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Tipping Outside of Restaurants


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nice passage fat guy.

i tip 20% pretty much all of the tip because the math is nice and easy.  it pains me to see people pull out calculators, to either save themselves a dollar thirty or to punish the sever by the same amount.

I don't know if I told this story here or elsewhere.

On a trip to Morrocco, I had sport haggling over a cheap brass elephant from a small boy on the streets of Tangiers. I think I got him down to 25 dhiram(sp) from an inital asking price of 50. At 10 dhirham per dollar...well you do the math. When it was pointed out to me that i just spent 20 minutes haggling a kid out of food money for his family (and over 2.50 US at that). Well I felt like shit. So I like Tommy's across the board 20 percent. It's about what I usually tip

This applies where appropriate. I tip waiters, counter people in diners , my barber, my mailman, my garbagemen. The guys who handwash my car, and wherever I feel it is deserving. Anyone who, I feel, has gone above and beyond in the performance of what I expect their duties to be. It does not, generally speaking, include the counterpeople at Starbucks, Dunkin' Donut's, my drycleaner or any fast food establishment.

Nick

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Others [diners] are clueless and don't understand, for example, that a cooking error has nothing to do with the waiter and that the cooks are pretty much never part of the tip pool

That's a nice treatise on the subject, Fat Guy, and I heartily concur with almost all of it. But not with the issue addressed above. Since pretty well everyone realizes that tipping is effectively not a payment for good service by a waiter, but is a mechanism which enables restaurateurs to avoid paying proper wages to waitstaff, surely the customer is entitled to withhold a "voluntary" payment on the basis of unhappiness with any aspect of the restaurant with which he is unhappy.

I accept that the effect of doing this is indirect and slow. Bad food will result in low tips which will result in unhappy waitstaff who will get jobs elsewhere which will result in understaffing which will result in bad service which will mean disappearing customers which will mean closedown. Or maybe it would force the restaurateur to increase waitstaff wages :rolleyes:

Incidentally, I do strongly favor the American term "tip" rather than the pretentious and misleading European terms of "service cgarge" or "gratuity" (the latter of which I think is insulting and patronizing).

For myself, I gauge a tip according to all elements of my dining experience, and not just the quality of service I got from waiters. I have a base level of 10% (in Europe) and will only drop below that in extreme circumstances, and with a major expressed complaint. I will increase that if the waiter has been better than average or if the food has been better than average or if I found the meal to be unusually good value or ....

My guess is that for most "everday" meals I end up tipping 12.5 - 15%, and for "occasion" meals 15 - 25%. Interestingly, when I'm in the USA, I change my base figure from 10 to 15%.

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Poor workers are first entitled to adequate notice, warning, and time to cure.  Then they need proper job training in order to raise their abilities to an acceptable level.  If, after appropriate job training, they are still unable to meet the minimum standards, they are obviously "differently abled" and a new position must be found or created to take advantage of the inherent skills that are present within each of us.

Weed them out indeed.  People are not crabgrass.  

Poor choice of words, and indeed employees are given more than one chance. However, this is not the minor leagues; we are running a business, not a school for waiters.

FG - Yes, management's job is to "weed" out non-productive servers despite whatever tip system is used - however, since we enacted the pool, shortcomings in waiters that previously were not readily apparent to management have become more visible as a result of complaints by fellow servers. Perhaps there needs to be a way to "weed" out clueless management, but it's tough when some of 'em own the joint.

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certainly the 20 cents isn't a lot to me, and it's not to them, but if 200 people a day left 20 cents, that would be, like, a lot of money or something.  and of course, rewarding kids for being smart and working hard, whether it be at starbucks or applebees, helps the world become a better place.  and i'm all about living in a better place.  

