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Blacklisting Cultural Bad Tippers


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#31 cakewalk

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 05:12 PM

I agree with others who say that turning this guy away is bad business. In the end it will cause you more harm than good. Sometimes you just have to take the high road.

 

But really I'm not so sure about this guy. You say he's a regular, so I assume (perhaps incorrectly) that he's been in the States for a while. Apparently he eats out fairly regularly. I guess I'm not totally convinced that the small tips are the result of cultural differences. In any case, I don't see turning him away as an option.



#32 gfron1

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 05:24 PM

But really I'm not so sure about this guy. You say he's a regular, so I assume (perhaps incorrectly) that he's been in the States for a while. Apparently he eats out fairly regularly. I guess I'm not totally convinced that the small tips are the result of cultural differences. In any case, I don't see turning him away as an option.

as  an example, last night he brought 2 guests - which he had never done before.  They split the ticket.  One guest tipped 22% and the other 20%.  He was his standard 9%.


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#33 cakewalk

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 05:33 PM

as  an example, last night he brought 2 guests - which he had never done before.  They split the ticket.  One guest tipped 22% and the other 20%.  He was his standard 9%.

Interesting. To me, this shows that he does indeed know better. But hopefully he'll continue to bring guests. That's one of the reasons asking him to leave would not have been a good idea.



#34 scubadoo97

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 06:06 PM

Your server appears very immature and self centered. How many patrons tip 9% or less. I would guess not even 1%. I suspect you make a profit on his meal so end of story for the server. After her response I would have told her we are in the business of hospitality and selling food so suck it up. I mean like is his tip deficit even $5? A lot of belly aching for nothing
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#35 DiggingDogFarm

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 06:51 PM

C'mon!!!!! Some will tip more than average, some will tip less...it all averages out!

Appreciate ALL the business!


~Martin
 
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#36 Tri2Cook

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 07:08 PM

A server the customers love that apparently works hard and is accustomed to being shown that she does a good job via nice tips. It's easy to cast stones but I can understand where her frustration is coming from. The thing is, it's still a person supporting the business and without the business there's no need for a server. We have a regular customer who comes in 4 - 5 nights a week on average. She almost always complains about something, she's generally somewhat rude with the servers and she doesn't tip particularly well. But she spends her money in the restaurant 4 - 5 nights a week. I've talked with the cooks at the restaurant she goes to for lunch (very small town with only a few restaurants, we all know each other) and apparently she does the exact same thing there. It's just her thing, she's happy when she's complaining. But she's at least as valuable to the business as someone who is an absolute delight and tips obscene amounts but only comes in once a month. Hopefully your employee will understand what you're trying to tell her because it sounds more like frustration than bad attitude to me. The big picture is that she's working in a busy successful restaurant and averaging a very good tip percentage overall. If she can focus on that, the occasional bad tipper will seem less bothersome.


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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.

#37 r_phillips

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 07:18 PM

I feel like most places have those people... some guests are just difficult... but to suggest that someone shouldnt be allowed to come in because Youre unhappy about your tip is incredibly unfair. Lots of restaurants dont make it. Lots of GOOD ones... the greater good is served by people buying food... hopefully they tip well, and if Shes that good im sure they usually do. But ask to ban them rubs me the wrong way. When the staff starts to feel entitled rather than grateful it (imho) sets a dangerous precedent

#38 r_phillips

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 07:19 PM

Either way... i supposed everyone more or less agrees about the way to handle it. The rest is here nor there

#39 gfron1

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 08:11 PM

end of shift tonight she pulled me aside and burst into tears.  She said - "you don't understand, he badgers and badgers me from across the room for every little thing and shits on me to boot, do you know how that makes me feel?  We don't have another customer who treats me that way."  So yeah, she's tired and frustrated.  I told her I'd serve him from the kitchen.  Its awkward but not impossible in our small restaurant.  I think we all need a break, but my happy customers are what keeps me plugging along with my 16 hour days.  I promise myself I"m taking a vacation this year...hopefully she'll do the same.


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#40 haresfur

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 02:04 AM

Since he is good business for the restaurant, you could make up the difference in tips.  Or when she has to serve him, you could increase her pay to (gasp) minimum wage. Or maybe just point out how much she makes compared to the people who make the food.

 

The system is flawed so there is no good solution.


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#41 cakewalk

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 05:32 AM

end of shift tonight she pulled me aside and burst into tears.  She said - "you don't understand, he badgers and badgers me from across the room for every little thing and shits on me to boot, do you know how that makes me feel?  We don't have another customer who treats me that way."  So yeah, she's tired and frustrated.  I told her I'd serve him from the kitchen.  Its awkward but not impossible in our small restaurant.  I think we all need a break, but my happy customers are what keeps me plugging along with my 16 hour days.  I promise myself I"m taking a vacation this year...hopefully she'll do the same.

