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Blacklisting Cultural Bad Tippers


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#1 gfron1

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 07:34 PM

So please don't attack me here, I am sincerely asking for feedback because we've never had this happen before.

 

We have a gentleman from another country (we know what country but I don't think its necessarily relevant here), who always tips less than 10%.  We have other customers from the same country of origin who also tip less than 10%, but they aren't regulars like this guy.  So among this specific nationality they are tipping consistently.  

 

None of my servers want to serve him because he's taking potential tips away from tables that pay better.  We know that its not that he thinks the service or food isn't good - he always glows, but he's always right around 9%.

 

Tonight my lead server asked if we can turn him away and say we're sold out (we very often often are).  I told her to let me think about it.  My gut says no.  It doesn't feel professional or an appropriate response.  But we know that he will never tip higher.  My reminder to my server that this is a cultural difference is falling on deaf ears.  I have the right to refuse service, but it also feels like racism although we would only be banning him not others.  The more I type the more it sounds like a really, really, bad idea.  But I turn it over to you...what do you think?


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#2 HungryC

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 08:39 PM

It is a terrible idea. Unless you're ready to institute.a mandatory set service charge, the 9 percent is his choice. Would you make a big deal of this if he was just a "regular" patron from a majority ethnic group? How do you treat "white" low tippers?
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#3 gfweb

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 09:39 PM

Nooooo.

 

Its a service issue. They are to welcome customers of all stripes and be hospitable. That is their job.

 

One 10% tipper a week isn't killing anybody.

 

BTW I bet this guy is Northern European, not "non-white".


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#4 liuzhou

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 10:56 PM

Dreadful idea.


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#5 pbear

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 12:59 AM

I work in a service business (not restaurant) where tips are an important part of my income.  I accept this cultural difference as part of the territory.  To expect otherwise isn't realistic, IMHO.  If you're any good, it all evens out in the end.


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#6 dcarch

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 03:43 AM

Tipping practice, by it's very nature, is the worst cultural practice by civilized societies.

 

I am a good tipper, but I have been neglected by servers because the other table is a better tipper.

 

How about let's start tipping doctors?

 

dcarch


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#7 Tri2Cook

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 03:46 AM

I'd much rather have a customer telling people "the restaurant is great, I eat there all the time" than a customer telling people they were banned from the restaurant because they don't tip to the server's expectations. We have regulars where I work who love the place that never tip the servers at all and it is definitely culturally biased. We would never even consider banning them. I understand that servers rely to an extent on tips but it's kinda like the car salesman that relies on commission. Sometimes you sell a new Mercedes, sometimes you sell a used Yugo. I'm betting they get a whole lot of regulars who tip above average which makes this person stand out even more but I think banning would be an incredibly bad idea.


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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

#8 Anna N

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 04:24 AM

Follow your gut and don't let your servers pressure you to do something that is unconscionable. Perhaps remind your servers that a regular, satisfied customer paying 9% is of considerably more value to them than a once in a blue moon big tipper. AND YOU CANNOT KNOW WHAT CUSTOM THE SATISFIED CUSTOMER IS SENDING YOUR WAY.
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#9 catdaddy

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 05:21 AM

A low tipping customer is part of "tipping curve". I'd be much more worried about the server who routinely under-performs because of expected tip amounts.


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#10 Shel_B

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 06:59 AM

Bad idea ... I'd be concerned about the server's attitude.


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.... Shel


#11 ElsieD

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 07:20 AM


Here is an article on a restaurant in Canada which is doing things differently.

http://www.ottawacit...0287/story.html

#12 Beth Wilson

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 07:25 AM

If he is a regular and he tips, I don't see a problem with serving him.   When I ran a business (not a restaurant), I was happy people came back on a regular basis and treated them like family.  The regulars paid the bills in the slow season and brought new customers in the busy season.

 

It is sad the servers have become so selective.


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#13 Shel_B

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 07:33 AM

If he is a regular and he tips, I don't see a problem with serving him.  

 

And what if he wasn't a "regular" and didn't tip?  Would you suggest not serving him, and asking him to leave?


