Automatic gratuity

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krayzie

Mouseketeer
Joined
Sep 25, 2013
Well, to be fair, it wasn't so much that you said table servers should be tipped higher than buffets - it was the clear implication that buffet servers should be tipped less than 18% that set people off. Otherwise, as another poster pointed out, why ask the question at all. Since you normally tip 20-25% at table service restaurants, you will be saving money at the buffets. We've made over 50 trips to Disney and it's been our experience that buffet servers work just as hard as table servers, although their jobs may encompass different responsibilities. In fact, in many restaurants, table servers do not even bring the food to your table - it's done by food runners. Your experiences are different, which is fine, but I think the strong responses were due to the feeling that 18% really isn't so much of a tip that people should be looking to lower it.
I imagine the majority of people tip less than 18% at a buffet.
 

DisneyMomx7

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
My experience is different than most of you apparently.

I'm also baseing it on the fact that dd goes to college in a resort town and she and many of her friends are servers.
Some of the restaurants offer breakfast buffets in addition to ts dinners. The girls always say how much easier it is to work the buffets than the table service. Just going by what the actual servers say.

In the end it doesn't matter. The baby (who is only going to be 17 months) will count at the 6th person whether he eats or not. The gratutuity is automatic. Of course we are going to do some character buffets since it will be his first time at Disney.

Its so wierd that I've been on the DIS for 15 years and this is the first time I felt so much hostility for asking a simple question.
 

rotlex

Is it summer yet?
Joined
Feb 8, 2007
I'm always confused when people are concerned about the auto grat for larger parties. Were you not planning to tip 18%? As someone above said, if you, by chance, do have a terrible experience, just ask for the manager and discuss the auto grat at that point.
We usually tip 18-20% if it is a table service meal. I do have a problem having an automatic tip added at a buffet no matter how many are in our party. Don't get me wrong, at times I do tip 15-18% even at buffet's, but my norm is 10% unless there is exceptional service.

Case in point. We did Cape May cafe with a party of 8 on our last trip. The waitress we had was pretty much out off site most of the meal. We even had to reach out to another server for a drink refill a few times. When the bill arrived with the auto-added 18%, I asked to speak to the manager. After what nearly turned into an argument with her, yes really, she removed the gratuity and I left 10% in cash. (And even that wasn't deserved).

I'm sorry, when your talking Disney prices and receive mediocre service, there should NOT be an auto gratuity added to any bill.
 
  • marikujawa

    Arblover
    Joined
    Jul 2, 2010
    I imagine the majority of people tip less than 18% at a buffet.
    I doubt it's the majority at Disney, although if you add the international guests from non-tipping cultures to the people who under-tip looking to save $5 on their $10,000+ "already-too-expensive" WDW vacation, it probably is a significant number. Actually, I'll withdraw the part about the international guests - I imagine most of them are very conscientious about following the norms here with regard to tipping. At lest that's what I've seen on threads here. It's more along the lines that some may not know what's expected or realize how servers here are paid and may under-tip as a result.
     
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    Heather07438

    WDW Apprentice
    Joined
    Oct 20, 2015
    It helps to think about why establishments' decision to put auto-tips on certain checks overrides knowing it will upset some customers. Without it, they can't hold on to decent staff with the gaps in tipping. The job becomes 'not worth it' and staff turn over like crazy and the whole restaurant suffers for that.

    The other thing beside a large party being much harder to serve is on average, they stay much longer than smaller parties. WDW can be a bit different but even there, larger parties will take longer to order and linger more.

    From the restaurant side, they want to run in the green. Any money they can save by not paying un-tipped hourly workers to clean, restock, prepare certain food items, etc... they will give to the servers as 'side work'. Guess who scrubs down the whole restaurant usually? Guess who brings cases of supplies into work areas? Some places servers even do some dish washing. Management will pad the servers with sidework right up to the break point of 'worth it'. Restaurants strive to be right there, where it's just into 'worth it' territory. If serving was an easy lucrative job with tons of benefits, you'd never see any job openings lol.

