Restaurant Adds 18% Gratuity To Bill For Diners Who Are Eating Alone

Some people believe automatic gratuities are unnecessary, and being charged extra while dining alone is especially over the top.

customer, tip, gratuity Pheelings media / Shutterstock; Reddit 

When we dine out at restaurants in the U.S., it is customary to tip our servers. The tip depends on how much the bill total is, how good the service provided was, and usually the size of your party. 

For bigger groups, some restaurants will automatically add a gratuity to the bill to ensure that their staff is appropriately tipped. However, what happens when you are dining alone? 

One customer was stunned when they received their bill and noticed a questionable extra charge. 


The restaurant charged the customer an 18% gratuity since they were a party of '1 or larger.'

The customer, who dined alone at a Thai restaurant, took to the subreddit, r/mildlyinfuriating, to share a photo of their tab.

The bill totaled $69.93, but the customer noticed that an extra $8.91, about 18% of the total bill, had been added and labeled as a “service charge.” 

“For parties 1 or larger, an 18.00% gratuity is applied automatically. If you have any questions, please speak with a manager,” the check reads. 

RELATED: Customer Baffled After They Were Charged An Extra $15 For Having A Bad Attitude


The customer was certainly not expecting the additional charge. “I’ve seen restaurants include gratuity when it’s a large party but never for parties of 1!” they wrote. 

Other Redditors were also perplexed by the automatic added gratuity, believing that the restaurant managers may be trying to put some extra money in their pockets. 

“For parties of 1 or larger? What a convoluted way of saying everybody is charged 18%,” one user pointed out. “Back when I was delivering pizzas at Pizza Hut they had a 5.0% service fee on every order… I never saw a dime out of those service fees and they went straight into the owner's pocket,” another user shared. 

Others urged the customer to never return to the restaurant and to opt for ones that do not spring “unnecessary charges” on diners. Some people also questioned the legality of adding a service charge to the bill without notifying customers beforehand. 


customer charged 18% gratuity for dining alonePhoto: Reddit

Although state laws regarding restaurant policies vary, it is perfectly legal for most businesses to apply an automatic gratuity to customers’ checks, according to Budget Branders.

RELATED: Server Says A Couple Refused To Leave Her A Tip Because She Asked One Simple Question

However, in some states, restaurants are required to disclose the fee to customers before adding it to their checks.  


Automatic gratuities are usually added to bills by restaurants to ensure that their servers are compensated for their service.

They are especially useful if they are dealing with large parties, which are usually considered to be six or more people. Customers may not always remember to tip, and while it is certainly not required, it is generally a socially accepted gesture of appreciation in the U.S. 

Typically, the rule of thumb when it comes to tipping is to leave at least 15-20% of the total bill. However, some people will choose to tip based on how satisfactory they believe the service is. 

Automatic gratuities strip customers of that choice, and while they are designed to help service workers, they may actually be hindering them. Their tip has already been decided before they’ve even had the chance to demonstrate their skills to customers who may want to tip them far more than what the automatic gratuity determines. 


Even if they are dining alone, this does not mean that they will not tip and recognize their servers' hard work. 

RELATED: Table Leaves Teen Server No Tip & 'Hate Letter' About 'Horrible Service' — 'I’m Just A Teenage Girl Trying To Make Money For College'

Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.