Florida Pizza Joint Adds A 15% Tip Automatically

A pizza place in Jacksonville, Florida has decided to pay its servers a higher wage and in order to pay for it, automatically add a 15% tip to each order. Signs are posted and you can ask the server to take the tip off the bill if you want.

From FirstCoastNews:

We took a chance at doing this. This could alienate people; we understand that, but it’s really important for us to take care of our people,” said Demarco [manager of Chicago Pizza.]
….
“We want to raise our level of service. We want to be a better experience for the guest. The only way we can do that is to create professionals and professionals require a certain amount of money,” said Demarco.

The restaurant, of course, runs the risk of losing money on people who would have tipped more than 15%. They seem to think it will balance out, however.

What do you think of this? It’ll save you some math, at least.

Jacksonville’s Popular Chicago Pizza Restaurant Makes Tip Automatic [First Coast News] (Thanks, Justin!)

Comments

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  1. redskull says:

    Fine with me, you end up paying for a tip anyway.

    • sleze69 says:

      I almost always tip 20%. I will never, EVER add to a mandatory tip so the waiters and waitresses tend to lose out.

      But unless they have some kickass pizza, I would probably boycott this restaurant if I lived near it.

      • hansolo247 says:

        In FL, with a mandatory 15%, they will make more.

        People are so cheap and poor in FL. It is a poor state generally.

      • mac-phisto says:

        why would you boycott it? it says they are paying employees a higher wage in return? doesn’t that seem like a fair trade-off for a mandatory tip (that you’ve already admitted is less than you normally tip)? seems like a win-win for you.

        • MauriceCallidice says:

          I’m not the person you’re responding to, but I feel similarly.

          I strongly object to the oxymoronic notion of a mandatory gratuity.

          (Yes I know it’s not strictly mandatory. Neither is bathing, but I do it anyway because it’s the socially acceptable thing to do.)

        • Griking says:

          I’d boycott it.

          If they want their employees to get paid more then they should pay their employees more. Don’t ask me to pay their employees. If they have to raise their prices in order to pay their employees a fair wage I’d rather that they do that then make me pay a mandatory tip.

          That being said, I’d rather walk up to the counter and carry the pizza back to my table myself and save the $5-$7 to pay someone else to do it for me.

          • Conformist138 says:

            “Don’t ask me to pay their employees”

            Yes, you pay their employees because they’re not running a charity where they pay people for fun. We pay a company, we wind up paying for their employees (and everything else). What you don’t like is having it pointed out and broken down. Either the food price goes up or a tip is added to cover the higher payroll (and higher payroll taxes). The nice thing about this is you can have the tip removed in the case of bad service.

            • Lucky225 says:

              @Conformist I agree 100%. I’m all for optional tipping and hate places that try to force a tip, but in this case it is a win-win. The prices have ‘gone up’ by the automatic tip. However said automatic tip is optional and can be waived, thus it’s not the true cost. On the flip side if you feel like tipping more, just leave it on the table. I think this is a win-win. They post signs letting you know it’s optional and can be removed at your request, as long as they honor this request, I think it’s a win-win as you can pay the same price you always have if you really don’t feel like tipping, don’t have the money, aren’t a tipper or even if you want to leave a tip, you can remove the automatic 15% and tip lower if desired. The automatic tip on the receipt is convenient AND optional, everyone wins.

  2. bhr says:

    If it says so at the door and on the menu I have no problem with it. A restaurant near Allentown (can’t remember the place) went no-tip in the mid 90s, and just raised the menu prices, but I could see this policy working better, as customers can request it be removed (which allows the manager to know there was an issue) or tip a little more for better waiters.

    • Dover says:

      Agree entirely. I usually tip a little better than 15%, but if a tip is automatic and the service is good, I probably won’t change it, meaning a little less from me. On the other hand, I know many people who are terrible tippers but probably wouldn’t mess with the automatic tip unless the service was bad, so I think the servers will come out ahead overall.

      • kujospam says:

        I agree. I think this forces people to come out and say something if they have a bad time then just leaving and leaving no tip and never coming back. People can still not say anything if they don’t want to, but at least there is a 15% discount if you tell them what you didn’t like.

    • longdvsn says:

      I agree. Generally I tip 20% or more, but I’ve been to places that add 15-18% automatically (groups of 6 or larger, or when I use a coupon…always stated on the menu or coupon)…and I don’t ever add any more – so it often saves me money. But I know a lot of people that tip less than 15% or don’t tip on pre-discounted prices – and the servers get the shaft in those situations (even though the service was good).

    • Difdi says:

      The problem is, that a mandatory 15% payment is a service fee. Service fees are subject to restaurant tax and the restaurant owner’s income tax. Gratuities are only subject to income tax, which is paid by the wait staff. Is the restaurant guilty of tax evasion with this?

  3. bitslammer says:

    I’m hoping this is for “dine in” orders only. That’s not really clear in the article. I’d just raise prices and be honest about it.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Yeah. I don’t automatically tip before I can even assess the service that’s being provided.

      • trey says:

        if I am waiting on you, there is no tip. if you are waiting on me, then I will tip.

        if you have a tip jar I will not be back to your establishment!

        • pantheonoutcast says:

          Win. Perfectly said.

        • myCatCracksMeUp says:

          I agree with the sentiment, but around here it seems that every place has a tip jar, so I can’t just not go back to every establishment that has one. But I do not tip if I’m picking up to-go food at a counter.

