Restaurant Service...what would you have tipped?

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Re: Restaurant Service...what would you have tipped?

Postby Joy Lindholm » Mon May 26, 2014 2:21 pm

Hoke, I would agree that we have much the same view and frustration with the system as a whole. This is a great discussion because it brings to light the fact that service matters. I have had many battles with chef/owners who think that service is not that important and people come to the restaurant just for their food. That could start a whole new wave of discussion.

If you talk to the general public (not just people who go to fine dining restaurants) about tipping, I bet you would get a response that spreads the tip spectrum over the 10-20% field. People seem to think that 10-15% is acceptable for cheap places like Applebees because they may be less likely to know tipping etiquette. On a check at one of those places, the difference between 15 and 20% may only be a couple of dollars. At a fine dining restaurant, it may be $30-40. The server at a cheap place has to do that much more volume to make a living wage.

You may argue that the customer is under no obligation to verbally or otherwise report service issues. I would agree with you. The only thing "required" of the customer is that they pay for what they order. You will get a lot farther as a guest if you help create a dining culture that makes it as pleasant for the next person who eats there as you hope it will be for you. Online reviews are very common, and very useful for restaurants, as are comment cards and emails/phone calls to the manager if you don't want to do it in person.

We know the repeat guests who don't tip well; most restaurants will make a note of it under your name if you make a reservation. We don't give them any less professional or courteous service than those who tip 20% or more. But we may also be less willing to go the extra mile and do favors or bring extra treats from the kitchen or tastes of the newest wines or spirits than we would be for those who are good diners & tippers.

What benefit does tipping 15% instead of 20% give you as a diner? Sure, you may save a couple of bucks, but if you are already eating out, we can assume you aren't strapped for cash. Why not tip 20% (assuming service is good and you aren't trying to convey a message with your tip)? Until the stupid system is fixed and servers are paid more than $2.13 an hour, the responsibility for giving the server an opportunity to earn an honest living falls on the guest, not the restaurant. That is the system and unless the restaurant goes above and pays their servers a higher hourly, there is nothing we can do about it.

Maybe we should take all this energy we spend complaining about tipping and turn it in to lobbying for a change in this country in the minimum wage for waitstaff or a switch to the European model where service is included.... :wink:
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Re: Restaurant Service...what would you have tipped?

Postby Jon Peterson » Mon May 26, 2014 7:41 pm

I think I would leave 10% and a note (or a talk) about what it would have taken to get 30+%.
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Re: Restaurant Service...what would you have tipped?

Postby Hoke » Tue May 27, 2014 12:48 am

Jon Peterson wrote:I think I would leave 10% and a note (or a talk) about what it would have taken to get 30+%.


Hey, you give me 30+% and I'll gladly wait on you. (Then again, I'm worth it.)
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Re: Restaurant Service...what would you have tipped?

Postby Jon Peterson » Tue May 27, 2014 9:33 am

After the $110 bill for brunch on Sunday, I left a tip of $50 in cash and wish I'd left more. Great service with great food has a synergistic effect.
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Re: Restaurant Service...what would you have tipped?

Postby GeoCWeyer » Tue Jun 03, 2014 8:40 pm

As someone who has hired, trained, retrained, worked with, and "let go" my share of waitstaff, I would have been tempted to stiff the waitperson but would have left a 10% tip. I would have also spoken to the management either at that time or with a later phone call to suggest some more staff training. There were more people at fault than the waitperson! Who was, or rather should have been, managing/working the floor? This fiasco should have picked up and dealt with by attentive floor management while it was occurring. No one checking back is Inexcusable and a sign of poor training and floor management.

Today it seems that floor management is a lost skill. Management now seems to either hide in the office or at the register. What would have earned a verbal if not a written warning is now standard practice.

Because of the training and experience I received years ago my wife still requires me to sit with my back to the action. If not, even in the middle of dinner and a conversation I can tell you what is going on in the dining room and wait station. It is like the "life guard" situation at a beach or pool. If you spent a number of summers guarding you seem to always pay attention to what is going on in the water.

Some problems arise if you mention it to the management as you leave the establishment. First they were the ones on duty and in part responsible for what happened and second some of the others in your party might be embarrassed by your bring it to the management's attention.

In a food and beverage establishment complaints are like spotting a rat in a grain elevator. You spot one you know there are at least ten more of them.
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Re: Restaurant Service...what would you have tipped?

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Thu Jun 05, 2014 5:00 pm

Well, here's a contentious topic. And, not a simple one.

In the case at hand, I would have tipped my usual 20% -- screwing up the bill is a fairly minor sin. I suppose, on a grumpy day, I might have scaled it back to 15%.

