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The 20% Solution

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Jul. 1st, 2005 | 02:45 pm

Garabaldi's on CollegeOur very nice meal for six last night at Garabaldi's in Oakland was cheapened by the restaurant's policy of adding a 20% gratuity on the bill.  That percentage is too aggressive for the mediocre service we received.

If you’re going to add a generous tip to the bill for a table of any size, you best guarantee very good service. Our service was not good, much less very good.

At the end of the evening, I talked to the manager about being unhappy having to pay 20% for such service. She agreeably said we weren’t required to pay the service. Huh? It was already added on to the credit card bill. What were we supposed to do? Write in a negative tip?

Despite the good food and nice space, we left less content than we would have been if we'd been able to leave the called for 10-15%, or if a more modest amount had been added to the bill for our "large" party.

My message to restaurants:  You should not charge for what you cannot deliver.

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