Overpriced Bars Now Adding Mandatory 18-20% Tips

Here in New York City, there are certain bars — most of them in hotels and most of them frequented by people who read in Us Weekly that celebrities party there — that are not only charging absolutely ridiculous amounts of cash for basic cocktails, but are automatically adding hefty tips onto the tab.

The NY Post cites examples, like the Gansevoort Hotel, where customers are greeted with a compulsory 20% tip on all beer, wine and cocktails ordered at the bar.

Then there’s the Tribeca Grand Hotel, the Standard Hotel and the Lobby Bar at the Ace Hotel, all of which tack on an automatic 18% gratuity, regardless of the quality of the service.

One “nightlife impresario” tells the Post it’s all the fault of European tourists:

New York City is now a tourist-based economy… The French and the Italians and the Spanish don’t tip, so it’s becoming a necessity at any place that’s dealing with a Euro crowd and wants to maintain its staff.

But there is good news. Aside from the fact that there are plenty of bars and clubs in NYC that are not gouging customers with exorbitant “mandatory” tips, one attorney tells the Post that there’s no legal standing for a bar to charge a mandatory tip:

Case law said a gratuity is within the discretion of the customers… The discretion to refuse payment is an essential element of a tip or gratuity.

So if you’re out and about in the Big Apple and someone tries to hit you for a compulsory gratuity that you feel is just too darned high, you have the right to refuse to pay it.

Drinks come with 18% twist [NY Post]

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. fs2k2isfun says:

    Or we could just pay our bar staff a living wage, charge more for drinks, and clearly post “tipping not required/expected” signs.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      But what incentive does my waitress have in providing good service if a tip does not supplement her wage?

    • Sajanas says:

      I’ve had both good and bad service in parts of Europe where there is no tipping. I think quality of service has much more to do with the management of the place than the tipping practices.
      But if you make it a tip, it should never be mandatory. Otherwise you tip even for bad service, which defeated the purpose of it.

    • George4478 says:

      By ‘we’, you mean ‘someone else’ and their money.

      • Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

        Yes. The same “we” that forks over billions of dollars to countries that do our bidding/our “partners in FREE-DOM”, or that “we” spend “our” money on for armaments. But you don’t object to that “redistribution of wealth”, do you?

    • NYGuy1976 says:

      Charge more for drinks??? In all of those bars mention mixed drinks are already like $20.

    • rmorin says:

      The term living wage is misleading. Ask someone in a poor country what constitutes a “living wage” and their answer will be “enough for food to eat”. Ask an American what a “Living wage” is an they’ll tell you atleast 15 dollars and hour and full benefits.

    • Kevin says:

      Bar employees wouldn’t work there for a living wage. They want the $200 – $300 a night gigs. Wait, that’s local prices. It’s probably 3 times that in NYC.

  2. Robofish says:

    It will be interesting to hear what happens when someone refuses to pay that “mandatory” fee

    • frank64 says:

      I wouldn’t bother, just wouldn’t go.

      • Robofish says:

        That’s my thoughts as well, but still. Odds are that story will show up sooner or later

      • frank64 says:

        Actually, I kind of understand they have the problem with tourists, and I would tip that much anyway. But service can get kind of crappy at these places. I am sure this isn’t going to help.

        So yeah, it would be interesting……

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          THIS. Mandatory tips just excuse poor service.

          Especially when it’s busy. Sorry business establshments, but when it’s busy it’s still not my fault for bad service. That’s your fault, due to understaffing and having a product people want. If you can’t provide me with good service, regardless the reason, the tip will reflect this. If you want to comp me food because of a bad situation, this will increase the tip to normal levels. But you don’t just get a pass because you’re busy.

          • moderndemagogue says:

            These places don’t have poor service. Worst is probably the Ace Hotel, they can sometimes be understaffed waitstaff wise, but its a hotel lobby bar, not a defined cocktail lounge like the others,

    • rc251 says:
    • Difdi says:

      I’d be more interested in whether the bar is paying taxes on those service fees. A gratuity is always optional. A mandatory payment is a service fee. Gratuities are taxed, if at all, as income to the server. Service fees, however, are almost always taxed, and often at a higher rate than server income.

