Gratuity or service...
 

Gratuity or service charge?  

 

East Ender
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March 4, 2015 10:43 am  

Hmm, here's an interesting view on automatic tips in restaurants: http://stthomassource.com/content/news/local-news/2015/03/04/dlca-gratuities-are-voluntary


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speee1dy
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March 4, 2015 10:49 am  

what is your view on auto gratuity


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OldTart
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March 4, 2015 10:58 am  

Most of the restaurants I've seen who impose a service charge on large groups do in fact note it on the menu as a "service charge" and not a "gratuity". My objection has always been to a few establishments which have been criticized (and absolutely rightfully so in my opinion) for adding a gratuity/service charge to even a simple bar tab, let alone to a 2-top or 4-top dining table. When such a charge is automatically added on it's noted in tiny, tiny print on a remote corner of the menu and thus most customers simply pay the bill offered AND tip as well.

I do think the new commissioner has a point that such service charges should be clearly visible but do think too that he should devote his energies to more important things than semantics.


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SunnyCaribe
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March 4, 2015 11:05 am  

Finally something I can get behind from the DLCA, although I'm sure our agreement is an isolated incident unlikely to be repeated.

"Tipping" as an economic system of payment is entirely misunderstood by almost everyone and the result is awful for the restaurant, the server and the customer. Servers have little incentive to represent their establishment well, customers routinely find that the amount of their tips have no impact on the quality of the service they get, and restaurants suffer as a result.


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vicanuck
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March 4, 2015 11:26 am  

OldTart is bang on in his assessment. Restaurants will simply change the wording from "gratuity" to "mandatory service charge" for groups of say 6 or more. However, restaurants who add these types of charges to individuals, 2 and 4 tops are a rarity on STX and I've not yet encountered one. If I did, I wouldn't be eating there again.


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Alana33
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March 4, 2015 11:46 am  

Many European and South American travelers expect the gratuity to be included in the bill and won't know to tip if it's not.

I don't agree with an automatic gratuity/service charge for individuals but unfortunately, it's often necessary for larger groups.


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SunnyCaribe
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March 4, 2015 11:47 am  

...I wouldn't be eating there again.

Why not? Do you think you should not have to pay for service?

Over the years I have become a much more generous tipper, yet the quality of service I receive has more to do with the generosity of the party served before me than the amount I tip. Likewise the tips I leave have more of an impact on the service later parties enjoy. I would definitely patronize a restaurant which paid it's servers to represent it graciously and well every time. I want good service and I am willing to pay for it.


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vicanuck
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March 4, 2015 12:47 pm  

...I wouldn't be eating there again.

Why not? Do you think you should not have to pay for service?

Yes of course! I agree with your comments. But I would always like to know upfront what the rules are before chowing down. I think the removal of tips from the equation would be beneficial for the industry and its employees.


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Rowdy802
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March 4, 2015 1:28 pm  

I consider myself to be a good tipper (25% or more). For a place to get nothing from me they have to be right down atrocious. If the food was good but the server sucked, I go and give the kitchen the tip, the server gets naught and vice versa.

Here is the catch. If they dare to charge me a gratuity, then I pay exactly what they calculated, not a penny more. Even if the service was outstanding. Then, I go tell the manager. So far, they few I have told end up with an embarrassed expression on their faces. Some even apologize.

I simply can't agree with this. Call it a tip, gratuity, a service charge, I don't care. You shouldn't impose. I have a right not to pay if I understand they are not deserving of it. You can't penalize me if other patrons are lousy tippers.

IMHO, there are more pressing issues in the VIs that DLCA should be looking at. Isn't the gasoline price gouging more important, for example? How about the price of milk?


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CruzanIron
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March 4, 2015 1:50 pm  

Rowdy, that is exactly how I handle it as well.


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crazyinca
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March 4, 2015 2:05 pm  

Good day, speaking as a very experienced food server, I would never in my life EXPECT a tip, I know that I have to earn it by giving wonderful service. To call it a service charge is not right because I am being paid already and the tip is something I am earning on top of that, if my customers feel like I have gone over and above to make their dining experience a pleasure, I will greatly appreciate the gratuity!


