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

Dining check with change

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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