This is last minute, but I’ll be on Headline News at 5:40 today. I’m talking about automatic gratuities. Some restaurant called the cops on some people who wouldn’t pay! Should be fun.
Get The Books
I missed it! A little to late. I check your blog everyday! Oh well!
I’ll be looking for it on Headline News today.
Thanks for posting the info about your appearance on Headline News.
It seems as if you’ve become the “go to guy” for the TV news people. You’re the authority on tipping now. How cool is that?!
It’s an interesting point: a restaurant with an autograt has got your tip money no matter how bad the service is.
Whether they warn you or not, it’s a sore point. Even when the customers themselves aren’t exactly angels.
If restaurants actually paid their waiters fair wages instead of counting on the customers to make up the deficiency, this would be a moot point. This incident portrays a grey area where the restaurant actually does get involved with the tip, instead of pretending that it has nothing to do with them.
As a former waiter (in Las Vegas no less), I can attest that large groups can RUIN your night without the autograt thing… Still, other countries, who require a fair wage to servers, do seem more civilized; however, I used to average $100-$200/night when I did French Service (table-side preparation)in Sin City; no restaurant owner would ever pay that kind of money for what I did back then (this was 20+ years ago). Thus, I find myself ambivalent toward the whole issue. All I can say is: thank all the gods and little fishes (to quote Mildred Pierce)that I left the biz; of course, I then went into mortgage… I am back in school now… ’nuff said.
In concept, I agree with the auto gratuity; in this case if there was poor service, it seems neither side was willing to “bend”. An auto gratuity when poor service is received should have some modification. If there isn’t, it may simply encourage the wait staff to continue their poor service knowing that whatever happens they will still get their tip portion.
Instead of auto gratuity, they should just call it a service charge. Service charges aren’t optional. We all take it up the ass on them from ticketmaster.
The fair wage thing is such a boring argument to hear anymore. Bottom line, if owners had to start paying a government mandated fair wage, like minimum wage, they would have to increase the menu prices, so it’s basically six of one or a half dozen of the other. How many businesses do you know would survive if their overhead went up and they didn’t raise their prices??
And now that I think about it, I don’t know anyone that would continue serving if they switched to minimum wage. It’s a hard job. Worth may more than minimum wage.
So, leave it in the hands of the customer. A good majority of people like their dining experience, and love when they know the waiter that is waiting on them. Like regulars. Wouldn’t you rather build a relationship with the person serving you your dinner, than have some revolving door of people everytime you go to your favorite place? tip 20% and accept it.
“Bottom line, if owners had to start paying a government mandated fair wage, like minimum wage, they would have to increase the menu prices, so it’s basically six of one or a half dozen of the other. ”
Not really. Sure, people who don’t tip or stiff waiters at a whim would pay more than they do now, in aggregate. But people who tip well now would pay the same as they ever did, just not in two separate buckets.
Most of the people I know who don’t tip, or tip a miniscule amount, can afford to tip more. They’re just people who don’t do anything for others that they don’t have to.
And maybe restaurants can work on being more productive, so that the new price are less than the sum of meal plus tip. They have the technology now to get by with fewer people up front. I don’t have a problem with that, just, actually do pay the ones you do hire, what they’re worth.
The auto grat in this situation was 17%, so even if the service wasn’t stellar, pony up, shut up and don’t go back, cause 17% ain’t nothing special! They were certainly old enough to make the decision to go out and eat here with a menu that clearly stated the policy, but didn’t have a problem or complain until the bill came? Sorry lady, you can’t always complain away the rules- the customer IS NOT always right, and you show your lack of class by refusing to pay a fee for a service you got, because you did not leave hungry.
ENTITLED to leave if you disagree with the policy INSTEAD of eating here.
I saw this on the news and do you know what I did? I started a slow clap, however because I was watching it with my girlfriend and not a large group of people I was only able to convince her to join in (but hey that’s a 100% participation rate).
Both of us are long time servers and as we watched we started talking about some different situations we found ourselves in and I felt compelled to share a story with you as I’m sure you will relate.
I was serving a table of 8 who made a reservation and at the time of making their reservation was informed about the restaurants policy of an auto gratuity for tables which have 6 or more guests.
Throughout service it seemed to me that a few of these guests may not have dined out as often as the average person from a few small things that came up.
One example was when I was asked by one of them if the cloth roll up with the cutlery nicely packed inside of it was for them to keep?
Ok just one more example (I promise it’s the last one). Another guest at the table asked me if they ordered a chicken caesar salad to start if they were allowed to order the chicken parmigiana for a main because they both had chicken in it?
So onto the conclusion which is is the icing on the cake.
When I billed everyone (separate checks) one of them believed that the auto gratuity was the point of sale using advanced technology which estimated what it thought each guest would want to tip… But this guest was unaware that on everyone’s check the auto gratuity was 18%.
An outburst of extreme proportion followed when the guest got in my face and told me and I quote “I don’t need a machine making decisions for me thank you very much!”
It’s situations like these that make my “job” in the industry an exciting and adventurous one.
Great work on the news!
Once almost got into a brawl with German tourists in Times Square over that issue back in the 90’s, didn’t think the cops could enforce something like that though.
Just read Keep The Change. Um, how DO you say “Dublanica”???
It is time for waiters to start receiving a living wage that can be incorporated into menu prices and even a more than living wage for high-end establishments. Tips could be added at the customer’s discretion.
Having to depend on tips for the hard work waiters perform is discriminatory.
From the link to the article on the Houston family it seems they received inadequate service and yet they wanted to tip the waiter separately and not have the percentage added to the bill as a mandatory charge.
CS has a good point. “Service charge” for large parties is common and makes a lot of sense.
Everyone is busy talking about receiving tips in the range from 17 – 20% and all I have to say is you have no idea how high that is. When I was a waitress, standard tipping procedure was merely 10% of the bill. No minimum wage salary either. The customer tipped what he thought was fair with the accepted minimum being ten percent.
I wish I was getting 20%. It seems remarkably high to me after my 10%.
Personally I think that an auto-grat should exist on every table, not just large ones. If you want to eat out, you should pay for the service.
Its a difficult job so patrons also need to consider that waitresses and waiters often have more than one table at a time. Sometimes I would have 4 or 5 tables and some of them were really big like 8 or 10 people. It isn’t a easy job. That being said, the service should still be excellent regardless of how many tables you have. Its all a matter of balance and civility.
I once had a table of 12 people who each got separate checks and it really goes to show you how different people can be. I had several person tip me next to nothing while some of the others gave me almost triple what I was expecting. Same service mind you.
I think that seeing how a person treats a waitress or waiter is probably the most indicative action to determine heir personality and nature. If a person claims to be generous but doesn’t tip well… Suffice to say that you meet all type of people and are constantly being surprised as to what people can and do give.
I have had too many horror stories of people claiming to do you right if you skip the automatic gratuity. Best bet is to say that you have too (its company policey) and if they want to add a little extra thats up to them.