Bennigan's Decides To Tip Itself $5

A little tale to remind you to keep an eye on your credit card statements from reader Rebecca. What you’re charged may not always be what you signed.

I was recently at the Bennigan’s on Route 22 in New Jersey for dinner with some friends. I had never been to this particular Bennigan’s but my friends had warned me that the service was extremely bad their last visit. I enjoy Bennigan’s the most out of the fast food chains and it was the closest one so we decided to give it a shot anyways.

We were seated right away and the waiter was nice but the service was pretty bad. We were surrounded by 3 or 4 other tables with customers so there was no reason for us to be neglected. Our food took extremely long to get to our table. A lemonade took almost as long as our food to arrive. We needed our server but he was not around so I asked another waiter if he could kindly ask our server to come by. He asked for our server’s name and none of us remembered, which he probably did mention but we couldn’t recall. I told the other waiter that I couldn’t remember his name but I figured they would be able to determine our waiter by the section we were sitting in. He completely ignored my request and we continued to wait.

One person ordered a dessert instead of a meal planning to have it while the rest of us ate our entrees. That dessert still hadn’t arrived after we finished our meal. She canceled her order and waiter was glad to do so considering how long it took. A few minutes later, out came another server with the dessert By this time we already asked for the check so she didn’t want to take it if it was removed, so we sent it back.

The check arrived, I paid the bill by credit card and left the tip on the table in cash. I crossed out the tip section in the receipt and just rewrote the total. I had a feeling that something would go wrong with that charge so I checked my transactions on my card frequently. To no surprise, I found that Bennigan’s had charged me around $5 more than what was the on the bill. It was not the amount that bothered me since it’s only $5 but the fact that they added a charge after I signed the receipt and turned it in really bothered me. It’s one of either two scenarios: the waiter decided to give himself a better tip or they decided to add on the dessert anyways. Either way, the restaurant should not have changed the amount.

I called my credit card company and within 10 minutes it was resolved and they credited me the difference. It just angers me that Bennigan’s will not get penalized for their actions. Many times I do not confirm the exact amounts that I am charged on my credit card, especially at restaurants, but I’m quite sure this is the first instance it’s happened to me. I just wanted to let people know to beware of the bad service and shady business practices going on at this restaurant.

Hmmmm. How very mysterious. We’re just glad you caught it.

(Photo:William Holtkamp)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. A lot of people use a neat trick to make sure they’re not getting ripped off like this in a restaurant. Tip some small amount so that the number of cents in the total is equal to the total of the numbers in the dollars.

    For instance, if you had a $123 bill, you would tip $0.06, because 1+2+3=6.

    Then you can just do that quick check on all of your restaurant transactions on your credit card statement and if something doesn’t add up you can look in to it.

  2. renegadebarista says:

    Why would you not also call the restaurant and complain? If it is a staff member adjusting tips or writing tips on a reciept without the customers knowledge one would think that the restaurant would want to know.

  3. ClayS says:

    A TV chef went to jail a couple of years ago because he was caught routinely increasing the tip on credit card receipts at his restaurant. It’s probably worth keeping a copy of the receipt until the charge shows up.

  4. thekicker says:

    I’m curious if this was charge was actually posted to the account yet or still in process.

    I ask because most major POS systems (Aloha, Micros, etc) will automatically charge your card the bill + 15% or so (configurable) to make sure you have enough money on the card. Once the transaction is posted to the account and finalized, you will notice the lower amount (assuming you actually left no tip on the card).

    If the transaction was posted and finalized, then the only other method of doing this would be for the server to reprint your check and re-sign your slip and add the tip. When a manager performs a “check-out” for the server at the end of shift, s/he would see that there is an anomaly. That is, unless the manager was in on it too and allowed the $5 charge to go through on the system while the paper receipt does not.

  5. perrymount1 says:

    Was there a manager available to talk to about the bad service? I would talk to them, then call the regional and/or district manager. Wonder how many other people they have stole money from.

  6. greensmurf says:

    Sorry but if you sat down were served and they had a tip line on the reciept its wasnt a fast food joint.
    I would never cross out the tip line. If you paid cash on the table or to the waiter write cash on the tip line.
    If you paid no tipe enter none. This will prevent them from trying to rip you off. Always put a $ sign the the amt of the tip. This prevents them from putting a 1 in front of a $2 dollar tip so it ends up $12.
    Kudos for you as well for checking your account, most people dont bother.

  7. hi says:

    @Canadian Impostor: 6 cents on a 123 dollar bill. lol good idea though if you don’t want to keep all your receipts.

  8. @Canadian Impostor: I hope you mean one should also leave a cash tip and just do this for the CC tip on the bill. Otherwise you’d be leaving a .05% tip in your example, which is kind meager.

  9. KenSPT says:

    @Canadian Impostor: Maybe I just misunderstood your statement, but are you saying that for a $123 meal you only tip $0.06?

    Waiters and waitresses don’t make alot of money dude, I personally always go out of my way to make sure the tip I leave them is more than fair. Especially if the waitress is cute.

  10. ecwis says:

    @thekicker: Credit card accounts usually don’t show pending transactions to customers so I think it’s safe to assume it was actually a final charge. Furthermore, I don’t think her credit card company would refund her $5 if the transaction hadn’t posted yet.

  11. NoThru22 says:

    This kind of thing happens all the time. A waitress at a local restaurant helped herself to an extra $3 after I tipped her in cash. I check my check card online every night for these kinds of things.

  12. Blueskylaw says:

    TIP = To Insure Promptitude.

  13. workingonyourinvoice says:

    I’ve been using a tipping webapp on my iPhone at restaurants that automagically calculates the tip such that the total is a palindrome.

  14. ecwis says:

    @greensmurf: I don’t think it’s necessary to write “cash” if you already wrote the total. I think a line through the tip should suffice.

    If the waiter does add on extra money then you might be entitled to a free dinner. The transaction was not a “bona fide” transaction, therefore she is entitled to a full chargeback. At least that’s my interpretation.

  15. @KenSPT: Uh, I think he/she meant if you’re going to do the same thing and leave a cash tip, then put an extra 6 cents on the card.

  16. ecwis says:

    @Blueskylaw: Sorry to destroy your acronym, but it would be “ensure” not “insure.” :-)

  17. Michael Belisle says:

    @thekicker: Are you sure that’s “most” systems or did you just make up the data? Visa specifically discourages that practice (because it’s rude).

    @KenSPT: It’s been proven that higher tips == more sex.

  18. Rupan says:

    @hi: @BayStateDarren: @ecwis: I may be incorrect but here is my thinking. Regardless of the amount you tip, put an amount in such a way that the numbers on the right hand side = the total of the right hand side.

    So if the bill is $123 a 20% tip is roughly $25. But instead of tipping $25 you would tip $25.13. A $25 tip puts your total at $148 and 1+4+8=13. Thus your total bill would be $148.13

    Personally I have never had any problems with servers adding extra tips to the bill.

  19. gamehendge2000 says:

    To add insult to injury, the waiter made them show the receipt on the way out the door.

  20. kpfeif says:

    NO!

    Bill = $123.00
    Tip = $ 24.00
    Checksum = $0.12

    Total Charged = $147.12

  21. That palindrome things sounds adorable. Probably not worth buying an iPhone though.

    Sometimes when I tip at a restaurant, I see the bill come out of my account (debit) the next day, but no tip for a few days, then the tip comes out separately. Has anyone ever heard of that? Any idea of why it might do that?

