Legal Question in Consumer Law in New Jersey

Mandated Gratuity

Can a restaurant include a gratuity in the bill?

First, the manager said it was in the menu. I did not see it.

If so, can this be enforced selectively. I am sure this was not enforced with other diners.

I was a party of 5, and the waitress knew the service rendered was awful and not deserving of a tip, so the manager added an 18% gratuity (which I refused to pay anyway)

Asked on 2/16/05, 1:24 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

John Corbett Corbett Law Firm LLC
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Mandated Gratuity

If the 18% really showed on the menu, I could argue the issue either way as a matter of law. I have no idea how a judge would rule.

As a practical matter, whoever has the money now is probably going to keep it.

Non-legal comment: On the few occasions when I have received poor service, I haven't been bashful about politely asking the manager to assign another server. They always do, and they all get the point.

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2/16/05, 9:25 pm
Adam L. Rothenberg Levinson Axelrod, P.C.
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Re: Mandated Gratuity

Gratuity is optional unless the restaurant makes it clear that a condition of service is a mandatory gratuity. Your options are to proceed civilly or even criminally if they in fact imposed a gratuity upon you and collected upon it.

If you left and did not pay it, then the issue is largely moot. I hope that helps.

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2/16/05, 1:49 pm

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