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Automatic Gratuity for large parties despite poor service

REG Glenn

Member
Original Poster
I love Disney Dining. Our family visits the World once a year and to keep things fresh and different we try new, fun or favorite restaurants. Our family consists of 6, but we travel with another family or families. I understand the reason behind the practice of adding the gratuity, but I do have a problem of paying the automatic 18% for poor service.

Here’s what usually happens. Our group of 10 to 15 people is seated, and most times our party is served by only 1 waitress/waiter as to not share the tip on this huge check. If our group of 15 were at separate tables, the experience would be different and be better. But with one waitress serving our large party, everything moves at a snails pace. Water comes slowly, ordering around the table is slow, delivery of the food does come with help, but refills on drinks may or may not happen. After a 2 hour sit down, we have to expedite the check in order to make a fast pass or fireworks show. The huge dining bill comes, usually with great atmosphere, great food, friendly but SUBPAR service; and with with $100 tip on a $500 tab. Heck, If I waited tables, I would not want to share this tip either.


This always happens every time we dine with this size party. We have many dining experiences when our group divides into smaller groups. These meals are so much more magical.

Here are my questions:
1) can a tip be disputed? Which I would really hate to do. But when refills never come and the tip is over a hundred dollars, it is a matter of principle. By the way, I hate to complain, it just ruins the mood for the group as we look forward to our next adventure that evening.
2) should I request an additional server? Am I offending the first server and risk creating a sourball waiter.

I still love Disney dining. Don’t like to complain but would like some feedback.
 

J_Krafty24

Active Member
1.) Yes a tip can be disputed. Ask to speak with a manager.
2.) Not sure about offending anyone but you could show up to your reservation early and explain the situation to the manager and see what they can do about splitting the table between 2 different servers before you are even seated.
 

eliza61nyc

Well-Known Member
Absolutely a tip can be disputed. I do it also when I have a large group. In fact I now tend to be proactive.

My family has absolutely asked for more than one server. no way can one server handle 12 people efficiently and quickly. In fact I've made that request as soon as we check in.

lol, and ironically @REG Glenn I experienced this last month in NYC. My family went out to dinner (10 people) and we had show tickets. I immediately asked for help for our server. 1 guy, 10 adults = missed show. lol.
 

larryz

post hoc ergo propter hoc
Premium Member
I would just add that if you're going to dispute an automatic tip, please have some solid justification for doing so. "Took too long" might not be the server's fault, especially if you're eating at prime hours... the kitchen might be backed up. There are some things out of the server's control.

"Dropped the soup in my lap," "didn't check on us the entire meal," "never got my dessert"... those are valid server hits.
 

Phonedave

Well-Known Member
I would just add that if you're going to dispute an automatic tip, please have some solid justification for doing so. "Took too long" might not be the server's fault, especially if you're eating at prime hours... the kitchen might be backed up. There are some things out of the server's control.

"Dropped the soup in my lap," "didn't check on us the entire meal," "never got my dessert"... those are valid server hits.


I go back and forth with that logic. I understand where you are coming from, some things are beyond a servers control. But, you never know what the tip arrangement is. The servers may be tipping out to the back of the house. Then by giving a full tip, the back of the line gets rewarded for poor service (I don't care of the kitchen is slammed, they should be able to handle it, especially in WDW where full tables are the norm).

A lot of casual dining places (which is what most of WDW TS are) have shifted to team service. It increases visibility of the wait staff, makes it easier to handle large groups, and creates a team atmosphere when ti comes to tips. You would think that WDW dining has serving large groups down to a science. It's not like it is a new concept to them.
 

