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Family Locked Inside Restaurant Because They Refused to Tip

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Family Locked Inside Restaurant Because They Refused to Tip

Posted by Adriana Velez on May 3, 2012 at 6:33 PM

restaurant billA family in Houston was allegedly locked inside a restaurant by the angry staff when they refused to pay a gratuity. Sounds outrageous, right? Well, it depends on how you look at it.

La Fisherman Seafood Restaurant, like many restaurants, charges a 17 percent gratuity to parties of five or more. It's printed right there on the menus. But the family (of over five) was so disappointed with the service, they just refused. Drinks weren't refilled. They didn't get everything they ordered. The servers were rude! Why should they have to tip such lousy service?

Because! When you sit down with a large group of people and order from a menu that clearly states "Parties of five or more will be automatically charged a 17 percent gratuity," THAT'S WHAT YOU'RE SIGNING UP FOR. There's no note adding, "If you don't mind, and if you think the service was good." Them's the rules. Period.

More from The Stir: 7 Ways to Make Every Restaurant Hate Your Family

When I see that line on a menu, I tend to think, Abandon all hope of excellent service. I mean, it's pretty much a warning that your table is going to be a huge pain in the ass, so no promises. You might have a rough night. So you take a gamble -- it could be fine, it could be awful.

On the other hand, CLEARLY the family didn't deserve to be locked inside the building. I mean ... that's ridiculous. The family did complain to the manager -- and to be fair, I think the manager should have apologized and made an exception for the gratuity. That's what you're supposed to do in the hospitality business. Not lock the family in and call the police. So I think both parties are in the wrong here.

Do you think the restaurant overreacted? What do you think about mandatory gratuity?

by on May. 4, 2012 at 2:42 PM
Replies (11-14):
by Jessica on May. 4, 2012 at 4:53 PM

Oh and the only way I can see Gratuity being ok is in high end restaurants but then I think servers shouldn't expect an additional tip.

by on May. 5, 2012 at 8:55 AM

I know I, for sure, will NEVER visit this restaurant for this reason alone.  If I don't feel the server deserved a tip, the server won't get a tip.  Manditory or not.  And once it's stated it's manditory, it's not longer a tip.  It's an extra charge.

CafeMom Tickers

by Gold Member on May. 5, 2012 at 9:57 AM
Wow I would love to know the whole story behind this. Was the waitress really rude, or did they just say she was? And did the restaurant get into trouble? Mandatory gratuity is not good , it seems presumptuous
by Silver Member on May. 5, 2012 at 10:04 AM
I agree that tips should be earned, that is why it is called a tip. I tip extra when a server goes above what they normally would but if it is not good service then they have not earned that tip.
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