We've all experienced this whether we live in Michigan or not. You're at dinner with a group of family and friends. It's been a great experience.

Until the bill arrives.

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Because your party had five tables pushed together with 17 people, you've had automatic gratuity of 20% added to your check.

It's common practice in the dining world and not just a Michigan thing.

Is there a difference between gratuity and tipping?

By definition, Merriam-Webster's Dictionary says this:

Gratuity: something given voluntarily or beyond obligation usually for some service. especially TIP

Scenario: added a gratuity for the server.


Tipa gift or a sum of money tendered for a service performed or anticipated GRATUITY

By definition, there isn't a difference between the two. "Gratuity" sounds fancier than "tip?"

Should you tip on top of automatically added gratuity?

Popular opinion from anyone that works in a restaurant is that it's certainly appreciated and here's why:

  • Servers likely have to share their tips with hosts at many restaurants.
  • Servers have to share their tips with bartenders.
  • Servers don't make much per hour. Some as low as $3.84/hr in Michigan

When you factor all of the above into automatically added gratuity, the server your waiter or waitress, isn't keeping much.

If you want to pull the curtain back a little more into the serving world, reddit has a whole section dedicated to it. Servers get stiffed, a lot.

What if there's a problem with service?

If there's a problem with service, ask to speak with a manager (politely) before you clear all your plates and finish your drinks.

Give them a chance to fix it.  After all, we're all human.

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Otherwise, you and your group send the message of "everything was great... we just don't feel like paying gratuity/tip."

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