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]