Internet Slams Hotel For ‘Automatically’ Adding ‘Optional’ Tip to Bill

A man said in a now-viral post that they recently stayed at a hotel that adds automatic gratuities to all breakfast bills.

Posting in Reddit’s “Mildly Infuriating” forum under the username u/ddawkins19, the man posted a photo of a sign from the hotel breakfast bar calling the automatic gratuities “optional”—a word that bothered many Redditors. The post has garnered nearly 9,000 upvotes and more than 600 comments.

According to Toast, a restaurant management software company, automatic gratuities are “set [fees] as determined by the restaurant added to the bill of a party.” Many restaurants use automatic gratuities to ensure their staff is “treated fairly” by customers “when it comes time to tip.” But as u/ddawkins19’s post proves, not all customers are fans of these gratuities.

“Dear guest, please note that an optional 18 percent gratuity has been automatically added to your bill,” read the sign featured in u/ddawkins19’s post. “Please let us know if you have any questions. Cheers!”

Woman reviewing restaurant bill
A man said in a now-viral post that he recently stayed at a hotel that adds automatic gratuities to all breakfast bills.

According to u/ddawkins19, the hotel breakfast bar wasn’t “self-serve.” Rather, guests ordered at a counter and “waited for their food.”

“Some items are cooked food (ex: French toast, eggs). But there [are] also bananas, mini boxes of cereal, bottled drinks, etc.,” he said in a comment.

Hotel Tipping Etiquette

Diane Gottsman, a national etiquette expert and founder of The Protocol School of Texas, told Newsweek that guests are only required to tip in hotel restaurants if they “see a server.”

“Some buffets have table service where a server refills your glass of water, tea or coffee; removes plates; and offers you a variety of extra table services,” Gottsman said. “In this case, a tip would be appropriate and ranges from a few dollars to 10 percent of the bill, depending on the extent of their help. If it is a serve-yourself breakfast bar and you go through the line and never see a server, no tip is necessary.”

Gottsman added: “Tip what is comfortable or, in the case of a buffet where you serve yourself with no one providing table service, you can hit the custom/no tip button without guilt.”

Reddit Reacts

u/ddawkins19 told Newsweek that he did not receive table service. Instead, the person working the counter gave him the bagel and cream cheese he ordered, and “expected [him] to spread [the cream cheese] like some plebeian.”

Still, he said he has no problem with tipping. In this case, he was more so shocked that the restaurant had “the gall” to “automatically apply” something that is supposed to be “optional.”

“So if someone doesn’t want to tip, they have to say, ‘Can you please remove [the] tip? I’d prefer not to pay that,'” he said.

Many Redditors also took issue with the whole situation, calling it “scummy.”

“If it’s optional, why is it automatically added?” u/1Sluggo asked.

u/BigPeePeeBourgeoisie replied: “So that if you think it’s stupid, you have to be the one to tell the person when you’re paying that you don’t want to tip them. It’s basically trying to shame you into not saying anything about it and paying the tip, lest you look like an A-hole to the staff. [It’s a] scummy way to treat customers.”

u/Dheideri added: “Yes, it’s so optional that you have to request it be removed, then look like a cheapskate b**tard.”

Newsweek could not verify the details of the case.

More Viral Posts

Online commenters were left divided after an Atlanta restaurant-goer shared a restaurant’s tip policy which states that customers should stay home if they cannot afford to tip.

One Redditor went viral after sharing that they once paid a hotel $75 in “resort fees.”

And one customer sparked a viral discussion about “tipflation” when they shared a photo of a restaurant bill with a minimum tip amount of 25 percent.

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