I used to make a ton of extra money in Chicago when I waited tables by splitting checks for large parties. For some reason, in Chicago and Chicago only, restaurants basically refuse to split checks. My friends and I just got to the point where we'd always have cash on us and just throw in on the bill at the end to cover anything because every restaurant we went to there pretty much wasn't even the option to split checks. Working in Central Illinois I was so used to splitting checks (EVERYONE SPLITS CHECKS) that I'd do it no problem.
The problem is...the double grat. A lot of times auto grat is put on the bills for parties over say...8 (like this one) and some restaurants I worked at it was almost hidden underneath all of the taxes...so when you'd split these checks up sometimes the auto-grat would be less than $2 and no one would see it so you'd end up getting double tipped and beyond. We used to laugh at that as a waitstaff but it was pretty shady and I never felt SUPER good about myself.
Now in Dallas...as a manager I ran into this stuff all of the time. Where I worked it was LARGE GROUP after LARGE GROUP and every table expected split checks...well you have to know most of my waitstaff were complete morons so it was quite the treat trying to help them figure out such easy things (waiting tables is easy, I don't care what anyone says...if you used to wait tables and you struggled at it I have little respect for the amount of common sense you have as a person)...
but the #1 complain I dealt with (and you can imagine the type of person these complaints came from) was auto gratuity for large groups with split checks.
"Well I'm just paying for myself! That's not more than 8!" I'm sorry, if you have a group of 30+ freaking people that takes up two entire servers sections and then don't feel like you need to tip even though they make $2.13 an hour and you take up their sections for 2+ hours of their time...
NOW, I am totally with Rain Man about tipping. Just freaking bump the waiters at Chili's up to $11 an hour, bump the fancy servers up to $13-$15 an hour, and get rid of tipping in general. The only problem with this is motivation. I was always paranoid about people hating me so I always gave 100% regardless of whether or not I was serving Bill Gates or a homeless man...I made enough money and didn't judge people by whether or not I believed I'd be getting a tip.
However, the typical waiter/waitress isn't nearly as educated as me (I'm an underachiever) and if you just start paying them an hourly wage you're rarely ever going to get that "extra mile" you'll get with good service that is tipped on.