What's a Reasonable Automatic Gratuity?

20100518poll.jpg

A bill with no included tip. The way it should be? [Photograph: Robyn Lee]

There are some situations in which we'd expect an automatic gratuity—say, a party of eight at a restaurant on New Year's Eve, or a birthday party at a crowded restaurant on a Saturday night. But increasingly in New York, we've been noticing restaurants tacking on tips for parties as small as 4 or 5, and a few weeks ago, Eater NY even reported that the Ace Hotel was adding a 18% gratuity to every single drink served at the bar.

From a restaurant's perspective, it makes some sense: waitstaff depend on gratuities as a major part of their income, and when they get stiffed, it makes a significant difference in their take-home wages. That said, tacking on the tip for you takes away part of the diner's control, leaves less room to leave a gratuity that reflects the diner's experience, and, some would argue, disincentivizes good service.

What do you think? Should diners be ready to pay a tip determined by the restaurant? Or should restaurants steer clear of this policy?

When Is an Automatic Gratuity Acceptable?

ViewHide current results

Please wait...

One moment while we initialize this poll.

Please Login

You must log in before you can answer the poll. If you don't have an account, you can sign up. It's free and it only takes a moment.

You already answered this poll.

Comments

Add a comment

Comments can take up to a minute to appear - please be patient!

Previewing your comment: