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Is Tipping Big the New Black?


Miami Danny
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I also don't have pity that the waitstaff is paid mostly in tips.  They got into that profession knowing how it was from the start.  Waitstaff aren't the only people paid purely on job performance, there are legions of salespeople paid on commission on only what they do in their day at work, I used to be one of them, and honestly, I like the system, a lot.  If you are good enough you can make a ton even on a bad day, but it takes drive, dedication, and the ability to put personal concerns out of your head and put on your work-face.  It isn't for everyone, but for those cut out for it, sales or service, it can be a gold-mine.

The flaw with your sales argument is that customers aren't the ones deciding if your commission should be 3%, 6% or 15%.

True to a degree, but in the end the customer decides if it is 0% or whatever the comission is by saying yes or no to the purchase. At least in waitstaff terms even if it is a small tip you are virtually always insured _something_.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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i cook the food, i serve the food, i usually ring up the food, i dont get tips.....

we probabley tip better the lower the check is.....

i am always recalculating in the car to see if it was enough that we can return there someday....never quite sure....once a tab starts getting up to 200 or so i start to panick about money for the rest of the week....should just stay home :hmmm:

but whatever we do tip its on the after tax total

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

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I've said it before but what the heck, I'll say it again. If I go out for a meal with my wife we would reckon to drop around $100+ for 2, and the average restaurant stay is around 2 hours. At 20% that gives the waitron $10/hour. But said waitron is serving a section of at least 4 tables, probably more, so even tables of two gives forty bucks an hour. So who the f**k is getting all this money if waitstaff are complaining about low incomes. As for restaurants charging 18% service, why can't they just put it in their prices and say service included. Period.

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I've said it before but what the heck, I'll say it again. If I go out for a meal with my wife we would reckon to drop around $100+ for 2, and the average restaurant stay is around 2 hours. At 20% that gives the waitron $10/hour. But said waitron is serving a section of at least 4 tables, probably more, so even tables of two gives forty bucks an hour. So who the f**k is getting all this money if waitstaff are complaining about low incomes. As for restaurants charging 18% service, why can't they just put it in their prices and say service included. Period.

Hey, some servers and bartenders I know make $200-300/nt. On some other nights, though, they might only make $40. Or they might be working the Sunday brunch shift and making almost nothing. Also, don't forget that servers have to tip out busboys, bartenders have to tip out barbacks, etc. And those people are benefiting from your tips. Late's face it, serving customers face-to-face in any profession can be brutal. And sometimes the customers who barely registered are the ones who are the best tippers! And the ones for whom you went the extra mile don't leave squat.

My favorite waiter makes $800/wk in a small trattoria. I think that's a pretty reasonable salary.

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I overtip because a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I was a waitress. I know that for everyone like me who leaves at least 20% on the total bill (tax & everything) there is a cheapskate who's leaving 10%. And there are more cheapskates out there than you can imagine.

I'm not very rich, but I'm pretty sure I'm doing better than all but a very few waiters.

I have to say that I hate having a service charge added to my bill. I find that I would generally have tipped more than that charge anyway. If the waitstaff has been particularly nice, I'll leave extra above the service charge, but if the service has been only ok, I might not.

But again, I was stiffed pretty badly on some big parties in a restuarant that didn't have a service charge, so I understand.

Stephanie Kay

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My favorite waiter makes $800/wk in a small trattoria.  I think that's a pretty reasonable salary.

40K+ a year is very nice for what is essentially an unskilled profession.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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My favorite waiter makes $800/wk in a small trattoria.  I think that's a pretty reasonable salary.

40K+ a year is very nice for what is essentially an unskilled profession.

Ducking for cover .... :shock:

You really really need to think before you post!

A.

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"I will step forward and say that I think 20% is a fair tip and 25% is a good tip. 

Honestly if I were to adopt a more generous tipping policy as is the subject of this thread (30%+) we would not be able to eat out as often as we do. What would the waitstaff prefer? 20% 3 or 4 times a month or 30%+ once a month. I think I know what I would choose."

I agree with your first statement.

