Chow Bella

Should Tipping Be Mandatory?

Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where each week Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question or topic New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail [email protected]

Last week, the Internet food community nearly popped a gastronomical gasket regarding a mysteriously sourced story that servers in San Francisco want to make a 25 percent tip mandatory. The report was unsubstantiated (shocking), but the question remains as to what our Valley food community has to say on whether a tip should be automatic. Here are a few of their answers:

Pavle Milic Owner, FnB

NO: At FnB, we don't ever add automatic gratuity. For larger parties, I normally drop off a bill and tell the guest: "I will leave a tip up your discretion." Who am I to assume my service was worth 20 percent? Almost always guests over tip past the 20 percent mark, and if sometimes you get under-tipped (less than 15 percent) well, c'est la vie. You have to look at tips based on your yearly income and not sweat the one less-than-stellar-tip. If you're a good server, you will make good money.

Tipping should be mandatory only for special events where the gratuity has been discussed as part of the contract. There is also a cultural issue here -- sometimes diners from other parts of the world have different views about tipping. This is just one of the reasons why the tip is added to most parties larger than six.

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Laura Hahnefeld
Contact: Laura Hahnefeld