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Tipping Outside of Restaurants


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Fine dining French restaurant...

The servers take the orders then present the check at the end of meal. True they also field all the questions asked by the customer, according to my training literature. At times they play the diplomat. Mostly it's the expediters, bussers and the kitchen crew who do the grunt work. In the restaurants where I worked as chef, not too many, actually no complaints about "forced" tip pooling. Because the tips were GOOD. Yes I know there are other restaurant models where servers do the "grunt" stuff. I'm just presenting one model.

EDIT: The servers offered before being asked or required.

Edited by chefzadi (log)

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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as a customer, i dont want the responsibility of trying to figure out how much service was worth. do not give ME the vulgar job of deciding how i value your service. i am there to relax and enjoy my meal. and i am willing to pay for it. naturally, i expect the service to be excellent and consistent. its the restaurant management's job to make sure that it is excellent all the time. the price they decide for that level of quality service is their decision. whether the food and service is worth the price is something the customer will decide.

on a different kind of dining....when you dine in small family-run restaurants and the owner drops by to bring your plate, do you tip? my favourite hole-in-the-wall chinese restaurant owner-lady is allergic to all of my tipping efforts and it is embarassing to insist because it seems as though i am treating the owner as hired help. in fact, she even throws in a weird 10% discount when i dine by myself(because i am a culinary student, i think. i dont believe her polite insistence that its because we are both 'chefs'. as if!!). i am left with no choice but to accept it graciously. when i go with company, its 'business' as usual. the most i get is a curt acknowledgment nod. i know that she is being kind and that we are friends, but i always end up feeling as though i 'owe' her. i find it difficult to explain the concept. it is not like i am not grateful for the warmth, but i still feel as if i 'owe' her, but not in a monetary sense. can anyone relate? how do you deal with it?

Edited by FaustianBargain (log)
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Just wondering -

How do I go about sending drinks into the kitchen and not make it seem like it's the first time I'm doing it? Do I add it on the check?

Can one do the same for your server, or is this considered bad form? Not allowed to drink during service?

Just seems like a nice way of saying thanks. I eat out late quite a bit - and as things wind down I imagine myself in the position of the staff and find I'd really be hurting for a beer or cocktail.

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don't. its chaotic during service. altho' i suppose you can send a round of beer for after service, if you really want to pay restaurant mark up prices for a case of beer.

Just wondering -

How do I go about sending drinks into the kitchen and not make it seem like it's the first time I'm doing it? Do I add it on the check?

Can one do the same for your server, or is this considered bad form? Not allowed to drink during service?

Just seems like a nice way of saying thanks. I eat out late quite a bit - and as things wind down I imagine myself in the position of the staff and find I'd really be hurting for a beer or cocktail.

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on a different kind of dining....when you dine in small family-run restaurants and the owner drops by to bring your plate, do you tip? my favourite hole-in-the-wall chinese restaurant owner-lady is allergic to all of my tipping efforts and it is embarassing to insist because it seems as though i am treating the owner as hired help. in fact, she even throws in a weird 10% discount when i dine by myself

A small Vietnamese place I frequent is just like this. I always want to tip well because they are a new business and I know what its like to just start out. Plus, their food and service is wonderful. The sad part is the more I tip, the more I get free the next time (and we eat there about 2-3 times a week sometimes). The last time we went, I couldn't figure out why our bill was $10 for two meals, French coffees and desert. She wouldn't let me question her, she said, no no, its correct.

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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as a customer, i dont want the responsibility of trying to figure out how much service was worth. do not give ME the vulgar job of deciding how i value your service. i am there to relax and enjoy my meal. and i am willing to pay for it. naturally, i expect the service to be excellent and consistent. its the restaurant management's job to make sure that it is excellent all the time. the price they decide for that level of quality service is their decision. whether the food and service is worth the price is something the customer will decide.

on a different kind of dining....when you dine in small family-run restaurants and the owner drops by to bring your plate, do you tip? my favourite hole-in-the-wall chinese restaurant owner-lady is allergic to all of my tipping efforts and it is embarassing to insist because it seems as though i am treating the owner as hired help. in fact, she even throws in a weird 10% discount when i dine by myself(because i am a culinary student, i think. i dont believe her polite insistence that its because we are both 'chefs'. as if!!). i am left with no choice but to accept it graciously. when i go with company, its 'business' as usual. the most i get is a curt acknowledgment nod. i know that she is being kind and that we are friends, but i always end up feeling as though i 'owe' her. i find it difficult to explain the concept. it is not like i am not grateful for the warmth, but i still feel as if i 'owe' her, but not in a monetary sense. can anyone relate? how do you deal with it?

