‘Suggested Gratuity’ might well be the most hated two-lettered word in the restaurant business.
A recent lawsuit filed against it shows how menacing the matter is.
A gentleman named Marcel Goldman filed a lawsuit against the mighty Cheesecake Factory for allegedly charging a higher amount from their customers. He claimed the figure to be as high as 44 percent. This number is quite huge. No amount of thorough attention and quick service can get a 44 percent tip.
The idea behind the gratuities was to help the customers calculate the tip which they pay by fastening up the process. Some people have their own ways to calculate how much tip they should leave behind. Some genius thought of the idea to put this amount right on the receipt of the order.
But this idea was doomed to fail as no two people thought the same way about how they should calculate the tip. In the lawsuit filed by Marcel, he said that the ‘suggested gratuity’ mentioned on the bill did not take into account that the bill was split. He had to pay the tip based on the entire tab.
At other places, it is a common practice to include the tax in the suggested gratuity. A lot of the wait staff agree that the amount of tip should depend on the actual value of the meal. They also agreed that it shouldn’t depend on the amount of hard work put in to prepare or serve it. In some places, the tip is split between the waiting staff and the kitchen staff. At some places, it is illegal to do so.
One way it gets shadier is when the restaurant staff fixes the amount of tip. They do that based on whether you were ‘satisfied’, or ‘unsatisfied’. If you found the service to be ‘excellent‘, then there’s a fixed amount of tip as well. It is better to leave it up to the diners to decide what they should offer.
The servers do not have the power to put the ‘suggested gratuities’ on the receipt. The decision lays in the hands of the restaurant’s management.
It is beneficial for the restaurant to inflate the tips. The reason behind this is that laws of 43 states require the restaurant to make up for the difference if the worker’s tip isn’t equal to the minimum wage.
In certain states, the minimum wage per hour is only $2.13. This causes things to get messed up. According to the Department of Labor, nearly 84% of the restaurants do not make up for the tip even though they are mandated to do so.
As a diner, you are paying for the cook’s, server’s and dishwasher’s wage as well. According to a survey, serving at a restaurant lies in the bottom 4 of the least paid jobs despite the tips they get.
One idea is to get rid of the tips entirely. Countries such as Japan do not practice giving tips in restaurants. But this is something ingrained in every North American’s blood.
But tipping shouldn’t feel like a burden to the diner. It should be seen as a way to show appreciation to the service of the person who stood and waited for you.
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