Fee this!

In restaurant on 02/23/2009 at 6:03 pm

Is it the bad economy or just plain greed? Our recent dinner at Tsukushi was marred by the fact the waitress pointed to the magically included tip at the bottom of the hand-written bill. Because it was a good meal and there was pinpoint attentiveness, the 18% tip was well-deserved. But something was just nagging me after that.

I admit I am on the right side of frugal. You serve me well, however, I will give you the tip you deserve. There has been some buzz about this issue online recently. Gothamist looked into it and apparently, there are official guidelines. Restaurants are allowed to tack on a mandatory service fee or tip only if they meet several NYC rules:

The fee must be listed on the menu in 10-point type or larger.
The fee can only apply to groups of 8 or more.
The fee cannot exceed 15 percent.

Charges for two persons splitting one meal, or a per-person minimum charge are allowed as long as the fee is conspicuously disclosed to the consumer before the food is ordered.

If you realize your bill is wrong you can complain to the restaurant to remove the charge, call 311 to anonymously ask for an inspection of the restaurant, or if you have the time and your receipt, you can file a complaint with the Department of Consumer Affairs which will try to get you a refund of the unfair service charge.

The other half is always trying to get me to leave a larger tip, so now, I’m used to leaving up to 20%. But next time a place tries this trick on me, they’re getting nothing!

no tip for you!

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