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Old 07-27-2013, 08:07 AM   #1
Sundancer UK
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Question about gratuity (from a clueless Brit!)

Hiya, we're booked up for 2 weeks in 2014 ( ) and have free quick service dining. I *really* want to upgrade to the full DDP, but my husband isn't so sure.

I understand that with us being a group of 7 (2 adults, 4 kids, 1 baby) we will have gratuity added on automatically, but how does that work with DDP? Does that mean we wont have to pay for our meal, but we will get a bill with gratuity charge on?

Also (and here's how clueless I am), is gratuity the same as tips?

The reason we love the idea of the dining plans is because we don't have to worry about money. We don't really want to be carrying around money for tips if we can help it and the idea of it being somehow pre-paid appeals immensely

I *so* want to do the lovely Disney restaurants, but have no chance of convincing DH unless I can give him specifics - please help!
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Old 07-27-2013, 08:19 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundancer UK View Post
Hiya, we're booked up for 2 weeks in 2014 ( ) and have free quick service dining. I *really* want to upgrade to the full DDP, but my husband isn't so sure.

I understand that with us being a group of 7 (2 adults, 4 kids, 1 baby) we will have gratuity added on automatically, but how does that work with DDP? Does that mean we wont have to pay for our meal, but we will get a bill with gratuity charge on? Yes.

Also (and here's how clueless I am), is gratuity the same as tips? Yes.

The reason we love the idea of the dining plans is because we don't have to worry about money. We don't really want to be carrying around money for tips if we can help it and the idea of it being somehow pre-paid appeals immensely

I *so* want to do the lovely Disney restaurants, but have no chance of convincing DH unless I can give him specifics - please help!
My answers in red. HERE is the tipping thread, you should be able to find more information there.
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Old 07-27-2013, 08:21 AM   #3
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Oops - I knew there was specific tipping thread and forgot all about it! So sorry.

And thank you, that does help.

Unfortunately, it wont be what DH wants to hear and makes it unlikely that we will upgrade
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I've decided I'm not a Disney fan as everyone thinks I am - No, I'm a Disney Geek!

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Old 07-27-2013, 02:52 PM   #4
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If you are staying on property you can charge the tip to your room, and then pay your room bill.

But with that said...regardless of paying for a meal out of pocket at a sit down place or upgrading your dining plan, with a family your size a tip will automatically be added to all table service places in WDW. Not to mention many places outside of WDW will also add an auto tip to your bill.

Not sure how it works in the US. But we have a minimum wage of around $7.25 (Federal minimum, but each state can set something higher). With that said, those who work in industries where tips are the norm (ie waitresses, bartenders), employers are allowed to pay less than minimum wage (currently I think Federal Minimum Wage is $3.80 per hour), on the theory that tips are to make up the pay difference to bring them standard with the Minimum Wage of everyone else.

I think a lot of the auto tips came about because large groups would come in, take up 90% of a servers time, with a $500, bill and leave the waitress with like $10. That would mean the waitress wouldn't even come close to making minimum wage, even with the other 2-3 tables in his/her area. Even though the waitress provided excellent service, people wouldn't tip.
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Old 07-27-2013, 03:17 PM   #5
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Thanks


I don't mind tipping *at all* it's a strange thing to us just because we're not used to it (we tip, but not for the same reasons or situations or same amounts) and we expect to tip at our meals while in the US. I'm actually quite happy to be a larger group and have the gratuity added on automatically as it takes the maths away from me needing to work it out.

But the difference is that quick service does save that extra bit of money, not only for cost of food, but the 18% on top of that.

I've called to ask how much it would be for us to upgrade, and I need to take in to account that we will need to allow extra money with the QSDP to buy the second snack that we relied on last time we went (so its a *slight* less difference than it could be). As we are going for 14 days and four of us are classed as adults for dining, it's quite a lot extra!! But I'm hoping that my sheer enthusiasm at the idea might just sway my DH in to considering it...
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I've decided I'm not a Disney fan as everyone thinks I am - No, I'm a Disney Geek!

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Old 07-27-2013, 03:50 PM   #6
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I have just posted a very similar question.

I have no problem tipping (except at buffets) but 18% seems really high. Is 18% mandatory for a party of 6 or more? Can I ask for it to be lowered or removed?
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Old 07-27-2013, 03:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markmcalear View Post
I have just posted a very similar question.

I have no problem tipping (except at buffets) but 18% seems really high. Is 18% mandatory for a party of 6 or more? Can I ask for it to be lowered or removed?
No. It is an automatic gratuity because of your party size.

18% and 20% are the recommended gratuity amounts listed on the bottom of TS receipts.

You could certainly ask to speak to a manager but I wouldn't count on it being removed or lessened.
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Old 07-27-2013, 05:46 PM   #8
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Sorry to come back to this, but I'm trying to work out our budget.

