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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 7:36 am 
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Location: Portland, Oregon
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if I've received poor service I'll write a note on the credit card slip with the poor tip


I like this idea. It's something that can help the server improve.


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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 8:27 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2007 8:48 am
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Location: Silver Spring, MD
I'm a fairly bad tipper in general, I admit. The usual range I tend to give out is a little above 10% to about 15%, depending on the service.

I base it on the following: My wife and I hardly ever have complex ordering. We don't hang around for an extra 30 minutes (taking up time for the server and the availability of tables). Our service is hardly exemplary or merely above-average. Additionally, we don't tend to visit fancy places that give us a better experience in general.

I can't recall if I've ever not left a tip. Mistakes are usually made up for in one way or another. I've probably given very small tips before if I've noticed the wait staff's lack of attention.

I frequently leave a tip using the credit card slip, so I was also wondering how that is usually distributed. I assume it's pooled and split between the wait staff and bussers.


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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 9:35 am 

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We've always been big tippers (base rate of 20% of the total , even the tax, and round up to the next dollar, plus adjustments for better service) but now that we're watching our finances, the automatic big tip is out the window.

We now give 15% of the total before tax, adjusting higher for better service.

Things that keep me from adjusting to a higher tip: arrive at my table smelling of smoke after making me wait, not keeping drinks refilled.

a few tips for people dining with small children: 1. Call ahead seating, 2. Family night, 3. Ask for the check when you place your order. That way if a meltdown occurs you can get out of there more quickly.


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 Post subject: Definitely not P.C.
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 9:51 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:01 am
Posts: 243
On the whole touching thing, my guess is that this is very dependent on the situation. I bet that if the customer is a thirty-something male on his own or with some buddies, a light touch from an attractive female waitress has a high probability in generating higher tips. However, if middle-aged male waiter even attempts to touch a twenty-something female customer, I'm betting there's a lawsuit somewhere in the mix. :shock:

My bet is that at least four factors weigh in here:
- age: usually ok for younger to touch older
- sex: female waiters generally yes, males generally no; although if the male waiter is friends with his male customers, hearty back slaps or hand shakes may be appreciated
- "attractiveness": the higher the attractiveness of the waiter, the greater the reward-to-risk ratio
- company: if the customer is eating with someone that has a "claim" on them, hands off

Again, these are just my opinions on the topic. No scientific evidence to back up my claims.

squished


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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 9:53 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2007 8:48 am
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Location: Silver Spring, MD
sandycheeks wrote:
We've always been big tippers (base rate of 20% of the total , even the tax, and round up to the next dollar, plus adjustments for better service) but now that we're watching our finances, the automatic big tip is out the window.

We now give 15% of the total before tax, adjusting higher for better service.

Things that keep me from adjusting to a higher tip: arrive at my table smelling of smoke after making me wait, not keeping drinks refilled.

a few tips for people dining with small children: 1. Call ahead seating, 2. Family night, 3. Ask for the check when you place your order. That way if a meltdown occurs you can get out of there more quickly.


While this doesn't relate as much to tipping, I wholeheartedly agree. There is nothing worse for me at 9pm than to be seated in an otherwise empty restaurant, right next to a family of 5 (not to mention, what are sub-12 year-old children doing out eating at 9pm anyway?). This completly RUINS my ability to have a nice night out.

If you have kids, go out at a decent hour with well behaved children, or hire a babysitter.


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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 1:30 pm 
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Regarding tipping amount, my standard amount is to double the tax (8.25% tax = 16.5% tip). At my favorite sushi place (not the one to which I went last week) I tip 20-25% because of the excellent service and they treat me like family.

I never leave no tip. If I get exceptionally bad service, I leave a penny. In my mind this communicates, "Yes, I'm aware of the practice of tipping and no, you're not getting one."

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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 1:34 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 10:22 am
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Location: Vancouver
I have left zero tip before, but it was for some damn awful service... One time I was waiting for my glass of wine to be replaced for 25 mins and I could see my waitress smoking out front with the other waitress. This was at a nice restaurant too...

I tend to tip heavily though, as I realise that the job can be fairly stressful/hectic and that the tip is split among all staff. I just hate lazy people and/or pretentious people and it seems that some wait staff definitely fit in this category. One time I took my whole company out for an xmas dinner, the food and wine was excellent and the restaurant was fairly small and pretty much empty. Except for our table of 11 people. It was a nice restaurant as well, and I ordered a couple bottles of wine, there was a few cocktails before the meal, we all shared several appy's and all had dessert. Rather large bill. Food was great. The waiter was a complete jerk however and was mia for 75% of the meal - we continuously had to ask the bus boy to get us stuff and he was very gracious about it. When the bill came, I asked for the manager and explained how unhappy I was with the service. I told him I did not want to leave a tip at all, but that the food was good and the busboy had saved our whole meal experience. I asked that if I left a tip that the waiter get none of it and the manager agreed and basically promised he'd have a chat with the waiter, thanked me for telling him and so on. So I left a good 20% tip on a bill that was about $1500.

I returned to that same restaurant with my wife 3 months later, got the same waiter. He was still a pretentious jerk, took over 30 mins to get our bill and he screwed up our order among other things. When the bill finally came, I ended up leaving only a $0.25 cent tip or something and that was only because I didn't want to wait another 30 mins for change. At that point, I simply didn't have the patience to talk to the manager AGAIN.

Moral of the story? I've never been back.

Providing good service is not hard, even when your restaurant is busy or understaffed, etc....


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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2007 8:36 am 
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tinyhands wrote:
I never leave no tip. If I get exceptionally bad service, I leave a penny. In my mind this communicates, "Yes, I'm aware of the practice of tipping and no, you're not getting one."


