In recent years, a trend perpetrated by Richmond's restaurateurs has been insidiously gaining ground at the expense of hardworking Richmondites: a gratuity automatically being slipped onto the unsuspecting patron's restaurant bill.
In years past, my family of four has enjoyed a New Year's Day buffet at a restaurant at a hotel in Richmond, and every year the staff quietly adds a 15 per cent gratuity to the bill at the end of the meal.
Every year, I demand the gratuity be removed, and every year the staff does so with apologies. Not this year though. After making our annual reservation with the hotel, the restaurant phoned me back to inform me that on top of the $35 they charge per plate, they would charge a 15 per cent gratuity - for a buffet!
Why do restaurateurs feel they can get away with charging the public what is essentially an extra tax? Because they know that despite this imposition, most restaurant patrons feel too awkward to complain.
Tipping the restaurant is not mandatory and should be done only at the discretion of the patron. Indeed, had this restaurant not demanded a 15 per cent gratuity, I might have left a 20 per cent tip, as I have in the past.
If people do not like the service or the food, they should not reward the restaurant with a tip.
A. Shirran Richmond