Family Detained in Restaurant Because They Objected to Mandatory Tip
Many, many restaurants have a mandatory gratuity for large parties, and it seems that as the practice of automatically adding a tip for big tables is becoming ever more common.
And it seems as more restaurants begin to add mandatory tips to their policies, the parameters are shifting ever so slightly. In recent years, it seemed the aim of the policy was clear- to prevent large parties from monopolizing a server’s section for the evening and then stiffing the waitress or neglecting to remember a tip in calculating individual shares. But in recent years it seems that the number of people constituting a minimum party number has begun to decrease while the tip amount has increased from the standard 15% to up to 25% in some restaurants.
But what happens in the instance of truly shoddy service, like when the waiter fails to provide even a minimum of customer care? One family dining at La Fisherman restaurant in Houston, Texas tells local press that during a recent dining experience gone awry, they were detained by staff after objecting to a mandatory 17% gratuity for parties of more than five.
Diner Jasmine Marks says that the manager at La Fisherman fell back on the “nothing can be done” reasoning, as if an automatic tip is something akin to tax that cannot be removed from a bill- which makes you wonder what the restaurant does if a dish comes out under or overcooked. Marks explains:
“We asked her, could the gratuity be removed? Could we give our own tip? She said it was part of their policy and there was nothing she could do about… If you’re not satisfied with the service, you shouldn’t have to pay gratuity.”
What’s worse is that Marks says that a local police officer indeed arrived, and sided with the restaurant:
“She said, ‘That’s fine. If you don’t want to pay the gratuity we have HPD outside… I asked the police officer twice, maybe three times, is it against the law if we don’t pay the gratuity and he never gave me a straight answer.”
When contacted by local press, the manager that was on-duty at La Fisherman admitted that in the past, the joint has called police to enforce their mandatory gratuity rule… perhaps some new hires are in order?