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Jul 1, 2011 02:38 PM

New Trend in Tipping?

I have a quick question for everyone. I have been to two separate restaurants in the past week that have both included an 18% gratuity for my party of two (with the option to add more). I didn't necessarily have a problem with it, as I usually tip 20%, but I wasn't real happy about it either. Is this part of some new trend or did I just happen to pick the two places in Dallas that do this?

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  1. I havent seen this anywhere. Where were you?

    2 Replies
    1. re: DallasDude

      Brazil Brasiliero in Richardson and Neo Pizza in Victory Park - It was our first time at each and it was off putting enough that it might sway me not to go back.

      Neo Pizza
      2340 Victory Park Ln, Dallas, TX 75202

      1. re: PhillyPhanatic

        I wouldn't want to return either. It would be different if this sort of thing was the "norm" but, it isn't. At least for now, anyway.

    2. completely inappropriate in my opinion. TIP = to ensure promptness. in a restaurant setting, if its included in bill it doesn't accomplish the point, which is to get you better service.

      1. In making a call to both places mentioned there are a few rules each establishment goes by when it comes to tipping.

        First they size you up and if you look like a bad tipper... just kidding.

        Seriously, Neo's claims to add a tip to parties of 6 or more -or- when there is a special event. The most recent special event was the Mav's parade. Suppose that won't come along all that often, and they said they cannot remember the last time the 'special event tipping rule' came into play.

        Brazil Brasiliero is another matter. They also claim when 6 or more gather they get dinged (expected and an easy way to tip if you ask me). The other time the auto-tip comes to play is during their Rodizio service. Except for lunch when they have a buffet, this place is always doing the Rodizio style of service. It's why people go to the place.

        Being one who dines out at least 2 meals a day, I never see an auto-tip for less than 6 people and would say it is not a trend.

        5 Replies
        1. re: DallasDude

          DallasDude...thanks for the research! I am going to have to try and start showering more often and leaving my shopping cart of "treasures" at home. :-)

          All that being said, I guess I'll have to give Neo's the benefit of the doubt and just say it was a mistake because there most certainly was nothing going on in Victory Park on Thursday night. They serve a really good pizza there and I'd like to add it into the rotation.

          With regard to BB, we did do the Rodizio service and I can sort of understand this one. I'm never sure what to tip at a "buffet" (even a pricier one). I guess I just don't like not being given the option to decide.

          I'm thinking we can all now consider this case closed!

          1. re: PhillyPhanatic

            Do you remember seeing this inclusion of a gratuity posted anywhere, or was it a surprise line item on your bill? I don't even know if it's legal if you weren't notified beforehand.

            1. re: healthyscratch

              Healthy...There was no mention of the auto tip anywhere that I can remember seeing it. The bill just showed up that way and I happened to be paying attention to it.

          2. re: DallasDude

            Ok.... why would/should you tip differently for Rodizio service as opposed to traditional, order-frome-the-menu service. Either way, you're being served and it seems the standard amount should be appropriately applied, willingly and accordingly. Apparently, some think this type of service warrants less gratuity????

            1. re: CocoaNut

              I do not think gaucho service demands less of a tip. But if you add an automatic tip to my bill for 2 people I will be Groucho at the gaucho. I imagine that Brazil Brasiliero does this to ensure that all the waiters who pool tips get an equal share.

              If I went to the restaurant (and baby that is a HUGE 'if') I would not want to be forced any percentage of tip if it was just a few people dining. Presumptuous on their part.

          3. I always feel a bit intimidated in Europe when they automatically add the (usual) 12-1/2% "service charge" to your bill. Should I add an extra few Euros or Pounds? Or not? Most times I usually do.

            5 Replies
            1. re: twinwillow

              Most places in Europe do not expect anything other than the "service charge" The few times I have left more money they were very thankful. In a few places in the UK I was actually told it was unnecessary.

              1. re: irodguy

                Hah! What a difference an ocean away can make. Can you imagine the "thanks" you'd get here if all you left for a tip was, 12-1/2%?

                1. re: twinwillow

                  12.5% would be a high service charge in the UK. You really only see it in London - in the rest of the rest of the country, it's generally 10%.

                  It's always discretionary and, certainly, nothing else is required or expected. In some other European countries (such as France), the tip (or charge for service) is included in the menu price.

                  Good to see more American restaurants moving in this direction (we saw it in New York a couple of times on our last trip in 2008). I have the strong view that it creates a better standard of service

              2. re: twinwillow

                So having just gotten back from Paris and done research on this, European restaurants don't have an expectation of any extra tip, but most leave an extra 5%. The reason for this is, the government wants to ensure everyone pays their taxes (even the servers at restaurants) and hence has standardized the service charge.

                As for auto tipping, I think we had that same thing happen to us recently (dinner for two) in Dallas, but can't remember where. Usually I'm okay with it, as I think it works against the restaurant, because if I was just tipping them myself, I would've left 20%, so really they just screwed themselves out of 2% :-/. On the other hand, I have wondered if you can leave a negative tip in the "additional tip" line, if you service was terrible. That would certainly be a fun test! :-D

                1. re: pgwiz1

                  you are an anomaly. That is to say, the risk/reward here is your 2% on the upside versus the 10%+ on the downside(the guy that you don't autograt that tips 10% or less). There just aren't enough people tipping 30% to make up for the truly lousy people. Trust me, If I could autograt every single person through the door, I would. It also helps I guess that our Autograt is 21%.....;-)

              3. Haven't seen it in Dallas, but when we lived in Miami I saw it quite a bit in the tourist areas and areas with high concentrations of European folks.

                1 Reply
                1. re: swoll50

                  And I'll bet those Europeans in Miami didn't leave any extra tip!