Sounds like he's just a mean bastard -- with all the different cultural definitions of "mean." So the conversation shifts from, can we "blacklist a cultural bad tipper" to, can we oust an abusive customer? You might get more "yes" answers on that one.



#42 GlorifiedRice

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 05:37 AM

Call a friend to come in when hes there, and seat the friend at the next table. Have the friend start a conversation about how much she/he loves the restaurant and the servers and have the friend tell him "I make sure to tip over 15%, how much do you tip?" When he says, "9%" have the friend say something like, "OMG they probably are so hurt by that 9%, they probably think they did something wrong and you dont like the food or something"

 

Im sure my idea is silly but something has to be done.

 

I hate these situations, they never end well. The tension is palpable.


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#43 natasha1270

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 06:01 AM

A bad tipper is a bad tipper IMO. I'm not that familiar with your restaurant and I'm not at all in the industry but here is my $.02

 

I'm not sure if this is a walk-in or reservation situation. If its a reservation, perhaps you can steer him towards a night or hour when you are less busy and the servers might be happy for even the less than 9% tip. Also, is there any way you can rotate the customer among your servers so no-one gets 'stuck' with his table too frequently?


Edited by natasha1270, 06 June 2014 - 06:01 AM.

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#44 gfron1

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 09:41 AM

All great comments - and very much appreciated.  I'd tip all of you at least 18% if I could  :)

 

The original question really is about the culture nature because we have other customers of the same national origin who all tip about the same, its just the others are not as regular, but they do tend to be equally critical/demanding.

 

When the customer came in last week this is what happened - just to give you an idea.  The kitchen (aka me) screwed up the duck confit.  I did.  First time in 6 years, but I did and it was dry.  Midway through eating his entree he told the server.  She told me.  I asked if he wanted a re-fire (10-15 minutes) or did he want to finish it.  The answer would determine how we proceeded.  He finished it and so we comped the meal (not the drinks or dessert).  But from the moment that she told him the meal was comped he three separate times from across the room (its a fairly small dining room) said loudly to her that it was the driest duck he had ever had "it shouldn't' have been that way."  She works hard at creating a positive vibe in the dining room including often engaging tables among each other.  He was killing the vibe, bitching unnecessarily and doing potential harm to reputation and her revenue.  When he left he made one more jab.  All we could assume is that he was pushing for the whole bill to be comped.  He was an ass.  Rarely, and by rarely I mean, I can't think of a single instance - a kitchen mistake is punished in the tip.  

 

That said, someone above suggested that the conversation is shifting from shitty tipper to shitty attitude.  I don't think it matters.  We've got plenty of shitty attitudes most of which are resolved when we get food in their system and their blood sugar rises.  


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#45 Porthos

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 10:31 AM

I don't pretend to understand the hospitality industry. I like being an engineer who sits in his office and interacts with a computer. That said I have a question. Was this assnine behavior a one-time deal or is this typical of how he behaves? Aksing someone to stop patronizing your business is risky but so is having someone in your dining room that makes the other customers uncomfortable.

 

Several years ago while in the waiting room of my physican an patient was being incredibly rude and abusive to the staff, being very demanding. When the doctor heard the commotion he came over and told the man that he was not to treat the staff in such a manor. The man decided to make the doctor his next target at which point the doctor told the staff to return the copay to this man and told him to leave. I think the doctor made the right decision.


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#46 Tri2Cook

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 01:48 PM

Today's example paints a bit of a different picture than the entitled server I think we were all envisioning. This is about more than tips and a bit of a bad attitude. There's a difference between a customer being cheap and a bit of a grump and someone who thinks their money buys them a license to be an ass. I'd try to have a quiet conversation away from the dining area with him and see if I could get a feel for the reason behind the behavior. I'd explain that we understand if he's not happy with something and that we will always do our best to solve the problem but I'd also make it clear that we simply can't have him being disruptive to the entire dining room and abusive to staff. I never want an unhappy customer but there are times when it's unavoidable. Despite it being a catchy slogan, the customer is not always right. It sometimes comes down to how much wrong we're willing to tolerate... and there should be a limit. I wouldn't base it on one occasion but if that sort of thing happens enough that it's a strong area of concern for you and your staff and it's affecting your other customers, asking him not to return might end up being the right way to go. It's also possible that talking to him about it may help the situation... sometimes someone being an ass needs to be told they're being an ass.


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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.

#47 Jaymes

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 02:14 PM

You're in a small town and, thanks to your excellence, have developed such an outstanding reputation that you've become a "destination restaurant."  I think you could get away with things other restaurants could not.

