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zandysmom
10-01-2006, 09:20 AM
We just returned from 4 wonderful days at Disneyland. We stayed at the DGC Hotel, there were 6 adults & 2 kids. We ate breakfast every morning at the Storyteller Cafe & almost always we all had the buffet (works out to be the same price as ordering off the menu when you figure in drinks). My child did not eat at all (he has special needs & can only eat pureed food which I make ahead of time & bring with us) and his cousin (who is 3) ate next to nothing, literally most mornings just a little bit of fruit, his big morning was 1/4 of a bagel.

Since we are technically a party of 8 they added on an 18% gratuity. But keep in mind that since we had the buffet the waitress did little more than fill our orange juice & coffee. But when the bill came each time there was a $25 tip figured in. To me that is outrageous. I have NO PROBLEM tipping and tipping well for great service but when we required almost no service since we served ourselves I feel like 18% is robbery. I commented about it to the person at the desk to let them know that we felt it was out of line & she looked shocked. Am I the only person who feels this way?

Moriah

See our pics from last weeks trip HERE (http://moriahbettencourt.typepad.com)

rentayenta
10-01-2006, 09:39 AM
I am all for added gratuity and here's why:

I am a former server and bartendar. I really enjoyed my job. Big parties can be, and most usually are, very high maintenance, especially those with kids. That being said, I loved waiting on families with kids and I earned every bit of the added gratuity. Some people, especially some who have never served, do not know how to tip or even realize that they had ordered me around, not asking for multiple things at the same time, but running me back and forth, unaware that I was serving 3 other tables. Serving is a service and some folks confuse their server with being a maid or servant.

The beauty of automatic gratuity is that it's not mandatory. If the service did not warrant the 18% all you have to do is talk to the manager and they'll remove it. Sometimes people in large parties underestimate their share of the bill as well, forgetting to add the tax and rounding down. This puts the server in a bad position because if each person even left $1 less for a party of 8, the server would be out $8 of their tip.

I was a very good server and not once had someone remove the 18% or even complain about it, to me anyway. And more often than not, they would leave additional gratuity.

TikiGeek
10-01-2006, 09:40 AM
Am I the only person who feels this way?
No. In certain situations it's not appropriate....BUT it is their stated policy AND you do have a choice to dine there or not.

I can see both sides of it:
The waitperson makes their living based upon tips and generally would not get 15% on large groups - that's why they have that policy at so many restaurants.

On the other hand, it's not always a fair policy (as in your case) due to certain situations. I might have asked the manager to waive the mandatory 18%. I hope it didn't ruin your fun. :)

MammaSilva
10-01-2006, 09:59 AM
The only way I'd complain about it is if my server was so bad it made a negative impact on our meal. In the OP case you could have made your case against the automatic inclusion because in fact you didn't have 8 people eating. You had 7 at best, 6 if you don't count the 3 year old however Disney does count 3 and up as guests they charge for so I can see why they would count your party the way they did. If you didn't buy food for the little one nor the 3 year old then your total bill didn't have charges for them that you paid the 18 percent on, just a thought in another direction. I'm with Jenny in that I tend to tip higher than the 18 percent and have on occasion added to the tip when it was warranted, and with a special needs kid/group it often can be.

DianeM
10-01-2006, 10:02 AM
The first time I ran into an added gratuity was in Montreal. The waiter ignored us (within our sight) for half an hour while he chatted with friends, then provided absolutely minimal service after we flagged him down. For this we paid him a 15% tip, because it was added into the bill. I would have stiffed him entirely or left a quarter - the service was THAT bad. I absolutely hate automatic tipping. It violates the whole purpose of tipping, which is supposed to be an opportunity for the customer to personally reward the server for good service. I understand that serving people love it because it ensures a high tip, regardless of the service provided. Also, many people tip in addition to the included grauity, because they don't feel comfortable not leaving a tip. All in all, I'm betting that serving people do very well from automatic tipping. In my opinion, if they want a guaranteed tip they should simply provide good service. Yes, some people aren't good tippers. On the other hand, others are very high tippers, so it balances out. Putting the tip on the customer's bill insults the customer, turning the reward for the serving person into a supplemental fee on the food, and I would never eat twice at a restaurant that does this. I suppose you can go to management to have the tip removed, but that puts the onus on the customer to complain, and I don't like complaining to management.

