Server Starts Viral Debate With TikTok Showing What She Adds to Bills of 'Rude' Large Tables

A server recently went viral on TikTok for showing how she handles "rude" large tables. Some commenters rushed to her defense, while others blasted her in a debate about automatic gratuity. But what is it, and can/should restaurants really add that to a bill? Commenters' opinions are pretty mixed.

TikToker and server @kaybaltazar posted a video to her TikTok page over the weekend captioned: "I'm usually really nice and never add it but ppl [people] are so mean lol I'm just tryna do my shift and go man." The post has since gone viral with more than 1.8 million views.

The "it" to which she is referring in her caption is a large table/automatic gratuity fee.

At the beginning of the video, Baltazar looks briefly at the camera and then focuses back on something off-screen.

"When a large table is rude to you, runs you back and forth, and keeps asking for s**t," the captions read.

Baltazar then shows herself clicking a large table/automatic gratuity fee button in the restaurant's POS system, implying that she added the additional fee to the table's bill.

As comments started pouring in, Baltazar stated that the restaurant's system "automatically adds" the fee, adding that those "offended by a joke" should remember that "we're servers, not servants."

But her comments didn't stop some from becoming furious with Baltazar or the automatic gratuity fee option.

"Auto gratuity should not be a thing," commented one user. "Tips should be earned."

"Can you spell embezzlement?" asked Alexie.

Another added: "That's when I dispute the charge on the card."

But as Baltazar explained in her comments, automatic gratuities are determined by the restaurant. It is also worth noting that automatic gratuity charges are legal. But the laws surrounding the charge have changed since it was first introduced.

According to a blog post from popular POS system Toast (which also happens to be the POS system used in Baltazar's video), automatic gratuity fees used to be a restaurant's way of ensuring its servers were tipped fairly, particularly in cases where an employee is serving a large table.

"The safeguard was in place because these bills can be split up, and serving a larger table can be like serving more than eight tables at the same time," the blog says.

Servers argue that they are "short-changed" after people split the bill, the blog explains.

But in 2014, the IRS determined that the automatic gratuity would be classified as a service charge rather than a tip, which means the charge is recorded and taxed. Servers don't get to take these wages home with them at the end of the night; instead, they receive these "tips" in their paychecks.

Again, whether or not a large party or any table is hit with this fee is determined by the establishment, not the server.

There are many pros and cons to the ruling; however, some of the TikTok's commenters expressed their support for the policies in place at the restaurant for which Baltazar works, and shared that they wouldn't want to work at a restaurant that wouldn't add those service charges.

"I will never work at a restaurant that doesn't have a gratuity charge for large parties," said Erica.

"It should always be this way," added Jeff. "You shouldn't have the option to not tip."

Isabel claimed she worked at a restaurant that didn't institute automatic gratuity, and it ended up hurting the servers.

"I love auto grat bc [because] my old job didn't do it and servers would end up with a party of 10 taking up half their section just to sit for 4 hours and not tip."

waitress with upset customers
Stock image of a waitress with upset customers. A server recently went viral on TikTok after showing how she handles "rude" large tables. fizkes/iStock