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Oct 14, 2010 04:49 AM

Tipping with credit card machines (split from Ontario board)

[ NOTE FROM MODERATORS: This thread was split from the following thread on the Ontario board: ].

Was it on the bill or the debit/credit machine?

I know some of the new wireless debit / credit machines that restaurants are using now come with a feature to make things "easier" for the customer. They give you a choice between: 0 tip, $ tip, % tip, 15% tip or 20% tip... if you choose the second or third you can type in your own number all others calculate for you (on the after tax amount).

BTW I just read that at Batalis new restaurant in NYC there is an automatic 23% gratuity which the staff is sueing over as they are not receiving their fair share...

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  1. Yes, it was on the debit/credit machine.
    I had dinner at a Batali Restaurant last night, and tip was not added.
    Will avoid his new one.
    It is tacky, and we often leave the tip in cash if we really like our server.

    2 Replies
    1. re: erly

      My bad!... the autograt was only on Banquets not regular dinners..

      1. re: erly

        Tacky? I do the same as you and I did not hear yet any server complaining about it :)))

      2. Yes, I have noticed this system on the debit/credit machines in some restaurants. I don't understand how the diner choosing a percentage or amount for the tip is tacky? I think it makes things a whole lot easier. What's tacky is leaving a shitty tip for great service or adding an autograt at 23%.


        7 Replies
        1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

          Tipping is a sore subject as we all have different views, how much is the correct amount. The new credit card machines make it easier to decide and are very suggestive to press the button for a %. Some restaurants have tips included and such forced gratuities are subject to HST whereas voluntary gratuities are not.
          I prefer to give an amount, on the credit card slip or cash as then the server will not declare as income and keep the money 100% !!

          1. re: Festesser

            I fully agree with you. My question is still : should we calculate the tip on the amount before taxes?

            1. re: lamaranthe

              Tons and tons of threads on the boards about this, with varied results. There is no "right" answer.

            2. re: Festesser

              I am not sure the server keeps the money in full. Most of the time, the money goes into the pot and they share between servers after closisng.

            3. re: Splendid Wine Snob

              You are possibly in the industry?
              I don't leave 23% plus tax.
              Next it will be possibly 50%???
              A 15% tip for good service
              A 20% tip for outstanding is in my opinion very fair.
              Cash to the server.
              Yes I do think that suggested tipping is Tacky

              1. re: erly

                I do not work in the industry.

                There is no suggested tip amount. If you look closely, you will see options for amount (in dollars) or percentage-so you, the diner, can decide what to tip.

                Where in my post above did I suggest you leave 23% plus tax? Nor do I believe 50% to be reasonable.

                1. re: erly

                  I believe the 23% comment was regarding a lawsuit filed against Batali et al. It wasn't a gratuity; it was a service charge for a banquet.

              2. I also think that those automatic % choices will tip on the after tax/total amount vs the pre-tax amount. So, be aware that if you pick 20% you might be tipping on the HST as well...

                7 Replies
                1. re: ylsf

                  Well if you think your gov't has done that good a job, then they deserve it:) I think I need a little more 'proof' as Chretien would say.

                  Does it really work that way? I wasn't aware that I was tipping the tax.

                  1. re: Derksen

                    Basically they just type the total into the credit card machine.. it has no idea what amount is cost and what is tax so you are definatly tipping on tax if you do it right on the machine and choose percent as the option.

                    1. re: chowspotting

                      Last time I use that feature.


                      1. re: Derksen

                        No choice, unless you pay cash, I suppose?

                        1. re: lamaranthe

                          No, there is a choice. You can opt to tip the amount you want rather than selecting a percentage of the bill.

                          If I opt to tip 20% on a $100 sub total I would select $20 rather than tipping 20% on the grand total, which would actually be closer to 23%.

                    2. re: Derksen

                      Yes I noticed this at a place I frequent. Although there, the whole bill is itemized as normal, and then there are "suggested" tip amounts with percentages and cash amounts, so in this case it wasn't just the credit card maching doing the calculation, it was the restaurant's bill system (which obviously knows the pre- and after-tax totals). I was wondering why my tip calculation came out smaller than the suggested 15% tip, and feeling 1) bad at math and 2) cheap. So the next time I took a closer look. Their system calculates the tip suggestions (15% and 20% I believe) based on the after tax total. It's presumptious and perhaps somewhat misleading.

                      1. re: Derksen

                        I made that mistake myself recently... the place automatically asked for more than 15% tip so I modified it and then couldn't figure out how to cancel when I found out it was on the post-tax amount (cancel button didn't seem to work!)... very deceiving. The best way to do this is by typing in the $ amount... then you can decide what you want to set it at. The only thing of course, is you'll need to be able to do some speedy math, or have a tip app as Pincus has suggested.

                    3. I just went out with a large group where the gratuity was calculated on the bill and it was before tax.

                      However, everywhere I go with a machine that offers to automatically add on the % tip, it is a % on top of the taxed amount. Which is why I am glad I have a tipping app on my phone.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Pincus

                        I'm glad I have a tipping app in my head.

                        1. re: haggisdragon

                          :) My late MIL used to carry a little card in her wallet that I guess was a pre-technology tipping app. Like you, my poor old brain still seems to work okay for that kind of math.

                      2. Am I the only one who finds the wireless credit card machines at the table awkward? The situation I am talking about is that the waitperson is often standing right there watching, while I have to type in a $ amount for the tip. So, I have to decide on the spot how generous I am feeling toward this person, who is immediately scrutinizing me.

                        I know, I could just work on having a thicker skin, but it's human nature to worry about what others think of us. I have found myself tipping a little more just because I'm being watched ;)
                        Anyone else feel this way?