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Rethinking tipping culture


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#241 gfweb

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 07:56 AM

Certification in practice is just another way for the government (or whoever certifies you) to reach into your pocket for periodic fees for "re-certification".

 

Good training is vital but certification unfortunately accomplishes nothing.



#242 Edward J

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 09:05 AM

And we've already given you reasons why certification isn't particularly well regarded in this country.

 

Certification for BOH is ridiculous. That's what staging is for. As for FOH, certification isn't going to make anyone friendlier or more professional. It would end up being just one more thing that employees have to pay for in order to work -- like a health card. Employers aren't going to raise their wages just because a server completes the next level of certification. Not unless someone in government points a gun at them, at least.

 

I submit that other countries have not "solved" their problems. There are just as many restaurants in Europe with problems as there are in America. Kitchen Nightmares first aired in the UK, after all.

 

Look at the hospitality industry in other countries and see how it works.  Then compare it to yours.  There are better ways of doing things, but you have to be open about it, if you're constantly on the defense and not even listening to how other countries have solved their hospitality industry problems, then nothing will change.

 

Hooh-boy.  You've already got certification in your country, have had for years and years, and your trades and professions love it.  Why do you think you pay your HVAC/refrigeraton repair guy $80/per hour plus truck fee, plus parts, plus taxes? Your plumber to install a hot water tank $75/hr plus, plus, plus?  All trades have "tickets" certifying them to operate this piece of equipment, install this, or design that system. And their employers  pay according to the tickets or benchmarks achieved.

 

You need a non-American to tell you how things really are, and I'm telling you that you, as Americans, embrace the metric system and would complain bitterly if things changed.  Look in your wallet.  Ten dimes make a buck, 100 pennies make a buck, ten bucks makes a ten note, 100 make a hundred note, and so on.  All in base units of 10. For a really screwed up Imperial system look at the English before thier metric conversion: Pennies and ha'pence, shillings and what not, some in base units of 8, some 12, some 16.

 

Here's how things have changed in B.C., Canada since 2010 when the Provincial Gov't chaged the rules for the "Red Seal" certifiation for cooks: You need some form of school for Cook I, or a cetain amount of hours in the industry to write this test. After this, you need to work a reqired amount of hours in the "field" befor you write the Cook II test.  Then again, a certain amount of hours worked before you can write Cook III or the "Red Seal". With each jump,. there is an increase in pay, and with each jump, employers are not obliged to pay for the increase   And yet, many employeers are demanding the "Red Seal" certification for hires and paying the wages it demands.  And many employers are bragging/advertising about how al thier "chefs" are Red Seal certified.  Culinary schools can offer courses that accelerate the required working hours for Cook I, but have to design thier curriculum to meet the required knowledge base.  We have some kind of standards in place.

 

 

It's somethnig to think about and base a model around for servers, don't you think?



#243 ScoopKW

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 09:18 AM

You think you know a great deal more about America than you actually do. Although that is fairly common. Everybody seems to think they're an expert on America, simply because they have visited a few times and they watch Hollywood movies.

 

We do not need non-Americans to "tell us how things really are." This isn't snobbery. It's just that foreigners think we are easily pigeonholed.

 

 

And I guarantee you, employers in America would demand the highest level certification and most would not pay accordingly. That's how things work here.


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#244 gfweb

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 09:20 AM

The metric system comes straight from the Kremlin.

 

You still haven't answered how taking a written test is the measure of a cook's skill.  The test measures something related to cooking, but not cooking itself. One can create levels of certification but they don't usually mean much. I point again to medicine where both the jackasses and the good ones are board certified.



#245 Edward J

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 12:26 PM

The metric system comes straight from the Kremlin.

Ehh...noooo. The only thing the Kremlin has in common with the metric system is that Napoleon (who commisioned the system of weights and measures) made anyone who didn't use the system "examine" the guiltotine for sharpness and edge retention....

You still haven't answered how taking a written test is the measure of a cook's skill.  The test measures something related to cooking, but not cooking itself. One can create levels of certification but they don't usually mean much. I point again to medicine where both the jackasses and the good ones are board certified.

