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gfron1

Blacklisting Culturally Bad Tippers

91 posts in this topic

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?


Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM

A recent write-up in Dorado magazine

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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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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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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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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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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.

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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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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason.” William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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

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 ... Shel

"... ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself "

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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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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

"... ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself "

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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 

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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.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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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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Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM

A recent write-up in Dorado magazine

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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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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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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason.” William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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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 ...


Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

 

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


Wawa Sizzli FTW!

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...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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“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

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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.

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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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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.

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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

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