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PLangfordJr

Do You Say Something Or Not?

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Usually this would result in the patron returning, leaving a real tip, and thanking the staff for the education.

Nope, still not acceptable. I guess I'm just an ass.

I'm curious as to why you feel so strongly about your opinion? How do you assure your servers they will attain adequate wages?

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i cannot imagine a situation where i'd find it appropriate for a server to "call out" a customer about the size of a tip.

The server confronting the table is not appropriate, I agree.

The restaurant group where I work has a policy wherein the manager on duty in the front of the house makes a table call to ask if everything was OK with their food and service whenever a tip of less than 10% is left. This policy is rather complicated and involved, since it means that the server must receive full payment, look at the tip, then get a manager to make the table call, presuming the table has not left yet.

The manager then goes to the table, asks how everything was, if service and food were good. Upon receiving an answer of "Yes, everything was fine (good, great, whatever.)", then the manager says;

"Good. We were just concerned, because, whenever someone tips less than 10%, we always want to make sure that service was up to our standards."

At this point, the patron is able to make other comments, but of course this brings up other questions. If service was sub-par, then why didn't you mention it when asked by the manager the first time? The resulting responses are often entertaining.

"Oh. . . yeah. . . she was a little slow at times."

"Oh, well, sure we tipped $5 on a $110 bill, but, well, . . . we're Canadian." (An actual response. I couldn't make this stuff up.)

"Times are tough. We can't afford to tip that way."

We have had managers ask patrons not to return to the restaurant, based on some of these responses, but we also state clearly on the menu that we stand behind our service, and that a minimum 15% tip for good service is customary and expected. It's a reasonable policy, since almost everyone does tip according to custom, and the house charges tipshare of our servers, in addition to the IRS assuming that tips will constitute a certain percentage of sales, as has been noted.

Tips as a percentage of the sale is a form of wages in this country, and I think it is reasonable to expect that people either follow the custom, or speak up to management if service doesn't merit an appropriate tip.

Quite frankly then your group is being misleading about the true cost of providing food and service to the public. Increase the menu prices to reflect that you pay human beings a living wage and are proud of it. Pay good service people a wage they can live on and I will patronize your establishment to the detriment of just about all others (providing the food is good of course). This issue does irritate me a bit as it seems that wait people always blame the random public (me) and not those who offer a service with out stating the full cost of the service.

Rant complete..please carry on.

:biggrin:


Edited by jefferyc (log)

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Simply put: If you want to play the game, you play by the rules, and you don’t cry when you lose.

It's not a game, it's people's livelihoods, and sometimes it's the best to be had. Why punish a server for the status quo? That seems very misplaced.

the custom of tipping is quite well known to all of those involved in the process

It makes no sense to rationalize that all involved in the process of tipping and being tipped, excludes the diner. The diner is included in this process by choosing where to eat, what to order, and how to compensate those involved in the rendering of services. If you choose to not pay someone that served you, and you know that they are not being compensated by someone else, then you are morally responsible for what you choose to do.

Saying that you don't do something, just because you don't have to, is a way to say that you have reached moral absolution. I do not find this a suitable explanation, "I have no morals, that's why it's OK..." Nope, it just doesn't work for me.

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Two tables of four sit down. Table one orders soup of the day, burgers and a pitcher of beer. The bill comes to $80. Table two gets French onion soup, surf and turf and two bottles of wine. The bill comes to $200. The server makes an equal number of trips to each table but the server makes an extra $18 on table two ( based on 15% tip ) for the same amount of work. Doesn't make any sense to me.

The fact that they make $42 in tips off two table in two hours ( assuming there was only two tables served :blink: ) plus whatever hourly wage makes a fairly tidy profit. It is not a surprise that many of the voices demanding the system stay the same are in the recieving end of the tips. I realize that the tips must be shared with other staff members but I also realize serving two table is a severe underestimate.

Belittling those who think this system is silly doesn't change the facts that the standard North American tipping policy is ridiculous.

Regardless of my opinions on it, I ( almost ) always give the standard tip of 15% and often will go higher if the service is exceptional. If the service sucks, my tip will as well.

