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Olive Garden Employee Blames Shorted Tips on Faulty Automated Ordering

He says the problem is a result of a "miscalibration of the restaurant’s new order-at-the-table tablets."

Olive Garden/Facebook

As restaurants across the country incorporate more technology into their business models, an Olive Garden employee in New York says some new tech is resulting in servers being stiffed on tips. Joseph Richardson tells the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle his restaurant's order-at-the-table tablets are miscalibrated, which is resulting in tips being calculated incorrectly.

"It's not a lot of money, but for people who make their money from tips, it's part of our livelihood," Richardson told the Democrat & Chronicle. "If Olive Garden was losing money on their bills, they would fix this problem really quick."

Richardson said, for example, one customer tried to leave a 20 percent tip on a roughly $40 check, which would amount to around $8, but the automated 20 percent option on the tablet came out to $5.77. Richard Jeffers, a spokesperson for Olive Garden parent company Darden Restaurants, told the paper the restaurant chain is working to fix the "minor" issue. The tablets are reportedly in use at roughly half of Olive Garden's 845 locations.

Update: In a phone conversation with Eater, Jeffers said the issue with the tablets has been fixed, and all terminals are now calculating tips properly. The issue affected 0.5 percent of the company's sales, and any servers affected will be taken care of so they have "no negative impact."

It's hard enough for some servers to collect decent tips without technology resulting in a shortage. Last month, someone at a restaurant in New Jersey wrote "LOL" in lieu of a tip on a $112 check.

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