But I'm not prepared to agree that I _must_ tip 20%. Even if I am the only one who knows what I mean when I go under, still, I did what I thought was right. (It's not always easy to find a manager, nor do I always have the time or inclination. AND, at some point, stupid is as stupid does, and I'm not paid to be a teacher.)

I'm also not prepared to agree to the service compris model -- in light of a recent wretched dinner with outstanding food. (I did complain to the manager both during and again after the meal. That got me a free extra dish and a lovely apology but I still paid for the privilege of being ignored, tired, and hungry.)
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Re: Restaurant Service...what would you have tipped?

Postby Jo Ann Henderson » Thu Jun 05, 2014 5:52 pm

This has been an interesting discussion. There is much to be said and I don't believe that anyone is necessarily right or wrong in the discussion. However, if 20% is required etiquette for tipping, all restaurants should just add it to the bill (before taxes) and not leave it to the customer to make that determination. And, stop calling it a tip! To my understanding, tipping is voluntary, and a reflection of the appreciation for service. As a customer, I don't have a responsibility to help the server earn a living wage, that is a contract between employer and employee. If you can't do that in the restaurant industry, then perhaps you should consider working someplace that will pay you appropriately?! And, I thought 18% was the standard minimum gratuity at this point -- when did it jump to 20%?
I had a fierce discussion with a waitperson some time ago about tipping. I have always been a generous tipper because I am concerned about the next party (and I am aware that people of color have an undeserved reputation for being poor tippers). Especially, my concern is with the party that has scrapped together the money required to take an honored guest to a special celebration someplace that their lifestyle and means would not afford but on rare occasion. They may not have the knowledge or the means to leave an "especially generous tip", so I always try to insure to leave a bit extra to pad those times when my waitperson may encounter that party. (Of course, I know that the waitstaff will not be aware of that, but perhaps they will remember and not judge so harshly the party that falls short.) The person I was having a discussion with told me to dismiss the thought. If I left a 30% tip it is because he earned it and the next party was required to pay the going tip, period!
On another occasion, my mother and I ate at little more than a dive of a Mexican restaurant that we liked to frequent. We always leave our tips in cash, but my mother was absolutely resolute about paying for all purchases with a credit card -- so that she would have a record. She also kept all receipts in an envelope until her credit card bill arrived. Loandbehold, the Mexican restaurant automatically added $3 to her bill after we had left the premises. My mother was both shocked and hurt by it. I had no problem driving back to the restaurant, talking to the manager, showing him our paper work and requiring that he retrieve the matching ticket to show him the discrepancy. I demanded and got her $3 back!! How dare they!
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Re: Restaurant Service...what would you have tipped?

Postby Harry Cantrell » Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:48 pm

I reread the original post. So 3 couples wanted 3 separate checks-a recipe for a mix up. Orders taken reasonably. Food arrived reasonably fast. Server mixed up who go what. (French Laundry a big no-no; neighborhood restaurant so what?) Didn't check back-were there any problems with the food? If not WTF? Finished dinner and plates stayed too long (biggest mistake IMO) Cleared with dessert/coffee orders. Checks arrived screwed up. Can't anyone pull out a cell and calculate the 'split 3 ways' total when it became apparent she wasn't up to the task? Tip 15% minimum and if her relative incompetence caused you grief, talk to the manager. I'm sorry, but I don't get the big problem. Life is too short.
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Re: Restaurant Service...what would you have tipped?

Postby MikeH » Thu Jun 12, 2014 3:35 pm

I have been reading this thread with interest. Posters here should read Robin's latest about the Kentucky restaurant that has abolished tipping in favor of a $10 per hour wage plus 20% automatic tip.

A number of posters have asked when did the normal tip go from 15% to 20% and perhaps even to 25%. My perception, rightly or wrongly, is that this increase has been promoted by folks who benefit from either the extra money (like waitstaff) or from doing waitstaff a favor (like food and restaurant critics). I can't recall an article promoting 20% or 25% that wasn't written by someone with skin in the game!!! Consequently, I still view 15% as the norm, usually going to 20% at nicer places and my usual haunts and usual waitstaff.
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Re: Restaurant Service...what would you have tipped?

Postby Alan Wolfe » Thu Jun 12, 2014 6:07 pm

I usually tip 20% unless there is a problem of some kind. If I was certain a restaurant was paying staff $10/hour and requiring a 20% tip I would cease to patronize that restaurant.
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Re: Restaurant Service...what would you have tipped?

Postby Joy Lindholm » Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:33 pm

MikeH wrote: Posters here should read Robin's latest about the Kentucky restaurant that has abolished tipping in favor of a $10 per hour wage plus 20% automatic tip.


You need to re-read the article. The employees don't get tipped at all by the guests. The restaurant either pays them $10 per hour OR 20% of their sales, whichever happens to be higher. They made it very clear that patrons do not need to tip.
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Re: Restaurant Service...what would you have tipped?