        • angienessyo says:

          Because it’s hard to just not throw any money into the tip jar. I work at a place that has a tip jar and I don’t expect anyone to use it. If people use it, great. If not I’m not going to give them poor service or treat them differently than someone who threw change or a dollar in. If you go somewhere that treats you bad just because you didn’t toss anything in the tip jar, then don’t go there. If the people making your food don’t treat you any differently if you didn’t throw anything into the tip jar I don’t see why it matters. Boycotting places just because of a tip jar is really silly and immature.

    • BfloAnonChick says:

      There’s a pizzeria near my apt. where the counter girls get really rude if you come in to pick up an order and you don’t add a tip. My view is: I’m coming in to pick it up. If I’m going to tip, I order delivery. (There is no dine-in option here. Just a tiny storefront.)

      • dolemite says:

        Yeah…if I’m driving out to pick up something, you aren’t getting a tip. A tip is for service. Making the food is not a service, that’s called doing your job. Think you should make more $ for doing your job? Take it up with the boss.

        • sardonumspa says:

          This is why coffee shop tip jars bother me a bit. All I ever order is a large iced tea. Nothing fancy. But that damn jar makes me feel like a jerk if I ignore it, when I would tip well in a full-service situation.

          • ghostfire says:

            If I’m getting an iced tea or a black coffee, I don’t tip. If I’m getting a frozen smoothie something or other with three flavor shots and half skim, half soy milk, I tip. I used to work at a bookstore with a cafe, and occasionally had to man it myself. There was a tip jar, but I never expected anyone to add anything to it.

      • TKOtheKDR says:

        The same thing goes for buffets. No service = no tip. Bussing the table is not a service that interacts with the customer, hence, no tip.

        • JMILLER says:

          So they should let dishes pile up? That could be fun at a buffet. The work of a server at a buffet style restaurant is harder physically than most other types.

          • operator207 says:

            Physically yes, mentally no. By your reasoning, ditch diggers should make more money than teachers. Though ironically, they probably already do.

          • spindle789 says:

            You mean bus-person, right? The servers usually bring drinks and point to the buffet.

      • dragonfire81 says:

        If they are rude to you, why not complain or stop going there?

  4. grucifer says:

    Fine by me, I usually tip 20% so adding on an extra few bucks to get there from 15% is fine by me.

    • howie_in_az says:

      You do this? I start at 25% (I used to be in food service… never again!), but if someone automagically adds their tip to my bill I pay that and not a penny more. If someone is going to say “I’m worth this much”, who am I to argue? I’ll sometimes ask the server to remove the auto-tip, but if they put up a hassle oh well, I’ll keep the money I was going to willingly give you.

      • dolemite says:

        25% seems really high to me. I understand…food service sucks. I’ve never waited tables, but I have flipped burgers at 2 different companies. I look at what I am being provided. You take my order, you bring me food, you bring me 1 refill and you bring me a bill. Total labor time: about 10 minutes. Sure, you have to stop in every now and then, but I’m not fussy.

        25% of a $40 bill is $10. Is 10 minutes of work doing 4 relatively easy and minor things worth $10 to me? Not really. Honestly, it’s worth about $3-$4 to me, but I’ll max it out at the $6 “recommended” 15% tip.

        Now…if I’m there with 15 people in my family, and you are coming and going, and tying up the table for 2 hours…that’s another story.

    • howie_in_az says:

      You do this? I start at 25% (I used to be in food service… never again!), but if someone automagically adds their tip to my bill I pay that and not a penny more. If someone is going to say “I’m worth this much”, who am I to argue? I’ll sometimes ask the server to remove the auto-tip, but if they put up a hassle oh well, I’ll keep the money I was going to willingly give you.

      • Difdi says:

        This. Leave a note with the money explaining the reason there’s not much money left on the table. If the business really IS passing on the oxymoron (sorry, mandatory gratuity) to the wait staff, great, they’re not shorted. If the owner is pocketing the 15%, well, stealing tips is a crime, and the wait staff have a nice incentive to report it.

  5. kylere1 says:

    Since they have a mandatory service charge disguised as a fee, I would treat that as maximum possible tip. That means I would save money on any transaction with a pizza place over 10 bucks. I think it would discourage employees.

    • Smashville says:

      What on earth are you talking about?

      • eccsame says:

        I think he’s saying that, if he paid $10 bucks for his food, they would add on $1.50. As he would normally give a two or three dollar tip – he would save money by just paying the $1.50 tip and leaving it at that.

        • myCatCracksMeUp says:

          yes – that’s how I read it too.

          I generally tip at least 20% if the service is decent, but if the tip is included then I won’t tip up. The servers will lose money each time I eat there.

          • mythago says:

            From you, yes. From customers who don’t tip, no.

          • Griking says:

            Is it really worth 20% to have someone carry your pizza to your table for you and maybe fill a few glasses of soda? Why are the waitresses at a pizza parlor more worthy of a tip then the person who bags your food at McDonalds?

            • Andyb2260 says:

              You like Reservoir Dogs too huh?
              The difference is that McDonald’s employees are paid the non-tipped employee minimum wage(or more) which is about $7.50 an hour. Waitstaff in restaurants are usually paid the tipped employee’s minimum which is somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.00 an hour.

              • AgamemnonV1 says:

                Except the pizzeria was trying to pay their employees more, and instead of having THEM put their money into their employee’s pocket, they are making it mandatory that customers are now sort of like their employers now, who must pay you for the week even if your job performance was poor (the only difference is that we can’t fire the pizzeria employees for poor performance–as a consumer, our only power rested in the tip).

