The practice effectively makes dining like buying an airline ticket with many fee add-ons. Regretably I have come to bypass establishments that I know use autograts, I just find the service better elsewhere.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  18. Mike in Pekin

    I spent 20 years in the Hospitality industry. The article is correct when it states that this is for the protection of the employees. Large groups take a disproportionate amount of a servers time, and if they get stiffed, it could wipe out the majority of their earnings for the day. However, It should be made clear to the party before they order. The better places do this when the reservation is made, or when the group shows up at the restaurant.

    Having said that, once you sit down, enderstand that you will pay that, regardless of the service level. If the service warrants the tip, fine. If the service is above expectations, I leave a little extra to show my appreciation. However, if the service is substandard, I pay, but I ask to speak to the manager, and let them know what the issues were. But in any case, if it was stated up front, I pay for it. Besides, if you handle it maturely and respectfully, the Manager may offer to negotiate a lower gratuity, or offer you a coupon, free drinks, dessert, etc. It only turns out badly when both sides become stubborn and belligerant.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  19. Edwardo

    I would pay so I could leave, then call your credit card bank and dispute the entire amount as 'not as described' or 'not delivered'. Since they included service in the bill, it is part of the 'product', and they did not deliver it. I would also suggest that they file a criminal complaint for false imprisonment, or at least contact a lawyer to discuss it. Also, if you or anyone in your party was physically touched you could look into the laws in you state on assault. Get the Officer's name so that you can also consider a claim for false complaint and attempted false arrest or what ever the statue is in your state for illegal threats of police action. Not against the officer, but because you will need the name to do any follow-up.

    and 2) Note that #1 goes a long way to supporting #2. Also, 3) make it very public so no restaurant ever does that again.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  20. yaa.hoo4

    I like tipping for good service....I like the idea of autograts because that is fair to the server....but I am quite confused WHY they should HAVE to pay tips if they think they got bad service.....A tip used to be given for 2 reasons:
    1. You are pleased with the dinner and the service.
    2. You want to show off

    Now looks like tips have been added to the so-called "Rights" of these individuals serving meals. As a result, they might not even TRY to be good at it and earn the tip.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  21. kris

    To begin with, five is not a large group – 8 seems to be about right amount. Furthermore, servers should have an incentive for providing good service. Auto-tipping does not incent servers to provide good service.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Ryan

      My incentive for doing my job is not being fired why can't that be true for servers.

      May 10, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
      • Scott Allen

        Incentive is good. The difference between bad, good and great does include the food, but the enjoyment of everything can be utterly destroyed by a server with a bad attitude or bad service that makes you constantly look for the server to remind them to bring something key to the dinner. Whereas a good, pleasant, engaging or distant server (depending upon the situation) can bring just the correct feeling to a meal enhancing it immensely. I think a server is there to provide a meal as a pleasant experience. If they do neither, they get zip...except maybe my 2 cents worth.

        May 10, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  22. Angela

    I have worked for tips since I was 16 yrs old ( now 37 ) I would rather there not be an auto charge because if you are good at your job and make the guest feel welcome and appreciated than you will probably get a better tip if it is not added.

    All the people saying they should give servers regular pay, do you understand what kind of service and server you would have coming to your tables. How often to you go to Mc donalds or any other fast food joint and have a friendly face greet you. I would say maybe 30% of the time. That is what you would be recieving if the server was paid Minimum wage or a little more.

    Tips are what make us servers give great service and are friendly to you. Without them you will have rude teenagers waiting on you and they won't care how happy you are. I always go home with a decent pay average because I strive to give excellent service I want the guest to go away from the table thinking WOW that was one of the best Servers I have ever had.

    If you don't get that than don't tip that 20%, because that is what the sever is working for and it is there job to do that.

    If You don't belive in tipping that cook your own food or go to fast food or order carry out. I hope they never change the tipping policy becasue a great server can go home with a good amount of money at the end of the night.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  23. Tips_are_Taxed

    I waited tables for almost 10 years. I managed a restaurant for 5 years. I eat out at restaurants weekly. I receive excellent service, and I receive poor service. I see many sides to this.

    I agree that if you receive poor service, you should not have to pay the auto-grat and what this restaurant did in this case was wrong.

    However, it is obvious by reading the comments that the discussion keeps going back to why patrons should tip in the first place. It would be wonderful if the restaurant owners could pay their staff enough money where tips were not required. This would mean that the price of the meal would increase significantly. Unfortunately, that is just not the way it is.

    One comment I have not seen (granted I only ready the first half of the whole list of comments) is that servers are required to claim their tips at the end of their shift. They pay taxes on the majority of the tips they get. They pay taxes on the tips they should have received regardless of whether or not they actually received the tips in question. At the end of their shift, a server is required to claim at least a base percentage of what their overall sales were for the shift. Many many many times I had to claim I received more money in tips than I actually walked out the door with. I paid taxes on what I claimed.

    So if a large party comes in, runs up a tab of $500.00, and leaves $10 for the server, that server just lost out big time. They may as well have stayed home that day. That server most likely had to claim they received $50 in tips from that table even though they only got $10. They then had to pay taxes on that $50. Round out the income tax just for demonstration purposes to 20% and that $10 just went to Uncle Sam. The server made nothing.
    Not the mention the fact that if the server also had to split their tips with the bartender and food runners, that $10 went to them and the server actually lost money. In essence, the server paid money in exchange for the honor to wait on that table.

    As far as the hourly wage goes, that wage is usually just enough to cover the amount of taxes they have to pay on the tips they had to claim. I would get paid every 2 weeks and would be happy to net $30.00 in my check.

    As far as the comments about professional servers, yes being a server is a profession, not just a job that students do while in school. Of course, those professional servers work mostly in fine-dining establishments where their experience can be rewarded. Professional servers know every menu item, the ingredients, what wine pairs best with what entree, etc. They can make your dining experience more enjoyable because they know what flavors in what foods best complement each other. They can recommend the correct salad or dressing that will make sure to not conflict with the taste of the demi-glace on the cut of beef you are having for your next course.

    I have always had the opinion that one should not be allowed to frequent a restaurant unless they have had the experience of working in some type of service industry at one time in their life. It gives you a unique perspective.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • customer

      Hi Tips_are_Taxed,

      Very nice and detailed explanation you have given..

      I understand your point that tips are taxed but why would anyone(Server) have to claim more in tip then they actually got.. Regarding your example if you just got $10 in tip why would you have to claim $50, is there a rule saying that you must at least receive certain percentage in tip of the overall bill?

      May 10, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • springs1

      "One comment I have not seen (granted I only ready the first half of the whole list of comments) is that servers are required to claim their tips at the end of their shift."