.... Shel


#14 dcarch

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 07:34 AM

Bad idea ... I'd be concerned about the server's attitude.

 

It has nothing to do with the server's attitude. It has to do a bad practice which does not take into consideration of human nature.

 

I will be very surprised if you can find a server who will serve a bad tipper the same as a good tipper.

 

I have been to restaurants where the server said to me," Sir, thank you for your generosity. I didn't add the dessert to your bill."

 

dcarch 



#15 Chris Hennes

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 07:37 AM

Sounds to me like a lose-lose situation: no matter what you do, someone's going to be angry. This is the classic manager's dilemma: your business is reliant on both your staff and your customers, and while your goal is to try to satisfy them both all the time, of course in the real world that can't be done. I think your gut is right in that the "right" answer here is for your staff to suck it up, so the trick is to come up with some way of handling your staff so that their service to this guy doesn't slide and you wind up with both pissed off staff and a pissed off customer.


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#16 gfron1

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 08:46 AM

Seeing the mixed opinions be expressed here...okay, sometimes when you're knee deep in it you need some outside perspective.  The answer is clear and I'll remind the server that we have bad tipping regulars who aren't doing it because of cultural reasons but because they're cheap - and no one is suggesting we boot them.


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#17 scubadoo97

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 09:33 AM

I agree with Chris. The server just needs to suck it up. This is after all a hospitality business. The server just needs to put it in perspective that most people tip well. There will be the over tippers and under tippers. The guy wasn't rude or exhibiting inappropriate behavior. Which is sometimes tolerated in hopes of a big tip
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#18 Anna N

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 09:42 AM

Seeing the mixed opinions be expressed here...okay, sometimes when you're knee deep in it you need some outside perspective.  The answer is clear and I'll remind the server that we have bad tipping regulars who aren't doing it because of cultural reasons but because they're cheap - and no one is suggesting we boot them.


Right on!
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#19 Porthos

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 10:25 AM

My initail reaction to this was thinking about how well suited to the hospitality industry this server is. Just a voice from the consumer side of things ...


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#20 GlorifiedRice

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 10:59 AM

FWIW, I participate in Intl Political Chat online. Most of the Europeans and Brits and Scots disagree with tipping


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#21 Toliver

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 11:02 AM

...None of my servers want to serve him because he's taking potential tips away from tables that pay better. ...

And what if someone who doesn't tip at all takes his place at the table? Then what?  :hmmm:

Do your servers understand Bell curves? How about plotting on a graph one day's worth of tips and show the servers that, in the end, while the 9% tipper may drag the curve down, there are likely to be over-tippers who will balance him out?

The fact that this diner has decided to patronize your restaurant and crack open his wallet and pay you in exchange for the wonderful food you make, as opposed to dining with his wallet elsewhere, is a blessing and he shouldn't be banned. 

Tell the server(s) to suck it up.


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#22 Tri2Cook

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 12:34 PM

Seeing the mixed opinions be expressed here...okay, sometimes when you're knee deep in it you need some outside perspective.  The answer is clear and I'll remind the server that we have bad tipping regulars who aren't doing it because of cultural reasons but because they're cheap - and no one is suggesting we boot them.


I have no doubt this is where you would have ended up anyway.

 


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

#23 djyee100

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 01:26 PM

I have dined at a couple restaurants lately that compute tips for the bill at different ranges (e.g., 15, 18, 20 percent) and print the amts at the bottom of the check. Hint, hint, hint. I'm OK with this practice, BTW.
 


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#24 r_phillips

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 01:27 PM

Ban a bad tipper? Absolutely not. It sounds like the servers need to shift their attitude a bit. They are in the business of hospitality. Tips are gratuity. They are not ENTITLED to anything. 9% is 9% more than nothing.

#25 scubadoo97

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 01:38 PM

I have dined at a couple restaurants lately that compute tips for the bill at different ranges (e.g., 15, 18, 20 percent) and print the amts at the bottom of the check. Hint, hint, hint. I'm OK with this practice, BTW.