                I have to agree with the OP. If the tip is automatically included, they will be making more automatically. I tip generously because I know the terrible wage disparity behind being a server (and honestly I really don’t understand why the damn government doesn’t just mandate minimum wage to EVERY job), but I’d be inclined to agree with the OP’s logic. Buy something cheap and skimp out on the tip. This way you’re paying less for service and the restaurant can’t actually get mad at you and reward you with poor service.

  6. odarkshineo says:

    /claps

  7. Green Mountain Boy says:

    We had a local joint who tried this crap and they lost a ton of business. It will for them too.

    The economy is too unstable to try this crap.

    • kcvaliant says:

      If it is too unstable for you to not leave a tip then maybe you should not being going out to eat??

      • obits3 says:

        @ kcvaliant
        The problem with that logic is overhead. The pizza place still has to keep the lights on. You need every dollar you can get. If the place is packed full, then you shouldn’t go unless you plan to tip, but if it is not maxed out, then not going hurts the business (and the employees) in the long run.

      • Pax says:

        I normally tip 15% to 20%, myself. More, if the service is especially good. I wouldn’t EVER eat out, unless I had enough money to afford up to a 25% tip; I’ve even tipped as high as 50% on rare occasions!!

        But a mandatory or automatic tip WILL make me choose a different restaurant.

        A tip is a GRATUITY. Gratuity means GIFT. And I will never let anyone MAKE me give that gift … because, more than once, I’ve had service so bad, I intentionally left a ONE CENT tip.

      • Griking says:

        …or maybe they servers should get jobs that pay a fair wage. The fuck with calling me cheap because I don’t want to pay someone $5 to carry a pizza to my table.

        Again, you want to pay your staff more? Fine, raise your prices to cover your increased expenses but don’t expect me to cover for your cheap ass.

    • MMD says:

      Actually, the unstable economy seems like a perfect time to try this. Since everyone’s a bit concerned about money, it may make customers feel good knowing that the servers are making a better wage.

  8. Battlehork says:

    Oh no, not another tipping article. Maybe we can instead argue about Chicago vs New York pizza?

    • Areia says:

      People still buy pizza? I’ve been making my own at home for decades.

      ;p

    • pantheonoutcast says:

      There’s no such thing as Chicago pizza. I hear they put six pounds of dough and other ingredients in the oven and call the resulting concoction “pizza,” but it’s not remotely the same thing.

      Also, for the record, Dominos, Pizza Hut and Papa John do not make or sell pizza either.

      /pretentious NY’er :)

    • ARP says:

      I’m confused by the name of the place v. the picture. That is clearly a NY slice of pie, while the their name has Chicago in it. Any self respecting Chicago pizza place would not serve that sort of tripe

    • Ahardy55 says:

      As a New Yorker who eats New York pizza all the time, lemme say:

      Chicago style pizza is soooooooooo much better. New York pizza kind of sucks. Big, very little tomato sauce, and 49 out of every 50 pizza places taste exactly the same.

      • dolemite says:

        I don’t hate NY Pizza, it is simply an alternative choice for me. But I like my pizza just dripping with sauce, and I like a good amount of crust. Too bad the pizza places around here only have NY style. We had 1 chicago pizza place open up, and it was heaven. They went out of business due to poor management though. I recall walking in and asking for a menu. “We don’t have menus, we’re out”. Then on a 2nd trip “I’ll have Mt. Dew to drink”. “Sorry, out”. Same for napkins. Then another guy showed up to pick up his large order of subs, and they hadn’t even started making them yet. “The guy bringing the sub rolls isn’t here yet.” I swear the customer waited a full hour for the guy to arrive at work, and then make all the subs.

  9. tenioman says:

    Couldn’t this extra 15 % be considered a part of the cost of the meal and thus taxable?

  10. SkokieGuy says:

    If this is the Chicago Pizza that is also in Myrtle Beach, they need to be shut down and owe the entire city an apology. This is horrible, greasy, industrial cheese covered crap that I wouldn’t give to my dog.

    I actually took one bite, threw the rest in the garbage and walked out of the restaurant. One of the staff asked me if anything was wrong. I answered yes – I’m from Chicago and I know what Chicago Pizza tastes like.

    • jessjj347 says:

      No offense, but isn’t all pizza in FL worse than the Chicago or NYC area? I would sort of expect it…so what makes this place worse than others in FL?

      • NarcolepticGirl says:

        Yeah, Florida pizza totally blows.
        And there’s like a million places with pretty much the same names.
        “Chicago Pizza” “Real Chicago Pizza” “Pizza Chicago”

      • SkokieGuy says:

        Of course! Ordering pizza outside of NY or Chicago is a fool’s game (as is debating the merits of Chicago-style vs. NY-style pies).

        But it just seems especially evil to name your place after the home of deep dish pizza when you have no hope of even coming close.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      Oh, thank Dog for you and your theatrical display of grand indignity. What fools every other patron of that place must be, thinking that they might like to eat that pizza.

      I’m sure all in attendance stood in awe of your might, glory, and righteousness.

    • bhr says:

      Wow. Superior and dumb. Do you really think that the name “Chicago Pizza” is exclusive to one restaurant or chain?

      Also, just because you live in Chicago does not make you an expert on pizza. It makes you an expert on dough maybe, since that seems to be most of whats in a Chicago pizza.

      Give me a thin crust Pizza Margherita

    • NarcolepticGirl says:

      Also, not everyone has the same tastebuds as you, pal.
      I like stuff that others may not.

      I’m wondering if you’re one of those people that brags about his hometown/city food/beer/etc when out of state. Then complains the whole time about how they don’t know how to make anything right – like how CHICAGO can.

      I used to be like that when I moved from Massachusetts to Florida (age 15). But then a friend told me it was annoying. So i stopped. Well. Sometimes I still compare things.But I try not to be nasty or arrogant about it.