      May I ask *WHAT* does the GOVERNMENT have to do with tipping?

      "They pay taxes on the majority of the tips they get."

      They should be paying EVERY CENT of taxes on their tips just as everybody else has to claim every cent we make, so should YOU!! This still has NOTHING to do with tipping, it really doesn't. We don't control what the government does.

      "They pay taxes on the tips they should have received regardless of whether or not they actually received the tips in question. At the end of their shift, a server is required to claim at least a base percentage of what their overall sales were for the shift. Many many many times I had to claim I received more money in tips than I actually walked out the door with. I paid taxes on what I claimed."

      That's not the customer's problem. Taxes have ZERO to do with service issues when it comes to tipping a server!

      May 10, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Alyssa

      I can't imagine that there is any IRS requirement to report more income than you have actually been paid. That would be the definition of oppression.

      May 11, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • cc

      Assuming that voluntary tipping will yield a tip appropriate to the service (i.e. generous for excellent service, average for average service, less down to nothing for poor service) I'm not sure why I, as the customer, should be concerned about whether or not you, as the waiter, will lose money. If you do then that's simply a result of your level of service, isn't it? (Of course I realize that my assumption isn't entirely valid-maybe I should pay a tip even for poor service to make up for those who refuse to tip even for excellent service. Or maybe not-to me that's like the income tax argument, who should pay how much, and we'd probably be just as likely to reach an agreement on that.)

      May 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  24. Jon

    I have had the same thing happen to me … lousy service and forced to pay a tip. This is nothing more than private enterprise doing what government has done to us for years. The employees begin to think they are entitled to the tip – kind of like welfare recipients feel they are entitled to their check. What happened to the American where, work hard, do a good job, and get paid fairly for it. Oh yes, the Democrats through their distribution of wealth programs have stolen that from America.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Ken

      Wow, an article about tipping at a restaurant became the Democrats fault. How about this: Republicans fire teachers, police, firemen, break unions, thereby destroying many middle class jobs. Then, they ruin the country's credit rating. They do all this reducing of middle class wages so the saved money can continue go to subsidies of oil companies and other big business. If you want to talk about destroying the lives of people who work for a living – you have to look at the Republicans.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  25. Sumo

    I've never heard of "La Fisherman" before, but I certainly won't be eating there now!

    May 10, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • John

      why ? obviously you don't eat out much. Large parties will always have a gratuity added. Who knows what the service was like but I have a feeling this person is upset about it and trying to make it look bad

      May 10, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
      • Lauren

        5 is not a large party.

        May 10, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  26. Ever thought about what the facts are

    The ethnic groups of the people and their class involved in this matter should not matter, but does and hence the real story is not be revealed. I know the ethnicities of the people involved, in this one. 5 people demanding, everything in sight and then complain bad service and leave just a dollar or two usually they get away with it. The game when played (by a minority of people) is usually against those of either mexican and asian ethnicity. I it is called gottcha! and is played by

    May 10, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Scott Allen

      Thanks for bring racism into the picture. I think you are full of what food becomes after it is digested. I live in a place with many Asian and Hispanic servers, and I love them and the service. Truth be told, Asians as a rule or the most polite servers in the world and I admire them. I go out for sushi at my favorite place, and I see such beauty in their grace that I can almost forget how expensive sushi is compared to common lunch fair (comparative for dinner). I resent your remarks.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
  27. Alex

    I used to be a server and guess what? All the stereotypes are 100% true. Whether based on age, race, or situation, they are all true. A groups of teens won't tip at all. Old people also tip horribly. A young guy on a date will tip really well. Black people and Jewish people complain the most and don't tip well. People from foreign countries visiting will rarely tip. Asian people will not even order that much food, try and order one meal and split it between two people, then barely tip. People at business lunches usually tip really well because it's on the company. Don't care how insensitive it sounds, all of these stereotypes while not 100% true are true like, 80% of the time.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Alyssa

      " All the stereotypes are 100% true."
      "... all of these stereotypes while not 100% true are true like, 80% of the time."


      May 11, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • Bonnie

      Interestingly, the ONLY time I ever waited on a table that flat-out didn't tip (after I had provided impeccable service – they were my only table and everything was perfect), it was a white guy on a date with his white girlfriend.

      May 17, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  28. Gil

    Cheap a**holes. If you can't afford to tip, then you can't afford to dine out. Stick with McDonald's or Burger King cheapskates

    May 10, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Gurgi

      Try learning what the word "TIP" means, then try actually earning a TIP. If you don't like the wages you are paid, then get an education and a different job.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
      • Gil

        You obviously were offended by my comment. That must mean that you can't afford to dine out. So don't dine out cheapskate.

        May 10, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
        • John

          totally agree Gil, Gurgi sounds like a cheapskate

          May 10, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
      • Kelly

        You would be surprised at how many servers actually have an education but cannot find a job or are waiting tables as a second job. I have a Bachelor's degree but in this economy finding a job has proven difficult. I also have a friend that I work with who is a teacher but is also waiting tables on the weekends to provide supplemental income for his family. Do not assume that all servers are uneducated and lazy. At least we are working and not just sitting at home, applying for welfare checks.

        May 10, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
        • Ryan

          I'm sorry that your BA/BS did not earn you a good job, moreover, I am sorry that you feel that you are entitled to one just because you have a degree. If tipping was to actually ensure prompt service it would be paid before the meal and not after. Tipping is a patrons way of saying thanks, good job,bad job, okay job etc.

          If you do not get a tip, take that up with your employer not the patron. The employer just wants the money others he would raise the prices and give you a salary.

          May 10, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
        • Alyssa

          @Ryan, I don't see where Kelly says or suggests that she's entitled to a job in her field. She merely mentions that it is hard in this economy.

          May 11, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • karmarific

      Perhaps it's the restaurant owners who are the cheap ones. Why should this industry be allowed to underpay by such a large amount and expect their customers to pick up the slack. Waiters/resses should be paid at least the minimum wage or more depending on their experience and then if a customer feels especially pleased with their service they may tip if they wish. By your logic you should also be tipping the cashier who rings in your groceries and the sales person who sells your pants. They don't get paid well either.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  29. wildone

    If you take away the incentive for servers to provide excellent service you are rewarding those who provide mediocre to bad service. Tipping should be an indication of customer satisfaction and should be up to the "tippee" to decide whether or not the service they received warranted additional compensation. If restaurant servers were paid an appropriate wage based on their experience and professionalism there would be no need for them to have to rely on tips. Automatic or otherwise. Tips would be a bonus for going above and beyond, not a form of forced gratuity.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • server

      If you want servers to make more hourly, you're going to end up paying for it anyway when the menu prices increase.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  30. Roscoe Chait

    I guess La Fisherman restaurant in Houston won't be getting much business from CNN readers. Was locking the doors on the customers worth it? Hadn't they hear that the customer is King, especially in the days of the Internet?

