Author Topic: Re: Restaurants that include the tip in the bill. Ud 27, 58  (Read 15304 times)

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Danika

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Re: Restaurants that include the tip in the bill. Ud 27, 58
« on: April 12, 2013, 10:52:21 PM »
I live in the US where it's customary to tip 15% of the meal cost (before tax charges) on top of your food bill at a restaurant. Some people I know pay 10% if the service was mediocre and 15% if it was good. Most of my friends tip 15% if the service was mediocre and 17-20% if the service was good.

At many restaurants, if you have a large number of diners on one bill, about 8 or more people, the menu will state that they automatically charge a 20% tip on parties of 8 or more.

Lately, we've been to a few restaurants where the service has been not so good. The food will be good, but your drink never gets refilled, you're missing silverware and can't find a server so you have to find an empty table and grab silverware from the settings there, etc. It seems that at the restaurants with the worst service, when the bill comes, the tip has already been pre-printed and entered under the food total, and it's an 18% tip! And this is if there are only 2 or 4 of us. A small number of guests and we shouldn't be getting an automatic tip added to the bill.

Last night, my family and I went to one of these restaurants. We know the service isn't that good, but the food is good. I probably would have tipped 17% anyway because I tend to err or the generous side of tipping unless the service was truly awful. However, the bill came and they'd automatically added an 18% tip! That really made me cringe, so I crossed out the 18% tip (which is legal where we live) and put in a smaller tip (which worked out to about 15.5% because I rounded the dollar number up).

Are others seeing this? Is it a growing trend?
« Last Edit: April 23, 2013, 05:50:21 PM by Danika »

KenveeB

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Re: Restaurants that include the tip in the bill
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2013, 11:14:06 PM »
I think you were wrong to do that. The time to object to an automatic tip is before you order. As long as the policy is posted (either at the door or on the menu), then by ordering you're agreeing to pay that gratuity. If you want to set your own tip, choose a different restaurant. If it's not posted anywhere, then I think you're fine objecting.

I'm not a fan of the auto-tip, personally. Most of the time I'd actually tip more than that -- 20% is my standard, unless the service was bad -- but if they set an auto-tip at lower than that, I figure they're saying that's what their service is worth so I don't add to it.

Danika

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Re: Restaurants that include the tip in the bill
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2013, 11:18:47 PM »
I must not have been clear. There was no automatic tip stated on the menu or on any paperwork in the restaurant. Their menu said nothing about an automatic tip. In fact, I'd eaten there a few weeks before and there was no automatic tip.

It was not even on the bill. Only after I gave them the credit card and they returned with the receipt for me to sign was there a tip listed and printed out.

I only mentioned that some places mention an automatic tip for "large parties" meaning more than 8 people in case others wondered if that was what had happened. But this restaurant does not mention that, neither for large parties, nor for any other reason. And our group was only 4 people (DH, me and our toddlers).
« Last Edit: April 12, 2013, 11:21:37 PM by Danika »

Luci

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Re: Restaurants that include the tip in the bill
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2013, 11:19:22 PM »
We cross it out to change it, too, sometimes. No problem.

Other times, we slip the server a little more cash as we walk out.

I've seen this for about 20 years that I remember for sure, so I wouldn't call it a trend. It's standard procedure.

mmswm

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Re: Restaurants that include the tip in the bill
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2013, 11:25:18 PM »
If it's legal to do so, then I don't think you did anything wrong. I personally will not go to any restaurant that adds the gratuity automatically. I'm am a very good tipper and generally tip between 20-30%, with a $1 per person minimum regardless of the size of the bill.  A server has to work really hard at being bad for me to drop below 20.  If restaurants want to make sure their servers are making a living wage, then they should pay them more, not force the customers to pay a "fee" instead of what's supposed to be a voluntary cost.
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MrsJWine

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Re: Restaurants that include the tip in the bill
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2013, 11:29:20 PM »
From experience as a waitress, I understand why they do this, but it still bugs me as a customer. I think if you crossed it off to give a $.01 tip or something, it would have been rude, but if it's allowed, you were being perfectly reasonable the way you did it.


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gollymolly2

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Re: Restaurants that include the tip in the bill
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2013, 11:32:57 PM »
I think you were wrong to do that. The time to object to an automatic tip is before you order. As long as the policy is posted (either at the door or on the menu), then by ordering you're agreeing to pay that gratuity. If you want to set your own tip, choose a different restaurant. If it's not posted anywhere, then I think you're fine objecting.

