Johnny Rockets Automatically Adds 15% Gratuity To Takeout Orders

Johnny Rockets added a 15% mandatory gratuity to reader Melissa’s takeout order. When she questioned the charge, her server voided the order and awkwardly explained that Johnny Rockets had run out of burgers, fries, and root beer.

She writes:

When I went to pay for the order, I noticed a gratuity already included on the bill. I told the waiter, “this is take out gratuity is not included.”

He looked at me and said “that’s how we always do it.” I sat there staring at my bill scratching my head wondering if i should sign this receipt. A few seconds later they told me that they were out of what i had ordered. Good I thought. Cancel my order completely, but I’m taking the receipt.

We called the Coconut Grove Johnny Rockets last night and spoke with a manager who explained: “It’s the law that we have here.” Even worse, the Coconut Grove Grapevine posted another Johnny Rockets receipt, and it looks like they are adding the 15% gratuity to the post-tax total. Let’s see what the Florida Department of Revenue thinks of the arrangement:

…Rule 12A- 1.011(11), F.A.C., provides that the unless the following conditions are met, a gratuity is taxable as part of the total sales price:

  • The charge is a voluntary gratuity or tip added to or by the purchaser to his bill or money given freely by the purchaser over and above the sales price of such food or drink product; and
  • Separately stated on the purchaser’s bill or invoice as a gratuity or tip; and
  • All such voluntary gratuities must be distributed in full to the employees at least every six months with no part accruing to the benefit or advantage of the dealer.
  • Even if the tip is legal, does Johnny Rockets really think they are worth a mandatory 15% gratuity? Stop pretending to be Per Se and earn your tip.

    Restaurants and Bars Standard Industry Guide [Florida Department of Revenue]


    Edit Your Comment

    1. walterny says:

      It doesn’t end there:


    2. punkrawka says:

      Plus it’s TAKEOUT. I give a 10% tip for takeout and I think that’s totally acceptable. The person who brings you a takeout order put it together and put it in a bag. They didn’t spend the whole night going back and forth from the kitchen to your table, refilling drinks, etc.

    3. ianmac47 says:

      She should have filled in the total as 15.96 and disputed with the credit card company.

    4. DMDDallas says:

      @punkrawka: I still think that is generous, LOL.

    5. this is the type of consumerist I have missed so much!

      pretty soon they’re gonna be charging gratuity for gratuity.

    6. This is because nobody tips for takeout, and the salary structure of the employees in those carside takeout businesses expect it due to their low salaries.

    7. frankadelic says:

      Assuming a 15% mandatory gratuity (which @walterny‘s posted link suggests) the gratuity was calculated off of the pre-tax total. They just chose to put it in after the post-tax total which is misleading.

      $17.16 X .15 = 2.574
      $18.53 X .15 = 2.7795

      It’s still not excusable as, if my local Johnny Rockets is anything like the one mentioned above, the food is so-so and the service sucks and the food is only ok.

    8. Pithlit says:

      I’ve always tipped for takeout. This will be a first, but I’m not really on the customer’s side on this one. Yeah, making it an add on is kind of ridiculous, but making a big stink out of it seems cheap. There are times where you may be technically in the right, but aren’t really, if that makes sense. I understand why the employees reacted that way. I might have done the same thing.

    9. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      You know, that’s a pretty stupid racket, as rackets go. Take a low-paying cashier job, then make a habit of asking your customers for contributions to make up the difference between what you make and what you would rather be making. The servers earn their tips. What does a cashier earn?

      Jesus, when I was working at Macy’s in college, I gave people generous helpings of my time and advice. I always got compliments on how helpful I was. I made close to minimum wage, no commissions. Maybe I should have had my hand out like these cashiers do, eh?

      Fracking beggars.

    10. walterny says:

      Just so you are clear, they are not doing anything illegal, and they are properly putting the gratuity post tax:

      Rule 12A-1.061(3) (c), F.A.C. expresses that any charges made by a dealer to a customer for gratuities, tips, or similar charges are taxable as part of the total sales price unless both of the following conditions are met:

      • The charge is separately stated as a gratuity, tip, or other similar charge on a guest’s or tenant’s bill, invoice, or other tangible evidence of sale; and

      • The owner or owner’s representative does not receive, either directly or indirectly, any economic benefit from the charge

      A gratuity charge collected by a private member-owned club [Restaurant] is not subject to sales tax. Since, the charge is billed separately to Club members and identified as a service charge, and the full amount collected is distributed to the Club employees, with
      no benefit from the gratuity charge received by the Club, the charge qualifies as a nontaxable gratuity. Whether the charge is billed by the Club to the members monthly, quarterly, or annually has no bearing on whether the charge is subject to sales tax.

    11. Pithlit says:

      @speedwell: But cashiers are paid more. Restaurant servers aren’t paid minimum wage. If they were, I’d be in total agreement. But, if a worker is taking time away from working tables where they’d be getting a tip to work the take out shift, I’m going to make up the diffence, particularly since I’m using the take out as a convenience over having to actually go in and stit down at a table and waiting longer. This is why I think making an issue out of it was pretty crappy and why I don’t blame the employee for just voiding her sale.

    12. IrisMR says:

      And they dare ask for an additional tip? That’s even more rude.

    13. TKWarrior says:

      I always give a generous tip for wait staff that actually DESERVE it. When a place starts adding it in themselves or makes the tip mandatory their service drops to non-existent. Anytime I get a bill that has that ‘done for me’ I know its the last time I’m eating there.

    14. @TKWarrior:

      Are you as commitedly capitalist in your other discussions?

    15. IrisMR says:

      @TKWarrior: I agree with you. That’s awfully rude. A tip is a thing you’re supposed to deserve and that is to my discretion. In fact, a tip is something that isn’t even mandatory. It’s you that decides if you give one or not.

    16. KJones says:

      Anyone or any business that expects a tip doesn’t deserve one. A tip is for good service received, not a required part of the bill.

      If they’re so demanding of the extra money, then they should raise the menu prices by a dollar or two. I’d rather know I had to pay more than put up with that bullshit.

    17. SadSam says:

      I’ve never done carside pick up, but when I pick up food to go I normally give the person a couple of bucks but not 15%. 15-20% is for service, when I pick up food I’m doing most of the serving.

      Also, as an aside, this is very common in South Florida.

    18. cosby says:

      A lot of places have gratuity added to orders. They should have something about it mentioned in the menu somewhere. If they don’t have it listed or posted then it is worth fighting.

    19. IrisMR says:

      @cosby: That’s true. How can it be legal? That’s like an hidden fee.

    20. Jonbo298 says:

      Quaker Steak and Lube over here does the same thing on their Unlimited Wings Tuesday’s. They forcefully add 15% gratuity to everyone’s order, and the hilarious part is that if I pay with cash, the server will bring back more 5’s and 1’s expecting me to leave an additional tip.

      Sorry, but if your company must force a gratuity on me when its 4 or less people, no additional tip. Yes, I do sound asinine, but that’s how it works. You’re getting enough by charging 15% PER PERSON.

    21. Pithlit says:

      @KJones: This is why we should be fighting for fair wages for restaurant workers. The whole tip system should be abandoned. As long as I use restaurants, whether dining in or taking out, I tip, but I’d fully support a living wage for waiters/waitresses and abolishing the tip system.

    22. betatron says:

      tip for TAKEOUT??? Like MCDONALDS???? WTF difference is there between McDonalds takeout and Johnny Rockets takeout? Tipping a register droid???? NEVER have i heard of such a thing. Tipping is for SERVICE. WHAT SERVICE IS THERE IN PUTTING YOUR BURGER IN A PAPER BAG?

      you people are insane.

    23. DeltaPurser says:

      For those of you who don’t know it, Coconut Grove is a total tourist trap, so most of their patrons are visitors (MANY foreigners) who aren’t familiar with our customs. You very rarely see locals eating at JR’s… So, basically they are counting on most people not knowing the tip is a scam… I especially love how they leave the line there on the receipt for you to add even more of a tip! I’ll make a point of NEVER recommending them to ANYBODY. Shady business!!!

    24. Pithlit says:

      @betatron: The difference is the McDonald’s employees don’t depend on tips for their wages. If you use takeout, you’re using an employee who depends on tips and taking time from waiting on those tables where they’d get the tips. You’re also using the takeout as a convenience for a sit down restaurant because you get your food faster than if you went in and sat down. I don’t get why people think it’s so ridiculous to tip for takeout. I’m against tacking on gratuity, but given the amount of people who flip out over tipping for takeout, I don’t blame them adding it on for takeout orders. If more people properly tipped, they might not do it.

    25. Falconfire says:

      Depending on the restaurant gratuity is very much included. Outback always charges 10% gratuity for pick up. Outside the US, gratuity is almost always included on the check period. They love Americans because they have a tendency to “double tip”

      Johnny Rockets is not McD’s or Burger King… its a RESTAURANT.