      • NarcolepticGirl says:

        Well, actually, after moving back to Boston for 4 years, I realized that it wasn’t the “best place on earth” like I thought it was.

      • SkokieGuy says:

        My town certainly has things to not be proud of (Blagovich, Daley, insane traffic, etc.), but as the city that invented deep-dish pizza, it is one of our areas of pride (see Philly Cheesteak, Kansas City barbecue, etc., Boston baked beans?).

        If a Florida restaurant opened with a name like “Kansas City Barbecue” and served especially vile food, I would well expect that Kansas natives would comment.

        • AnonymousCoward says:

          Why on earth would you try to get Chicago pizza in Florida, when you have regular access to it in Chicago? I wouldn’t expect anybody from Kansas City to go to a Kansas City barbeque place in Florida, either.

          • ARP says:

            In a word, retirees. Many people from midwest retire to Florida and want tastes of “home.”

      • LACubsFan says:

        Like New Yorkers!

    • Big Mama Pain says:

      Me too! It sucks!! : )

    • MMD says:

      I lived in Chicago for 12 years. There’s a huge variety in what Chicago pizza tastes like – some I found awful, some sublime. So judging other pizza by one arbitrary standard probably doesn’t make much sense.

  11. jessjj347 says:

    Huh. I don’t understand why a tip is necessary then if someone is being paid a normal wage.

    • SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

      They aren’t paid a normal wage, they are paid a “services” wage where the tip is assumed to be part of their wages. If the server were getting 10 bucks an hour or something it would be completely acceptable to include tips in item prices. This is what your average business does in europe, and they have to pay a living wage, not just 10 bucks an hour or whatever.

      • jessjj347 says:

        They’re not though. The article says they are now making a non-service wage. “Workers used to get paid $4.25 an hour plus tips. But starting two weeks ago, they now get a regular paycheck at $7.25 an hour and a share of that tip.”

    • Muddie says:

      In NYS, Minimum wage for non-service work is $7.25 per hour, however if you work in a service industry (where tips are involved), minimum wage is $4.65 per hour.

      Seems the better option would be to eliminate service wages and just have a minimum for everyone with tips truly being optional and not a necessary function for some people to live.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      Under normal circumstances, waitstaff at restaurants/bars are not paid anything resembling a “normal” wage. A lot of the time, it’s basically half of minimum wage. If they got no tips, they’d be making about half of what the kid taking your order at Taco Bell makes.

      I am not defending that practice, mind you…if it were up to me, I’d eliminate that law that allows that kind of pay for waitstaff – and then the public would probably adapt a bit to somewhat smaller tipping. Or they wouldn’t, and waitstaff would make a decent living. As it is, unless you’re staff at a nice restaurant (versus, say, Perkins), you’re pretty much right around minimum wage a lot of the time. Which really isn’t a living wage IMHO.

  12. Jack Handy Manny says:

    It is no longer a tip if it is added automatically. And yes I understand that you can ask the server to remove it…awkward…lil’ bit. In my experience this will lead to double tipping (accidentally) and general disdain amongst customers.

    • lihtox says:

      My initial reaction was “Hidden fee, hate it”, but as I think about it, it’s actually a decent idea: fewer people will skimp on the tip just because they’re cheap, and if the service WAS poor enough to warrant a lower tip, then this will immediately be brought to the server’s and manager’s attention– and give the restaurant the opportunity to make up for it on the spot, as well. On the flip side, if you want to reward a waiter for particularly good service, it will be a lot more noticeable because of the money on the table or the value written in on the credit card slip– you won’t have to do some impromptu math to figure out whether the customer liked you or not.

  13. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    If you’re paying your employees at a higher rate should you be letting customers opt out of paying more? Just raise the prices.

    • AnonymousCoward says:

      There’s a local place here that does the same. From what the owner there says, he considered just raising prices, but when people compare prices between his place and the other local places, he wanted it to be an even comparison. Otherwise, it would look like his place was considerably more expensive.

      • mattarse says:

        But his place is more expensive if he adds 15% to the bill – I think he needs to specify that in every place where people compare prices if he wants to be fair.

        • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

          But since you don’t HAVE to pay that 15%, he’s not more expensive. You would pay that 15% at the other place, at your discretion, so he’s not cheating.

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        he wanted it to be an even comparison

        Yeah, he wants to cheat. If the tip is mandatory then it’s more expensive.

        • ARP says:

          It’s not, you can ask to have it removed. That’s why I like this system. If you’re really unhappy, you’ll ask to have it removed and it will be a flag for management to check on you. If you’re really happy, you can add even more. If you’re within the “bell curve” then you don’t have to do anything since it’s probably not worth the trouble.

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      I actually like the idea – I think it’s a step away from tipping.

      If he just raised the prices, people would still tip. Now they pay the increase but don’t leave a tip.

      I wish every place would do this, and then once everyone is used to not tipping, every place could change it from being “added” to the cost, to just being “included” in the cost. And we’d be rid of tipping, which is a very good goal to go for.

    • mythago says:

      Customers can opt out of the service charge if they want, according to the article.

      There’s a restaurant in San Francisco that does this and has been very successful (customers like it, the waitstaff like it), but they’re moderately upscale. I’m not sure how the economics work for a pizza joint.

  14. jefeloco says:

    At least it’s optional. I usually tip around 20% or so but I like to be able to decide that on my own.

  15. nbs2 says:

    Why not just raise the price of the pizza and call it a day?

