By the numbers: Applebee’s explains the resentful tipper controversy


Thursday night, The Ed Show reported on the story of Chelsea Welch, the Applebee’s employee who posted a picture of another server’s receipt on social media site Reddit and was subsequently fired.

On the receipt, customer Pastor Alois Bell responded to the automatic 18% gratuity for large parties by writing “I give God 10% why do you get 18%?”

A few of the numbers were widely misreported and Applebee’s has clarified: The total number of diners was 9. Subtotal of the bill was $31.76, sales tax was $3.17, 18% auto gratuity was $6.29 for a total bill of $41.22.

Applebee’s also provided the following statement:

We understand the concern that many people have raised regarding the situation at an Applebee’s restaurant in St. Louis and are grateful for the opportunity to respond. As a company that relies on literally hundreds of thousands of incredibly hard working team members, we can assure you that we and our franchisees value and support them and their efforts. However, this unfortunate situation has nothing to do with work. The team member involved did not actually wait on the party and had no dealings with the guest. Regrettably, and without the restaurant’s knowledge, she took it upon herself to take a guest’s receipt, with the name clearly visible, and post it online with her own commentary. That is a clear invasion of the guest’s privacy, and also against the franchisee’s company policy that the team member was provided when hired. We simply cannot accept behavior that compromises the safety and privacy our guests have every right to expect and deserve. The server who waited on the party is still employed by Applebee’s and not involved in this matter. Please note that we are also not excusing the guest’s behavior in this matter and the comment she wrote on the receipt, which is offensive to us and all our hard working team members. To be clear, the 18% gratuity added to large party tickets was paid by the guest’s party. This is a very regrettable situation, and we wish it had never happened. We hope this provides you with some additional insight, and appreciate the chance to explain.

Dan Smith
Applebee’s Spokesperson

By the numbers: Applebee's explains the resentful tipper controversy