      That being said, the ONLY way your going to stop staff from feeling the customer should tip by mandatory, is if you forced restaurants to pay their service at least minimum wage. Most barely pay over 2.50 because the law says they are legally allowed to as long as with tips their wage meets minimum.

      To put in perspective when I worked as a soda jerk, I made minimum wage. I did a damn fine fucking job, and as such was tipped a lot. But I made minimum wage, so even if I didn’t receive and tips for doing good work, I still felt like I was being paid for my effort.

      Now compare that to my fiance when she worked her ass off 2 shifts a day at Macaroni Grill. She could work her ass off, and still at the end of the night, once the tip split was made, barely meet minimum wage because people dont relize that

      1) their tips dont go ONLY to a waiter, they go to just about everyone who worked on your food who isnt salaried.

      2)their waiter is paid dirt and not minimum wage like most people in the US seem to think.

      And she used to get treated like shit when she worked there. People threw pagers at her, had sex under the table while she had to “look the other way” would treat her like a piece of ass, you can go on.

      So it doesnt shock me wait staffs want to force customers to start paying their due. What does shock me is how little people care about how mistreated restaurant staffs are.

    26. ds143 says:

      At Atlantis Paradise Island, they do a 15% charge on fast food, which is annoying when you are just getting a soda.

    27. Scuba Steve says:

      I don’t tip at steak and shake, and i won’t tip at Johnny Rockets.

      If your main “meal” is burgers and fries, the restaurant model is an insult to other real restaurants.

    28. FangDoc says:

      I worked as a waitress for many years in what I would describe as “pretensions of fine dining” restaurants. When we got a call for a take-out order, the hostess would summon one of the waitstaff, who had to take the order, submit it to the kitchen, put together all the side items (anything not coming hot off the cook’s line: salad, salad dressing, rolls, butter, dessert etc.) watch for the entrees to be ready, and package everything together, all while still working our regular tables. While it wasn’t as arduous as returning multiple times to a table, it still required a good bit of time and attention. We always charged 12% gratuity.

      Even at the time, though, I thought there had to be a better way to do this, as customers frequently questioned the gratuity. One way would be to have a separate takeout menu, with higher prices, and have either a fee paid to the waitstaff for the order or have a salaried employee (the hostess or manager) handle take-out. For a place like Johnny Rockets, that has a dedicated takeout register (at least the one at the Providence Place Mall does), there’s no reason to not have a streamlined takeout system in place, with gratuities factored in.

      So basically: if take-out is an anomaly at a predominantly sit-down restaurant, your order is being prepared by a waiter/ waitress who is taking time out from other tables and should be compensated, and you should be informed up front that gratuity will be included. If it’s a place that does 25% or more of their business in take-out, you shouldn’t expect an added-on gratuity, any more than you’d expect one at McDonald’s.

    29. says:

      nothing is MORE ANNOYING than taking a take out order, making sure their take out has silverware and such, paying the same attention to a take out order as i would for a table and not getting a dime for it. 15% is a bit much, ill admit. At least leave a dollar or something

      if you’ve worked in food service, you’re thinking ‘omg totally tip!’ if you’ve never worked in food service, you’re thinking ‘what?! all they did was take my order and i’m out of their!!’

      well, their’s more to it than just taking the order, the same way theirs more to any job than what you see when you walk into the store.

    30. tedyc03 says:

      There was a court case about this in New York. Though the holding probably wouldn’t apply in Florida but the judge in the case seemed to think that other courts had ruled similarly.


    31. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

      Usually I tip nothing for pickup/carryout orders. I mean, I’m the one doing the serving, yes? Really, I never even thought about it until this thread, but it’s more complicated than some people are making it out to be. And having thought about it now, I’m going to change my habits.

      When picking up from places that are primarily takeout services – pizza, local chinese takeout, etc – I still think no tip is required. When picking up food from a place that is primarily a sit-down restaurant, 10% seems fair. After all, the food still had to be prepared, packaged, etc., and tips are not just kept by the wait staff – they’re for everyone.

      But 15 percent? No way. 15-25 percent tips are for a place where I sit down and get waited on for an entire meal.

      What does everyone think?

    32. GearheadGeek says:

      @Scuba Steve: If your “main meal” is burgers and fries ordered from a counter and picked up at the counter by the customer, then no tip should be involved. If I’m sitting at a table, someone takes my order, brings me food and drink, brings me my bill, etc. then service is service, even if I just ordered a burger. If I’m in the US at the time, I’ll assume the server is paid slave wages and tip according to the service provided.

      The distinction is in the service provided, not the dish served.

    33. Pithlit says:

      @TinyBug: I agree. That’s pretty much how I do it, too.

    34. GearheadGeek says: See the comments of @FangDoc above. It’s abusive for a restaurant to make tip-dependent employees handle take-out. If take-out is any significant part of their business (like so many of the Darden chains, e.g.) then they should have someone paid a decent wage or salary handling it and not abuse their waitstaff, rather than expect tips from people who are too lazy or rushed to come into a restaurant.

      Full disclosure: the only time I’ve ever done this “curbside” thing was with a friend who prefers it… if I’m going to eat at my house, I’ll cook.

    35. laserjobs says:

      I will leave what the hell I want to leave

    36. AnneofAndover says:

      Let’s forget about the whole tip thing for a minute and focus on the fact that they told her they were out of burgers and fries. At Johhny Rockets.

    37. Onouris says:

      A tip is for people that deserve it. Mandatory tips instantly defies the whole point. I’d never go back to a place like that.

      I don’t tip, because I’m expecting someone to go out of their way if they’re going to make me pay more for my meal or whatever, and they just don’t.

      All this crap about ‘it’s a low paid job they expect tips’. They chose the job, they accepted the pay. Do you think low paid jobs in other sectors get tips? Do they hell.

    38. rdm says:

      Wow, good find Melissa.. simply infuriating.

    39. B says:

      @AnneofAndover: Well, sure. It’s not like they sell many burgers there, right?

    40. stauffac says:

      Falconfire – last time I checked, slavery had been outlawed in this country. That being said, your fiancee has all the power in the world to find a different/better job if she hates hers so much.

      That’s what gets me here – these people are not being held as captive indentured servants, forced to work for less than minimum wage on the hopes that customer tips will make up the balance. If anyone working in a restaurant doesn’t like they way they are treated or paid, they can and should go find a better job. It’s not like anyone waiting tables spent 4 years of college earning a degree that’ll be useless if they change jobs. I don’t feel it’s my obligation to try to make their choice of jobs more tolerable.

      For me, if I get great service, I’ll tip generously. If all you’ve done is hand me a bag, though, that’s nothing spectacular and worth the $2 they’re automatically adding on. It’s a bag. Grab with fingers, lift up, stretch arm out towards customer. If I earned $2 every time I handed something to someone, I’d be a millionaire.

    41. Bill Brasky says:

      I’m very sorry the government taxes their tips, that’s f**ked up. That ain’t my fault. It would seem to me that waitresses are one of the many groups the government f**ks in the a** on a regular basis. Look, if you ask me to sign something that says the government shouldn’t do that, I’ll sign it, put it to a vote, I’ll vote for it, but what I won’t do is play ball. And as for this non-college bulls**t I got two words for that: learn to f**kin’ type, ’cause if you’re expecting me to help out with the rent you’re in for a big f**kin’ surprise.
      /Obligatory Mr. Pink Quote.

    42. CumaeanSibyl says:

      @AnneofAndover: Yeah, isn’t that the real story? I know everybody loves arguing over tips as much as I do, but what the hell kind of restaurant runs out of burgers, fries, and root beer all at once?

    43. mrsultana can't get a password to work says:

      I was on with a sales person from Microsoft. He told me they were out of electrons.

    44. johnva says:

      @GearheadGeek: Yep. I think the people being abusive towards the servers are the restaurants, not the customers who don’t tip for takeout. I can understand why many customers wouldn’t think they should tip in that case. Since customers don’t have the social expectation that they should tip for takeout in many cases, the restaurants need to pay the servers handling that a higher wage (especially if they put a dedicated person on shift handling that). Moreover, it’s even worse if the restaurant is forcing the servers to take shifts doing this takeout stuff in order to get put on the schedule for “regular” shifts (something I’ve heard is common).

    45. hop3less says:

      Maybe they should make the tip out for negative 2.57

      Just a thought =)

    46. BlinkyGuy says:

      Regardless of whether it is “right” to add the gratuity, the surprise to me in this is that both this article and the one it links to say that the it was added to a total that included the sales tax when it was calculated properly using the pre-tax amount.

      Obviously neither blogger bothered to check the math on the receipt.

      This sort of thing is not uncommon in blogs. It is the difference between being a reporter and being a blogger. A reporter would have been called on the carpet by the editor for not fact checking and a correction would have been printed. I have not seen a similar accountability by blog editors.

      It is unfortunate because it indicates a bias that makes me question the value of blogs where there is a tendency to put the value of the “cause” above that of good reporting.

    47. MsClear says:

      I tip 20% when I eat in a restaurant. I know that waitresses and waiters do not make much money. However, I’m not in favor of tipping for take-out. You are not being served. Tips are for service.