    Calling this a tip is making a mockery of the ideal behind a tip – that it is something that might be proffered for exceptional service – beyond the limits it has already been stretched to. If my service sucked and the manager couldn’t/wouldn’t make it right, I’d walk out without paying that additional 15%.

    Of course, by calling it a tip, it does make help keep customers from double tipping and lets them retain business in a competitive environment.

    OK. I’m convinced that I don’t know how I feel.

    • arcticJKL says:

      And Im convinced your right. Pay the employees more per hour and raise the price of pizza. It does the same thing and still allows patrons to tip or not depending on how good the service was.

  16. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Aren’t businesses required to pay their servers minimum wage if their tips do not make up the difference anyway? (this was rhetorical, as it is indeed the law)

    Not sure how forcing the tips suddenly ensures the waitstaff make minimum wage, since by law they had to anyway.

    • AnonymousCoward says:

      I think the idea is that they want to pay the servers *more* than minimum wage.

      • JMILLER says:

        They made their BASE wage minimum wage. The current base was far lower. This now forces that % of the population that won’t tip 15% (there are some older folks who I have seen say $1 tip no matter the check amount) to pay the going rate, unless they say something. They share in extra tip money as well. Those that do a great job can make above and beyond that. I laugh at those that say they tip 20% currently, then suddenly this changes their habit? You mean adding 5% to the original total is math that is too difficult, or is it basically, they want to treat their servers like they do their strippers. They gotta work for it.

    • JMILLER says:

      The place has actually increased the wages for their staff to minimum wage and are sharing the tips with them. This actually is itemizing what you are paying for at the restaurant.

      Food $10
      Alcohol $6
      Service (tip) $2.40
      Tax $0.96

      Total $19.36

      You are free to tip more for exceptional service. What is even better about this is you can tell the management you do not want to leave the tip. This actually helps the restaurant improve. If you do not want to pay it, it could be because 1) you are just cheap. 2) you had bad service. How is this bad in any way for the consumer? How many people would be up in arms if their local restaurant increased all their prices 15% across the board? I can promise you that they would go under in no time flat.

    • Doubts42 says:

      for the business owner it ensures that his customers pay that difference so that he doesn’t have to.
      if his servers were only making 5% average tips then they would not make it to min wage and he has to make the difference out of his profits. if he tacks on the 15% and the servers are now making min wage or above he gets to keep his profits.

    • Wolfbird says:

      I also thought this, but it occured to me that maybe the entire point is that the restaurant doesn’t want to cut into its own profits because the servers do make under minimum wage with their tips. I mean, if it were my restaurant I’d rather have my patrons pay the tips than it coming out of my own pocket.

      I could also be missing something. I didn’t RTFA :3

  17. areaman says:

    Dang a pizza joint gets two 1/2 stars on Yelp and they get a bold about raising prices.

    Can’t they just limit the refills on soda like that place in Arizona?

    http://www.yelp.com/biz/chicago-pizza-jacksonville

  18. ChuckECheese says:

    I’ve heard rumors (can’t verify since I avoid Florida) that many FL restaurants add in the tip to take advantage of tourists, and to make certain European travelers pay a service charge, since they aren’t accustomed to doing so at home. I don’t have any issue with adding a service charge to a restaurant bill. If the service is bad, I won’t return, whether the place charges for service or not, just as I won’t return if the food is bad. Food & service are really two sides of the same restaurant coin.

    • NarcolepticGirl says:

      I lived in Florida for 11 years and I’ve never been to a restaurant that did this – except for a Thai restaurant.
      If it does happen a lot, I imagine it would be in Miami/Orlando, though.

      • MsFab says:

        I lived in Orlando for 3 years and I never encountered an automatic tip/service fee at a restaurant.

    • Dalsnsetters says:

      I’ve lived in Florida since 1999 and have only encountered this in one instance, when we had a party of like twenty or something, in which case that is very common here (mandatory tip added to bill for large parties).

  19. dolemite says:

    My question would be: what exactly are they charging 15% on? The cost of food and drinks I’d assume, and not the total bill. I don’t tip on tax.

  20. AnonymousCoward says:

    A restaurant here does the same thing. It’s listed on the menu and on the door. Take out orders don’t have the tip applied (I know this from experience). If the customer tips more than the standard charge, the overage gets donated to charity. They’ve been doing this for several years. It seems to work for them.

    It’s very controversial, though, and always has been. Customers don’t seem too worried about the policy, judging by the fact that the Yelp reviews are generally about the food, not the service charge, and the restaurant appears to have plenty of business, despite being in a very competitive location. The people who seem to hate the policy the most vocally are the restaurant’s competitors. Which says something in itself.

  21. rondalescott says:

    “We took a chance at doing this. This could alienate people; we understand that, but it’s really important for us to take care of our people”

    Hey I got an idea, how about you raise your prices 15% and give all your employees a 15% raise? I hate tipping. I’d rather just pay more instead of tip.

    • qwickone says:

      Then the company would have to pay more taxes. Also, since servers typically understate their income for tax purposes, this means more money in their pockets. Finally, it’s easier to swallow, as a customer, that the money is going directly to the staff rather than the prices just being raised. That last part is just my opinion.

    • sixsevenco says:

      You understand that mathematically you’re comparing apples and oranges, right?

      I would guess that this varries by state, but here in Colorado most servers are paid significantly lower than the minimum wage, let’s assume $2.50/hr. A 15% salary increase would only be about $3/day.

      Conversely, if the server’s average daily table revenue is $300, he/she is looking at a mandatory minimum tip of $45/day.

      FWIW, I’m not arguing for the mandatory tip…

      • sixsevenco says:

        Whoops. I didn’t read the linked article before posting.

