questionshow do you feel about automatic gratuity at a…


I've never been a fan of the x% mandatory tip for parties over x. I also do not tip based off of the amount I spend on my food, as I feel it is irrelevant to how well my staff served me.


I almost always leave 20%. I feel like I have to but have no clue why.


I avoid any place that does this. If we do eat there, I will ask for the owner/manager and let them know that no matter how good the food & service, I will never spend another dime there. If it's mandatory, it's not a tip/gratuity, it's an ADDITIONAL FEE.

In some cases, they've tried to do this to us when 2 or 3 of the "customers" that put us over their number where a tip becomes mandatory were infants, and in those cases I've refused to pay it. I'll happily tip the server for great service, but I will not pay a mandatory tip as part of my check.

In this particular case, with the wait staff lovking the doors until paid, I would consider two options:
1. I would have put it on my credit card, then called and disputed the charge saying I was extorted to pay this bill.
2. I would have called 911 and told them I was being confined/imprisoned unlawfully.


I'm fairly sure they are not allowed to automatically charge any "gratuity". A "gratuity" is optional, in all cases. They can, however, call it a "surcharge".

If you were forced to pay a gratuity.. you should fight it. If the restaurant applies a "surcharge", then that's what it is.


Having grown up in the restaurant trade, I can see the reasoning behind a mandatory tip for large parties. (We only did that with parties of 20 or more.) That being said, as a customer, I wouldn't go there.


I can kind of see it on genuinely huge parties: a group of 20+ can dominate a restaurant to the point that it might have to rearrange all the tables or even have to turn other paying customers away for lack of seating.

But the article says the restaurant's policy is to charge this fee on groups of only 5, which seems more than a little unreasonable to me.


A mandatory Gratuity on a party of five makes me wonder if management is taking a cut of the server's tips which is illegal in some states...
I would avoid this establishment... I tip 20% and vote with my feet, if the food or service isn't up to par I don't go back...


Being from a restaurant family, I wouldn't have a problem going to a restaurant that did this. People under tip way too often. If the service was bad you could always complain to the manager and they probably will do something for you, especially if its a chain.


@hobbitss: That makes no sense. If you get terrible service and still tip 20% but don't come back, the wait staff will never get the message. If you get terrible service and tip 0%, the wait staff just might realise "Hey, I make more money when I give good service than when I give terrible service!"

[Yes, this excludes restaurant problems that are not within the server/staff's control, etc.]


I understand the reasoning with a large party, however as others have pointed out, this restaurant's policy was for groups of 5 or larger. That is hardly a large party as far as I'm concerned. I would steer clear of an establishment like that. Given my personality, I think I would have wound up in the same situation (questioning, and then eventually giving in to just get on with life), but I think the diners were within their rights to refuse a tip if they truly got poor service.

I normally tip very well (20% or more) and even if service is terrible I leave a decent tip because I know good people sometimes have a bad day. On the flip side, I rarely have been in situations where the service has been atrocious and no amount of discussion with the waiter/management helped during the meal. If it was obvious and brought up immediately and then not rectified (and progressively got worse), I have felt it was appropriate to tip low (10%).


Unless I have very bad service, I don't mind. When multiple people are paying, people usually seem to tip less. A pre-calculated gratuity means you don't have to worry about if the other people at your table tipped enough.


A party of five is certainly not a large party, as far as I'm concerned. And the very idea of locking the customers in the restaurant would be funny if it weren't illegal. False imprisonment should cover that one.

I once went to lunch with a group from work. The service was usually OK, but the waitress we had that day was dreadful. Ignored us, acted as if we were bothering her when we had the nerve to ask for silverware, and FORGOT TO PLACE OUR ORDER WITH THE KITCHEN!!! After waiting over 30 minutes and asking repeatedly about our food, we finally got someone else to check on it which is how it was discovered that the order had never been placed. We finally got some lunch, ate quickly and as we piled into the car to head back to work, I commented that I had expressed my disapproval by tipping lightly. A co-worked pompously responded that she had noticed this and had added her own money to my tip to make up the difference. Argh!


If it's mandatory, that's all they get. I usually tip more than the usual 15-18% that's typical for mandatory tips, so it's really their loss.