In the situation you described, I probably would have only tipped 15%. Even though the waitress didn't have to bring food, she was constantly refilling glasses and clearing plates and seeing if you needed anything. She may also have had responsibilities in refilling the buffet or seeing when it needed to be refilled. 18% would be for when I had more personal service and it was good.


Am I the only person who feels this way?

Moriah

See our pics from last weeks trip HERE (http://moriahbettencourt.typepad.com)

rentayenta
10-01-2006, 10:08 AM
............ I understand that serving people love it because it ensures a high tip, regardless of the service provided..........




I never felt this. I provided great service, like I would any party. I knew the tip was included but I still had to earn it. Servers know that although it's added it can easily be removed.

Petersgj
10-01-2006, 10:15 AM
definition of Gratuity: A favor or gift, usually in the form of money, given in return for service.

If it is mandatory, then it is not a gift.

I don't feel that tipping should be a mandatory part of dining. I think, if the server does a good job, they should be well compensated. For the record, I usually leave 20+%. I have been on the receiving end of gratuities in a service job before and I know how important it is, but it I think it should be earned. If the server was inept or non-existent, then I certainly would not reward them for their bad service.

Before I knew of the mandatory tipping at some restaurants, I once left a tip at the table only to discover later that I was charged a mandatory tip on my credit card, thus effectively tipping twice. Now that I know that mandatory tipping is a common practice, I notice the disclaimers stating that is in mandatory in some instances. I don't agree with the policy, but as long as it is known ahead of time, then it is our choice whether or not to eat there. If we don't like it, we can always go somewhere else.

rentayenta
10-01-2006, 10:24 AM
In the infamous words of AdK, this is one of my soapbox issues. ;)

If you don't like the fact that gratuity is added, please don't punish the server if they've done their job by tipping them less; complain to the manager about the policy. Servers cleary make NONE of the restaurant policies that are in place. They also have no control over the kitchen going down in flames, long waits in the lobby, or how something tastes. It is their job to communicate when there is a hitch but 99% of the time it is not their fault but it gets taken out of their tip. If they are slammed it is also usually the fault of the managers or hosts seating poorly and triple seating someone to get them out of the lobby.

Don't shoot the messenger.

Rockchalker
10-01-2006, 10:38 AM
In the situation you described, I probably would have only tipped 15%. Even though the waitress didn't have to bring food, she was constantly refilling glasses and clearing plates and seeing if you needed anything. She may also have had responsibilities in refilling the buffet or seeing when it needed to be refilled. 18% would be for when I had more personal service and it was good.

Don't waitpersons also have to split tips with the buspersons and others? When we went to DL last September there were 9 of us total, but normally only 7 of us went to the character breakfasts. Let me tell you, with the mess the 3 kids (ages 3, 3, and 1) left on the tables, the floor, the chairs, etc. 18% barely covered the extra clean-up they needed to do.

However, it is a Catch-22 because I personally hate the automatic gratuity and have never and will never add to automatic tip as a matter of principal. My husband and I have always tipped based on service and normally tip well over 20% for good service.

zandysmom
10-01-2006, 10:41 AM
For us the big issue was when eating from the buffet. We had no problem paying the gratuity when we were served meals. I do feel that a $25 tip is out of line when there was 1 coffee cup refilled once & 5 OJ glasses each refilled once. There was no order taken, no special requests etc. We did pay it but with tax & gratuity it made breakfast $30/person... the most expensive meal of the day, even more expensive than when we went to Tortilla Joes and 2 had alcohol with dinner.

We had a blast though & we love, love, love the Grande Californian (this is our 5th year in a row there). Just was wondering if anyone else seen it like I do.

Moriah

Malcon10t
10-01-2006, 12:36 PM
I understand that serving people love it because it ensures a high tip, regardless of the service provided. Also, many people tip in addition to the included grauity, because they don't feel comfortable not leaving a tip.
I don't consider 18% a high tip. I am not a server, nor have I ever been a server. If I have excellent service, I do leave an additional tip.