      Are the owners of those bar guilty of tax evasion?

  3. zibby says:

    The dude who was on about the Europeans is correct…they are not stupid and they generally know they are expected to tip in North America, but they generally pretend they don’t know. Very economical that way. In any case, if you are an establishment with a high proportion of European clientele, you may have no choice but to implement something like this.

    • Alvis says:

      Europeans have it figured out. Servers can’t spit in your drink or ignore you next time you come in if you’re jetting back to The Hague on Sunday.

      Paying extra so people like you is foolish if you’re never going to see those people again.

  4. tange1 says:

    Maybe I am a little backwards but I think tip is earned and tacking it onto a bill like this is crazy.

  5. Tim says:

    I think it’s perfectly legal, as long as you inform customers about it. Maybe it would help to not call it gratuity. Just say “20% will be added to your check.”

    But I still think it’s stupid. It’s a way of tricking customers into thinking that they’re paying less than they actually are. Just raise your prices.

    • Derigiberble says:

      Then they would need to collect and pay sales tax on the amount, something they are not going to want to do.

      I would be interested to know how much of this really goes to the staff and if any is skimmed off by the establishment.

      • Gulliver says:

        In most places they would call it a service charge or fee. Then it IS mandatory (tipping for banquets has worked this way for years). There is no sales tax on services in most states, only on product. You do not pay sales tax getting your hair cut, but you do on food at a restaurant. Tax is usually reserved for tangible products, other than items that are specifically excluded (most unprepared foods and medical products)

    • Difdi says:

      Actually, it’s probably not legal. A mandatory payment added to the bill is a service fee, which must be reported to the government as a service fee as is typically taxed at a higher rate than a server’s income (typically as sales tax or restaurant tax).

      There’s also the aspect of what a gratuity is for. A tip rewards good service; A case could be made for giving poor service in exchange for a “mandatory” gratuity being theft of services. Probably not something to go to jail over, but as a waiter/waitress, would you enjoy being the target of a small claims lawsuit over it? The plaintiff would probably win.

  6. MrEvil says:

    Here’s when I tip a barkeep when I walk up to the bar for a mixed drink…say a Cranberry and Vodka.

    If the bar tender doesn’t fill the jigger to the brim and then tosses that into the cranberry=no tip

    Bar tender fills the jigger to the brim and then pours more vodka in then adds the cranberry = really good tip.

    • jason in boston says:

      Bartender doesn’t use a jigger because he is a real bartender – standard tip. Seriously, how hard is a 3 count?

      • Murph1908 says:

        Agreed. I worked as a bartender for several years. I didn’t take a job at one place because they required jigger use. I volunteered to show them the accuracy of my count, but they said it didn’t matter. I walked.

        The result of that policy? Customers like Mr. Evil who expect you to overpour, risking your job, in order to get a tip. Not to mention how much it slows you down, or how it can give a vodka rocks a hint of Jack if you don’t clean it well.

        A bartender using a jigger is either inexperienced, or required to use it by management.

        • Alvis says:

          Sorry you didn’t get to show off your eyeballing skills, but customers care about knowing their drink order is made correctly, not your ego.

          • Murph1908 says:

            Did you read Mr. Evil’s comment?

            A place I worked at tried to implement a jigger requirement when a new manager started. For the entire 2 weeks of the experiment, all we ever heard was “can you put a little more in that?”

            It’s not about ego. It’s about making less in tips on perceived stinginess on managements part being carried out by the bartender.

            Customers were less satisfied, bartenders were less satisfied. I pour the same drink without the jigger, and there’s no cause for question by the customer.

            Like I said. An inexperienced bartender might use a jigger to ensure a properly made drink. I did so when I started out, but fortunately I was in a service bar unseen by the customers. Once my 3 count properly and consistently filled the jigger, I dropped it and doubled my speed.

          • jason in boston says:

            If one needs to use a jigger, they should not be bartending. Some drinks taste best with anywhere from a 2/5 count to a 3.5 count. Would you want your chef (not a line cook at applebees – a real chef) to have to use a measuring cup? Real chefs and bartenders know what they are doing to make the food / drink taste the best. Those places get frequented by myself and friends. Those types of places also get the highest tips.