        Using the numbers from the article, employees are seeing a 70% increase in their base pay plus shared tips. Still a better option than a 15% increase all around, though…

  22. pantheonoutcast says:

    “The only way we can do that is to create professionals and professionals require a certain amount of money,” said Demarco.”

    Then pay your staff more. It’s not my or any other customer’s job to help you compensate for your overhead. Can’t afford to run a restaurant, then get out of the restaurant business.

    Pro Tip: Just raise your prices by 15% and not announce to the entire community that you’re a poor businessman.

    • obits3 says:

      That bothered me too. More money != professional. Better training = professional.

      • frank64 says:

        It sounds good, but then the menu prices don’t look competitive. Customers are fickle and it would very likely mean some people wouldn’t go.

    • Big Mama Pain says:

      Technically no matter how much he decides to pay his tipped employees, you’re compensating for the overhead by tipping. That’s why minimum wage for servers is $5 less an hour than non-tipped (except, YES I KNOW that there are like three states that have the same min. wage). Personally, I’ve never been to a sit down pizza place where I felt like the service was anything above a minimum wage job, but whatever.

    • MMD says:

      “Pro Tip”? Please post a link to your restaurant so we can evaluate more of your business strategies.

      Regular customers would notice – and potentially be alienated by – an unexplained 15% across-the-board price increase.

      • pantheonoutcast says:

        I don’t own any restaurants. But I frequent them all the time in a city that would collectively laugh at any hole in the wall that tried to pull some nickel and dime shit like this. We have pizzerias on every block – this guy would be out of business in a week.

        • MMD says:

          And how would a pizzeria do if it suddenly raised all prices by 15% as you suggest?

          • pantheonoutcast says:

            Raising food prices by 15% and tacking on a 15% tip is approximately the same thing. If, for sake of argument, a customer orders a large sausage pizza (around these parts, that’s about $15), a 15% increase in price would make the pie $17.25. Add 6% sales tax, and the price is now $18.38.

            A 15% “service charge” would make the pie $17.25, but, as I understand it, service charges are not taxable. So, a $15 pie would cost $15.89 after the 6% sales tax plus the original $2.25 for the service charge, bringing the grand total to $18.14.

            The final amounts are virtually identical. The difference being, raising your prices by 15% makes you look like less of an ass to your customers than telling them, “Look, I don’t pay my servers enough, and you customers obviously don’t know how to tip, so I’m adding a tip to the bill automatically.”

            Either way, if he cannot afford to stay in business, he probably shouldn’t be in business. And, again, where I come from, he wouldn’t be. New Yorkers are more than comfortable with the automatically added 20% gratuity for parties of six or more, (even though we shouldn’t be, but that’s an argument for another day), but no one except very naive out-of-towners would patronize a restaurant that added tips to every party’s order.

            We do, however, tolerate $10 “corking” fees from BYOB restaurants and $2 coat check fees. Every city is unique in its quirks, I suppose.

            • MMD says:

              You were complaining about nickelling and diming before, and now you say it’s the same thing.

              Again from a customer standpoint, if I’m looking at menus and I see obvious across-the-board price discrepancies, I’m going to wonder why the pricier place costs more. And I’m going to assume I need to tip on that bigger bill unless the restaurant explicitly tells me otherwise. Therefore, while the bottom line may be similar, I find the FL restaurant’s approach more straightforward and transparent than hiding a mandatory service charge in the inflated price of each item.

  23. Big Mama Pain says:

    From the article:
    “Workers used to get paid $4.25 an hour plus tips. But starting two weeks ago, they now get a regular paycheck at $7.25 an hour and a share of that tip.”

    The phrase that interests me is “a share of”.

    • bhr says:

      well if the tip is mandated to allow for a higher wage then I would assume the restaurant also takes a cut of it to defray that cost.

      • Remmy75 says:

        This is the flaw in the whole tipping thing. Just pay the people a decent wage and reflect it in the price of your stuff.

      • Big Mama Pain says:

        I thought the whole point of the mandated tipping was to ensure that the servers were making a decent wage. If they are getting regular min. wage AND tips, that’s kind of bullshit. Maybe everyone makes min. wage, including the cooks, and tips get divided between the whole crew? THAT would be cool. Crave more info!!

    • dolemite says:

      I saw that too. I wonder it is: Owners now take 25% of tips, and all employees split 75% of the tip.

  24. Bativac says:

    I live in Jax and have been the joint in question. The service is terrible and word from the servers is that management is skimming a portion of the tip income. Plus, nothing is posted to indicate tipping is mandatory – not until the media got wind of it. Now they plan on adding something to their menu indicating mandatory gratuity charges.

  25. zandar says:

    support it wholeheartedly, as long as there are servers that do serving, and it’s posted clearly.

    However, the world would be a better place if the owners just gave the employees a cut of the profits.

  26. bark says:

    A local Japanese restaurant has done this since day one. They automatically add 15% but in exchange for mandatory gratuity, you have a staff of waitresses that wait on all of the tables rather than just a section. So the service there is exceptional and well worth the auto-tip philosophy. Granted, there was one time in the past numerous years that we’ve been going there that we had less than favorable service from one of their staff. Since then she apparently has been corrected and is now performing at par with the rest of the staff. Because of this incident that I discussed with the manager/owner, he now walks over and shakes my hand and says hi every time we go there.

  27. danpeake says:

    If they want to “take care of their people” then why don’t they pay them better? And if the tip is included in the bill, then how does that make the waiter/waitress provide a “better experience for the guest”? If they know they’re getting the tip, what incentive do they have?

