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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » The Nature of Tipping (Page 1)

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Author Topic: The Nature of Tipping
EmpSquared
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What are everyone's thoughts about tipping? I'm not necessarily looking for how much everyone tips, but why.

I'm a new server at the Olive Garden, and I've pretty much gone with the flow (I've worked at restaurants for 5 years) until now, because this restaurant has a constant peculiarity: unlimited refills on soup and salad, all the time. So hypothetically, someone could order unlimited soup and salad, which is around 7 bucks, and someone else could order a steak, which is around 20, and on average I will get tipped significantly more on the steak even though I could conceivably make 2x-5x more trips to the table delivering a stream of soup and salad.

Should we tip based on the amount of quality service? It seems to me that the value of service and how the value of product can't really be reconciled, and that a "tip ceiling" matters most.

Or should we tip at all? Should I be paid a higher rate by my employer to ensure consistent service, and to relieve any (possible) unfair pressure on the consumer?

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ketchupqueen
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I tip 15% on average service, average food, and an acceptable atmosphere.

I tip 20% or more if the service is excellent. I have been known to tip 30% or more if ALL are excellent, and it's a smaller place with lower prices. (Once I left a 50% tip.) At Olive Garden, a waiter coming back promptly multiple times to refill my soup and salad would definitely merit a higher tip, 25% plus on a low-priced order, if he was cheerful, pleasant, attentive yet unobtrusive, and generally on his game.

Sub-par service/experience earns a 10% or less tip from me. You have to be pretty awful to get less than 10% from me, but it has happened.

I also speak to the manager about both awful or excellent service/experiences. For instance, our last time at Outback I was happy with the staff, server, food, and general experience. We left a 22% tip and I spoke to the manager and complimented the waiter by name. The manager came up looking hassled and went away looking really happy. I hope she passed on the praise and if applicable put a note in his file or whatever. [Smile]

I may not think tipping is the greatest system-- but it's the system we have. Regardless of hypotheticals servers need tips to survive. So I do tip-- but I want wait staff to know that, at least when I am around, there IS a bigger reward for better service. (As a bonus, places we go a lot they recognize us and are very happy to see us-- that is, if they've served us well in the past. [Wink] )

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Orincoro
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Well, in most parts of Europe, tipping is not customary. In England, France and Spain, locals do not tip- unless the service is excellent. The feeling is that a service job can be a profession, for which the person is compensated fairly by the employer. There are consequences to this attitude- some good, some bad.

In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, rounding up is customary in most pubs and cafes, but not always in restaurants. For instance, last night I was out at my local pub, an I had about 5 beers over the course of the evening at 35 Kc per beer (about 1.40 USD). With the last beer, I paid with a 50 Kc coin, and waved my hand at the server to indicate I was rounding up. Some servers will hand you the larger change first, and see if you wave off the smaller change- so for instance, if you pay 50 for a 35 Kc beer, they will hand you 10, and then they will hand you the 5, and you have the opportunity to wave off either the whole 15, or just the 5. A very rude server (or a server who works at a place where a lot of tourists eat) will first wave their hand to ask if you will round up, in which case you put out your hand to receive your change. It is not considered rude or callous to withhold a tip completely.

