In many New York restaurants it is common to have a tip added to your bill if you have a large party, or if it is after a certain time in the evening. This makes sense, as the restaurant wants to insure that the wait staff won’t get stiffed. The usual gratuity is 15% to 20%, and the inclusion is clearly indicated on the check, and pointed out by the server.
However…if you look closely—very, very closely— at the check above, you may perhaps notice a tiny 18% right above a very large “TOTAL.” There is absolutely no indication that this amount is for a tip, no indication anywhere on the check that the tip has been already included, and the server never mentioned it to us. (Also, we were just a party of three, not four as the check indicates; certainly not large enough to expect a pre-added gratuity, especially during lunchtime.)
Now, this is probably a subject for the consumerist blog, but to me it is a marketing issue. These decisions don’t just happen. Management decided to include the tip on all checks, management chose not to care about the size of the party or the hour, and management chose not point out that the tip was included. And the server, who may or may not reflect management’s wishes, certainly did not feel any obligation to do the right thing. This is an audacious example of customer disservice.
If you feel you have to add on a shipping charge, include an adjustment in a bill, or do anything that has a cost that could possibly be missed by a customer, be certain to point it out. Clearly, boldly and often. As a wise man once said to me, “Be careful what you do on a Wednesday. It can turn around and bite you on your butt on Friday.”
Got the idea?