    May 10, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  31. Lewy

    Not want the PO-lice to run Wants & Warrants on her group, Jasmine reluctantly paid the auto-gratuity.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • The Truth Hurts

      Don't hit too close to home or this comment will end up deleted like so many others. Everyone who has ever waited tables knows it, but you just can't say it because freedom of speech is a thing of the past. Oh goodie, a table of thugs, let's head over there with a handful of straws and a brave face but don't expect civility or a tip. They are worse than Euro's when it comes to gratuity. Just ask a pizza delivery guy...they know from experience.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  32. Gil

    Cheap bastards. If you can't afford to tip, then you can't afford to dine out. Stick with McDonald's or Burger King cheapskates.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Bob

      I can afford to eat out and often do. I leave a tip when I find that it is EARNED by my waiter/waitress. If I receive lousy service then I do not tip!

      May 10, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  33. ResttOwner

    Thats why all the waitstaff is salaried, though not extravagantly but modestly so that they can get on by even without tips. It works as I have 12 of my 20 waiters working for 6years now. Tips are bonus. Customers love my waiters. Everyone is happy!

    May 10, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  34. Andy Shick

    I think the US should adopt the more common western tradition and do away with tipping. Restaurants should be forced to 1. pay wait staff at least federal (or state if it's more) minimum wage, and 2. factor the 15-18% into the price of food. This will eliminate hassle.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Cooper O

      The Western World? A significant portion of the Western World is the US. Hahaha, auto-grat is dumb, if you give good service people will leave 20% or more. The server who locked the door should have been arrested for kidnapping.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Angela

      Sure pay servers Minimum wage so your server will treat you like any fast food worker. Servers work harder because they are tipped and if they are good at what they do average well over Minimum wage. There is no way I would serve for 7.25 an hour. Not worth all the hassle we have to put up with.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  35. Ben

    If you go to a restaurant with a large party and the menu clearly states that gratuity will be automatically added, and you stay, you have entered into a contract and have agreed to pay the stated gratuity. However, in my opinion, if the service is horrible, or there is other good reason, you can attempt to avoid this duty by arguing a violation of the duty of good faith and fair dealing.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Cooper O

      Implied contract really hard to prove in court if and when it comes to that, and if the management is ever flexible even once about policy the whole thing is shot.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Alyssa

      No, you have not entered into a contract. You need three elements to have a contract. Offer, acceptance, and consideration. You could reasonably argue that the offer is made and accepted, but that does not a contract make. The consideration would come in the form of payment for services rendered, and that doesn't happen until after the auto-tip. It is perfectly reasonable for a person to modify the agreement before payment takes place.

      May 11, 2012 at 9:14 am |
  36. Michael

    The way it works is that waitstaff usually make about $2-$2.50 per hour.....the rest of their money comes from tips. When they go to file taxes the government charges them 8% of the waitstaff's total food bills for the year. If they served $10,000 in food, they owe $800 in taxes. Someone who does not tip at all regardless of service is actually costing the waiter/waitress money....

    May 10, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Hamstar

      And a bad waiter can ruin an entire meal. Sometimes service is so bad that the 200 dollar meal is in no way worth 200 bucks, but you still have to pay full price for the meal, the waiter has caused your meal to be way overpriced and is lucky not to owe the customer money.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
      • Michael

        I agree they can ruin it, but they do that too often they won't make any money or get fired. I'm not saying that they automatically should get 18%....just that people dining out should understand how it all works.....

        May 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
        • John

          I have ate out long enough to know the same people will complain over and over. They look for reasons to not have to tip, its sorry, but people will be people, they just suck at tipping , well those who constantly complain do. They are never satisfied, pathetic

          May 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • former waitress

      They pay taxes on the $800 in that situation not that amount.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
      • Michael

        You're right....sry left that part out.....

        May 10, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  37. amz123

    Look, large parties are almost always more complicated, more annoying, and more time-consuming than smaller tables with the same number of people. Large parties spend at least twice as much time deciding what they want to order because their members are having multiple conversations at once. Furthermore, people tend to be more obnoxious in large parties and don't ever seem to understand that the waiter has other tables. There's no question that large parties are more difficult to handle. Also, when a large group stiffs a waiter out of a tip, that's going to be far more painful than when one out of five tables does it. This is why auto-gratuities are added – to make sure that a waiter who has served a group that has taken up several tables in his section does not get screwed in the end. When a waiter has five other tables in addition to the large party, it's possible that it may take a bit longer for things to get out; have patience, people, some things are out of the waiter's control.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Lauren

      But you're assuming that the waiter has provided decent service. Thats a bad assumption to make. I've gone to restaurants with large parties, and the waiters knew that there would be a guaranteed tip for them, so they provided bad service! This isn't acceptable behavior, and to be locked in a restaurant because you don't want to pay for bad service? Really?

      May 10, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
      • stopbeingcheap!

        bad service or not, they still took the orders and got the correct food and drinks. i would have discussed a compromising solution such as leaving 10%. if the manager is not willing to work with that and it is not acceptable to you as a patron, then take note and dont come back.

        May 10, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
        • HarvardLaw92

          In the end, you are only hurting yourself, if we're honest about it. I've been known to fork out 35% for truly excellent service, but a restaurant having the audacity to mandate that I pay a certain percentage, regardless of the quality of service, results in a situation where that mandated gratuity is all that the server is going to get from me, regardless of whether or they they were the best waiter on the planet.

          So you have a choice – bust your behind and get 35%, or take the guaranteed 18%.

          May 10, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
        • Lauren

          Actually, it isn't mentioned here, but when they were on the radio discussing it a few weeks ago, NO, they had not even gotten all of their food and drinks.

          Plus, if I want additional food or drink and the waiter cannot be found or IGNORES ME (which has happened), how on earth does that justify having to pay the tip?

          This has nothing to do with being cheap.

          May 10, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
        • springs1

          "bad service or not, they still took the orders and got the correct food and drinks."

          That's NOT the *ONLY* part of service though. My husband and I have STIFFED for overcharges before. I DEPENDS on HOW THEY ARE HANDLED. Also, if someone waits 20 minutes for a refill, HOW does that matter they got things right otherwise, huh? That's just STUPID what you said.

          May 12, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • Alyssa

      I think the number of the party should be on a decreasing percentage scale. For example, a party of 30 could have a bill of $1,000. A 10% tip is $100. A party of 6 could reasonably have a bill of $150. A 20% tip is $30. I understand that the waiter works harder with a larger party, but they also benefit from a bigger bill.

