Here’s a tip. Not.


I have a tip for the proprietors of Bath’s Solo Bistro.

Had a wonderful dinner recently at this hip little spot, with Scandinavian-inspired decor and an open-kitchen concept. Friday nights are jazz nights, with live music in the basement bar.

Food was good. Service attentive. Music enjoyable. But in the fine print at the bottom of the menu was this gem: an 18 percent gratuity will be added.

Now I have no problem with adding a grat for parties of six or more. But for a party of 2. In a boisterous bistro. In Bath, Maine. No. And not 18 percent. And especially not 18 percent with a line on the check to add an “additional tip.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve waited tables. I appreciate good service, and I tip generously. But this move totally ticked me off and left a bad taste in my mouth, rather than the lingering flavors the chef intended.

Here’s a tip: Don’t pretend it’s a “gratuity,” a gift in appreciation of good service. Raise the prices and give the difference to the waiter/ress. Better yet, lose the mandatory grat and let customers decide for themselves.