I know exactly what you're talking about. If you want to leave a tip give it to someone else in the restaurant. Or if you want to give it to her directly tell her it's for her staff. She will accept it in this case.

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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don't. its chaotic during service. altho' i suppose you can send a round of beer for after service, if you really want to pay restaurant mark up prices for a case of beer.
Just wondering -

How do I go about sending drinks into the kitchen and not make it seem like it's the first time I'm doing it? Do I add it on the check?

Can one do the same for your server, or is this considered bad form? Not allowed to drink during service?

Just seems like a nice way of saying thanks. I eat out late quite a bit - and as things wind down I imagine myself in the position of the staff and find I'd really be hurting for a beer or cocktail.

You can leave something for the kitchen to enjoy later. Really though beverages are so cheap on the wholesale level that the house should be providing something to the BOH every night.

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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I know exactly what you're talking about. If you want to leave a tip give it to someone else in the restaurant. Or if you want to give it to her directly tell her it's for her staff. She will accept it in this case.

There's a bar I visit too infrequently where the owner and his girlfriend are both good friends. He generally serves me and at the end of the evening my tab might be $3. When I am ready to leave, he just nods in the direction of one or the other of his employees. She's the one who gets whatever my tab should have been -- or more.

I never ask why he chose waitress A or bartender B; maybe she worked a slow shift earlier in the week, maybe she just broke up with her boyfriend, maybe she irritated Bob less than everyone else that night.

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When I read that the gratuity was included, I took them at their word and didn't feel that I had to tip on top of it.

However, this is the French Laundry.

The level of service you are about to endure, is so incredible, I think you'll still want to give them more money. As expensive as it is, it feels like you are getting a deal... seriously. As I was leaving I felt like giving them something... like my first new-born or a molar... just because the service was so absolutely impeccable.

A lot has been said about Thomas Keller’s food, and rightly so the man is a genius, but what I found most striking as a diner at the French Laundry was the service. I really lack the vocabulary to describe the way Laura Cunningham’s staff moves around that restaurant. But I am pretty sure you'll be impressed.

While I don’t think you should feel obligated to tip on top of the 19% already added to your tip, I wouldn’t be surprised if you do it anyway.

Thank you! I mainly don't want to insult anyone there, since I've been dying to go for a few years now and I'm sure I'll be impressed. I was thinking I most likely would add another 10% or so, but I didn't want to offend if the 19% service charge didn't end up going to the waitstaff.

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as a customer, i dont want the responsibility of trying to figure out how much service was worth. do not give ME the vulgar job of deciding how i value your service. i am there to relax and enjoy my meal. and i am willing to pay for it. naturally, i expect the service to be excellent and consistent. its the restaurant management's job to make sure that it is excellent all the time. the price they decide for that level of quality service is their decision. whether the food and service is worth the price is something the customer will decide.

The decision has been made for you: 20%. Just move the decimal point one position to the left and double the figure. That way you don't have to do anything so vulgar as think -- just some third-form multiplication. If you have been particularly moved, one way or the other, by the service, you can absently adjust the figure and then return to your port.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Is 20% more the national average than 15% now? I still use 15% as my base figure, but then again, more often than not I am impressed enough my service that I raise this amount.

I don't find this vulgar at all, and in fact, it puts the power right where it should be: in the diner's hands. Losing my ability to control this aspect of the dining experience would certainly lesson my pleasure in restaurant visits.

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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Is 20% more the national average than 15% now?  I still use 15% as my base figure, but then again, more often than not I am impressed enough my service that I raise this amount.

