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Group Tipping brings down your intended %


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To me, tipping has lost all meaning.  Tipping used to be an appreciation of good service - something extra.  Now it's mandatory since restaurants pay servers so little.  15% has long been considered standard, so anything less makes the patron a jerk (regardless of the level of service).  And many people tip more since that's the only way to indicate that service was actually good.

I've traveled quite a bit in Asia where tipping is unknown, yet the service is the best in the world.  In fact, during my first trip to Japan I tried to tip, but was vehemently refused each time.  (Once, the server chased me down the street to return the tip I'd left on the table.  He wouldn't take it even after I explained that it was a tip.)  Of course, a living wage is built into the meal price, so prices are higher - by about 15-20%.  I'd love to see restaurants in the US switch to this system, but that's a pipe dream.  Wouldn't that make the group tipping situation so much easier?

Funny story:  I once heard this from a waitress.  An elderly couple were regulars at the restaurant where she worked.  They dined there several times a week and always sat at one of her tables.  Every time, the man chatted with the waitress and left a big tip.  Every time, his wife hung back as they left and retrieved the tip - the ENTIRE tip.  The man never knew and the waitress never said anything.  Apparently, this went on for years.

Interesting. Restaurants in the US have always paid servers next to nothing. There isn't anything new or unusual about that. As far as I know, tipping has always been customary in the US. And, honestly, it is always on a sliding scale. Even for generous tippers like myself.

Outside of the US, I do understand that tipping is unheard of, if not offensive to the server. But the server's wage and the cost of the meal have to be adjusted against the economy, so it hurts my head too much to do the math. But the 15-20% that the meal is higher in one case, is spent at the discrection of the diner vs. the service actually received in the other. Pick your poison.

These tipping threads always go over the edge!

There will be no comfortable solution to the group tipping situation. Come on. Surely, you know that there are cheapskates, regular people, and generous people. The angles will all be worked one way or the other. In sent back food, complaints, whining, tantrums. There is always a way to get out of it.

I loved your little story. That waitress is a real professional. She paid the same attention to her customer every time, regardless.

I bet she average better than 15% at the end of the day overall.

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I am just pushy and tell people what we will be tipping and that is evenally divided amoungest the number of people. I have only had this be an issue a couple of times and those who don't believe that good service should be tipped as much as I do get an education on what the servers make (as an average of course, it's not like I know on an individual basis) and how the tips are split. With the exception of one person who would just not change their view that 10% is more then good enough I have found that most people just don't understand how servers wages work and how tips can get divide (example when the server has to tip out other staff) I like to think that I have done my part to help educate.

And Angela that is EXACTLY my point with Rachael Ray's "tipping"

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I have never yet had anyone double back to "readjust" their amount.

Can you imagine? I don't know what I would say if someone did THAT! :shock::laugh:

Right. It would be pretty obviously awful of them. But I did have one fellow try. He was a notorious cheapskate and one of the reasons I developed my system. So I lingered a little at the table, pretending to be looking for my car keys, then after everyone else had started out, I stood up and dropped an extra $5. This guy saw me, and started to turn back to retrieve a portion of his tip, but his wife kept pushing him, saying "Oh no you don't," and she kept pushing him, right out the door.

:raz:

Edited by Jaymes (log)

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'm surprised there are people here who think that 20% is too much. Everytime I've been out to eat with large group and the tip is automatically tacked on, it's almost always 20%, the lowest I've seen was 18% and we added enough to make it up. It's the norm, at least around here. I'm kind of shocked it's not everywhere else, as we're not exactly the most sophisticated and cosmopolitan place on earth.

And about those elderly people who think that service is service regardless of what you order and refuse to tip on percentages... Oh those people curl my hair! My grandfather used to be like that until my mother, who is a realtor, compared waiting tables to any other commission-based profession. Should a realtor who sells a $1,000,000 home get the same commission on a $100,000 home? Of course not, because it's percentage based commission. Same with waitstaff. After that, he started tipping better, much to the relief of the rest of the family.

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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Ironically, despite the fact that I'm a 20% tipper, I actually got into an argument with a friend who was overtipping. Six of us, I think, at a branch of the chain she used to work at (don't ask), and she starts lecturing us on leaving a *30* % tip. I eventually informed her that while I will reward good service (it was good), I am not responsible for the fact that they picked a shitty job. She was welcome to put in more, I was putting in 20%.

