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Have Auto Gratuities Gone Too Far?

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It's Friday and it's time to hear from the crowd. Have something you want discussed among the fine Eater readers? Send it this way.

The topic of automatic gratuities has popped up all over the place recently. While the City's rules are now clearly established (it's permissable if its clearly stated on the menu and tips go right to servers), a few recent anecdotes have raised some eyebrows at Eater HQ. One tipster reports writes:

I was at Birreria a few Saturdays ago for an early dinner. There were four adults and two infants, one in a stroller and one in a high chair and when the bill came, they charged us the 20% automatic gratuity that the menu says they charge for parties of six or more. I was more surprised by the decision then angry since we were sitting at a six top that could have been filled with six adults instead of us, but it's not like we were six adults with only 4 people eating. But is a tip supposed to be something that just lines the pockets of the staff for just being there and smiling or is it something that is supposed to be earned and hence, serve as a reward? I say the latter.
That's upstairs at Eataly.

Another tipster reported that after dining inside Eataly at Manzo, the restaurant tacked on an automatic gratuity to his bill after he dined there with his mother and grandmother, something he chalked up to their Spanish heritage and an assumption by the restaurant that they were tourists and would stiff them on the tip.

If you ask us, auto gratuities for parties of six or more are always OK, but they should only come into effect if there are actually six adults and should be relaxed when the adults bring non-eating infants to sit there. Auto-gratuities for parties of less than six are always lame, and should never be charged based on some kind of profiling of customers. Auto gratuities at bars or clubs for drink service are also in poor taste, unless it's for bottle service where the buyer is already getting ripped off and therefore should have no reason to complain about an extra 20% being tacked on.

Your thoughts are welcome in the comments.
· Burning Questions [~ENY~]

Manzo @ Eataly

200 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10010 Visit Website

Eataly

200 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10010 Visit Website

Birreria

200 Fifth Ave., New York, NY

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