I'm not a fan of the auto-tip, personally. Most of the time I'd actually tip more than that -- 20% is my standard, unless the service was bad -- but if they set an auto-tip at lower than that, I figure they're saying that's what their service is worth so I don't add to it.

100% agree.

Mental Magpie

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Re: Restaurants that include the tip in the bill
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2013, 11:35:04 PM »
There was no warning they would do that so you did not consent to it.  I think you were OK to do what you did; it was not retaliation, which I think would be wrong.

I remember one time this happened when I was a small child, so about 20 years ago.  I specifically remember how upset my parents were, but they wound up paying it because it had been printed on the menu, albeit small and out of regular sight.  My dad, a very laid back man, told them how sneaky he thought it was and that we would not be eating there again.
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Library Dragon

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Re: Restaurants that include the tip in the bill
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2013, 01:21:38 AM »
I dislike auto-tip too and am surprised they did this for such a small party.  You were right in changing it if there was no "warning."

One reason I dislike auto-tip is that I prefer to pay the bill on my airline miles card, but tip with cash.  Waitstaff have the cash immediately and there's no credit card fee loss.  I've also known restaurants that are slooooow to tip out staff what they are due in tips. 

It seems the waitstaff may be shortchanged twice with a lower percentage and removing the cash option. 

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kherbert05

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Re: Restaurants that include the tip in the bill
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2013, 06:12:57 AM »
I would not go back. I would have told them to rerun the credit card without the fraudulent charge (use that word). Then I would get on Yelp, foursquare - whatever social media you use and give a 1 or 2 star review using the words fraudulent charge on my credit card, rip off, describe the service in the worse possible terms.

That lets TPTB know we - as the public are going to fight back. On the flip side I make a point to write positive reviews of the great little independent places near me. I want them to flourish.
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Venus193

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Re: Restaurants that include the tip in the bill
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2013, 07:07:33 AM »
I don't know where you are, but in NYC's Times Square a number of restaurants do this.  It's because that's a tourist destination and tourists from many countries are accustomed to the "service charge."

I can understand adding it for parties of 6 or more, but otherwise this is not standard practice in the US and would definitely raise my ire.

Complain, tell your friends, and post to Yelp.

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Re: Restaurants that include the tip in the bill
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2013, 08:11:49 AM »
I see this as the restaurant's sneaking way of increasing prices to pay their servers.  As I understand it, minimum wage for a server is half the regular minimum wage in many (but not all) states with the expectation that the server will be able to make up the different and more in tips (i.e. you're expected to pay part of the server's salary).  And to that, there is a minimum level of tips that the server must earn or the restaurant has to make up the difference anyway.  Don't penalize the server for  poor management.

And definitely, don't go back and do post a poor review on Yelp focussing on the poor service, not the auto-tip.

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KenveeB

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Re: Restaurants that include the tip in the bill
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2013, 09:05:32 AM »
If it wasn't on a sign or the menu anywhere, then I think you're clear to cross it out and write your own one in. I've never seen that done -- most places just have it in tiny print at the bottom of the menu -- but I've seen a "suggested tip" line before. If they snuck it in without warning, I would never go back there again.

mmswm

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Re: Restaurants that include the tip in the bill
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2013, 11:23:45 AM »
I see this as the restaurant's sneaking way of increasing prices to pay their servers.  As I understand it, minimum wage for a server is half the regular minimum wage in many (but not all) states with the expectation that the server will be able to make up the different and more in tips (i.e. you're expected to pay part of the server's salary).  And to that, there is a minimum level of tips that the server must earn or the restaurant has to make up the difference anyway.  Don't penalize the server for  poor management.

And definitely, don't go back and do post a poor review on Yelp focussing on the poor service, not the auto-tip.

JMO

Federal minimum wage for tipped employee is $2.13/hr, which was half of the regular minimum wage from 1991 to 1996. The tipped employee wage has not increased along with the increases in regular wages.  Some states have state minimum wages for tipped employees that are higher than that, ranging from half the state's minimum wage (which is sometimes equal to federal and sometimes higher) to the full state minimum (CA is an example of the latter, IIRC).
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Danika

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Re: Restaurants that include the tip in the bill
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2013, 03:08:06 PM »
I'll update my previous reviews of the restaurant on Yelp, then. In the past, the food has been good enough to make up for the lousy service. Then, the food quality started going down too. The last time I had sushi there, there were bones in the sushi. This past time we went, we only had hibachi, because that had always been good. Now, the hibachi isn't as tasty and the service remains poor.