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Tipping in restaurants

Social, economic and environmental issues in our ever-changing world.

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Re: Tipping in restaurants

Postby twofingers » Aug 24th, 2012, 2:10 pm

If you’re frustrated by poor service at a restaurant, think twice before you decide to not tip. You may be in for a bit more than just a dirty look from the waiter.

"Nobody, nobody wants to be forced to pay a tip or be arrested for terrible service," Leslie Pope said when her happy hour ended in handcuffs.

Pope and John Wagner were hauled away by police and charged with theft for not paying the mandatory 18 percent gratuity totaling $16 after eating at the Lehigh Pub in Bethlehem, Pa. with six friends.

Pope claimed that they had to wait nearly an hour for their order and that she had to get napkins and silverware for the table herself.

“At this point I became very annoyed because I had already gone up to the bar myself to have my soda refilled because the waitress never came back,” Pope said.

After the $73 bill came, the group paid for food, drinks, and tax but refused to pay the tip. After explaining the bad service to the bartender in charge, Pope claimed he took their money and called police. The couple was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police car.

“I understand that, you know, we didn’t pay the gratuity, but it was a gratuity, it wasn’t something that was required,” said Wagner.

The owner admitted that the group waited unusually long for their food, but said the pub was extremely busy that night. He said managers offered to comp the food, a claim the couple denies ever happened.

“Obviously we would have liked for the patron and the establishment to have worked this out without getting the police involved,” said Deputy Police Commissioner Stuart Bedics.

Police charged them with theft since the gratuity was part of the actual bill. However, it is doubtful that the charges will hold up in front of a judge. The couple is scheduled to appear in court next month.
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Re: Tipping in restaurants

Postby 36Drew » Aug 24th, 2012, 2:18 pm

twofingers wrote:If you’re frustrated by poor service at a restaurant, think twice before you decide to not tip. You may be in for a bit more than just a dirty look from the waiter.


Why not read a little further and dig up the story in which the charges were dropped?

http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Theft-Charges-Dropped-Against-No-Tip-Couple--71865807.html
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Re: Tipping in restaurants

Postby twofingers » Aug 24th, 2012, 2:24 pm

Missed the pard about the charges being dropped.
Thank God for some common sense!
From wikipedia:
Legal cases have established that customers have a right to negotiate, alter, or refuse automatic service charges, even if the policy is written on the menu.[27] A customer may choose to include an extra tip for the server over and above the service charge, or, if service is poor, to negotiate an alternate service charge with management.
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Re: Tipping in restaurants

Postby twofingers » Aug 24th, 2012, 2:31 pm

Comment by Restaurant Owner on August 15, 2008 @ 9:07 pm




I am a restaurant owner and my restaurant has been in my family for over 80 years. We have never added a gratuity to a check automatically for a certain number of guests. It’s bad for business…period. When I go to a restaurant and see this on the menu it tells me that the service is not that good and it usually isn’t. When you have to add this to your menu it shows you have no trust in your servers.


Comment by Jeffrey Summers on August 15, 2008 @ 9:09 pm




I really don’t understand why this issue and issues like it are made to be more complicated than they really are.

A tip is for service rendered – period. It is either below expectations, at expectations or exceeds expectations. You get compensated accordingly.

This will have nothing to do with how long I’ve been “in the business” and as such I should be more able to “feel your pain” for the “victimization” you feel from your choosing to be in this industry at your position. You will get tipped based only on how well you conduct my experience.

“Being in the business” is also no reason to subsidize poor and sometimes downright rude behavior. And whether or not the service was “usually” good or not or that some good or bad incident happened once to a cousin’s friend 15 years ago is irrelevant.

An auto-gratuity is not a legally mandated payment demand for the guest - policy or not - Massachusetts or not - 18% or not. The only legal requirement is that if your house has an auto-gratuity policy, that you must enforce it consistently on all check sizes you post the notice about.

Provide my guests and I with a stellar experience and I’ll tip appropriately - and I’ll be the one who defines appropriately!

Amateurs continue to whine about this “problem” while pros just continue to provide outstanding service and make really great money.
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Re: Tipping in restaurants

Postby Roadster » Aug 24th, 2012, 2:49 pm

If I thought my customers wouldnt come back again I would try to demand a chunk more too, may as well hit em for it and make a fast buck, why work for the buck and make good come back customers when you already think you cant? :dyinglaughing:

That auto gratuity thing is wrong, good service will bring that in short time by your customer's return visits and willingness to pay great tips for a job well done.