            • Alvis says:

              I ABSOLUTELY want my chef measuring everything. In food/drink service, consistency is a virtue.

              • jason in boston says:

                Let me guess – you go to a lot of “casual dining” places. The line cook doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room and you do get a consistant taste from wherever they “precooked’ the meal. If you go to a family owned place with a real chef, then you soon realize that all raw materials are not created equal. I want to eat what a chef wants to create. Not what comes in frozen in bags and the line cook defrosts. Using a measuring cup for every meal is a great crutch. I prefer to eat food from a real chef.

                • Alvis says:

                  *dismissive wanking motion*

                  Anyone who cooks for a living is a “chef”. But what do I know? All I eat is Applebee’s and Chili’s, right?

                  • jason in boston says:

                    Not 100% true. Anyone can be a cook, but a chef is indeed a chef by responsibility and title. How many cooks are you aware of that writes the menu, orders inventory, hires / fires the entire kitchen along with most of the waitstaff, controls food costing, deals with the government paperwork?

                  • extrudedcow says:

                    The real problem is using a jigger wrecks your capacity for drink volume. If management is forcing you to measure every pour, you know you’re going to be making fewer drinks than you could potentially be at a bar that doesn’t require measuring every pour, and will be getting fewer tips.

                    You’re way off base if you think your chefs are measuring things. Most restaurant kitchens are too damn busy to measure anything that isn’t pre-portioned absolutely required (any dish that centers around chemical reactions between two ingredients may be measured, such as some baked goods). Most ingredients are portioned by shoving a hand into the container and eyeballing the amount.

                    Your comments imply you don’t have much experience in the restaurant/bar service industry. What you’re saying sounds great from a customer’s perspective, but the reality of what you’re asking for is that most restaurants can’t afford the labor involved (not to mention the extra equipment) without being a heat and serve style chain, or defrosting whatever their distributer has pre-made.

                    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

                      I don’t even measure in my kitchen unless I am baking. I have been cooking for 24 years and hit everything on the mark every time. I can imagine that any chef worth anything could “measure” by hand/eye without having to use a formal measure.

      • MongoAngryMongoSmash says:

        Ask Arthur…. King of the Britons.

        On an semi related note. I simply would not go there. I was in NYC in 2006 for business. My coworkers and I went out our last night to get some drinks and everywhere we looked it was these overpriced bars that had disdain for us jeans wearing folk. We wanted to find a little place that could cater to the average Joe. We started walking and I thought to ask a doorman, “Hey, where can three guys in jeans get a decent drink?” He responded, “Mulligans, around the corner.” Trust the advice of the working person. They know where to go. It’s just like following truckers on the Interstate to the best places to eat.

        • Blueskylaw says:

          Truckers don’t usually eat at the best places, they tend to go to the places that have spaces for very large trucks.

    • tbax929 says:

      Over-pouring on the liquor ruins a drink. I hate when bartenders “hook me up” by over-pouring. If I wanted a double, I’d order it that way.

      • finbar says:

        Depends on the drink; I like Jameson on the rocks and if the bartender has a bit of a heavy hand, all the better.

      • varro says:

        Day 1 of 4-day convention – tipped well at the hotel bar.

        Day 3 – same bartender on duty, and he hooks me up by giving me every other drink on the house.

        • FredKlein says:

          Day 1- Went to Best Buy, ‘tipped’ an employee there
          Day 3 – same employee on duty, and he hooks me up by giving me every other item I’m purchasing free

          How’s that not theft?

    • Copper says:

      Some bars require a jigger and some bars require an accurate count or they’ll fire the bartender. Some bars have fancy (sometimes computerized) pourers that don’t allow for overpouring even if the bartender wanted to.

      Even worse is the pourers designed to give a slow pour so that what looks like a 4-5 count is actually a 2-3 count.

  7. moderndemagogue says:

    As someone who frequents the places mentioned above, I think this is great; say what you want about the hotel-bar-ification of nyc nightlife, but if $1-2 more dollars on a drink is going to break your wallet, you really shouldn’t be at any of those places anyway.