  22. jtheletter says:

    @KenSPT: Let’s head this off before anyone else starts the dreaded “tip or don’t” meme.
    Canadian Imposter meant that you should calculate your tip as usual,
    but add just enough extra to make the cents represent the sum of the
    dollar digits.
    So on a $10 meal it would go like this, I’ll use 15% tip as an example.
    $10 meal + $1.50 tip = $11.50, we’ll round it to $12.00 so that the cents are zeroed.
    Next we sum the whole dollar digits: 1 + 2 = 3, so we tack on $0.03 for a grand total of $12.03.
    This makes the tip $2.03, or in this case slighlty over 20%. This
    little trick works better on larger food bills since the cents column
    futzing will have less of an effect on the tip percentage.

  23. Michael Belisle says:

    @ecwis: In U.S. English, at least, it’s either:

    For the more general senses, ensure is more likely to be used, but insure and ensure are often interchangeable, particularly in U.S. English: bail is posted to insure that the defendant appears for trial | the system is run to ensure that a good quality of service is maintained. [Oxford American Dictionary]

  24. ekthesy says:

    Was it the Bennigans on Rte 22 in Springfield? Next to the Barnes and Noble? I used to eat there all the time before I got violently ill from a hamburger. Urgh.

  25. KernelM says:
  26. kelmeister says:

    Holy crap, this is way more math than I want to deal with in a comments section, much less when I’m eating out. Whoo boy.

  27. Clumber says:

    Wait a sec! “A little tale to remind you to keep an eye on your credit card statements from reader Rebecca.”

    I have never gotten any of my credit card statements from reader Rebecca! Is someone stealing my CC statements out of my mailbox! DANGIT!

    (sorry… long day and I am just moments away from having to sit through 3 hours of “mandatory” harassment training.)
    Hell, I’ve never even gotten any pre-approved offers from reader Rebecca. :-(

  28. The kicker, of course, is that by occasionally stealing money from customers and making them resort to these digit-adding practices, they actually get MORE MONEY! What a country!

  29. KenSPT says:

    @jtheletter: Yeah, I figured I just misread it, but it’s the internet … I have to accuse people of things, it’s a rule. :-)

  30. sleepydumbdude says:

    I’ve had it happen several times in the past. Once I had really bad service at applebees. Only seen my waitress twice and she took forever as in I was there over an hour waiting on just a meal. I gave her a dollar tip. She turned it into 11.00. I got two free meals for two from applebees when I came by in person with my receipt to complain to the manager. I continue to bitch at my girlfriend and friends when they right the tip amount in and leave all of their receipts.

  31. kinksville says:

    @thekicker
    “I ask because most major POS systems (Aloha, Micros, etc) will automatically charge your card the bill + 15% or so (configurable) to make sure you have enough money on the card. Once the transaction is posted to the account and finalized, you will notice the lower amount (assuming you actually left no tip on the card).”

    This is a possibility, but Visa has mandated that all restaurant POS systems stop authorizing for anything more than the total of the check. Visa guarantees up to 20% over the total of the check to the restaurant whether the customer has the funds or not.

    This mandate was put in place precisely because the rise of internet banking was causing huge numbers of complaints when people who had paid cash for their tips went home and saw the authorization for a different amount than what they should have been charged.

    The majority of Micros systems now have the correct tip authorization settings in the system.

    @The Original Poster:

    When you initiate a charge-back with your credit card company it DOES penalize the merchant, sometimes severely. Depending on their merchant arrangements and how your bank handles it, your bank will often charge-back the entire amount of the transaction, and hit the merchant with a charge-back fee of anywhere from $20-50. In addition the merchants credit-card processor may also hit them with a charge-back fee.

    This isn’t to make you feel sorry for the merchant, since if they charged you incorrectly, they deserve a slap on the wrist, but chances are they are feeling the pain. Equally chances are they don’t know WHY they’re feeling the pain, unless you contacted them and complained.

  32. cde says:

    Yes, please, NOT THIS TIP WAR SHIT AGAIN!

  33. cde says:

    @ekthesy: Wait, the one across from the horrible Auto-Land? I actually like that Bennigans :/

  34. That-Dude says:
  35. Andronicus1717 says:

    @Michael Belisle: Ensure is correct. A tip does not insure anything, it is payed after the fact.

  36. sue_me says:

    A tip is a discretionary award for excellent service. That’s the way I look at it. If I’m not happy with the service I received, I tip very little or none at all. I’ve tipped anywhere from as low as 0% to as high as 25% (at Chili’s, of all places) for exceptional service. So as you see, I’m willing to pay for excellent service. I will NOT, however, pay for crappy service, and I shouldn’t. Neither should you, your parents, or anyone else who pays for a service. Delivery people in NYC hate that I actually factor in the service I received when I calculate tip, but I approach tipping as an award for excellence, not a handout.

    I don’t care if you make $2.50 an hour, if you take it out on the customer (i.e. bite the proverbial hand that feeds you) then you deserve to make that little. Suck it up and provide excellent service or get another job.

    It should be a law that if someone tries to charge you 1 cent more than authorized the place will get paid nothing and they have to eat the loss and you have the right to file a chargeback for the entire amount. It’s never acceptable for anyone to charge me $15 when I authorized $10.

  37. ThinkerTDM says:

    @KenSPT: Good waiters and waitresses make more than enough. Bad ones whine that they don’t.

  38. BStu says:

    I normally tip in cash and write “On Table” in the tip section of the bill. I rarely confirm the amounts charged, though. This is the sort of thing where I’m sure 9 times out of ten, your serve is totally honest and 9 times of ten that they are dishonest, they still don’t do it to you, but I’d certainly be outraged if I ever found it happening to me.

  39. AstroPig7 says:

    I’ve only received prompt service at Bennigan’s (any of them) when sitting at the bar (whcih is rare, since I don’t drink or smoke). Has anyone had good service experiences there?

  40. Sudonum says:

    Another thing to watch out for is a server who takes items off the tab of a cash customer and puts it on the tab of a CC customer, then pockets the cash. Especially if that CC customer is with a lot of people and has been drinking. My wife used to work for a Micros dealer and you’d be shocked at how often this happens.

  41. arch05 says:

    @Blueskylaw: Is that even a word?

  42. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    I usually ask for the bill, cross out the Tip line, and let the server pick up my credit card/bill. By the time the server comes back for my signature, I have a cash tip sitting on the table in plain view for him/her to see. I haven’t had any problems.. so far.

  43. ecwis says:

    @Michael Belisle: Your excerpt shows that the two words are often interchangeable, not always. I found a more helpful excerpt from The Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style.

    A person assures (makes promises to, convinces) other persons and ensures (makes certain) that things occur or that events take place. Any predicate beginning with that should be introduced by the verb ensure, if the verb is in the active voice. Insure should be restricted to financial contexts involving indemnification; it should refer to what insurance companies do. Ensure should be used in all other senses of making certain.

    Also, from Pocket Fowler’s Modern English Usage

    Insure is restricted to the meaning ‘protect by insurance’ (Are you insured? / We had better insure the new paintings).

  44. picshereplz says:

    @ecwis: “Credit card accounts usually don’t show pending transactions to customers so I think it’s safe to assume it was actually a final charge.”