I'm more comfortable with a system like the one here, than what goes on in the states. I don't like the fact that servers are not fairly compensated for their work by their employers in some cases, and expect to be tipped by me in every case. Sometimes the services is not good enough to warrant a tip, and yet the inclination is to tip unless the service is particularly bad. In CZR, servers have the attitude that their job is to take your order and give you your food or drink. It is not to be your friend, or talk to you about anything- they leave you completely alone. They do not have the tip-driven compulsion to make you feel welcome. I think that is partly born of living in such an insular culture. Czech people will go to the same pub consistently, and the servers will recognize their regulars, and favor them over strangers- this is based on loyalty and not tipping. If you patronize your local pub consistently, and you behave yourself, they will treat you well. It is entirely against the Slavic character to be fake and patronizing with customers.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
At Olive Garden, a waiter coming back promptly multiple times to refill my soup and salad would definitely merit a higher tip...
And based on my experiences at Olive Garden, it would merit at least a few gasps of grateful astonishment.
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ketchupqueen
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
At Olive Garden, a waiter coming back promptly multiple times to refill my soup and salad would definitely merit a higher tip...
And based on my experiences at Olive Garden, it would merit at least a few gasps of grateful astonishment.
I thought that but didn't write it, because the last time we were at Olive Garden, we actually did have a prompt and attentive waiter. (He must have been new or something.)
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Kama
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quote:
In CZR, servers have the attitude that their job is to take your order and give you your food or drink. It is not to be your friend, or talk to you about anything- they leave you completely alone. They do not have the tip-driven compulsion to make you feel welcome. I think that is partly born of living in such an insular culture.
I think that is pretty much the difference between America and Europe. Most Europeans just want to be left alone afer they've got their food.
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Week-Dead Possum
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There's something charming about that though, and it's easy to get used to. Perhaps it's that I've lived in some European countries and spent a lot of time here over the years, but I don't like being bothered in an American restaurant- here they will not even go so far as to bring you the check unless you tell them you're ready. You could sit an hour and no one would bother you.
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Traceria
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The guy who waited on my parents and I at Cracker Barrel last week basically ignored us and even forgot to bring my mom a mug/cup for her hot tea. The little (the correct term escapes me) kettle thing was there, but no cup. It got to the point where we were joking about just pouring it into her mouth, kind of like Kamajii in Spirited Away. He did NOT get a good tip, but the lady waiting on us a few nights later did, because she was awesome.

quote:
Originally posted by Week-Dead Possum:
There's something charming about that though, and it's easy to get used to. Perhaps it's that I've lived in some European countries and spent a lot of time here over the years, but I don't like being bothered in an American restaurant- here they will not even go so far as to bring you the check unless you tell them you're ready. You could sit an hour and no one would bother you.

I always thought it cool that it's basically considered your table for the night, so long as you'd like it to be.
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Selran
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My tipping is usually based on what is convenient with the change I get from the bill,
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Corwin
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To be fair, if the restaurant is very busy and there are no more places left you will probably be asked if you want anything else or if they can bring the check (= please leave) if you're just sitting there for a long time after you've finished your meal. Not that I fault them. [Smile]
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Orincoro
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That is often mentioned before the meal begins.

Servers bringing the check is something Europeans find very off-putting when they visit the States, because in most of Europe, the act of bringing the bill is a non-verbal "get out," unless the bill is brought immediately after the meal, in which case, they may just be busy- you don't have to pay until you leave. If a server brings the check here unasked for, they will indicate that they are bringing it because they are busy, or because they are taking a break, or whatever, and they will actually apologize for their intrusion. If they don't, they are asking you to please finish.

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katharina
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I would greatly, grealy prefer is waiters were paid like professionals and no tipping was expected.

Since it is expected here, I usually tip between 15% and 20%, a higher percentage if the food was cheap and usually a lower percentage if the food was expensive and the service was middling to bad.

The person I tip very well - usually about 25-30% - is my hairdresser. I go to a cheap place, but I found a wonderful, sweet, skilled good listener there. I give her the same tip I would give in a fancy salon, but since the service itself is so much cheaper, it's a better percentage. Color and cut still is usually under a hundred dollars, so I'm very pleased.

[ January 30, 2009, 02:16 PM: Message edited by: katharina ]

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Orincoro
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This could only happen if we stopped treating the service industry as if it is a place for only non professionals.
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andi330
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When I waited tables I hated working for tips, and I've never been to a table service restaurant here (in the States) where it wasn't expected. It stinks that restaurants think they can get away with paying extremely low wages (I made $2.16 an hour) and that employees can make up the rest in tips and expect to live. This is especially true at restaurants like Cracker Barrel (where I worked) which has relatively low prices. At the time I worked there, the most expensive thing on the menu was $12 and some change. So if I had a four top and they all ordered that item it would be around $48 with a tip expectation of about $4. While I'm sure a lot of people here on hatrack are better tippers, I found in my time as a waitress that the average tip is still (at least at the time) around 10-15%.