JaxFLBear

Well-Known Member
But, you never know what the tip arrangement is. The servers may be tipping out to the back of the house. Then by giving a full tip, the back of the line gets rewarded for poor service (I don't care of the kitchen is slammed, they should be able to handle it, especially in WDW where full tables are the norm).
According to the federal Department of Labor, only employees who regularly receive tips can be part of the pool. Employees must receive notice of the tip pool. Employees can't be required to share their tips with employees who don't usually receive their own tips, like dishwashers or cooks.
 

xdan0920

Think for yourselfer
Absolutely a tip can be disputed. I do it also when I have a large group. In fact I now tend to be proactive.

My family has absolutely asked for more than one server. no way can one server handle 12 people efficiently and quickly. In fact I've made that request as soon as we check in.

lol, and ironically @REG Glenn I experienced this last month in NYC. My family went out to dinner (10 people) and we had show tickets. I immediately asked for help for our server. 1 guy, 10 adults = missed show. lol.

Oh my god this is so fantastic.
 

Phonedave

Well-Known Member
According to the federal Department of Labor, only employees who regularly receive tips can be part of the pool. Employees must receive notice of the tip pool. Employees can't be required to share their tips with employees who don't usually receive their own tips, like dishwashers or cooks.

Not sure if WDW take a tip credit for their servers, of it they pay minimum wage, but there are nuances to the law that can allow for changed in tip pooling. It's not if the employees receive tips or not, it is if they are customer facing.
 

rwdavis2

Active Member
I would just add that if you're going to dispute an automatic tip, please have some solid justification for doing so. "Took too long" might not be the server's fault, especially if you're eating at prime hours... the kitchen might be backed up. There are some things out of the server's control.

"Dropped the soup in my lap," "didn't check on us the entire meal," "never got my dessert"... those are valid server hits.

Absolutely. The server has no control about the pace of the meal or the level of staffing that leaves them responsible for such a large table. So I would not blame them for slow service. Take it up with the manager.
 

REG Glenn

Member
Original Poster
I do believe that the waiter/waitress takes on more than they can handle. They have to know the diner experience suffers from the single server approach. My reasoning is that they wish not to split the big tip. I do think the team approach makes for less stress on the server, and an exponentially better dining experiences. Management needs to emphasize to their servers to employ the team approach and to not allow the server to selfishly take on a large party by their own decision. I do feel that this falls on management but I see how the server can manipulate the situation. There is a big difference between $100 tip and half that.

As said earlier, I hate to complain. But tired of the same old scenario.
 

Tony the Tigger

Well-Known Member
Absolutely. The server has no control about the pace of the meal or the level of staffing that leaves them responsible for such a large table. So I would not blame them for slow service. Take it up with the manager.

I agree. If absolutely necessary, get something comped rather than under-tip.

If you are knowingly stressing the system, what do you expect? There’s a reason tables hold X number of people.

You sure as heck can’t hear anyone from one end of a 20-top to the other, so why not sit at tables near each other and get the service you prefer?

I do believe that the waiter/waitress takes on more than they can handle. They have to know the diner experience suffers from the single server approach. My reasoning is that they wish not to split the big tip. I do think the team approach makes for less stress on the server, and an exponentially better dining experiences. Management needs to emphasize to their servers to employ the team approach and to not allow the server to selfishly take on a large party by their own decision. I do feel that this falls on management but I see how the server can manipulate the situation. There is a big difference between $100 tip and half that.

As said earlier, I hate to complain. But tired of the same old scenario.

That’s a whole lot of speculation right there.

You know they typically have assigned tables, right?
 

Chi84

Premium Member
I do believe that the waiter/waitress takes on more than they can handle. They have to know the diner experience suffers from the single server approach. My reasoning is that they wish not to split the big tip. I do think the team approach makes for less stress on the server, and an exponentially better dining experiences. Management needs to emphasize to their servers to employ the team approach and to not allow the server to selfishly take on a large party by their own decision. I do feel that this falls on management but I see how the server can manipulate the situation. There is a big difference between $100 tip and half that.

