What is auto-grat? The long way to say it is automatic gratuity and basically what that means is that on large parties tip is automatically added. This isn't simply a Hooters thing, pretty much any restaurant will add automatic gratuity for big parties. Usually this is encountered with parties of eight or more and generally results in 15-20% of the total bill. Our auto-grat is generally added to parties of ten or more and is 18%.
So as you can imagine, 18% on a bill for seventy people who are all drinking is a pretty damn amazing tip. There were two girls working the party (a big no no by the way, it should be one girl to every ten to fifteen people but apparently this wasn't followed) so they were in line to receive a nice payday. Naturally they added the auto-grat. The guests expected the auto-grat as they had been told about it beforehand. It was hardly a surprise.
What was a surprise happened next. Evidently, the owner of our restaurant was in the building that night drinking at the bar. This is hardly out of the ordinary. It seems he saw the auto-grat being added by the manager on duty and thought this was unacceptable. He made him remove the gratuity, which is always up to the manager's discretion. So the tip was removed, the bill was delivered and the bill was promptly paid. With a 10% tip. For two girls. To split. Not ok.
At any rate there was generally outrage amongst many of the girls after this took place. I was one of them. The whole reason auto-grat is added is because big parties hardly ever tip enough on their own. Especially not enough when you consider the work involved in serving and entertaining such a large group. Auto-grat is unfortunately necessary. If they tipped enough to begin with it wouldn't even exist.
So my question to you is, is automatic gratuity acceptable? As a customer what are your feelings?