Disputing a mandatory gratuity

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DoingHomework
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Postby DoingHomework » Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:41 pm

I think you should just suck it up and pay it. If it was crappy service then you should most certainly make that known to the manager AND the owner if it is not a corporate-owned place. There is no excuse for crappy service. I also do not think that 20 minutes for salads and 45 minutes for entrees for such a huge table in unreasonable. You might actually want to blame one of your own guests. They need all of the dishes for the whole table to be done before serving so if someone made a special request it might have screwed things up for everyone.

If you do choose to dispute, you will not win and it will make you look bad. If it is the policy of the restaurant to require a mandatory tip for a large party then the credit card company will not (actually they legally cannot) override that policy. You owe the money. If you did not like the policy then you should not have picked that restaurant.

I'm not saying you are wrong. If the service was that bad then the manager should have let you reduce the tip. But if he did not then there is not much you can do beyond complaining to his boss.

Several years ago I had really poor service at a place we went to about once a month. There was a particular appetizer we always got to share that we ordered. When it arrived it was less than half the portion it usually was. I pointed that out to the server and he brought us another that was then the correct portion. When the bill came it had charges for 2 appetizers. I asked one to be removed and the waiter said the manager refused. I talked directly to the manager and she told me she would not take it off because we actually had both.

I paid the bill but then complained to the owner of the restaurant the next day. It was an upscale restaurant and the owner was "known" in town. He had several restaurants so I called the main office. He was very helpful. Not only did he offer me a refund, which logistically was difficult so he simply called and left a note with the restaurant to comp our meal the next time (which they did), the manager actually got fired we heard later. I'm not sure if it was just over that but I suspect our experience was part of it.

Bottom line, in my experience restaurants will go out of their way to make you happy as long as you are reasonable and have valid complaints. They have good reasons to charge mandatory gratuities to large parties. But you may have run into a particularly incompetent manager. If so, a better approach would be to forget about the money and complain to the manager's boss if you can.


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Postby DoingHomework » Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:01 pm

Rory wrote:I work my ass off for drunken idiots just for them to pay me 1$ or less, whenever somebody drops me more than 5$ i make sure to remember their face/name if possible and treat them preferentially whenever possible later.


I included the drunken idiots part in my quote because maybe it applies, lol.

What you said is exactly why I tip well. I don't expect much from servers, and if a place is busy then I can put up with being mostly ignored. But we tend to frequent a few specific places and appreciate a little more attention to recognize that. I'm not saying that we need to be treated special. But if I'm at a place every Thursday night and always leave a great tip, I don't think I should have to sit for 20 minutes with an empty glass waiting to order another beer while two servers stand around and flirt with each other.

I also think restaurant managers do an major disservice to themselves when there is high staff turnover. It makes for a much better experience for regulars when they see the same servers all the time. New servers tend to just rush around and not treat the regulars right. That reduces tips for everyone and drives away regulars, at least in my opinion.

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Postby trumpet-205 » Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:04 pm

Rory wrote:in many states employees at restaurants will only be paid 2-3$ an hour because the place the work for assumes that they will make up the difference in a tipped wage. Its total bull****. Some days i have walked out with over 30$ an hour and others less than 5$. It may average out okay, but it makes planning a budget considerably more difficult. Tipping in america has almost become so normal that if you don't, even for bad service, you are seen as a bad person. Its become such a commonplace that if you dont tip practically everyone who helps you, you can almost guarantee that they will talk **** behind you back. I work my ass off for drunken idiots just for them to pay me 1$ or less, whenever somebody drops me more than 5$ i make sure to remember their face/name if possible and treat them preferentially whenever possible later.


I would rather restaurant adjusts menu's price than to use tipping to make up wages. Cannot believe something like this is legal in US.
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Postby Rory » Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:13 pm

DoingHomework wrote:I included the drunken idiots part in my quote because maybe it applies, lol.

What you said is exactly why I tip well. I don't expect much from servers, and if a place is busy then I can put up with being mostly ignored. But we tend to frequent a few specific places and appreciate a little more attention to recognize that. I'm not saying that we need to be treated special. But if I'm at a place every Thursday night and always leave a great tip, I don't think I should have to sit for 20 minutes with an empty glass waiting to order another beer while two servers stand around and flirt with each other.

