Pros and Cons of Mandatory 15% Tipping

This Chicago-style pizzeria has just created a mandatory 15% tip on all orders. period. No exceptions. Check out this link: … &catid=412

I’m interested to hear what you think tankers have to say. Has anyone tried this? Is this the kind of thing that supports your staff or scares away your customers? Large parties are one thing, but is it bad to decide what your customer service is worth ahead of time?

Andrew Abernathy
Associate Editor
PMQ Pizza Magazine
662.234.5481 x133

I add a 15% to delivery orders during big festival weekeds( Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, Essance Festival). Our hotel business goes through the roof during these types of events. The amount of traffic and extra hotel security translates into runs taking longer for the drivers to complete. Also, due to the high level of intoxication experienced by many customers the average tip seems to be much lower( a lot of scribbled credit card sigs with no tip added). Generally they dont seem to care about the gratuity, but if they do we explain to them how hard it is for the drivers to get around during these times, and they have always understood and sometime tip on top of 15%. Its good for us because all of our drivers want to work during our busiest periods, rather than make excuses so they can have off and enjoy the festivities themselves. Im just a delco so I couldnt really comment on in house gratuity policies, but having waited tables in different pizza restaurants in the past I would say that I made much more than 15% on average and would not have wanted to insult my “regular” customers by putting a grat in their check. IMHO :smiley:

@grottloee: I agree with you on the delivery during Mardi Gras tipping–those delivery guys have the cards stacked against them. I also agree that it may hurt waiters and waitresses. Waiting tables is a skill and if you work hard at it and treat the regulars right, 15% is just a starting point. You shouldn’t undersell your service.

It seems to me that if I added a mandatory 15% gratuity to my delivery orders that most of the customers wouldn’t tip above the mandatory amount. My drivers average well over 20% so I think it would be a big mistake. Yes, they will not get stiffed a couple times a day like they currently do, but they also probably won’t get that $5.00 tip on the $10.00 order either. From my point of view, I believe it will be more difficult to staff the store (due to lower income to the drivers) and sales would drop as a few of my customers would stop ordering due to the mandatory charge.

Only thing is this is a full service restaurant and we are talking servers not delivery drivers here. How is the big healthcare 2014 going to affect small pizza shops when it all unfolds in a few years? I am still pretty sure that most politicians have not read the bill/law as of yet! As far as mandatory tipping, I always tip more than 15% so this would be a losing situations for all but the worst of servers. I think they are trying to cover some of the upcoming healthcare costs by pooling tips and paying minimum wage and then the company is taking a cut off the top here. I do not agree with this practice. It seems a little dishonest towards the employees. They are selling it as a more stable tip base in a bad economic period and then sell the poor pay of servers to the customers on the otherhand…when in reallity…they are just covering a portion of increased benefits costs? I might be wrong but it sounds like that is the case. As far as getting more professional employees…yeah… I have friends that work as “professional” servers in real restaurants that pull down $1000-1200 a night in tips alone…if not more. Base pay does nothing more than cover part of their tax obligation. Gibson’s or Bob Chinn’s in Chicago are a couple of good examples. Sorry but Chicago Pizza in Florida is not going to attract professionals at minimum wage plus 15% pooled tips and a corporate cut off the top.