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Serving two bottles of wine takes considerably more time and skill than schlepping a pitcher of beer - opening the wine bottles and refilling glasses as they empty.

Also, though the perceived benefit is kind of twisted, the tip becomes a sales incentive, encouraging the server push wine, making more money for the restaurant.


Edited by Holly Moore (log)

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Usually this would result in the patron returning, leaving a real tip, and thanking the staff for the education.

Nope, still not acceptable. I guess I'm just an ass.

I'm curious as to why you feel so strongly about your opinion? How do you assure your servers they will attain adequate wages?

Whether or not staff attains adequate wages and whether or not they are rude and confrontational with customers are two entirely different issues. Do you really think publicly announcing to someone that they are a cheap asshole will change anything? "Ohhhh. I'm cheap. You just put a spotlight on me and pointed that out for everyone. That changes everything... here's more money." We all know that isn't happening. Imagine you're the person in the spotlight. You're going to tell the server to go f@#% their hat and you'll never spend another penny at that establishment. That helps noboby.


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

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Whether or not staff attains adequate wages and whether or not they are rude and confrontational with customers are two entirely different issues. Do you really think publicly announcing to someone that they are a cheap asshole will change anything? "Ohhhh. I'm cheap. You just put a spotlight on me and pointed that out for everyone. That changes everything... here's more money." We all know that isn't happening. Imagine you're the person in the spotlight. You're going to tell the server to go f@#% their hat and you'll never spend another penny at that establishment. That helps noboby.

Might help the next server the dinkus would have ordinarily stiffed.


“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”

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If you are not getting a decent wage complain to the management who employ you, not the customer.

If enough servers complain, the system will change. Since they don't they only have themselves to blame.

I suspect the real reason they don't complain is that under the system they are doing nicely thankyou.


Edited by jackal10 (log)

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Usually this would result in the patron returning, leaving a real tip, and thanking the staff for the education.

Nope, still not acceptable. I guess I'm just an ass.

I'm curious as to why you feel so strongly about your opinion? How do you assure your servers they will attain adequate wages?

Whether or not staff attains adequate wages and whether or not they are rude and confrontational with customers are two entirely different issues. Do you really think publicly announcing to someone that they are a cheap asshole will change anything? "Ohhhh. I'm cheap. You just put a spotlight on me and pointed that out for everyone. That changes everything... here's more money." We all know that isn't happening. Imagine you're the person in the spotlight. You're going to tell the server to go f@#% their hat and you'll never spend another penny at that establishment. That helps noboby.

Well, that may be what some people would do. After having read many comments on this thread, particularly that last response, it's obvious that many people on both sides of the argument are aggressively passionate about their opinions.

I personally don't believe that the majority of servers would be jumping down people's throats and harassing cheap people for a tip, nor do I believe that when confronted about cheap tipping the majority of guests would respond in such an extreme manner.

Though, I still advocate the server that wonders, "what went wrong? is it my fault?" If someone can tell me, just something- often it's vindication enough.

I think that the core of the question is still much more of a gray matter than a black and white one. I think that there are occasions, when tipped extremely poorly, a gentle inquiry regarding service may be warranted. The type of dining establishment also influences the standards of that particular wait-staff and management team. I also acknowledge the guest's rights to pay what they may when it comes to tipping wages; however, I do not agree that diners are absolved of the well understood moral obligation of compensating wait staff for services rendered just because it's not explicitly outlined (that's like the excuse of a child that "didn't know any better").

Service, tips, spending money, making money... it's all fluid, and constantly changing. There are many factors outside of our control regarding the success or failure of goals in life. It is important to remember that the most success we will experience is with those things which we have direct control over, and if not knowing how much you will make is an issue- well you oughtta getta job that you do know how much you will make.

So why is everyone SO up in arms over this???

I believe that It all depends on how we treat one another.

If a server came to me and was cross-eyed angry, fuming, and gripping a ticket asking why I didn't tip better, I think my reaction would be obvious and expected. On the opposite, if a server asked if something had been poor about his job performance or delivery, regarding the percentage of tip left, I would respond with an appropriate answer.

