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Poor Service


mzungu
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Last night we went to a concert at Zankel Hall (the newish one under Carnegie). The concert began at 8:30. We went to a restaurant within one block of the hall, arriving about 7:00 (no reservation).

To me you played it too close on the time. I don't see it as a service issue either.

Living hard will take its toll...
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His bill came to $40.40, and he left $40.50 and shot out the door. I'm inclined to think that he wanted an excuse to stiff me, and I gave him every opportunity to have a fully satisfactory experience. And these people, who want an excuse to stiff a server, thereby getting a discount on their meals, do exist, and it's part of why we have this tipping system in this country.

That's a strong argument for eliminating, not keeping, the tipping system. And it certainly sounds like that man was a total asshole for stiffing you after all you had done for and offered to him.

I couldn't agree with you more, since I really don't think tipping is the best way to pay servers. Another good argument is found when you consider that good, polite diners subsidize the dinners of nasty, rude diners by tipping well to cover for others tipping badly. Really, it should be the other way around, don't you think? Rude diners should be charged an "asshole tax" to be applied toward the bills of the pleasant diners. On my island, all of the restaurants will charge this way.

But, here on this big island, it turns out that impolite people outnumber polite ones, except for at places like eGullet, of course. The impolite ones have a veto-proof majority, in real life, so changing the system is a difficult proposition.

What a shame.

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... It seems to me that in most other industries, if you encounter a rude salesperson at the Avis or a rude customer service rep. at the Microsoft hotline, or a rude sales clerk at the Gap, you would ask to speak to a manager. Now why is it that with all the "seasoned" restaurant goers we have at egullet does it seem that way more often than not, bad service is met with a passive-agrressive stance of not saying anything until they get home and then writing a missive about it to Tom or on egullet?...

I don't ask to speak to the manager when I encounter a rude salesperson. I just take my business elsewhere. I do the same thing when I encounter bad food, bad service, and especially-rude snooty hostesses. I don't go back. It is the manager's job to know what's going on; it's not my job to tell them. I've been a manager (not at a restaurant). It's not that hard to tell what's going on, and you can certainly overhear the way the staff is talking to the customers. It is the manager's job to coach their staff on how they can improve service. My job is not to provide unpaid consultation as to how the restaurant could be improved. There's nothing passive-aggressive about this. I'm paying you my hard-earned money to provide me with a pleasant dining experience. The way I see it, my responsibility consists of showing up on time, being a polite guest by ordering off the menu and otherwise behaving in a civilized manner, saying please and thank you, and tipping on the quality of the service, not the quality of the food. I appreciate when others post experiences about long waits past their reservation time, or bad food. I can tell by the tone of the post when they are still a little miffed or of this is a place to avoid.

Good customer service shouldn't have to be a two out of three or three out of five experience. There are way too many great restaurants around here to give any of them a second chance after a bad night. And I certainly don't want to feel like I need to friggin' share my experiences with the manager so I can find the place more to my likiing next time. Fair or not, if you want to be successful in business, good food and good service should be second nature and happen every time. I just want to show up, be fed well and taken care of. Passively, with no action required on my part except to pay the bill, leave a tip, and say a warm thank you on my way out the door.

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I couldn't agree with you more, since I really don't think tipping is the best way to pay servers. Another good argument is found when you consider that good, polite diners subsidize the dinners of nasty, rude diners by tipping well to cover for others tipping badly. Really, it should be the other way around, don't you think? Rude diners should be charged an "asshole tax" to be applied toward the bills of the pleasant diners.

Yeah, that would be ideal.

I recommend to any of you who haven't seen the Betty Boop short about her campaign for mayor. I can't find it on www.imdb.com, but her slogan was "pests beware!" It's really a propos.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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"Good customer service shouldn't have to be a two out of three or three out of five experience. There are way too many great restaurants around here to give any of them a second chance after a bad night. And I certainly don't want to feel like I need to friggin' share my experiences with the manager so I can find the place more to my likiing next time. Fair or not, if you want to be successful in business, good food and good service should be second nature and happen every time. I just want to show up, be fed well and taken care of. Passively, with no action required on my part except to pay the bill, leave a tip, and say a warm thank you on my way out the door."

Edited by winesonoma (log)

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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  • 3 years later...

I wife and I went to one of our favorite restaurants the other night. We normally receive good service there but that night was terrible; everything went wrong. The wait service was very slow and poor, the bar drinks was off and orders mixed up and the steaks was over cooked.

I did call the manager over and complained to him; but I am wondering how to handle the tip in the case of poor wait service. I normally tip at least 20 % and in the cases where the bar or kitchen service is sub-par, but the wait service is good I reason the

waiter has noting to do with the poor service and tip them normally. But the question is how to tip poor wait service; I was inclined to leave nada, but did leave around 15%.

What say you?

Don

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If your waiter's service was good, then your tip was proper (IMHO).

As for the other problems (mixed up drink order & poorly cooked entree), I'd rethink returning to that restaurant for future meals unless you think it was a one-time problem.

edited for clarity.