    Uh, seriously? All five of my credit cards show pending transactions.

    It’d be pretty inconvenient if your credit card companies decided to hide such info from you.

  45. vastrightwing says:

    I’m going back to using only cash. There are too many ways for people to take advantage of you using electronic payment systems. Also, keeping you money in a mattress keeps you free of banking abuses: BoA!

  46. Canerican says:

    New Jersey + Bennigans

    Great combination!

  47. Michael Belisle says:

    @Andronicus1717: A tip doesn’t ensure anything either.

  48. KIRZEN2007 says:

    If I understand Canadian Imposter correctly, the math works something like this.

    Meal = 118.53
    Tip = 12.54
    Total = 131.07

    What’s in the numbers?

    1 + 3 + 1 = 7

    You just look at your resturant totals on your credit card bill, and in any instance where the dollar ammount does not match the last number in the cents column, you know there’s funny business going on.

    Its not easy math to do on the fly sometimes, but it might just be worth it, and its a cute trick.

  49. cronick says:

    Gee. The last time I went to a Bennigan’s in California the service was incredibly lousy too.

  50. chemmy says:

    @KenSPT:

    I think they meant if you’ve tipped via cash on the table, leave a little extra on the card so you can see it on your statement. I hope they wouldn’t suggest leaving a small tip like that – I think we misunderstood.

  51. ecwis says:

    @picshereplz: Oh well none of my cards do. I’ve had Chase, Citi, American Express, HSBC, and Charles Schwab. They have never showed pending charges. The only account that did was my PayPal because it was a debit card.

  52. Mr. Gunn says:

    sue_me, et al.

    NO ONE CARES WHY OR HOW YOU TIP

    Just do it and STFU, kthxbi

  53. NotATool says:

    @kinksville: The OP said he got *credited* back the difference. Not necessarily a chargeback.

    I’ve had this happen to me, with Visa. Visa credited me the difference (only $2 or so). I asked them if they were going to take the $2 from the merchant and they said no, they were just giving me a courtesy adjustment and it wasn’t worth it to them to get the $2 from the merchant.

    Based on my experience, I would say it’s possible that Bennigan’s woudn’t feel the pain of this adjustment.

  54. Michael Belisle says:

    @ecwis: I guess that’s just an odd dissenting note in the Oxford American Dictionary, which happened to be the only usage note I read on the topic. If Garner agrees with Fowler, it must be true.

    I’ll concede this round because I preferred maintaining the distinction (but was willing to accept when the OAD said it wasn’t necessarily incorrect to interchange them).

  55. katylostherart says:

    a lot of restaurants have 20% automatically added to the amount before tip paid with a credit card while the charges are pending and then it clears through as whatever amount was authorized. i was told this by i think a denny’s. the said visa automatically added 20% to the charge but it would go through only as what was written on the receipt. when the charge cleared a day or two later it was the amount i’d given instead of with the additional 20%. this may have been only for debit cards though.

  56. skittlbrau says:

    This happened to me when I was travelling for business – service was terrible and I left a small tip. Get back to corporate and find out the charge doesn’t match the receipt on my expense report… Uh Oh.

    Call the restaurant, and they freaked out since they had so many chargebacks related to this one server – he was fired and I was sent a $50 gift certificate.

  57. mgy says:

    @katylostherart: Why in the world would they do that? What purpose does proving I have 20% more money on the card have?

    Doesn’t make a damn bit of sense to me.

  58. vermontwriter says:

    This happened to a friend and I at an area Friendly’s. The waitress was awful. Made us wait for 10 minutes before taking drink orders, then disappeared for 20 minutes. The last time, I got up to get the manager. Turns out the waitress went outside for her 15 minute cigarette break, didn’t realize that 20 minutes had passed and while the manager apologized, the waitress told us she didn’t appreciate us getting her in trouble. The bill came to $38, so my friend left the woman a dollar tip.

    A few days later, the charge cleared my friend’s debit card. The waitress turned the $1 in to a $7 after we’d left. Because my friend still had her copy, she want back to the location and demanded to talk to the manager. She explained everything and the manager disputed if she’d really written $1 and that perhaps her 1 looked like a 7. After requesting to see the slip, the manager finally shut up. The one was written in black ink and the waitress had used blue pen to turn it into a 7. In the end the waitress was fired, but the manager never apologized either, so we’ve never returned.

  59. emjsea says:

    @ecwis:

    Sorry to burst your bubble of smugness, but it’s not his acronym, it’s a popular myth that’s been around for 100 years that that is what TIP stands for. Go back to studying for the D-SATs, you need to have a good sense of popular phrases to also be a good grammar-Nazi.

  60. sam says:

    @thekicker: Most CC companies won’t even adjust the charge or allow to file a dispute regarding the charge amount if it has not “posted” to the account.

  61. kable2 says:

    problem solved ….. do not tip

  62. kable2 says:

    i cant post hummm

  63. Seth_Went_to_the_Bank says:

    I really like Bennigan’s Monte Cristo sandwich.

    (I know, not relevant, but it’s really good!)

  64. lonewolf333 says:

    Always use cash when eating out.

  65. curlyt says:

    I’ve made a little iPhone application to do tip checksum calculations automatically. It’s at [www.tippytops.net] Look for the “checksum” option.

    I’ve also started taking pictures of the receipt with the iPhone camera, because I can never seem to hang on to the paper receipts — we’re all trying to go paperless anyway, right?

  66. yesteryear says:

    i can’t believe the bickering about ensure vs. insure. i also can’t believe i read all the way down to the bottom of the page. i need to get a life.

  67. katylostherart says:

    @mgy: it’s not that bizarre and apparently it’s common practice as i’ve seen it on more than one pending charge but not on the approved charge. again, this may be debit services only, visa only, or those specific merchants only. it does make a bit of sense. tabs are entered into any computer system sans tip. your card is run with the tab amount and you manually fill in the tip at most places (all that i’ve been to). it would make sense that the company would hold a charge at tab + 20% but not actually charge that amount until they see actual proof that that’s what you’ve charged. it’s a pretty common tip percentage and it guarantees that people see that if they check their bank or cc statements online before balancing the books. it sure as hell made me pay more attention to my check register.

  68. monkey1976 says:

    Former waitress here. Bennigan’s waitress to be specific. I’m in no rush to defend this company. I never really liked working there. But I will say this missive is full of red flags.

    Red Flag #1
    “We were surrounded by 3 or 4 other tables with customers so there was no reason for us to be neglected.”

    *All the more reason for you to be neglected, letter writer. The waiter was probably very busy. Keep in mind that the physical location of tables doesn’t always determine a section. It’s possible that the waiter had 8 different tables at various places all over the restaurant. They were probably feeling overwhelmed, hence the poor service.

    Red Flag #2
    “Our food took extremely long to get to our table.”

    *Often, the waiter has no control over this. None. Zero. Trust me, I’ve been in the kitchen freaking out at the cooks and waiting for the food to be prepared and trying to do everything I can to rush them along but to no avail. You can apologize to the customers all you want. No one believes you and the server always ends up getting punished for it. Cooks are paid hourly. They don’t give a sh*t.

    Red Flag #3
    “…my friends had warned me that the service was extremely bad their last visit.”