    It's an odd system but for now nobody has found a sustainable way to change it.
     

    DGsAtBLT

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 10, 2017
    The tipping at buffets at Disney is complicated by the fact that they most of them are so darn expensive that you’re looking at a crazy high tip for typical buffet service, and I imagine it catches a lot of people off guard when you see around $50 gratuity tacked onto a party of 6. The high cost of the buffet doesn’t mean the server is doing twice the work as a server at the Plaza for example.

    I’m not saying people shouldn’t be tipping, but I can definitely see why the Disney buffets could be shocking for a lot of people. Personally we account for the 18% tip, but that won’t be everyone.
     

    Heather07438

    WDW Apprentice
    Joined
    Oct 20, 2015
    We usually tip 18-20% if it is a table service meal. I do have a problem having an automatic tip added at a buffet no matter how many are in our party. Don't get me wrong, at times I do tip 15-18% even at buffet's, but my norm is 10% unless there is exceptional service.

    Case in point. We did Cape May cafe with a party of 8 on our last trip. The waitress we had was pretty much out off site most of the meal. We even had to reach out to another server for a drink refill a few times. When the bill arrived with the auto-added 18%, I asked to speak to the manager. After what nearly turned into an argument with her, yes really, she removed the gratuity and I left 10% in cash. (And even that wasn't deserved).

    I'm sorry, when your talking Disney prices and receive mediocre service, there should NOT be an auto gratuity added to any bill.
    The next time something like that happens, ask management where your server was in the time she was unavailable to refill drinks.

    Possibly she was having a text fight with her boyfriend in the restroom. In that case you shouldn't have to tip her 18% for neglecting her job. Management should not back her for that, and hopefully they wouldn't.

    9 out of 10 times it will be something else, she is off doing sidework. Management will know this. Normal protocol is when a server needs to be doing sidework while live tables are on the floor, other servers need to oversee the table for them. They do it for each other.

    If you're curious, ask the manager what the employee was doing. They won't offer that kind of info without a guest asking specifically because it opens a weird can of worms about 'behind the scenes' and they prefer not to get into a lengthy conversation about it because often it just opens more questions. Like, the servers are cutting up all the fruit? She's scrubbing a refrigerator out right now?
     
  • Heather07438

    WDW Apprentice
    Joined
    Oct 20, 2015
    The tipping at buffets at Disney is complicated by the fact that they most of them are so darn expensive that you’re looking at a crazy high tip for typical buffet service, and I imagine it catches a lot of people off guard when you see around $50 gratuity tacked onto a party of 6. The high cost of the buffet doesn’t mean the server is doing twice the work as a server at the Plaza for example.

    I’m not saying people shouldn’t be tipping, but I can definitely see why the Disney buffets could be shocking for a lot of people. Personally we account for the 18% tip, but that won’t be everyone.
    With the buffets being soooo over-priced on the food due to the character interactions, it does make me wonder a bit. I'm going on the assumption that the restaurant and management lean hard into those servers to do a ton sidework to save the house money from paying hourly wage workers to do that stuff, but I don't know.

    If anybody has any first hand experience about working buffet service in WDW, I'm very interested to know what the job fully entails.
     

    Crystal824

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 23, 2008
    Yes, the baby counts at the 6th person and gratuities will be added. I know this first hand. We are a family of 5. My mom typically goes to Disney with us making us a party of 6. My son is two now but has been to WDW several times already. First trip he was 10 months, and yes they charged us the automatic gratuity.
     

    DGsAtBLT

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 10, 2017
    With the buffets being soooo over-priced on the food due to the character interactions, it does make me wonder a bit. I'm going on the assumption that the restaurant and management lean hard into those servers to do a ton sidework to save the house money from paying hourly wage workers to do that stuff, but I don't know.

    If anybody has any first hand experience about working buffet service in WDW, I'm very interested to know what the job fully entails.
    I am also curious how much of the tips the servers get to keep.