  28. brianisthegreatest says:

    I am really hard pressed to pay a tip after already paying a delivery fee. I understand very well that it doesn’t go to the drivers, but if the drivers were unhappy and sought employment elsewhere, maybe they’d change their mind about just charging for a service they don’t spend money covering.

    As terrible as all of that sounds, I still tip the driver when my pies arrive. It irritates me that the company would do that, but on a personal level, you just can’t be that rude. This would certainly make it convenient for making sure you tipped. Sometimes I pay on a card, sometimes I pay with cash, sometimes I fill in a tip online, sometimes it’s done at the door. So, that would make that process all more simple.

    What really gets me here, with all of these delivery pricing modifications, why not just include the price in the first place. It seems you can opt out, but that’s because you’re still calling it a tip. Why is it a tip? I give a mechanic a tip when he has done great work on my car, or a tip in other circumstances like that, but it is considered wrong to not tip someone, almost like you haven’t paid for the service.

    Why not make the delivery charge cover the cost of the delivery and some of the wages, but leave it a fixed price. I have no problem recognizing the idea that the delivery guy is entitled to some money, and billed as a line item for services, it doesn’t seem like it can’t make sense.

    “Tipping” in food services really annoys me. A tip is a nice toss in, where if someone shows you a little extra help, you can have an opportunity to show your gratitude. Just bill me for it next time I’m at a restaurant, and stop beating around the bush.

    I feel very strongly about this…

  29. johnrhoward says:

    I’ve been there four times, and while the food is pretty good, the service ranged from lousy to horrible on those visits. I gave up going there. I imagine they needed to add the tip automatically because so many people probably didn’t leave one at all since the service is so bad.

    Automatic tip or not, I’d stay away from this place.

  30. NumberSix says:

    Not cool! I shouldn’t have to confront my server about the tip amount. I tip whatever amount or I don’t.

  31. vastrightwing says:

    As a country, we should consider consumer etiquette: pricing things up front without asterisks and fine print. It’s getting pretty ridiculous. My wife and I are spending a ton of our time pricing out a trip. it’s very difficult because some prices include things and others don’t. This is the same. When I go to a restaurant in the US, tips are generally not part of the price. I would actually like to see the prices change to include a better salary for the servers. This would also help our European guests, since they are not used to our tipping customs. But since this is not generally done across the country, just keep things the way we are used to. It only confuses and annoys people.

  32. davidc says:

    TIPS = To Insure Top Service

    If the wait staff wants to earn my money, they better give me “Top Service”. If they don’t, it’s reflected in my TIP.

    The problem with charging right up front, is there is no *real* incentive for wait staff to give you Top Service … if they know they are getting their tip built in, they do just enough to keep their jobs and generally the managements expectations are far less then mine.

    Nope, I don’t frequent places that build tips in as far-and-away those places provide lousy service and I am not going to pay extra for lousy service.

    • davidc says:

      Oops … “Prompt” … I hate it when I typo all over the place :-(. Need an edit option,

      T I P S … To Insure Prompt Service

  33. MR. TheShack (SHORYUKEN!) says:

    Steve Buscemi rant in 3…2…

  34. Bohemian says:

    Why not just raise prices?

  35. 64bprophet says:

    Why don’t they just raise prices? Prices are supposed to cover things like the building costs and paying your staff. Why say “The pizza costs 10!” when it really costs a lot closer to 12 or 13 after tax and “mandatory tip”? I can ask them to take tax off too as well if I am using the pizza for non-profit purposes.

    I say call it what it is, let me decide how and if I want to tip. (I typically tip 20% if the service is even half-way decent. I’ve been there, so it’s the cost of eating out. I don’t want to look like a jerk and ask them to take the tip amount off the bill, just so I can add 5% or something.)

    • JMILLER says:

      You can not “ask” them to take off the tax and they legally do it. You would be required to show proof of your non-profit status, then they would relay that information to your state taxing authority so they would not have to pay it. Based on your argument, you prefer prices of everything include taxes as well? People are smart enough to know what their taxing authority charges. Most sales taxes are designed really to get people from other areas to pay for something (baseball stadiums, airports, etc)

  36. eccsame says:

    If a place wants to name their price for the gratuity, that’s fine with me. But I’m not going to tip any more than that.

  37. Atticka says:

    Increase prices by %15 and pay your employee’s more (or create an internal incentive program that promotes “top notch service”).

    THEN, customers can actually tip for excellent service and everyone is happy. I have a regular pizza joint that I love to order from…..to be honest, I dont even look at the price, I know I like the pizza and I tip the delivery driver well.

    Adding a tip to the bill just pisses people off, you basically assume your service is so good that you deserve a tip no matter what.

  38. damageddude says:

    I usually tip close to 20%. Whenever I get a service charge or automatic tip I do not add to it, even if that means the tip is smaller than it otherwise would have been. Too bad servers.

  39. yessongs says:

    How do you know the 15% “tip” actually goes in the employee’s pockets, or in the owner’s pockets. Sounds like a bunch of anchovies to me…..

  40. kataisa says:

    Mandatory tipping such as this kinda defeats the purpose of tipping in the first place.

    Why not pay your workers a living wage instead? Radical idea, I know.

    I do not patronize places that adds fees or tips to my bill.

  41. DeeJayQueue says:

    The only way we can do that is to create professionals and professionals require a certain amount of money

    Professionals should know how the restaurant business works. Professionals should be able to make way more than 15%. Professionals should be smart enough to steer clear of his employ.

    The only people he’s hiring are high school kids who will eventually quit because they can’t get the schedule they want, and they’ll move on to the local Ruby’s or Olive Garden and get all bent because they aren’t making the same base salary like they were before. It just sets up unrealistic expectations.