      Due to my budget, take-out is almost never on the menu. I occasionally go to a local place for a roast beef sandwich and fries, but that’s not the sort of thing they do. They just have a tip jar, which I think is fine.

      I don’t think what Johnny Rockets did is right.

    48. As a waitress who also packs take-out, I’d just like to add: no server should necessarily “expect” a tip for take-out (as they would for serving a table), BUT it’s very much appreciated, as preparing take-out detracts from our ability to pay more attention to the tables we are serving.

      And also, 10% is totally reasonable…I wouldn’t ever expect a “full” tip for take-out, it’s just that it’s pretty sweet when it does occasionally happen.

    49. Pithlit says:

      @CumaeanSibyl: One who’s facing a customer scratching her head and making a big deal over a tip less than 3 dollars. “Hmmmm….*headschratch* Why should I pay you this measly 2 bucks for this food that is better than McDonalds and put together by waitstaff that will make less than the McDonald’s emloyee would have if I’d gone there instead. Hmmmmmmmmmmm”. That was their way of saying “Lady, if you don’t like it, go to McDonalds”.

    50. Scuba Steve says:

      @GearheadGeek: I’m saying that somebody turning a burger king into a sit down restaurant is, in my opinion, a very poor businessman, and people that work there for tips are getting robbed when compared to a restaurant that has a more varied and upscale selection.

      But then thats why I don’t eat there. I’m not going to short someone on a tip that they deserve. But some places and servers deserve it by virtue of the menu items being more than a trivial amount of challenge.

    51. bohemian says:

      This whole thing seemed totally bizarre to me, the only Johnny Rockets I have come across is in the Mall of America. It is in a food court with the menu on a wall and a counter just like every other fast food place at the mall. The only difference is that they have a couple of bar stools at one end of the counter. I am assuming this is a different set up than most of the others.

      I really wish they would establish a living wage for all restaurant workers and abolish the tip system. Not only is the current system too confusing there is so much fraud in it. We had a restaurant manager had stolen millions in wait staff tips before she got caught. The only reason she was even caught was because she started adding even more “tip” onto customer bills for herself and enough people caught it.

      What really bothers me is this tip creep I keep seeing online. A few years ago 10-15% was considered ok. Now many people are saying 20% is the minimum and anything less means your an awful stingy person. Then I see people claiming 25-35% is appropriate. WTF. Seriously. Unless they are serving a huge party or doing some amazing feat of wait service I think that is a bit much. What I am seeing is hostility among service workers at customers wanting to shake them down for more money that the restaurants should be paying them in the first place. I would rather pay more for the items on the menu and be left out of the wage feud between the employees and the restaurant owner.

    52. Rusted says:

      @punkrawka: No, ten percent too generous. It’s not like a sit down dinner.

      @TinyBug: Agree.

      @laserjobs: Agree.

      @FangDoc: Agree there should be a charge for putting an order together, or possible just charging enough overhead to begin with. But don’t call anything that’s mandatory, any word that could be considered remotely voluntary, such as “tip” or “gratuity”. Try “Assembly Fee” or some such. More honest.

      @bill51773:All income should be taxed and is. How much is debatable though. Also anyone who doesn’t think that the social security withholding isn’t a tax, go be self employed and see how much you really fork over. It’s painful.

    53. Falconfire says:


      last time I checked, slavery had been outlawed in this country. That being said, your fiancee has all the power in the world to find a different/better job if she hates hers so much.

      She did, but the fact remains is that is LEGAL in the US. The fact you equate it to slavery points out the fact that even you think its ridiculous yet the rest of your post point to the fact that you dont give a shit 90% of restaurants including most upscale ones work on the VERY same principle of paying less than minimum wage to their staffs who receive tips, and having the tips make up the difference.

      And when your making nothing versus making 2.50 + tips to support your family, guess what your going to do.

      It’s a bag. Grab with fingers, lift up, stretch arm out towards customer. If I earned $2 every time I handed something to someone, I’d be a millionaire

      You do realize that they dont “JUST” grab a bag. They do exactly what they would do if you where there minus interacting with you. She had to run the order up, plate the order in the trays, pack your bag, make sure silverware and other items where in the bag, and run up the order in the register, EXACTLY what they would do if you where sitting at your table. You dont actually think the cooks do that? Do you? And unlike waiting where they maybe get 3-4 tables at one time, they can have 7-8 almost 12 orders going on at once.

      Now Brinker restaurants where good about it. IF you ran the to-go section, she made minimum wage since they saw that waiters refused to do the job because pretentious assholes felt that since they didnt see the work involved, they didnt need to tip. Outback and others did it differently, they make the tip part of the order.

      If you dont like this fact, and you think you should only tip to people who give you exceptional service, you should get the fed to change the minimum wage laws to force restaurants to pay minimum wage to EVERYONE who works for them.

    54. dreamcatcher2 says:

      @Pithlit: What if you went to Best Buy and picked out, say, a computer, and then when you brought it to the register and they rung it up for 15% over the listed price, and told you it was a mandatory gratuity. Would you happily pay it because you wouldn’t want to “seem cheap”? If a reasonably person would not expect that a gratuity will be included (big group at a restaurant for example) then tacking it on without notification is fraudulent; it misrepresents the price of the product.

    55. Pithlit says:

      @Falconfire: To your last paragraph: exactly. Then tips would truly be tips. The purpose of tips is to give an additional amount for good service. Restaurants decided that meant they could get away with paying less, so they refuse to pay an actual wage. Now we’re no longer tipping in appreciation of good service, but merely paying their wages to begin with. If waitstaff were paid a living wage, or at least minimum wage, then tips could be reserved for actual, exceptional service.

    56. Falconfire says:

      @stauffac: oh and I know PLENTY of people with bachelors and even masters degrees working at a restaurant because there are no available jobs in their line of work.

      I worked as a soda jerk simply because I was waiting on a job in the tech sector.

      You obviously haven’t been outside of whatever major city your from to realize the US is a much different place and in some areas jobs are just NOT falling out of the sky, even for skilled workers.

    57. ms3e says:

      Anyone catch the fact that the voided amount is not equal to the original charge?

    58. Falconfire says:

      @Pithlit: Exactly but the restaurant industry has a HUGE lobbying group in DC making sure that the laws don’t change. They constantly use the BS argument of it would cost waiters jobs if they had to pay a legit salary. Meanwhile mom and pop restaurants who do exactly that have managed to survive and even thrive.

    59. Pithlit says:

      @dreamcatcher2: No, because for one thing Best Buy employees aren’t paid 2 bucks an hour. They aren’t relying on tips for their wages. If retail went to a tip system, then yes indeed I would pay the tip. It will never happen, though.

      The whole point is sit down restaurants pay differently than any other service industry. It does indeed suck. I think it’s a rotten way to run things. But, since I know this is how they do it, and I decide to patronize them anyway, I’m morally obligated to pay, otherwise I’m ripping off the waiter/waitress providing me the service.

      I don’t think takeout orders require the full 15%, and I don’t think people who refuse to tip for takeout are scum of the earth on par with people who go in and sit down and still refuse to pay the tip. I just think the woman was being a cheapskate to confront the employee and make their life harder over less than three bucks. And while I don’t exactly condone what the restaurant did, I understand the message behind it.

    60. Theber says:

      @ds143: Gratuity is mandatory in all restaurants in The Bahamas- if you sit down. Usually 15% but I’ve seen 10% and it is customary to tip above the included gratuity.

      On topic:
      Why should I tip someone for bringing me a bag from the kitchen? I’m not taking up space at a table, or drinking water or getting bread or any of those things the wait staff would have had to actually do to earn a tip. Shoot, half the time they don’t even smile when I do a pick up order, so they have done nothing to earn a tip from me.

    61. dreamcatcher2 says:

      @Falconfire: One thing you may want to be aware of is that a lot of commenters here are probably from California, where not only are waitstaff paid a minimum wage of $8/hour, their tips are not allowed to count as a credit towards that wage. A waiter receiving $10 in tips in an hour in California is already making substantially more than I made at my first programming job in college. Your misplaced fury is especially misplaced if stauffac is from CA.

    62. MrMold says:

      Call the wahhmbulance. There are people doing food service that expect to be paid! Perhaps we should emulate the French, who pay wages to servers. Oh, they don’t think of themselves as lesser being so they don’t bow and scrape for measly coin. Too bad, so sad.

    63. arcticJKL says:

      The problem is the computer system.
      They need to charge a 15% takeout fee.
      No arguments there. You want it to go, it costs 15% more.

    64. Snarkysnake says:

      If a tip is mandatory is it still a tip? Or is it a hidden charge so that Johnny Rockets can pay an unrealistically low wage and get customers to make up the difference ? I have seen Johnny Rockets’s around when I vacation in Florida and have been curious to go there,but it just never worked out. They were on my mental “list” of places to visit to check out the hype. Note I said “were” … If this is the attitude they have for customers,I’ll just try another place.

