Sunday, September 08, 2013

Chatter 51 Tipping Point

The Oxford dictionary provides this definition of tipping point:
the point at which a series of small changes or incidents becomes significant enough to cause a larger, more important change.
A few weeks ago we came across something new to us in Australian restaurants. A compulsory gratuity. Perhaps it was not really compulsory but that was the way it was presented to us. For parties of seven or more a 10% gratuity is added to the bill. This applies both to the food and the wine. My wife was ill and we cancelled during the afternoon. They not only charged me $100 for the no show but also charged an extra 10% gratuity!
At the end of the meal we forgot that we had already paid an extra 10% and left additional tips. One of the party had, inadvertently left $50 cash on the table! On discovering this 'double dip' she was very put out.
I thought about this for some time and spoke to a lot of people about it. No one thought this a reasonable practice for restaurants in Australia. Some thought it so unreasonable that they declared they would not go there. 
It certainly left me with a bad taste after what should have been an excellent meal not only for myself but also everyone else involved. Even my wife was furious.
I commonly give tips of about 10% in Australia and about 20% in America where the whole waiter pay structure is awful. I don't give tips to display my generosity, to big note myself or to make myself feel good. I do it because I'm pleased with the service and how I've been treated. That is something which happens at the end of a meal not before it starts.
The more I think about it the more I resent it. I see no reason why waiters should share $100's, perhaps $1000's each week from customers who may not have wished to give it to them. Why levy this extra fee only on parties of seven or more? It certainly is not harder to serve one table of seven than three tables of two, two and three, especially for a set menu.
Attica it's time to change your policy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maybe Attica need to change the menu too, it is getting a little boring. There has been very little innovation during the past couple of years, but the waiters sense of self importance has grown expedientally.