As said earlier, I hate to complain. But tired of the same old scenario.
Why would you assume servers decide table assignments? My daughter worked as a server during college. The managers decided how many servers were assigned to larger parties, and the servers pooled their tips. The last thing she needed was someone trying to justify leaving an inadequate tip. 18% is not all that generous as tips go nowadays. To the OP: how little were you hoping to leave?
 
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JIMINYCR

Well-Known Member
Weve had situations when we dined in a large groups where the service wasnt as stellar as we desired. Our tipping is determined by how we assess the situation. If the server is working hard in other ways ( at the very least drinks should be brought and refilled) being pleasant, communicating with us and we can see that the timing of the meal being served is out of her control, we dont hold it against her. If service is bad enough and its unquestionably from a poor server, that it makes us question the gratuity, we speak to the mgr and voice our complaint. We always communicate with our server at the beginning of service, and give a reminder during the meal, if and when we need to be somewhere and are in a time crunch so they know its critical we pay and be out by a certain time.
 

REG Glenn

Member
Original Poster
I always tip at least 18%. I’m not out to screw over the wait staff. If the service is friendly, which at WDW it always is, I will always tip well. Just making conversation on paying a very large and automatic gratuity for subpar service. Just think management needs to rethink the large party strategy.

By the way, our large party MOST times arrives with separate table ressies, and the hostess staff will bring us together. I appreciate their efforts. This makes us feel together even though conversation from one end of the table to the other is difficult.
 

MuteSuperstar

Well-Known Member
You sure as heck can’t hear anyone from one end of a 20-top to the other, so why not sit at tables near each other and get the service you prefer?

This has always been my opinion too, but I try to avoid being in large parties at all costs. I would imagine it would be just as hard to get them to accommodate having tables near each other for these big parties as it is to have 20 people crammed together as one group.

EDIT: just read the above post, good to know they can at least attempt to put people close together if they want.
 

Jon81uk

Well-Known Member
As a Brit where tipping is not common practice, I would ignore the thought of the tip against the service, and just think "did I get good service" if the answer is no, ask for a manager.

If you had slow or poor service in a store you would ask for a manager to make a complaint, a restaurant should not be any different.
If a manager is made aware of the issue they can fix it or learn from it for future. If the tip is reduced, the server gets less pay but the manager may never find out about the problems you had.
 

Hockey89

Well-Known Member
Frankly, big groups are hard to deal with and every time I have to be at a table with 10-15 people the service and food goes down hill.... I avoid big tables like the plague...
 

Hockey89

Well-Known Member
This has always been my opinion too, but I try to avoid being in large parties at all costs. I would imagine it would be just as hard to get them to accommodate having tables near each other for these big parties as it is to have 20 people crammed together as one group.

EDIT: just read the above post, good to know they can at least attempt to put people close together if they want.
I'm with you....
 

Hockey89

Well-Known Member
I do believe that the waiter/waitress takes on more than they can handle. They have to know the diner experience suffers from the single server approach. My reasoning is that they wish not to split the big tip. I do think the team approach makes for less stress on the server, and an exponentially better dining experiences. Management needs to emphasize to their servers to employ the team approach and to not allow the server to selfishly take on a large party by their own decision. I do feel that this falls on management but I see how the server can manipulate the situation. There is a big difference between $100 tip and half that.

As said earlier, I hate to complain. But tired of the same old scenario.
I'm not sure one of you huge assumptions is correct...
 

xdan0920

Think for yourselfer
I do believe that the waiter/waitress takes on more than they can handle. They have to know the diner experience suffers from the single server approach. My reasoning is that they wish not to split the big tip. I do think the team approach makes for less stress on the server, and an exponentially better dining experiences. Management needs to emphasize to their servers to employ the team approach and to not allow the server to selfishly take on a large party by their own decision. I do feel that this falls on management but I see how the server can manipulate the situation. There is a big difference between $100 tip and half that.

As said earlier, I hate to complain. But tired of the same old scenario.
Literally none of this is right.
 

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