 The only guarantees anyone can guarantee are death and taxes.

 

And yet, a Gr. 12 diploma (certification?) is no guarantee of anything, but how many colleges and universities demand this certification before you can even write entrance exams? 

 

A valid driver's license is no guarantee that you can drive properly, but how many insurance co.'s demand it in order to insure your car? How many car rental co.'s demand it in order to rent you a car?

 

What certification offers is the lack of an excuse not to know any better.  A medical practioner can screw up royally but can not claim ingnorance.

 

Will a car mnfctr honour it's warranty if you get an unlicensed (certified?) mechanic to repair it? Will an insurance co., honour it's policy if you get an unlicensed plumber to install a major gas appliance and it catches fire? 

 

Certification is part of the social fabric in N. America, and it has nothing to do with the Kremlin....



#246 gfweb

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 12:41 PM

So you see our point. Certification may be accepted, but it availeth little.



#247 Edward J

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 01:18 PM

It availith an ascending pay scale based on qualifications achieved....



#248 annabelle

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 01:37 PM

So, using this system, Edward J, if one is underperforming as a Cook III, may he or she be busted back down to a Cook I, depending on the infraction? 

 

I think what you are advocating is a military style brigade system for the FOH, much like that in the back of the house as is used in Europe and less formally,  the US, yes?  This sounds like a ripe opportunity for government oversight, adding yet another layer of bureaucracy (and costs) to operation.  We're in the middle of a grand scandal regarding government overreach right now.  I think this proposal would be met with cold water and a firm "No".



#249 Edward J

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 02:04 PM

If one is underperforming, they get the choice to perform as per expectations or they get to to see the other side of the entrance door....

 

Like I 've said sooooo many times now, this system of pay scale "pegged" to qualifications is used by many trades and professions.



#250 annabelle

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 02:37 PM

So, they get fired and go to work somewhere else as a Chef III?  That doesn't seem right.



#251 Edward J

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 05:02 PM

No, they get fired and have a long think about how and why they screwed up.  Some smarten up  and get back to work, some even go further and move on to higher things. Some drop down a notch and are content, and some leave the industry.

 

I think the original idea of this thread was how to get servers to rely less on tips and more on how to earn a respectable salary.  I think pretty much everyone agreed that "tipping wages" of under $3/hr was a slap in the face for servers, ignoring the minimum wage a kick in the crotch, and, on the other side of the coin, a server taking home $2-$300 a night while the rest of the restaurant staff have to wait until the end of their pay-period for less than stellar wages  wasn't fair either. 

 

It's fun argueing the merits and weak points of certification, and I'm more than happy to discuss other ideas that other posters may have of how to address the tipping situation. 

 

Are there any?



#252 annabelle

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 06:12 PM

No.  I'm pretty sure we've covered them all.



#253 Edward J

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 08:04 PM

Refresh my memory.......



#254 annabelle

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 07:34 AM

Ed there are nine pages here.  Go read.



#255 sigma

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 07:37 AM

Ed, are you certified to talk about economics?



#256 Edward J

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 12:21 PM

Thank you Sigma,

 

Ed, are you certified to talk about economics?

 

 

Thak you Sigma, that is, IMHO one the best comebacks I've had yet.  And I say that in all honesty and with no sarcasm or malice. 



#257 andiesenji

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 03:30 PM

 

If restaurants quietly raised their prices 20% and paid their servers a living wage, that would end this "problem" immediately. I'd certainly be in favor of that. Then of course you'd get the tightwads who miss the "good ol' days" of stiffing their server to save money in restaurants.

 

And you might also get the servers who miss the "good ol' days" when they often went home with several hundred dollars cash in their pockets.

 

This issue simply is not so obvious as some would believe.  There definitely are a great many servers that like the system just fine as it is.