    *This one kills me. If you know you’re going to hate it so much, why do you come in there? You go into a situation with a biased attitude and then are surprised when things turn out in a negative manner.

    Red Flag #4
    No where does the letter writer indicate what kind of tip they gave. I’m going to guess it was very poor. Not saying this justifies what the thieving server did. That is not at all excusable. But it does give me a good idea of what kind of customer they were – needy, high maintenance. Nothing will please them.

  69. kable2 says:

    on #2 , why would they give a s*it, they are doing all the work and you are making more money then them

  70. monkey1976 says:

    I hear you. But ideally you’d help each other out. It’d be a partnership. And both jobs are equally difficult, though the cook’s job is far dirtier, and yes, they get paid less. The cool part about what they do is they don’t have to put up with mean customers and they can do their job totally stoned.

  71. Jackasimov says:

    @sue_me: Look at it however you want. This is America and in America it is standard to tip between 15% and 20% on meals. It is the accepted norm. You can set up whatever little system you like to get you through your life and you can argue it with your BS Randian logic all you want but it won’t make you anymore important or make people like you more.

  72. witeowl says:

    @arch05:
    Definitions of promptitude. Is your search engine broken?

    Now, not to blame the victim (at all), but here are some general dining tips:

    1) On a slow night, you may not be served by “sections”. Instead, you may be seated in a general area while waitstaff alternates taking responsibility of incoming patrons. So, pay attention to your server’s name and read it off the nametag if necessary.
    2) If you’re ordering dessert as a meal, be sure to tell your server that you want it while everyone else is eating. Same thing for a salad, soup, or appetizer.
    3) Don’t always blame the server for slow food; sometimes the kitchen is to blame. Was it hot when it arrived, or merely warm? The lemonade, however, is inexcusable.

  73. katylostherart says:

    @mgy: look i don’t know i don’t work for visa. the only reasoning i can work out is that it reserves funds for a tip in case one is included with the charge which would be included at the time the receipt is printed out since you usually fill out the tip line AFTER the tab is added up and not when it’s originally processed.

  74. ColoradoShark says:

    Why does anyone put up with crappy service like this?
    Vermontwriter has is right. When service is bad, get up and get the manager. It makes for an unpleasant event but don’t put up with crap.

  75. katylostherart says:

    wouldn’t*

  76. Landru says:

    @greensmurf: How is “None” better than a giant X, with the total repeated?

  77. ClayS says:

    @kable2:
    You don’t think cooks get paid? Their job is to prepare food and do it in a timely way. The server is the one that faces the customer, and fair or unfair, suffers financially for any shortcomings by the cooks or the hostess, etc. I’m sure its a tough job and a frustrating one to boot. Yes, I know, its their chosen line of work, but a little compassion would be nice.

  78. MsFemmeFatale says:

    @Jackasimov: I was a bartender and I STILL tip according to service.

  79. ecwis says:

    @emjsea: I don’t know why one would need to know “popular” acronyms to correct common grammar mistakes. I wouldn’t agree with you that “To Insure Promptitude” is a popular phrase as it is not even in the Oxford English Dictionary.

  80. beckers04 says:

    @monkey 1976

    I am the one who submitted this email.
    I am not a needy, high maintenance customer. For you to put that label on me for expecting my server to do his job is pretty unreasonable.

    The bill was around $56 and I left a $9 tip and then my friends said I was being generous considering the poor service so I reduced it to $8. I didn’t reduce further because I personally don’t like to leave much lower than 15% unless it was an extremely bad experience.
    So I left about 14%. I generally tip 20% if I have a good service. Many people in my position as you can see from the comments would leave just a $1.

    I did not complain to a manager or anything because I did not want to get the server in trouble because he was nice just not very attentive. I was willing to let the poor service I received slide but the extra charge on my card was inexcusable.

    I never indicated that the server was to blame for how long the food took. I understand it is out of his hands.

    I stated that we shouldn’t have been neglected because when he stopped by the tables surrounding ours he could have easily dropped in to check if we needed anything. He did not.

    I decided to give the restaurant a shot because I enjoy Bennigan’s. I like to give people and places a second chance.

    I appreciate reading another take on this issue but your comment is just as full of red flags. As a former waitress if you think that my expectations for my server to return to my table a few times is high maintenance, then what do you think your job requires of you?

  81. beckers04 says:

    I am not a needy, high maintenance customer. For you to put that label on me for expecting my server to do his job is pretty unreasonable.

    The bill was around $56 and I left a $9 tip and then my friends said I was being generous considering the poor service so I reduced it to $8. That’s about 14%. I generally tip 20% if I have a good service. Many people in my position as you can see from the comments would leave just a $1. I did not want to reduce it further because I personally don’t like leaving much less than 15% unless it was an extremely bad experience.

    I did not complain to a manager or anything because I did not want to get the server in trouble. He was a nice waiter just not very attentive. I was willing to let the poor service I received slide but the extra charge on my card was inexcusable.

    I never indicated that the server was to blame for how long the food took. I understand it is out of his hands.

    I stated that we shouldn’t have been neglected because when he stopped by the tables surrounding ours he could have easily dropped in to check if we needed anything. He did not.

    I decided to give the restaurant a shot because I enjoy Bennigan’s. I like to give people and places a second chance.

    I appreciate reading another take on this issue but your comment is just as full of red flags. As a former waitress if you think that my expectations for my server to return to my table a few times is high maintenance, then what do you think your job requires of you?

  82. ecwis says:

    @emjsea: …and what are D-SATs?

  83. acousticdank says:

    @sue_me: You are an idiot. Shitty, rude, terrible service may deserve no tip. But, why the hell would a tip from you be considered an “award for excellence?” Are you that arrogant? You made me laugh though, thanks.

  84. beckers04 says:

    @monkey1976: I am not a needy, high maintenance customer. For you to put that label on me for expecting my server to do his job is pretty unreasonable.

    The bill was around $56 and I left a $9 tip and then my friends said I was being generous considering the poor service so I reduced it to $8. That’s about 14%. I generally tip 20% if I have a good service. Many people in my position as you can see from the comments would leave just a $1. I did not want to reduce it further because I personally don’t like leaving much less than 15% unless it was an extremely bad experience.

    I did not complain to a manager or anything because I did not want to get the server in trouble. He was a nice waiter just not very attentive. I was willing to let the poor service I received slide but the extra charge on my card was inexcusable.

    I never indicated that the server was to blame for how long the food took. I understand it is out of his hands.

    I stated that we shouldn’t have been neglected because when he stopped by the tables surrounding ours he could have easily dropped in to check if we needed anything. He did not.

    I decided to give the restaurant a shot because I enjoy Bennigan’s. I like to give people and places a second chance.

    I appreciate reading another take on this issue but your comment is just as full of red flags. As a former waitress if you think that my expectations for my server to return to my table a few times is high maintenance, then what do you think your job requires of you?

  85. horkles says:

    I rarely tip. I don’t care if waiters only make $2.50 an hour. I refuse to subsidize restaurateurs’ efforts to foist their responsibility to pay their waitstaff onto their customers — and neither should you. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. And if you’re a waiter depending on customers to pay your salary, you’re a sucker.

  86. laddibugg says:

    @ekthesy:

    They apparently had some health code violations in the past. The one and only time i went there, the mandatory health code poster said ‘conditionally sanitary’. What does that mean? SO we went to the Olive Garden across the highway where the tipper did the same thing they did to the OP. Route 22 in Union County is crap for eating establishments.

