Skip to comments.Family locked in restaurant after refusing to pay tip
Posted on 05/03/2012 7:01:25 AM PDT by Morgana
A family says that a Houston seafood restaurant locked them inside and called the police after they refused to pay a gratuity.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
Wow, this thread is turning into a competition between FReepers to see how many additional charges would be filed.
Apparently the tip policy for this restaurant was posted. If patrons don’t agree with posted policies, they should eat elsewhere.
If you can’t afford to tip graciously, you can’t afford to eat out.
Of course, you are not obliged to reward poor service, but please be sure that you are not punishing the wrong party. Busboys, waiters, dishwashers, cooks, hosts, and managers all have their own responsibilities and problems; sometimes it’s hard to figure out who fell down on the job. It’s a good idea to put yourself in their shoes, too, and remember that even the best of us occasionally has an “off” day. Forgive a little and tip generously, especially if you plan to eat there again.
A fellow “Dogs” fan! I commend you sir.
There were several quotes worthy of posting however decorum prohibits listing them here.
YEAH! BRING IT!
Nice leap of stupidity have there. I never said it was OK to walk out, I said you are screwed in the for thinking because someone owes you money that you have the right to kidnap them.
Nice leap of stupidity have there. I never said it was OK to walk out, I said you are screwed in the head for thinking because someone owes you money that you have the right to kidnap them.
Love that movie, and completely agreed with him. FWIW.
—If they didnt want to pay it, they could have left and gone to another restaurant.—
Or sat at two different tables. ;-)
Well, in that case—I suggest refusing to pay, brandishing the gun, pistol-whipping the chef, and exposing myself to the patrons, before kicking out the door and escaping.
that being said...I know some states have said (I don't know about Texas) that the "mandatory gratuity" is not legally binding...and if patrons really wanting to have push come to shove...they would win.
You CANNOT legally charge someone gratuity. Now...you could charge them a convenience fee...or call it something else...but you can't make them tip...and many states have said this...its just that most patrons won't fight the issue.
> I am against gratuity tips! It is my option to tip or not to tip. Lousy service does not warrant a tip!
Unfortunately the labor laws have a very low wage for waitresses and waiters. Frequently they only get a couple of bucks per hour, so not tipping really cutsinto their earnings.
—Well, in that caseI suggest refusing to pay, brandishing the gun, pistol-whipping the chef, and exposing myself to the patrons, before kicking out the door and escaping.—
Well, All I can add to that is pissing on the salad bar. I’d do that first.
Regardless of the belief about tips, no one has the right to kidnap another over money. If someone owes someone money you are claiming they have the right to take them hostage. Don’t think so.
If anyone is stealing money it is the restaurant. They claim they have the right to a tip regardless of the service performed, service which usually sucks in larger groups. I NEVER attend a restaurant that demands a tip on larger groups when I am in a group. We’ll simply go to individual tables or get separate checks.
And restaurants wonder why their patronage is dropping.
She said it was part of their policy and there was nothing she could do about,
***I hear that a lot, as if by using the word ‘policy’ means the end of conversation on a matter. Looks like they won’t be using such a stupid stance when they’re staring down the end of a lawsuit for kidnapping.
I guess I must be stupid. Is it easier to serve 6 different people at 6+ different tables with 6+ separate checks, than to serve 6+ people at a single table with a single check (or even multiple checks)?
Same meals, same menu, same prep, same drinks - they are just condensed into a tigher space. If 25 people require more support, then you adjust your wait staff to accomodate. It isn’t rocket science.
Seems to me, that a group of 5+ is much easier, requires less legwork, less paperwork, less space and less confustion than individuals.
Now, a resturant is free to have any policy they want; however in my experience, the number of people at a table is not “clearly written on the menu”, it’s usually in small print at the bottom of the menu. It’s on the menu, but specifically designed to be over-looked by the casual observer.
My policy is simple - my wife and I often agree on a tip, and as tips go we are in the 15-40% range. Our policy is this - if there is a minimum tip, that’s what they get. If they don’t force the issue, we often tip more. But, for this we expect a few basic services, like not having to track our servicer down to refill our water/soda.
They forgot that whole “the customer is always right” thingy. I wonder how much business they will lose over this one gratuity. Stupid (on both sides).
Papa's Seafood or Papadeaux; there isn't anything on the menu that isn't stellar; and they set the bar on service. I've never had a finer dining experience than any of the times I've eaten at one of their establishments.
“Do you consider it kidnapping if one is cuffed and detained by store security if one has shoplifted?”
I don’t shoplift and I’ve never had a rent-a-cop try to cuff me. However, it would go very badly for one who tried. Both for him personally at the moment and him, his employer, the store manager personally, and the store chain later in court.
People are not kidnapped if they:
enter an establishment of their own free will.
observe a written policy that parties over a certain size have a mandatory gratuity.
order from the menu
eat a meal
refuse (initially) to pay the gratuity.
None of the above constitutes any definition of “kidnapped”, legal or otherwise.
The restaurant also has the responsibility to deliver all the food ordered to the patrons in a reasonable manner, that is part of the contract offered.
