The owner of the restaurant won’t put an added gratuity on parties of 6 or more because he believes we will become complacent about serving our customers. You know what makes me complacent? Spending all my time and energy on a big, needy table only to find a five dollar bill at the end.
If I knew I was guaranteed 18%, or even 15%, I would be on large tables like ugly on an ape. I would be elbowing servers out of the way to get as many large tables as I could and I would be so attentive to them, they would beg me to leave them alone.
Instead, we all know, for the most part, large groups of people tip for shit and not one of us wants to wait on them. We stand in the wait station and argue about who’s turn it is, or how the group really isn’t seated in a certain section. We bargain with favours and bribes. Sometimes we offer to pay if someone else will take the table. Yes, you read that right, some tables are so bad a server would rather lose money than run her ass off and clean up the mess for a 5% tip.
Many restaurants fear that the auto grat will keep customers from coming in, but it is so common now people don’t even pay attention. We are one of the few restaurants in town that doesn’t have an auto grat and I think customers suffer for it.
Face it, if you are a local group who regularly eats at the restaurant and you leave me $5 on a $100 plus ticket, I’m not going to spend as much time with you as I will with a couple who is going to leave me $6 on a $30 ticket. One dollar doesn’t sound like much, but what if I have 4 tables of couples and one big, cheap table? Hmmm…Eight people tipping me $24 or eight people tipping me $5. Guess who’s getting the best service.