    On a practical note, it just makes everything easier — you get your tab and sign, no calculating, no deciding whether $1 or $2 is appropriate for whatever drink you’ve ordered. The only issue is people who don’t normally go to these places don’t know, and will often end up double tipping.

    The European issue is simply true — and it certainly is a response to that.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      It’s not about breaking the bank. It’s about the concept that you receive more money for better than average service, and less money for poor service. Forcing me to pay what’s considered a stellar service tip only encourages them to serve poorly and excuses habitually bad service.

      • moderndemagogue says:

        At these places, good to great service is mandatory, and the clientele would simply not return if it didn’t measure up. Its already all about ambiance and being treated well. You don’t need to incentivize good service, and its often better to ensure your waitstaff is willing to take shit from a snooty european who would normally stiff them on a tip, in order for her to remain composed for all her other guests.

        Yes, at your average pub, college bar, etc… sure, incentives work — at these places, top service should be the standard, and in my experience, often is. The only times its not is if a proper door policy hasn’t been enforced and there are too many people there to begin with, which then there is nothing the bartender can or cannot do,

    • Alvis says:

      I don’t think it’s an issue of $1-2 breaking the bank, but people feeling that what they’re being charged is already pushing the limit of value for what they’re getting.

      Paying extra when something “just makes everything easier” is a very slippery slope to indiscriminate spending.

    • ssaoi says:

      I agree. It’s actually going to be cheaper for me in the long run, cause i tend to over tip.

  8. Hungry Dog says:

    I like this idea. Forcing the customer to pay for the employees wages instead of offering a livable wage instead. This sort of idea needs to start trickling down to the rest of the industry. I can go to Walmart and buy a 10 dollar crockpot and get surcharged a additional 25% for the guy that rung it up and then I can have the satisfaction of knowing he isn’t being forced to eat the Great Value food to merely survive.

  9. Destra says:

    I understand the dilemma, and I’m ok with foreign tourist heavy bars with putting on this tip– as long as they state it clearly on the menu. The rest of the restaurants in the nation need to leave the gratuity amount up to the diners.

  10. MamaBug says:

    would there be an issue if instead of “tip” or “gratuity” it was called “service fee”? Not trying to start something here, i’m a former server and on the “tip well for good service/complain to management about shitty service/pay a living wage” side of the debate, but i’m wondering if it’s the phrasing. people pay for “service fees” all the time and don’t really ask what they’re paying for exactly.

    • FacebookAppMaker says:

      Still bullshit. If i ever saw “x% will be added to your bill as a tip/gratuity/service fee”, i would immediatly leave, and report said bar/restaurant for tax evasion.

      That’s exactly what it is. Of that 20% tip, i doubt the waitress get’s it all. I’m sure the establishment keeps the majority, which is profit that they aren’t paying taxes on. In the U.S, i believe they some something to combat such practices… I believe it’s called R.I.C.O

      • MamaBug says:

        they usually have to tip out 3% of the sales, regardless of the tip – at least in the casual dining restaurants I’ve worked in.

  11. teke367 says:

    At restaurants where I worked, this was only done for large parties, and technically, it wasn’t required. If a table complained or something, the manager would remove the tip with no arguments.

    But Europeans don’t tip, in general. Any time you get into an arugment with a European who is mad that Americans don’t bother to learn the customs of other countries when traveling, bring up tipping. You’ve now won the argument.

    • moderndemagogue says:

      While I like the sentiment of your comment, I disagree that it actually makes you win the argument. In my experience, Europeans all know you’re supposed to tip in America, they just choose not to because they are either just visiting and cheap, or are attempting to incentivize us to behave like civilized Europe and force better wages for our servers.

      Not learning customs is different than flagrantly choosing to violate them,

      • zibby says:

        “or are attempting to incentivize us to behave like civilized Europe and force better wages for our servers.” Ha! I’m sure that’s exactly what they have in mind. Good stuff.

    • dreamfish says:

      Actually Europeans do know about tipping, it’s just different in each country but 10% is typical – 20% is closer to gouging.

      However, they do also recognise the origin of tipping as a reward for good service and not some automatic payment irrespective of whether your server even spoke to you.

