Almost any restaurant you go into is going to have a policy set up that will automatically include gratuity to a check if the party is over a certain number. This is to protect the server from getting totally stiffed on a huge check because we pay taxes on what the government assumes we will get tipped based on our sales, whether we get the tip or not. A lot of servers look at the automatic gratuity as an excuse to give shitty service because they know the tip is going to get added no matter what. Believe it or not, I am not one of those servers. When I know the gratuity is going to be added, I feel an increased responsibility to do a better job so that the customers have no reason to object to the tip being included. At a restaurant in Houston this week, the tip was added to a check and it did not go over well.
According to reports, La Fisherman, a fancy sounding but probably not fancy at all seafood restaurant, added a 17% gratuity to a party of five. This policy is stated on the menu. A family was not pleased with the service claiming they did not get everything they ordered, no one ever refilled their drinks and the staff was rude. They did not want to pay the 17% tip and asked that it be removed so they could tip what they wanted to tip based on the service they received. So far, I agree. If you didn't get what you ordered and it's still on the bill, that is a problem. Well, the manager was all "Umm, we cain't do that cuz it's policy to add 17% to a party of five or more so umm...yeah. No." The family balked and the next thing they knew, the restaurant doors had been locked with them stuck inside and the police had been called. Okay, even the bitchiest of waiters would think that the restaurant went way past the line.The police showed up and eventually the family decided to pay the 17% tip, get the fuck out of the situation and forget the whole thing. Well, forget the whole thing after they call the local news crew and stir up some trouble. I like that family. Mark this day in Bitchy Waiter history because I am on the customers' side. That restaurant needed to just accept that they gave some crap service and let it go. I did a little research on La Fisherman and there are plenty of other people not happy with the service. From Yelp and Google:
- The manager was rude and said she was refusing us service because of our seating request. I have never been treated this badly at a restaurant in my entire life,
- The place is a dump, restrooms are disgusting, staff is appallingly condescending, lazy and slow.
- Billing for water and sides of mayo, butter, etc.... Greedy!
To be clear, I think a restaurant certainly has a right to add the gratuity to a party, although adding it to five or more seems a bit greedy. However, when the service charge is added, the server must make sure they are earning that tip, Yes, sometimes there will be people who demand the gratuity be removed even when the service was exemplary and there will be servers who take advantage of the added gratuity and do as little as possible. However, in this case, it does seem that the restaurant went too far.
Whose side are you on? The customer or the restaurant?
Click here to follow The Bitchy Waiter on Twitter.
Click here to find The Bitchy Waiter on Facebook.