For the original poster, one of the two children should not have been charged for a meal. So, if they were not charged a tip for this person, as there was no charge. I also know servers do a heck of a lot more work for a family with children than people realize they do. Storytellers also announces their charges. Goofy's also charges an 18% gratuity for all parties. And I have always left an additional tip at Goofys. We have never had a negative service experience there.

Advice at Storytellers, if your child doesn't eat alot, don't pay for a buffet. If the 3yo wants only a half bagel, get a side order bagel. Or get teh bowl of cereal. Then you are only paying the tip on the $4 bowl of cereal.

pisces
10-01-2006, 12:46 PM
The only way I'd complain about it is if my server was so bad it made a negative impact on our meal. In the OP case you could have made your case against the automatic inclusion because in fact you didn't have 8 people eating. You had 7 at best, 6 if you don't count the 3 year old however Disney does count 3 and up as guests they charge for so I can see why they would count your party the way they did. If you didn't buy food for the little one nor the 3 year old then your total bill didn't have charges for them that you paid the 18 percent on, just a thought in another direction. I'm with Jenny in that I tend to tip higher than the 18 percent and have on occasion added to the tip when it was warranted, and with a special needs kid/group it often can be.

In my mind, it doesn't matter who eats or doesn't eat. It doesn't even matter who orders the buffet or doesn't order the buffet.

You have 8 people taking up seats......seats that could go to other people, who will be ordering off the menu, and tipping beyond the minimum.

That's their rationale.

And yet, it's not exactly fair.

I see both sides of the spectrum.

Single diners don't usually get the best service, I've experienced.

They are sometimes ignored in favor of larger parties = larger tips.

But, super large parties (8 is sort of on the border).......are also a problem for restaurants.

I guess the best customer would be a party of 4, or 5, who were all going to order expensive drinks.

ALSO: Remember the Storytellers buffet is more than just a buffet......you have character interaction, so some of that gratuity may go to the characters who wouldn't normally get tips, yet are performing a service, aren't they?

annieb727
10-01-2006, 12:47 PM
I do not like the automatic gratuity added either...

When we lived in Alabama, we went to a small church and every Sunday we would all go out to lunch...sometimes it was at Olive Garden - this is the ONLY place I have EVER asked for the automatic tip to be removed!!! I have found at Olive Garden either you get GREAT service or HORRIBLE service. I have rarely been to a restaurant with enough people to warrant an automatic gratuity except when going out with church.

That being said, I do tend to tip more when the service is good than the automatic gratuity, so when we dined anywhere that had it, I never added more to it. So for those times, the servers lost out.

Oh, there was one time, I was at Goofy's Kitchen at night right around closing and there was a lady with her grandson, they had such a great time, the lady flagged down her server and wrote her a check for an added tip - even though she knew that the tip was already included!

DianeM
10-01-2006, 02:38 PM
Everything I've read says 15-20% for tips. 15 for basic service and 20 if the server was very good. Some web sites mention a socially acceptable minimum of 10%, although most people would consider that an insult. That makes 18% a fairly high tip, especially if the service was minimal, as in a buffet situation. I usually tip at 15% for basic service, but round up to the nearest dollar. I generally add a bit if my meal was inexpensive. At a lot of breakfast places you can get by spending less than $10/person, even if the serving person worked just as hard as they do for $40 meals. I will also add more if the serving person was very friendly or helpful.


I don't consider 18% a high tip. I am not a server, nor have I ever been a server. If I have excellent service, I do leave an additional tip.
l.

dohgusgus
10-01-2006, 03:13 PM
We just returned from 4 wonderful days at Disneyland. We stayed at the DGC Hotel, there were 6 adults & 2 kids. We ate breakfast every morning at the Storyteller Cafe & almost always we all had the buffet (works out to be the same price as ordering off the menu when you figure in drinks). My child did not eat at all (he has special needs & can only eat pureed food which I make ahead of time & bring with us) and his cousin (who is 3) ate next to nothing, literally most mornings just a little bit of fruit, his big morning was 1/4 of a bagel.

Since we are technically a party of 8 they added on an 18% gratuity. But keep in mind that since we had the buffet the waitress did little more than fill our orange juice & coffee. But when the bill came each time there was a $25 tip figured in. To me that is outrageous. I have NO PROBLEM tipping and tipping well for great service but when we required almost no service since we served ourselves I feel like 18% is robbery. I commented about it to the person at the desk to let them know that we felt it was out of line & she looked shocked. Am I the only person who feels this way?