      May 11, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  38. Shane

    I always ask if we can have this done before setting up a larger dinner gathering at a restaurant.

    If they won't, then I generally won't set my reservations for that. Out of about the 12 we've done in the past few years, we only had poor service once and they ended up with a crappy tip. The rest generally receive closer to 25 or 40% tips.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  39. PS25

    Can anyone explain to me why the restaurant owners can get away with paying such low wages to their staff? How is it legal to pay them under minimum wage and then just say "Well you can make up the difference in tips? What other industry works this way? It shouldn't be up to the customer to make sure the wait staff is making a living wage.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • mjinmd

      That is a question I have been asking for a long time. It's a win-win situation for the restaurant owner.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Kelly

      In Texas, where I live and work, the minimum wage for a server is $2.13/hr. The restaurant owner assumes that a server can make the extra $5.12/hr and that will equal minimum wage. This usually is the case. If you have six tables and get a dollar at each table then you've made the minimum wage for that hour. Now, technically if you do not make the state mandated minimum wage when all of your tips are added up then the restaurant owner has to compensate for that. Now here is where things get tricky. Generally at restaurants you are given better shifts and better sections based on your sales and tip percentage. So servers will sometimes over-claim tips so that they can get better sections. Let's say for example you do $100 in sales for one shift (this is actually low, but it's an easy example) and you make $50 off of those $100 sales then you've made 50% tips. This looks a lot better than someone making $20 off of the same amount of sales. Usually managers read your tip percentage as an indication that customers like you and they want to reward you. But, you never know if someone is over claiming their tips so they can get those better shifts and sections. You can claim as many cash tips if you want, even if you did not make them.

      Also, when you're shift only lasts say four hours if business is slow, even if you make 20% on each table but only have 4 tables then you're walking out with money that does not constitute a living wage. I would love to be paid a higher hourly wage that way when a table stiffs me (and it's happened. Sometimes no matter what you do you cannot make a person happy) then I'm not losing money on the transaction. I've also noticed that people will come in with cash and set aside a certain amount of money for the meal (including tip) so if they spend most of their money on the meal (say they set aside $50 for family of 5) and spend $45 of that, you get the remaining $5 dollars, regardless of how well you did your job.

      May 10, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Alyssa

      Hairdressers can often have this arrangement and be paid less than minimum wage and expect to make up the difference in tips.

      May 11, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  40. stopbeingcheap!

    The bottom line is most waiters only make $2.13 per hour plus tips. There are sooooo many people who go out to eat and find the smallest thing to complain about, and use it as an excuse to not tip well, or at all. It disgusts me. Heaven forbid you had to wait 2 minutes to get your drink refilled. Half of the problems are caused by the kitchen, who the servers have no control over. Also, restaurants are different from fast food, because all you have to do is sit down, and you are waited on. If you want fast food, then go get it, but then YOU will have to walk up to the counter, order your food, look up the ingredients, find out recommended dishes and information on specials, refill drinks, get condiments, napkins, utensils, make special requests, and so much more on your own. If you go to a restaurant, expect to leave 20%, which is normal for good service. Exceptional service is above 20%. Bad service is 10%. If you cant afford to leave a good tip, why are you eating out in the first place? Imagine you are the one making $2.13 an hour.....

    May 10, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • David

      THANK YOU!!!

      May 10, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • HarvardLaw92

      Waiters are paid $2.13 per hour plus tips with the understanding that if their tips fail to produce the equivalent of minimum wage, the employer is responsible for making up the difference, so no. I'll tip as I see appropriate. I owe you nothing for simply doing your job, but if you do it well I'll reward you. If you don't, you can collect minimum wage from your employer.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Rob

      BAD service should get a 10% tip? I'm sorry – stop being stupid. A tip is a gratuity – it is NOT owed to anyone and NOT mandatory at all. Mediocre service may get 10% frmo my wallet, but BAD service? No way. I don't care if waiting tables pays poorly – if you do your job well you can assume you'll get a decent tip. If you do a poor job? You'd be lucky if I dont complain to the management and get the meal comped. Such arrogance!

      May 10, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • really

      10% is not a tip for bad service, no tip is for bad service. 20% is exceptional and above that is excellant. If you dont like it, dont wait tables.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Cooper O

      Bad service gets a 0.00 tip and a frowny face from me, sorry server's next time maybe you'll remember to refill my lemonade.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
      • Back of the House

        Interesting how people are talking about refills. Most places I have worked and eaten at charge for each drink, soft or otherwise. On the rare occasions I have been to a "free refill" establishment, it is like pulling teeth to get someone to notice about 50% of the time. Still, that is usually due to restaurant policy. The owner wants to get you in with the promise of a bargain, or all you can drink, but discourages the server from refilling too often.

        As to the general tip idea, I agree that 5 people is a rather small amount for an autocrat, and I don't like them myself (although I do pay them, because it is the cost of going out and clearly stated on the menu). On the other hand, have any of you been with a large group who insist on splitting the check by what they ordered? When the "kitty" is counted, somehow there is seldom enough money to cover the bill. I have found myself in the position of covering for business associates or even friends who are sly and cheap. So, at least if the tip is included, the sucker left with the deficit can remind people of their owed percentage, and there are no arguments about "I only want to tip 10%" etc.

        There are always going to be people who take advantage of others, on both sides of the serving question. At least if it is stated clearly, one has a leg to stand on.

        By the way, in the UK, a 10% tip is added onto a restaurant bill. There is, however, a notice printed that the customer can "omit the gratuity" if they feel the service was bad. And if you are in a pub, you buy the barman/maid a drink.

        May 11, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • springs1

      "Half of the problems are caused by the kitchen, who the servers have no control over"

      Sorry to burst your bubble, but you are 100% INCORRECT! MOST issues your server has control over or another server, here's why:

      90% of the time it's the SERVER'S FAULT:

      1. They can put in the order wrong into the computer or if it's a written ticket they submit, they could have written something down wrong or hard to read.

      2. They could have forgotten to put in the order in the first place.

      3. Servers can also misunderstand what the customer is saying such as 2 times when I ordered 2 sides of bbq sauce and the stupid idiot servers thought I didn’t want bbq sauce on my ribs when I NEVER ONCE SAID I didn’t and I didn’t say “ON THE SIDE”, I SAID SIDES, which means extra. One of those times I said extra even.