    65. Osi says:

      Unless the Gratuity is listed before the order (like on the menu, etc), it is illegal in Alaska. It’s basically a hidden fee and can be disputed on the CC, and reported to various agencies.

    66. Phildawg says:

      I never pay tip on takeout… wtf? Well I do on my pizza at a local spot, but that is my choice.

      I thought it was their job to put things in boxes and bag. Should you also be paying a tip to your fedex/ups delivery guy?

      Maybe we should put money in our mailboxes for the USPS mailhandler…

      This country is so fooked up.

      How about we just pay quality workers what they should be paid and it be included in the price. I really respect Asian cultures when it comes to their anti-tipping policy.

    67. Hackoff says:

      They suck! Nuff Said.

    68. sleepydumbdude says:

      If they aren’t making enough quit and get a job elsewhere. Everyone I know who is a waiter makes plenty more than they would working at McDonalds or elsewhere. I did it for a while at Red Lobster and got fired for throwing a drink at somebody. I did it for almost a month and never made below $3 over minimum wage in my area. If they can’t find another job then stop living in a crap hole town with no jobs available.

    69. Gorky says:

      The best part is after FORCING the customer to pay a tip that may not even be warranted if they received crappy service, they actually have the balls to put another line for ADDITIONAL tips.

    70. Bill Brasky says:

      @ Rusted: Am I the only person who saw Res Dogs? Sheesh.

    71. Gorky says:

      And why are restaurants/bars the ONLY industry exempt from minimum wage laws. If they had to pay a decent wage like every other company tips wouldnt be needed. In a lot of other countries tipping is frowned upon. Personally I HATE tipping a standard rate. If I order 2 hotdogs and fries OR I order Surf and turf why should the tip be different when the waiter/waitress performed the same amount of work for me.

    72. GearheadGeek says:

      @Gorky: They’re not the only ones exempt. There are also straight-commission and mostly-commission jobs like sales and dealership automotive technicians.

    73. Pylon83 says:

      I absoultley refuse to tip if I’m not sitting down inside, or if it wasn’t delivered to my home. I don’t tip at Sonic, because I consider their bringing it to my car no different than bringing it to the drive-thru window. I NEVER tip for takeout anywhere. It’s absolutely absurd that tipping has gotten so out of hand. I’m sorry that waitstaff is so poorly paid, but that isn’t my problem. I’ve got plenty of other things to worry about in life, and I don’t need to waste any time worrying about how much the person who brought my food up to the counter is making. Frankly, I don’t care how much they make. That has absolutely no effect on my decision to tip. I don’t care if they “Rely” on the tips or not. They took a job, knowing what was going to be required of them for a stated wage. I’m not going to feel personally responsible to fill in their wage gap. However, when I do dine in, I start with a standard 15% tip. If the service is better than average, I bump it up to 20%. Fortunately (or unfortunately for my wallet), the service at most places here in Chicago is pretty decent, so I typically end up leaving a full 20%, but it’s not because I feel compelled to. However, if the service is below average, I drop the tip down to 10%. There have been a few occasions where I have left zero, simply because I was disgusted by the level of service we received. I never base my tipping on the quality of the food. That’s not the servers fault. My tipping is based on attitude, whether my drink stays reasonably full, how long it takes them to greet us, take our order, whether they come back to make sure everything is OK, check up on us, etc. Mandatory tipping infuriates me, and I make a point to avoid places that implement it.
      That all being said, I would absolutely support the abolishment of the $2.15 server wage, and the implementation of at least the $5.15 (or whatever the current standard minimum wage is) for servers, and I’d tolerate a slight upward adjustment in menu prices to cover it.

    74. I hear ya Pylon83, some of these twerps are still living their jr. high lives – likely they have the accompanying acne.

    75. jordy777 says:

      Since Coconut Grove is a tourist trap, and Miami is a top tourist destination for South Americans, Brits, French Canadians, Germans, and everyone else in between, the gratuity is necessary. Generally speaking, these people are very poor tippers, simply because that is not something they are accustomed to. Rather than modify a long-since adopted custom, it only makes sense to make the gratuity mandatory and ensure that the service staff are paid appropriately.

      The “restaurants should just pay their people themselves” argument is hollow. 15% tipping is the standard, if restaurants started to pay their servers more money, costs would go up, as would prices, and the majority of people would still leave a tip regardless, I know I would. However, I do think that restaurants should pay their people more, we are just talking about the wrong people. Dishwashers and cooks are the doormats of the industry, and they are the people that are doing the real blood and sweat work.

      And if wages are raised for servers, what is going to happen? Will there be big signs up in the restaurant for all to see saying “TIPPING NO LONGER REQUIRED? Customs, much like habits, are hard to break.

      With regard to curbside takeaway service in many casual restaurants, I do believe a 10% tip is very fair, as do the majority of the people working in those positions. Most, but not all of these people are paid at the minimum wage (few are on the tip credit wage), and they realize that they are not delivering the same level of service as their counterparts on the floor. But one misconception about these people is that their job is easy. “They just put stuff in a box and bring it out to me.” Don’t kid yourself, that job is a pain in the ass, and those people can’t wait to become servers (and servers won’t touch that position).

      Where all of the aforementioned issues merge; foreign clientèle (and their poor tips), variation in service levels and wage, mandatory tipping, and then inclusion of government enforcement, is where I side with Johnny Rockets in this matter.

      Years ago, on South Beach, a highly regarded restaurant was discriminatory in their application of gratuity inclusion, in violation of federal law. Apparently the problem was systemic, so restaurants providing table service uniformly applied a service charge. I do not know if the application is uniform in Coconut Grove, but I would not be surprised if it were.

      Here, Johnny Rockets is dealing with a tricky subject, because if they were to apply a 15% mandatory gratuity for table service, and modify that gratuity to 10% or less for take out orders, there is the very real possibility that institutional control over the application of the varied gratuity could slip, servers could apply the lowered “take-out gratuity” for a favored group, and then Johnny Rockets would find themselves in violation of Civil Rights law.

      It becomes a trickier subject than at first glance when you put some thought into it. And who the hell gets Johnny Rockets as takeout anyway? Someone who doesn’t tip, thats who.

      PS – Part two of the story, where they ran out of burgers and fries etc., is just plain retarded. I would have raised hell.

    76. CecilMcCecil says:

      I just paid this 10% mandatory gratuity for takeout at a local Chinese restaurant last night. The sushi place in town does the same thing.

      I am not taking up space in their restaurant, or using their restroom. They do not have clean up my table or wash my dishes. I think the restaurant owners are making out like bandits on this one.

    77. ophmarketing says:

      I’m sorry…but who in the world tips for a TAKE-OUT order?

    78. CecilMcCecil says:

      And, the credit card reciept that I got to sign (which does not indicate the madatory gratuity) had the usual line for me to include further gratuities for my take-out.

    79. CecilMcCecil says:

      “making sure their take out has silverware”

      Is that code for throwing a bag of plastic forks in the bag?

    80. Rajio says:

      Can one of you yanks please tell me what in the world are “American Fries”?!

      (Also i love that they include a line for “additional tip” … as if!)

    81. katylostherart says:

      @Pithlit: a lot of restaurant workers are only paid minimum wage, whether it’s the state or federal minimum wage depends on the state and the establishment.

      wasn’t there even something on this site from a dc waitress where she got $2.16 an hour and literally lived on her tips?

    82. Scuba Steve says:

      @bill51773: Mr. Pink does not TIP.

    83. Steve Trachsel, Ace says:

      @ophmarketing: Most people do, actually, if its from a real restaurant.

      I used to be head waiter for one of the Brinker Restaurants. We had our bartenders or host do the takeout orders during the day until early evening (mainly a service bar, not a full one). They usually got a dollar or two for takeout orders (people rounded the ticket up to the next round number often). When we had a designated takeout person during the dinner shift that hostess would be on server pay because she would make $12-$15 bucks an hour on tips. It was voluntary, but most people paid a little for the convenience. We DID include a mandatory 10% on large preorders. We had a number of sales reps that used us for big takeout orders ($150+) that they would call in hours early and expect to be ready in the middle of the lunch rush. We notified them of the charge in advance. Ive noticed in most cases in life if you tell people about extra charges in advance they dont complain.

      Personally, I tip very well for good service. Waiters work for tips to ensure better quality service. If we took them off tip systems we would see worst service. Mandatory tips should be disclosed on the menu clearly.

    84. Panamapeter says:

      Just to be fair to waitpersons, we all know they tip at McD’s

    85. XianZhuXuande says:

      Haha, I would have seen that, charged it to a good credit card, enjoyed my meal, and contested the charge later just to poke them in the eye for being so unethical. But submitting to Consumerist is an even better idea. Check out that other link posted near the top. They charged that guy for other fluff, like the lemon that came with his take-out coke (and was not requested).