There are two groups of people in this industry being taken for a ride IMO, the customer and the waiters.
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Re: Tipping in restaurants

Postby grammafreddy » Aug 24th, 2012, 9:57 pm

twofingers wrote:
Amateurs continue to whine about this “problem” while pros just continue to provide outstanding service and make really great money.


I like this comment.
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Re: Tipping in restaurants

Postby twofingers » Jan 29th, 2013, 4:47 pm

Here's a good one (from AP)

Fed up with being stiffed on tips by foreigners, a restaurant in Hawaii has added on a mandatory 15% gratuity for customers who don’t speak English.

From the AP:


The Waikiki restaurant told KITV that its customer base includes many international travelers who, by custom, do not tip. The restaurant says it’s merely trying to help its customers and wait staff.

About 17 percent of the nearly 7 million tourists who visited Hawaii last year were from Japan, where people do not leave tips in restaurants.

Complaints about non-tipping tourists are nothing new. Last year, some of NYC’s boutique hotels that cater to overseas customers decided to add a mandatory gratuity to drinks at the bar in order to combat the “I’m from Europe and we don’t tip over there” syndrome.
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Re: Tipping in restaurants

Postby Bsuds » Jan 29th, 2013, 4:55 pm

So if we go to a country where tipping is not the norm do we tip anyway?
Can't say I agree with that, maybe they should just raise the price for everyone and have no tipping.
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Re: Tipping in restaurants

Postby twofingers » Jan 29th, 2013, 4:57 pm

How about making it a science - like this guy did?

What’s a good tipping policy?

Many people say you should tip 15% of the bill when it comes to tipping. Others are more cautious about whether the waiter earns commission or not. What is the best tipping policy when it comes to eating out?

1. I’m probably not the best to answer this as my wife says I’m “stingy” or “cheap”. But, thinking about this, I’ve come up with this formula that basically sums my thinking:

Rmax = Maximum tip amount, based on restaurant.
Twait = Time, in minutes, waiting for service.
Ttotal = Total time, in minutes, where service is expected (table seating).
TIP = Tip Percentage

Rmax x (Ttotal – Twait) / Ttotal = TIP

Also, my Rmax (maximum tip) varies with the establishment. For example, my Rmax is ~18% at a normal chain restaurant (Friday’s, Applebees, etc.). My Rmax at a quality establishment goes to ~25% (Fine Dining).

Here’s my thinking using this method:

I’m at Applebee’s and I have waited a total of 8 minutes during service for my water to be refilled. We stayed at the restaurant for 55 minutes.

18% x 47 / 55 = 15.38%
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Re: Tipping in restaurants

Postby Hmmm » Jan 30th, 2013, 4:19 pm

You know how people reading these threads that have opposing views never change their mind? I'm changing mine. I always tipped 15%-20% and now I'm rethinking that. I'm actually feeling a bit ripped off. Because I order a desert and a wine I pay an extra $20 on top of my already larger bill? The restaurant should be happy I gave them the extra business.

From now on. I'm planning on leaving $5 for middle of the road dining, $10 for upscale and $1 for buffets. Don't like it? I'll go elsewhere. I'm keeping my money, or using it for food and or drinks.

Hey, these forums can be good for something besides wasting time.
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Re: Tipping in restaurants

Postby fluffy » Jan 30th, 2013, 10:41 pm

This topic was debated on 'Q' yesterday morning on CBC Radio. An interesting point was raised, tipping by percentage means the table that orders a $100 bottle of wine would be paying more for the same service as the table that orders the $30 bottle of wine. A total banning of tips was being advocated by some in favour of a flat fee service charge on every bill.
quick - report this post to a mod
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Re: Tipping in restaurants

Postby steven lloyd » Jan 30th, 2013, 11:12 pm

I spent many years in the industry depending on tips to make a real living. I was thankful to be working in a venue that drew a lot of people for the great food and atmosphere. I was also thankful to be working with a group of people who considered what we did a professional occupation. In our view, the repeat customers who never tipped always got the best of service every time they came in. It was not our job to educate them on the customs of tipping, but to sell them that our establishment was simply the best in town when it came to both food and service. One can never guess what the person tells another who comes in to check us out, sits in my section and tips 20% or more. Maybe this guy comes back with a table of twenty and gets the bill. I once served a table of twenty people who’s bill came to somewhere over $750.00. One guy said he would pay it and rounded it off to $1000.00 on his Visa. I worked two and a half hours that night. I wonder why they came to our restaurant.
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Re: Tipping in restaurants

