Should Restaurants be able to ban people for poor tipping?

Sara - posted on 02/26/2010 ( 19 moms have responded )

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Customer banned from restaurant for poor tipping




WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.(NBC) -- A woman who says Kampai Japanese Steak and Seafood House, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina refused her service has started a petition to boycott the establishment. But restaurant owners say they refuse to serve her simply because she is such a poor tipper.

Monica Covington said her spat with the restaurant began in 2008.

"I noticed on our ticket that they added 18 percent gratuity and there was only two others with me at the time," Covington said.

The restaurant menu clearly states that a 15 percent gratuity will be added to parties of six or more. Covington said she complained, but paid anyway.

When she returned to the restaurant a month later, Covington said she was informed that she would have to pay an 18 percent gratuity if she wanted to dine there.

"Before we could even get seated, we got into the door and they came to me and said, 'If you aren't willing to pay the 18 percent gratuity, then we can't serve you,'" she said.

Covington said she felt slighted and decided to start a petition demanding fair business practices. So far, 300 people have signed.

Kampai manager Michael Lam said Covington is a poor tipper, and after a number instances of her failing to tip accordingly, the restaurant ran into problems.

"Yes, because we can't keep continuing to serve her anymore because the servers and chefs are not willing to serve her," Lam said when asked if he refused Covington service.

Lam said he's shocked by news of the petition, which reflects poorly on his business that has been in Winston-Salem for 13 years.

Winston-Salem attorney Carl Parrish said North Carolina law allows businesses to dictate payment terms upfront and to refuse to serve customers who don't agree to the terms, as long as civil liberties aren't in violation.

But Covington insists the business is discriminating against her.

"This petition is to make sure everyone who goes out there gets fair treatment," she said

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Lisamarie - posted on 03/09/2010

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In England, we don't have mandatory tipping. If you go to a nice restaurant and the service/meal/atmosphere was good we'd tip around 10% and over, but we also have minimum wage. We also have restaurants which are self service, you go up and order your food and drinks and a waiter/waitress will bring the food but that's pretty much it and at them places you can choose to leave a tip in a pot for all the waiters/waitresses.

People should definetely not have to pay a tip if they don't get good service and certainly not a set tip, that's just ridiculous!

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Jess - posted on 03/08/2010

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I live in Australia and Tipping is almost unheard of here. I mean some resturants you can leave a tipp for the waiter or tell them to keep your change from the bill.... but if you don't, no harm, no foul ! Every worker is protected by laws that enforce a minium wage and this does not reflect any tips at all ! So regardless of weather or not I tip a waiter they still get paid for their job !

Nikki - posted on 03/06/2010

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Laura I completely agree with you, Im sure there is more to the story then what has been said, I highly doubt a restaurant would ban a patron solely on tipping.

I was a bartender/server for 7 years and have worked mostly in pubs. I worked my ass off and I was amazing at my job , call me cocky but I knew what I was doing and I did it well, I am a great people person and am amazing at multitasking and I have a great deal of regulars and some who don't tip for no apparent reason and see we tip out 4% of our sales .... so if you come in and don't tip me I AM PAYING 4% of your bill to serve YOU... so just keep that in mind of that next time you don;t tip a server who is obviously doing his/her job.... I completely understand if the service is shit, by all means, but if I clearly am bending over backwards for you and you can't be decent enough to tip then Im sorry but I have no respect for you.

Now back to the story:

We had one patron who would come in and EVERY single time would send back her food 3-5 times, she would go on about how horrible it is and how much she hated coming there yet she would come in 3-4 times a week and wouldnt leave a penny. We finally banned her b.c she was wasting too much food and during was telling every customer in there how horrible the place was ( keep in mind we were voted best pub for wings 5 years running) She was causing more harm then good, now she could have used the excuse that she didn;'t tip and thats why we banned her... and who would have known the back story???

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Poor business practice, but apparently within the law. I don't agree at all with mandatory tipping either.

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Here in Australia tipping is a different issue. People tip because the meal/service/atmosphere was good, not because they have to. Tipping shouldn't be mandatory - restaurants should just pay their waiters a good salary and not require their patrons to supplement their wages! Sounds like restaurant staff need a good strong union!

Amie - posted on 03/01/2010

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OH ok Kati. LOL! Think I understand now.

Laura from what I've read it happened twice in two months. Both times the party was not the "required" 6 people to tack on the mandatory gratuity. She made a fuss about it. I would too!

The restaurants side is that she never once tipped. She paid the tip though, even after leaving a complaint with management.

Sarah - posted on 03/01/2010

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When i was a waitress (many moons ago now!) There were a few different ways tips were handled. Bearing in mind i usually worked in hotels, ALL the tips left would usually be spilt between everyone at the end of the week. Sometimes, if we had the same tables all week, we kept the tips from our tables. The last time i worked at a hotel (10yrs ago) i was getting paid £4.20 an hour (minimum wage at the time) now i think minimum wage is £5.75 (????)