You should treat people how you want to be treated in return, the golden rule (remember??). I'm not trying to be juvenile, it's just a basic standard of social interaction.

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I wanted to add my two cents because I am in the unique position of having worked under both systems ; first in the US--specifically in Philadelphia where servers are paid 2.01 USD per hour plus tips, and also in Paris where the service is « compris » which only means that your server is being paid a wage like any other job. In Paris I had health insurance (as I did in Philadelphia, although it was voluntary and I paid into the system) and 5 weeks of paid vacation and sick days if I had ever needed one. So which system do I prefer? The US system hands down, and not just because money was better--which it was. I just liked that feeling that if I worked a little harder, picked up a few more tables, gave better service, went out of my way for a table, that I could influence the amount of money I made. There is something highly motivating about being about to control the amount of money you make. In Paris, there was really no chance of that. Of course, I love restaurants and so being a good server was still important, but unfortunately money is still a big motivator, no matter how much you love your job.

And to get back to the original poster, in any place I have ever worked in the US, it was strictly against policy to question a table about their tipping habits, and I have seen waiters get suspended for this. Thankfully, at least in my experience, those who don’t tip are the overwhelming minority. It was very rare when I got less than 15%, and if I did, there was always someone else who tipped 30% to make up for it. I honestly think in ten years of waiting tables, I could probably count the times I was stiffed on two hands. Of course when it happens, it’s infuriating, but now looking back, in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t worth getting upset over.


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I wanted to add my two cents because I am in the unique position of having worked under both systems ;  first  in the US--specifically in Philadelphia where servers are paid 2.01 USD per hour plus tips, and also in Paris where the service is « compris » which only means that your server is being paid a wage like any other job.  In Paris I had health insurance (as I did in Philadelphia, although it was voluntary and I paid into the system) and 5 weeks of paid vacation and sick days if I had ever needed one.  So which system do I prefer?  The US system hands down, and not just because money was better--which it was.  I just liked that feeling that if I worked a little harder, picked up a few more tables, gave better service, went out of my way for a table, that I could influence the amount of money I made.  There is something highly motivating about being about to control the amount of money you make.  In Paris, there was really no chance of that.    Of course, I love restaurants and so being a good server was still important, but unfortunately money is still a big motivator, no matter how much you love your job. 

And to get back to the original poster, in any place I have ever worked in the US, it was strictly against policy to question a table about their tipping habits, and I have seen waiters get suspended for this.  Thankfully, at least in my experience, those who don’t tip are the overwhelming minority.  It was very rare when I got less than 15%, and if I did, there was always someone else who tipped 30% to make up for it.  I honestly think in ten years of waiting tables, I could probably count the times I was stiffed on two hands.  Of course when it happens, it’s infuriating, but now looking back, in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t worth getting upset over.

Not to mention that all the servers I know really like the idea of going home with some cash right away and not having to wait until payday.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Though, I still advocate the server that wonders, "what went wrong? is it my fault?" If someone can tell me, just something- often it's vindication enough.

This brings up an interesting question that I've often thought about. If I am leaving you a substandard tip for substandard service, does it behoove me to explain the reason to my server in the hopes that he or she can improve?

I don't make it a common practice, but I have in the past talked to my server at the conclusion of my meal and explained where I thought service might have been off. I always make sure I ask if they would like some constructive criticism before delivering my critique. I guess part of me also judges whether I think that my server would be open to this type of discussion before pursuing it.


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JeanneCake wrote, in part:

"As a customer, if my experience is less than satisfactory during the meal, it's my job to let the server know so my experience can be improved. If I don't tell them, but pretend that everything is "just fine" then give them a small tip, how does that help them not repeat the offending behavior if it was the server that is contributing to my less than satisfactory experience?"

Hi, JeanneCake. I couldn't agree more. If service is good or better, I leave at least a 20% tip. There have been a few times in the past where I left 15% if the service was a little dodgy- with some real mistakes or omissions, but not huge ones. Afterwards, I thought "I probably should have said something." I tend, though, to leave 20% even when I perhaps shouldn't, because there are a lot of things that can go wrong that might not be the server's fault.