Then again, while she's a great friend, there's a whole list of things she & I need to agree to disagree on. :smile:

Joanna G. Hurley

"Civilization means food and literature all round." -Aldous Huxley

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I do this in a dutch pay situation: I always pick up the check and I pay the tab. Then, I have everyone pay me their part of the bill and what part of the tip they wish to offer. When I pay the waiter, then I leave a minimum of two dollars per person served or 20%, which ever is higher.

Edited by BigboyDan (log)
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I still think that a tip is supposed to reflect the service. There are so many jobs out there that only pay min. wage - I don't think this is reason enough to assume that I should tip a certain percentage.

For regular, average service, I tip in the 15% range. For better than average service, I tip more. For dreadful service, I may tip less. That's what tipping is supposed to be. A monetary thank-you for appreciated good service.

Having said that, I think I can count the number of times I've tipped less than 15% on one hand.

Dining and tipping with others - My friends and I divide the bill equally or pay our own share. With most of the POS systems that restaurants have these days, even the smaller places , the orders are punched into the system by the seat anyway. It takes no more than the server selecting the option to print the bill by person. (obviously this isn't the case in every situation).

I have been out to eat with others and felt the need to add more than 'my share' of the tip. But more often than not, we all pay using credit or debit cards (do people really use cash these days?) and I don't know how much the other diners are tipping. When I plan ahead, I try to take some cash with me because I hate a table of four paying with 4 cards - but honestly, that's rare.

btw - I used to wait tables. I think because of that I get even more annoyed when I get crappy service - why reward it?

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Thru experience with "Separate Check's", servers being requested to collect from everyone at a table, having servers try to provide itemized checks for couples or family members seating at various parts of the table we learned that it wasn't unusual thru the confusion that someone would simply leave with paying or waste time arguing that they didn't drink any wine, coffee, etc so why should they pay. Another type of thing frequently happened with someone removing cash from the total amount while everyone was leaving and putting it in their pocket or purse, often screwing the server. It also required more servers time and attention penalizing other customers waiting for service.

We established policy:

Menu's clearly stated:

Servers are not bookkeepers they are not able to judge who is together or sharing as many items served are often eaten family style.

NO SEPARATE CHECKS !

15% Service Charge will be added for groups larger then 6.

We will provide pad's and calculators to customers who request to divide their checks.

Separate Credit Cards are acceptable as long as the total amount charged or paid together is equal to the bill presented.

We were located in a area where our business was locals and visitors it's true that occasionally some parties after perusing the menu decided to leave, but in the long run it was a smart business decision since eventually our business was mostly repeat customers.

Another policy that evolved due to our very high rent, limited seating and type of service was:

Every adult customer must order a entree ! (A minimum charge per person was based upon lowest priced entree)

Appetizers are traditionally shared by everyone at the table we recommend first ordering entrees and then matching appetizers that best compliment your selections.

We will provide additional plates for children or 1/2 orders if requested.

For several years we were among the highest grossing well reviewed Restaurants of our size in the States with regular employees and mostly repeat customers.

With repeat or regular customers we advised them we considered them special and they were exempt from most policy.

In general our customers applauded or efforts, reflected in prompt, efficient service allowing them to enjoy the experience. Seasonally we were booked several weeks in advance, but always made sure to keep tables available for regulars.

Irwin

I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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I was talking with a local restauranteur recently and, unless I misunderstood him, he disliked the check-splitting thing because credit card companies charge a minimum in addition to their percentage. In a small and fairly-priced establishment (though high-grossing, I expect) he was out over three grand a month in credit card fees -- enough for a new employee or a new car. He was considering going to cash-only (he has lines out the door, so he could certainly get away with it), but the second fee seemed to be particularly galling.

On the larger issue, I can only get so worked up about how well waiters are tipped when I'm not in control of the check. I hardly think 20% is mandatory, though I usually tip at least that much, and wouldn't worry much about my co-diners unless they're being particularly asinine (fortunately, though my friends, colleagues and I have many faults, we're pretty goodabout tips). Tip variations come with the territory, I've got other things to worry about besides whether the waiter got 15% or 20%.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I was talking with a local restauranteur recently and, unless I misunderstood him, he disliked the check-splitting thing because credit card companies charge a minimum in addition to their percentage. 

You can negotiate different fees and rates with different companies. We pay 1.75-2.0% percentage on credit card transactions (with no minimum). Each debit transaction is a straight charge of .08 cents each. (Plus .08 cents a day).