  42. ravana says:

    Ah the joy of not having to ‘tip’.

  43. coren says:

    Considering the tip above 15 percent (that is automatically added) would go to the staff and not profits, I’m sure the business isn’t really worried about losing it.

  44. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    As long as the restaurant doesn’t expect people to tip still. Maybe they should offer to give you 15% off if the service really sucks?

  45. Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

    I have encountered one restaurant that pulled off the same stunt – and they surely didn’t state that anywhere prior to ordering that the bill would contain an added 15% “gratuity” line. Excuse me? Tips are earned, not entitled to. That was the first and last time I ever went there.

  46. The Marionette says:

    Depending on where the signs are posted will determine how I feel about this. If they’re right near the front door before you go in (or at least in a spot where you can see it before someone can seat/wait you) then that’s a fair warning to the customers that a tip will be added to their bill unless they object to it. However I do think it’s unfair that they pretty much put you through that……… “embarrassment” of asking the waiter/waitress “Can you take the tip off the bill?”.

    In a way those two kind of collide. On one hand if the signs are posted as I said before then you have the option leaving or at least knowing that tip will be on the bill (where you can A: pay it, or B: as to have it taken off), but on the other hand having the tip placed on it automatically is not exactly fair.

    That’s the main reason why I like paying for my bill with a debit/credit card at a local restaurant that’s near by because the staff will ask you which method are you paying with, if it’s a debit/credit card then when you are done eating you get your check, go to the counter and THAT’S where you decide if you want to leave a tip or not (there’s a line on the bottom of the restaurant’s copy of the receipt where you can write in the tip).

    I usually leave a tip where I eat, but of course that depends solely on the waiter/waitress. If the food’s bad, but the host was good then it’s a tip (usually at least 15%)

  47. JulesNoctambule says:

    I usually tip 20% (been on the serving side myself), so yeah — if they want to lose out by adding auto-grat, too bad.

  48. sopmodm14 says:

    i’d rather not be forced to pay something that is optional

  49. lawgirl502 says:

    Some times the service sucks-crappy tip
    some times the service is great and I give at least 20%, but it’s MY DECISION

  50. Hands says:

    This is extra cheesy.

  51. matastas says:

    Just throw tax and tip into the menu price and be done with it.

  52. ARPRINCE says:

    Fine with me. I don’t eat there.

  53. adrienna says:

    I think they’ll lose business on the people who are too embarrassed to have the tip removed if they want it removed. And they’ll lose business from a lot people who tip more than 15%.

    Also, this kind of screws the employees in that they’ll have to declare all of their tips. Will the wait staff be dinged if x amount of customers have the tip removed? I could see me removing the tip and then tipping with cash.

    This is just a way to pay the employees better w/out cutting into the restaurant’s pocketbook.

    I HATE automatic tips. I’d probably just boycott the restaurant too. What I don’t mind is when the receipt lists what would be a 15%, 18% and 20% tip.

  54. sugarpox says:

    My sister used to work at Unos in NYC. (I don’t know about now, but back then the tip wasn’t automatically added). One time she was serving a large group, and they only left like a 2 or 3 dollar tip. Her coworkers felt so bad for her that they gave her a share of their tips.

    For large parties, I understand adding the tip as things can get a little confusing come payment time; but for every single order? I don’t think so. I know it says that you can ask for it to be removed, but I would feel like a cheap sh*thead… I don’t remember which restaurant it is, but there’s one that calculates “suggested” tips at different percentages on each receipt. Maybe that would be a better way to go so people won’t feel put off or obligated…

  55. jo3lr0ck5 says:

    This is not the first place to do this…there are a hole bunch of places in Miami that do the same thing.

  56. MikieJag says:

    “Florida has decided to pay its servers a higher wage and in order to pay for it, automatically add a 15% tip to each order.”

    Just curious how this is them deciding to pay a higher wage? I get the math, but is this not more along the lines of:

    We have decided to let you pay our servers a higher wage.

    Just wondering, because I hate the subject of tipping, of course we can ask to take it off, but then that instantly labels us as cheap. I am sure this is going to bring out the tippers as all these threads do, but I personally find it hard to believe there are as many people that tip 20-30% on their meals.

    Why don’t they start to just pay minimum wage? and abolish tipping? Start that trend…I enjoyed all of Europe for that. I go in, order and get great service and it is to be expected. Many upper end Italian places were offended at the tip, it is the job of the restaurant to give great service and would do no less.

    Just my opinion, though, the angst that goes into tipping is beyond belief.

  57. stlbud says:

    A tip is earned. It is not a right. If the owner wants to pay his people better, raise prices on the product and pay the servers.

    By the way, the tip has nothing to do with the quality of the food. The cook/chef never gets tips.

  58. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    Another idea from Europe. In Belgium (and other European countries I’ve visited), the servers are actually paid a decent wage. In return, tipping is not really done. If the service is really good, you might round up to the next Euro, and if it’s exemplary, you might even leave an extra Euro on top of that. Otherwise, there’s no tipping.

    The theory behind tipping is that it might encourage servers to give great service to the customer in exchange for a reward. Unfortunately, this often doesn’t work for a multitude of reasons:

    1. A server gives bad service and gets a bad tip. Instead of seeing the direct cause/effect relationship, they assume that the person was “just a bad tipper.”
    2. The server gives excellent service and gets a bad tip because the person IS a bad tipper.
    3. The server gives bad service and gets a good tip because the person feels bad leaving a bad tip.

    No system is perfect – but the variety is good.