  12. mcgyver210 says:

    IMO mandatory Tips are extortion because that isn’t the true concept of what a tip is. besides I have noticed many times in those types of situations the servers don’t even try to earn a tip since they know they will receive one either way.

    Also if the pub had the couple arrested they may have a case against the pub which I hope they pursue. I have actually refused to pay a tip before based on bad service but have never been arrested for it. If I ever am you can bet one thing I will not drop it until all involved pay at least defending themselves.

    I do tip well for service received. I personally start all full service servers at 15% & go up & down based on service received not based on the fact they aren’t paid by the cheap A$$ restaurant owners.

    • SabreDC says:

      Agree. I also hate when establishments make you pay and ask you to tip before you receive your order (e.g. Starbucks, Subway, etc.). I don’t want the quality of service being dependent on the amount I tip; I will tip based on the quality of service.

  13. darcmosch says:

    I don’t know if this is true anymore, but I remember that my German teacher said that while he stayed there, gratuity was already added into your bill, just like these nightclubs. I’d also like to see something besides bartenders’ and club owners’ beliefs about Europeans not tipping because wasn’t there also an article on the Consumerist about how bartenders and waiters/resses thought that a certain race/age group didn’t tip while a study showed that they were actually using their own generalizations and stereotypes to make assumptions about customers?

  14. rbb says:

    “So if you’re out and about in the Big Apple and someone tries to hit you for a compulsory gratuity that you feel is just too darned high, you have the right to refuse to pay it.”

    just remember to get the drink first before they get a chance to add a little “extra” to it…

  15. Bativac says:

    So I kind of know what to look out for when I’m in NYC next week.

    Are there any restaurants I must try while I’m up there? Mandatory tips or not.

    • moderndemagogue says:

      If you haven’t done it before, Peter Luger — though if you don’t want to leave Manhattan, Striphouse near Union Square is just as good if not better.

      • zibby says:

        “Striphouse near Union Square is just as good if not better.”

        If we’re talking decor, I cannot but agree!

    • Mr_Human says:

      5 Points in Nolita, Buttermilk Channel in Carrol Gardens, Brooklyn.The Orchard on the Lower East Side. I’d avoid Peter Luger — it’s an overrated tourist haunt.

      • Bativac says:

        I’d heard Peter Luger is kind of overrated and full of tourists. We try to avoid places that are too touristy when we’re in NYC. Thanks for the tip.

      • NeverLetMeDown says:

        If you want Peter Luger’s steak, without the tourists, and without having to trek all the way to Brooklyn, Wolfgang’s on Park in the mid-30s is excellent. Run by a former maitre d from Peter Luger’s.

      • moderndemagogue says:

        100% Disagree.

    • zibby says:

      Sevilla in the village is good for some old-school Spanish. Somewhat reasonable, too. Been to Lugar’s a couple dozen times over the years, and with the exception of Keen’s I haven’t gone to any of the other steak joints more than once. They’re just not quite there, IMHO.

  16. u1itn0w2day says:

    Tourist spots in south Florida anyway have been over a decade. Too many patrons have stiffed the wait staff and these establishments want nothing to do with an hourly one. This will make some realize the actual costs of going out to eat and give others a relief that they won’t have to bother with a tip or figuring a out a tip.

  17. lymer says:

    Since when did tipping become 20% instead of 15%

    • MamaBug says:

      when cost of living went up :( it usually helps to make up for the 3% tip-out the management takes from the server’s tips/sales to distribute to bartenders, hostesses, and/or busboys. Which is one reason why I’d be pissed when I was stiffed by a cheap customer – i would still have to tip out 3% of that sale, so I essentially payed for them to eat. Not the best practice ever.

      • Kate says:

        If the price of meals went up, the percentage goes up too. So, no, that’s not an excuse. Basically it was done to pay directly to restaurants so they don’t have to pay their waitstaff minimum wage.

      • Alvis says:

        And cost of living is increasing faster than the cost of food/drinks? This is why it’s calculated as a percentage.

