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Charlie Trotter Topic


awbrig
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Mike,

That was a sore spot in our latest visit...I was surprised by the charge...seeing we were a party of 2...Granted I usually tip 18% - 25% when I dine at Trotters but being told what to tip bothered me a bit...

CT probably is doing this maybe because:

-people dont tip as much on the wine when they order expensive bottles of wine as opposed to food only

-since the bills could be substantial perhaps people cant figure the amounts properly

-people may drink too much and not leave an approriate tip

-CT feels his excellence service justifies an automatic add - on

-CT tends to try new things and not be conventional

Whatever the reason, I think it is a poor decision and I hope he gets rid of this policy...

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Whatever the reason, I think it is a poor decision and I hope he gets rid of this policy...

Amen, Brother Awbrig. (Although I would have said it's a despicable policy instead of merely a "poor decision".)

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Not that it matters necessarily, but am I correct in having heard that servers at CT earn a straight salary and not the tips directly from their particular section?

How exactly would this gratuity policy differ from, say, France, where the gratuity is built into the menu, and presumably, the wine prices? If he tacked another $25-30 to the tasting menu to cover gratuity, would there still be an issue?

Michael Laiskonis

Pastry Chef

New York

www.michael-laiskonis.com

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All of which is on top of the fact that CT just raised his prices $5 to $10 (depending on which of the tasting menus you look at). The irony is...I never have tipped less than 25% at Trotter's because (call me lucky?) I've never had less than phenomenal service there.

:hmmm:

Me, I vote for the joyride every time.

-- 2/19/2004

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mlpc-

I've also heard that the servers make a straight salary, and their incomes are not suplemented by tips. 

mike

The servers do make a straight salary. I belive the service charge and the tips are pooled and that supports the payroll budget for the servers and other front-of-house staff.

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I, for one, applaud CT for abandoning the demeaning "tip" component of a restaurant bill in favor of the more continental service charge. Besides the obvious fact that I virtually always "tip" significantly more than 18% (generally 20% after tax), I think the practice of tipping is contrary to an enlightened society and damaging to restaurants in general.

As for the argument that you shouldn't feel compelled to pay for poor service, I would respond by saying that I often feel that I am compelled to pay for poor food, yet no one is arguing that you shouldn't pay for what you eat. The fact is that servers should not have to rely on the whims of diners for their income. They are entitled to a salary.

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I never understand why a service charge needs to be added into the bill? Why not just raise prices to reflect the cost of service like they do in Europe? If the idea of adding service is"demeaning," I don't see how it is any less so just because they do the math.

Agreed, this is one of those instances where it should be a hidden cost. I would imagine that CT will work toward that by raising the prices gradually (and slowly decreasing the percentage of the service charge--yeah that's a longshot). If that is what they do, the "Service Charge" will disappear from the menu because the cost will already be embedded in the price of the meal. Going about it any other way would mean a sudden, huge, difficult to explain increase in price. Perhaps it's better to be forthright about it until they work their way toward not having to mention it at all. Either way, the charge will be covered.

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I, for one, applaud CT for abandoning the demeaning "tip" component of a restaurant bill in favor of the more continental service charge.  Besides the obvious fact that I virtually always "tip" significantly more than 18% (generally 20% after tax), I think the practice of tipping is contrary to an enlightened society and damaging to restaurants in general.

As for the argument that you shouldn't feel compelled to pay for poor service, I would respond by saying that I often feel that I am compelled to pay for poor food, yet no one is arguing that you shouldn't pay for what you eat.  The fact is that servers should not have to rely on the whims of diners for their income.  They are entitled to a salary.

I stand with you on this. Having already given up my right to pay less for ties when the service from the sales clerk is unsatisfactory, I see no reason why the total cost of my restaurant meal is dependant on my appreciation of the service but not the food. I can't withhold the haberdashery salesman's right to make a living if his service displeases me. That I am served in a restaurant by an underpaid lackey just seems to say I shouldn't expect professional service. Wait staff should be paid a professional wage for a professional service and the price of dinner should reflect the total cost. Tipping is demeaning. Most wait staff don't see it that way and know their income will fall off if restaurants charge a service fee and pay them a wage. Alas, in France, where a service charge is built in, tipping is very common.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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this is one of those instances where it should be a hidden cost.  I would imagine that CT will work toward that by raising the prices gradually (and slowly decreasing the percentage of the service charge--yeah that's a longshot).  If that is what they do, the "Service Charge" will disappear from the menu because the cost will already be embedded in the price of the meal.  Going about it any other way would mean a sudden, huge, difficult to explain increase in price.  Perhaps it's better to be forthright about it until they work their way toward not having to mention it at all.  Either way, the charge will be covered.

The problem in incorporating the service charge into the price is that CT's prices will then appear inflated in regard to his competition or even in comparison to restaurants that are not his competition.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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That I am served in a restaurant by an underpaid lackey just seems to say I shouldn't expect professional service.

Bux, that's -- that's -- well, it. And succint.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 6 months later...
Charlie has completely revamped and improved his website.  Take a look at the new site...

http://www.charlietrotters.com/

You would think that a restaurant of that level would have a better web site. If I did not already know the place this site would detract from any desire to visit. I hate to think of what the last site looked like.

Living hard will take its toll...
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Charlie has completely revamped and improved his website.  Take a look at the new site...

http://www.charlietrotters.com/

You would think that a restaurant of that level would have a better web site. If I did not already know the place this site would detract from any desire to visit. I hate to think of what the last site looked like.

Why? Its not unattractive... actually the design is pretty clean.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Nice site, but it doesn't work at all in Netscape 7.

Yep, completely non-functional in Mozilla, too. Inexcusable for such an otherwise technically simple site. Of course I blame the developers for not testing in multiple browsers and platforms, but it reflects badly on Trotter's in general.

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Why? Its not unattractive... actually the design is pretty clean.

Gee, the photo of Chuck in the kitchen with his finger on his nose makes me want to rush to make reservations. Nothing about the site gives me any reason to want to visit the place. Line list menus tell little about the food. The photos of what food they show could come from anyplace. Nothing that says; why buy here! Great he talks about Legacy tomatoes from some grower, tell me why this is important! It does little to sell you on the experience at large.

If anything there are more reasons not to go presented on the web site than invitations. Too clean, very basic and common brochureware presentation, not much to due justice to Chef trotter and his establishment..

Living hard will take its toll...
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It's well designed, if a little behind the times.  I quite like it, and this is what I do for a living.

It looks like it was knocked out in FrontPage in an afternoon. Done by “graphic artists” that know little about sales or advertising. Too many places have sites like this and have been charged outrageous sums for them. I can only hope he got a good deal on it.

Living hard will take its toll...
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Explain to us all what makes a great restaurant website, WHT.

The picture of Chef Trotter with his finger on the side of his nose makes it a bad website? You must be kidding. The food photos could come from anywhere? I think not. Would you have preferred it if the there were enormous neon signs on each dish that screamed "CREATED AT CHARLIE TROTTER'S"?

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Explain to us all what makes a great restaurant website, WHT.

The picture of Chef Trotter with his finger on the side of his nose makes it a bad website?  You must be kidding.  The food photos could come from anywhere?  I think not.  Would you have preferred it if the there were enormous neon signs on each dish that screamed "CREATED AT CHARLIE TROTTER'S"?

You show your ignorance. I can only imagine the type of work you do.

Living hard will take its toll...
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