  87. ChuckECheese says:

    @Jackasimov: Ayn Rand: Would she eat at Bennigan’s, or would she cook her own dinner? lulz.

    @horkles: I bet chicks think it’s hot when you don’t tip. Oh, I’ll bet the mens think it’s hot too. But listen–I’m kinda on your side. And the IRS definitely is–they would love their full cut of income taxes. The problem is, the system you describe doesn’t exist yet. You can’t blame your server for the way wages are structured, and it’s rather anarchistic for you to think you get to make your own rules. It’s not pretty to think it’s okay to take advantage of waiters because they don’t have a different way of obtaining their wages. If you dislike the system, then you should stop eating in restaurants.

    Meanwhile, while your Spaghettios are heating on the stove, take the time to write the IRS and tell them you want waiters to make at least $7 an hour, no tipping necessary, taxes fully paid, just like janitors and CEOs. Visit your congressman. As much as you don’t like paying tips, if the system changes to service compris, you’ll pay their wages anyway, in the form of higher food & drink prices. I had a friend once who would always pick up his (and our) pizzas, rather than pay a tip to a delivery guy. I got tired of cold pizza, and I got tired of his cheap a**.

  88. marsneedsrabbits says:

    The one time I went to Bennigan’s, there were two kids running crazy, screaming, slapping each other, crying, throwing things, throwing food and utensils. We asked for the manager, who said he couldn’t do anything about them, as they were customers, too.

    Before we even ordered drinks, we left. There were two other tables that got up in disgust & went with us.

    I have no idea what the food is like there, but the waitress was fine. I felt really bad for her, losing 3 tables in her section due to a crappy manager.

    A lot of the problems with the writer’s experience seems to me to be management-related. The food being timed wrong, poor waiter allocation, etc., are all management issues.

    I would inform the manager anyway, ’cause that’s how things are done, but I would escalate it to the corporate level, too.

  89. trujunglist says:

    @thekicker:

    Agreed. That happens to me constantly, and only like a week or two later do I get to see the actual charge

  90. danseuse322 says:

    @thekicker: Credit card companies usually won’t credit you anything unless it is posted as a permanent charge–not just in process. Sounds like a fishy deal to me.

  91. pfeng says:

    I had this happen once at a local bakery/sandwich shop; the amount that showed up on the monthly statement was one dollar higher than our receipt total stated. We disputed the charge (I don’t know whether $1 was charged back, or we were simply credited $1), and wrote a letter of complaint to the manager. I think what annoyed me the most was that we resolved never to go back there (why reward attempted theft?) but I really missed the super-delicious cookies :(

    I can’t think of much at Bennigan’s that I’d miss, though.

  92. jimda says:

    as a former restaurant mgr. i can tell you this happens. my best advice, keep your reciepts. i fired many a waiter/ress for this. the youngsters waiting on you know far more about the computer system then the manager, and they know all the tricks. KEEP YOUR RECIEPTS.

  93. Nenne says:

    The exact same thing as the OP happened to my cousin years ago at Bennigans. Except instead of $5, $20 was added as well as a drink order that the server messed up.

    @ThinkerTDM: I totally agree. I’m a hostess and the only servers who complain about not getting enough tables or getting sucky tips are the crappy servers.

    To me the agreement between a table and a server is that they will give them good service in return they will receive a nice tip. If you don’t give good service, there is no reason why you should feel that you deserve a hearty tip that you didn’t earn. And if you don’t earn it, for you to go and add it on for yourself is despicable. And there’s no reason that I should have to come up with fancy math equations just to make sure I’m not over charged.

  94. jimda says:

    TO THE GUY THAT RARELY TIPS; I THINK YOU ARE JUST CHEAP AND USE THAT ARGUMENT ABOUT SUBSIDIES SO YOU CAN SLEEP. MAKES NO DIFFERENCE TO THE RESTAURANT, IF TIPPING WAS ABOLISHED YOUR PRICES WOULD GO UP ABOUT 20%. SO THAT $2O STEAK WOULD BE ABOUT $25. PLUS, IF YOU ARE A WELL KNOWN NON-TIPPER, BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU EAT. MY ADVICE. DON’T GO TO ANY RESTAURANT TWICE.

  95. MBZ321 says:

    What happened to Bennigans? They used to be really decent, but I have heard overall, at multiple locations in multiple states, either bad service or unsanitary conditions.

  96. drjayphd says:

    @KIRZEN2007: Except 1 + 3 + 1 = 5, not 7. :)

  97. @jimda: You really love your Caps Lock key, don’t you? Please hit it exactly one more time before your next post.

  98. horkles says:

    I would gladly pay higher costs at restaurants rather than be expected to tip mediocre waiters and waitresses. My stance is about principle, not being cheap.

  99. ChuckECheese says:

    @horkles: And then our waiters and waitresses will be like the French ones, who don’t have to shuck and jive for tips. They get paid no matter how they treat you–BWAHAHAHAHA!

  100. jimda says:

    yea horkles, just like governor spitzer said it was about principle when he busted a prostitution ring a few years ago. and athletes always say its not about the money. its always about the obvious, never about the principle. the ‘principle’ is the excuse. you are a cheapskate.

  101. Major-General says:

    @jimda: First, it is rude to shout. Second, perhaps he lives in California, where it is illegal to reduce a waiter’s pay with the expectation that tips will make up the difference.

    So here, waiters legally should be getting paid their $8/hr minimum wage, plus tip. And if they’re not, they need to take it up with the labor board. This od course assumes that they’re worth the tip; sometimes, they aren’t.

  102. ChrisNF says:

    Did you consider that maybe it was a mistake? That the server made a typo when entering the final amount in the POS terminal? Maybe a call to the restaurant would be a good thing to do before a Consumerist story and a call to boycott?

    I love the tip checksum calculation suggested here. We need to get that added to the tip calculators on mobile phones, because after a few drinks I have enough trouble with 15%!

  103. jimda says:

    major=general . sorry abouy the caps, wanted the guy to see the response. if the law changed in calif. it did so since 1992. before that i ran a chain of upscale restaurants, which i have since sold, and the law then was the same as everywhere else. the basics are the federal government looks at waiters as salespeople. a car salesman works on commission, he dont sell cars, he dont make money, no matter how many hours he puts in. but, you may be right, calif. is a strange place, a place i was glad to get out of because of all the strange things and laws out there. but , if you are right, its a change that happened since i sold my reataurants out there in 1992.

  104. econobiker says:

    @trujunglist: Spouse and I had the automatic tip addition thing added to our debit pending charge for a bill from strange,off-the-wall, off-the-beaten path, hadn’t changed decor since 1979, Italian restaurant. The kicker was that we had left a cash tip.

    A little research on this here internet thingy enabled us to figure out that this was a common issue and supposedly the merchant has some sort of setting on the processor which can be changed to not add the “dissappearing tip” amount to the pending charge.

    Of course we found this out after my amp-ed up wife had called to complain to the English-Second-Language (Sicilian was his first language!kid you not) manager about the bad charge.