    • Duckula22 says:

      Since when are tips mandatory? I know it’s a socially accepted thing, but mandatory!!! Seriously!!! I am actually against tipping, because I’m not subsidizing and thus helping any business owner to get away with paying low wages. I have heard friends many years ago say stuff like “…they pay minimum wage, but you make it up with tips.” Honestly, it shouldn’t be that way.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      Is it a Vegas thing. Most big tippers I know spent plenty of time in Vegas and/or gamble. Or is what is supposed a routine meal supposed to be considered an extravaganza.

    • Thespian says:

      lymer: “Since when did tipping become 20% instead of 15%”

      Since Eisenhower left office.

      As a server, I’ll be the first to admit that if I give you crappy service, I shouldn’t get much of a tip, if any. But good service should elicit 20%. And if I go above and beyond with special requests, accomodations, entertaining your children, being prompt with that ninth refill of your iced tea or that fourth side of ranch dressing, etc., I don’t think 25% is too much to expect.

  18. DWMILLER says:

    This is a dumb question but doesnt the Euro crowd do some kind of research into American customs? Specificly going out to bars and resurants.

    • NYGuy1976 says:

      Yes they do but many like to pretend they don’t know in the US you tip because a lot of them are cheap.

      • zibby says:

        Exactly. Most of them know but prefer to play dumb. Hostesses/Maitre d’s will always jam servers they don’t like with Europeans if they can.

  19. dulcinea47 says:

    A “fee” (or whatever you want to call it) is not a tip. That’s not what a tip is. If they want to call it a tip, people don’t have to pay it. Personally I’m not going anywhere where they charge an “automatic tip”. If they need to raise the price of the drinks so they can pay their staff better, then they should do that.

  20. DeepHurting says:

    There’s no such thing as a mandatory tip. If you’re playing an extra amount over the cost of the product or service, and you have no choice in the matter, it’s a fee or a tax.

  21. Downfall says:

    I, for one, don’t mind when the gratuity is added automatically. That’s what I intended to tip anyway, and if I couldn’t afford to tip, I would drink less or not go out.

    What makes my blood boil is when I pay with a credit card (cashback, baby) and then the bar adds in the 20% gratuity, PLUS another line to give me the option tip on the credit card receipt. Nope. If you want to take away my discretion on how much to tip, that’s fine. But don’t add on a tip, then add another line for tipping. I wonder how many people end up tipping ANOTHER 20% because they don’t realize the gratuity is already in there.

    • claytons says:

      Sometimes with drinks my tip will be more than 20%, if I am tipping by the drink. Not at higher-end places, but at places with lower prices, so maybe my example is pointless. But, anyway, it’s nice having the option of adding to 20% in the rare circumstance my per-drink tip exceeds 20%.

      Also, if one is too drunk or too stupid to realize gratuity is included, then shame on them.

    • Arcaeris says:

      I think the line for the tip is like automatic on the credit card machine printout? I don’t think they’re doing it to piss you off.

    • Firethorn says:

      I wonder what would happen if you put a negative number in there, subtracting out some portion of the tip?

      I don’t tip 20% unless the server goes above and beyond.

    • Copper says:

      That’s not something a bartender or server puts on the receipt. It’s automatically done by the computer, whether or not there’s an added gratuity.

    • dg says:

      Cross it out, write in what you want to pay. If they charge it anyway, charge back the amount. Make sure you do the same on your receipt, send a copy in with the documentation if they ask for it…

  22. claytons says:

    I cannot remember the specific countries, but many Eueropean countries have laws mandating automatic gratuity for food and drinks.

  23. NYGuy1976 says:

    In bars like that I honestly would be more concerned that a $40 bottle of vodka is being sold for $400. Not a small gratuity.

  24. GrayMatter says:

    Also: Is Sales Tax charged on the “tip”?

    Should it be?

  25. benjitek says:

    There’s a legal difference between an automatic tip and one that’s added by the customer. If it’s automatic, it’s referred to as a ‘service-charge’, and the establishment determines how it’s distributed. For instance, they may decide a certain percentage of the service charge goes to the server, another chunk to the kitchen staff, bussers, hosts, and possibly a portion to the establishment itself.

