Woman Claims She Was Denied Service At A Restaurant Because She Was With A 'Non-Tipping' Friend

Did they have the right to refuse service?

Last updated on Apr 06, 2024

waitress writing in notepad WBMUL / Shutterstock

Tipping servers at restaurants has become a custom, especially in America, that many customers feel obligated to perform.

But while tipping may be common, it is certainly not a requirement. Customers will likely tip if they receive exceptional service, and servers may refuse to assist customers if they are known not to leave a tip after their meal.

One woman shared her own experience of being refused service at a restaurant in these circumstances. 


The woman said her group was denied service at a restaurant because one was a 'non-tipper.' 

The woman, Büeli, stitched her own video with that of another TikToker who emphasized the fact that tipping is not a requirement. 

“Nobody is obligated to tip no [expletive] body,” TikTok user @africanbarb said in the original video. “She’s absolutely correct,” Büeli agreed. 



RELATED: Restaurant Creates A 'Wall Of Shame' Where Servers Are Reprimanded For Not Getting 20% Tips From Customers


Büeli then shared that she's a tattoo artist who encourages clients to tip, considering that she and other artists make a living off of them. However, she acknowledged that tipping is optional, and if she only receives the set price she understands.

“I recognize that a lot of other people do not feel the same way,” Büeli added. 

She delved into a story involving her and her friends going out to dinner and being denied service when one of her friends was known around the restaurant as being a “non-tipper.” 

“Yesterday I went to a restaurant with somebody that I love,” Büeli said. She and her friend decided to add another one of their friends to dinner after they were seated. However, after their friend arrived, none of the servers came around the table to assist them anymore.


Eventually, the manager came to talk to the group: “They told us that they would not like to serve us anymore. We asked them why and they told us that tipping was a big reason.” It turned out that Büeli’s friend that had later joined the table was known by staff to not tip their servers. 

Woman Was Denied Service At A Restaurant Due To Friend Who Doesn't TipPhoto: Odua Images / Shutterstock

“Because of the field that I am in, I do make sure that I tip everywhere I go,” Büeli added. “But sometimes, my peers might not always do that or have the finances to do so.” 


She then sought the opinion of viewers in regards to tipping their service workers, asking, “Do you feel like this is a good enough reason to deny service to somebody for the rest of their life if it’s based on tips and the service isn’t always up to par?” 

RELATED: Waitress Reveals The Difference Between How 'Boomers' And 'Gen Zs' Leave Their Tables After Eating At Restaurants

Tipping is always the correct thing to do, especially when dining in.

It's a debate that's ongoing, with some people arguing that tipping should depend on service and can be optional, and others saying that tipping should be mandatory at an establishment.

Many viewers weighed in on Büeli's video, with one commenting, “You pay for your food, tip for your service. If you don’t wanna tip, serve yourself.” Another called attention to the low pay workers make, saying, “Waitstaff work long, hard hours at around $5-7 an hour.” 


But perhaps the most important take was from commenters who said they had denied customers service based on their tip. “When I was a server we had a group come in, run us crazy, and not tip on multiple occasions. Thought it was even funny. We stopped serving them,” one user wrote. 



Is it legal to refuse service to customers, though?

After all, we can't blame servers for their employers underpaying them, nor can we blame workers for having to rely on tips to make a living.

Tipping is not required by law, nor is it enforced, and restaurants or establishments have a right to refuse service to customers if they are disruptive.


While it's illegal to deny service to someone based on their race, sexual orientation, religion, gender identity, or disability, restaurants can deny service for other reasons, like being at capacity, violating the dress code, knowing the customer cannot or will not pay, or if there's a health and safety concern.

If you're considering going out to eat, remember that servers and workers rely on their tips to survive. After all, the average food worker salary is around $29,250, which is barely enough to make ends meet.

RELATED: Server Explains Why She's Against Earning A 'Livable' Wage As A Restaurant Employee And Prefers Getting Tips

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