:wacko:

tommy, this is very humane of you [perhaps YOU are the tin man?]

maybe i'm opening a powder keg, but how many of those participating in this discussion work for 8.95 an hour? and i'm assuming those are new york wages, which means here in georgia it'd be like working for 5.50 an hour. hells bells.

there've been umpteen discussions about tipping on this site. what it basically comes down to is service. everyone should be held to a standard,and people who work for tips have to earn those tips--it's that simple. if you get good service at starbucks, why wouldn't you throw change into the tip jar?

i am so damn lucky that i can afford to leave a friendly tip for good service. i am not going to bitch about it. i am fortunate. some of the most affluent people i know are cheap tippers, and i consider this a character flaw. they'll spend money to have thier houses cleaned and their toenails painted, but they won't throw an extra buck on the table? that's shite.

i worked for tips til i was well into my twenties. i am glad those days are over and i hope i never have to go back. been there. tipping is karma.

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  • 2 years later...

On another site to which I subscribe, a recent debate has arisen about the message of leaving no tip. The topic arose after one poster boasted about how his brother in law, a food critic for a regional magazine by "avocation", didn't leave a tip after dining at the French Laundry. Apparently, he wasn't happy with the experience. I think it was sticker shock.

I think leaving no tip doesn't provide feedback on quality of service; instead the waitstaff interprets it as meaing either you are a miser or a rube. On the other hand, leaving a minimal tip (i.e., <10%) indicates disappointment with the service. Better yet, if service is not up to snuff, talk to the manager.

Any comments?

"As far as I'm concerned, bacon comes from a magical, happy place" Frank, John Doe

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I know this in in the Texas forum, but I'm continually amazed by the propensity of peopl in the UK to leave no tip, and to think nothing of it. They tend not to see it as an exercise in voicing a complaint; just that a lot of people don't see the need to tip serving staff. Needless to say, most people get a rude shock when they visit the states and try that little trick.

I do agree though, you're right in saying that tipping a token amount is a far more effective tactic than leaving no tip if you lack a spine and wish to put your message across. Far better to have a tacit word with the management and try and be constructive about it.

Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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I, too, am puzzled as to why this is in the Texas forum.

Here is discussion on eGullet of an article on this very fact: The waiter you stiffed remembers you and will get you back.

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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There happens to be a relevant article in the New York Times today.

That waiter you stiffed

Most of this will be familiar to those who read around on the internet.

I agree, the way to send a message about truly bad service is to say something. There are so many people these days who act self-righteous about not tipping and give overdetermined reasons ("The service was slow; my bread was stale; it was raining; the restaurant owners are capitalist pigs; the whole system of tipping is unfair; I was drunk and I don't remember not tipping") that I would tend to suspect cheapness for being the motive in most cases of non-tipping or gross under-tipping.

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In many places in the UK leaving a tip is seen as low class, and the US tip culture is alien, strange and demeaning.

It means the staff is not being paid properly, and reduced to begging.

A reward for good service, or a complaint about bad service should be a written letter to the establishment. It is a management function to ensure the guests get good service, and motivate the staff, not the guest's duty. If they need to charge more for the meal in order to do this, then they should, rather than publish fake prices, where the "normal" price is 15% more...

Besides a gentleperson would not carry the requisite cash; the cost of their meal would be charged to their account and settled quarterly.

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I, too, am puzzled as to why this is in the Texas forum.

Here is discussion on eGullet of an article on this very fact: The waiter you stiffed remembers you and will get you back.

To make this Texas relevant, I am surprised how many people here (Texas) are stingy tippers for good service. I always watch when people are overly demanding to their waiter or waitress what it looks like they tip. I have seen highly demanding people leave a pile of change in a very expensive restaurant.

Normally I try to compensate as I know how little a waiter makes (I did the table thing a few months in High School). I remember once a person left 1/2 a cent (not kidding) to a fellow waiter.

This turned me into a high tipper (30%+), unless the service is completely awful.

Edited by Mnehrling (log)

"Instead of orange juice, I'm going to use the juice from the inside of the orange."- The Brilliant Sandra Lee

http://www.matthewnehrlingmba.com

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Besides a gentleperson would not carry the requisite cash;  the cost of their meal would be charged to their account and settled quarterly.