Your point that, if something is truly wrong, you need to tell someone specifically what you found unacceptable and not just leave a low tip, is exactly right. Just leaving a low tip when you are displeased isn't helpful. It would be especially helpful in a restaurant which has, say, excellent food and might have a problematic server. You'll either get a positive, respectful response and be able to enjoy the place in the future, or you'll find out that they really don't care, and your money is better taken elsewhere.

On the other hand, yes, there are people who are jerks and leave shamefully low tips. There's no excuse - NO excuse - for chasing down a customer and demanding to know why they did it. If that customer shows his or her face at your restaurant again, though, I'd say that no holds need be barred.


"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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Two tables of four sit down. Table one orders soup of the day, burgers and a pitcher of beer. The bill comes to $80. Table two gets French onion soup, surf and turf and two bottles of wine. The bill comes to $200. The server makes an equal number of trips to each table but the server makes an extra $18 on table two ( based on 15% tip ) for the same amount of work. Doesn't make any sense to me.

The fact that they make $42 in tips off two table in two hours ( assuming there was only two tables served  :blink:  ) plus whatever hourly wage makes a fairly tidy profit. It is not a surprise that many of the voices demanding the system stay the same are in the recieving end of the tips. I realize that the tips must be shared with other staff members but I also realize serving two table is a severe underestimate.

Belittling those who think this system is silly doesn't change the facts that the standard North American tipping policy is ridiculous.

Regardless of my opinions on it, I ( almost ) always give the standard tip of 15% and often will go higher if the service is exceptional. If the service sucks, my tip will as well.

It's easy to make any number of hypotheticals that allegedly prove your point and walk smugly away. (In mine, the two tables drink water and coffee, split appetizers, send things back to the kitchen relentlessly and linger for hours on end. The combined tips come to $15 over three hours and the server tips out the busboys and bartender and goes home with less than minimum wage.)

Let us all take a vow to no longer do this and, instead, to make take-home top speculations based only on real numbers and week-long averages (and not hourly calculations, either, as the server who loses a shift due to low reservations may have a correspondingly higher hourly wage while being correspondingly less able to make the rent.

And I still think a server who averages $120 a night over 5 six- or eight- hour shifts is the norm or slightly above average.

Others in the biz (I base mine on trying to collect money owed from my son) are welcome to welcome to provide closer estimates.


Edited by Busboy (log)

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Two tables of four sit down. Table one orders soup of the day, burgers and a pitcher of beer. The bill comes to $80. Table two gets French onion soup, surf and turf and two bottles of wine. The bill comes to $200. The server makes an equal number of trips to each table but the server makes an extra $18 on table two ( based on 15% tip ) for the same amount of work. Doesn't make any sense to me.

The fact that they make $42 in tips off two table in two hours ( assuming there was only two tables served  :blink:  ) plus whatever hourly wage makes a fairly tidy profit. It is not a surprise that many of the voices demanding the system stay the same are in the recieving end of the tips. I realize that the tips must be shared with other staff members but I also realize serving two table is a severe underestimate.

Belittling those who think this system is silly doesn't change the facts that the standard North American tipping policy is ridiculous.

Regardless of my opinions on it, I ( almost ) always give the standard tip of 15% and often will go higher if the service is exceptional. If the service sucks, my tip will as well.

It's easy to make any number of hypotheticals that allegedly prove your point and walk smugly away. (In mine, the two tables drink water and coffee, split appetizers, send things back to the kitchen relentlessly and linger for hours on end. The combined tips come to $15 over three hours and the server tips out the busboys and bartender and goes home with less than minimum wage.)

Let us all take a vow to no longer do this and, instead, to make take-home top speculations based only on real numbers and week-long averages (and not hourly calculations, either, as the server who loses a shift due to low reservations may have a correspondingly higher hourly wage while being correspondingly less able to make the rent.

And I still think a server who averages $120 a night over 5 six- or eight- hour shifts is the norm or slightly above average.

Others in the biz (I base mine on trying to collect money owed from my son) are welcome to welcome to provide closer estimates.

Fair enough

I guess I got carried away. My intended point was to show that two similar tables ordering an equal number of dishes are paying quite different amounts for their service for no reason that I can understand.