    Another problem was that we were the only charge customers that night- infact we were probably the only two customers that night in the restaurant area…

    And the owner’s creepy 18 year old son who was the waiter…

    Anyhow- we’re not going back because we don’t want to sleep with da fishes after she bitched the Silician out about the disappearing debit tip charge…

  105. sue_me says:

    @Jackasimov: I don’t care what the standard is, tip is discretionary, and I refuse to pay someone who copped an attitude or provided mediocre or poor service. The only times I ever left no tip was when the service was absolutely appalling. I’m paying for food as well as a service and the tip is the part where I pay for the service, and I actually have full intentions of tipping ~10% when I walk in the door. It’s the waiter’s job to prove to me that they deserve more. If in my mind they’ve proved to me that they deserve more, I gladly cough up the extra money. Cop an attitude, or be anything less than courteous anre respectful, I will see to it that you get no tip. Zip. Zero. Nada. I don’t expect waitstaff to wait on me hand and foot, but I expect to be treated with dignity and respect that should a client/customer of such an establishment should be treated with. This is more fair in my opinion than paying everyone a set percentage. i.e. mediocrity gets you less than what is “standard”, because I’m paying for good service, not average/mediocre service. And you’re some person I’m talking to on an internet blog. I don’t give a damn what you think about me. I do what I feel is fair and that is that.

    I have a policy when tipping delivery people-if you’re on time, you get 10%. If you’re late, you get less. If you’re early, you’ll be rewarded generously. If you cop an attitude for any reason, I will not give you a cent in tip. I’m paying for a service, I’m not subsidizing your pay. And as an economics major, I will pay you what I think your services are worth. To do otherwise is a waste of my education. And you will like it. Because tip is still discretionary. Meaning, (get this in your head) I don’t have to tip a single penny if I don’t want to, for any reason or even no reason. There is no law, federal, state or local that requires me to tip. It’s customary, but as I said before, it’s at your discretion. You can rant and rave all you want about customs and standards, but it’s still discretionary.

    If you knew me, you’d know that I’m anything but a cheapskate. I’ve tipped upwards of 25% before. I’ll do so again for exceptional service. But it truly has to be exceptional for me to be that generous. Excellence gets you ~20%. I have yet to see exceptional service that merits 25%.

    I’d file a chargeback under unauthorized charges.

  106. Crazytree says:

    [www.fatwallet.com]

    read that link.

    it’s an enormous problem that is totally out of control.

  107. KogeLiz says:

    I think this title is misleading since the reader never called the restaurant back to find out what the charge actually was for. I would think it was the dessert that they never took off the bill.

    To say “Bennigan’s Decides To Tip Itself $5″ is an assumption.

  108. SayAhh says:

    @Blueskylaw: Comes from cow TIPping, actually j/k :)

    @Major-General: I think restaurants used to be “allowed” to use tips to make up the minimum wage paid out. They’ll pay like two bucks (or whatever it is) per hour, assuming that the total amount the server makes will average out higher than the hourly minimum wage, otherwise the restaurant will have to pay the entire minimum wage. For example, if the waiter/waitress works eight hours and claims in $80 tips, the average hourly wage is about $12 (the $2 dollars base, plus $80 divided by 8), which is higher than $8 (Calif. min. wage), so it’s [legally] okay.

    I found out that this is no longer the case. Check out FAQ #5 at the California Department of Industrial Relations website: [www.dir.ca.gov]

  109. samisalsa says:

    I actually work at a Bennigan’s, not the one mentioned in the email, and have a few insights from inside the restaurant that I’d like to share.

    About the lemonade: I’m going to assume that this was a specialty lemonade: strawberry, mango, wildberry, what have you. The bar makes these, not the server. While it is unacceptable that it took that long, considering they take like thirty seconds to make. But hey, the bar could have been backed up.

    About the extra $5.00: I’m going to go ahead and call this one employee theft. While Bennigan’s are franchised and privately owned, they all must adhere to strict corporate policy and use the same methods. In this case, the server must have entered a total higher than the total you wrote on the slip when closing the check. We had one server around our opening who did the same thing, and the best way to deal with this is call the store first, to notify them of the theft. File a police report! If the store does not resolve the situation adequately, email corporate from the website. Store managers get reamed for them.

    About the “slash through the tip line”, “writing ‘on table'”, etc: it does not matter what is written on the tip line. The line that must be entered is the total. It does not matter if your math is wrong and you added more or less than you wished to tip, employees must go by the total no matter what.

    @marsneedsrabbits: Our managers say the same thing. There is a manager training book that is used from corporate. How I wish we could kick out running and screaming children, really. But then they would send an email to corporate (see above) and no manager wants that.

    @beckers04: Ask to see a manager anytime you are unhappy at a restaurant. The server will probably not get in trouble, and the manager will probably bend over backwards to make you happy. When you’re happy, the server is happy. I can’t tell you how many tables I have had that I can tell they’re unhappy about something but they won’t speak up, even when I force a manager to go over there. Some of us servers really do want you to have a good experience and come back.

    tl;dr, am I right?

  110. mikel2 says:

    One should know that this is a Federal crime, Wire Fraud, as it involves phone line scams and should be prosecuted.

  111. monkey1976 says:

    You tipped $9 on $56 and the server still screwed you? Wow. OK. I stand corrected. That *is* total BS. Unless you guys purposefully trashed the table and turned over all the salt shakers I really can’t think of anything that would warrant that. (Not that stealing is EVER warranted, just sayin’). One more question – did you guys have a large party? Sometimes there’s an automatic charge put on there. Maybe that was it?

  112. Nenne says:

    @KogeLiz: But if the dessert wasn’t on the credit card slip when it was swiped and then signed wouldn’t that be fraudulent to add something to the bill and authorize it?

  113. thedragonlady says:

    Minimum wage for tipped employees varies from state to state: [www.dol.gov]
    Some are decent like CA, some suck like Ohio.

    Years ago when I was in the business in FL, taxes were based on tip averages based on an employee’s total sales. At that time it was 8% of total sales reported as income. So, a big check with a bad tipper could really screw your numbers. And the $2.01 an hour hardly made up for it.

    Still you don’t get into the bar/restaurant business without knowing the score. Just like any profession, you do the job okay, you’ll do okay. You do the job really well, you’ll do really well.

  114. bigmac12 says:

    I love it when they overcharge….more miles on my SWAir visa card.
    Erck!

  115. adamweishaupt says:

    “Delivery people in NYC hate that I actually factor in the service I received when I calculate tip, but I approach tipping as an award for excellence, not a handout.”

    speaking as someone currently working in food delivery, that’s a really, really good way to make sure your order gets taken last on any delivery run if you keep stiffing the same people. if i’m leaving with three or four orders, regular customers who are good tippers always, always, always get their order first. kind of like how if you go to the same bar a lot and tip terribly, you’ll get awful service and weaker drinkers.

    also, seriously, you’re ordering takeout – you can afford to tip. if you can’t afford to tip, cook for yourself. it’s the difference between making crap pay and having a living wage.

  116. jimda says:

    bysue-me, although i think 10% is low, i think you are right, tips are discretionary. you will find that if you are a steady customer at one place that you will get the service you deserve. you should evaluate the whole experience after you are finished, and tip accordingly. dont sit there and add 1% for this, and take away 2% for that,, what was the experience worth? if a waiter is rude, get the manager, and dont tip. if he’s good leave a good tip, and 10% is not a good tip for good service.you may think it is, but its not. loosen up the wallet a little, enjoy your nite out, dont look for reasons to be unsatisfied. do you know that it takes more effort to be misereable then it does to be content? in my experience i have found that the worst tippers are teachers, government workers, and older people.you wouldnt fall into one of those areas , would you?