That was assuming that people left tips. Here in the south, you are just as likely to be left a religious tract as your tip, and no money. I found that to be extremely offensive. Most people who give out those tracts only do it places where tips are expected (like restaurants) in my experience. This implies that because I work at a restaurant, I am not a Christian and need to be converted. I also used to hate being told what a shame it was that I had to work on Sundays. I never actually said this to a customer, but I always wanted to respond, "Well you're eating here." People who really think that its a shame someone has to work on Sundays shouldn't eat out on Sunday or go shopping or what have you. By doing so, they are contributing to the need for someone to be at work on Sunday. If no one went out to eat on Sunday the restaurants would not be open.

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katharina
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quote:
People who really think that its a shame someone has to work on Sundays shouldn't eat out on Sunday or go shopping or what have you.
No kidding. I find it very strange to be eating out on Sunday and condemning the people who work there. I think that is more of a class thing than a religious thing, treating people like it is shameful that they don't have a job with bankers' hours.
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katdog42
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quote:
Originally posted by andi330:
That was assuming that people left tips. Here in the south, you are just as likely to be left a religious tract as your tip, and no money.

I was wondering if anybody else was going to mention this. I worked as a southern waitress for a very short period of time, and received quite a few pamphlets in place of tips. Cute the first time, but when I realized it was a regular thing for some people, it got annoying.
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fugu13
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andi: I don't know when you were working, but the law requires the restaurant make up any wages needed to keep you at least at minimum wage if the tips aren't sufficient.
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El JT de Spang
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There's at least one lengthy thread here from a few years back about tipping. That was a good one.

You might search for it -- I bet you'll find some good insights there.

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Mrs.M
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That never happened to me and I worked as a waitress in Georgia for years. I always got money with my tract. I also sometimes got auto supplies with the regular tip. I got tons of cause bracelets, which we all just put in a giant tub in the back.

I waited tables in NYC, where you just double the tax for the tip. Your tips are much more consistent, but you earn every penny by waiting on New Yorkers. It took me years to erase Andrew's NYC attitude toward waitstaff and I still hate eating out with his parents. I've told them over and over again, "Never be ugly to people who are alone with your food," but they still don't listen.

The best tippers, by far, are truck drivers. Of course, I am sure being a young woman who looks a certain way helps. However, no truck driver was ever less than gentlemanly with me and none of them ever left less than 25%. I'm sorry to say that the worst customers (which includes tipping and manners) were the Sunday after-church crowd. As soon as I got senior enough, I refused to take that shift.

Anyone else read Waiter Rant? The book was great, too. There's some cussing and adult situations, so please avoid if that offends you.

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Lyrhawn
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For the restaurant paying out for less than minimum wage tips, averaged out, yeah. That might make more of a difference now that they've raised the minimum wage, but for the most part, whenever a server where I work has a really, really crappy day of tips, even a slightly above average day the following week averages out their weekly pay to minimum wage. I've seen servers in tears after working a 7 top (only 8 tops or higher get a grat) with a bill of more than $200 and they only got left a $10 tip.

Personally I think there should be a hybrid system. Pay servers more and make a standard tip in the 5-10% range. Because I do think that tipping is an impetus to many servers who otherwise might not to provide good service. I rarely ever tip much below 15%, only because I realize my tip is basically where they get all their money, and tipping them any less would be a dramatic pay cut, and they have bills to pay as well. But at the same time, truly horrible service in my mind tells me that they really don't care how much money they make, so I oblige them by not giving as much.

I have to think that restaurants would be opposed to paying servers more for a variety of reasons. Not just because the price of menu items would have to go up dramatically. But if you pay $20 for a meal and the service was horrible, you can't show your displeasure by giving the server less (in essence you pay for what you get, on the honor system), you have to complain to a manager, and what will the manager do? When the food is bad, they comp it off. When the service is bad, it's out of their hands, but I'd have to imagine that now they'd probably have to comp off food for bad service as well. So not only are they losing money on food sales, but they're paying employees more at the same time. One would imagine that'd lead to even higher turnover due to firings, or just extremely low wages for servers.

Servers where I work can easily walk at the end of the day, on a good day, with $150. A few years ago before the economy went down the crapper and there were fewer businesses around, they could easily make $300-$400 in a night, especially if they're hot and work in the bar. But a bad day now a days can see a server work a whole shift and leave with $10.

