By Steve Thompson
When people eat out, they expect great food, a decent environment, and most of all, fast service. In fact, the level of service they receive may be the most important factor to the success of the dining experience.
Yet some still don’t want to show gratitude, or as their servers know it, gratuity.
In fact, 90 percent of Americans tip on average less than 15 percent of the original bill. At Dave & Buster’s, located in the Palisades Mall, ten out of twelve waiters and waitresses confirmed not being left a tip at least one time every shift.
Malissa Mason, a cocktail waitress at the establishment, claims that there is no guarantee that you will be taken care of. “It’s scary. Some people don’t realize that most of our money is directly from tips.”
She added that she once catered to a party of 15 people, and she didn’t even make $15. “The check was $969.58. Go figure.”
Daily news broadcasts depict cuts in salary, bankruptcy and major corporations going out of business. However, blue collar workers are also feeling the brunt of a shaky economy. The service and hospitality industry provides a means of fast cash to individuals. Bartenders, bar backs, servers, bus people and hotel workers alike are all suffering in a top to bottom chain reaction.
Austin Charlton, a former manager at Applebee’s located in Hawthorne and now a regional manager with the restaurant chain, claims that tips are not what they used to be. “Before becoming a manager I served for a number of years, but that was a different time. People were more gracious and rarely stiffed you on a bill. Times have changed.”
Many individuals in the service industry are young college students or adults often with other jobs. To combat the lack of tipping, many corporations have begun administering automatic gratuity on checks. Once a practice to ensure that a good tip would be received on large parties automatic gratuity has become a common practice. Restaurants such as Dave & Buster’s in Times Square places a gratuity on any check opened.
When asked about this common practice, Bruce Crane general manager of Dave & Buster’s in the Palisades stated, “It’s a sticky situation. On one hand, we don’t want people to think we are out to take their money, but on the other hand our servers only make $4.65 per hour and make the brunt of their money off tips”.
When asked about the practice becoming permanent at D&B at the Palisades, Crane suggested that this may happen in the immediate future.
In a country in which many individuals are encountering hard times, establishments are taking steps to ensure that their workers are compensated. It is important that people are making smart decisions as well as being gracious to those individuals who work hard for every dollar they earn. A few tips to avoid receiving a bill with a gratuity are to go out in smaller numbers, inquire with your server, and most importantly, learn how to read your bill. Many times a gratuity has been placed on a bill without the costumer even knowing, which can lead to a double tip left behind unknowingly