  117. beckers04 says:

    @monkey1976: We had a party of 5. The tip was not included on the bill.

    I do think that the title is unfair. In my email I said it was either that or they added the dessert. But I think consumerist chose this title as it grabs more people’s attention.

    I submitted a complaint to Bennigan’s about my experience so hopefully they will reply explaining what happened. I did so through their website because I can’t stand talking to customer service reps.

    Also sorry about posting my comment 3 times. This was the first time I’ve commented and I thought it didn’t go through.

  118. Michael Belisle says:

    @jimda: See how there’s am “@jimda” linked to your post here? It was put there by the reply button (the little arrow next to the +). Use it.

  119. Michael Belisle says:

    @thedragonlady: No matter where you are, the employer is to ensure that the workers received enough in tips to earn minimum wage and make up the difference if they didn’t.

    8% is the minimum to avoid the nasty business of tip allocation. You are to report your actual tip income to your employer (regardless of the amount) and keep a daily tip record (Form 4070A, for example). If you didn’t keep a daily record and reported less than 8% to your employer, then you have to pay taxes on the allocated tip amount. Sucks for you; keep a record next year.

    But I’m sure you knew all that and paid your fair share of taxes on your actual tips. Right? Right?

  120. jimda says:

    michael belisle. i don’t react well to being told what to do. skip my posts if you don’t loke them, and while you’re at it kiss my ass

  121. Slow2Whine says:

    This is so far down the thread, I don’t even know if anybody’s going to read it.

    Something to think about. Since when did the amount of a tip become an entitlement? A tip is ideally given based on the rate of service provided.

    I understand that the hourly pay is significantly smaller then regular minimum wage. And I’m sure a lot of servers know that coming into the job. It’s a risk they take, yes? Maybe for some of them, it’s the only job they can do. Well…save up money for school like the rest of us to get a better job. Even if it’s only one class a semester.

    I’m sure there’s servers who have circumstances that prevent them from having time to attend school. The ones I know that fall into that category make sure they provide good service to insure decent tips. I’ve seen some attentive servers, busy servers, sloppy servers, and thoughtful servers. Heck, I’ve even been a server myself at one point. Point is, that the customer had a expectation, based on a receipt on what was to be charged on her credit card. Her signature is her agreement to the charge. Whether the amount was added because the server wanted to pad his tip, or forgot to add the dessert till after the bill was paid is not the issue. The issue is about the fact that the amount of the charge was increased after she signed for it.

  122. iguanoid says:

    regarding the funky tip math trick…

    Why not just make the cents match the the last two digits of the dollar amount?

    Bill: $120
    15% tip: $18
    Total: $138
    Write the amount as $138.38. If a waiter is going to change your tip amount, it is either going to be 1-9 dollars (ie ones column) or 10-90 dollars (more likely $10, ie adding a 1 in front of your $5 tip). Hopefully there are no waiters brazen enough to add a hundred dollars to their tip.

    At any rate…go home..check your online bank, if the cents don’t match the last two digits of the dollar amount, then get all consumerist on their arse.

  123. binutils says:

    @KenSPT:
    I’m guessing s/he meant if your bill comes to $82.40
    you would tip $12.36.

    Taking your total to $94.76.

    The trick being add an extra $0.38 to take you up to $95.14 with 9+5 and 14 as the check digit. Or simply drop the tip $0.63 for total of $94.13.

  124. iguanoid says:

    And for what its worth… I had an economics professor who told us that in his mind, if he can afford to pay ridiculously marked up prices for the privilege of having food prepared and served to him, then by golly he can afford to tip well.

    I tip 20% all the time. Why not? Worrying about whether or not the service was worth $3 or $4.50? Meh, just take 10% and double it. Easy peasy. Using frugality as an excuse not to tip well is lame. Penny wise and pound foolish, if you were frugal, you wouldn’t be paying $12 for something you could make at home for $4.

    I’ve had waiters that were in a bad mood, screwed up my order, whatever…doesn’t matter…20%. A waiter would have to do something blatantly rude before I worried about tipping them too much. I went to the restaurant to eat. Period. I don’t think I am hot stuff cuz I can tip 20%, I just like the mental freedom of not having to worry about such stupid stuff with the benefit of leaving a trail of good tips behind me.

    I have never understood why people fret over the performance of a waiter. Its such a silly, petty power trip. I get the heebie-jeebies when I see persnickety people tsk-tsking their servers for not bringing out ketchup with their fries, neglecting to refill their glasses the second they empty it, etc.

  125. sleepydumbdude says:

    There are ways they can ruin your experience. Waiter disappearing for 10+ minutes when you need something, ask for them and they are still no where to be found. I’ve had a girl bring our appetizer out and bring our meal out in pretty much the time it takes to walk back and forth from the kitchen. The appetizer was cold like it had been sitting somewhere and they forgot about it.
    I don’t care if its minor crap like not refilling my glass because I usually only go through one glass anyways. I also had a waitress disappear with my credit card for almost half an hour.

  126. kable2 says:

    @ClayS:

    how about you tip everyone you talk to that is doing their job and getting paid to do their job.

    tax collector doing an audit………tip
    guy at the gas station……………tip
    every person at walmart…………..tip
    the girl ringing up your groceries…tip
    toll collector on highway…………tip
    cop giving you a ticket…………..tip (no i swear it is just a tip)

    tipping is for idiots, it isnt my job to pay you

  127. BStu says:

    @kable2: Actually, in the case of wait staff, it IS your job to pay them. That is the system that is in place. Opting out just for the sake of opting out shows an unwillingness to participate in civilization. Perhaps you’d rather just stay at home and eat Kraft dinner. No one to tip then!

    Look, I agree that tip cups at donut shops are stupid. I agree that servers who act like 20% is an entitlement are obnoxious. But so are, “Its not my job to tip” fools. While servers who keep insisting that everything that goes wrong is someone else’s fault so they should still get paid top dollar are frustrating and making me disinclined to support them, I still tip generously. Because that’s how our society works. This isn’t a courtesy. The legal pay scale for wait staff is designed with tipping in mind. This actually is written in the law, so get off your high horse, already.

  128. kable2 says:

    well then the restaurants should post “NO TIPPING PLEASE” and pay the damn staff.

    The fact is that waitresses/ waiters do not have a hard job. They cary a plate and a glass.

    I actually sometimes do tip a dollar or two most times, but not all.

  129. vladthepaler says:

    Why did you tip for such poor service? It sends the message that you found the service to be satisfactory.

  130. Brunette Bookworm says:

    @kable2: Excuse me??? They don’t have a hard job? Standing on your feet all day, walking around carrying heavy trays of food and drinks, trying to make sure dozens of people are happy, that’s not a hard job. I take it you have never worked in a restaurant if you don’t think it’s hard work.

  131. CPC24 says:

    Bennigan’s is still around? I haven’t seen one in years. I went to one back in 1999 and it was a bad experience. I even apologized to my date for it. The place closed six months later.