    86. jayw7 says:

      I’m a server in MI and I make 2.65 an hour. Yes it would be nice if they tipped on takeouts and maybe 1 person in 10 does. I don’t get paid anymore when i’m getting your order. i’d say a dollar or so for a take out is fine maybe 2 or more if the order is over 50$. including the tip without telling her was shady. at one of the restaraunts i go to they call it “takeout charge” min wager here is 7.15 and thats what our dishwashers make, our cooks start at 8. would i do any of their jobs? no I make on average 15$ an hour. But i work my butt off for it. Because our store is “quick casual” which is sit down inside but we have a drive thru. (i say if you want takeout, go through drive) about half of my tables don’t tip at all. I say if you can’t afford to tip, you can’t afford to go out to eat. but including them without notice is Wrong!

    87. cmdr.sass says:

      Only fools tip for takeout.

    88. dugn says:

      The best part was that the manager of the store responded to the thread with a poorly-written defensive diatribe. You gotta go back and check it out at the first comment above.


      Wow! Talk about bad PR.

    89. jarchie219 says:

      How about tipping at a self service buffet?

      Should I tip at all? The prices in this area are pretty high already.

      I usually leave $1 per head on the table hoping that the cleanup person gets to keep it.

    90. Falconfire says:

      @dreamcatcher2: Actually only Vallywag, Wonkette, and Defamer are not based in NYC. Most commenters on this site are East Coast based, and the story was about Florida.

    91. Goutnout says:

      @Pithlit: Every restaurant does it differently. I used to work at outback steakhouse and takeout was done by high school kids earing a fair wage $7-$8 a hour. A server would be a moron to work at a place where they had to deal with takeout on top of their tables. At most places i go to it’s the bartenders job.

    92. camman68 says:

      @Pithlit: As soon as tipping is aboloshed for a different method, the customer service in a restaurant would disappear. The server would have no reason to provide decent service. If we get rid of tipping, what is the next step? Outsourcing these jobs to India?

    93. LionelEHutz says:

      If this weren’t a “restaurant” then the practice would be called mugging or a shakedown.

    94. MrEvil says:

      Why should I tip someone for shoving food in a bag? I can go to a fast food place and get the same level of take-out service without having to leave a tip. What makes these assholes special? Now if they bring it out to my car…that’s different and is deserving of a tip. But when they provide little more than a place to exchange money for goods why the hell do they expect a goddamn tip?

      Mind you yes, servers in sit-down restaurants make less than minimum wage typically. HOWEVER the restaurant is required to pay the servers extra should their tips plus reduced hourly wage not equal minimum wage. Probably the reason the restaurant put that bullshit mandatory tip on the receipt.

    95. lukobe says:

      This is BS. Raise prices and pay the staff more. I only want to tip for exceptional service. (Of course I tip everyone now, given the current system…but I don’t like the current system.)

    96. kenblakely says:

      @punkrawka: You give a 10% tip on >>TAKEOUT<< !? You’re a fool.

    97. riverstyxxx says:

      I did an article about tipping a long time ago. It’s on my site if you want to read it.

    98. MeMikeYouNot says:

      I live in Las Vegas and once every six months or so eat at one of the many buffets that are in all the casinos–and regardless of what you hear, they are no longer 1.99. I went alone(restaurants in town hate single diners) a couple of weeks ago and had a dinner buffet at a “locals” casino, meaning sort off the strip area. The buffet charge was $9.99 plus tax. I signed the ticket, the buffet was just as bad as I expected and the “service” was non existent after she brought a drink(all 3 of the plates I used were still there when I left) I left no tip at all, which I seldom do. Imagine my surprise when I got home and looked at the bill and there was a 10% gratuity. Yah, I should have read the ticket before signing or disputed it, but I figured the 1.00 was worth it to remind never to eat there again.

    99. forgottenpassword says:

      You do NOT deserve a tip for sticking my food in a bag & then having me come into the place & pay for it at the counter. Just as simple as that. (the only place that I do that is at Ihop, & its my choice to do so).

      You will probably get a tip if you hand deliver it to my car (like at the sonic “carhop” fastfood restaurants)…. however… if I am at the drive thru picking up the order…. no tip. Sorry

      I refuse to pay “automatic” gratuities. You dont earn/deserve ANYTHING if it is automatic.

    100. I wonder if you can put a negative number on the additional tip. Or, another way, demand that they refund the tip and treat you like a table order. You will write in a tip if it is required. Since, my understanding of take out generally works that the kitchen puts it in a bag and the server brings it from the back to you, I don’t feel a tip is mandatory, or even really possible. Let’s just say, the waiter who handled it would have to go really above and beyond in getting the thing from the back to the front. Like cartwheels or sex favors. 10% my ass.

    101. Onouris says:

      @MsClear: No wonder your budget doesn’t allow for take aways when you add 20% to every restaurant meal. That’s insane. 20% of the price of your food for carrying it to you because that is their job? Shit, I’m getting a job as a waiter.

      On another note, tipping for take away takes the biscuit. I’d hate to be insulting to the rest of America when I say only in America, but where else would you see something like that. Here, have free money for hating your job and pressing some buttons and treating me like crap.

      I can’t get my head around the American states that force some stupid high price onto everything you buy after you get to the counter (I know the UK taxes too, but it’s not added after you get to the counter its the standard price, and it’s not different between places in the same country, which is also insane, but that’s another story), but forcing tips, get the hell out.

      Minimum wage is just that, the minimum wage you can be paid, you won’t be getting less than that. Plenty of jobs are on minimum wage with no tips.

    102. Gorky says:

      @camman68: If abolishing the tip and replacing it with a decent wage would provide bad service then how do all the other countries where tipping doesnt happen, have good service? They do what a lot of places should do and that’s FIRE those who dont perform to the level of service that is required of them. There is already too much coddling in this country

    103. CumaeanSibyl says:

      @Pithlit: I guess I don’t see the problem. $2.57 isn’t much money, true, but things like that can add up over time. If you’re trying to manage your money, you may have a limit set for what you can spend on non-essential purchases like entertainment or dining out, and extra fees could put you over your budget. So I don’t think she was out of line to question the fee, but it was totally out of line for the employee to lie to her. (She may have become obnoxious about it, I don’t know, but that’s when you call your manager instead of making up excuses about being out of burgers.)

    104. forgottenpassword says:


      Yeah, I agree…. I would have raised hell at corporate for THAT kind of treatment (the cash register jockey lying & saying that they were out of food because the customer didnt want to pay an automatic tip for no REAL service rendered).

      And to the others…. i dont buy the BS rationale that because the waitress has to take time from serving tables (& earning tips) to stick my burger in a bag that THAT somehow deserves a tip? You dont deserve a tip for missing out on others’ tips.

    105. Dsmith171 says:

      I tip $1.00 for take-outs at non-fastfood restaurants. Generally, the same amount I tip a bartender for bringing me a beer. I love it when a restaurant adds the tip in automatically for dine-in meals. I figure if they want to determine the appropriate amount to tip for me, then bully for them…and me. Saves me money as it will generally be less than I would have left in the first place.

    106. NapoleonEli says:

      $2.57. . Thats almost a gallon of gas. In Ca gas is 3.25 a gallon so im taking my gratuity and putting it in my gas tank.

    107. forgottenpassword says:

      lol… I just noticed that the restaurant’s phone number, manager name, & employee name is right there on the reciept…LOL! NICE! ;)

    108. StevieD says:

      Waffle House adds a mandatory tip to all take out orders as the waitstaff must take time away from in store customers to handle the order. If WH did not add the tip, the waitstaff could just refuse to handle the takeout order in order to devote more time to the in store paying (tipping) customers.

      Seems quite fair when you think about it.

      However, 15% is a full service, sit down and be served tip for many people. Adding 15% is a bit on the high side for grab and go meals.

    109. fuzzymuffins says:

      blame this all on the fact that restaurants have the legal right to pay employees a fraction of minimum wage and expect them to live on tips.

      there should be a mandatory 15% if it’s staff makes less than minimum wage. either pay your employees a fair wage or mandate a gratuity. waiters and waitresses are human too and to have to deal with $3 an hour base salary is almost slave labor. restaurants REGULARLY demand an extra hour of work from employees that don’t involve the prospect of a tip (rolling silverware, cleaning the kitchen)… that should be qualified as slave labor for that hour…

      waiters/waitresses are caught in the middle of it. you never know what you’re going to make in a day. it’s an ugly feeling kissing customer ass only to be screwed on a tip.

      if you don’t want to tip… get a tv dinner and STAY HOME.

    110. StevieD says:

      BTW, a family member used the Applebees car side service the other night. Applebees claimed to have a waitstaff member dedicated to the car side service. I think an automatic tip was added to that bill as well.

    111. MsClear says:

      @ Onouris

      20% is generous, but I hardly think it’s excessive. It goes without saying that this is a tip for good service. Eating out is a luxury, but that’s not because of tips. It’s just a luxury.

    112. forgottenpassword says:


      If mandatory tipping is allowed, then what incentive is there for a server to provide good service?

