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gfron1

Blacklisting Culturally Bad Tippers

91 posts in this topic

 

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 (log)
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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

 

 

 

 

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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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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.

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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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Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM

A recent write-up in Dorado magazine

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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.

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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%.


Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM

A recent write-up in Dorado magazine

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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.

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

Appreciate ALL the business!


~Martin

Unsupervised rebellious radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader and adventurous cook. Crotchety cantankerous terse curmudgeon, nonconformist, contrarian and natural born skeptic who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

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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.

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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

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

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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.


Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM

A recent write-up in Dorado magazine

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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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It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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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.

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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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Wawa Sizzli FTW!

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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 (log)
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"The main thing to remember about Italian food is that when you put your groceries in the car, the quality of your dinner has already been decided." – Mario Batali

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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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Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM

A recent write-up in Dorado magazine

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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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Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

 

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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.

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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 (log)
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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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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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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 (log)
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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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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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