18 answers

JFF- Gratuity Added for Parties over 6 - Waverly,GA

This is something I have always wondered about. I moonlighted as a cocktail waitress for a year or two when I was younger so I know a little about the "business", but I didn't work in a corporate type establishment. Have any of you ladies worked as a server in a restaurant that had the policy to automatically include a gratuity (typically 18%) on the check of parties over a certain number (7 or 8 or whatever)? What was your experience with that? Did you like the policy or dislike it? Did you get better tips (on average) when it was left up to the customer or when it was already included in the bill?
Thanks!

@ Martha-I was more curious about the SERVER. Whether they like it or prefer for it not to be printed on the ticket.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Actually, no, I am not considering instituting this policy-- I don't operate a restaurant, lol. Unless you count serving up family dinners at home. I asked for 2 reasons: 1) I really am curious how people respond to that, generally speaking. And 2) I usually do not like to "stir the pot" but after yesterday's round of questions/responses about how our society "should" deal with those who need assistance to get by, I thought it would be interesting to see how people answered this question. Personally, I think that many people give more when they are not FORCED to, and that WHEN forced, they will stop at that and not give more. Several responses said you are offended by the assumption that you would not tip appropriately, or by having your choice about how generous (or cheap) you wanted to be based on the circumstances of your experience and your individual server/service, taken out of your hands. Charity won't disappear because the government stops FORCING people to "give". It might be provided through different private means, and be more efficient, though. Might not. But, I was just curious to see how the persons receiving the tip viewed the generosity of those giving it when it was coerced rather than offered freely. That's my stirring the pot for the month. LOL

For the record, I typically tip 20% across the board, but when I get hit with an 18% tack on then I rarely go over that. So I was curious about how everyone else behaved. I figured that the servers would have the most telling anecdotal information.

Featured Answers

Hi V.-

My daughter is 'waiting tables' in her college town. IF it is a table of 'adults'...she does better with separate tipping. IF a table of fellow students...the added gratuity is a lifesaver for her.

Best luck!
michele/cat

4 moms found this helpful

I usually tip from 20 to 25 % with good service. so personally i think those waitresses are missing out when me and my friends are in a group over 6.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

I was a server and bartender through college and worked it as a second job for year or so after college. In my experience, a table of good tippers would often be irritated if you added the auto grat of 15 or 18% and would then not leave more even though they typically would tip better. A few folks would add to that tip as well to get you over 20%. I often gambled with this..and if I got the vibe the table were cheap/bad tippers, I would include it for the large parties that qualified. If I got a good vibe off of the table, I would not add it even though I could have and hope for the best. This normally always worked out best for me. I did get burned a few rare occassions.

4 moms found this helpful

Hi V.-

My daughter is 'waiting tables' in her college town. IF it is a table of 'adults'...she does better with separate tipping. IF a table of fellow students...the added gratuity is a lifesaver for her.

Best luck!
michele/cat

4 moms found this helpful

Although I understand the reasoning behind the policy, I hate it. It pisses me off. I'm one of those people who cannot stand being told what to do, and by including a gratuity, they are telling me how much I should tip.

Now, having been a waitress in the past, I am ALWAYS a 20% or above tipper. The only time I tip 15% is when the service is poor. (No, I'm not going to give less than that for poor service, because the server is probably just having a really sucky day and doesn't need me to add to it.)

When a restaurant forces the tip, (in my case) it only screws the server. Although it isn't the server's fault, I will not add to that forced gratuity, so he/she only gets the 18% and not the usual 20 or above I would do, on my own.

I know that all of my friends and family feel the same, and do the same thing I do. So, if there are any servers out there, you may want to consider that there are some people like me. And if you think there are enough like me, you may want to consider splitting up the bill so it doesn't tack on the automatic tip. (That's what I used to do, when I served. I'd explain to the party that if I put their bills on separate checks, they wouldn't get that gratuity tacked on. And guess what? They appreciated it and I always ended up making more than I would have without the 18% added.)

For a JFF sidenote: What is the MOST you have ever tipped? The most I ever left a server was 40%. OMGosh, you should have seen his face - it was priceless. College kid, and sweet, and tried so hard. It was totally worth it, when I saw the look on his face!

3 moms found this helpful

I know you want a Server's point of view, but I always tip at least 20% unless tip in included. If it's included that's all I tip. Also, my sister's family was a party of 6 and it would bug her that tip would be included just for her family. If this is a policy you are thinking instituting, I would think twice. What I do like a lot, is at the bottom of a check in some places it lists what the gratuity would be if it was 15%, 20%, or 25%, but not actually included on a check.

2 moms found this helpful

I usually tip from 20 to 25 % with good service. so personally i think those waitresses are missing out when me and my friends are in a group over 6.

1 mom found this helpful

We do this for our monthly dinners, except it's 8 or more, we add 18% up to 19 people, more than that it's 20% and we provide two servers. They don't get help clearing their tables, they do it. if I have time (I expedite) I will help them with bringing food to the table or clearing off dirty dishes, even filling water. We provide corking service for free, many restaurants charge $1 or more per person. The customer is always welcome to leave more, and sometimes they do.
Our servers have had no complaints, but our customers are foodies who appreciate what we do, so they tend to tip generously.

Edited to add:
The reason restaurants add this automatic charge is because MOST people would only leave 10-15%, so you can thank the rest of our society for making a gratuity charge for large tables a requirement. Like I said, leave more if you think you should! Just because they charge 18% doesn't mean you can't leave a few extra bucks on the table. And remember, servers remember bad tippers. If you tip poorly one week, your service will suffer the next. You food quality might, too. We have one notoriously bad tipper that eats with us every month, and she's very demanding of the server's time. I know our servers do not go out of their way to refill her water, and if I have four tickets up for shrimp, but only have three portions left, regardless of where she falls in line, she will be the one to not get shrimp. She'll eat chicken.

We remember. We talk about you. We will tell other servers in other restaurants about you, we will talk to the kitchen staff and the busboys. That bad service you got at restaurant B? It was because someone recognized you from restaurant A as a bad tipper. And your meat will never be cooked right.

1 mom found this helpful

I worked as a server and did not like the policy. First I thought it was rude to the customer. Like I thought that they were not going to tip or something. Plus, some people would just tip exactly the amount printed whereas if it wasn't printed they may have tipped more. :)
L.

1 mom found this helpful

I ALWAYS prefer that a good server inform the party of the HOUSE'S policy before things get started. My favorite experience included a server who said "Don't worry, I'll MORE than earn it...;o)."

Now if this a policy that YOU are trying to institute, I think you should just ditch it. A great server will earn more than that 18% easy...if you have a hard time getting it, it's you, not the table.

1 mom found this helpful

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