Chili’s Customer Reveals Table Pay Machines Display Inaccurate Tip Percentages

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Published Jan. 18 2022, 11:46 a.m. ET

Working in the foodservice industry can often be a thankless job. Oftentimes folks will encounter customers who are downright rude or very stingy with tips. You're generally working on your feet all day and most jobs don't offer a very compelling standard pay meaning you're at the mercy of gratuity to earn a living.

It's a structure that's been highlighted as being problematic in a variety of different personal accounts that have been shared online. And while there are many restaurants across the country that are either implementing hourly wages for servers or pay increases, there are still many that rely on older, gratuity-driven models for workers to make ends meet.

But one TikTok-er shared how this can also adversely affect a customer. During a visit to a Chili's restaurant, TikTok user Richard Bell (@motorich33) noticed that there was something "off" on the pay-at-table touchscreen when it came time for him to settle his bill.

The tip amounts on his receipt were off and actually showed prices that were greater than the percentages they claimed to have represented.

In the clip, he shows that his entire ticket accrued \$73.22 of item charges. So, an 18% tip would actually be \$13.18, 20% would be \$14.64, and 22% would be \$16.11.

However, he noticed that the price was "jacked up" by about \$1.50 or so on each of the tip options. "These numbers are...Like did they just not think that people would check their math?

There were tons of people in the comments section who offered up the reasoning behind the "inflated" gratuity charges. Many surmised that tax on the meal was factored into the bill before applying the tip. Others said that customers could be accruing tax charges on items that were purchased with a coupon restaurant reward.

"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 TikTok user said.

"Did you have rewards, by chance? or a coupon? if anything was taken off your bill, it still counts towards gratuity," another user asked.

However, there were others who thought that this could be an instance of the restaurant "skimming" tips from employees — in that the Chili's in question is only giving the true percentage to its employees and pocketing an additional \$1.50 or so per each transaction.

There was at least one commenter who responded to the video who said that they were a server and the charges were actually accounting for the taxes that restaurant staff accrue 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.

There were other users who didn't think it was "kosher" for Chili's to charge taxes on tips and some said that they never factored in taxes when it came to their gratuities.

"The bill is actually 65.67 and 20% is 13.13. You don’t tip on the taxes the GOVERNMENT is charging."

"Businesses should pay employees a good wage and no one should be tipping. It’s silly."

Others thought that Chili's having "inaccurate" pay-at-table machines could ultimately influence customers not to tip as much, which could adversely affect their wages.