In a viral TikTok video, a customer reveals that the pre-calculated tips on the Chili’s pay-at-the-table touchscreens they are using are seemingly incorrect, sparking a debate in the comments section.
“Check is $73.22, which means that 10% that’d be $7.30. So, at 20% that’d be $14.60,” user Richard Bell (@motorich33) says.
The video shows the automatically calculated 20% tip as $16.31.
“These numbers are… Like did they just not think that people would check their math?” the customer questions.
With over 450,000 views, the TikTok sparked debate in the comments over Chili’s system and tipping in general.
A few users suggested that the precalculated tip included the total before the reduction of free items from rewards or coupons.
“If you used a reward like a free dessert or chips and salsa they are factoring the cost of that in for the tip even though you didn’t pay for the item,” one user said.
“Did you have rewards, by chance? or a coupon? if anything was taken off your bill, it still counts towards gratuity,” another said.
One user speculated that Chili’s might be taking a cut of the pre-calculated tip. “Ask the server if they got 18% or 20% on your tab, or anyone else’s for that matter. Make sure the restaurant isn’t skimming tips,” they urged.
However, one server chimed in and said the precalculated tip includes the taxes that servers have to pay on their tips.
“I’m a server and that’s with tax which we pay taxes on our tips when we cash out at night,” they said.
Many claimed they only tip on the subtotal, not including the tax in their gratuity.
“I tip…. but never on the tax. why would i tip on the money the government is stealing from me. 20% of the subtotal. never the total,” one user said.
“The bill is actually 65.67 and 20% is 13.13. You don’t tip on the taxes the GOVERNMENT is charging,” another said.
Several others expressed dismay for the necessity for servers to rely financially on tips rather than wages.
“Businesses should pay employees a good wage and no one should be tipping. It’s silly,” one user said.
“Hey @Chili’s Grill & Bar… fix your machines and pay your staff a livable wage so that they are depending on customers to live life,” another said.
Though, some asserted that customers should be tipping well regardless.
“If you want to go out to eat budget in a 20-25% tip. Especially now with Covid. Not all severs are great but most are amazing and work hard,” one user said.
The Daily Dot reached out to Bell via a TikTok comment and Chili’s via its website.
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*First Published: Jan 18, 2022, 10:31 am CST
Laiken Neumann is a freelance journalist based in Austin, Texas, covering culture, entertainment, and social justice.