      You know what is ALSO an ugly feeling? Being made to pay a tip when your server is a complete ass to you.

    113. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      I also absolutely support servers making at least the standard minimum wage. I also would support having the prices go up a little.

      I go out to eat for convenience, relaxation, and pleasure, not to be given the chore of figuring out the restaurant owner’s payroll for him.

    114. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      @forgottenpassword: The incentive for a server to provide good service is exactly the same incentive that the rest of us have to provide good service on our jobs, moron. Of course this will make no sense to you if you don’t feel obliged to provide good service on your job.

      A server making minimum wage can also be tipped, of course, if the service is above average. Some other jobs in which the worker is paid minimum wage or above also customarily get tipped, such as services provided to you when you are traveling.

    115. Natheo says:

      There are a lot of self righteous people that post here. It’s funny. It also explains why my job sucks. :(

      At least I almost have my degree, so I can stop dealing with you assholes on a day to day basis.

    116. dustinwwhite says:

      Royal Caribbean Cruise lines add 15% to every single thing you buy on the ship except jewerly. They add it to a bottle of water, they add it to the ice cream cone someone took 5 seconds to sccop out…They do it because they refuse to take responsiblity for paying their hotel division employees fair wages.

    117. MercuryPDX says:

      Tipping is for your Server and the Delivery driver, if you’re not serving me food at a table or bringing it to my door, forget it.

      Buffet restaurants, same deal with exceptions. If you are clearing empty plates, bringing new utensils, and keeping the drinks filled, OK. Otherwise you get nothing.

      I’ve seen tip lines added to receipts at Quiznos and even McDonalds. Outrageous to think Fast Food workers deserve a tip for doing their job.

    118. MercuryPDX says:

      Waffle House adds a mandatory tip to all take out orders as the waitstaff must take time away from in store customers to handle the order.

      Not @fuzzymuffins, but to your point:
      A five minute interaction in which I pay and walk out with a bag is not worthy of a tip equal to what I would give for 20+ minutes of service that requires actual attention. You want to recoup something for lost time? Fine. Call it a “Take-away charge” and add a dollar to the bill.

    119. ben1711 says:

      Ok….enlighten me. Who is the tip going to if I tip on a takeout order. Am I crazy for wanting to see the face of the person I am tipping. If I’m tipping that 15 percent automatically its going into Johnny Rockets bottom line as far as a fool like me is concerned. Help me out on this.

    120. forgottenpassword says:


      no need to be a jerk, I have dealt with workers who provide horrible service basically because they get paid the same no matter what. I think earning a tip is the way to make sure servers do their job well.

    121. felixgolden says:

      The thing that bothers me with tis situation is that if she were paying cash, she probably wouldn’t have seen the receipt until AFTER she paid, and therefore not noticed the added gratuity.

      As far as running out of certain items, my sister used to own a Johnny Rocket’s and all the items were made fresh. Nothing was to be frozen. This meant daily deliveries of meat, bread, etc. Fries were cut on premises, etc. Assuming this is still company policy, other than the root beer, I could see how this could happen.

    122. ChrisKat08 says:

      I always figure that I should be paying less for takeout. I’m not taking up space in the restaurant, and less staff is needed to deal with me.

      Takeout is not worth as much to me as a sit-down dinner. It’s not a bonus that it is convenient.

    123. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      @forgottenpassword: OK, please accept my apologies for being a jerk. :)

      Thing is, why do servers who are paid an OK wage need extra incentives from customers just to do their jobs properly? Is there something wrong with them? I work in a very high “internal customer” contact IT support position. Even if I am patient, kind, and thorough, I still don’t have the right to demand that my users supplement my pay out of their own pockets.

      The fact is that if I do my job well and get many complements from people I train and assist, I get to keep my job and maybe get a yearly raise or even promoted. I may get a yearly bonus if bonuses happen to be on the table that year, but that’s more a “thanks for helping the company make a lot of money” gift than it is an individual recognition. If I screw up too many times, I may be retrained or fired. I live with this awareness. There is absolutely no reason why restaurants need not operate on the same system. The job of waiting tables needs to join the 21st century already.

    124. B says:

      @speedwell: You know that beforetips, servers make around 3 bucks an hour, right? Legally, if they don’t make enough tips to reach minimum wage, their employer is supposed to make up the difference, but I wouldn’t call that an ok wage.

    125. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      @B: Yes, I know all about the lousy waitstaff minimum wage. That’s why I was careful to refer only to servers making an OK wage (a market wage, say). I was addressing the stated concerns that if paid adequately, servers would give bad service. I think better of people than that, even if most posters don’t. So my expectations, pardon me, are a little higher.

    126. Falconfire says:

      @speedwell: The problem with your argument is unless your in the mentioned California, just about no one makes a “fair market” wage.

      I made more serving ice cream at a dairy queen than my fiance could make WITH TIPS some nights. Thats just retarded.

    127. aldyn says:

      i don’t think tips should be included on the bill, but i think people should tip for takeout.

      the deli/restaurant i work at (Isaac’s Deli – central PA chain), does dine-in, catering, and takeout.

      i’m a tron and make 2.83 an hour (plus tips) but i also do takeout orders, which is nearly just as much work as waiting on a table. i know alot of other restaurants don’t work the same way Isaac’s does (trons do alot more than waiting tables), so it might not be right for all places.

      But i hate working on takeout orders WHILE having dine-in tables, and not getting anything out of it.

    128. emax4 says:

      @PotKettleBlack: That’s what I was thinking, which was to add a negative number. They can’t argue with it because you’re adding your own tip, plus or minus. On top of that, you could always dispute the charge with your CC company, if you charge it.

    129. emax4 says:

      Something else, (I hope I’m not repeating this since I didn’t feel like reading the sea of comments), she could have gone over to the place and flagged down the incoming customers to notify them that they’re out of food, and to recommend a place that DOES have food and DOES NOT charge a 15% gratuity for take out orders.

    130. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      @Falconfire: The problem with YOUR argument is it’s insanely one-sided. I was not addressing the issue of servers who don’t make a more acceptable wage than the current waitstaff minimum wage. Nor did I say anything about a “fair” market wage. Please take at least one remedial reading course.

    131. kable2 says:

      I do not tip. Stupid custom.

    132. itsallj says:

      i used to work for Johnny Rockets ( for 2 years) and I am not definding what they did, and i never did it. But Johnny Rockets automaically claims that a server gets an 8% gratuity for every check. so when you dont tip on a take out that server acually loses money when helping you. so i guess this location is just trying to make its emplyees happy because where i worked everyone hated togoes and would try to pass the phone off to another employee. if by adding a tip to my take out means that my food is ready when i get there and its how i ordered it then fine by me, but 15% is high they should have gone with a 10%. less people would care and would just sign and get on with life.

    133. @kable2: Are you in America?

    134. deserthiker says:


      You must enjoy your food with phlegm.

    135. deserthiker says:

      Those who don’t care to tip have an easy solution: eat at home. There are so many food options that you don’t even need to know how to cook to have a good (OK, edible) meal at home. All you need is a microwave. Enjoy!

    136. Michael Belisle says:

      @PotKettleBlack: John Hargrave tried it as a part of a ZUG’s 2nd credit card prank. It didn’t work.

      @dugn: Poorly written? You’re too kind. The manager hit the caps lock key and deserves to die. I would have said something like “The manager is a total jackass.”

      @Falconfire: “Some nights”? So what? How’s your fiancé do on the other nights? Or on a great night? How about overall for the month? Or the year? Does he keep track of his tips and pay taxes on the full amount?

      If your fiancé wants regular, guaranteed income, maybe he should get a job scooping ice cream too.

    137. @Onouris: With all due respect, I don’t think you fully understand how things work here. Tipped employees in most states aren’t paid minimum wage.

      As for taxes, US state and local sales tax is usually much lower than VAT/GSM depending on your country. It just requires some math on the customer’s part to calculate the final price.

    138. riverstyxxx says:

      Alright, I don’t like to spam my own site, but I wrote an article about how much tipping is mainly due to the wrong reasons. And it’s generated the most hate-mail of all of them too, mainly from people who are servers. It was written back in September and people still poke at it.
      I’d like to get more comments on it though, here’s the address:

    139. shenanigrams says:

      look at the order… wish the government and state would tax the jerk a lot more because he’s going to be in hospital soon causing us all more financial pain.

      everything should be more expensive for unhealthy food — taxes, gratuities, miscellaneous surcharges.

      eat some veggies and stop become another medicare problem.

    140. Szin says:

      Ahhh Johnny Rockets. Home to some of the greasiest, most disgusting burgers I’ve ever had.

      As for the tipping matter, I’ve actually had this discussion with a waitress who I went to class with. IMO, tips are earned through good service, hence the word Gratuity! I’m actually an excellent tipper. If service is good, I usually leave about 20-25%. However, I’ve left nickels or pennies for terrible service. And I’m talking really bad service, like an hour wait for water. I’ve walked out of restaurants without leaving a tip when it’s already included on the bill, and the service was awful. Tips are earned.

