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18% gratuity charge for five or more.

emglow101 Oct 13, 2011 09:15 PM

I don't have a problem with this. But I really do if the service is bad. I usally tip 23-25 % or more. With the gratuity charge I feel like it's taking away from my privlege to tip. So the tip will often end up around 20% just because of this. The service I have had at multiple restaurant's with groups has always been good and have tipped very well ,then why the charge ? I can figure why. But does this hurt your tip's sometimes ?

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  1. rockandroller1 RE: emglow101 Oct 14, 2011 05:20 AM

    I've waited on very large parties at places where there was no group minimum and have come away with maybe 5% tip overall. Some people don't tip at all, some people are very poor tippers, some average, and some good, but it seems in a big party that servers were often coming away with less than they deserved, so many restaurants started to impose a mandatory service charge to ensure they'd at least get SOMETHING worthwhile.

    1. Karl S RE: emglow101 Oct 14, 2011 06:18 AM

      There's a significant risk in groups that they will be going Dutch, as it were, and that individuals in the group will underestimate their portion and also act as free-riders, and that the individual who takes responsibility for counting up might be laboring under a culturally enforced norm of Niceness that prevents him or her from telling people they've not ponied up enough.

      This is in my many years of experience of dining in large groups much more likely than getting service that is so bad that it should be tipped below norm.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Karl S
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        cleobeach RE: Karl S Oct 14, 2011 09:01 AM

        As a former server and as a large group dinner, I absolutely agree with Karl S's post.

        In our own group, we have someone who will absolutely free load if not watched carefully. When we go out as a group, payment duty is given to either me or another friend.

      2. Delucacheesemonger RE: emglow101 Oct 14, 2011 09:20 AM

        Last year l had to organize a dinner in a rural town in Roumania. It was a travel group of generally older people from rural Texas, not that Texas was at fault. The meal was fixed except for beverage. l, stupidly, took the responsibility to take all the money and pay the bill. The bill was @ $ 300 for 20 people, how much less expensive could you get,what l received totally was @ 220. l wound up making up the rest, as people said, l have no drink, l did not eat the soup, etc. Heartily agree with the 18% fixed gratuity as wait staff often does get nothing, the restaurant gets lucky if the whole bill is paid before tip. Also l no longer organize dinners for groups.

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          thimes RE: emglow101 Oct 14, 2011 09:29 AM

          I have a problem with "added gratuity" of any kind if the service is bad. Nothing is worse than bad service because the wait staff knows they are getting 18% regardless - hello SouthBeach are you listening.

          That said, I have worked (long time ago) in the restaurant world and I know that not only do large parties often go dutch as already stated - but even when not going dutch often times people just look at the tip amount on a large check and feel like "that is a lot of money for tip, I think $20 seems right for one table (even if the tip should have been $120 @ 20%) or they start doing the whole - "yeah but 40% of the bill are drinks so we'll just tip that at 5%" and things like that they most people just don't do on smaller tables.

          So I get it for large parties and I think most servers would rather take the risk of getting a slightly smaller tip from a "normal tipper" (18% rather than say 20%) than risk a super small tip from a bad table (10% rather than the 18%).

          4 Replies
          1. re: thimes
            Sooeygun RE: thimes Oct 14, 2011 11:50 AM

            My niece is a server in a family restaurant and gets stuck in the "corral" where they put the large groups. The restaurant doesn't have an auto-grat policy and she often gets stiffed on the tip (either nothing or very little). She keeps asking to be moved to another section, but the mgmt feels she's too good at dealing with large groups (she's looking for another job). Sucks to be good at your job, huh.

            1. re: thimes
              512window RE: thimes Oct 14, 2011 11:51 AM

              Separate checks are so lovely. If that's not possible, I have no problem having 18% tacked on for a large party. The server has almost always earned it in spades.

              There's nothing like being the person stuck with collecting and counting the money for a large party, to bring you to a quick assessment of the true characters of those in the party. The free loaders, the bad tippers, the get out of dodgers, etc.

