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Bally's Steakhouse 18% "Service Charge"?

Discussion in 'Restaurants & Buffets' started by Blacklegs22, Apr 27, 2012.

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  1. Blacklegs22

    Blacklegs22 Low-Roller

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    So, we're contemplating Ballys Steakhouse for dinner and see printed below each option on the prix fixe menus an 18% "service charge". After doing a little research, I'm pretty sure this is in addition to any gratuity, which sends their price into the Stratosphere ! (on par with say, Picassos or Le Cirque, who have no service charge to my knowledge...)

    I've yet to experience this "service charge" scam( I recognize the need for an added gratuity for large parties, etc.,but for parties of 2? c'mon!). Is it just for the prix fixe? How many other establishments are now engaging in what, IMHO is a deceptive practice in Las Vegas?
     
  2. shifter

    shifter Degenerate Gambler

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    a lot of places include the tip for various reasons, especially prix fixe menus and such. that's just to guarantee they get a tip and people don't stiff the waiters. i usually tip 20%+, so an 18% charge actually saves me money. not sure what reason there is to be upset about it when they're up front about it.
     
  3. captainron62

    captainron62 VIP Whale

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    I agree, I always feel badly if I only leave the standard tip, so I dont mind the 18%. I think the OP problem is he doesnt understand they are just using "service charge" in lieu of tip. They are not attempting a 40% upcharge as the OP fears.
     
  4. Blacklegs22

    Blacklegs22 Low-Roller

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    Thought I was fairly clear this service charge is In additon to any gratuity.
     
  5. Blacklegs22

    Blacklegs22 Low-Roller

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  6. Auggie

    Auggie Dovahkiin

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    The service charge is a built in tip, you don't need to tip beyond that.

    Its not a Las Vegas thing: service charges on prix fixe menus is standard.
     
  7. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Looking at both. Service charge = gratuity. No double dip.
     
  8. Dan2305

    Dan2305 Tourist

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    The reciepts always include the tip line. If an 18% "service charge" is already added there is no need to put anything down for tip. If you feel like the service was exceptional you could however tip more as you see fit.

    From a comment in chowhound:
    "As long as the service charge is stated on the menu, you are obligated to pay it just like you are obligated to pay for the dishes you ordered. However, if the word "gratuity" is used, the restaurant's ability to force you to pay it is not clear since the word may be interpreted as a voluntary payment. Using the wording "service charge" is a way to avoid any such unclarity."
     
  9. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    Maybe I'm wrong, but this service charge would be the gratuity if I was dining there. I'm usually a 20% tipper, so 18% is OK with me.

    The problem is if the service sucks, you have no recourse on tipping. So, where is the incentive for good service? :confused2:
     
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  10. Blacklegs22

    Blacklegs22 Low-Roller

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    So when my bill comes there will be no line for a "Gratuity" and I will not be stiffing the waitstaff if I leave nothing? Hmmmm.
     
  11. Auggie

    Auggie Dovahkiin

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    No its not. See your own link.

    It says "When greated with the bill, I found a automatic gratuity of 18% had been added"

    Key words there: "automatic gratuity"

    Then it says "In addition, there was another line on the bill to leave an additional gratuity."

    Key words there: "additional gratuity"


    Of course they are going to give you every option to leave as much money behind as you want.

    Just because there is an additional gratuity line it doesn't mean you have to use it... but if you found your service was particularly exceptional then you might want to leave an additional tip. The service charge is simply the minimum tip amount the restaurant will accept for its staff on that type of service.
     
  12. arkansas grandma

    arkansas grandma Tourist

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    The 18% service charge, which is the same as a tip is being charged and has been for years in parts of FLorida. We too were shocked the first time we say it. The first time we saw it was 6 years ago when we spent a couple days in Miami before a cruise. That is how I know they have done it for many years. Our daughter, who lives in Florida (Orlando area) says it has been added because there is a large population of foreign tourists that are not accustom to tipping. That being said, I do agree with you, it sucks. But I also understand the reasoning behind the policy. No there is no reason to feel obligated to leave anymore. We sometimes do, if the service outstanding but you do not have to.
    Nita
     
  13. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

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    Your bill *might* have a line for gratuity on it. What we're saying is that if there is ALSO an 18% service charge on that bill, you don't need to add anything on the extra gratuity line if you don't want to.

    Or, if this bothers you so much, you could find another restaurant without an included service charge:peace:
     
  14. Blacklegs22

    Blacklegs22 Low-Roller

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    Got it, Thanks.
     
  15. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

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    Sorry - I don't think we meant to pile on you - we all just answered at the same time and couldn't tell that 4 other people were posting the same thing:eek:
     
  16. Blacklegs22

    Blacklegs22 Low-Roller

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    No problem, We generally tip 20%, so this would be a "price break" for us as well, we've eaten several Prix Fixe menus and I've never seen (or noticed? <g>) it before so it came as a bit of a shock. Plus, it seems rather a gray area as to who gets the the money when it is called out as a "service charge". Glad to get clarification that no tip is requred when entering into a "service charge" environment.
     
  17. leo21

    leo21 VIP Whale

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    The menus on the site are for group dining. (Great job, Harrah's webmasters!) For larger parties you have to select one of the listed prixe fixe menus. Unless something has changed, I don't think Bally's Steakhouse even does a prixe fixe ordinarily. So the service charge looks to be the mandatory precalculated tip that most restaurants attach for large groups and it does not state it's in addition to a tip.
     
  18. leo21

    leo21 VIP Whale

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  19. Username

    Username VIP Whale

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    Tip QUESTION.....do you only tip on the food or on the complete bill which may include wine, beer, etc.....this has always been a sticking point for me.
     
  20. engicedave

    engicedave VIP Whale

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    As stated above, the "service charge" is added primarily because of foreign tourists who are not accustomed to tipping. In much of Europe, the concept of tipping is baffling. It just isn't done, and they have no idea how much to tip when they come to the US. They're been doing it in Miami for years. Many restaurants nationwide do it for large parties/groups. It's to protect the servers.

    As for how much of the bill to tip, you tip for the entire bill, including your wine and beverages. They too required service, from simply dropping it on your table, to uncorking, chilling, pouring and topping up, depending on restaurant and level of service.
     
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