Fork in the Road reports that one West Village restaurant, Cornelia Street Cafe, has started charging an 18% gratuity on all brunch checks—not just for larger tables. "For some reason, brunchers feel entitled to under-tip, or to stiff the server altogether," Sarah DiGregorio writes. "So about six months ago, [owner Robin Hirsch] instituted the built-in tip for brunch only."
We don't envy the servers working any Manhattan brunch, and have little doubt that they do occasionally get stiffed. But adding a built-in tip, even on smaller checks, is a pretty bold move. What do you think? Sensible help for the servers? Bad idea for customers? Or does this just show how badly we need an alternative to our gratuity-based system?