I know why some restaurants do this, but it really bothers me. At many restaurants if you have a large party the tip is automatically included. This amount ranges from 15% to 18% added to the total of the bill.
I have no problem tipping. I have little problem with taking steps to make sure your server doesn’t get stiffed on a large party. If the party is paying with one check I can almost excuse it. But if the party is split into separate checks, adding and automatic tip makes less sense. The chances of getting completely stiffed on a tip drop drastically.
My frustration is compounded by the fact that most of the time I never know if the tip has been added in. The server never mentions it. The check lists it next to the tax,not among the other entrees. The last time this happened I only noticed because the slip I sign said “additional tip”.
As a rule, I do not tip extra when the eatery decides to add this gratuity to the check. That means that the server actually makes less money when they wait on large groups that I attend because I almost always tip 20% (unless the service was just horrible.). I understand that they are protecting the wages of the server, who is tied up with one table and would make next to nothing if they didn’t get a decent tip. I understand that.
But it still bugs me when I am not told about the auto-tip at the front, and have to review the ticket under a microscope to find out of I am being charged one.