I'm okay with this too. Makes it easy and after a few bottles of wine appreciated

#26 liuzhou

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 02:32 PM

 

Most of the Europeans and Brits and Scots disagree with tipping

Indeed we do. Well, sort of.

 

Most people will tip a server if the service has been good or at least not terrible. We feel no compunction to do so, however. Same with taxi drivers, although I can't see why. And hair dressers. Why not butchers and shoe shops, too?

 

When restaurant workers starting tipping me for providing a service like teaching their brats, then I might change my mind. Why should restaurant workers be any different from any other service provider?

 

We accept, though, that American culture has its foibles, iniquitous as they may be. If I were in the USA, I would tip. Probably more than 9%.

 

Here in China, tipping is virtually unheard of. Or was until plane loads of American tourists turned up flashing their cash in a most offensive, culturally insensitive manner and screwing it up for everyone else. In tourist places, they now expect it.

 

But refusing to serve a customer because of his tipping history would suggest to me that the wait staff would be running your restaurant rather than you doing so. What next? "I don't like fish, so I'm not serving that"?

 

By the way, let me point out that "Scots" are "Brits"  (not a term we like) and both "Scots and "Brits" are "Europeans"


Edited by liuzhou, 05 June 2014 - 02:45 PM.

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#27 dcarch

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 02:59 PM

A tipping experience, in a very good restaurant (NYC) I often take clients to:

 

I had a table with 7 clients for lunch. Food and drinks came to a good amount. The bill came with my credit card printout. As I was working out the numbers, I was distracted by one of the funny jokes told. Must also be the drinks, I signed the bill and neglected to add the tip.

 

Moments later, the server came, "Sir, how was the food?"

 

Me, "Great! Everyone enjoyed everything."

 

Server, "How was my service?"

 

Me, "You are the best. My complements."

 

Server, Loudly, "Then why are you so cheap and decided not to give me my tip?"

 

In front of my clients, I was stunted. I called the manager over, who I knew very well for being a regular customer, asked him to explain that it was a mistake on my part, because he knew that I had always been a good tipper. I also firmly told the manager that I sincerely did not blame the server for getting pissed. Life is tough being a server, if he fired the server I would never return again.

 

I hate the tipping practice!!!

 

dcarch

 

 

 

 



#28 Lisa Shock

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 04:20 PM

You need to really think about the repercussions of turning the customer away. If he gets upset or offended, he will become a walking billboard spouting negative comments about your place. He can not only get on Yelp and TripAdvisor, he probably will tell a hundred or more friends and co-workers. You'll lose more than his business from that course of action, and, probably for a very long time.

 

I'd say to suggest that management re-work pricing and wages and simply have a tip-free restaurant. More and more places are moving to this business model.


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#29 Plantes Vertes

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 04:43 PM

Further to what djyee100 has pointed out, in the UK it is also common to see a message at the bottom of the menu and/or bill to the effect that 100% of tips go to the staff. This could encourage more generous tipping. Printing suggested amounts also sounds wise if you receive a lot of foreign guests, as this would indicate local norms. It's only through discussions like this on eG that I've learnt about the American tipping system; certainly many foreigners simply don't realise that the waiting staff depend on large tips. If visiting I would participate in this practice, but through gritted teeth.



#30 gfron1

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 05:11 PM

Well I had my conversation with the server already.  My general gist was the we're in the business of bringing money in and not turning it away; and if boot him, who's next?  She wasn't happy to say the least.  Her response was that the guy makes her hustle more than most customers, asks jackass questions more than most customers and complains more than most customers.  I responded with, "'most,' so the ones that are worst than him should be booted too?"  She said, no because they tip better.  I didn't want to take this out any further and simply said that we're not going to be turning guests away and if she just can't bring herself to serve him then she can have those nights off and I'll bring someone else in to cover.

 

And lest you think she a real hag, if you read our restaurant reviews, she's one of the highlights for most customers.  I think that she's so used to 20%+ (her ytd average is 26%) that the mere idea of having to serve such a person is unbearable.  We'll see how she is after she has down time to process with friends.  And I'm recognizing that she/we are coming off of a very long season and we're all beat.


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