 

I definitely would advise you to consider the "no tipping required" policy.  Would probably just add to your considerable cache.  And people that are good tippers would undoubtedly add a little more anyway for excellent service.

 

That said, I think I'd remind your server that there ain't a job in the world that doesn't have some great aspects and some unpleasant aspects.  If you're going to work anywhere in this human world, you're going to have to deal with both, and take the bad with the good, and stop whining and just get on with it.


Edited by Jaymes, 06 June 2014 - 02:14 PM.

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#48 gfweb

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 02:18 PM

You can't win a pissing contest with a skunk.

 

Either Aesop or Uncle Remus said that, I think.

 

Probably neither.

 

But its true.


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#49 Jaymes

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 02:24 PM

You're in a small town and, thanks to your excellence, have developed such an outstanding reputation that you've become a "destination restaurant."  I think you could get away with things other restaurants could not.

 

I definitely would advise you to consider the "no tipping required" policy.  Would probably just add to your considerable cache.  And people that are good tippers would undoubtedly add a little more anyway for excellent service.

 

That said, I think I'd remind your server that there ain't a job in the world that doesn't have some great aspects and some unpleasant aspects.  If you're going to work anywhere in this human world, you're going to have to deal with both, and take the bad with the good, and stop whining and just get on with it.

 

So I'm quoting myself, here, but want to add that I also owned a business - a travel agency - for about 8 years.  There does come a time when a customer/client just ain't worth it.  In all that time, I only had two.  But on both occasions, after trying everything to come up with a more congenial and mutually beneficial professional relationship, I finally stood up and said, "I'm sorry, but it appears that we are unable to offer you the service you require. You'll have to find another agency that suits you better."

 

In my case, it was easy to come up with something to say.  I wonder, gfron1, what exactly you'd say to this customer by way of an explanation if you decided to ban him.  Trying to come up with an appropriate reason could give you a clue as to whether it's a good idea or not.

 

"Um, people like you from....." 

 

 

 

.


Edited by Jaymes, 06 June 2014 - 03:07 PM.

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#50 annabelle

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 02:56 PM

I worked in commissioned sales for many years and my experience is the same as Jaymes; I've only told a customer to take their business elsewhere twice.  Either the server values her job enough to understand that you take the bitter with the sweet or she needs to find another line of work that pays a straight wage. 

 

For the life of me, I don't know how you could tell this patron that they need to cough up another 5-10% or be "nicer" to the server.  She is there to wait on the guests and, truly, they don't need to tip her at all.  If she is as popular with your other guests as is portrayed in this post, then she should be making it up in "sympathy" tips. 

 

Tears?  Seriously?


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#51 Plantes Vertes

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 03:58 PM

You can't ban someone for their place of origin. You can't ban someone for low tipping. You can't ban someone for irritating a waitress.

 

You could ban someone for abusing a waitress, and serving him yourself next time might give you an indication of whether he is just annoying or is really vindictive; the change might also communicate the message that his behaviour is disturbing or provide you with the chance to discuss his concerns and explain what you can provide.

 

Certainly banning someone without trying to work through the problem first would lose you business and attract bad reputation.


Edited by Plantes Vertes, 06 June 2014 - 04:15 PM.

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#52 gfron1

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 05:13 PM

I would never start a speech like that referring to their country of origin - it appears to be a cultural commonality, but more specific to this one guy.  And yes, tears.  Anyone who has put in time as a server can appreciate her frustration.  That said, we are beyond that conversation in my books.  I often forget how our cache has changed in the past 18 months.  I hear every night that we're nuts to have prices as low as we do, so upping our prices 20% and turning that money directly to the server would make a lot of sense.  The downside for the server is that she would lose most of her non-reportable cash tips as folks who now separate bill from tips would see it as one payment.  Minor thing but something to consider.


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#53 annabelle

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 05:31 PM

That's a rather large jump in pricing at one go.  Also, I'd sleep on turning that money over to the server.  You're setting a precedent when you do that and it could come back to bite you in hind quarters. 


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#54 Shel_B

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 05:36 PM

 The downside for the server is that she would lose most of her non-reportable cash tips as folks who now separate bill from tips would see it as one payment.  Minor thing but something to consider.

 

Why are cash tips considered "non-reportable?" 


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#55 Tri2Cook

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 05:57 PM

That said, we are beyond that conversation in my books.


That's what I thought, that we'd already got past the issue of the tipping. I thought we'd moved on to discussing that the customer is definitely being disruptive and possibly being abusive.


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

#56 Jaymes

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 06:35 PM

I would never start a speech like that referring to their country of origin - it appears to be a cultural commonality, but more specific to this one guy.