And as far as the Europe/America thing goes with people liking to be left alone, I guess I side with the Europeans. I want a friendly server, don't get me wrong, and good service, and to be checked on, but I don't want them standing around chatting with me while I'm trying to eat. I'd much rather them be nearby so I can flag them down if needed rather than constantly trying to chat it up.

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katharina
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If it's lunchtime, I want someone to pay attention so I can get my check quickly so I can get back to work without being late.

If it is evening, I want someone to bring my food and then leave us alone, preferably for hours.

Clearly I need to lunch in the USA and eat dinner in Europe.

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Lyrhawn
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Something else people sometimes miss about sitting for hours in a restaurant, especially when its busy, is the concept of tipping for the time. If someone sits at a table for four hours and leaves 15%, they aren't just slightly undertipping, they're DRAMATICALLY undertipping. In those four hours, the server, who has a limited number of tables in a section, could have turned over that table several times and made several tips from it.

Servers are almost like sharecroppers in that sense. They have a defined plot of land, and it's up to them to make the most out of it that they can, with a healthy dose of luck and hoping that the host stand doesn't screw them over. But when one table decides to camp out for a few hours, they can just see the dollar signs evaporating before their eyes.

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Traceria
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quote:
Originally posted by Mrs.M:
That never happened to me and I worked as a waitress in Georgia for years. I always got money with my tract. I also sometimes got auto supplies with the regular tip. I got tons of cause bracelets, which we all just put in a giant tub in the back.

Yeah, I was thinking that if they really cared, they would try to make [insert name of religion] look good by leaving a really nice tip with the tract or pamphlet.

How random and yet cool about the auto supplies and bracelets! That's a new one to me!

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Noemon
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When I was in early college I worked at a place that would be considered fast food, but at which servers brought food out to the customer, refilled drinks, bus tables, and whathaveyou. I did a little bit of everything there, including this halfway-waiting thing. Mostly we didn't get tips (and we were paid more than minimum wage; there was no expectation of tips) but occasionally someone would leave one, which was a nice surprise. Once I got a slip of paper that said "Don't eat yellow snow".
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Vadon
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quote:
Originally posted by katdog42:
quote:
Originally posted by andi330:
That was assuming that people left tips. Here in the south, you are just as likely to be left a religious tract as your tip, and no money.

I was wondering if anybody else was going to mention this. I worked as a southern waitress for a very short period of time, and received quite a few pamphlets in place of tips. Cute the first time, but when I realized it was a regular thing for some people, it got annoying.
QFT

I usually tipped an average amount out of habit by what my father told me before I was a server. My father's rule was 15% standard, but give more if you particularly liked the service.

Then I got a job as a server in a restaurant.

To sum up my story, 20-25% has become my standard because 1. I know that it's difficult to make the money depending on where you live. (Some regions tip better than others, and I lived in a fairly 'stingy' region.) 2. I absolutely hated working at the restaurant. Most of the time, the customers were fine. I'd serve them, and if they wished to do small talk or involve me that's all right. If they wanted to ignore me for the most part because it's their time, that's great as well. But what I hated was the disdain and antipathy I felt from some customers. Some (not a lot, but enough) would have a demeanor that felt so judgmental against me. As though I were a lesser class citizen because I worked as a server in a fairly low-class restaurant. I probably shouldn't have let it get to me, but I have been soured against working in a restaurant ever again. [Smile]

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fugu13
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You could eat both in Japan. A copy of what you ordered is left at the table, so at lunch you just walk up to pay right away after eating. At dinner, while the staff will check back occasionally, just take your time eating and deal with the check when you're done and have had a little time to digest.

Oh, and tipping is rude in Japan.

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Noemon
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I tip pretty liberally. 20% is pretty much the floor, unless service is markedly bad. If I get something that's very inexpensive I don't bother calculating a percentage and just leave two or three dollars. I suppose that means I've occasionally tipped 100%, though it doesn't really count.
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Originally posted by Kama:
I think that is pretty much the difference between America and Europe. Most Europeans just want to be left alone afer they've got their food. [/QB]

I suddenly became an europhile. Who knew?

The whole system of tipping pisses me off so much that I generally ask my wife to pay for the meal, passing the tipping decision to her.

