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Mar 29, 2010 06:37 AM

Any other restaurant in Boston doing mandatory tips on checks over a certain amount?

The Herald has this story about BarLola, in which a bartender allegedly assaulted a patron who refused to pay a mandatory 18% gratuity on a check over $100. I don't like cheap tippers or bartenders who assault customers -- and as an aside, I've never liked BarLola, where the food always seemed like an afterthought to the liquor sales and the drinks weren't any good either -- but it occurred to me that I've never seen this particular mandatory tipping policy.

Requiring 18-22% on parties of six or more is pretty common, and acceptable in my book if it's clearly specified on the menu. As a former server, I also favor it because larger parties always seem to have one jerk who undertips no matter how good the service is: a party of 8 is often more work for less money than four two-tops.

Has anyone seen this unusual mandatory-tip-based-on-check-amount policy at other restaurants or bars in Greater Boston?

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  1. also not a fan of barlola for the exact same reasons, but i have not seen this policy anyplace. it seems egregious, especially in a market like boston where it's a piece of cake to rack up a $100 tab.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      In my 30 years of life and 11 years waiting tables and working in 13 different restaurants in Boston and Chicago, I've never heard of a amount-based gratuity-included policy. Very strange.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. I certainly want to know if places are doing this so that I won't frequent them. That said, I had a situation a few years ago at a Hanover St spot that I stopped at for a pizza and salad with a friend. When the bill came their was an 15% gratutity added but it really wasn't clear on the bill what the extra charge was. I questioned it, told the waitress that I had nevered experienced a gratuity added to a bill for 2 people especially since it wasn't stated on the menu. She said she would remove the charge, but my response was don't bother as "you just cheated yourself". I really liked the pizza and would have left well more than the 15%, her loss and I never went back. Way to many other choices in the North End.

        1. I went to a place awhile back in Boston where there was a mandatory tip on everything, including drinks. I ordered one drink and there was a tip added to the amount. Seemed strange to me, but since the person was friendly and efficient, it didn't bug me all that much. If the service had been poor, I definitely would have fought it.

          5 Replies
          1. re: hiddenboston

            this happened to me recently as well. one drink, at a hotel bar. as the bartender was dropping the check he politely said that the tip was included.ii too thought it odd, but had no negative feelings about the encounter. the auto-grat was 15%, so i added a bit more.

            1. re: hotoynoodle

              as crummy a policy as it is, i can see why they would do this at hotels. Americans, most of us responsible diners, anyhow, are accustomed to tipping. Those from other cultures, not so much.

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                The bar at the Seaport Hotel does this. The bartender pointed it out to me, which I appreciated.

                1. re: Blumie

                  Yup, that's where I was (see post above). :-)

            2. The original comment has been removed