Postby MikeH » Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:04 pm

Joy Lindholm wrote:
MikeH wrote: Posters here should read Robin's latest about the Kentucky restaurant that has abolished tipping in favor of a $10 per hour wage plus 20% automatic tip.


You need to re-read the article. The employees don't get tipped at all by the guests. The restaurant either pays them $10 per hour OR 20% of their sales, whichever happens to be higher. They made it very clear that patrons do not need to tip.


You're correct....and actually I never read the article referenced in Robin's post until now...I read a different article about the same situation and mistakenly assumed that was the one Robin linked. My bad.
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Re: Restaurant Service...what would you have tipped?

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:32 pm

And then there's this place, where no matter what you tip, the owners make sure they get it rather than your server.

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Re: Restaurant Service...what would you have tipped?

Postby Jenise » Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:26 pm

Haven't they closed Amy's by now?
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Re: Restaurant Service...what would you have tipped?

Postby GeoCWeyer » Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:54 pm

Jo Ann Henderson wrote:This has been an interesting discussion. There is much to be said and I don't believe that anyone is necessarily right or wrong in the discussion. However, if 20% is required etiquette for tipping, all restaurants should just add it to the bill (before taxes) and not leave it to the customer to make that determination. And, stop calling it a tip! To my understanding, tipping is voluntary, and a reflection of the appreciation for service. As a customer, I don't have a responsibility to help the server earn a living wage, that is a contract between employer and employee. If you can't do that in the restaurant industry, then perhaps you should consider working someplace that will pay you appropriately?! And, I thought 18% was the standard minimum gratuity at this point -- when did it jump to 20%?
I had a fierce discussion with a waitperson some time ago about tipping. I have always been a generous tipper because I am concerned about the next party (and I am aware that people of color have an undeserved reputation for being poor tippers). Especially, my concern is with the party that has scrapped together the money required to take an honored guest to a special celebration someplace that their lifestyle and means would not afford but on rare occasion. They may not have the knowledge or the means to leave an "especially generous tip", so I always try to insure to leave a bit extra to pad those times when my waitperson may encounter that party. (Of course, I know that the waitstaff will not be aware of that, but perhaps they will remember and not judge so harshly the party that falls short.) The person I was having a discussion with told me to dismiss the thought. If I left a 30% tip it is because he earned it and the next party was required to pay the going tip, period!
On another occasion, my mother and I ate at little more than a dive of a Mexican restaurant that we liked to frequent. We always leave our tips in cash, but my mother was absolutely resolute about paying for all purchases with a credit card -- so that she would have a record. She also kept all receipts in an envelope until her credit card bill arrived. Loandbehold, the Mexican restaurant automatically added $3 to her bill after we had left the premises. My mother was both shocked and hurt by it. I had no problem driving back to the restaurant, talking to the manager, showing him our paper work and requiring that he retrieve the matching ticket to show him the discrepancy. I demanded and got her $3 back!! How dare they!


I think that is fraud or theft. It should be reported to the local law enforcement, the credit card company, and exposed in the letters to the editor of the local paper!
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Re: Restaurant Service...what would you have tipped?

Postby Jo Ann Henderson » Wed Jun 18, 2014 1:18 pm

GeoCWeyer wrote:
Jo Ann Henderson wrote:On another occasion, my mother and I ate at little more than a dive of a Mexican restaurant that we liked to frequent. We always leave our tips in cash, but my mother was absolutely resolute about paying for all purchases with a credit card -- so that she would have a record. She also kept all receipts in an envelope until her credit card bill arrived. Loandbehold, the Mexican restaurant automatically added $3 to her bill after we had left the premises. My mother was both shocked and hurt by it. I had no problem driving back to the restaurant, talking to the manager, showing him our paper work and requiring that he retrieve the matching ticket to show him the discrepancy. I demanded and got her $3 back!! How dare they!


I think that is fraud or theft. It should be reported to the local law enforcement, the credit card company, and exposed in the letters to the editor of the local paper!

You are right. But, at the time it didn't occur to me that it was anything other than unfair. Especially this was a place that was familiar enough to us that they knew what cold drinks we liked and they automatically appeared at our table. It was the hurt in my mother's voice and eyes that so incensed me. I could easily have given her the $3 or told her to forget it. But, it was blatantly unfair and sneakily bold. I had to meet fire with fire and let my mother see justice served on her behalf. I only wish they had called the police -- then we would have had a show fit for the evening news!!!
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Re: Restaurant Service...what would you have tipped?

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Thu Jun 19, 2014 12:22 am

Jenise wrote:Haven't they closed Amy's by now?


I believe it was closed for several months and then re-opened. (At least that was the last I heard.)

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