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Two tables of four sit down. Table one orders soup of the day, burgers and a pitcher of beer. The bill comes to $80. Table two gets French onion soup, surf and turf and two bottles of wine. The bill comes to $200. The server makes an equal number of trips to each table but the server makes an extra $18 on table two ( based on 15% tip ) for the same amount of work. Doesn't make any sense to me.

The fact that they make $42 in tips off two table in two hours ( assuming there was only two tables served  :blink:  ) plus whatever hourly wage makes a fairly tidy profit. It is not a surprise that many of the voices demanding the system stay the same are in the recieving end of the tips. I realize that the tips must be shared with other staff members but I also realize serving two table is a severe underestimate.

Belittling those who think this system is silly doesn't change the facts that the standard North American tipping policy is ridiculous.

Regardless of my opinions on it, I ( almost ) always give the standard tip of 15% and often will go higher if the service is exceptional. If the service sucks, my tip will as well.

It's easy to make any number of hypotheticals that allegedly prove your point and walk smugly away. (In mine, the two tables drink water and coffee, split appetizers, send things back to the kitchen relentlessly and linger for hours on end. The combined tips come to $15 over three hours and the server tips out the busboys and bartender and goes home with less than minimum wage.)

Let us all take a vow to no longer do this and, instead, to make take-home top speculations based only on real numbers and week-long averages (and not hourly calculations, either, as the server who loses a shift due to low reservations may have a correspondingly higher hourly wage while being correspondingly less able to make the rent.

And I still think a server who averages $120 a night over 5 six- or eight- hour shifts is the norm or slightly above average.

Others in the biz (I base mine on trying to collect money owed from my son) are welcome to welcome to provide closer estimates.

Fair enough

I guess I got carried away. My intended point was to show that two similar tables ordering an equal number of dishes are paying quite different amounts for their service for no reason that I can understand.

True enough. But, my experience as a waiter and a diner suggest that, despite some statistical outliers, most people spend about the same money at the same time in the same restaurant, and demand the same effort. I think people figure roughly what they want to spend and then go to a place where they can get a decent meal for that amount. In my mind, for example I kind of have "as cheap as possible" (ethnic, bar) "bistro," "decent place" ($22 entree, $35 wine) "nice place" (God help you). While each level boasts their cheapskates and their big spenders, most folks seem to end up close to the mean.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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OK, now - being an artist, and generally terrified of numbers - I'm getting confused. I want to be a good customer. Is 20% a still decent tip, or are customers being expected to enter into some algebraic equation to determine an adequate or exceptional or punitive tip? I guess my next question would be where, exactly, these sorts of computations are being expected, because I'll be sure to stay away. I respect and appreciate waitstaff tremendously, but if a good tip in my opinion is going to be resented because I haven't properly crunched the numbers, the heck with that.


"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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are customers being expected to enter into some algebraic equation to determine an adequate or exceptional or punitive tip?

I base my tips on 20% for table service regardless of where I'm eating or how much I'm spending. If the service is exceptional, that number goes up. If the service is subpar, that number goes down. My scale generally ranges from 15% at the bad end to 25% at the exceptional end. I never penalize a server for mistakes of the kitchen, bar, etc. I will hold them responsible for how they react if there was a mistake from the kitchen that I consider important enought to mention.

For example, about a year ago I ordered a burger with bacon in a local place. The bacon was raw. Not undercooked, raw. The fat hadn't even turned translucent. I was on a time schedule that day and did not have time for them to redo it, it had already taken over half the time I had available to get it in the first place. When I pointed out the problem to the server and said I didn't have time to wait while it was fixed so she could just charge me for that burger minus bacon, she became a bit unpleasant and told me that burger without bacon wasn't on the menu. I said sure it is, the menu says "add bacon to any burger for $x.xx" so just deduct that amount from the price. She said she couldn't do that. I said she would do that or just take the whole thing away. She snatched the check from the table, scribbled out my order with enough force to tear the paper, threw it back on the table, grabbed my plate and walked away. Didn't see her again despite others at the table requiring service. The owner/manager questioned the scribbled out portion of the check when I was paying for the others who were with me. I explained the situation and his only response was "ok, so you just have to pay for your iced tea". She got no tip. Not one penny. And I haven't been back in that particular restaurant since.