When I was a server, people who left a penny (or a quarter) did not communicate what you suggest. The servers took this as "I'm an ass." Leaving a tip this small is, to a server, essentially a personal insult. If the service is this bad, you should talk to a manager.

It's fairly common knowledge, but some people may not be aware, that people who routinely recieve tips have a different (much lower) minimum wage in most places in the US. When I was serving, it was 50%.

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 9:04 am 

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Location: USA
I have to admit that the reluctance to ask for a manager if you are unhappy with your service boggles.

I usually start with a base rate of 20% pre-tax. If I felt like I was particularly demanding or the server did particularly well, I might drop another dollar on top of that. If there were slight issues, but nothing particularly underwhelming, I might roll back a dollar or two.

If I'm tempted to leave less than 15% for bad service, which almost NEVER happens, then I'll ask for a manager. Why not fix the problem while it occurs, rather than expressing my displeasure when it's too late to do anything about it?

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 9:12 am 
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onebigmortarboard said:
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I have to admit that the reluctance to ask for a manager if you are unhappy with your service boggles.


And that is how I can tell you aren't English :D

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 11:30 am 
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morydd wrote:
When I was a server, people who left a penny (or a quarter) did not communicate what you suggest. The servers took this as "I'm an ass." Leaving a tip this small is, to a server, essentially a personal insult. If the service is this bad, you should talk to a manager.

Exactly. Why would a server ever think that the problem might be him? The customer is always the ass.

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 1:02 pm 
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tinyhands wrote:
morydd wrote:
When I was a server, people who left a penny (or a quarter) did not communicate what you suggest. The servers took this as "I'm an ass." Leaving a tip this small is, to a server, essentially a personal insult. If the service is this bad, you should talk to a manager.

Exactly. Why would a server ever think that the problem might be him? The customer is always the ass.


Most of the people who did this, in my experience, were very clearly, asses. They tended to be the messiest, rudest customers. People whose definition of poor service seemed to be along the lines of "not enough ice in the pop". While there are, of course, exceptions to every rule, the exception is rare enough that someone who is making $2.50 an hour isn't going to launch a deep, introspective analysis of their service when they get an insultingly bad tip.

And the main reason that I don't do food service (or much of anything involving customers if I can avoid it) is because, far to often, the customer is always wrong. The phrase "The customer is always right" is a guideline for running a business. Not a guideline for being a customer.

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 1:49 pm 
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One night a group of 8-10 of us were out in Georgetown, and were waiting on our table to open up (about an hour wait at a very popular italian joint there on the main street). We went down to the bar area (downstairs), and grabbed an alcove with seats with switft and glorious timing. Before ordering my drinks, I went to the overworked bartender and asked for drink menus and a round of waters, which implies we will be ordering alcohol. He blew me off with this line "I don't get tipped on water"

I went back over to our table. A girl who was cleaning tables and such was nearby, so I asked her if she could fetch a manager when she got a moment. She asked what happened, and I told her the story. She'd told me she'd get a manager.

She came back out a few minutes later with drink menus and 2 pitchers of water and glasses for us all. Nevermind she was short a few glasses, the thought meant alot, and she did this of her own volition. She said the manager would be out soon,, and apologized for what happened.

The manager came out and I explained the problem to him. He was infuriated with the bartender, as it appears this has happened before. To make up for it, he gave us a few bottles of nice wine on the house. And we heard him yelling at the bartender about service.

The cleaning girl (obviously a new hire and just in training, so she got the bad job), was back and doing her job, so I went up and handed her a twenty. "That's for good service. I want you to make sure that he knows that we tip for good service" She tells me she can't accept a tip because she's a trainee. I told her that if her manager has a problem with it, to speak to me. (my business card has umm, DOJ-ified). There was no further issue.

Bad service cost the bartender his job, and as I learned, got him blacklisted because of how powerful the owner was. As for that girl, we went back and she was our waitress. Impeccable service. The manager remembered us. I asked how the girl was doing. He said she was the best waitress he had, so she got the choice tables. She now clears several hundred dollars a night in tips. Talk about paying for your education...

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 Post subject: A penny?
PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 9:46 pm 

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I was a waitress for about a year, and the worst tip I got was a crinkly dollar (the mean was probably $40 or so).

I got the message, and you know, I did stop to think why they might have been unhappy about the service. But overall, I just thought they were inconsiderate and unsympathetic. I don't recall the specifics of the night anymore, but when I waitressed, I was running all night. It was probably busy, and maybe they were unhappy, but they didn't express it. I didn't take smoke breaks and I did my best to provide the best service I could, no exceptions. I wasn't a slacker. There were better waitresses, but I also received generous tips, so I am confident I didn't suck completely.

I mean, I spilled water on someone (once... it was mortifying!!) and I got reasonably generous tip not to mention kind words ("I waitressed too, I know what it's like, don't worry") Obviously if I was soaking people regularly I wouldn't expect this, but a little kindness never hurt!

If someone gives poor service, I tip much less (when it's obviously the fault of the server, not the busy-ness of a restaurant). Still, being a waitress sort of sucks, no need for me to make it worse--they get a bit above 10% and let them think I'm cheap.

Other than that, I usually tip under 20% but over 15%. If the bill is small (a $6 lunch), the percent goes up. Average and excellent service get the same tip, which I really don't think is that uncommon.


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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 10:36 pm 

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I will tip zero if the service is really bad. I usually leave something, since I'm aware of the need to tip out other employees. However, I live in a place where the minimum wage is $8 an hour and tips are on top of that. Some of the chain restaurants pay more than $8 an hour to start and so do the more upscale places. A friend of mine worked at one chain restaurant 10 years ago for $11 an hour plus benefits plus tips. That was more than I was making in my first job after I finished university (at the same time). I worked in the service industry and I'm well aware of how tipping works. But I won't tip if the service is awful.

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