I ran the numbers on the second one.  The difference between a 20% tip and a 30% tip on a $50 bill is five dollars.  You're saying you're willing to pay a monthy total of $30-40 in tips, but a single, generous tip of $15 strikes you as unreasonable?

I didn't mean for my numbers to be literal, more figurative in nature, and I am not talking about 30% tips on $50 dining bills. I am talking about bills of $100-150 for the two of us. I don't even consider my tipping in diners, etc which always runs more than 20%, since its only a bill of $10-15 in those situations anyway. Perhaps I should be lumping those percentages in with what I was referencing, which was evenings out when our bill is regularly in the $125-175 region for the two of us and sometimes higher than that. There are occasions when, depending on wine chosen, we see bills of $200+. Are people tipping 30% on this level of bill as well?

Get your bitch ass back in the kitchen and make me some pie!!!

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My favorite waiter makes $800/wk in a small trattoria.  I think that's a pretty reasonable salary.

40K+ a year is very nice for what is essentially an unskilled profession.

Ducking for cover .... :shock:

You really really need to think before you post!

A.

Eh, I can't join the military so I have to take fire from somewhere ;)

FWIW though I considered the sales field I worked in to be primarily non-skilled as well, well, at least no professional degree required, and I'd think most waitstaff consider their current positions to be similar. I mean, granted you have career waiters/waitresses who rise to the top and are incredibly good and love what they do, but for most, it is a job to pay for school/loans/bills until they move onto something else, and for that, it does pay pretty well.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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When I commented in another thread on calculating tips pre-tax rather than post-tax, I got jumped for being a cheapskate, since the difference generally amounts to only a buck or two, unless you are doing truly fine dining. Which I rarely do.

I'm not saying that to imply that anyone here who asked that question is a cheapskate.

I still do the math pre-tax because I'd read some decades ago in the New York Times that that's how you do it. Old habits are hard to break.

Anyway, it's rare that I leave less than 25% on the pre-tax, so I guess it all works out. You have to do something actively to tick me off to get less than that 25%. You may well get a bit more.

BTW, instead of doubling various taxes to arrive at 16.5% or whatever, how hard is it to multiply the total by two & move the decimal point to get 20%? Then round up or down, add or subtract dollars, etc., according to the quality of service.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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Well said, Ghostrider, on all points. As to your personal quotation, my favorite tea saying is an old Chinese one: "Better three days without food than a day without tea." I drink it every day.

Catherine

Edited by Peachpie9 (log)
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The whole "tip on the pre-tax amount or tip on the total" question is not even worth bothering with. Consider this: Let's say that your pre-tax bill is $100. Let's further say that the tax rate is 10% for a total bill of $110. If you tip only on the pre-tax amount, you will leave $130. If you tip on the total, you will leave $132. This is a difference of two dollars, or 1.5%. I'm not going to get worked up about a 1.5% difference.

It's easier to tip on the total, and it ensures that you don't forget to include the tax in the total amount you leave. Simply multiply the total by 1.2 and that is what you owe. For casual restaurants I use the calculator on my Palm Tungsten, and for high end places I like to take a credit card sized calculator in my pocket. Otherwise, I just add 2 dollars for every 10 dollars in the total.

--

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"I will step forward and say that I think 20% is a fair tip and 25% is a good tip.  

Honestly if I were to adopt a more generous tipping policy as is the subject of this thread (30%+) we would not be able to eat out as often as we do. What would the waitstaff prefer? 20% 3 or 4 times a month or 30%+ once a month. I think I know what I would choose."

I agree with your first statement.

I ran the numbers on the second one.  The difference between a 20% tip and a 30% tip on a $50 bill is five dollars.  You're saying you're willing to pay a monthy total of $30-40 in tips, but a single, generous tip of $15 strikes you as unreasonable?

I didn't mean for my numbers to be literal, more figurative in nature, and I am not talking about 30% tips on $50 dining bills. I am talking about bills of $100-150 for the two of us. I don't even consider my tipping in diners, etc which always runs more than 20%, since its only a bill of $10-15 in those situations anyway. Perhaps I should be lumping those percentages in with what I was referencing, which was evenings out when our bill is regularly in the $125-175 region for the two of us and sometimes higher than that. There are occasions when, depending on wine chosen, we see bills of $200+. Are people tipping 30% on this level of bill as well?

