Miserly Brunchers Force Cornelia St. Cafe to Charge Mandatory Tip


After a perfectly fine omelet at Cornelia Street Cafe this Saturday, eaten while watching the costumes go by, you might have been surprised to note that your bill included a mandatory 18-percent gratuity, regardless of the size of your party. Was it because the servers were Halloweened-up in some very creative 80s garb? A call to owner Robin Hirsch got to the bottom of the mystery.

“It’s extraordinary how many people didn’t tip at all. It was an epidemic of under-tipping,” said Hirsch. “The staff work their collective butt off. We do 300 brunches, and it’s incredibly grueling. And then to turn around and realize that someone has left you 5 percent…” Hirsch says that at lunch and dinner, this has never been an issue. But for some reason, brunchers feel entitled to under-tip, or to stiff the server altogether. So about six months ago, he instituted the built-in tip for brunch only.

Maybe it’s because brunchers are hung-over, or because they’re tourists. But this is really just one more reason to avoid the mid-afternoon eggstravaganza.