    141. drjayphd says:

      @shenanigrams: Nice to know you’re such an expert on dietary concerns, and that this one meal would push the submitter over the brink and into greasy, greasy cholesterol-induced… uh, death.

      When was the last time you fell off the wagon again?

    142. Antediluvian says:

      Okay, it feels like I’m the only one (of those who’ve commented, anyway) who parsed Carey’s post-tax bit properly.

      The issue is not that they calculated the “tip” on the post-tax amount; it’s clear the used the pre-tax amount. The issue is that a “tip” that IS NOT VOLUNTARY is taxable.

      The restaurant wouldn’t let the customer purchase the food without the tip, so the restaurant owes tax on it (which is supposed to be paid by the purchaser, presumably).

      So the total amount should have been $17.16 + $2.57 = $19.73, PLUS sales tax on $19.73 (looks like 8%, so $1.58), totalling $21.31.

      As it was, the customer was charged $21.10.

      The state wants its 8% of that $2.57 “tip” — 21 cents.

      If the tip were voluntary, the state wouldn’t be entitled to that money.

      BTW, the other blog talking about this establishment had an apparent reply from the manager. Worth reading, if you can stomach the all-caps.
      And if you can stomach the arrogance.

    143. cde says:

      @fuzzymuffins: By law, those same restaurants have to make up the difference in wage if the waiter does not make the difference in tips. But then again, why mandate a gratuity? Just pay regular wages.

    144. cde says:

      @Falconfire: You really need to check the other tip “discussions” here on Consumerist. It’s not just california that don’t allow for less then minimum wage for “service industry positions dependent on tips”. Alaska and hawaii only allow two dollars under State minimum wage of 7.50 as the tip differences. And there are more examples, but I’m not going to look them up again. Not even half the states have that stupid 2.50 an hour wage.

    145. cde says:

      @probablyawkward: Wrong. Waiters in every state are paid minimum wage, either by wage+tips or wage+underpaid tips+difference by employer. At minimum, in a pay period, they get paid the same as any other minimum wage worker. In EVERY state.

    146. Onouris says:

      @probablyawkward: No I’m sure their basic wage before tips is below minimum wage, but they legally have to be paid minimum wage if their tips don’t make it up, hence the word minimum, so I just don’t see how the argument they get a crap wage works for them and not everyone else who makes just as much.

      The crazy tipping of Americans makes some people actually think it’s a requirement of eating out there. I’m too tight to be giving away money unless it’s really above and beyond, though. I see people tipping just because they think they should. When I point out that the person was actually a bit of an ass and was never around, ‘ah it’s ok’. What the hell :o

      Brain washed! Hmmm now if only I can turn that to my advantage somehow.

    147. OnceWasCool says:

      Papa Johns does it behind your back!

      We ordered a couple of pizzas and used debit card for the order. When it arrived, we gave the delivery guy cash and signed the receipt. Later we pulled up the bank statement and noticed the Papa Johns bill had jumped 4 bucks.

      In my opinion, I think the manager was tipping himself. He said “I don’t know what happened but it will be fixed by morning”.

      We have NEVER used plastic for Pizza since.

    148. t-spoon says:

      I’m a waiter and to all those who say they don’t tip because society tells them to, or whatever their reasoning is, I have one simple request: tell your server before they even take your drink order that you will not be tipping them under any circumstances. If you don’t want to tip, fine. But you know damn well that your server is operating under the assumption that you are.

    149. wufflebunny says:

      I live in Sydney Australia where tipping is not mandatory (and yes, waitstaff have a minimum wage here (I think it’s something like 10 or 15$ an hour).

      I know that it’s a massive system to change, but with the mark up that restaurants are already making on food (here, a tiny bit of steak and 3 green beans on a massive white plate will set you back $35), I would really object to paying a further 15!% for service. I know it’s callous for me to say but I don’t want to help pay someone’s wage because the restaurant who is making an absolute fortune off me already is too stingy to pay its staff properly. In the short term I might be helping that particular waitstaff, but in the long term I am just helping the problem along. I don’t know too much about workplace relations, but how about actually helping petition for some sort of hospitality union or something to help people who work in catering rather that helping perpetuate a system where people are forced to scape and bow and smile in order to make up a large chunk of what should be part of their regular wages anyway?

      We don’t always get good service here. Some waiters are crap, some waiters are good. I see my tip (when I tip, I usually round up about 20%) as my feedback as to how service was, not the meal. But if forced tips are becoming the norm, how does that help encourage good service? I think it’s a very sneaky way of doing it. I would rather have optional tipping and marked up food upfront like we do here.. at least I know what I am paying for when I walk in the door.

    150. aikoto says:

      Huh. Annoying, but if you get to write in the total, and you put in the original amount before signing it, what could they do then?

    151. timsgm1418 says:

      I’m not sure the servers would agree with you. My daughter is a server and can bring home $300+ on a Saturday night, there’s no way the Pub would pay her that much. There are always going to be creeps that don’t tip just cuz they’re creeps, but for the most part the servers make (and earn in my opinion) well over minimum wage with the tip system the way it is now. I’m sure your idea is well meaning but I think it would end up hurting more servers than it would help. When my daughter worked at pizza place (I won’t list the name but they had a hut like structure)she would regularly bring home $100 on a Friday night while some of her co-workers would walk out with $30-$40, the reason? she was a better server and therefore deserved it. If they all got paid the same, where would be the incentive for providing above average service? I will gladly pay over 20% for great service, but lousy service gets maybe 10% if that@Pithlit:

    152. timsgm1418 says:

      my daughter is fortunate where she is a server, she has actually told repeat non-tippers, she will not serve them, and her manager allows this. She works hard, she makes sure their drinks are never empty, makes sure their food is correct and on time, she deserves to be tipped. Her philosophy on serving food is “If I wouldn’t eat it, I’m not taking it to my table.” I know not all servers are like that, but for the servers that are very good, they deserve to be tipped accordingly..random required tips are crap in my opinion@TomPiltoff:

    153. Saboth says:


      I tip for services rendered. What service pray tell, are they providing me when I pick up my own food, provide my own drinks, etc.? Preparing the food? Lol that is built into their cost structure. No…no tip unless I am being waited on hand and foot, and even then, if you want 15%, you’d better do a good job.

    154. kable2 says:

      actually i am not in the states, i am in canada

      /dont tip
      //well sometimes i will tip a buck or two, but not usually

    155. @cde: A large number of restaurants make it really difficult for the servers to actually collect that additional money. It’s illegal but common for places that aren’t large chains.

    156. @Onouris: If you’re “too tight” to tip you shouldn’t be eating out. Period.

    157. @TomPiltoff: I wonder how many non-tipper would actually do this? And then I wonder if the poor service they received would just reinforce their beliefs that waiters don’t deserve tips.

      I’m always shocked by the distance people will go to justify their bad behavior.

    158. cde says:

      @probablyawkward: And thats when you take them to court. And call the AG. And the IRS. Especially the IRS. And the press. Get public pity on your side.

    159. snoop-blog says:

      i tip for good service only. if no service was provided hence carry out, no tip will be provided either. how is the restaurant going to sell food if they aren’t willing to pay people to bag it for me. i don’t tip at taco bell, because someone had to get it together and put it in a bag for me. carry out tips kill me! i have to bribe someone at the restaurant sell me the food?

    160. vladthepaler says:

      i’ve never heard of tipping for take-out. Where’s the service, what are you supposed to be tipping for? I’ll tip the waitress if I eat in a restaurant, and I’ll tip the delivery person if I get delivery and there’s no delivery charge. (If there is a delivery charge, I figure that’s the “mandatory gratuity”.)

    161. Rectilinear Propagation says:

      A few seconds later they told me that they were out of what i had ordered.

      One might wonder if something else happened for them to “magically” run out of what the OP ordered. Surely just asking about the tip wouldn’t be enough to make them freak out? But then you read this:

      “It’s the law that we have here.”

      The law? Really? Seriously?
      Further proof that, even when being paid not to be, people are jerks.

    162. Phunk says:

      Having been a resident of Florida, this isn’t at all uncommon. Food establishments, due to tourism being the central economy down there, were sick and tired of people not tipping the waitstaff.

      It’s odd to see i ton takeout but I can understand why they did it.

    163. timsgm1418 says:

      my daughter has the same problem, if people don’t tip her she loses money because she has to pay the runners, the hostess and the bartenders that make the drinks based on her sales, not tips. Also I don’t think anyone is forced to be a server, and I believe most understand how the pay works, if they are working in a decent place, they pretty much decided how much they get paid, by their service,I don’t think most servers would prefer forced tipping because generally they can make more the way the system is now. Where she works they get to decide on large parties whether to comp (I think that’s what it’s called but not sure) the tip, automatically adding it, or take a chance they’ll get more. 90% of the time she chooses the right way for that table and makes big bucks doing so.@itsallj:

    164. timsgm1418 says:

      excellent point, and no, most of them do NOT claim all their tips.@Michael Belisle:

    165. Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @Antediluvian: Thanks for explaining the tax problem.