I don't find this vulgar at all, and in fact, it puts the power right where it should be: in the diner's hands.  Losing my ability to control this aspect of the dining experience would certainly lesson my pleasure in restaurant visits.

I think most 15% is fine. But, it's harder to calculate so I picked 20% to minimize the "vulgarity" FaustianBargain finds in the act of tipping.

As a former server and insecure diner trying desparately to buy love and respect, I tend to go 20% +.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I don't understand. You tip after the meal don't you, not before?Assuming that you have not invented time travel or its not Groundhog day, unless you are a frequent diner the amount you tip can't have any effect on the quality of service.

The cash is wasted, except in a very general sense of setting the average for that establishment...

My contention is that tipping, or intending to tip more or less has no effect on the quality of service...

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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My contention is that tipping, or intending to tip more or less has no effect on the quality of service...

I largely agree with you.

When I waited tables, I didn't offer above-average service because I thought I would get a good tip. I offered above-average service because that was my job, and because I had pride in my craft. I provided excellent service to people I was certain would leave me a lousy tip, due to age, occupation (cops and teachers are lousy tippers, generally), or what-have-you.

The only people that ever got intentionally indifferent (or worse) service from me were people who were, in my opinion, unconscionably and unreasonably rude to me. (Like the twits who were tugging on my apron and repeatedly saying "Mister! Mister! Hey Mister!" while I was waiting on the next table over.)

And I can count on one hand the number of folks that fell into that category over the course of my 9-year career as a waiter.

* 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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The American custom of tipping may have its flaws, which it certainly does. It might be a much better system to simply pay servers a good wage and charge accordingly, which I'd agree with.

But the fact of the matter is that this is how we do it in this country. And, if I'm not mistaken, the IRS charges income taxes based on an estimate of revenue.

One thing that we Americans are routinely criticized for is going to other countries and being all pissy and arrogant and horsey about how we do things here, and refusing to behave according to local custom when we're abroad.

I'd hate to be trying to put myself through college in the US while waiting on the non-Americans on this thread that clearly have fallen victim to the same, "We know what's best and it's the way we do it in our country and we're just not going to do it your way in your country no matter what you say" disease.

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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An American server, say working in a high volume, fine dining restaurant in Los Angeles could earn a year's tuition for the University of Paris in a week just from tips.

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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An American server, say working in a high volume, fine dining restaurant in Los Angeles could earn a year's tuition for the University of Paris in a week just from tips.

Lets see. Maybe not a week, but in a year...

Tuition fees (American University in Paris) are about EU20,000, say $25K.

Double that for living, even at student rates, say 50K. Bit more since the earned income will be taxed, but then there is also some wages from the restaurant.

That is about $150/day everyday.

If that represents 15% of the bill, that means the bill must be about $1000

Say 10 covers at $100 each - looks possible.

Wait staff aren't as badly paid as I thought. I know teachers, nurses and other vital professions that pay less.

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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An American server, say working in a high volume, fine dining restaurant in Los Angeles could earn a year's tuition for the University of Paris in a week just from tips.

That is because French universities are heavily subsidized as much as the fact that some American waiters are heavily compensated.

Of course, don't you have to spend two years studying full time (with no time to work) just to pass the entrance exam? Or is that just X.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Tuition fees at the University of Paris in Paris.

EDIT:Busboy got to it.

Also, the French Government subsidizes education on most levels. I attended culinary school for free. Merci, La France.

Edited by chefzadi (log)

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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An American server, say working in a high volume, fine dining restaurant in Los Angeles could earn a year's tuition for the University of Paris in a week just from tips.

Lets see. Maybe not a week, but in a year...

Tuition fees (American University in Paris) are about EU20,000, say $25K.

Double that for living, even at student rates, say 50K. Bit more since the earned income will be taxed, but then there is also some wages from the restaurant.

That is about $150/day everyday.

If that represents 15% of the bill, that means the bill must be about $1000

Say 10 covers at $100 each - looks possible.

Wait staff aren't as badly paid as I thought. I know teachers, nurses and other vital professions that pay less.

If a waiter is working in a fine dining establishment and selling $1000 worth of food and beverage, especially in LA, that means he's on a team of possibly 3 people selling that much, so that take will be split 3 ways, plus there will be other people to tip out. The math is not that simple.