At a Golf Club i worked at, they would sometimes add a surcharge to the meal, we actually preferred it when they left the tips up to the customer though, because we normally made more when the customer decided!!

I don't think tips should mandatory, i do usually give them though, i think it's because i remember how damn hard waitressing can be! It seems like the wages for waiters/waitresses in America and Canada need to be addressed rather than the tips (if that makes sense)
:)

Isobel - posted on 03/01/2010

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I have a sneaking suspicion that there is more to this story...nobody denies service over 3% ...especially when that 3% is between 15 and 18, 15% is a perfectly normal tip...I think that either she didn't tip at all and she's lying, or she was a heinous BITCH all the time and now nobody is willing to serve her. I wouldn't sign her petition.

I understand the need for a mandatory tip on big tables, having been a waitress before, but I feel it should be mentioned out loud at the beginning of service (not just to the person who booked the table).

Jenny - posted on 02/27/2010

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This is so stupid. I'm sick and tired of tipping altogether. Fix your damn prices and pay your staff a wage they can live on. I tip only for exceptional service and sometimes that means not at all. After my camera clas slast night my friend and i went to pub for a beer. I bought one beer, no food, and then we left, no tip. If it's a dinner and we're lingering I'll tip around the 20% mark depending how the evening went. If you try to make me tip though I'm out of there and will never frequent your establishment again.

Rosie - posted on 02/27/2010

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i must not have worded correctly sorry! i was saying that what's the restaurants problem?! it clearly states on the menu that it will be added to parties of 6 or more. i didn't disagree at all. i have trouble wording things sometimes. :)

Amie - posted on 02/26/2010

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"I noticed on our ticket that they added 18 percent gratuity and there was only two others with me at the time," Covington said.

The restaurant menu clearly states that a 15 percent gratuity will be added to parties of six or more. Covington said she complained, but paid anyway.


That's why Kati. ^^^ Re read that. They violate their own policy. That's why it's an issue. Even if she was a previously bad tipper it is not right to tack on a mandatory tip when she frequents the restaurant again. Not only that.... The tacked on gratuity is 15%... not 18%. They increased it by 3% because???

Not only that but management does not have the balls to say, WE don't want to serve her anymore. They're placing the blame of "why" entirely on the wait staff and chefs.

Rosie - posted on 02/26/2010

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i was a waitress at a bar and a restuarant and i got paid $3.25 an hour at both places. i do understand how much it sucks when someone doesn't tip worth a shit, when you give them good service, but i also understood that most people will tip decently if you give them good service. not tipping just for the sake of being cheap really irked me.

the menu did say gratuity of 18 % was for parties of 6 or more, so what's the problem? clearly the restaurant is ridiculous in banning her from coming there. if she was there so much that she was known as notorious nontipper she obviously was there enough to spend alot of money on food alone.

i hate gratuity as well. EVERY TIME i have been in a large party where gratuity is added, the service is horrible! why would i want to give them a set amount of money when they don't deserve it?

Sara - posted on 02/26/2010

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$2.15/hour i think.

While I agree that restaurants are businesses and can practice what they please (for the most part), this whole situation just seems stupid to me. They can refuse to serve someone, but don't just tack on a gratuity and think that's going to solve the problem.

Amie - posted on 02/26/2010

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Well if the menu says 15% tip for parties of 6 or more will be added, then why was she made to pay 18%? Not only once but it was demanded up front a 2nd time.

This just looks horrible for the business and it's their own fault.

I don't support mandatory gratuity's though. I'm also in Canada where our servers at the bare minimum get paid minimum wage, which varies by province but is still manageable for those who work there. I think it's horrendous that servers in the states get paid slave wages and are expected use tips to top up their wages. /:)

Jocelyn - posted on 02/26/2010

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I don't support a mandatory gratuity tip. I think it's bull. If the service is complete crap I am not going to leave them 1% let alone 18%. And then what happens when someone who is on a budget/low income (etc) goes out to eat? They can afford the meal and a couple bucks tip; trying to make them pay 18% when they can't afford it will prevent them from becoming a repeat customer. And that's bad for business.

Sara - posted on 02/26/2010

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My question is, why don't they just charge more for the food and pay their servers more if they're going to impose a minimum gratuity on the patrons? I don't really like the idea of 18% gratuity that you HAVE to pay, it would piss me off too. You're supposed to reward the server for the service they provide. To my understanding, it's a general rule that you should leave at least 15%, which I often do (or more), but shouldn't that be left up to you based on the service you have received? I once had a waitress yell at me and was a total bitch, I left her nothing, I don't think I should have been forced to leave her 18% gratuity.

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