      4. Most mistakes with food are visible:

      A. Condiments of any kind regardless of who brings out the food can be brought out by the server ahead of time.

      B. If someone orders extra crispy bacon with their pancakes, then the bacon looks limp, not stiff, and you can even see some white fat on it, guess what? MY SERVER COULD HAVE SEEN THAT TOO AND TOLD THE COOKS IT WASN'T CORRECT, TO RECOOK IT INSTEAD OF BRINGING IT TO ME WRONG IN THE FIRST PLACE!

      C. Any wrong side dishes or entrees are the fault of the server if they bring out the food even if they put in the order right. You can tell the difference between a baked potato and mac n' cheese, yet, a waiter at Logan's Roadhouse was so stupid as to bring me mac n' cheese when I ordered a baked potato. I noticed it within 5 seconds of the food hitting my table. Like DUH a baked potato looks completely different from mac n' cheese.

      D. Any MISSING side dishes, appetizers, condiments, or entrees ARE the server's fault if they bring out the food as well. Have had that happen a few times or so. Our servers aren't blind, so they can tell if something is missing or not.

      E. I have seen a red steak delivered to someone before at Outback which means let's say the customer ordered their steak well done, that the server could have noticed the color difference as in your example “Steak cooked rare instead of well done ? It’s not your server’s fault, they didn’t cook it, it’s the kitchen’s fault.”

      F. If something LOOKS burnt such as a piece of bread with the food and the person didn't order it burnt, my server is at fault for serving me that.

      G. If my server forgets an item that an entree or appetizer comes with, that's their fault if they brought me my food without the item such as a side dish or ranch.

      H. I have ordered at Outback my fries "lightly cooked" "Not overdone and yellow not brown." I have had their fries before cooked the way I like them before many of times before this time I am talking about. This stupid waitress decided to blame the kitchen staff for REALLY DARK BROWN FRIES as if she was blind or something and my husband even told me he could see that they were really dark. My husband may not agree with me on every subject of course, but with that, you could EASILY tell just by LOOKING that those fries were overdone and very dark. She said she put in the order correctly. I am thinking, SO? I wish I could have said "Are you blind?" That was HER FAULT she DECIDED TO SERVE ME THOSE FRIES THAT WEREN'T CORRECT. I noticed the mistake within 3 seconds of my food being placed in front of me.

      My server's job isn't just to bring out what the kitchen staff gives them, it's also getting the order OBVIOUSLY correct to the table as much as possible in order to get that good tip. As someone said on a blog or forum “They just want to be tipped well and will do pretty much anything reasonable to get your money”, which that IS VERY REASONABLE to think OUR SERVERS ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT THEIR TIP TO GET THINGS RIGHT TO HAVE A BETTER TIP!!

      Continued next posts:

      May 10, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • springs1

      Same thing with dark brown fries vs. lightly colored fries, that you can tell just by LOOKING at fries if they are really overdone or not.

      You also can notice if someone has wing sauce "On the side" vs. "On the wings" themselves. This isn't rocket science.

      Most of the things that are wrong with the food can be caught by the server if they bring out the food, even if they didn't cook it. If it's another server, they can catch obvious errors on the ticket and menu(such as menu states the item comes with bbq sauce and the ticket doesn't say "no bbq sauce") if the ticket was correctly put in by the original server that took the order. Condiments(in bottles or on the side in containers) can always be offered to be brought out ahead of time REGARDLESS of WHO brings out the food to the table.

      So most of the time when the food has something wrong with it, chances are, your server or another server could have caught the mistake before it got to you in most instances. I NEVER said ALL, but in most cases, it can be caught BEFORE bringing out the food(unless another server brings out the food with the ticket wrong), because then the original server that took the order is at fault for putting the order in incorrectly into the computer.

      There are few rare cases where the food being wrong is the kitchen staff's fault such as raw food(such as raw chicken), slightly undercooked or overcooked food that you'd have to CUT into to know if it was under or overcooked, or anything the server cannot see with their eyes unless they were to TOUCH the food. Things such as a pickle under a bun the server can't notice unless they lift the bun, so unless they put the order in wrong, they wouldn't be at fault, but in general most food mistakes can be caught BEFORE bringing the food to the table.

      What I am saying is, MOST mistakes ARE PREVENTABLE by the SERVER if they bring your order to you that they can NOTICE things wrong by comparing those written orders to the plates of food.

      Once a waiter at Chili's said "The kitchen forgot" when I had ordered 2 sides of mayo and 1 side of mustard. The thing is, my waiter brought out the food, so NO, HE HE HE HE HE FORGOT, the kitchen staff didn't step out the kitchen to bring me my food and forget obvious missing containers from my plate that aren't covered up by anything. MY WAITER DID THOUGH!! I HATE this type of attitude. YOU have that attitude it seems.

      You walk in one room in your house with a plate of food, but forget the ranch. Even if your mom or significant other plated your food, which you even told her you wanted a side of ranch for your fries, but you bring it to another room. HOW IS THAT THEIR FAULT? It's YOUR FAULT YOU LEFT THE ROOM WITHOUT THE RANCH AND DIDN'T NOTICE IT SINCE IT'S SOMETHING OBVIOUS YOU DON'T HAVE TO *TOUCH* TO NOTICE THE MISTAKE!!

      Continued next posts:

      May 10, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • springs1

      Once a waiter at Chili's said "The kitchen forgot" when I had ordered 2 sides of mayo and 1 side of mustard. The thing is, my waiter brought out the food, so NO, HE HE HE HE HE FORGOT, the kitchen staff didn't step out the kitchen to bring me my food and forget obvious missing containers from my plate that aren't covered up by anything. MY WAITER DID THOUGH!! I HATE this type of attitude. YOU have that attitude it seems.

      You walk in one room in your house with a plate of food, but forget the ranch. Even if your mom or significant other plated your food, which you even told her you wanted a side of ranch for your fries, but you bring it to another room. HOW IS THAT THEIR FAULT? It's YOUR FAULT YOU LEFT THE ROOM WITHOUT THE RANCH AND DIDN'T NOTICE IT SINCE IT'S SOMETHING OBVIOUS YOU DON'T HAVE TO *TOUCH* TO NOTICE THE MISTAKE!!

      Even if he didn't bring out the food, that waiter could have prevented that type of thing from being forgotten since it needs no cooking to bring it out ahead of time. It is always the person bringing out the food that is at fault for any type of mistake that you don't have to TOUCH the food to notice the mistake, unless of course, the ticket was put in wrong by the original server that took the order with another server bringing out the food. Of course unless, the kitchen goofs up, making it correctly even if the ticket is wrong, but that's highly unlikely scenario.

      I cannot believe you honestly think that the server is not at fault for most food mistakes. WE LIVED THROUGH THE "DUH" MISTAKES, SO WE CAN SEE WITH OUR EYES WHO WAS AT FAULT!!