  132. ekthesy says:

    @laddibugg:

    Holy smokes. I have been eating at that Olive Garden for well over a decade. It’s a comedy of errors at dinnertime, the service is terrible and the food is hit-or-miss. But if you go for lunch, you can usually have a good experience because they’re not as slammed.

    Now that the Lido Diner is gone the quality of restaurants along that strip has gone up considerably :). The Echo Queen by the movie theater is now the ne plus ultra of terrible diners. But the Union Plaza Diner is the best in the state, always has been.

    What else is bad, very bad over there…the Outback in Echo Plaza is a nightmare. Remember the Lone Star Steakhouse down in Scotch Plains? The waitstaff had to dance in the aisles every hour on the hour (“I’m embarrassed for the both of us,” I’d say to my server).

    But never fear. You can eat well on & around 22…the aforementioned Union Plaza Diner is excellent. Spice Grill, the Indian cafe across from Bowcraft, is fantastic. Chen’s 22 in Echo Plaza is the best Chinese around since Szechuan Village in Springfield changed owners.

    Really, stay away from the chain places and you’ll be fine. Businesses on 22 tend to hire workers from out in Hillside and Elizabeth rather than from, say, Berkeley Heights or Scotch Plains, with predictable results.

  133. jimda says:

    @kable2: waiting on tables has made a list of ‘top ten stressful jobs’it was 4th. you know why? because they have to deal directly with the public when the public is hungry. also, they have to deal with people like you, which must be a stressful experience.stay home,do everyone that favor. by the way ,if you do go out keep your dollar, you need it more then the waiter.

  134. picardia says:

    @sue_me: Ooooh, one time you tipped 25%. BIG SPENDER. Never let anyone doubt your generosity again!

    I tip 20% for service that doesn’t suck; I don’t tip lower than 15% unless something truly egregious has gone on. I would say I’d done that less than 10 times in my life, maybe less than 5. Why? Because waiters are generally severely underpaid and they NEED THE CASH.

  135. picardia says:

    @Slow2Whine: Actually, you’re pretty Quick2Whine, aren’t you?

  136. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    @MBZ321:

    They closed the Bennigan’s that is on either the busiest or 2nd busiest road in Jacksonville, FL. The place smelled like vomit in the foyer area (25 years of patrons not quite making it to the parking lot?) & the service was slow, but the food was pretty good.

  137. BStu says:

    @kable2: You think they should just pay the servers a full wage and be done with tipping? Fine. You’re welcome to that opinion. But the reality is that whether you like it or not, that’s not how things operate. Many servers are paid a lower than minimum wage salary with the explicit legal understanding that tips will make up the difference. That’s the reality.

    Perhaps you don’t like that your state charges a meal tax. Does that mean you shouldn’t pay it?

  138. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    @kable2:

    Cheap.

  139. kable2 says:

    LOL I didnt hire the restaurants staff, not my problem.

    I do not complain about anything when I do go out to eat. If the food had ohh I dont know say a hair in it, I would quietly say “im sorry, but could you please get me another one”.

    I dont complain if my glass never gets refilled or anything else. I am very low maintenance customer.

    And YES I did work in a restaurant when I first got out of high school / going to university. I was in the kitchen, cooking, cleaning, getting the bus carts, running the dishwasher etc

    I would slave my guts out in heat and dirt and I would be on my feet for the same time as the waitresses, the only difference was I was doing hard work. And while I was still working finishing up, I would see the waitresses counting their tips. They were paid the exact same hourly wage I was but made 2-4 times my pay in tips alone. I did all the hard work, they carried a few plates and glasses wow thats hard.

    For example to pick nice numbers say my pay was $100 , their pay was $100 + ($200 to $350).

    Yea I resented it, and would mess up the odd meal or let them wait if I didnt want to hurry. I wasnt getting paid like they were. I didnt give a sh*t about the people eating.

    So I still dont believe in tipping

  140. edicius is an acquired taste says:

    @katylostherart: I’ve seen that happen with my debit card before too at certain restaurants (I think Applebee’s was one of them). I’ll leave a cash tip on the table but then I’ll see that same tip amount added to my pending transactions on my card. When the transaction clears, however, the extra amount is deducted. Not quite sure why they do it that way, but I’ve seen it happen (and I’m meticulous with keeping track of my transactions on my debit/credit cards).

  141. Morton Fox says:

    I use cash so that I don’t have to worry about it later. However, I’m pretty much through with the whole sit-down dining out experience. I used to like it a lot when I was younger but now, it just seems to cost too much.

  142. cosby says:

    I’ve only had this happen to me once where I caught it.

    I was at a bar downtown with some friends and we went to order an appetizer before going into a beer tasting thing they were doing. The chick behind the bar pissed me off as she wouldn’t ring up the beer tasting event on the same ticket and overall just was a bitch. I didn’t leave a tip. My friend did as he figured she was going to have to bring the appetizer to him in the back. Ended up getting billed for the tip where he didn’t. In my case since the tickets were the same price I wrote it off as a mistake.

    If it hadn’t been for that I would have given the place hell. Always check your statments for this crap.

  143. monkey1976 says:

    Kable2 is too unattractive and/or unpleasant to be front of the house and is therefore resentful. I’ve seen that in kitchen staff many times. They think servers have it easy and get all bitter. Working in the kitchen is not the same thing as working up front. Both are difficult in their own ways.

  144. jimda says:

    @kable2: you sound like a real prince

  145. Michael Belisle says:

    @jimda: See how easy it was for you to see this comment? It’s the power of the reply button. No caps necessary.

  146. Michael Belisle says:

    @jimda: Whoops, I’m sorry. I see you picked up on it. I’ll be on my merry way now. Have a great day.

  147. jimda says:

    @Michael Belisle: kiss my ass

  148. witeowl says:

    @monkey1976: I’m going to go with door number two, Monty. I don’t even have to guess; I can tell by his demeanor here. I’ll also guess that he was inept, resulting in many arguments with the waitstaff. (Of course, he’ll claim that those cockups were intentional.)

    When I was a waitress, there was a mutual respect between the front of the house and the back. It was always a sort of partnership, and we all had fun in our respective roles. I’m “guessing” Kable2 didn’t play well with others.

  149. kable2 says:

    @monkey1976:

    LOL it was a job for beer money when I was just out of high school. I have been told I am far from ugly haha

    being a waitress is a girls job anyway.

  150. kable2 says:

    @witeowl:

    Hell I partied with the waitresses and dated one (we were all friends). Does not change the fact that they had a easy job and made more $$$. I wouldnt mess with them getting their orders, nor would I rush for them tho. I just didnt care and chugged along at whatever pace I was go at at the time.

    / I am an engineer now, still dont believe in tips

  151. jimda says:

    @kable2: amd you are still a cheapskate

  152. witeowl says:

    @kable2:

    being a waitress is a girls job anyway.

    Cheap, resentful AND sexist. Wow, you’re a little charmer, aren’t you?

  153. Slow2Whine says:

    @picardia: You think you’re witty, but I think after 117 comments, I took my time to engage my opinion.

  154. TheStonepedo says:

    As a former waiter I can attest that it is very easy to put the wrong tip into a point-of-sale system. If you have two checks with similar amounts and similar digits on cards of the same type it is easy to mix up which tip goes with which card. When paying attention one checks the time, table number, card number, etc.; however, most of this work is done at the end of a long shift. Dyslexia and laziness rule.