Failure of either party to fulfill the contract is fraud.
If the restaurant failed to deliver all the food ordered, they initiated breech of contract, and the issue must be decided by the police and the courts.
I once had a similar experience at a movie theater that did not show the film they advertised and would not refund my ticket price. The local cop told the theater manager that he had a choice, refund in cash or go to jail for fraud.
50+ years ago my high school teacher said TIPS once meant “To Insure Prompt Service”. Of course it should be “Assure” rather than “Insure”. Then it would be TAPS. Which is probably what should be played at more and more restaurants these days.
“I truly think customers will stiff the waiters far more often than the waiters give bad service.”
Yes, you are exactly right. Just read some Yelp reviews, a lot of people go into restaurants with unrealistic expectations, or looking for any little detail to gripe about, so they can rationalize to themselves why they don’t need to leave a fair tip. I can count on one hand the times I’ve actually received bad service in recent memory.
Well, if they were ‘Brits’.........
‘they were “Jamacian Brits”.
Why? The restaurant has no lawful authority to “detain” anyone. You are well within your rights to resist someone falsely imprisoning or kidnapping you.
If you attempt to walk out of a department store with merchandise unpaid for, you can expect to be detained by store security. Is that kidnapping as well?
Tell me how the scenarios differ.
How many checks were given. It’s only a party of 5 if only one check was delivered for the entire group.
The minimum number for the auto tip to kick in, or even the appropriateness of same is a different question.
I’m with you. If the tip is auto applied at a specific percentage, that’s all they get. I routinely tip higher than than number when it is my choice. Rarely less than 20%.
I wasn’t asking necessarily if you specifically were shoplifting.
Do you think that shoplifters should or should not be detained? And do you consider that kidnapping if a store detains a shoplifter.
And then tell me how detaining someone who is trying to leave without paying their full bill is different.
The standard is:
0% for horrible service and catastrophic experience.
10% for sub par service
15% is the standard for your did you job but nothing special.
20% is when something special is done/accomodation and pleasant waitress waiter.
20% as standard is pushed by the Restaurant Association in order to lower the hourly wage part paid to waitresses and waiters. IOW a net zero.
Patrons have, on occasion, brought suit over the practices of service providers of adding gratuity to bills. For example, in Searle v. Wyndham International, Inc., 126 Cal. Rptr. 2d 231 (Cal. App. 2002), patrons of a hotel ordered room service, which included taxes, a seventeen percent service charge, and a room delivery charge. The bill also provided a line whereby the patrons could add gratuity to the bill, even though the service charge was gratuity paid to the server. The patrons sued the hotel, claiming that the practice was deceptive because it did not indicate that the service charge constituted gratuity and that the service charge constituted obligatory gratuity, which the patrons claimed should be voluntary. The court held that the practice was neither deceptive nor fraudulent, holding in favor of the hotel.
As another FReeper indicated, if in Houston - why anyone would go to Le Fisherman instead of Papa's Seafood or Papadeaux is beyond my understanding. When it comes to seafood, it's almost impossible to beat either of the Papa's family of resturants. When I care to contrast and compare service, food and quality of service - Papadeaux is my personal Gold Reference. I wish there was one here where I live.
You’ve completely failed to make your case for kidnapping. Simply repeating the word in every post doesn’t make it so.
You are not addressing the facts of the story in any way, shape, or form.
What restaurants you patronize is absolutely your business, and if auto gratuties are a showstopper for you, all the more power to you. Don’t go.
“Do you think that shoplifters should or should not be detained? And do you consider that kidnapping if a store detains a shoplifter.”
Most stores have a policy of not detaining shoplifters just because of the legal and liability issues. Those that do try to detain shoplifters are openning themselves up to huge liability. If you detain someone who was not shoplifting it’s virtually certain you’re going to get sued.
My stepson was reprimanded for chasing and trying to apprehend a shoplifter at Walmart. He and another associate were in the parking lot rounding up carts when the radio announced a shoplifter and description. They chased him across the parking lot until he went over a fence into an apartment complex. They thought they had done good until they were summoned to the manager’s office.
No rent-a-cop is going to handcuff me. You lose basically all ability to defend yourself. I was a rent-a-cop and can tell you many of them are not the kind of people you want to be at the mercy of.
I’m not familiar with any of these places, guess they’re not here in the big metro area on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay.
But our seafood is pretty smashing at the one offs, so I can avoid the chain restaurants specializing in seafood.
I once knew a guy who took inordinate pleasure in screwing with waiters and waitresses. I think he thought it he could make them get mad or cry, he didn’t have to leave a tip. He once yelled at a waiter because he wanted broiled chicken and the restaurant didn’t have a broiler.
Yea, he was a real jerk. Business associate, not a friend.
If it's a contract issue, then wording is everything. If a "percentage" is added, then the diners are SOL. If a "gratuity" is added, then it is arguably optional, even though it was added to the bill - because the definition of "gratuity" includes "optional," so the adding of it to the bill would merely be a convenience calculation, but not an agreed amount of payment.
Much ado about nothing. Blacks are lousy tippers.
They should have asked for seperate checks.
