A Houston family was locked inside a restaurant this past weekend after they refused to pay the mandatory 17% tip because of bad service, and the management said the gratuity was already included in their bill.
Jasmine Marks says that while her, and her family were eating at the La Fisherman restaurant, they received poor service from the wait staff that was rude, did not bring all the meals ordered at the same time, and they never received refills on drinks.
Marks says that when she received her bill, she noticed a gratuity of 17% already added into the total. She then called a manager over to ask if she could have the gratuity removed from the bill so that she could tip her own amount since they got service that she believed did not deserve the amount they were requiring, which the manager refused to do.
Marks tells KRPC, “We asked her, could the gratuity be removed? Could we give our own tip? She said it was part of their policy and there was nothing she could do about (it).”
Marks says that the manager showed them that their policy of automatically including a 17% gratuity on parties over 5 was clearly marked on the menus. Marks said the employees then locked the doors of the restaurant, and the manager called the police because she was refusing to pay the total bill.
“She said, ‘That’s fine. If you don’t want to pay the gratuity we have HPD outside,'” Marks said. “I asked the police officer twice, maybe three times, is it against the law if we don’t pay the gratuity, and he never gave me a straight answer.”
Apparently, restaurants write their own laws when it comes to tipping policies, whether the consumer likes it or not, as even the president of the Better Business Bureau, Dan Parson, suggests that before you sit down to eat at any restaurant you should know their particular policies ahead of time.
“Consumers need to understand the policy going in. I mean every sign walking in the door. What credit cards do you accept, not accept? What are your hours? Seventeen percent gratuity for the six of you? If you don’t like it, leave,” Parson said.
Marks and her family, after getting nowhere with management and police, decided to pay the 17% tip to avoid any more issues and left.