There is no reason you should ever feel compelled to tip more than 20%, unless food or drink is left off your tab.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I get annoyed at people who say they do not believe in tipping, or that the industry should just pay better etc. That is the custom in North America. We all live with it. I think it is just a catch-all phrase for really saying you are a cheap prick.

With respect, I think this is crap. A tip is a gratuity - first and foremost. It is a gratuity for service - preferably good service. It is not a gratuity for someone merely living and breathing and turning up for work.

Like you Neil, I am happy to leave seriously large tips when the service is seriously good. Equally I am happy to leave seriously low tips when the service is seriously bad.

And if it is indeed "the custom" in North America for a restaurant to try to offload personnel costs onto the diners by means of a "compulsory" or "customary" 20% "living and breathing" tip - then I would encourage any and all reasonable protest against this kind of mendacity. (i.e., The mendacity of a restaurant owner saying to his customers "we won't pay our guys a decent wage - but sure hope that you tip them handsomely - regardless of how competent or incompetent these guys may be".)

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What does the title of this thread mean? Is "the new black" a reference to some pop culture thing I'm not in contact with here under my rock?

The "New Black" refers to that New Yorkers often wear black, and fashion trendsetters are always trying to replace it, such as "Brown is the New Black" or "White is the New Black." It simply refers to trends.

edited to add: My accountant told me he does taxes for many high-end waitstaff and bartenders of hotels and restaurants. Avg. earnings are about $55k-85k. They must deserve it...they're making it.

Edited by emmapeel (log)

Emma Peel

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I get annoyed at people who say they do not believe in tipping, or that the industry should just pay better etc. That is the custom in North America. We all live with it. I think it is just a catch-all phrase for really saying you are a cheap prick.

With respect, I think this is crap. A tip is a gratuity - first and foremost. It is a gratuity for service - preferably good service. It is not a gratuity for someone merely living and breathing and turning up for work.

Like you Neil, I am happy to leave seriously large tips when the service is seriously good. Equally I am happy to leave seriously low tips when the service is seriously bad.

And if it is indeed "the custom" in North America for a restaurant to try to offload personnel costs onto the diners by means of a "compulsory" or "customary" 20% "living and breathing" tip - then I would encourage any and all reasonable protest against this kind of mendacity. (i.e., The mendacity of a restaurant owner saying to his customers "we won't pay our guys a decent wage - but sure hope that you tip them handsomely - regardless of how competent or incompetent these guys may be".)

No , you are quite correct. A tip is a gratuity and the quantity should be based on the level of service. I just ran in a guy this last week who held to the statement " I don't believe in tipping" - he really was just using it as a cover for him being a cheap asshole. I just got my goat a little. As for the paying of a decent wage, the wage I pay the service staff is offset by the gratuity - true, but it also allows me to pay the kitchen what they deserve. Wages there go from $10.00 to $20.00 per hour exclusive of tip pool which ends up between $2.00 and $3.00 per hour. The whole tipping and tip pool is a touchy subject but it is the system that I work in and I do my best to do right by all involved.

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

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The whole concept of tipping as a substitute/complement to the wage paid by the employer has to beg the question would we be better off if restaurants paid a living wage to all of their employees and raised prices slightly to cover this additional expense. This way diners could tip as a reward for exceptional service and not be required under social convention to essentially remove the burden of paying the waiter's salary from the restaurateur. Who would lose out in this situation?

Get your bitch ass back in the kitchen and make me some pie!!!

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The whole concept of tipping as a substitute/complement to the wage paid by the employer has to beg the question would we be better off if restaurants paid a living wage to all of their employees and raised prices slightly to cover this additional expense. This way diners could tip as a reward for exceptional service and not be required under social convention to essentially remove the burden of paying the waiter's salary from the restaurateur. Who would lose out in this situation?

Sure. Who wants to try this out? Let me know how it works out. I will be ready to jump in with both feet when the reports start coming in.

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

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My husband is a generous tipper. Sometimes not on purpose. At one of our favorite restaurants, the tip was always added but he never noticed and always added another 20%. Finally, I noticed because I just couldn't believe that the bill was that high.