Edited by Toliver (log)

 

“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”

 

Tim Oliver

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everything starts from the top. management can be blamed for all or any of the following: poorly cooked stead could mean the kitchen was understaffed or underqualified, or that the server was busy (understaffed dining room) and entered it wrong. the food runner may have switched the med-rare steak with the med-well one and the bartender doesn't know the right proportions for a simple drink, or doesn't care. if you've had that server before and they usually do a good job i would personally do the same thing you did and recommend they work somewhere else so that they can still take care of you since you won't be going back there any time soon. usually if you notify mgmt they will adjust the bill fairly. you did exactly what i would do in the same situation. it also could have been one of those random days where 3 people don't show up and they do the best they can with what they've got, especially if you know them to do a much better job

Sandy Levine
The Oakland Art Novelty Company

sandy@TheOaklandFerndale.com www.TheOaklandFerndale.com

www.facebook.com/ArtNoveltyCompany twitter: @theoakland

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But the question is how to tip poor wait service; I was inclined to leave nada, but did leave around 15%.

When I was waiting tables, 10% was for bad service but you got everything at least, and a penny if you were shockingly served. A penny says, I didn't forget: you sucked. The problem is, you are a regular and a tip is also a bribe for future good service. :\

It's always good to leave a note for the waiter, or as you did, let the manager know. It's impossible to improve unless you get feedback. a note/complaint with a "decent" tip-- as you did-- says "you messed up, but I have hopes for the future."

"Gourmandise is not unbecoming to women: it suits the delicacy of their organs and recompenses them for some pleasures they cannot enjoy, and for some evils to which they are doomed." Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

MetaFooder: linking you to food | @foodtwit

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Once, I took my family into a hip restaurant in Chicago for lunch. The waiter was almost rude about us politely declining to order wine. He brought the food and disappeared. He wouldn't even bring the bill.

When I asked the manager to calculate our bill, by memory, I didn't leave any tip. I was shocked he didn't comp even one dish.

My only other experience like this, about 45 years ago and almost precisely the same situation, ended with the waiter accosting me on the street with about 60 cents in his hand. He complained, you only left me with this. I took all the change and expressed my sincere appreciation. I was young and probably should have given him a few bucks.

Tim

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Referring here entirely to my tipping habits in the USA and at better quality restaurants:

Excellent service with special attention to extraneous details (e.g. watching my car) 25-35%

Excellent service with no special details required 20-25%

Good service 18-20%

Mediocre service 15%

Poor service 10%

Bad or Worse Service if the fault of the wait-staff - No tip

Bad or Even Horrid Service if NOT the fault of the wait-staff 10-15% depending on the attitude of the waiters

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These are interesting replies but the problem with the restaurant biz today is that tips are not commesurate with service.

Perhaps you feel the service was sub-par. Perhaps it was. And to "penalize" this performance and "let them know" you decide to tip "appropriately." The problem here is that this poor tip doesn't address poor service or problems, it just labels you as a cheap tipper or a-hole by the server and the staff.

What we need is a different system that actually rewards positive service and deals with the issues when things break down.

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....Perhaps you feel the service was sub-par.  Perhaps it was.  And to "penalize" this performance and "let them know" you decide to tip "appropriately."  The problem here is that this poor tip doesn't address poor service or problems, it just labels you as a cheap tipper or a-hole by the server and the staff.

What we need is a different system that actually rewards positive service and deals with the issues when things break down.

On the first point we are in partial agreement. The labeling procedure is avoided by a quiet word to the waiter. You may then be a s.o.b. instead of whatever else but that does share your feelings.

On the second point we are in full agreement. Perhaps the solution is one found throughout Australia, in which wait-staff are paid good salaries, including incentive bonuses and/or raises depending on how well they do their job and where tips are given only for special services rendered during the course of a meal. Or, as a second-best, the European system of service compris were an extra small amount is in order for particularly good service. That works well for staff and for the customer leaves the clear and open option of not returning to those places at which the service is under acceptable standards.

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A friend of mine who worked for years as a waitress understood what shockingly few waters ever figure out: most problems will be forgiven if the wait staff acknowledges them.

When she gets slammed and gets behind schedule, she just checks in with the tables. Acknowledges things are slow, lets them know she hasn't forgotten about them, and conservatively estimates the time. All the tension and bad feelings evaporate when she does this.

If there's a complaint about the food, she takes the customer's side and puts the wheels in motion to find a resolution.

Real basic stuff ... I'd think anyone who's eaten at a restaurant would figure this out.

So when I get crappy service without acknowledgement, I'm less inclined to start making up excuses like "maybe they're understaffed." If they are, why haven't I been told what to expect? Why hasn't anyone even acknowledged the problem? The obliviousness and lack of communication is a worse offense than mistakes and slow service.

Notes from the underbelly

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  • 2 months later...

To Insure Proper service... 5-10% means a bad tip from someone in the industry. We as a whole generally over tip... Years past you could see servers salivating when we entered the door.

Typos are Copyrighted @

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When I go to a new restaurant where the food is good & service is decent (meaning I'll be back) I tip around 25-30%. When I come back the staff will fight to get me in their section and they remember me by name after the second visit. Not suprisingly, when I order Chinese or a pizza delivery a $5 tip ensures I get my food hot and usually within 20 minutes instead of the usual 45 minutes to an hour. If the service is terrible and the staff is ignoring me then 10%, everybody has a bad day now and then.

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^That works great with bartenders, too. I tip grandly on the first serve and decently on the rest...they are quick to put me first in line when waiting for a drink.

 

“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”

 

Tim Oliver

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