      Continued next posts:

      May 10, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • springs1

      We had a waiter once admitted he grabbed the wrong entrée from the kitchen. It was just my husband and I. This waiter not only admitted he didn't compare the WRITTEN ORDER with the entrées he was bringing out, but also we saw he had other entrées for another table that he didn't ONCE get his pad of paper out to see WHICH ENTRÉE WENT WITH WHICH TABLE!! So 2 times he could have caught his mistake, but didn't TRY HIS BEST AS HE SHOULD HAVE, because that's HIS JOB!!

      He admitted that he grabbed the wrong entrée from the kitchen. He brought my husband fried shrimp w/fries when he ordered crawfish au gratin w/baked potato. Those items look NOTHING A LIKE, but yet THAT WAITER WAS TOO LAZY AND UNCARING TO VERIFY WHAT HE WAS BRINGING US!! We still left him 17% BTW, just to let you know since he profusely apologized TWICE and FIXED THE SITUATION IMMEDIATELY just about. We honestly shouldn’t have though, because that really didn't make him LEARN anything. If I had to do it all over again, I would have tipped 13%. It's because since that happened(a number of years ago, maybe like 4), we have had some terrible experiences. We have had good ones too of course, but the servers need to LEARN that they can't just hand you ANYTHING like McDonald's cashiers do. They are there to EARN a tip, NOT to just hand you anything.

      It's very rare that it's not the server's fault. Things like if I order no pickles if you took my order and brought out my food, which there are some pickles under a bun that you'd have to lift it to see it, unless you admitted putting in the order wrong, I will assume it's the kitchen staff that is at fault and probably is.

      Things like raw chicken tenders aren't the fault of the server unless they are pink or something.

      A slightly over or undercooked steak if the order was put in correctly is not the server's fault.

      Also, some people assume things as well, that end up being wrong.

      My point is, MOST of the time, the server can prevent mistakes from getting to the customers and it IS INDEED MOST OF THE TIME THEIR FAULT THE CUSTOMER RECEIVES THE MISTAKES.

      If another server brings out a wrong side dish or if they are missing items other than condiments, no it's not the server's fault if they put in the order correctly, but it still counts against the tip. It's part of the service.

      Continued next posts:

      May 10, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • springs1

      If your food is taking too long it could be:

      Ask yourself:

      1. WHEN did you put in my order?

      2. Did you put in my order CORRECTLY?

      3. Did you FORGET to put in my order entirely?

      4. Did you FORGET anything I ordered?

      5. Did you bring out the WRONG FOOD the first time around, because you didn't VERIFY WHAT you were bringing me?


      7. Did you DROP my food on the floor?

      These things CAN HAPPEN!!

      Sometimes taking a long time or a longer time has A LOT to do with the server:

      We have had 3 TIMES where servers FORGOT to put food orders into the computer. We also have 4 times servers forget to get bar drinks from the bar.

      We also have had delays due to that the servers delayed putting orders into the computer when they COULD have such as deciding to buss a table first or decide instead of a mini-greet(I'll be right with you all), they decided to take like 6 people's drink/appetizer orders instead of putting in our food orders. I can understand if they call you over, but if they don't, you should be putting that order into the computer not delaying our food. The longer you wait to put in orders, the LONGER WE WAIT!!

      Also, if your server put in your order wrong, that's THEIR FAULT you are waiting longer for your food, because the kitchen staff only knows what's on the ticket, PERIOD!!

      My husband and I have had wrong food put into the computer and even stupid servers bring it out that took the order even. You have to be stupid to not even LOOK at WHAT you are bringing the person. Act like it's your food. I was once brought quesadillas when I ordered bbq chicken nachos. The waiter was too LAZY to COMPARE his written order to the food. Turns out, he admitted pressing a wrong button. So not only did he delay my food from getting to me by bringing me the completely wrong food, but also put in the order wrong to begin with. So he made 2 mistakes. That was the fault of the waiter, not the kitchen staff.

      Also, if your server FORGETS something from the kitchen even though they put in the order correctly, that's on YOUR SERVER, NOT the kitchen staff since your server brought you your food. They have full control of what is in their hands they are taking you.

      Continued next posts:

      May 10, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • springs1

      Condiments are the most common thing to be forgotten. That is the server's fault no matter who brings you your food, because my server can offer to bring those out ahead of time.

      The same situation I mentioned above about the waiter that grabbed the wrong entrée from the kitchen has to do with the wrong food as well as time. It was just me and my husband. This waiter not only admitted he didn't compare the WRITTEN ORDER with the entrées he was bringing out by saying he grabbed the wrong entrée from the kitchen, but also we saw he had other entrées for another table that he brought out on a tray that he put on a tray jack which he didn't ONCE get his pad of paper out to see WHICH ENTRÉE WENT WITH WHICH TABLE!! I saw with my own 2 EYES he didn't EVER get his pad of paper to make sure he was bringing his customers the correct items. So 2 times he could have caught his mistake, but didn't TRY HIS BEST AS HE SHOULD HAVE, because that's HIS JOB!! So this wasn't even REAL MISTAKE, it was a LACK OF EFFORT and BEING LAZY!!

      He admitted that he grabbed the wrong entrée from the kitchen. He brought my husband fried shrimp w/fries when he ordered crawfish au gratin w/baked potato. So it was HIS fault my husband's food took longer to get to him due to HE didn't check over his written order BEFORE bringing out all the entrées he brought out.

      If your server delays going to get your food when they DO have a chance to run it, but they are chit-chatting about personal stuff, that is for sure their fault.

      I would say 90% of the time your server had SOMETHING to do with how long you waited for your food by the fact that they didn't go put the order in as quickly as they could have in a fair manner that is. I don't expect our server to put in orders if they have food/drinks/request that came BEFORE we ordered, because they were BEFORE us, but when it is our turn, don't DISRESPECT OUR TURN by INTENTIONALLY DELAYING our food.

      If the food is cold, sometimes it is the server's fault that they didn't bring your food due to that you were chit-chatting with your friends or customers instead of bringing out the food.


      May 10, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • springs1

      1. Once, we had a Red Lobster waitress had our 2 entrées on the tray as well as 2 side salads that were for a couple that wasn’t even there when we ordered. Anyway, instead of bypassing their table to hand us ours first since WE DID ORDER FIRST(common sense would tell you that it takes more time to cook food than it does to fix a side salad anyways even if it wasn’t our server that delivered our food, but it was our waitress that delivered our food), she decided to hand them theirs first off the tray. THAT IS SOMETHING THAT IS IN THE SERVER’S CONTROL TO HAND OUT THINGS OFF THE SAME TRAY IN THE ORDER IN WHICH IT WAS ORDERED IN!!