Postby Roadster » Jan 31st, 2013, 1:09 am

Awesome points Fluffy and Steven, Many years ago I went with a group to a Keg restaurant many times and we had our meals, drinks and a darn good time, the bill was huge for the size of our group, once I remember seeing nearly three hundred on the table for a tip. Those people were busy making their customers happy be it a birthday party or just a nice group dinner and it was worth every cent. I was only 17-19 back then (was in the military so was legal to drink and I never got questioned in town,,, what a party that was) so I didnt know how the tip was figured, just remember all of us dumping bucks on the pile and walking out talking about our next visit.
Also my work place used to hold large dinner parties at a German restaurant across the street from my house in Ontario and our dinner was paid for plus a flat rate on the tip was agreed on but we came back often as a large group and the X and I would stay after the dinner sometimes if there wasn't a party to go to afterwards cos we only had to stagger across the street and the joint would give us free drinks at the bar after,,, we got sloshed a few times. We also wandered over there ourselves about twice a month and if they had a new type of booze they would tell us after our dinner that we had to stay and try this new stuff out.
Everything in there was so close to what I had in Germany it blew me away, even the service was as nice. They would tease us if we were more then two weeks coming in because we were neighbors to them.
I honestly can't remember any place since offering service as good as that keg and that German restaurant although some do come close. In Kelowna I haven't been to many places that were as good yet I hate to say but ya, the Eldorado was nice when we were taken there as a group. It was quite a large group of about 80 so honestly the service was a bit lacking but we were also a busy bunch, I would go there again now that I think about it.
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Re: Tipping in restaurants

Postby twofingers » Mar 25th, 2013, 3:16 pm

Interesting perspective spotted in an article - makes total sense to me!

Here are a couple of reasons you shouldn’t get your 15%-20% (automatic for parties of 8 or more):

1) You don’t add to the experience.

From the moment I walked through your doors to the moment I leave, can you say you in any way made my experience better? Just doing your job doesn’t count. For example: If your job is to make a sandwich and you do that, you didn’t improve my experience. If your job is to tell me about your product, you didn’t improve my experience. If you smiled…sorry, that’s the bare minimum of making it all better.

2) You don’t engage in any way.

Did you make eye contact with me when you did your quality check (coming back to a table to ask if you’re enjoying your meal)? It doesn’t happen as often as you’d think. Did you try to connect to me on a human-level rather than just an exchange of goods and services? If the answer is no…no tip for you.

3) You aren’t present.

We all have bad days. We all have other things going on in our lives besides the 8ish hours a day we work. Or the 6ish hours servers work. Customers completely understand that. But if you’re day dreaming or chatting it up with other co-workers instead of catching the eye of a customer trying to get service, you’re not “present.” You’re “presently” wasting your employers and my time.

4) You can’t be bothered.

The customer isn’t there to ruin your day, cause you grief or generally put a crimp in your style, they just want you to do your job. You may think what you’re doing is pretty important but if it doesn’t involve getting me a drink, food or helping another customer…it isn’t. How many times have you talked to staff and it seemed like you were bothering them? Sorry about that…oh and yeah, no tip.

5) You are part of the problem, not the solution.

When a guest comes into your store, they’re looking to have a problem solved. They’re hungry, feel caffeine-deprived, want to get out of the house … Any number of things are not working for them so they want your food or service to make it all better. Are you getting in the way of that? Is your attitude or lack of interest in your job stopping the customer satisfaction from happening? Forget about that grat.

This Top 5 is full of “Don’t…aren’t…can’t.” Aim for “do, are and can.” Tips are a reflection of added value. Your work can’t just be about order-taking but rather how you left your customer feeling after you engaged with them. Just doing your job doesn’t count.
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Re: Tipping in restaurants

Postby underscore » Mar 25th, 2013, 4:52 pm

-fluffy- wrote:A total banning of tips was being advocated by some in favour of a flat fee service charge on every bill.


A flat fee service charge? For doing what?
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