 

 

You can't go raising prices up by 20% without some kind of justification, or no one--customers, employers, and employees won't buy into it.  You need a system of benchmarks and qualifications to justify and keep the 20% mark-up specifically for service labour costs, and they (benchmarks) have to be on a graduating scale.

 

For instance, it would be a very tough sell for a lunch (or breakfast) place that specializes in the $10-$20.00 bill/check per person to add a 20% increase for service. And you can forget about fast-food burger joints.   The server does not need extensive--if any, wine/liquor knowledge, formal place setting knowledge, or extensive cooking and ingredient knowledge, as compared toa fine dining place. 

 

As I've stated before in this thread and others, you need a graduated set of benchmarks for servers, I.e. Server I qualification with no previous experience, Server II that requries X hours of previous experience and a basic wine/liquor knowledge, and Server III qualification, that builds on the last two qualifications and would probably be a pre-requisite for a Maitre D' position.

 

But hey, all this would be trade infrastructure, and the N. American Hospitality biz is notoriously bad for not having any trade infrastructure.  If anyone can call themselves a Chef, if any school can call it's gradutes "chefs", then what's the criteria for a server?

 

I missed this when it was first posted.  Restaurants  OFTEN use excuses for raising their prices and it has NOTHING to do with how much they pay their personnel.  Prices at some "upscale" chain restaurants vary with location and by state. 

A local restaurant upped their prices when they installed two new big screen TVs, for "sports" programs, even though more than half their clientele filled out "suggestion" cards that indicated they were interested in having a peaceful MEAL, not having to listen to sports fanatics yelling because of what was happening in the game.

They lost a significant amount of business and now there is ONE TV in the Bar/lounge and none in the two dining rooms.  Some of their customers have returned but others found other places and are satisfied.   They also lost banquet business because one of the TVs was mounted on a common wall with the banquet room.  Really, really stupid idea...


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#258 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 01:07 AM

How about some brave restaurateur raising their prices by 15%, but making it very clear (Large letters at the TOP of their menu) that this increase will ALL go to the servers. Along side the raised price menu they could have the old prices, but make it clear that tipping was not included in those prices.

 

Let customers decide which price they wanted to pay. Customers could even add something to the tip included menu if they felt so inclined.

 

This isn't so different to the common practice of adding 15% or more to the meal price for larger groups for 'service'.

 

I know which priced menu I'd go for.



#259 annabelle

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 08:17 AM

Brave Restauranteur  should lay in a  supply of "Out of Business" signs, if history is our guide.



#260 Edward J

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 12:20 PM

I think Aesop had a fable about ''belling the cat''.  No restauranteur will be brave enough to do that.

 

There is a reason that N.American car mnfctrs finally went to unleaded gasoline, put in seatbelts, and follow safety and fuel effeciency standards. There is a reason why the public has a great distrust of oil companies who set their own enviromental standards and police them, same for pipeline companies, and probably the same for financial institutions stock brokers,and day traders.

 

You need an impartial body to set standards and police them.  If you don't, you have "tipping wages'' for servers, total disregard for minimum wages for servers, culinary schools going haywire, etc.



#261 annabelle

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 12:42 PM

Oy, Edward.  If you think government is "impartial", you need to get out more. 



#262 Ashen

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 12:56 PM

talking with someone I know who has been a server, there can be some weird things happen in places that have a tipping out policy .  where they worked,   Tipping out  was calculated  total sales that server  had that night at a set % but if one large party stiffs on the tip it can turn around so that a server actually owes more for tipping out for the shift than what they took in.  I had been of the  mistaken understanding that tipping out was just a percentage of the tips taken in not that it was a percentage of total sales x 15 % .  I could see how this kind of thing could really cause friction between front and back of house. 


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#263 ScoopKW

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 12:06 AM

Oy, Edward.  If you think government is "impartial", you need to get out more. 

 

Edward lives in a more reasonable country than we do.


Edited by ScoopKW, 22 June 2013 - 12:07 AM.

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#264 Edward J

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 07:34 AM

I guess ignoring the minimum wage and implementing a "tipping wage" of under $3.00/hr is "impartial" as well. 