Went to a surprise b-day party at a bar that required everyone to give them a credit/debit card for everyone in the reserved room before placing an order. At the end of the night a friend settled up with cash, 18% gratuity included. The total for the night was tied up on his debit card for an entire week as a pending charge. Doesn't seem right.


asking that is like do you feel about..... paying for an purchase........whether you ever recieve it or not........the word TIP MEANS "to insure promptness". automatic tips....horrible idea


@hopper75: Wow. That's simply shocking.


Nope, not a fan of an automatic gratuity. Defeats the purpose, doesn't it?

This brings up another issue about waiters living off of tips and making only $2 an hour. I always though that system was stupid/broken.


I've never worked in a restaurant, but I can see the reasoning for mandatory tip on large parties since you are occupying a significant amount of one employee's times and they just lost most of an hour's wage if you don't leave a tip. BUT if you received horrible service because they knew that mandatory tip was coming, complain. I think a manager will want to know if that's going on and fix it so you might come back. It's money out of the server's pocket if the manager decides to waive the tip.


I generally don't like it, though I understand why it happens, especially with large groups.

I normally tip ~20% of the pre-tax total, rounded either up or down to avoid the use of change. Even when paying with a credit card, I generally tip in cash.

When in a larger group, I frequently am tasked with doing the check. When we are not splitting it evenly, I normally add 25% (at cheaper restaurants) or 30% (at more expensive ones) to each person's pre-tax total (NYC tax is 8.875%, so this means a 15.125% or 20.125% tip) and then round to a whole-dollar amount (down if using 30%, up if using 25%).

I haven't bothered to calculate the maximum error using this scheme, but empirically speaking, it has never been off by more than a dollar or two.


@starblind: I get good service from the wait staff that recognize me...
If someone has a bad day and their service isn't up to par, Ok, everyone has those days I still tip 20%... But when I tip 20% and repeatedly get bad service or am ignored I go else where since this person isn't going to get it and will just think I am a jerk who doesn't tip well...
They may figure it out when no one wants to sit in their area or at the bar they work but that is still a maybe....


I usually tip 20% based on the total bill, not the pretax amount but I find mandatory tipping ridiculous. If I get bad service I will leave a few pennies to get the point across. No, I didn't forget to tip you. Your service sucked. I don't even expect much, maybe one drink refill and a visit to the table after my food has arrived to find out if everything is OK. Friendly service gets you a bigger tip.


I'm finding this is getting totally out of control. This started only with very large parties (10 or more) and a 15% gratuity was added. As time has gone on the size of the party has shrunk, and the gratuity has increased. 18% is now standard.

Last week I was at a conference in LA and a few colleagues (6) went out to dinner and a decent (but not great) place. The resturant automatically added a 20% gratuity, and had the gall to leave a place for an additional gratuity.

Come on. A 20% tip is supposed to be for exceptional service (this wasn't: it was just fair). So, now it appears that the standard is 20%. What is exceptional: 30%?

One other pet peeve: I stopped going out for dinner in groups larger than 8. The service is always pitiful. Orders are wrong, and there is always (in a table of 8 or more) somebody whose order gets "lost". Usually mine. And then I get to pay 18% for sloppy (at best) service. No more.


I went to a (normally very good) restaurant with a group of seven. There was no mandatory gratuity listed for large groups on the menu, nor did our server tell us about any. I expect an automatic gratuity to be added for groups of eight, but since we were seven I did not expect one.

Our service was a little on the bad side (long delay for my food after the other six people were served, the server showed up once, very early for drink refills, meaning most of us did not need a refill at that point and we never got another shot at a refill all meal). For good service I would tip 20%, so I was planning on tipping about 15% for the level of service we got.

When we got the bill, we discovered a 20% gratuity had been automatically added, even though we had only a party of seven and it was never communicated to us. We all just paid the 20% because it seemed better than making a scene, but I will keep the experience in mind next time I have a meal with a "large" group.


Actually, the first time I picked up a group tab I didn't realize the added 18% gratuity and was about to put a 20% gratuity on top of it when thankfully someone noticed and stopped me.


I pay cash for the food/drink/tax and add tip based on quality of service. Tips are not meant to be income replacements. They are meant to reward good service. Thus a mandatory tip is nothing less than a tax or punishment for the group size.

Simply deduct that amount from the check and add what is appropriate. If the staff has been helpful and deserve it, tip 20-25%. If it's bee adequate, about 15%, bearable, 10%, awful, $0.01.