Moriah

See our pics from last weeks trip HERE (http://moriahbettencourt.typepad.com)

having the gratuity added automatically is nice sometimes because you can just pay and leave w/o having to figure out oh how much should we/could we give them etc. But I think for a buffet there should be a very small gratuity since you do most of the work.

Opus1guy
10-01-2006, 03:39 PM
I don't like auto-gratuities one bit. Except in certain pre-paid event type things.

In California there used to be (and still could be) a tax law that if gratuity was automatically included...then sales tax was computed after the tip was added to the total...meaning that you were being taxed on the tip too!

If you added tip yourself...then the tip was not taxed.

I remember decades ago when this law went into effect because Club 33 used to always automatically add a 15% gratuity to checks...and when the new law came out...they sent a letter to their Members saying that gratuities would no longer be automatically added because they would now be taxed if they did.

Club Member were advised in that letter that they could request in advance that a percentage tip be added to their bill by the Club...and that would not be considered a "automatic" gratuity for the purposes of the tax law...and those type of advance requested tips were not subject to tax. But they had to be manually and verbally asked for.

I don't know if this tax law still exists or not. But I know for a fact that it did at one time. And may still. Which would be another black mark against automatic gratuities, IMHO.

Rockchalker
10-01-2006, 04:04 PM
ALSO: Remember the Storytellers buffet is more than just a buffet......you have character interaction, so some of that gratuity may go to the characters who wouldn't normally get tips, yet are performing a service, aren't they?

But isn't that why you are paying more in the first place (to have character interaction)? Just a thought....

rentayenta
10-01-2006, 04:21 PM
That being said, I do tend to tip more when the service is good than the automatic gratuity, so when we dined anywhere that had it, I never added more to it. So for those times, the servers lost out.




This fascinates me. Why if the service demanded a better tip would you, or anyone, not leave more? Again, it's the restaurant's policy to add the gratuity, not the servers', yet they are the ones losing out. I have never understood this rationale and I have been with many folks who think this. "Well, they added gratuity, it's their loss". I don't get it because the server did not add the tip, the management did. And as a server we had to add to all parties with 8+ people, even if you knew you'd get more, or else folks could cry discrimination.

wardkimballfan
10-01-2006, 04:41 PM
Automatic tipping is a cheap lie.

Diane summed it up pretty well. A tip is supposed to be a little extra thank you for the quality of services rendered, sort of like a sugar cube for the horse or a fish for the seal who does tricks, a way of saying "thank you, job well done," and a motivating tool for service workers to provide customers with quality service. Incorporate it into the bill and it just becomes an additional tax and allows low quality workers to be paid the same as high quality workers, thus ensuring that low quality work costs the same as high quality, which is an automatic imbalance and thus unfair to consumers. Just jack up the price of each item, pay the servers a higher wage, and skip the notion of "tipping."

I tend to stay away from restaurants that automatically tip, because they don't deserve my business. Provide me with quality servers and I'll tip accordingly, or even above average if they're really exceptional. Force me to pay a standard tip when I get substandard service and I'll be filing a lawsuit for false advertising.

annieb727
10-01-2006, 05:20 PM
This fascinates me. Why if the service demanded a better tip would you, or anyone, not leave more?

Good question...and I'll be honest...I'm not exactly sure why I didn't, I guess I didn't think direclty about the server...just a little frustrated that I was feeling "FORCED" into paying a certain amount and so just left it at that...but you know, I'll definitely be thinking more about it next time I'm in a situation like that - tho it doesn't happen that often since we're a small group.

Opus1guy
10-01-2006, 05:46 PM
Here's been my experience with what waitstaff have told me (almost universally) over the years when we've discussed automatic gratuities that have been recently added to restaurant policy:

- The really great waiters hate it and they notice their tips go way down.

- The crummy waiters love it because they know they can keep up the mediocre work (or do worse) and still get what they were always getting.