It takes that level of abuse for me to leave nothing at all. 15% is about as low as I go as a "penalty" tip. If the service/server attitude is bad enough not to leave that amount, it's bad enough that I leave nothing. I do always make a point of letting someone other than the server (if their attitude is bad enough to warrant no tip then it will be bad enough that nothing good will come of trying to point it out to them) know what the problem was so they can pass word along when the server is later telling them that I was a cheapass.


Edited by Tri2Cook (log)

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

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..When I pointed out the problem to the server and said I didn't have time to wait while it was fixed so she could just charge me for that burger minus bacon, she became a bit unpleasant and told me that burger without bacon wasn't on the menu. I said sure it is, the menu says "add bacon to any burger for $x.xx" so just deduct that amount from the price. She said she couldn't do that. I said she would do that or just take the whole thing away. She snatched the check from the table, scribbled out my order with enough force to tear the paper, threw it back on the table, grabbed my plate and walked away. Didn't see her again despite others at the table requiring service. The owner/manager questioned the scribbled out portion of the check when I was paying for the others who were with me. I explained the situation and his only response was "ok, so you just have to pay for your iced tea". She got no tip. Not one penny. And I haven't been back in that particular restaurant since.

Wow. That's a pretty bitchy waitress. Even if she isn't authorized to remove an item from your check (there's a reason why only a manager/floor captain can void items - so servers don't change checks and steal...) she could have politely explained that removing that item or providing a discount wasn't in her purview but she'd be happy to get the manager for you and have it taken care of. Hardly a Herculean effort required on her part. She was obviously in a foul mood. Maybe the kitchen had been screwing up her orders all day? She didn't deserve a tip, even though the raw bacon wasn't her doing. She just handled that situation all wrong.


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JeanneCake wrote, in part:

"As a customer, if my experience is less than satisfactory during the meal, it's my job to let the server know so my experience can be improved.  If I don't tell them, but pretend that everything is "just fine" then give them a small tip, how does that help them not repeat the offending behavior if it was the server that is contributing to my less than satisfactory experience?"

I've been following this topic with some interest. I will be traveling to the US in a few months and I always check out things like how to tip before I travel somewhere.

To me the system is mind boggling, coming from a country where when you are employed, you don't get at least the minimal wage, but also sick days and holiday days, it's something I can't get my head around. However I get the feeling that you wouldn't want it any other way, which suggests that you are actually better of under the current system. In that case I think you'll just have to take the good with the bad.

Although the maths don't add up to me. Overhere a tip really is a gratuity, not a moral obligation and a normal tip is still about 10%, add that to your wages and other benefits and I think you're much better off with a salary.

I think it's wrong to assume that if you get a salary you won't get any tips, the only country I've visited that really is without tips is Japan.

(We knew this, but the habit creeped in and we left a tip one night. Only to be chased down by the waiter who returned the money to us. We had to offer him our apologies for being so rude. :laugh:)

Going out for a decent meal is an expensive little joke here (and no that's not just down to waiter salaries :biggrin: ). So when we do it's a treat.

I'm not a difficult customer, I don't care if you forgot something, spill something or whatever, as long as it's all sorted out in a nice friendly manner, I will still give a good tip.

You've got to be really obnoxious for me not to leave a tip (the waiter that insisted in a very loud manner that the chicken wasn't raw, but medium cooked, as it should be and that we didn't know nothing about food comes to mind).

But on the, luckily, very rare ocassions that this happens I don't see it as my job to "educate" the waitstaff on their shortcomings, I'm trying to have an enjoyable evening and if this was spoiled by a waiter then, that will be reflected in the tip. If they can't read anything into that, then that's their problem.

I don't want to spoil the evening anymore by engaging in an argument.

I also don't complain to the management (accept in the case of the raw chicken, they where serving this to the whole restaurant, so I was affraid that someone could get seriously ill). Because I think anyone can have a bad day and I really don't want you to get into trouble over that.

