Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mandatory Gratuicide c2011 by Joe Sixtop, all rights reserved

     I used to work in a restaurant that had a policy of adding a 17.5% gratuity onto the ticket(s) of any party that had eight or more people in it. Actually, for the mandatory tippage to kick in, eight or more entrees had to be ordered. If a 20 top rolled in and at least 13 of them had appetizers (as classified by our menu) for their entrees the 17.5% couldn't be added. But if, say, a fourtop had an entree each and then somebody got four entrees to go, the grat was added.
    Most managers don't give a rat's ass if you don't put the automatic gratuity on the checks of large groups, if anything, they probably prefer that you don't. But at this place, they said it had to be included. Something about consistency and the fear of accusations of discrimination. I like it when the fine print on the menu claims that we auto-grat large parties, but I don't actually like to add it. So fuck it, I don't.
     It's a tip. If someone doesn't want to leave one, so be it. Eat up, bitches and get the fuck out of my station and my life! Once in awhile I lose out doing things like this but over the years I've come out way, way ahead. I'll discretely tell someone in the group that gratuities aren't included, sometimes I'll write it on their checks. I don't want to get burned by the menu's fine print. Sometimes a client will want the tip to be included; maybe they don't want to be concerned that they over-tipped (like that's possible!) or were a cheap-ass. Maybe they just really suck at arithmatic. Whatever. Hey, if you want it on there, I'll put it on there! I don't discriminate against any Americans (I adhere to company policy if the clients are from outside the top two-thirds of North America, 'cause fuck 'em) regardless of their appearance, ethnicity or my perceptions about them, even if they're refugees from Byhalia, MS.
     I try to keep all my parties to myself but if I have to share a large group with another server I defer to their wishes on the matter. I don't want them to feel like it's my fault if they wind up with less money than they might have gotten. But before we start taking beverage orders, I ask them, "Let's gamble, yo?!"
     Usually if you wait on a large group and things don't go well it's not your fault. The bartender got weeded, the kitchen sucked, you got triple sat, whatever. I hate to think so, but maybe sometimes if things don't go well, it's my fault; like I ring in some stuff incorrectly or forget to ring it in at all. Perhaps I'm too hungover to provide even the marginally adequate service I usually give. All kinds of shit can happen. I like the menu to state that a gratuity will be added for large parties, it's another tool you can use to your advantage. I'm not trying to get you to do things the way I do them. This's just something to think about.

     If you're new to These American Servers (and these days, who isn't?) this might be the first time you've seen the picture of the cute dogs. It's on the right hand side of this page. Underneath it there's a caption asking you to click this pic. I need to change that request because it looks even to me like some kind of shady scam. But all it does is show you my These American Servers page on Facebook. If it's all the same to you, it'd really make my day if you'd use that LIKE button and show me some love.

     I try and post something here about 3 times a month, once every week-and-a-half or so. But some crazy shit happened at work this week and I had a real good idea that I'll probably share with y'all, so you might be getting another episode of TAS real soon. No need to thank me; just offer a silent prayer of gratitude to whatever god or gods you may believe in. Peace out 'til next time.


  1. I love when you post Joe - no worries when you get back.

    I like a menu that states the auto grat policy [when I was serving] that way their was no argument/surprise.

    I always put it on, but made sure they knew it was on there. Some servers wouldn't do that and people would inadvertently over tip not realizing they had already been charged a tip.

  2. As a manager I don't really care if the servers add it or not. It's really up to them. If I were a server I'd add it. In my experience most don't mind paying the auto grat.