    If it’s not automatic, it’s a ‘discretionary-gratuity’. These go directly to the staff member who received them, and they have the responsibility of ‘tipping-out’ other staff. While the establishment can have general guidelines in place of which staff should get how much of a servers discretionary gratuities, they can’t dictate it.

    There are pros and cons to both methods, but if you’re dealing with a high percentage of foreign customers, that alone is a strong argument for automatic. Most foreigners know the customary tipping practices here in the states, yet choose to ignore it and show the highest level of disrespect possible to service staff by not tipping, rounding up to the nearest dollar, or if they’re lucky, leaving 10%. This might be OK for take-out food, but if you’re not prepared incorporate a customary gratuity percentage into the cost of dining out, order pizza or go to a drive-thru ;)

  26. vizsladog says:

    Why bother highlighting the percent of the “service charge”? Just say the drink is $15.50 or whatever and indicate that the price includes a gratuity or service charge.

  27. common_sense84 says:

    “So if you’re out and about in the Big Apple and someone tries to hit you for a compulsory gratuity that you feel is just too darned high, you have the right to refuse to pay it.”

    The consumerist had a story on this a few months ago where the person not paying the mandatory tip was arrested.

    The consumerist is pointless if it has no sense of it’s own history.

  28. daveinva says:

    Ugh. This is all kinds of awful. A tip is not mandatory, that’s why it’s called a *tip*.

    They want to raise prices, fine, do that, then let business suffer accordingly.

    BTW, friendly advice: when visiting a bar, if I know I’m going to be there a while, I ballpark my tip in advance and offer it with my *first* drink, then follow it up with smaller micro-tips. For example, with that first $5 beer, I’ll tip $5, $10 or even $20 depending on the time I expect to be there, and then throw in a dollar with every beer to follow.

    The end result at the end of the night is about the same amount of money spent tipping at the end, but by “front loading” the tip, I’m more likely to get the attention of the bartender the next time I walk up a crowded bar, maybe even get a free shot or two.

    • benjitek says:

      eh, no, you might get away with that once — but they’ll know who you are the next time and you’ll find yourself waiting. I’d recommend something you most likely already do, that’s not to be a regular anywhere ;)

  29. oldwiz65 says:

    Cruise ships are trying to do the same, plus hit you with 18% gratuity for purchases at gift shops as well.

    Considering that the ingredients in a typical alcoholic drink cost about 1/10 of the selling price, it’s just raising prices to a ridiculous level.

  30. Dracoster says:

    A “mandatory tip” is called a covercharge. A tip is a gift to the servant. A charge is payment for service given.

    Also, I’m pretty sure that this so called tip, is a way for the business to pad their records with above minimum wages.

  31. Murbob says:

    Come and arrest me for not paying a gratuity and watch what happens to the budget deficit of the police department who executed the arrest.

    The people who got arrested should sue the living S#%T out of the police department for false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

    Look up the word GRATUITY. I don’t care where its listed or how on the invoice/bill.

  32. HeavyMental says:

    well if you calculate your own tip … and you ? or if you are under the written bill+20% they’ll run after you ?

    i don’t mind giving about 10% tip if i didn’t like the service

  33. sopmodm14 says:

    if they’re going to charge for something that is up to patron discretion, then we patrons should use their discretion and take their business elsewhere

  34. Beaufoux says:

    Yeah, the customer has a right to refuse. There is too much entitlement for tips.

    Last time in New York, the bartender took 15 mins to get my drink at the bar. When I refrained from tipping, she chewed me out in front of the bar. I honestly felt bad, since I know they live on tips. But I was raised that poor service equals poor tips. It’s some cruel contraption…

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      Not all but many tip workers use the premise that they’re workinng off tips as their minimum wage law. Wether they use sympathy or an age old custom(not law) it still gives them a sense of entitlement.

  35. mallberg says:

    I think it is sad that inability to calculate a simple tip (usually 10%, 15%, 20%, etc.) is given as justification. When I worked as a waiter, there were people who always tipped low or high, but usually my tips for the night reflected the service and attention I gave the customers. I chose that job over a better hourly rate, because I knew I could more than make up for the discrepancy by doing a good job.

  36. Jabulo says:

    Its only meant to keep poor people out.