- kim

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

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The whole "tip on the pre-tax amount or tip on the total" question is not even worth bothering with.  Consider this:  Let's say that your pre-tax bill is $100.  Let's further say that the tax rate is 10% for a total bill of $110.  If you tip only on the pre-tax amount, you will leave $130.  If you tip on the total, you will leave $132.  This is a difference of two dollars, or 1.5%.  I'm not going to get worked up about a 1.5% difference.

Hmmm. Depends on who's doing the talking...and the computation. On a $20 tip, a difference of $2 is 10%, not 1.5%. I don't know about you, but I would miss 10% of my income were it to suddenly disappear.

But again...I am simply addressing the math computation above, NOT the tipping percentage. I think 20-25% is fine.

It's interesting that the tipping percentage keeps climbing. It's a PERCENTAGE, a standard part of a whole. As inflation marches on and prices steadily rise, tipping a certain percentage ensures that tips will rise commensurately. The plight of restaurant workers has not changed, yet they are receiving a larger piece of the pie via this increase in tipping percentage. Personally, I like it where it is now and feel it's more fair than the previous 10-15%.

Where will it end though? Will we soon be tipping 100% of our meal price? I know that restaurant work is grueling and thankless. That's one reason I took out thousands of dollars' worth of student loans and earned two degrees, so I could do something that yielded me a higher standard of living. This course of action is available to all. As someone got nuked for saying earlier, and I probably will, too...you can walk in off the street and score a wait position. If you want to earn more, perhaps you might pursue the education that would facilitate that.

Why do you think doctors can charge such disgustingly high fees? It's all those years of medical school. Most people are not willing to spend that kind of time in school. It's definitely a weeding-out function. If it was easy, everyone would do it.

I also question the very low pay rates that restaurants are allowed to use for their employees. The employees are key to their business, yet they are allowed to ignore the minimum wage standards to which everyone else must adhere. A well-run restaurant makes a lot of money. Otherwise, they wouldn't be open. When diners keep upping their tipping percentage, it just facilitates this inequity.

Catherine

Edited by Peachpie9 (log)
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The whole concept of tipping as a substitute/complement to the wage paid by the employer has to beg the question would we be better off if restaurants paid a living wage to all of their employees and raised prices slightly to cover this additional expense. This way diners could tip as a reward for exceptional service and not be required under social convention to essentially remove the burden of paying the waiter's salary from the restaurateur. Who would lose out in this situation?

Exactly right. This is indeed very close to the current practise in many countries in Europe and Asia, and it works just fine. In Switzerland, where we lived most recently, people only tip for exceptional service and then only by "rounding up" the bill from say, 92 to 100. Many people from those countries simply do not understand the concept of directly transferring personnel costs to the diner through a tipping mechanism. Why not just raise the menu prices and dispense with this subjective and arbitrary personnel-cost subsidy?

I am curious how this culture of laying off personnel costs in the restuarnt industry originated in the US? Why, in the US, do gas station attendants, receptionists, store clerks, stewardesses etc. etc. not have to rely on tips?

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The whole "tip on the pre-tax amount or tip on the total" question is not even worth bothering with.  Consider this:  Let's say that your pre-tax bill is $100.  Let's further say that the tax rate is 10% for a total bill of $110.  If you tip only on the pre-tax amount, you will leave $130.  If you tip on the total, you will leave $132.  This is a difference of two dollars, or 1.5%.  I'm not going to get worked up about a 1.5% difference.

Hmmm. Depends on who's doing the talking...and the computation. On a $20 tip, a difference of $2 is 10%, not 1.5%. I don't know about you, but I would miss 10% of my income were it to suddenly disappear.

The difference between $130 and $132 is 1.2%. That's the difference to the person leaving the tip. An inconsequential difference.

The difference between $20 and $22 is 10%. That's the difference to the person receiving the tip. A not inconsequential difference.

I hadn't thought of the difference to the person receiving the tip, but you make a good point that it can make a difference to the person on that side of the transaction. All the more reason, in my opinion, to calculate on the total.

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