This is ironic, right? Because it blows my mind that anyone would cite this kind of class reason for doing anything in this day and age.

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I think one has to be careful about interpreting such "messages."

My father, age 82, is from a small town and a whole 'nother world. The city in which I live is just under 500,000. He and my mother come here monthly for physician appointments, and they always take me to dinner in a mid-range restaurant.

My father's opinion of tipping, is that no matter what the bill, $3 or $4 is adequate. I didn't find that out until about a year ago, until out of boredom, I happened to flip open the folder in which the ticket is brought to the table, just to check and make sure he didn't forget his credit card after signing the slip. I was horrified to see that the tip he left was less than 10%, especially since our waiter had been extremely professional and very attentive. We had received truly excellent service.

The rest of the story isn't important here, but is entertaining, so I'll finish it. I didn't want to embarrass my father by making an issue of the tip. We were dining with other friends that night. I had no cash with me. I also had a screaming, pounding headache, and didn't want to leave the restaurant, get cash, and return. So finally, after frantically running about a dozen scenarios through my mind, I decided to order coffee for take out, since our meal was finished. That would allow me to put an extra tip on the ticket for my coffee: problem solved. However, when the waiter brought the coffee, he refused to allow me to pay for it, insisting that it qualified as a refill on the cup I'd had earlier. He and I argued, at first in a friendly manner, and then more seriously, and finally his graciousness and professionalism compelled him to accept my credit card. (The customer is always right!) I was able later to catch him and explain what I was doing, but he was still miffed over the scene that had arisen when I insisted he take my payment for the coffee, and he insisted it wasn't necessary.

Long story short: I put a $10 tip on a $2 cup of coffee. And I really don't even like that restaurant's coffee.

And it was just last night that after dinner, I surreptitiously slipped a folded $5 bill under the saucer for a coffee cup as I left the table after dining with my parents. I hope our waiter found it. I know our bill was well over $50, and I saw a couple of $1 bills sticking out of the folder, but I have no idea whatever else might have been in there. We've spoken to Dad about this several times, and he just becomes defensive. I can only assume that he isn't tipping appropriately. And believe me, it has nothing to do with the quality of the service or any messages. He's just a cheapskate!

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Long story short:  I put a $10 tip on a $2 cup of coffee.  And I really don't even like that restaurant's coffee.

I sometimes worry if the wait staff get in trouble for tips like this as their boss may think the waiters are trying to scam the customer by changing the ticket.

The other day I left a $50 tip to a wonderful waitress after I heard her talking to friends at the next table that she was getting married the next day. As soon as I left I worried that they may think she modified the ticket.

"Instead of orange juice, I'm going to use the juice from the inside of the orange."- The Brilliant Sandra Lee

http://www.matthewnehrlingmba.com

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In many places in the UK leaving a tip is seen as low class, and the US tip culture is  alien, strange and demeaning.

It means the staff is not being paid properly, and reduced to begging.

A reward for good service, or a complaint about bad service should be a written  letter to the establishment. It is a management function to ensure the guests get good service, and motivate the staff, not the guest's duty.  If they need to charge more for the meal in order to do this, then they should, rather than publish fake prices, where the "normal" price is 15% more...

Besides a gentleperson would not carry the requisite cash;  the cost of their meal would be charged to their account and settled quarterly.

I can see your tongue residing in your cheek from here. :)

Hats off to such an establishment that puts their prices up by 15% and advertises the fact that the difference goes to the waiting staff as wages. Hats off to the next company to occupy the building after the first company has gone under in short order.

Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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My father, age 82, is from a small town and a whole 'nother world.

My father's opinion of tipping, is that no matter what the bill, $3 or $4 is adequate.

We've spoken to Dad about this several times, and he just becomes defensive.  I can only assume that he isn't tipping appropriately.  And believe me, it has nothing to do with the quality of the service or any messages.  He's just a cheapskate!