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Blayne Bradley
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I play it by ear, I dont go out of my way to tip, but if i have a looney or tooney as my change ill tip with that.
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Vadon
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I just want to throw something else out there. If you or your children order a meal with pancakes and syrup. Please don't do the following.
  • Pour syrup on the table. (Bonus no-no in spilling sugar in that syrup.)
  • Leave cut up pieces of pancakes on the seat or ground in the carpet.
  • Ram crayons in your pancakes. While the crayons will, of course, be thrown away, it still just gave me a shiver down my spine each time I saw it. (Personal quirk.)
  • Pour syrup on the seats.
  • Drizzle the seats with various condiments like ketchup and mustard.
  • Break up the crackers from the cracker-basket all over the table.

    But should you be unable to prevent these occurrences, then please, please never do the following.
  • Leave a skimpy tip, if any. (My worst experience was all of the above for a two dollar tip. On a seven top.)

We didn't have busers where I worked. I'd be the one to have to clean all of that, when I could be tending other tables. While I did play a balancing game by splitting my time cleaning and serving, it was very time consuming and until the job was done I obviously couldn't use that table. Plus it was a revolting sight for everyone else.

ETA: The tone I meant this post in wasn't reflected as well as I'd hoped after writing it. I meant this all with a smile, I'm not still bitter about it, after all it's been a long time since I was a server. This was just me trying to vent some of the steam I used to have while a server. [Smile]

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Christine
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I know this isn't what you want to hear, but I *hate* the American system of tipping. Why should I pay for service over and above the pre-agreed upon cost of a meal? If a person is doing their job adequately, they should be compensated by their employer. I should have nothing to do with this unless I feel that someone has gone out of their way (gone above and beyond the job agreed upon and compensated by the employer). Tipping 10% for sub-par service? No way.

I kind of like the Japanese tipping system -- I think it's changing a bit in touristy areas but traditionally a tip was the highest form of insult because it means, "Here, you're about to get fired so you'll need this to help feed your family."

Since I live in the United States and the culturally accepted norm is for me to pay for my own service, I do so, but I only leave 10% for just doing the job. I do not tip for sub-par service. I'll give 15% for a good job or if I've hassled the wait staff more than usual (for example, my kids leave a big mess or I order 10 refills of bread sticks). I've tipped 20% and more before for awesome service that really goes above and beyond.

I can't help but notice that average service in the US is terrible. I often wonder if this is because we tip 10% for mediocre service. The last time I went to Olive Garden (and I mean LAST in more than one sense of the word), they sat us down, ignored the fact that we brought a child with us (did not get him a menu, crayons, or high chair), and then did not even come to bring us water for 15 minutes.

The worst thing is that it's not just the service -- the FOOD quality at many restaurants is awful. They get frozen, pre-made meals and do not have a real chef on hand. It shows. That's why I usually frequent local places. Although I recently discovered the cafeteria inside Nordstrom's at our shopping mall -- don't know if they have them everywhere but wow! And the food isn't even more expensive than anyone else's. Plus, it's a cafeteria so no tipping. [Smile]

Hmmmm....I could talk food forever. I probably ought to call that good.

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scifibum
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I'm just repeating a lot of what was already posted, but I don't care. Here is my sunk cost:

I don't think the tipping system is any good at all.

1) It puts responsibility on the customer to judge job performance and reward accordingly. I don't want to do that when I'm out to eat. I just want to buy some food and eat it.

Restaurants have it too easy right now. The bad servers don't make as much money and they quit, right? Except we're all talking about how guilty it makes us feel not to tip because we know their wage is a pittance, so it's a flawed system at best.

It Would, of course, be more difficult for restaurants to actually train and manage their servers to ensure they're doing an acceptable job. I don't have much sympathy. It's hard for every other employer too.

I've heard that the size and chaotic activity of restaurants make supervision of the servers impractical. I don't really think that's true. One easy strategy is to have the manager tour the restaurant and ask the tables who are finishing up how things have been. Easy. If you have to hire an extra floor manager to squeeze this extra duty in, it's no different from a call center hiring a quality review specialist. (That's another situation where the majority of the work amounts to direct interaction with the customer and not every interaction can be supervised.) In both cases, you'll miss mistakes, but if mistakes are made consistently they'll become apparent after not very much time. Truly delinquent or offensive behavior generates complaints to the manager regardless.

