Five reasons why automatic tips for large dining parties are a good thing

autogratlede.jpg
A tennis player just served a bunch of New York City restaurants -- including Applebee's, Olive Garden and Red Lobster -- with a lawsuit alleging deceptive business practices, because they add auto-gratuities on meal tabs. The case may get somewhere, because under NYC rules restaurants may not add surcharges to listed prices except for groups of eight or more -- and the ramifications could stretch across the country. Automatically calculated tips are often controversial: Some diners fight them they don't care to be told to tip -- or how much to tip. But pre-calculated tips actually have benefits for both diners and the servers who wait on them.

Here are five reasons why automatic gratuities for large dining parties are a good thing. (Having calculators come standard on cell phones is also a bonus.)

See also:
- Reader: Is adding an automatic gratuity a dirty, slutty practice?
- Thou shalt not skip the tip! Five reasons I hate waiting on church tables
-To tip or not to tip? That's up for debate.

Servicecharging.jpg
5. It's a convenience for customers -- really

Adding an automatic gratuity on the tab for large parties is actually a plus for diners because it saves them the trouble of calculating a single tip, or several smaller tips if the diners request separate checks -- something they often do, and often do at the end of the meal rather than before, which is a huge pain in the ass for the server. Adding one automatic tip saves time and also saves brain drain.

While you are trying to say your goodbyes and your "I'll Facebook you laters!" and herding friends, relatives and kids out of a restaurant and into their vehicles, not having to think about basic math is definitely a convenience.

servicecharge.jpg
4. Big tables are high maintenance

Even the most polite and least demanding large parties with the most well-behaved children are still going to be in constant need of drink refills, silverware, napkins, ramekins of butter, ketchup, ranch dressing, baskets of dinner bread, appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, desserts, coffees, dish removal and cleanups. And -- newsflash -- servers aren't always fortunate enough to get polite, non-demanding large tables. With bigger parties, servers often have to run around like headless chickens with firecrackers up their feathery asses. It's a given that the check will be paid (unless something went horrendously wrong with the food) and the restaurant will get its money, but not always guaranteed that even excellent servers will be adequately compensated for their hard work.

And even if something went horrendously wrong with the food, servers should still be tipped -- because they don't do the cooking.

gratuityauto.jpg
3. Large parties make large messes

Think about the last time you served a large family meal in your home, and how many dirty dishes piled up, how much food and drink ended up in places it shouldn't have -- the table, the floor, the walls, the ceilings, in the fish tanks and potted plants -- and how much time and energy it took to get your dining area back to rights again. Now imagine that the same scenario is taking place in a restaurant, but with the addition of diners not caring quite as much about what they mess up. Now you have what a large party leaves for the waitstaff. This isn't to say that all diners are filthy pigs in front of troughs, but isn't one of the large appeals of dining out the fact that you don't have to clean up afterward?

Making sure the staff gets paid -- and a little something extra if you left a compost pile behind -- is not only courteous, but downright humanitarian.

My Voice Nation Help
20 comments
Stephan Reuchlein
Stephan Reuchlein

Another troll who.wants advances before doing the actual work. Look up the definition of earn before you make uneducated comments. ROTFL!

Schittphaiç Magü
Schittphaiç Magü

The same that would happen even without the automatic tips: the wait person gets an earful from management and likely gets a dock in pay or forced time off w/o pay or even fired on the spot.

Schittphaiç Magü
Schittphaiç Magü

Hey Marti, ReIchlein here has it in his head that a sustainable living wage and expectations of civilized behavior from patrons are considered "entitlements." What? Are wait staff now considered "gubmint?" Time and time again, study after study has proven that better INCENTIVES promote better service and is therefore reciprocated by grateful patrons/customers....key word here being GRATEFUL because clearly, psuedo-intellectual libertarian-esque ingrates like ReIchlein believe they are ENTITLED to superior customer service from lowly paid wait staff despite them being the stingiest and brutish dicks walking through the door. LMFAO

Robb Pierce
Robb Pierce

Absolutely! Mostly because large parties want separate checks!

DougHubka
DougHubka

I am not sure that people have figured out that the TIP, is not "to Insure promptness" , it is "to insure payroll" . Restaurants have  long considered TIPS as part of their wages and even pay a sub-standard minimum wage, as they consider tips as part of the wages for the wait staff.

The reality is that the "TIP" is just an extra charge on top of the cost of the meal. In the case of large groups, restaurants are just automatically adding it in. . When you eat out , the cost of the meal is really the menu price + an expected 20 % TIP to pay the wait staff.

Stephan Reuchlein
Stephan Reuchlein

That is what you do for a good tip. And I laugh at your description, every need, listen to complaints? Surely you jest, if any of you stick around long enough.... Bottom line, give good service, get a good tip, it should not be expected or given before. You all want something before you earn it, grow the F up!

Patty Schiefelbein
Patty Schiefelbein

No. You should be able to tip on your own. What happens if you get a bad waitress or waiter????

Regan Rosburg
Regan Rosburg

uh...YES. 18-20% for parties over 6. its a lot of work and coordination that the server must do with the kitchen, the bar, everything...plus it's stressful.

Steven Fowler
Steven Fowler

I also think servers should get a real paycheck and benes

John Underwood Schumm
John Underwood Schumm

I've noticed at the average restaurant service goes way down when they know exactly what sort of tip they're getting

Marti Babb
Marti Babb

Hey Scrooge how is waiting on your every need & listening to you complain @ $2.13/hr an entitlement?

Stephan Reuchlein
Stephan Reuchlein

A tip is for good service, automatic tips do not insure good service, just another entitlement.

Aaron Rutan
Aaron Rutan

YES!!! I got 6 dollars from 13 businessmen with a $300 tab. Not cool!

Jame Koopman
Jame Koopman

Yes, and it should only be waived by the manager for bad service as long as the manager is contacted when the bill is given to the table. I've seen way too many cheapskates out there. I also seen bad service that doesn't deserve a tip, but usually them people get fired unless they are family or favored by the owners/management.

Levi West
Levi West

Common sense here folks!!! If you can't afford to take care of the service you shouldn't be going out!!! Period!!

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve topcommenter

An American can always move to Australia because there isn't any tipping allowed in the hospitality industry including food and beverage services, taxis, bellhops, etc., etc.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...