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Rowdy802
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March 4, 2015 2:11 pm  

Crazyinca (tu)(tu)


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speee1dy
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March 4, 2015 2:26 pm  

THEY WERE DISCUSSING THIS ON the vibe this am-agree with them. do not like it and if auto is added thats all they get and will not go back. i dont feel i should be forced to pay a tip if the service sucked


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OldTart
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March 4, 2015 2:41 pm  

I think several people are missing the point of the article. It addresses the charge which many restaurants automatically add to the bill for large parties (not at all unusual) and calling it a "gratuity" instead of a service charge. It's all about semantics. It is NOT addressing whether tipping is good or bad nor how much people should or should not tip.

And in my opinion the new commissioner should be addressing more important issues than the semantics of "service" versus "gratuity".

Some good and relevant points are being raised here but some have, in my opinion, drifted away from the gist of the article.


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Rowdy802
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March 4, 2015 4:10 pm  

I did get it. I've been charged for a "group" of five. That is just a family. I've also been charged when it is just two of us (in STX in both instances), so a few are doing it even when it is NOT a large group, hence, it makes it relevant regardless of size once they put it on the tab.

It does raise a question if it is a large group, say eight, and the food and the service sucked, should you be forced to pay a "service charge"? IMHO, no, I don't think so. Just because they can doesn't mean they should. Again, just my opinion.

As for the semantics and game-of-words, yes, I agree. They can call it what they want and it is the same thing. Much worse if they use the word gratuity since one of its meaning is "given without claim or demand". Now, talk about a contradiction in terms...


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JohnnyU
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March 4, 2015 4:47 pm  

Are the servers getting the service charge/gratuity or the the restos keeping it and hoping people tip on top for the servers?


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speee1dy
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March 4, 2015 4:51 pm  

usually the servers keep the tip. at some places people have refused to pay, not here but elsewhere and have been able to get away with not paying in some places stateside people have had the cops called on them for not paying


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OldTart
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March 4, 2015 5:20 pm  

Are the servers getting the service charge/gratuity or the the restos keeping it and hoping people tip on top for the servers?

Every restaurant owner here I've known over the years who has imposed the "service charge" on large groups has disbursed it between the staff involved. Some large groups of patrons familiar with the disbursement routine often tip their waitstaff extra and personally. There is good reason for adding a service charge to a large group but that's for another time and place and a separate thread devoted to, "How A Restaurant Is Operated".


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IslandHops
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March 4, 2015 6:44 pm  

I think the DLCA's point is a valid one.
If it's an imposed service charge then it should be clearly stated as part of the pricing on both the menu, and clearly shown on the bill.

On the rare occasion that this has happened to me (usually a high end place or resort operation off island) I've nearly been caught in the slips, and double tipped because of a shifty bill.


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rotorhead
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March 4, 2015 6:47 pm  

I think that they should do away with tips entirely. Employers should pay their servers a fair wage and the current variability in servers wages should be eliminated. The price on the menu should reflect the actual cost that you are expected to pay for the product.

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CruzanIron
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March 4, 2015 9:18 pm  

If it is listed as a service charge, that is reportable income for the restaurant.


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IslandHops
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March 5, 2015 10:54 am  

I think that they should do away with tips entirely. Employers should pay their servers a fair wage and the current variability in servers wages should be eliminated. The price on the menu should reflect the actual cost that you are expected to pay for the product.

This is a tried and true system in other parts of the world. Servers make a living wage. Then if really good service is provided you have the option to leave a tip. I would frequent any restaurant that would introduce this policy.


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ChrisMI
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March 5, 2015 11:19 pm  

I think that they should do away with tips entirely. Employers should pay their servers a fair wage and the current variability in servers wages should be eliminated. The price on the menu should reflect the actual cost that you are expected to pay for the product.

That sounds lovely of course, but the truth is that if that's the way things worked here you'd get the same service at restaurants that you get at Innovative. I'd certainly never want that!


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wanderer
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March 5, 2015 11:41 pm  

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speee1dy
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March 6, 2015 10:10 am  

chrismi, boy isnt that the truth


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