Please don't make it my job to make sure your employees are doing a good job. There are entire service industries that operate without tipping, so you can do it too.

If we don't want to pay when we get bad service, we should hold the business responsible by talking to a manager. It's the business's responsibility to ensure we get good service. If things are bad enough to merit not paying the employee, the business needs to know.

2) It leaves the server open to getting screwed. Automatic gratuity for large groups is a rule I've seen in some restaurants, and that helps avoid the worst cases, but it's still not fair to work a table of 5 or 6 people for two hours and get $5 for your pain.

Again, the restaurants don't want to: they like the illusion of low prices by not including labor costs in the menu prices. (There's got to be some marginal benefit from this, like there is from pricing things at $x.99.) Oh well. I'm pretty sure we can handle finding out up front that our fettucine costs $15, not $12. Those of us who are both budget-constrained and fair-minded are already considering the cost of the gratuity up front. Those who don't include a few who go ahead and pay $12, which hurts the employee, and not the business: unfair.

I'm gonna wrap up my rant by pointing out that I don't really care if people want to keep some sort of tipping system to reward extra-good service, but ONLY if restaurants bake a fair wage into the cost of the product. They can absorb the minimal effort they'd have to put into discovering and firing bad performers.

p.s.

Vadon, if we wanted to follow those rules, we'd be having pancakes at home, instead of IHOP. True story.

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Vadon
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:

Vadon, if we wanted to follow those rules, we'd be having pancakes at home, instead of IHOP. True story.

Oh the only thing that really bothered me with those messes was the significant lack of a tip. I'm fine cleaning up after people, its what I knew came with the job. [Smile] I just didn't like them to leave a pigsty without any measurable compensation for the extra time I'd have to extend to cleaning after the person's left.
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natural_mystic
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Studies have shown in the case of tipping taxi drivers that drivers of African descent are tipped significantly less. I seem to recall a similar phenomenon was also observed for restaurant waiters.
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Lyrhawn
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Ironic maybe, but, anecdotally, the stereotype where I work goes that black customers are the absolute worst tippers, and are also the most demanding and complain the most. Every race and age had a stereotype. Teens: bad tippers. Chaldeans: Demanding but good tippers. Blacks: bad tippers, demanding and are never, ever happy with what they get. Whites: Grab bag, depends on whether they're local or European and a lot of other variables. I rarely experience any of those stereotypes personally since I work in the kitchen, but after five years of hearing the same complaints from literally hundreds of different servers, a picture gets stuck in your head.
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scholarette
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I have been told people with my demographics tip less (young couple with baby). And strangely, since we have had the baby, I have felt like waiters treat us worse. Which makes me wonder if that is because of the stereotype of young families as bad tippers. Of course, when I get bad service, I tip less, which reinforces the bad tipper image in their mind. However, when service is good with a kid, I am much more appreciative then when I was single and got good service. And I try to tip extra. Today, I had so so service, but the waitress brought out free crackers for the monster while waiting, brought more when monster threw them all on the floor and then cleaned up on the floor. She ignored our empty drinks and it took us a very long time to find her to ask for the check. So, if it hadn't been for baby stuff, she would have gotten 15%, rounded down. But since she went out of way on taking care of monster, she got 20%, round up- so like 22% probably.

With tipping being part of the wage, one problem I had was when a large party came in. Our waitress completely abandoned us to deal with the large group. We ended up complaining to the manager, who gave us a significant discount on the meal and ended up waiting on us himself. When we had the tip, we would have been fine tipping the manager, but we were not going to tip that waitress. The waitress, though, got more then enough from the large party to make up from it. And since the next time we came in, she was still working the good shift with the same section, it seems like she has no reason to change.

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natural_mystic
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In the taxi example, I think they found that statistically the very worst tippers were African Americans tipping African American drivers.

Let's assume the truth of the study i referred to. If, all things being equal, the pay of an African American taxi driver is less than that of his white counterpart, and this difference is accounted for by differences in amount of tips received, is tipping inherently discriminatory?

