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Couples Court: Can Restaurants Charge Extra to Make Sure Waiters Get Good Tips?

Dining check with change
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Most of us are happy to tip our waiters and waitresses when they give us good service.

Most of us, anyway.

But this week’s Couples Court involves a dispute at a restaurant where the wait staff apparently didn’t feel that appreciated. The restaurant’s solution, however, raises an interesting question for Judge Michele and our Bull Pen jurors …

Dear Morning Bull Pen:
My wife and I went to dinner at a relatively new restaurant on Saturday night. When the bill came, I noticed that the restaurant had added a $5 service charge. When I questioned the manager about the service charge he said it was because customers are not tipping as well as they should be.
I refused to pay the service charge and believe it is illegal to add it to any bill. The service charge was not posted on the menu. I can understand adding a charge for a party of six or more, but it was just my wife and I dining.We paid for our meals in cash, but did not tip or leave the service charge. The manager said he was going to file a police report.
Who’s right — me or the restaurant?

 

Well, what do you think? Is the restaurant in the right, or should tips be the judgment call of the diners?

We’ll get a verdict Thursday morning.

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