Your choice to be able to tip or not tip in Montana may be coming to an end. While visiting Bozeman, Montana last weekend we went to one of the newer restaurants and had lunch. The restaurant turned out to be a bit more fancy than we were expecting, but we were in a hurry and hungry so we didn't have time to go to different place. As we were being seated the host let us know that they were a "gratuity included restaurant" and that 20% of the total would be added to the bill.

Mandatory Tipping In Montana Can Become A Thing

When our waitress came to the table, she reminded us about the "gratuity included" part of the meal. In most restaurants I have been too, if you have a party of more than eight people they add in a 15% gratuity. This was different. This was the first restaurant I have been too, that automatically added in the gratuity. It doesn't matter how many people are eating, they are adding on 20% to the bill. It looks like they are taking my advice on tipping in Montana.

Credit: Chris Wolfe
Credit: Chris Wolfe

That Wasn't the Only Tip

When the bill came, the waitress, then asked us if we wanted to tip anything on top of the 20%. Anything over the already paid 20%, would go directly to her. They have taken the choice out of the tipping process for the rest of the staff. You now have control over how much you directly are giving the waitress. The rest of the staff is getting the already included tip.

The System In Montana is Not Perfect

The one issue that I had with this system is the waitress was put into a position where she had to remind us that the tip was included already. Then asked if we wanted to add any more money on top of the tip. A tip on top of a tip. At that point it felt like she was asking us for money, which felt awkward. We already felt like we had tipped the staff.

The System Seems to be Working in Montana

The restaurant was crowded on Saturday afternoon. According to the awards on the wall it we recently voted one of "Bozeman's Best New Restaurants". The food was good. The service was fine. Did we tip on top of a tip? No.

Will This System Work in Montana?

This system seems to be working for them. Is this a system that we will see in more places in Montana? You just might. If this system is successful, you may no longer have a choice on whether to tip in Montana or not, it will be automatic. This system guarantees the staff will get paid. Whether you want to go above and beyond that will be then up to you.

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