I hate cover charges of all sorts. In most cases, a cover charge represents a fee for entering a place in which you can then spend money. Most common in bars, and often called by other names at places like state fairs and the sort - a cover charge is about as insulting as I can think of.
I've talked here in the past about what I think of the whole tipping thing. Seems the tipping culture is constantly trying to spread itself where it doesn't belong.
Some things about tipping that irk me:
Whole percentage thing; makes zero sense. If I order a dish that has a $100 steak on it or an $8.00 salad. The effort on the part of the server to bring me either plate is exactly the same. Why should I give the server $15 for carrying the plate with the steak but only $1.20 for the plate with the salad? Nobody will ever convince me this is justified.
The whole tipping in restaurants has for years been justified by the idea that servers receive a bare bones salary, below minimum wage and that their "service" will be paid in the form of tips. I say this is primitive and that servers should be paid a fair wage up front and tipping should not only be eliminated, but outlawed. Tipping allows for social bias - if two people frequent a restaurant, over time, they become known by the staff for what kind of tippers they are and their service and treatment is often based on that; this is discrimination.
I have never understood the whole tipping hotel staff thing. I have never and will never leave a tip for the people who maintain the rooms, that is their job, it's not like they are going the extra mile to serve me - they are paid a wage in return for cleaning the rooms in the hotel.
If I go to a Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks or some other similar place, I don't want to see a tip cup there, it's demeaning to me as a customer. The people who work in these places are making $7 - $10 an hour to pour a $3 cup of coffee that costs less than a quarter to produce. Sorry, I don't think they deserve to get a little extra for pouring me a cup of coffee.
I do tip in restaurants but I don't like to, I resent having to do so. I do so because I know that the server spent time serving me and they are not being paid properly, so I feel obliged to pay for that service - i just would rather that service fee is built into the cost of my food.
Haircuts are another thing - can't for the life of me understand how (or why) there are tips involved there. I oblige, but hate it.
We need to change this whole tipping culture, I think it's bad for society. I worked in the service industry so if anyone wants to come at me with the "you have no idea" thing, I do. I worked a 10 hour shift in a party room and ended up with a $5 tip on an $800+ tab. My salary at the time as I recall was $1.60 per hour though it may have been $2.10.
And the mandatory gratuity doesn't work, it's even more of an insult and if you look up the meaning of the word gratuity, you would realize (and this is wording I heard Adam Carolla use, I agree and didn't think more appropriate wording so I'll use his) that a mandatory gratuity is actually a tax (or a fee, or whatever you want to call it).
It's pretty simple, raise the price of the $10 menu item to $11.50. Give the $1.50 to the server and bring me my food.