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

Updated on September 25, 2011
V.W. asks from Atlantic Beach, FL
18 answers

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?

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

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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.

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answers from Lynchburg on

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!

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answers from Houston on

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.

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answers from Cincinnati on

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.

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answers from Cleveland on

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!

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answers from Dallas on

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


answers from Chicago on

when i did i did not like it ... i often got less than what they may have given instead.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I dont mind either way, i am a crappy tipper, only because I used to work the buisness also and realized there are good tippers and then there is everybody else. I think tipping is stupid and all establishments should just add the gratuity or raise there price slightly to compensate the pay checks. Tipping should just be a persons personal choice not a requirement.
Well to be honest the force gratuity is really bad for the server. If the party is made aware of this before hand they will MAKE the server jump through hoops, they hold that server in such a high standard that they make that persons life hell. I had to do this occasionally and I tell ya I HATED it. I felt I was under a microscope. More often than not, the party would leave not so loving comments to the manager or to themselves about my "performance" well how good can one person do servicing 5 or 6 people? I made me on edge and I avoided those table and often switch with another server that didnt have that great experience and wanted to try it out a few times. When people are MADE to pay they expect something more than a herculean attempt.

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answers from Atlanta on

Not a server, but my general tip is 18%. Bad service, I tip between 10-15% (depending on how bad). Decent service, I tip 20%. I have tipped up to 50% for great service. (With young children, I REALLY appreciate it when the server goest out of their way to get everything out to me quickly, makes sure there are lots of napkins on hand, keeps the refills coming, as well as the crayons, since they always end up on the floor - and I make sure to show how much I appreciate it in a tip). So, a decent to excellent waiter would actually make off worse with the automatic tip, since I don't tend to add onto the automatic tip.

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answers from Tampa on

dining with my husband: we are big tippers, if the service is not the great still tip well on the top of auto included gratuity but not return back to the restaurant.

dining with girlfriends: dont mind auto included gratuity, if the service is great i will tip extra, but if the service is bad and the server is trying to take advantage I will get the manager, get free drinks and will go back again to the restaurant. i usally will address the very good service as much as would a bad service. Its not fair to the restaurant owner to have such a poor represantation. On the same time its not fair to the waiter to work extra hard and serve a cheepskate. I don't mind included gratuity, its usually 25% and that is ok. Get the economy going!!!!

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answers from Columbia on

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.

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answers from Erie on

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.

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answers from Seattle on

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. :)

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answers from Charlotte on

I've never been a server, but I will tell you that at a restaurant we went to one time, the waitress added the gratuity but didn't detail it on the ticket. We put the tip on top of it. As we were walking out, my husband did a quick mental check on the math, realized it, and it really made him mad. She was essentially stealing, in our view. He went to the manager and let him know. I hope she got in trouble.




answers from Boston on

Oh, this brings me back to my server days! I worked in a place that had this policy for groups of 8 or more. I never really had an opinion about it, because it was just a policy the owner established and it was noted on the menus. Groups of men usually left a lot more for all the wait staff. Women, not so often. But this was a long time ago and maybe things have changed.



answers from Tampa on

When I was in a server, I really liked this. I worked in Montgomery Alabama in a Red Lobster and the "guests" were not known to be very classy. A large party would be more likely to run you ragged and not tip. My experience was that good tippers would add a few extra bucks onto the check...


answers from Dallas on

I was a server and I liked the gratuity added. For one thing when you have a huge table, you get a lot of help. Bringing out drinks, running food, clearing plates, etc. So, it's easy money. Plus, drunks sometimes overlook it and still add tip. :)



answers from Cincinnati on

I've never been a server.
I usually tip at least 15-20% depending on the service. I will give a little bit more if service was excellent.
My husband is a horrible tipper, in fact its just embarassing. His parents are like that and he follows in there foot steps. The most he tips is $3 even if the bill was $50. He gripes when gratuity is added on. Sometimes if he thinks the girl is cute, she'll get $5. If his parents don't have their drink refilled within 10 secs they wont tip. Anything they don't like, they won't tip.



answers from Oklahoma City on

I worked as a casheir at a nice BBQ restaurant in North OKC for a few years. The waitresses hated me, I would always point out that the gratuity had been added to the larger parties ticket. They always left huge tips on the tables. I noticed and pointed out the gratuity on the main ticket one day. The boss was surprised. He had no idea and had been double or more tipping each week. The waitresses came to pick up their tips that evening and got furious they didn't have that huge tip money. I pointed out they got tipped at the table. They said they didn't have to count that because the party rules were they had to put it on the ticket. If someone tipped them at the table that didn't count in the total tip. I felt they were cheating the patron...so did the patron. He still used the restaurant each week for the staff meeting but they always tipped one or the other.

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