 

Well, that was sorta my point.  If you can't come up with what should be a reasonable, rational, fair explanation... 

 

That might be a pretty solid indicator that banning him is not a good idea.


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#57 barbhealy

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 07:54 PM

 

You could ban someone for abusing a waitress, and serving him yourself next time might give you an indication of whether he is just annoying or is really vindictive; the change might also communicate the message that his behaviour is disturbing or provide you with the chance to discuss his concerns and explain what you can provide.

 

You cannot ban him due to his nationality or tipping practices but you can absolutely ban him for being disruptive.  If he's constantly badgering the waitress and then criticizing her when she doesn't fall over backwards for him, his behaviour is possibly preventing her from giving your other customers excellent service.

 

I am a consumer, not a restaurant owner, and people like this guy really do ruin the experience for the other diners.

 

Serving him yourself would give you an opportunity to explain how his behaviour is impacting your servers and your other customers but it might also give him the 'recognition' he craves (he's the only one being served by the chef) and it might make the problem worse: when you don't serve him, he'll be even more obnoxious so that next time you will.

 

The problem with people like this is that you cannot change their behavour - they think it's justified. 

 

I've had friends who were both thrown out and banned and, knowing them, I understood exactly why it happened and would never hold it against the restaurant.  If you do ban him, and he trashes you to his friends, they would probably take his words with a grain of salt. 

 

I say ban him.  Or, have the bus boy serve him.  If he complains, tell him he can have the waitress if he promises not to abuse her.  If he stiffs her, next time he gets the bus boy.  Eventually, he'll stop coming on his own.

 

If I had been sitting next to him the night he complained so loudly about the duck, I would have given him a piece of my mind....


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#58 annachan

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 09:08 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.
 

It may be convenient, but beware of restaurants that abuse this. I've seen receipts where the tip amount listed is actually higher than the percentage stated.

 

Frankly, tipping is a choice. There should be no expectation of how much a server should get. If you want your servers to have a guarantee minimum amount of tips, add a mandatory service charge. If you do not work in a place with a mandatory service charge, then deal with the fluctuations. In the US, tipping has gotten way out of hand. You don't tip in many countries. In others, 10% is standard. As others have said, 9% is better than nothing, as your customers do have the right to not tip.

 

If the customer is being abusive, refuse service. That is your right. The question is, is he really being abusive or is your server just upset at the amount of work she has to do for someone who she doesn't think give her enough tips. Would she be crying about it if he's been tipping her 25% regularly? If yes, then stop serving him. If no, it's your server that's the problem. Think about it this way, should customers who require "less" service tip her less? Should there be a scale of how much you should tip based on how many trips your server have to make to your table?


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#59 djyee100

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 10:44 PM

It may be convenient, but beware of restaurants that abuse this. I've seen receipts where the tip amount listed is actually higher than the percentage stated.

 

Did this occur in the U.S.? If so, your next step (or anyone else's) is to contact the State Attorney General and report possible consumer fraud. In California it is possible to fill out a complaint form online, and I'm sure other states have a similar process.

 

I hear every night that we're nuts to have prices as low as we do, so upping our prices 20% and turning that money directly to the server would make a lot of sense. ..

 

I strongly suggest that you put a 20% "service charge" on the bill, so customers realize that you haven't raised your food prices 20%. People also need to know--clearly--that a tip has been included in the total bill. (Another subject that has drawn the attention of state consumer protection agencies.)

 

I also suggest that you think more of what a basic tipping/service charge shd be. 20% seems a little high from the get-go, though that's how much I'll pay if I'm pleased with the service. Perhaps a basic charge at a lower rate like 18%, with a note that customers can add more gratuity if they are very pleased with the service. As a customer, I would like some wiggle room in the amt of tip.

 

Whenever I've encountered a service charge on a restaurant bill, I've liked the system, because (1) I don't have to think about tipping, and (2) IMO, it's more fair for the servers. I believe the restaurants that use this system usually turn the service charges over to their staff, and I haven't heard any bad things about that practice. Nevertheless, it wouldn't hurt to ask around before you make any changes. The IRS issued a Revenue Ruling (Rev. Rul. 2012-18) that now classifies automatic tips as wages, so get some legal advice first.

 

My last suggestion is to think about all this after your vacation. :wink:


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#60 Shel_B

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 01:59 AM

I strongly suggest that you put a 20% "service charge" on the bill, so customers realize that you haven't raised your food prices 20%. People also need to know--clearly--that a tip has been included in the total bill. (Another subject that has drawn the attention of state consumer protection agencies.)

 

 

I will not be forced by an included service charge to tip a predetermined amount.  I have gotten up from the table and left a restaurant when I have encountered the practice after telling the server/manager/owner why I was leaving.


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.... Shel