              1. re: 512window
                Karl S RE: 512window Oct 14, 2011 12:18 PM

                I used to be that person, for few years. Once, I was being feted for my birthday by the group (20-30 people involved) and I discovered that my housemate, who took over my usual duties, had to fork over an additional $80+ as a consequence of the free-riders. This was not a group of kids; people ranging from mid-20s to mid-50s in age. I was mortified. Usually, I'd be out about $20-25, but this dinner saw a lot of people skip out early, paying what they thought before they saw the bill.

                What I've learned is that the Rule of Being Nice should be suspended in this situation; people who are collecting the money should have full warrant to discuss the adequacy of contributions with all paying guest. Any guest who finds that to be a problem should be permanently disinvited for the remainder of the future.

                1. re: Karl S
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                  bobbert RE: Karl S Oct 15, 2011 07:38 AM

                  We'll often gather at a pub a few times a year. By the end of the evening 20+ people have passed through. Some who leave early have the social grace to have their stuff moved to a separate bill but as someone who usually shows up and leaves late I have been stuck many times. Three beers and a burger has cost me $70 so the server would get a proper tip. It is more often three or four of us left figuring out the bill and making sure the workers are taken care of. Not that all my friends are cheap. We've just as often end up giving back money from the pile in the middle even after a 25-30% tip. Generally, I'm OK with the gratuity added on as long as it's made clear that it's there ( no double tipping) and there's an extra line if we want to leave more.

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              LeoLioness RE: emglow101 Oct 14, 2011 02:11 PM

              I've got no problem with it, for all the reasons stated thus far. If service was really an issue, I'd speak with a manager about it--I'm pretty sure they can't legally bind you to paying 18%--, but I've never had that happen.

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                amazinc RE: emglow101 Oct 14, 2011 02:12 PM

                I take a group of ladies(usually 15-20) out to lulnch once a month and I try my darndest not to use a restaurant that will not give us separate checks. In the 12 years I've been doing this, we have only been to a handful of restaurants that refused my request for separate checks. They usually state that with separate checks/or for large parties they add a gratuity of 15-18%
                and I'm just fine with that, as are the ladies in the group. There is no "I had the pear & cottage cheese, but didn't have wine" dithering around. No one gets stuck with paying and dealing with the deadbeat freeloader and the waitstaff gets a fair deal, also. Yes, we've a an instance or two where the service was deserving of a set tip fee, but so rarely that we don't make a fuss about it. The thing is that most of these ladies would tip 20% if it was left up to them
                so in our instance, the staff is losing 2%. Nonetheless, we don't balk at it being added on.

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                  amazinc RE: emglow101 Oct 14, 2011 02:14 PM

                  oops bad editing....We've had an instance or two when the service was NOT deserving of
                  a.........

                  1. chowser RE: emglow101 Oct 14, 2011 03:29 PM

                    I like the automatic tip with big groups, for the reason others have said.

                    My daughter's friend (they're all tweens/teens) impressed me--she told their group when they got the check to put out $xxx dollars for the tip first and she collected it for the waitress. Then, everyone paid for their meal. The kids are good about paying the right amount for their meals but not all know what was appropriate for tipping. This girl had it solved.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: chowser
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                      LeoLioness RE: chowser Oct 15, 2011 09:46 AM

                      What a terrific idea! That has never ocurred to me but it makes perfect sense.

                      1. re: LeoLioness
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                        cleobeach RE: LeoLioness Oct 15, 2011 03:06 PM

                        It is a terrific idea! How brilliant. I will remember that for the future.

                        1. re: LeoLioness
                          chowser RE: LeoLioness Oct 16, 2011 08:26 AM

                          My daughter said it was great--they've had problems before w/ some girls not tipping, at all or enough, and this was easy. So impressive for an 11 year old to take charge like that and come up w/ a solution.

                          Just spoke to my daughter about it--even better, she told everyone to pony up the tip when they were ordering because some girls have to rush out before the end. So, it is taken care of before the fact.

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