While most restaurants leave it up to their customers to decide how much to tip their servers, some restaurants include a mandatory gratuity or “service fee” in their bills. Sometimes this is done only for large groups of diners. Other times it is included as an extra charge when customers choose the private dining option.
Mandatory gratuity is legal only if the money is used for the sole purpose of paying the server. Unfortunately, restaurants sometimes include mandatory gratuities and service charges on their bills without passing on any of that money to the servers. Instead, the money goes to pay for other aspects of running the business, or the owners take it as profit. Either way, the practice is unfair to both servers and customers. Continue reading