      2. Once, we had a waitress that greeted us which we ordered an appetizer as well as our drinks when greeted. I saw she tucking in chairs at empty tables and pretty much doing everything but coming back to get our entrée order. Well, I found out what happened. She brought out our appetizer and when I asked she said that she wanted to wait to put in our entrée orders. The thing is, that delayed us more by not at least coming to GET our orders. That way, when the appetizer was ready, we wouldn’t have gotten delayed eating our appetizer since we then had to give our entrée orders when we could have given our entrée orders WELL BEFORE THAT and we would have gotten our entrées faster due to that she could have just left to put our entrée orders into the computer after delivering our appetizer instead of taking time to order when our appetizer was sitting in front of us.

      The point is, SHE delayed our entrées as well as to be able to start eating our appetizer because she could have at least TAKEN our entrée orders and then when our appetizer would have been brought out, could have immediately gone to the computer to put our entrée orders in.

      What she did was make us wait while our hot appetizer was sitting in front of us, we couldn’t touch it, because we had to order our entrées and could have done that wayyy before that.

      She also delayed our entrées because we had to spend extra time AFTER our appetizer arrived to give her our entrée orders when we could have done that wayyyy before that.

      Continued next posts:

      May 10, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • springs1

      3. Once, we had a waitress that assumed that because they were out of raspberry topping for a cheesecake slice when we had ordered dessert that she’d bring us strawberry. Turns out, she knew when she put in the order that the computer had it the manager told us. So she did it on PURPOSE to be so lazy and uncaring as to not come to ask if we wanted the next closest thing. We didn’t, we sent it back, so she had MORE WORK. Also, she didn’t even think about what if someone is allergic to strawberries. I just honestly can’t believe someone would do that. If they are out of something, common sense would be to come to see if the next closest thing is ok. Not everyone wants the next closest thing. So it wasn’t like it was just getting the order wrong by accident or by not verifying the written order with what she was bringing or putting in the order wrong by accident, this was on PURPOSE to be LAZY and to ASSUME. I didn’t know at first that she did that. I thought at first she just was that stupid(or truly just messed up(highly doubt it)) to bring us strawberries on top of a cheesecake when we ordered raspberries.

      4. Your server delays coming to get your order or delays you ordering due to personal conversation. We have had that before as well. Once, we had a waiter that we didn’t know after waiting 15 mins. for a table on Mardi Gras day ask us BEFORE we ORDERED ANYTHING “How’s y’all’s Mardi Gras” “Go to any parades.” See, I don’t mind chit chat with a stranger, but be considerate to do it AFTER we have our orders into the computer so you don’t take up our time. THAT was in the server’s control as well. We have also had servers not come to get our order due to playing around. That’s in the server’s control too.

      So just remember when you want to blame the kitchen staff, BLAME YOUR SERVER, because MOST LIKELY THEY CAUSED THE ISSUES!! THAT IS THE GOD'S TRUTH AND YOU KNOW IT!! You just don't want to admit the truth, because it hurts, doesn't it?

      Remember the kitchen staff doesn't LEAVE the kitchen with an OBVIOUS to the EYES ERROR NOR do they put in an order wrong, NOR do they FORGET to put in an order, etc.

      May 10, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
      • Alyssa

        Goodness, you just wasted quite a bit of your life on a CNN message board.

        May 11, 2012 at 9:29 am |
        • Lola

          Good point Alyssa. Also, apparently if you type some words in all caps and add a lot of exclamation points after them, it makes your statements more valid.

          May 11, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
      • Bonnie

        I bet you get a LOT of terrible service, considering the fact that you're such a c**t.

        May 17, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
        • springs1

          "I bet you get a LOT of terrible service, considering the fact that you’re such a c**t."

          NO, I get terrible service because of MEAN, INCONSIDERATE and LAZY people like YOURSELF that don't care about anyone else except yourselves.

          I don't MAKE these servers be lazy, mean, and inconsiderate, they do it all on their own.

          I am actually *MUCH NICER* than the servers still telling them "THANK YOU" even though they didn't say they were sorry when they messed up, how about that one for ya, huh? I AM NICER THAN THEY ARE, so you don't know WTH you are talking about.

          May 17, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
      • Bonnie

        Mean? You nailed it...I am consistently mean to people who deserve it. Inconsiderate? Not particularly – in fact, I go out of my way to be considerate of others, unlike you, who refuses to tip someone for forgetting to bring the ketchup before the meal or for DARING to bring you a refill of your soft drink without asking you first because he or she has the CONSIDERATION not to interrupt your conversation for something that can be handled quietly and efficiently. Lazy? Far from it. I am an active mom to a VERY smart, vivacious, active preschooler. I have a graduate degree and am currently working on my doctoral thesis, I work out daily (Zumba and Crossfit), I am a competitive ballroom dancer, and I still manage to have hot, healthy, homecooked meals on the table every night when my husband comes home from from work (OH, by the way, he is an Officer in the U.S. Army – you're welcome!) and unwind to an episode of Big Bang Theory once or twice a week. And I'm 27. You're...what did you say?? 38 or so? Middle aged and sad, undereducated and underpaid, with nothing better to do than rant for hours online about waitstaff (with VERY poor grammar, cohesion, and sentence structure, I'll add...) and eat out 2 to 3 times a weekend. (I'm certain you're also huge if you eat out that often.)

        Yes, you have failed as a woman and a human being. I am sorry for you. Have a fantastic night!

        May 17, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
        • springs1

          "I am consistently mean to people who deserve it."

          I am NICE to those people, so that makes me a BETTER PERSON THAN YOU ARE!

          "unlike you, who refuses to tip someone for forgetting to bring the ketchup before the meal or for DARING to bring you a refill of your soft drink without asking you first because he or she has the CONSIDERATION not to interrupt your conversation for something that can be handled quietly and efficiently."

          WHERE do you get that I don't tip huh? I take off some from 20% like a point of 2 such as 19% instead of 20%.

          It's not "EFFICIENT" if the customer doesn't want it that's WASTING TIME FOR ALL!

          "Lazy? Far from it."

          Not far from it if you are *ORDERING* for your customers. That means you are too lazy to come to their table to *ASK* them is what it means!!

          "You’re…what did you say?? 38 or so? "

          NO, 35. 27 not knowing as much about LIFE as *I* DO. You cannot compare the LIFE EXPERIENCE as a customer I have as you have, because you don't know much as you just have proved to me.

          "(I’m certain you’re also huge if you eat out that often.)"

