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OT: To Tip or Not To Tip

Posted by on May. 4, 2012 at 9:34 AM
  • 21 Replies

Family Locked Inside Restaurant Because They Refused to Tip

Posted by Adriana Velez

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.

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 9:34 AM
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by on May. 4, 2012 at 9:36 AM

They may have over reacted but .. they should have tipped!
My son was a server for a few years & we were shocked how many people did/do not tip ::sigh::
Unless the service is just awful perhaps but even a little is better than none.
I think many people that dine out prefer not to tip & expect goo service anyways ..

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by Nancy on May. 4, 2012 at 9:42 AM

I usually give a good tip because I know how hard a job waiting tables is.  If the service is good they get 20%.  If the service is bad only 10 or 15%.  If I saw that on the menu then I would expect to have to pay it.  If the service was terrible, I would never go there again and tell all my friends that the service there was bad.

by on May. 4, 2012 at 9:45 AM
they should have tipped

by on May. 4, 2012 at 9:46 AM
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I have no issue tipping and always tip fairly (I tend to overtip for very good service).  I do however have a major issue with MANDATORY tipping.

 It is no longer a tip if it becomes required and IMO is an excuse for restaurant oweners to not pay their staff appropriately.  I don't doubt that the majority of servers work extremely hard, but if they know they are going to get a tip regardless of the service provided why should they provide great service??

by Barb on May. 4, 2012 at 9:50 AM

Yes the restaurant overreacted, that is no way to treat a customer and made for bad PR.  I can see a mandatory gratuity, especially for large groups, for a couple reasons. One is that they are harder to cover- to keep everybody served while their food is hot and to have everyone eating about the same time. And if the people are dividing up the check, then sometimes they get the amount of tip wrong, so this way the amount of the tip is assured. I don't like that an automatic tip may reduce the server's motivation to do a good job, although for a reliable server this wouldn't happen, they'd realize that good service now might mean more business another day.

by Barb on May. 4, 2012 at 9:52 AM

I agree that there is a contract that the customer incurs when there is a stated policy of a certain amount of tip per group, and this is part of the customer's bill.

by on May. 4, 2012 at 10:18 AM

I would have paid the gratuity, but never frequented the resturauant, again, and i would have told everyone I met about the lousey service and food.  The management should have handled it differently.  I don't think they should say its a mandatory gratuity, they should just have on the menu,6 or more people in your party, you will get charged more.   that way people go ahead and pay it.

by on May. 4, 2012 at 2:17 PM

I think if a restaurant is going to demand I tip...I just won't go to that restaurant.  Tipping is not a given.  That is why they call it a "gratuity"  It is a "thank you for your service"  and if I don't want to thank the server...I won't.  

by on May. 4, 2012 at 9:41 PM

 I think the restaurant staff should be charged for holding them hostage.

by on May. 4, 2012 at 9:47 PM

Quoting Shellness:

 I think the restaurant staff should be charged for holding them hostage.

I totally agree

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