Your dad isn't "just a cheapskate." What he is is 82. And he remembers a time when $3 or $4 would feed a family of four for a week. And he remembers how hard that money was to come by, and how much it meant to his family.

I, too, have this problem when I go out to eat with my 84-year-old dad. What I do is, sometime during the meal, excuse myself to go to the restroom. Then, out of view of my father, I track down our waiter and give them the extra money. It works out great for all of us.

My father is a wonderful man, a terrific provider for our family, a WWII Flying Fortress pilot, and a hero to me. I'd never embarrass him.

He's not a cheapskate. He just lives in another era.

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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My father, age 82, is from a small town and a whole 'nother world.

My father's opinion of tipping, is that no matter what the bill, $3 or $4 is adequate.

We've spoken to Dad about this several times, and he just becomes defensive.  I can only assume that he isn't tipping appropriately.  And believe me, it has nothing to do with the quality of the service or any messages.  He's just a cheapskate!

Your dad isn't "just a cheapskate." What he is is 82. And he remembers a time when $3 or $4 would feed a family of four for a week. And he remembers how hard that money was to come by, and how much it meant to his family.

I, too, have this problem when I go out to eat with my 84-year-old dad. What I do is, sometime during the meal, excuse myself to go to the restroom. Then, out of view of my father, I track down our waiter and give them the extra money. It works out great for all of us.

My father is a wonderful man, a terrific provider for our family, a WWII Flying Fortress pilot, and a hero to me. I'd never embarrass him.

He's not a cheapskate. He just lives in another era.

Many good things can be said about my father (who was also a WWII pilot)... but I've known him for 50 years, and it's the truth: he's a cheapskate. :biggrin:

I started out my adult years in the same frame of mind. Fortunately, a friend took me to task and pointed out that tips are an accepted, standard part of the restaurant industry, and if you can't afford the tip, you can't afford the meal, and you should go home and see what leftovers may lurk in the fridge.

I really like your suggestion about excusing oneself and tracking down the waiter. Thanks for suggesting it; you've just removed a lot of stress from my life.

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Many good things can be said about my father (who was also a WWII pilot)... but I've known him for 50 years, and it's the truth:  he's a cheapskate.  :biggrin:

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

Okay, you win. The 'tracking down the waitperson' thing does really work. I've tried hiding additional money on the table, and other assorted ruses. But when I actually talk to the waiter, I also can make my excuses ("He doesn't mean anything by it, he's just old," etc.) which seems to really help our service.

The other thing I do occasionally is 'accidently' leave my glasses on the table so I have to run back and get them.

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 can see your tongue residing in your cheek from here. :)

Hats off to such an establishment that puts their prices up by 15% and advertises the fact that the difference goes to the waiting staff as wages.  Hats off to the next company to occupy the building after the first company has gone under in short order.

A quick google for "no tipping policy" reveals 3910 hits, mostly cruise ships and high end hotels such as Delamar Greenwich Harbour and Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island,. Michigan

"Grand Hotel operates on a "NO TIPPING" policy, and tipping is not expected, permitted nor required to any employee of Grand Hotel."

If you are trying to get good service, you need set out the terms of the contract. Why not pay, say, 15% of the expected bill up front, and explain there will be more at the end if the service is exceptional. Drinks sent into the kitchen probably help as well...

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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commonly heard in the kitchen :

waiter - "compliments on table 52"

chef - "compliments don't buy beer".

McDonalds don't permit tipping on the basis that "tips destroy teamwork".

3910 hits may seem a lot, but that must represent a tiny minority of food establishments on the internet.

I'm not saying it can't be done, but that it's very much the exception rather than the rule - I'm sure a great many customers prefer to tip. Perhaps it's a class thing?

There's a great section in Andre Simon's Weekend Gourmet Book (published just after WW2) dealing with tipping as a desirable state of affairs. I shall go and find it.