    Our party of 8 has an automatic gratuity of $72 (I think) at Chef Mickeys, for example. That is a sweet gig if that is somewhere around the norm a buffet server sees. And Disney buffet servers wouldn’t really see ultra slow times, especially the ones at the higher priced buffets.
     

    Heather07438

    WDW Apprentice
    Joined
    Oct 20, 2015
    I am also curious how much of the tips the servers get to keep.

    Our party of 8 has an automatic gratuity of $72 (I think) at Chef Mickeys, for example. That is a sweet gig if that is somewhere around the norm a buffet server sees. And Disney buffet servers wouldn’t really see ultra slow times, especially the ones at the higher priced buffets.
    That is a good question. I don't have any direct knowledge about WDW servers, just general industry knowledge from both managing and serving. Neither of which I do anymore because while it can be a decent way to make money, it will eat your soul if you do it too long. Lol, I'm exaggerating but it's very hard to make into a long term career. Like any job, many pros/cons. I will say most people don't want to be aging far in to this career with no alternatives.

    Board posts often mention certain 'gold' spots for servers in WDW where it is really hard to get hired, highly competitive because it's a great gig money-wise. I wonder what percent of WDW restaurants are great compared to average. 5%? 25% I'd guess the top TS (BoG, CRT, etc) are 'gold' but don't know for sure. Chef Mickey's buffet could also be one of the great? $72 does add up quickly! :D
     
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  • Carrie Ellis

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 7, 2004
    The biggest issue I see with automatic tips is the assumption the waiter/waitress might have that they will get a nice tip even if they do not try. Also, I know large groups might tend to stay longer but at Disney, I would imagine, is not as much the issue. I actually do not do many table services because I hate using up 2 hours to eat.
     

    TeresaWen

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 9, 2008
    The biggest issue I see with automatic tips is the assumption the waiter/waitress might have that they will get a nice tip even if they do not try. Also, I know large groups might tend to stay longer but at Disney, I would imagine, is not as much the issue. I actually do not do many table services because I hate using up 2 hours to eat.
    I think most servers, especially at Disney, take way to much pride in their work to slack off when a table is in an auto tip situation (party size / TiW).
     

    marikujawa

    Arblover
    Joined
    Jul 2, 2010
    I think most servers, especially at Disney, take way to much pride in their work to slack off when a table is in an auto tip situation (party size / TiW).
    I agree. Also, I think servers are too busy to remember which tables have whatever discounts or auto gratuities and to adjust their level of service accordingly. In my experience, the personal tipping philosophy of the diner influences the amount of the tip far more than anything the server does. People who are used to leaving a good tip will usually do so unless the server does something egregiously wrong. Those who tip poorly will always find service issues to justify leaving a lower tip.
     
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    Heather07438

    WDW Apprentice
    Joined
    Oct 20, 2015
    Bottom line is people should tip what they want. Whether it’s nothing up to whatever. It’s a personal choice.
    When choosing to eat at a tipped establishment, you are entering into a social contract. It's assumed you accept the tipped service structure, otherwise you could choose to eat somewhere without tipped service.

    Agreeing and accepting are 2 different things. People can disagree with the tipped service structure, but still choosing to be served means they've accepted it. When enough customers don't understand this difference, auto-tips get applied to checks.
     

    Pumbaa_

    >Hakuna Matata!<
    Moderator
    Joined
    Jan 7, 2001
    And this is why we do not allow tipping discussion. It never goes well. Ever.

    The question has been answered. We also have a sticky thread on tipping, primarily the mechanics. No personal tipping habits discussion is allowed.

    Disney is a resort destination. As such, they have determined there is no difference (in regards to tipping) between the different TS restaurants. Buffet, signature, or regular TS is treated the same as evidenced by TiW and auto gratuity

    As consumers you have choices. Including not dining at a place where you do not want to tip.

    This thread is closed
     
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