      But Good Lord, I hope that was just someone pretending to be the manager on that other blog.

      Managers have no business shouting at customers about how little the wait staff gets paid. Just because the law allows you to pay them so little doesn’t mean you can’t pay them more. Furthermore, a gratuity is voluntary by definition. Mandatory tipping is just stupid: if you want your employees to have a decent wage then give it to them.

    166. Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @vladthepaler: Yeah, but the delivery charge goes to the restaurant not the driver.

    167. samurailynn says:

      Okay, not all states allow restaurants to pay their tipped employees below minimum wage. Also, if the employees are having such a hard time of it, they could get a job somewhere else. The reason they stay is that they make good money with tips. Otherwise they would all just go to work pumping gas and bagging groceries. Also, there are restaurants that have someone just for To Go orders, and they are typically paid more than the servers. At the restaurant I worked at it was about $3 an hour more.

    168. savdavid says:

      What gets me is how tip % keeps going up. Inflation is going up so tips go up with it. A $10.00 burger plate 20 years ago at 10% would give the waiter $1.00. Now the same $20.00 at 10% would give the waiter $2.00. I don’t understand why the percentage is up to 15%, 18% or 20% today. It make no sense. What will it be in another 20 years….50%. I don’t see why I have to pay more on my food and a higher percentage on tips. It sounds like double-dipping from my pocket.

    169. Chols says:

      We had automatin 18.5% gratuity on room service orders at this hotel I worked at. When someone would tip me, I let them know that the tip was included. Most still tipped me anyway.

      I know when I go to Sonic I don’t tip. They make minimum wage for non-tipped employees.

    170. Keith_Indy says:

      Here’s a compromise. Don’t call it a gratuity for takeout, call it a service charge. And say it up front, we charge $5 extra for takeout orders.

    171. Onouris says:

      @probablyawkward: Tell you what, why don’t you just go down the street, find people doing their jobs, and just give them free money for the hell of it, good service or bad, like you do in restaurants for people who do nothing more than write down your order and carry a plate.

    172. flowerofhighrank says:

      I started reading and thinking that the tip was bullshit. Now I think htat a tip on take-out is okay if the sides and etc. are included. That’s a lot of work. A full 15 percent? Gee. If I want a Johnny Rockets burger that bad, I guess…
      But saying you’re out of burgers? That’s just kind of pathertic. And if the servers don’t get every penny, it’s illegal.

    173. @Onouris: I actually tip based on service. If you don’t want to tip that’s your prerogative. Just don’t act like it’s some kind of moral or revolutionary act.

      Anyone who says not tipping is somehow hurting the restaurant is delusional. No one is forced to wait tables but there’s no reason to look down on those who do.

    174. t-spoon says:

      @ snoop-blog: oftentimes when a restaurant offers to-go orders the servers are responsible for putting the order in, getting it ready and bringing it to you. So considering that I can be juggling five tables AND making sure you got your extra ranch dressing, I wouldn’t call a buck or two extravagant, nor would I compare it to fast food.

      @ Onouris: you obviously have never waited tables.

      Finally, I hate this attitude people have of ‘I don’t tip just for the sake of it’. What does that mean? Obviously if your server sucks you tip them less, but surely when you go out you have certain reasonable expectations. I always assume my waiter will refill my glass and bring my food out within a reasonable amount of time, and thus I assume I will be leaving a good tip.

    175. ltlbbynthn says:

      I don’t even tip anymore since I moved to Florida. They always add that shit onto my total, and more than once I’ve felt screwed realizing I tipped somebody twice. Their loss. I tip over 20%.

    176. rdm24 says:

      It’s a good reason to quit tipping altogether, and incoproprate the cost of service into the price of the meal. Reserve tipping for truly exrtaodinary service.

      But don’t withold tips as an excuse for being cheap–if you can’t afford the tip, don’t eat out!

    177. fuzzymuffins says:

      interesting to see how many people seem to justify a waiters job simply by their service, when it’s the same thing at every other service job… but the employees don’t worry.

      “service” is completely relative folks. like it or not, the quality of service does NOT guarantee good tips for the server. there are just as many cheap people who dine out as there are ‘bad’ waiters.

      when it comes to bars (and often restaurants too), attractive women make more than men do.. plain and simple, even if they can’t make a drink or server at all.

      food service is an anomaly. every other service sector pays minimum wage. when you tip the dude at starbucks for pushing a button, he’s not worried you’re going to tip. do pay him a dollar less if he doesn’t kiss your butt? no. same should be for waiter/waitress service. MINUMUM WAGE FIRST. then give them tips, just like every other service industry.

      waiters RELY on tips as the MAJORITY of their wage. that’s the difference.

    178. Her Grace says:

      This place has gone to the dogs.

    179. snoop-blog says:

      @TomPiltoff: it’s not my fault your restaurant is understaffed. if you can’t handle five tables plus carry out mayber you should give away some tables. when i was a server i was more than happy to lighten the load for a crappy server.

      if your restaurant offers carry out, guess what so does kfc, do i tip them? no. for friggin sake, you didn’t cook sh*t, or clean sh*t. is it too much to ask to put my food in a bag at no additional cost?

      let me get this straight, i’m expected to give you a tip because you were way too busy with other people otherwise? the restaurant gives you an opportunity to make a tip and you are required to do things by that restaurant regaurdless of weather your tipped or not. one of them may be carry out.

    180. shor0814 says:

      For those arguing that tipping should be kept, otherwise prices will go way up, you have to remember, the flip side is that gratuities will be subtracted, leaving possibly a small net increase in price. At the end of the day, there will be a nearly dollar for dollar trade-off.

    181. Anonymous says:

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    182. Anonymous says:

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      suite 200

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    183. trujunglist says:


      Or maybe, because as you point out, most people in that place are foreigners. Guess what, foreigners generally don’t realize that tipping in the US is the “law of the land” because they don’t do that where they are from. So, for a place like that, it’s actually probably extremely appropriate for them to automatically include it and deal with the American customers on a case by case basis. I’ve recently been rereading Nickel and Dimed and she talks about foreigners not tipping in the 1st chapter.

      Yeah, I don’t agree that there should be a mandatory gratuity added, because then it’s not really a tip. Tipping is something you do, not because you have to, but because you felt they did a good job (or feel guilty, whatever). I’ve only completely stiffed a couple of extremely rude waiters/waitresses in my entire life of tipping. I’ll generally let things go, but if the service is REALLY terrible then fuck them, they’re lucky to get the lint in my pocket.

      I always liked that Larry David idea (it was him right?) where you put out like 25% of the expected bill in 1s and as the service continues, take a dollar everytime they fuck up. Then again, that’s also a good way to end up with a tube of vaseline in your stuffed pork chop.

    184. modenastradale says:


      I’m sorry, but I have to disagree strongly on this one. First, most restaurants don’t have the regular wait staff handling take-out orders; that job is usually handled by the host, or by someone working at a dedicated take-out station.

      Second, even if the particular restaurant doesn’t have a separate employee handling take-out orders, a tip is still (almost always) unnecessary. The custom of tipping is *not* a means by which consumers are required, in an erratic and subjective way, to compensate for below-market wages. Rather, tipping is a means of expressing gratitude for a personal service.

      When you walk into a restaurant and purchase a take-home meal from a counter, you are not receiving a service of any significance; you’re receiving goods. Fortunately, it is not a prevailing custom in the United States to tip for a simple sale of goods involving little personal service.

      All of that said, if someone carries the food out to my car, or makes special efforts to separate and package the items for better transportation — or if someone is especially friendly — I will still tip. But it’s not required of anyone, nor should it be expected.

    185. unknownymous says:

      1) Take out would be incredibly easy to do. If its so hard to do then you are doing it wrong. Also if you are having so many problems how about you just leave the orders under a heatlamp and let the customer dump it into a bag. Since it is so easy and offers no extra service but the bare minimum I will not tip them (under normal circumstances).

      2) Tipping should be for service staff that has exceeded the expected level of service. Work for your paycheque just like everyone else.

      3) The argument that wait staff should get a normal wage is far from hollow. I say they get a normal wage and if they are still a great server they still get some extra monies. Furthermore, since when do people who work in restaurants deserve anything less than anyone else? Are they sub-human?

      4) For all those that are tipping just because convention demands it but would rather not: stop. You are not helping matters. You can’t change something if you meanwhile support it in its current state.

      5) Waitstaff: You know what you signed up for. Deal with it, or change it. Either change the culture that has forced you into this bad situation or change your job. Try retail, its just as hard but most places won’t let you accept tips.

      6) Finally, the matter of automatic tipping. Its dumb. There is no moral reason to put an automatic tip on your receipt. Ever wonder why foreigners don’t understand our culture? It’s because its dumb, and makes no sense. It is the employer’s responsibility to pay their staff a reasonable wage. If you want to tip someone its a choice that should reflect on the service, not a guilt trip handed down through the generations.