Drinks sent into the kitchen probably help as well...

Most chefs I know, in addition to tipping the waiting staff when they eat out, will send money specifically into the kitchen for a round of drinks for the kitchen staff... especially if they have any sort of acquaintance with anyone in the kitchen.

Edited by culinary bear (log)

Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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Miss Manners (Judith Martin) That doyen of American etiquette writes

"Miss Manners dearly hopes that the day will come when the price of running such an establishment as a hotel, restaurant or topless go-go palace will be figured with the full salary of all the employees, and the customers will not be left to guess how much of it they must make up out of their own pockets after they have paid the bills. ..... There will then be those who ask Miss Manners how they may deliver critiques of the performance of service people? With smiles, letters to employers and the pressure with which you slam the taxicab door"

We had better take this discussion to the proper forum before the moderators complain...

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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As someone who waited tables and tended bar for 9 years, I can assure you that the overwhelming majority of waiters in the US (certainly every one of them that I ever worked with) correlate "no tip" with "cheap asshole," except in those rare instances where the waiter is self-aware enough to know that they're giving poor service.

And if they're that self-aware, they're probably (A) a very good waiter otherwise; and (B) caught in a situation that precludes them from giving good service (such as being slammed by an inattentive hostess, the kitchen running out of a common item, the kitchen being short-handed, etc).

* AB drinks one of those "Guiness Pub Draught" beers, with the nitrogen cannister in the bottom of the can.

* AB wonders what Budweiser would taste like with one of those...

<AB> . o O (Like shit, still, I should think.)

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There is, of course, the pertinent point that a rise in prices of 15% allied to a ban on tipping is very unlikely to yield anything like a commensurate rise in the salary of the employee.

Skimming, taxation (at the moment in the UK all tips are liable to tax of 22% but in a properly run tronc system the normal NI contributions of 11% are waived) and bad management would no doubt contrive to deny the employee a great deal of that additional 15%.

Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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There is, of course, the pertinent point that a rise in prices of 15% allied to a ban on tipping is very unlikely to yield anything like a commensurate rise in the salary of the employee. 

Three of the places where I have waited tables in my life were at Country Clubs.

In all three clubs, a 15% gratuity was automatically added to the bill of every guest.

In two of those clubs, only 10 of that 15% was passed on to the wait, bar, and bus staff. The remainder went into the club's coffers.

In one of those clubs, none of the 15% was passed to any employee. The waiters were, instead, paid untipped minimum wage ($3.85/hour at the time, as I recall).

I didn't work long at that last place.

* AB drinks one of those "Guiness Pub Draught" beers, with the nitrogen cannister in the bottom of the can.

* AB wonders what Budweiser would taste like with one of those...

<AB> . o O (Like shit, still, I should think.)

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In France the tip is automatically added to the bill. In Korea it is not and tipping is not part of the culture there. When I was Exec Chef and GM at a restaurant in Seoul I had a very generous International customer base. Mostly French, other European, American with some Latin Americans and Africans. I also organized special parties for embassies. I was given a lot of generous tips which I promply gave to the wait staff. I had a base salary as well generous profit sharing so I though it only fair. Anyway, My Korean in laws who are otherwise generous and involved in charities HATE to tip. It just kills them. I've heard American waitstaff complain about how much they hate this cultural difference.

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

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I once worked for an upscale catering service that always added an 18% charge to every customer bill and labeled it as "service charge". Most cusotmers would and did assume that it was a gratuity to be disbursed among the staff but none of us ever saw a nickel of that money - it went to "service related expenses".

That said... the business owner paid us more than the prevailing service wage (about $7 - $10 per hour back in the early to mid 1990's) and if a cusotmer tipped over and above the service charge we all recieved an appriorate portion of that money.

I just returned from a trip to France. The nature of table service is very different there but we generally tipped about 10% on all of our meals, despite the fact that the service charge was already built into the price. We received good service from seasoned professionals and I felt that they earned the extra money.

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