I also try to tip in cash when possible (even if I use a card). Without getting into tax issues - some restaurants will deduct a percentage of the 'fees' from the servers tip if it's left on the card.

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in the united states, tipped employees are automatically taxed a certain amount. so the whole cash tip thing doesn't work as well as it used to (it was changed to this system about ten years ago or so?!), but i still think it is appreciated as servers and other tipped employees get creative about avoiding taxes :wink:

i think that 20% is acceptable, but i'm a little disgusted by my own overtipping because service is usually so bad. only once have i stiffed a server and in that case i gave 20% in cash directly to the busser because he was the only one we saw during our meal. that was probably 15 years ago. i wish i could be a little more strict with myself.

it used to be that 15% was for lunch and 20% was for dinner.

i'm another one of those people who splits the bill equally and after everyone's thrown in their share, i always ask "is there enough for the tip?" to make sure that we didn't stiff the server. i kind of hate going out with large groups of people though just for that reason. i work in the industry (but in the back of the house, so i don't know why i care), and i always dread dealing with the check.

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I'm interested to see that even among Americans, perhaps the most vociferously pro-tipping society, there is no universal agreement on what percentage is appropriate. It does throw up a lot of issues though, mixed up as it is with social etiquette (and embarrassment), guilt, low wages, level of service, etc etc. I tend to agree with those who said that it should reflect your actual satisfaction with the service, though I suppose a socially appropriate alternative in the American context would be to tip regardless of bad service and withhold your custom from that particular establishment next time round. I am careful to tip the amount expected, but I don't necessarily agree with the system that led to it.

20 percent sounds just as arbitrary as 10 or 15. Obviously for the staff, it's better, but if the tip is supposed to additionally reflect your concern for the welfare of waiters (on top of your appreciation for good service), shouldn't it be 30, 35 or 40 percent - and would that make their earnings adequate anyway? Ultimately the system of tipping seems to bring out a lot of people's bad instincts: the generous, the cheapskates, and the waiting staff alike. I won't even mention the owners.

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I have never yet had anyone double back to "readjust" their amount.

Can you imagine? I don't know what I would say if someone did THAT! :shock::laugh:

Right. It would be pretty obviously awful of them. But I did have one fellow try. He was a notorious cheapskate and one of the reasons I developed my system. So I lingered a little at the table, pretending to be looking for my car keys, then after everyone else had started out, I stood up and dropped an extra $5. This guy saw me, and started to turn back to retrieve a portion of his tip, but his wife kept pushing him, saying "Oh no you don't," and she kept pushing him, right out the door.

:raz:

Good God. What a scumbag. Thank heavens he has a smart, understanding (and obviously incredibly patient!) wife. How'd a jerk like him land a good woman like that? :hmmm:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Here in Israel, it's still 15% (as far as I know). I tend to tip 20% in general, unless service was awful.

One thing I have noticed: the stingiest tippers are often the richest. The one really wealthy person I associate with doesn't believe in tipping at all; says servers earn salaries, so why should she? She gives really big amounts to various charities, and figures that covers her obligations. So I avoid eating out with her, because it embarrasses and riles me, especially after a fulsome report on latest jewelry-shopping spree in Hong Kong. Funny; I wouldn't mind giving the entire tip if my companion were simply out of cash (and have done so).

Miriam

Miriam Kresh

blog:[blog=www.israelikitchen.com][/blog]

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All,

Have you had occasion to dine with one or more friends and decide that you'd like to tip really well, either for great service or because it is a small bill and "what the hell, waitresses deserve it...."

...and then your 30% tip is totally blown by your companion(s) who see your high contribution and stiff on their own part of the tip, bringing the real tip down to 15% or less?

I've had this happen a few times and it's always after the fact that I notice and by then I'm too nervous to say anything. 

Today I saw a bill for $17 for two people.  My share before tip was $7, and I put in $10.  Now, IF my companion just saw that $17 total and decided we should leave $20 total and they ALSO put in $10 for their share, my big tip has just been negated.

:sad:  Anyone have this happen?  Any good ways to deal with it, short of anticipating it ahead of time and saying, "I'd love to tip them well today, so let's see what the total is....".

Andrea

in Albuquerque

When dining in pairs or groups, I think it is good for one person to be responsible for gathering and counting the money before leaving it for the server. Typically, I take on this job so that I can be sure we all added correctly and that there is enough for a tip. My friends generally want me to tell them what they owe, and I usually tell them the cost of their meal ("Your share is $32 plus tip") and let them throw in what they want.