I also think restaurant managers do an major disservice to themselves when there is high staff turnover. It makes for a much better experience for regulars when they see the same servers all the time. New servers tend to just rush around and not treat the regulars right. That reduces tips for everyone and drives away regulars, at least in my opinion.


in regards to turnover, i was referring to table turnovers or flips. IDK what you call it, but i was not very clear, I clearly need to work on that.


trumpet-205 wrote:I would rather restaurant adjusts menu's price than to use tipping to make up wages. Cannot believe something like this is legal in US.


its simply a way for restaurants to circumvent minimum wage laws, raising food prices wouldnt have that much of an effect, food is only responsible for 25% of our sales. raising the prices of alcholic beverages would deff do the trick, but they are already sky high at some places. When the average mark up is 500% i aint kidding. Our well vodka costs us 6$ a bottle, and each drink we use it for is $6+
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Postby Snowman » Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:29 pm

Like many of you guys in this thread, I have worked in the Restaurant Industry both as a cashier/host/server/busboy. I've dealt with people who are incredibly nice, and understanding, and others who are total *****. When I work as a server, I do my best to provide the same level of service to every table I can. If it's a regular, I always do my best to remember their order, and if not I always ask to make sure, and if they are a big tipper, I treat them a little bit more preferential rather than someone who is an out of towner, but I provide the same service to every guest. Like Rory has said, there are nights and days where I have gotten 300-400 easily in one night and there are some nights and days where I have made 40-50 dollars. I've dealt with customers who are drunk and crazed and have had to help another server when the guy try to fight some guy in a parking lot (this is scary and you never about people, just try to end it as quickly as possible) I've seen car accidents. People asking me if they can have their food for free because they cannot afford to pay for their meals. Strange requests. I always appreciate the tips, and unless my service was terrible, I'd be upset to if I worked my rear off and they left nothing, unfortunately that's how some people are and cheapskates at that. My boss is cool though, and turn over can be high, but we never hire much unless we have to. I remember my buddy telling me (he works at a cheesecake factory) that he had a gigantic party, and he and 2 other servers had been assigned to take care of that table. They ordered about 600.00 dollars worth of food, and every finishing and having dessert, they left no tip, pretty much shafting the three of them....my advice is, if you are a student or someone as a restaurant industry, and wait tables, just provide the same service like you would do with everybody else and it will do you wonders, and if someone does not leave you anything, unfortunately you're just going to have to suck it up and move on...If you have never worked in the food service and retail industry, you have no idea about some of the stuff we go through on a daily basis.
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Postby trumpet-205 » Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:43 pm

So let's say you had a bad luck in previous month, where tipping was little to none. Does your boss make up deficit in your wages?
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Postby hematino » Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:54 pm

trumpet-205 wrote:So let's say you had a bad luck in previous month, where tipping was little to none. Does your boss make up deficit in your wages?


They don't. You just scale back your spending, and during the good weeks, put some of those tips aside for the slow weeks. It's just part of the industry, what always deterred me from making it my primary source of income instead of a supplement is how unreliable and sporadic the money can be. But I have the utmost respect for those that manage successfully this from month to month.
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Postby Snowman » Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:19 pm

Trumpet- Where I work, we always get paid minimum (you know here it's 8.00) wage. Our boss does not, we get hours plus tips. Like hemantino said, we scale back our spending and spend only what we can on the basics (phone bill, gas, food, etc.) I for the most part do not spend any tips and Instead just deposit them at my bank before I go home. Then I use it to pay off my CC bill. Slow weeks are part of the industry and now it will only really be busy on the weekends, until Thanksgiving-New Years day time. Then slow until Spring break. Then slow until Summer starts again. Yeah it can be unreliable because you never if we are going to be busy or not during the day or night....but all i say is just be careful with your money and just work hard, and you'll be okay.... :)
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Postby Rory » Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:15 pm

Snowman wrote:Trumpet- Where I work, we always get paid minimum (you know here it's 8.00) wage. Our boss does not, we get hours plus tips. Like hemantino said, we scale back our spending and spend only what we can on the basics (phone bill, gas, food, etc.) I for the most part do not spend any tips and Instead just deposit them at my bank before I go home. Then I use it to pay off my CC bill. Slow weeks are part of the industry and now it will only really be busy on the weekends, until Thanksgiving-New Years day time. Then slow until Spring break. Then slow until Summer starts again. Yeah it can be unreliable because you never if we are going to be busy or not during the day or night....but all i say is just be careful with your money and just work hard, and you'll be okay.... :)


so lucky you live in cali, I work for a california based company, but since im over here in MA they dont keep the hourly high, though they keep all of the other bs rules in place.
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Postby Snowman » Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:25 pm

Rory- Who do you work for? And dude, California is expensive, I thought about moving out with one of my buddies, but we don't make enough to cover everything, so now, I'm still living with my parents while going to school. Hopefully if and when the economy gets better I'll move out, but until then I'm going to have to be patient....what's the wage law there?
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