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EmpSquared
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Ironic maybe, but, anecdotally, the stereotype where I work goes that black customers are the absolute worst tippers, and are also the most demanding and complain the most. Every race and age had a stereotype. Teens: bad tippers. Chaldeans: Demanding but good tippers. Blacks: bad tippers, demanding and are never, ever happy with what they get. Whites: Grab bag, depends on whether they're local or European and a lot of other variables. I rarely experience any of those stereotypes personally since I work in the kitchen, but after five years of hearing the same complaints from literally hundreds of different servers, a picture gets stuck in your head.

It's more of a cultural thing. I wouldn't say race or age comes with a built-in tip-o-meter. And it's an exaggeration. I'm just as likely to get tipped badly by someone my co-worker could telegraph as a good tipper, and vice versa.

I'm in the camp of being paid a higher rate. It would make my paychecks a constant, so a few "bad shifts" couldn't make me or break me. Not that I'm a bad server by any means, but it would make me a much more composed and stable one if I wasn't just a tiny bit insane all the time.

The only really negative things I've heard in the thread so far are:

quote:
My tipping is usually based on what is convenient with the change I get from the bill,
because I think that doing it thoughtlessly is the worst, no matter how much you tip. You've probably caused a fair amount of frustration where you've eaten, and I hope you're not a regular anywhere.

quote:
I play it by ear, I dont go out of my way to tip, but if i have a looney or tooney as my change ill tip with that.
For basically the same reasons.

quote:
I suddenly became an europhile. Who knew?

The whole system of tipping pisses me off so much that I generally ask my wife to pay for the meal, passing the tipping decision to her.

Why, mph? I'm assuming for some combination of reasons listed by others.

I really do wish we were compensated just by our company, but I also wonder if the same number of people would come to eat if an extra couple of dollars was tacked on to every item on the menu, even if people were aware they didn't have to tip. If I were an executive I'd probably think we would lose a significant base of customers who don't tip deliberately, and are now being forced to.

Also, if we get paid a higher rate, we'd have more stringent hiring practices, and as I'm a trainer, it'd be much easier to train people exhibiting a modicum of enthusiasm. Not that everyone doesn't come with that, but Olive Garden actually hires people with no serving experience, which could explain this:

quote:
And based on my experiences at Olive Garden, it would merit at least a few gasps of grateful astonishment.

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Lyrhawn
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They hire people with no serving experience where I work too. Training is pretty extensive. I didn't realize servers had to actually go through a training course before they could serve, but they do.

But generally the bad servers get weeded out pretty fast. The ones who can't handle the fast pace, the ones who are rude or just plain bad, and the ones who clearly don't know what they are doing don't last very long at all.

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EmpSquared
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
They hire people with no serving experience where I work too. Training is pretty extensive. I didn't realize servers had to actually go through a training course before they could serve, but they do.

But generally the bad servers get weeded out pretty fast. The ones who can't handle the fast pace, the ones who are rude or just plain bad, and the ones who clearly don't know what they are doing don't last very long at all.

Yeah, but they last long enough to damage the reputation. The turnover rate is so huge that we trade out a lot of bad for bad.
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JennaDean
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I feel about tipping the same way I feel about war: I absolutely hate the system, but I "support the troops". In other words, I complain about having to tip and wish the cost of the meal was the cost of the meal, but I still tip because I know the waiters don't get paid enough.

I tip 15% for ordinary service; I only tip less if the service is really lacking, and I'll tip more if the service is fantastic or if we bring our kids. (We became better tippers when we had kids because we felt bad about the mess! We also pick up whatever we can from the floor.)

But really, I like what scifibum said about how it shouldn't be my job to decide what the server should be paid, or to give them incentive to do a good job; it should be the business of the restaurant. Incidentally, the grocery store I shop at has the best service and employees' attitudes of anywhere I've ever been, combined with a strict "no tipping" policy. They don't get paid extra if they smile at me or give my kid a balloon or help me put my groceries onto the conveyor belt or take my groceries out to the parking lot for me. But they do all those things because they were trained really well. It can be done!

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advice for robots
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I tip at restaurants, averaging between 15-20%. I don't tip too many other service providers. Perhaps if I stayed in more hotels in NYC I would. Honestly, I never know when I'm expected to tip. And I rarely carry cash, because I can't track my spending with cash. I suppose if they all carried swipers for my debit card?