In the above situation, I likely would have handed the check to my dining companion and politely said something like, "Perhaps I added wrong, but I think your share is $10 before the tip." If we had agreed to just split the bill down the middle regardless of who ate what, I would have said, "I think we should leave $22 (or whatever amount) to cover the bill and tip since our service was so good. So we each need to add another dollar."

Tammy Olson aka "TPO"

The Practical Pantry

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I still think that a tip is supposed to reflect the service.  There are so many jobs out there that only pay min. wage - I don't think this is reason enough to assume that I should tip a certain percentage.

Perhaps it is different in Canada, but here in West Virginia waitstaff and other jobs that rely on tips have a lower minimum wage than the standard minimum wage. I just checked and the minimum wage for tipped employees is 20% less than the minimum wage for non-tipped employees.

Guess if I actually want to leave a "tip" I need to leave over 20%... :hmmm:

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My mil and two sils went to a nice restaurant for Mothers Day. We had a great meal with great service. We were treating my mil. One of my sils surprised me by paying the check. So I assumed my other sil and I would leave the tip. I added what would be a generous 20% if my sil left any.

Well she did not. I then had to very obviously put more money out to leave an adequate tip. I couldn't believe she just ignored the whole situation. Oh well, great meal regardless.

-Becca

www.porterhouse.typepad.com

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Perhaps it is different in Canada, but here in West Virginia waitstaff and other jobs that rely on tips have a lower minimum wage than the standard minimum wage. I just checked and the minimum wage for tipped employees is 20% less than the minimum wage for non-tipped employees.

Guess if I actually want to leave a "tip" I need to leave over 20%... :hmmm:

It is different here, though I can't speak for the rest of the provinces. Min. wage is the same across the board here.

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As far as I recall, minimum wage here in CA is the same amount across the board. That's what the posters in the hall on the way to the restrooms at my favorite Pho place say anyway.

My standard tip is double sales tax, rounded up to the next dollar, which works out to ~16.5% here. Granted these days 99% of our dining out is at family/casual restaurants. We tip 20% minimum when the hubby and I go somewhere nice sans kidlets.

There is a buffet locally that my middle son loves that seems to expect a 20% tip across the board if you pay using a credit card. I leave a 10% tip usually (always pay cash) if they're good about clearing the table and keeping drinks refilled. Should I be leaving more for what is essential just bussing the tables?

Cheryl

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My standard tip is double sales tax, rounded up to the next dollar, which works out to ~16.5% here. Granted these days 99% of our dining out is at family/casual restaurants. We tip 20% minimum when the hubby and I go somewhere nice sans kidlets.

I think taxes are why the standard tip in these parts is 15%. Tax at the moment is 14%, so it's easy to compute. Our taxes are going down though, so maybe all hell will and nobody will know what to tip :wink:

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I always leave 20%. My husband once accidentally stiffed a waitress in Massachusetts when doing the "double the tax and round up" trick, which worked like a charm in New York State. Alas, he didn't consider that the tax in MA might be less that that of NY (which it is, significantly). We didn't realize until afterward what he'd done, and we were utterly mortified. :sad:

I may have accidentally rectified the tipping karma in Rome, when I absent-mindedly gave a waiter the NYC standard tip of 20%, which is unheard of there. He was so grateful he brought a free round of grappa to the table (I'd thought for a moment there he was going to kiss me).

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Oh, and in response to the initial question .... :smile:

It only happened once, but it was ugly - a friend took me to lunch, insisted ferociously on paying (although he was dead broke), then proceeded to stiff the waitress big-time - after giving her a hard time, too. I was so horrified by his behavior that I "forgot" my jacket, had to go back for it, and left her the tip she well-deserved.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Tipping is such a sticky situation when dining in groups or with cheapskate friends.

I have one friend who would look for every excuse to either not tip or leave a chintzy tip. Then she would give me the lecture that "my father taught me that tipping was for good service and you just seem to tip routinely." I told her that waiters/waitresses made below minimum wage and unless the service sucked, that he/she was getting a decent tip from me.

It got to the point where I had to end up leaving a few dollars more to cover her lack of tip. So one day I went off. I yelled at her, "you're a cheap bitch and you're an embarrassment. I'm not going out to eat with you anymore." And I didn't. For years.

I don't know if it took my little outburst to reform her but on the rare occasion that we go out to eat, tipping isn't a problem with her. :laugh:

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