Jasmine Marks went to a dinner with family and friends at La Fisherman restaurant in Texas. The service was bad from the start. The waitress was rude, the food took too long to come out, the drinks were never refilled, and they never received their entire order.
When they received the bill, they were happy to pay, but didn’t feel the server deserved a 17 percent gratuity. At La Fisherman, parties of five or more are required to pay a 17 percent tip minimum.
Marks asked if the gratuity could be removed and if the party could tip a percentage they felt was more in line with the service. The manager refused.
We asked her, could the gratuity be removed? Could we give our own tip? She said it was part of their policy and there was nothing she could do about, Marks said. If you’re not satisfied with the service, you shouldn’t have to pay gratuity.
When Marks insisted that the gratuity was too high for the poor service, the staff locked them inside the restaurant. Then they called the police.
I asked the police officer twice, maybe three times, is it against the law if we don’t pay the gratuity, and he never gave me a straight answer, Marks said.
Marks did not want to cause more trouble, so she and her party paid the gratuity and left.
Dan Parson of Houston’s Better Business Bureau says it’s up to consumers to know the restaurant’s policies to avoid situations like this. However, he does have a message for the restaurant.
They call it the hospitality business. I know you love food, but you got to love the people who eat the food, Parson said.
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