I can’t speak for most stores, but last year walking out of a Macy’s in a mall here in town, had the joy of watching a young lady put in plastic cuffs by the Macy’s team for attempted shoplifting.
Do you think she was kidnapped?
That's pretty extreme, I'd have just helped myself to seconds on dessert while waiting for the cops.......
Yeah, but the headline was misleading. It wasn’t over a “gratuity” but a large party fee. Without reading the link I assumed it was over a genuine gratuity for exemplary service. A gratuity is voluntary and above the bill. An obligatory, involuntary, “gratuity” is merely a mislabelled fee. It was on the menu so they should have payed. After reading the link my gun would have stayed in it’s holster.
It’s perfectly legal to not tip, but don’t plan on going back to the same restaurant again, lest you be recognized and end up with some unidentified gooey additive in your food.
I’ll tell you exactly what’s going on. One of my friends had a daughter who used to wait tables. A certain portion of the public will not leave tips. Turns out they quite often come in groups - birthday parties, anniversary parties, convention groups, etc.
By law, restaurants do not have to pay minimum wage, and the wait staff depend on tips to make a decent living. So they set these group limits because one or two waiters have to be dedicated to the “party”, and spend an hour, sometimes TWO, of their 6 to 8 hour shift serving only theses people. If they don’t leave a tip (and they won’t) the waiter/waitress makes probably $10 to $15.
Well, sometimes they leave a tip - writing on a napkin, “Tip: Always be honest.” or some such insulting thing, or maybe leave a dollar.
Anyway - good wait staff will not be stiffed too many times before leaving your restaurant for one who has a group minimum policy. If you want to keep good staff, you better take care of them...
I belong to a group who go often to a few restaurants who have such a policy. The waiters NEVER invoke the group policy, because they know us, and know we tip better than that minimum.
A large party requires more co-ordination in getting the appetizers out at the same time, the main course, the desserts - some of that is the chef’s responsibility of course. Large parties tend to sit longer - a single diner might be out in an hour, a couple in 90 minutes, a large group in two hours - fewer sittings, fewer tips.
If you have six small tables and one of them stiffs you and five tip, that’s not so bad. If you have a large table and they stiff you, that really hurts, because you’re getting paid $2 an hour by the restaurant. The IRS assumes you got tipped 7% of your checks - a table that ran up a check of $200 stiffs you, the IRS taxes you on $14.
So, are you saying that the IRS knows how much the lunch tab was for every table you served? Somehow, I sincerely doubt that.
The IRS will tax you on your W-2 earnings, and your REPORTED tips. And we are all well aware that every server always reports every dime of tip they get a night, right?
Five people are not a convention.
It is a family.
A party of eight plus I understand but not five.
BTW, I actually worked in a restaurant when I was in my teens so I know first hand what is going on. I also know that we didn’t have a policy that would keep families out of the restaurant.
At least I know of another place where I will not take my family and this place is only minutes from my home.
Sorry, I was wrong, it’s 8%.
“As an employer, you must ensure that the total tip income reported to you during any pay period is, at a minimum, equal to 8% of your total receipts for that period.
In calculating 8% of total receipts, you do not include nonallocable receipts. Nonallocable receipts are defined as receipts for carry out sales and receipts with a service charge added of 10% or more.
When the total reported to you is less than 8%, you must allocate the difference between the actual tip income reported and 8% of gross receipts. There are three methods for allocating tip income:
Gross Receipt Method
Hours Worked Method
Good Faith Agreement
Employers can request a lower rate (but not lower than 2%) for tip allocation purposes by submitting an application to the IRS. Detailed instructions for computing allocation of tips, reporting allocated tips to employees, and for requesting a lower rate can be found in the Instructions for Form 8027. (PDF)
Note: The amount shown as allocated tip income is for information purposes only. You are not required to withhold Income or Social Security taxes on the allocated tip income. The amount of tip income allocated to each employee is shown in box 8 of their Form W-2.”
And of course tips on credit cards do leave a trail.
“How often do you get bad service? “
Well for starters every time I am stupid enough to eat at Shoney’s. (don’t know if you have that where you live)
Mostly the problem is bad management and young people who don’t know how to work if you get my drift.
Shoney’s used to be a swell place to eat and sometimes still is but if one gets the wrong store it is hell. The service was so lousy I had to go get my own coffee only to find all the staff chatting in the back room with the manager. They were having a good ol’ time. That would have never happened when I worked there!
The way I understand gratuity in some of the places I have worked was because in large parties the turnover rate of customers is not as fast, meaning they are more likely to take up more floor space for a longer amount of time. Now they could end up drinking after their meal but usually they seem to want to stay around and just converse. This is fine and it’s why some restaurants charge gratuity for the time this is costing them while other patrons wait to be seated.
One place I worked only allowed me to collect on half of the 20% gratuity collected on tables over 8. Although anything the customer tipped over 20% was mine. Also some of this is allocated back to bartenders, prep and clean up. So not all of this goes to the waiter which many people that have not worked in the restaurant industry probably think.
Ha! I stand corrected. But oh those Brits - never the first to pick up a check or leave a decent tip.
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