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I was a waitress for several years. And because of that work, I often HATE being part of a large group in a restaurant.
I know at some point during dinner, my server is likely to be fantasizing about the multiple cocktails they will need to have that evening to recover from the torture of our group. And as such, I want to be sure they have been appropriately compensated (so that they can buy their recovery cocktails) so I have a Pavlovian response to look to see if the restaurant has automatically added a gratuity or not.
Last night I was dining at Rice & Co with several bloggers – on separate checks, of course. So when my bill arrived, my eyes caught the phrase “Tip Not Included”. I was ready to calculate a gratuity. In fact – the restaurant suggested several possible calculations – 20% seemed totally fair to me.
But look closer…
… not to the bottom (where I was looking), but to the subtotal/tax/total – a gratuity of 18% had already been added onto our checks.
Had another person not noticed it, several of us might have tipped twice. From me, our server would have netted a 38% gratuity, not the 18% he had already added on.
This is a blatantly deceptive folio, not only due to the conflicting information, but also due to the interchange between “gratuity” and “tip” that seems intentionally confusing.
So be warned – the next time you dine out, don’t assume that “tip not included” means what you think it does!