I left fine dining because I make more money at a lower level. I don't work on a team, but individually, and when I sell $500 I've worked a pretty good shift. If I sell $1000, I've worked a pretty long shift, and possibly a double shift, and I tip out 2% of my sales, whether I get tipped on those sales or not.

And I've noticed that the closer I get to $1000 in sales on a shift, the lower my average tip is because at that volume, I'm probably working an Amateur Night like a Friday or Saturday. More amateurs means more 10% tippers, or even lower, and of course the more volume you do, the lower the standards of your service.

There really is no free lunch. And if you live in a city with really high end restaurants and very good tipping habits, chances are you're paying at least $1500 a month for a small apartment.

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The decision has been made for you: 20%.  Just move the decimal point one position to the left and double the figure.  That way you don't have to do anything so vulgar as think -- just some third-form multiplication.  If you have been particularly moved, one way or the other, by the service, you can absently adjust the figure and then return to your port

Is 20% more the national average than 15% now? I still use 15% as my base figure, but then again, more often than not I am impressed enough my service that I raise this amount.

I don't find this vulgar at all, and in fact, it puts the power right where it should be: in the diner's hands. Losing my ability to control this aspect of the dining experience would certainly lesson my pleasure in restaurant visits.

I am sorry that the word 'vulgar' has been taken literally and that all of you have to grapple with the import of my usage.

It is quite simple. It is not 'power in the diner's hands'. I simply do not grasp this logic. At an extreme, this is blackmail. Especially in snobbish eateries where one is a repeat customer.

If the decision is made for me, please show it in the bill. I do not want to take the effort to mull over whether the service deserved 1/5th of the total cost of a meal. If I disagree, I wont come back. Showing it on the bill reflects how the establishment expresses its confidence in the performance of its service staff. I see weird bits like "20% service charge on Mondays and Saturdays". What does it mean? Why is it so? I dont know. I dont care. If the food is good, I wont care if its a Monday or a Sunday.

If I pay a lousy tip and choose to exercise my 'power', I am merely displaying my pettiness. The restaurant is challenging me to bring out my pettiness. That simply isnt classy, man. It is an illusion that this is power to the diner.

While my eyes may moisten when I see furry kittens or baby seals being clubbed to death, I am usually not moved by restaurant service.

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An American server, say working in a high volume, fine dining restaurant in Los Angeles could earn a year's tuition for the University of Paris in a week just from tips.

That is because French universities are heavily subsidized as much as the fact that some American waiters are heavily compensated.

Of course, don't you have to spend two years studying full time (with no time to work) just to pass the entrance exam? Or is that just X.

taking jackal's model into consideration >

52 weeks = 50k usd

1 week = approx less than 1000 usd

it must be swell studying in france.

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An American server, say working in a high volume, fine dining restaurant in Los Angeles could earn a year's tuition for the University of Paris in a week just from tips.

That is because French universities are heavily subsidized as much as the fact that some American waiters are heavily compensated.

Of course, don't you have to spend two years studying full time (with no time to work) just to pass the entrance exam? Or is that just X.

taking jackal's model into consideration >

52 weeks = 50k usd

1 week = approx less than 1000 usd

it must be swell studying in france.

You got it. It's actually less than that in most cases. Or even just plain FREE. The Grande Ecoles are more expensive, but they are a very special category of schools (these types of schools require two years of study just to pass the entrance exams)

Anyway, I gave the example to support Jaymes argument that economic needs are different in different countries. The college student/waiter in the States has higher tuition costs than the French college student/waiter in France. What works in one country is not necessarily going to work in another.

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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You got it. It's actually less than that in most cases. Or even just plain FREE. The Grande Ecoles are more expensive, but they are a very special category of schools (these types of schools require two years of study just to pass the entrance exams)

Anyway, I gave the example to support Jaymes argument that economic needs are different in different countries. The college student/waiter in the States has higher tuition costs than the French college student/waiter in France. What works in one country is not necessarily going to work in another.

how much can a student(full time/part time) make as a waiter in france? approx?

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