Pair with text over their faces(l), Money left in check(c), Menu(r)

Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock @jacktylercolby/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘Why not just increase prices?’: Customers leave restaurant after being seated after seeing 20% service charge that doesn’t count as tip

‘Immediately look for another place that actually pays their staff.’


Jack Alban


When TikToker Jack Tyler Colby (@jacktylercolby) shared a video showcasing a rather perplexing policy on a brunch menu, he probably didn’t expect to ignite a debate on the intricacies of American tipping culture.

The video, which has since amassed 600,000 views, displays a small menu note stating that “a 20% service charge will be added to your bill. This charge is NOT a tip. And 100% is used to pay the workers.” Colby’s friend’s cheeky smile seems to encapsulate the collective confusion many feel about such policies. Colby finishes the video with a text overlay reading, “You immediately look for another place that actually pays their staff.”

The comments section was ablaze with users trying to decipher the restaurant’s intent.

One user questioned, “It says it is not a tip, and that it is used to pay the staff. so would you still be expected to tip on top of that too?”

Another pointed out the typical tipping percentage, saying, “that’s what you should tip anyways? i’m confused.”

The crux of the issue was highlighted by a user who commented, “This is fine if and only if you aren’t expected to tip on top of this — I’d tip 0 if I knew I had auto-gratuity on.”

In response, Colby said the restaurant “only let u know in font size 1 so if i didn’t catch that i would’ve tipped.”

@jacktylercolby #brunchmenu #tippingculture #collegelife ♬ original sound – Nellz_

Servers in the U.S. are typically paid a lower hourly wage with the expectation that they’ll earn more through tips. This system is predicated on the idea that good service will be rewarded, and the onus is on the server to ensure customer satisfaction. The system, however, doesn’t account for the fact that some customers don’t believe in tipping, and the anti-tipping movement is growing.

With many new ways to pay, many think tipping culture is getting out of control. Because of the introduction of new POS systems to the marketplace, like Clover, Toast, and Square, many customers are subjected to the tip-screen option at locations where many feel isn’t appropriate, like when there is no sit-down service.

However, the policy Colby highlighted seems to straddle both worlds, creating confusion. By adding a mandatory service charge, and clarifying that it’s not a tip, the restaurant appears to be attempting to guarantee a certain wage for its staff. Yet, the ambiguity leaves patrons wondering if they should tip additionally, and, if so, how much?

The Daily Dot has reached out to Colby via TikTok comment for further information.

The Daily Dot