 

No one is holding the hospitality organizations (the ones who lobbied and got "tipping wages" in the first place) accountable.    Who will?



#265 ScoopKW

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 11:04 AM

I guess ignoring the minimum wage and implementing a "tipping wage" of under $3.00/hr is "impartial" as well. 

 

No one is holding the hospitality organizations (the ones who lobbied and got "tipping wages" in the first place) accountable.    Who will?

 

Nobody. The NRA (the Restaurant Association, not the gun NRA), shovels money at our legislators to keep the status quo. Nobody in Washington is going to do anything unless it 1) jibes with their ideologically-pure belief system; and 2) nets them the maximum donation into their campaign fund.

 

And into this toxic mix that is the US government, you want to add a certification system for restaurant staff? Please. We suffer enough already.


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#266 dcarch

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 04:24 AM

Sorry if this has been posted already:

 

http://www.esquire.c...llegal-15603180

 

dcarch



#267 ScoopKW

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 09:20 AM

That was an excellent article.

 

But I maintain that an America without it's tip culture is as attainable as an America without it's gun culture.


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#268 PSmith

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 01:59 AM

Well looks like Noodles & Co will be on my list of establishments to visit in the US when I am wanting something "chainy" 

 

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#269 huiray

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 06:17 AM

Well looks like Noodles & Co will be on my list of establishments to visit in the US when I am wanting something "chainy" 

 

http://www.dailymail...t-anything.html

 

Glad they (Noodles & Co) made the move to get rid of tipping.

 

Nevertheless, I hope you have better food than I have had on my visits to the local franchisees in my area.  I tried a few different places in the hope that the 1st time was a fluke, to see if they deserved another chance etc (at least for my taste) and I had to conclude that for me, personally, they served some of the most regrettable (and confusion**-type) food around.  But others may have had good experiences.

 

** versus 'fusion'.

 

------------

 

I have not studied the entire thread carefully and a search for "Next" did not turn up what I was looking for - so, I might comment that various restaurants, usually higher-end ones, have moved to the "ticket" system.  No doubt most of the folks on eG know about this quite well?  If so and it has been discussed then my apologies. 

 

For those who do not know of this, Next Restaurant (and after that, places like Alinea and a few others, I think) in Chicago instituted a prepaid ticket system with online-only transactions whereby the entire cost of the meal (food, drinks, all applicable taxes, mandatory "service charge") is prepaid by the intending diner for a meal at a certain time on a certain day.  When you come to the restaurant you eat your meal then get up and go.  No further money or financial transactions cross the table and no "tipping" is done at the end of the meal.  It's like buying a ticket to a concert or a show.  It is non-refundable, and if you don't show up you lose your money.  You are free to sell it (in the approved manner) to someone else, of course, or to give it to someone else to use with "transfer of ownership" notification to the restaurant.  In recent times other restaurants are adopting this system too, with mixed receptions from the dining public.



#270 G Nicholas Phillips

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 01:15 PM

 I work BOH in France, but lived and worked in the USA for 20 years, all BOH.

 

 Servers here are  paid the same rate as cooks, ( at least where I work) their pay is relevant to the responsibilities they have, the amount of time with the organization, and  the position they hold.  Customers do tip small amounts, but over a month it adds up. All tips go to the house and at the end of the month the house doles out the tips evenly to all staff who are non management.

 I t has been a few years since I was in the USA so I do not know the pay rates any more, but here ( fine dining)   a CDP earns about 20-28k euros a year (as an FYI rents around here for a 2 bed house are 3-450 a month) so not too shabby, a server makes the same amount.

 What I have seen is that Staff tend to stay longer, as they have more security in their work. We run a Brigade system both BOH and FOH and that also helps.

 The American system works well for America, but IMHO does lead to more short term thinking on both the employer and employees behalf. We can plan staff education in the fairly sure knowledge that they will be here 6 months from now. All of this is of course helped by the  French employment legislation which requires a written contract of employment, and makes it very difficult ,if not impossible to fire staff.,