          NO, once again I don't eat like this everyday. I am 98 and a half pounds this morning. I bet it's *YOU* that's FAT AND ARE JUST *******JEALOUS************* AREN'T YOU?

          "Yes, you have failed as a woman and a human being. I am sorry for you"

          YOU have failed as a decent human being. I don't feel sorry for you. YOU ARE JUST PATHETIC!!

          May 18, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  41. Lauren

    Plus, it may be worth mentioning that there are places that I have gone to where there was an auto-grat for large parties, and in turn the wait staff saw that as a guaranteed tip and therefore treated us terribly (and ignored us). I don't at all see the explanation where serving a large group is going to prevent the server from having other tables apply here.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  42. Zach

    Living in South Florida, with a large number of European and South American tourists, it is a completely understandable policy. Because the gratuity is not customary in their home countries, many tourists will run up an enormous dinner tab and then completely stiff a wait staff whether the service is mediocre or extraordinary. In other parts of the country, maybe not so much an issue...although it makes sense with a large group of business associates or others who don't know each other well, because you might get a "Mr. Pink" in the group. (That's a Reservoir Dogs allusion, FYI.)

    May 10, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Alyssa

      Because in their countries the waitstaff is probably paid a living wage.

      May 11, 2012 at 9:31 am |
  43. The Truth Hurts

    No need for a family photo, I'm pretty sure I can guess what they look like. Let's see...from Houston, eating seafood at a place called "La Fisherman," complain about having to tip, ignored by the police...can you say black? When I was waiting tables we had several code words for a group of blacks, calling them either "turtles" or "Canadians" or something like "blacktop of five at table eight." It was common knowledge that blacks run their servers ragged getting straws for the lemonade they just made from water, sweet&low and free lemons, and then they never tip well, always finding some small complaint to justify it. Nevermind they just inhaled the entire meal, it didn't taste right after the first bite and they want their money back and maybe some gift certificates for a future visit. It's the truth and it will never be told because this post will shortly be deleted for not conforming to the "correct" worldview.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • stopbeingcheap!

      white people, natives, europeans, latinos, blacks, asians, shit all races leave bad tips. more often the bad tippers are on the low and high end of the income range. saying its just blacks is just racist

      May 10, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • That's Awful

      That kind of stereotyping is hideous. Unfortunately, it's absolutely true.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • amira

      Oh shutty, whites are just as bad...could be some rednecks too! Blacks pay WHEN they get good service, they are not like that and since you have those preconceived ideas about blacks I cam imagine the 'lovely' service someone like you would give them!

      May 10, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
      • The Truth Hurts

        Total B.S.! If you ever waited tables you would never say that blacks and whites tip the same, it's just not true. A black girl I work with tipped our pizza delivery driver $1 for five pizzas and then said that he was lucky because she never tips delivery drivers! This happens all the time! A waiter or delivery driver is lucky if blacks even pay their tab without running/robbing. Black teens love calling in a delivery to a "trap house" (from a cellphone) and then robbing/killing the driver for some free pizza. Truth hurts don't it blacks? Don't come on here and deny it, we all know it's true.

        May 10, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Slightly Offended

      I don't much care for your attitude, comment or point of view. I'm not black but I am "Canadian" and I generally tip in the 20 to 25% range. A tip is for the level of service provide. If you know your getting the tip in advance the service becomes, due to human nature, much worse and you are taken for granted. Not a good situation for the #1 person in the restaurant "the Customer" plese don't forget it.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  44. Josh

    I, too, have been locked into paying a large tip, greater than 15%, even though I received far less that satisfactory service. The worse time, I happen to look into the kitchen area when the door was briefly open, only to see our waitress, plus several others, just sitting and joking around. All while we sent out entire meal without a single service check.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  45. HenryMiller

    Since any restaurant automatically adding a "tip"–if it's not voluntary, it's not a tip–is denying me the opportunity to reward good service or punish bad service, my only option, given bad service, is to refuse to go to that restaurant again, which is exactly what I do.

    So, question, restaurants: Is it worth losing the business of people like me? I tip fairly. Actually, I tip very well if the service merits it. But I'm not particularly tolerant of being told how to tip.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  46. Cheryl Jefferies

    Anyone who'd automatically tip for crummy service or poor food is a fool. And, that old saying that a fool and his money are soon parted is obviously true for lots of the jerks voting here. I leave usually 20% or more, if the service is good. If not, you know how much I leave...2 cents. Because I intend to give a clear message about what that service was worth to me. I pay for what I get. And, I get, usually, what I pay for. Buy cheap, get cheap. But, when it comes to paying for any kind of service or labor...it better be worth it. Or, I don't pay. You people need to grow up. This restaurant should be taken to court.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Josh

      "Anyone who'd automatically tip for crummy service or poor food is a fool"

      I have to agree, 100%.

      Crummy service deserves nothing more than a crummy tip in return. If that makes the wait staff unhappy, then possibly they need to work on their service and their attitude.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Josh

      "Anyone who'd automatically tip for crummy service or poor food is a fool"

      I have to agree, 100%.

      Crummy service deserves nothing more than a crummy tip in return. If that makes the wait staff unhappy, then possibly they need to work on their service and their attitude.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  47. Stewie

    Just another way for the lazy wait staff to get my money without doing any work.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Lynn

      Stewie – the Auto Gratuity goes to the restaurant – not the staff – I will tip the wait staff if the service is good – if it sucks I will not pay the gratuity – no matter what the policy is. That's why I HATE AUTO GRATUITY!

      May 10, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  48. M.Hunt

    party of 5 auto tip, no – 6 to 8 OK if service is bad no

    May 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  49. Matt

    If you don't like the way a restaurant runs their business, then don't eat there. It is that simple.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • debra

      i totally agree. however, the reverse side of the coin is also true...if you don't like the low wages or having to depend on customers tipping to pay your bills, then don't be a waitperson/food server. everyone knows how hard the job is and how little they are paid, so if that is a problem for you, then don't do the job. BUT if you do take on the job, then do it well and just understand that, like anything in life, you aren't going to please one hundred percent of the people one hundred percent of the time. and as a side bar, that cop that showed up to the restaurant where the people had been locked inside and not allowed to leave should have immediately arrested the manager of the restaurant. that is legally a form of kidnapping and absolutely illegal. those customers should consider bringing a suit against that restaurant. that would stop any manager in the future from ever trying such a bone headed move. and someone should give that cop some unpaid leave to contemplate his own stupidity.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  50. Larry Brough

    Here in central Ohio, restaurants recently have been ordered to stop adding the gratuity to the tabs for large groups! I actually preferred the old way (I'm getting lazy).

    May 10, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
| Part of