Here's a question: Is there any difference between leaving a tip on the receipt rather than leaving cash on the table?

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katharina
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On the card it is definitely being reported to the IRS as income. On the table, maybe, maybe not.
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Seatarsprayan
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I don't really like tipping (I tip, and tip well), because I'd rather the cost on the menu be the real cost.

What I absolutely HATE though is the idea of forced tipping, like putting a 20% "service charge" on the bill. If it's always 20%, then just update the menu prices. Do you take your car to the car wash advertised for $2 and then then get a $1.50 "water fee"? Why don't they put a "utility charge" for all the power used to cook the food and the light used to illuminate the restaurant? Why single out service to surcharge?

The tipping system sorta has a good point about being able to punish/reward service without having to ask to see the manager and get all confrontational.

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Christine
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I don't like forced tipping on large parties although I understand the rationale, since I did work in a restaurant for a while. Here's something I discovered a few years, back, though: If the service is bad enough, you can have the manager remove that gratuity. I did just that one time when I was part of a party of 8 at a local restaurant. The place wasn't even that busy, everything took forever...I'd say our food didn't come out until about an hour after we sat down...and mine wasn't with it! He'd forgotten to put in my order so I was sitting there watching everyone else eat for 20 minutes, then they sat and watched me eat. He then offered a free dessert to make up for it and the dessert took 45 minutes to arrive! When the bill game with 18% tacked on I went up to the manager and told him to take it right back off.
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King of Men
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quote:
Teens: bad tippers.
Teens: Poor.

quote:
Chaldeans: Demanding but good tippers.
Wait... Chaldeans? Where do you find Chaldeans?
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katharina
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Detroit, right? That's where I found Chaldeans.
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Achilles
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I haven't tipped in years; since I was a kid, really.

It's dangerous to the cows, you see.

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EmpSquared
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quote:
Originally posted by katharina:
On the card it is definitely being reported to the IRS as income. On the table, maybe, maybe not.

Yeah, it depends on the restaurant for cash. Most restaurants have a system for recording your cash tips because an IRS audit is something that nobody wants to deal with.

quote:
I don't like forced tipping on large parties although I understand the rationale, since I did work in a restaurant for a while. Here's something I discovered a few years, back, though: If the service is bad enough, you can have the manager remove that gratuity. I did just that one time when I was part of a party of 8 at a local restaurant. The place wasn't even that busy, everything took forever...I'd say our food didn't come out until about an hour after we sat down...and mine wasn't with it! He'd forgotten to put in my order so I was sitting there watching everyone else eat for 20 minutes, then they sat and watched me eat. He then offered a free dessert to make up for it and the dessert took 45 minutes to arrive! When the bill game with 18% tacked on I went up to the manager and told him to take it right back off.
Usually if a big party gets that kind of service gratuity isn't added on to the bill. Gratuity needs manager or trainer approval (by way of computer clearance, essentially) where I work. However, if a large party gets perfect service and the tip is abysmal, I would say the gratuity system works fine. It's really only one degree from making your menu items more expensive and paying the server more, so if we can agree that excellent service can be assigned value that requires compensation beyond minimum wage, it makes sense. The only dissent I can think of is just how much that gratuity should be.

quote:
Teens: Poor.
Sure, that's an explanation, but is it an excuse?
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Godric 2.0
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quote:
Originally posted by advice for robots:
I tip at restaurants, averaging between 15-20%. I don't tip too many other service providers. Perhaps if I stayed in more hotels in NYC I would. Honestly, I never know when I'm expected to tip. And I rarely carry cash, because I can't track my spending with cash. I suppose if they all carried swipers for my debit card?

Here's a question: Is there any difference between leaving a tip on the receipt rather than leaving cash on the table?

I too rarely carry cash, so when my wife and I eat out I usually put the tip on the receipt. Recently however, I've noticed that often the tip is not charged (I never took notice if this had been the case before - I've only begun tracking my money with a fine tooth comb in the year since we had our daughter). This has bothered me. Are those waiters being stiffed the tip I tried to leave?
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