But if a waiter was to chase me down a street to question me about the tip I left, I would make one immediate trip back to the restaurant and that would be to let the manager know what I thought exactly about the waiter in question.

Only to never return there.

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She was obviously in a foul mood.  Maybe the kitchen had been screwing up her orders all day? 

Low blow, Katie, low blow. Not necessary.

Maybe she got a speeding ticket on the way to work. Maybe she had cramps. Maybe she didn't have cramps when she should have as of a week ago. Maybe she just found out about her boyfriend's kid. Maybe her cat just died. Maybe those new shoes were not ready for work yet and the blisters had all just popped. Maybe she forgot to take her meds. Maybe her cell phone bill was freakishly higher than she thought and she was stressed about it. Maybe...maybe she was just in a really bad mood and couldn't control it.


Edited by pastrygirl (log)

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Serving two bottles of wine takes considerably more time and skill than schlepping a pitcher of beer - opening the wine bottles and refilling glasses as they empty.

Also, though the perceived benefit is kind of twisted, the tip becomes a sales incentive, encouraging the server push wine, making more money for the restaurant.

What if the facts are changed somewhat: Both tables order identical meals but one has a $50 bottle of wine and the other has a $200 bottle of wine. Should one server get $30 more than the other for doing the same amount of work. I realize it is the luck of the draw but it illustrates some lack of rationality in the tipping system. And what about the server at the BYOB next door who is opening bottles and pouring wine all night with nothing to show for the extra work?

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Yes, it is the luck of the draw. But it could also be because the one server possessed the knowledge and skills and built the needed rapport to upsell the customer. Like any salesperson on commission, that server knew that the more he increased the check the higher his tip.

Beyond that, for the servers, it should average out over the course of the week or the month. If it doesn't one starts to wonder why one server sells far more bottles of expensive wine than another.

I'd also suggest that most people spending $200 for a bottle of wine have the means and mindset to add the extra $30 tip.

A somewhat related question - with the hard times that are a coming are customers back-peddling on the tip - rounding down instead of up - returning to 15 percent from 20 percent?

Interesting question as to the BYOB server. Perhaps there are other balancing factors - higher food check average, more tables in a station, better income throughout the week as opposed to just weekends or corkage fees make up enough of the difference. Why are good servers attracted to BYOB's if their earnings are going to be higher at a comparable restaurant that serves wine?


Edited by Holly Moore (log)

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

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I'm not a difficult customer, I don't care if you forgot something, spill something or whatever, as long as it's all sorted out in a nice friendly manner, I will still give a good tip.

You've got to be really obnoxious for me not to leave a tip (the waiter that insisted in a very loud manner that the chicken wasn't raw, but medium cooked, as it should be and that we didn't know nothing about food comes to mind).

But on the, luckily, very rare ocassions that this happens I don't see it as my job to "educate" the waitstaff on their shortcomings, I'm trying to have an enjoyable evening and if this was spoiled by a waiter then, that will be reflected in the tip. If they can't read anything into that, then that's their problem. 

I don't want to spoil the evening anymore by engaging in an argument.

If you're sorting it all out, that's letting them know you're not happy and things change as a result. If you don't tell them, they don't know, can't sort it out and are left wondering why the tip is low. I'm not suggesting that as diners, we train the servers. But if they're annoying you with constant banter, being too familiar, etc. you can say something. If you don't, don't penalize them with a bad tip and expect them to get it that they are too chatty, too familiar, too whatever.

In the case of the raw bacon, if the waitress didin't know it was raw (hard to imagine, I know but let's go with benefit of the doubt) and it is brought to her attention, she can either make the customer happy by fixing it or not fixing it. If she doesn't fix it, there's no reason for her to be surprized by the absent or low tip - which is exactly what happened. (What she did ensured she wouldn't get a tip based on her reaction.)

The flip side is if she didn't know the bacon was raw, and you don't tell her, and don't leave a tip, she doesn't know what the problem was.

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I'd also suggest that most people spending $200 for a bottle of wine have the means and mindset to add the extra $30 tip.

I think that about sums it up... the customer has the money, the server should expect a cut. The amount of work is not relevant.

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