Having for decades had to endure so much mediocre or indifferent service in countries where auto-gratuities are the norm (because there is no incentive in their minds to do better)...and having experienced some of the greatest service in countries where tipping is not allowed in any way and staff are paid to provide exceptional service or are shown the door...I have to opinion that auto-gratuities bring out the lowest common denominator on both the customer and service provider side of the equation in many instances.

As to why some folks don't add more than the 15 or 18 percent in auto-grat situations even when they would have normally if tips were not automatic? I think that's an easy one. When someone is "forced" to give a reward for service (keeping in mind that we pay for and expect good service in our food price)...it's just human nature that many are going to think that it's a "done deal" in auto-gratuity situations. That all is "taken care of." Automatically. And that if the employees and management weren't in some sort of agreement over the "how much"...then they wouldn't be doing it to begin with.

I (as the customer) prefer to decide, measure, and reward service based on what was given to me. Not by some arbitrary agreement that a restaurant and its employees came to that totally excluded the customer! Think about that. It's just insane. IMHO.

BTW and FYI as a sidebar...here in the U.S. many restaurant Union agreements dictate when auto-gratuities must be added to the bill (usually at a certain number and/or in group contract situations).

wardkimballfan
10-01-2006, 06:10 PM
Restaurants that automatically include gratuities on a bill deserve to have loud, rude conversations* and food fights erupt during peak hours. Abuse my business, I abuse yours. Simple and effective.

*Such as was seen in the movie Double Take, with Orlando Jones and Eddie Griffin:


Daryl Chase: An' a Schlitz Malt Likka!

Waiter: I'm sorry, sir, we don't carry Schlitz Malt Liquor....perhaps you'd like a --

Daryl Chase:(very loud) WHAT?!? No Schlitz Malt Likka?!? How you s'post ta run a suh-sessful bidness, you ain't got no Schlitz Malt Likka?!? You ain't representin'! You ain't keepin' it reaaaaaal!

pisces
10-01-2006, 07:13 PM
But isn't that why you are paying more in the first place (to have character interaction)? Just a thought....

No that's not why you are paying more in the first place.

The reason why you are paying more in the first place is because this is Disney Dining, and we know that food at Disney costs quite a bit more than non-Disney establishments.

Again, at a character breakfast.....the characters are performing a service, so it makes sense that character breakfasts, (Goofy's all-the-time) would have the mandatory gratuity.

Of course, if I received horrible, or non-existent, Character interaction, then I might see management.

But, I can't see complaining, at a Character breakfast, because the server was no good.

It's about the characters, not service, decor, or food-----of course when, in fact, the service is great and the food is delicious, plus the great decor....as it always is, for me, at both Goofys and Storytellers....

.......that's what makes it all worthwhile, for me!

Minnie66
10-01-2006, 07:29 PM
just a little frustrated that I was feeling "FORCED" into paying a certain amount

I agree!! And before you jump on me, I value the art of tipping as much if not more than most. It is providing a very nice living for my daughter as she is struggling to make it through college -- but she must first earn it. I never leave less than a 20% tip. Only 2 reasons I would. 1-horrible service, and it must be bad, really bad. 2-madatory 18% tip -- you took away my choice. I guess the bad service will balance out the good service and overall it will come out equal. Kind of unfair to the good servers but I hate feeling "FORCED" into anything also.

Rockchalker
10-01-2006, 07:31 PM
This fascinates me. Why if the service demanded a better tip would you, or anyone, not leave more? Again, it's the restaurant's policy to add the gratuity, not the servers', yet they are the ones losing out. I have never understood this rationale and I have been with many folks who think this. "Well, they added gratuity, it's their loss". I don't get it because the server did not add the tip, the management did. And as a server we had to add to all parties with 8+ people, even if you knew you'd get more, or else folks could cry discrimination.

Because I am the customer. It fascinates me that I am the customer and I am ordered to leave an 18% tip just because I am part of a party of #_ or more.

I should also add that when I have had to leave an 18% tip and the service has stunk, I have wanted to (but have not yet, but it is coming) leave that tip in pennies and nickels.

Do the servers not have a voice in the policies of the restaurants? If so many of us think that "it's their loss" if we don't add a tip on top of the 18% when they deserve more, I am sure that servers would voice their opinion at loss of tips to the management.... I suggest this because NOT all restaurants add that automatic tip into the bill for larger parties.