olive garden tip screen with caption '20% of $33.30 is not $8.95' (l) olive garden bag with caption 'okay so i'm over here at olive garden' (c) olive garden tip screen with caption 'they trying to scam us all now I don't like it' (r)


‘What’s with these calculators?’: Olive Garden customer notices something unusual when she tries to leave a 20% tip

‘They’re trying to scam us all now.’


Braden Bjella


Across the country, shoppers have complained about “tipflation.” This is the idea that one now has to tip more, and more often, than ever before.

While there are some strange examples of people being asked to tip in new locations—for example, one internet user claimed they were asked to leave a tip while online shopping—tipping has remained largely consistent in one area: restaurants.

As a standard, Americans are expected to leave a tip between 15 and 20% of the bill, though most advice skews on the higher end of that range. This is because servers are generally paid a minimum wage significantly lower than other roles; in most states, a server’s minimum hourly wage is $2.13.

Some payment devices even have pre-programmed bill percentages to make calculating a tip easier for customers. However, as one TikTok user recently noted, these percentages can be deceptive.

When a 20% tip isn’t really 20%

In a video with over 16,000 views, TikTok user Kristiahna Clark (@kristiahnaclark) says she ordered from Olive Garden and was prompted to leave a tip. Her total bill including tax was $33.30, and she had not applied any discounts.

Automatically, the Ziosk machine prompted her to leave a 20% tip. But at this moment, Clark realized something strange.

“20% of $33.30 is not $8.95,” she says, looking at the automatic calculation. “What is happening here? 20% of $33.30, off the top of my head, should be…$6.66, right?”

Clark then wonders if Olive Garden is “trying to cheat people because they know people normally do 20%.” While she says she does not mind giving an extra tip, she describes the practice as deceptive.

“And I keep seeing other people talk about this at other restaurants. Like, what is going on?” she asks, referencing other, similar stories. “They trying to scam us all now. I don’t like it.”

Why did the machine suggest $8.95?

It’s unclear how the Ziosk machine came to this number.

For example, some in the comments suggested that the machine was calculating from a total before applying coupons and discounts, though Clark claimed in a comment that she had not applied any discounts or specials.

Second, a few claimed that the machine was adding the tip, then calculating 20% from the total including the added tip. However, if one actually does these calculations, the tip would have been $8.45, not $8.95.

Finally, one user stated that the total is calculated after adding a service fee for credit cards. If this is the case, it is not indicated anywhere on the bill, and it would go against commonly understood tipping practices.

@kristiahnaclark Whats with these calculators? @Olive Garden you need to check on this. Lets not scam people #olivegarden #ziosk @Ziosk ♬ original sound – Kristiahna Clark

Commenters share their shock

In the comments section, users expressed surprise at this tip calculation.

“That’s a 26% tip based on the after tax total so really closer to 30%,” observed a user. “They’re out of control.”

“The way things go now, it may be a service fee on the tip,” offered another.

“The worst part is, I’m good with that type of math and love doing that for sales, etc and tips otherwise,” stated a third. “I’m gonna stop being lazy.”

The Daily Dot reached out to Clark and Olive Garden via email.

The Daily Dot