I know the 18% gratuity is worked out before tax, but is it based on what we order still, rather than the DDP divided by however many meals you are entitled to?

I'm pretty sure it must be - I guess that means I need to trawl the menus to work out 14 days of dinners and their respective 18% charges!
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Elaine XX
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I've decided I'm not a Disney fan as everyone thinks I am - No, I'm a Disney Geek!

I have a blog. I've posted a little. If people look I might be prompted to do more...

http://aurorasjoy.blogspot.co.uk/
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Old 07-27-2013, 06:01 PM   #9
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I think people need to realize that if the US adopts a system of paying servers a higher "living wage" the food costs would be MUCH more and then the tip would not be at issue.

I think it's a shame to penalize the workers just because people are not accustomed to it from where they are from. This is why in certain areas of S Fla where we have heavy foreign populations that don't normally tip, a lot of restaurants automatically include it now.
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Old 07-28-2013, 03:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundancer UK View Post
Sorry to come back to this, but I'm trying to work out our budget.

I know the 18% gratuity is worked out before tax, but is it based on what we order still, rather than the DDP divided by however many meals you are entitled to?

I'm pretty sure it must be - I guess that means I need to trawl the menus to work out 14 days of dinners and their respective 18% charges!
It's based on the food cost, not the DDP cost.
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Old 07-28-2013, 08:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markmcalear View Post
I have just posted a very similar question.

I have no problem tipping (except at buffets) but 18% seems really high. Is 18% mandatory for a party of 6 or more? Can I ask for it to be lowered or removed?
18% is the standard rate in the US for tipping.

Yes, at Disney and many off site properties, parties of 6 (sometimes 8)+ will get it automatically added to your bill (at more upscale places), not so much at places like Bob Evans...
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Old 07-28-2013, 08:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markmcalear View Post
I have just posted a very similar question.

I have no problem tipping (except at buffets) but 18% seems really high. Is 18% mandatory for a party of 6 or more? Can I ask for it to be lowered or removed?
You can absolutely ask to have an auto-gratuity removed. I've never worked at Disney, but I have in the past worked at large, upscale casual corporate restaurants that emphasize excellent customer service. While it was rare for a party to ask to have the auto gratuity removed, I have never heard of an instance where a manager refused to remove the auto grat. I guess it's possible, but I think it would be odd for a manager to refuse to remove the gratuity, especially at a place like Disney where there is such an emphasis on customer service.

Now, the manager likely will ask you why you want the gratuity removed, and if you say that it's too much, the manager may ask if the service was lacking in some way. It shouldn't be a confrontation, but if you are only asking to lower the gratuity for the sake of paying less, you should be prepared to state whether or not you thought the service was adequate. If your server did a good job but you just can't afford the tip, you should say that to the manager so there are not negative repercussions for the server.

As a former server, I'll say that it can be problematic for you if a party asks a manager to have the auto gratuity removed, because depending on how reasonable the management is, it may be perceived that the server is doing a bad job. If the server did a good job, please make sure to say that to the manager so that the server does not later have to try to explain to the manager what he or she did wrong in serving your group.

Of course if your server really is bad, then the auto grat should be removed because the server didn't earn it. But, if the server did a great job, I'd recommend that you leave the 18% auto grat on the bill.

A little bit about serving in the US from a former server:

Serving a large party is a very difficult job. It requires a lot of coordination in terms of timing and in terms of working with other staff. Usually, the servers who have large parties will have to rely more on supporting staff (like bussers and food runners) to help them out in managing service to your table and the other tables in their section. Then the server will have to tip those people out at the end of the day based on their total sales, not based on their total tips. So, regardless of what you tip, that server will still have to pay out a set percentage to each of the supporting staff members at the end of the shift.

On top of that, the server may need to tip out a little extra to supporting staff based on help with a big table in order to maintain a good on-going working relationship with those co-workers. So, many times the auto grat is a way to help servers cover the costs they incur by having to tip out supporting staff based on a higher sales amount. For this reason, I generally believe an 18-20% gratuity is justified, unless the server was inattentive or rude.

If you are not able to afford to tip on a larger bill, then I would recommend that you select more inexpensive restaurants that will allow you tip to the appropriate amount based on the service you receive, regardless of how much the meal cost.

Unlike in other countries, servers in the US do not make minimum wage. In most states, servers make half the amount of minimum wage. That basically means that unless they are earning tips, they essentially make $0/hour because most of the hourly rate goes towards paying out taxes. Therefore, tipping is the only way that servers make any meaningful wage each shift. Based on my experience, the difference between an 18% gratuity and a 15% gratuity on a large check can make a significant difference in how much money the server takes home at the end of the shift. So, I would suggest that you consider that and really assess how good the service was before asking to have an 18% auto gratuity removed.

Not trying to start a great debate here, just hoping to provide some useful insight from the perspective of a former server at a large-scale restaurant.
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