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 Post subject: Scientifically Tested Techniques to Increase Your Tips
PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 1:32 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:01 am
Posts: 243
A study from Cornell University about factors that affect the amount we tip. Here's a news story pointing to the article:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/consumers/good-tips.html

The article itself:
http://people.cornell.edu/pages/wml3/pdf/megatips.pdf

Some very valid points here. However, I think they missed some big ones (for me):
* Visit the table as soon as possible after the customer has been seated. Nothing ruins a more faster than having to wait ten minutes before the waiter arrives.
* Visit the table again as soon as possible after the customers have indicated they are ready to order.
* If the food is expected to take longer than usual to prepare, communicate this to the customer to set reasonable expectations.
* Ensure the cutlery, glasses, and plates are spotless.

Feel free to add your own...

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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 2:35 pm 
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Keep my damn water glass filled. And if I ask for a pitcher of water, bring me one. I'm trying to save you effort because I can tell the restaurant is busy.


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 4:19 am 
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I'd also add:

Come and collect the money. If I've got the bill and I'm ready to pay, I don't want to be sat waiting around for another half an hour.

And although I've got no idea whether people really do tip more if you touch them, I always feel really uncomfortable if people touch me, even people I know really well, so I'd prefer it if serving staff didn't touch me.[/b]

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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 6:15 am 
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Manage expectations! If I have to wait a while for service or if everyone's food won't all be coming out of the kitchen at once, fine. If they're understaffed, that's okay. Just let me know what to expect right off the bat. I'll be that much less ticked off when it happens, especially if it's not the wait staff's fault. If the service is better than expected, that's a bonus. Just keep my water glass full and don't touch me.


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 6:59 am 

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Location: Silver Spring, MD
Don't make me wait 5 minutes for a table during non-peak hours. If I'm waiting for a table because no one is even there to seat me, I'm in a bad mood already.

Also, my wife and I both HATE it when we're clearly done with the meal, and the wait staff has either not taken our plates (which are nearly empty and pushed enough to the side to notice), and brought out the check promptly. If they've already cleared the table and not gotten the check, doubly so, since the waiter was likely the one that cleared it. Let me pay. In fact, the longer you wait, the less tip I'm inclined to give you, so let me pay YOU along with my bill quickly. :)

Agreed on the touching, I don't like it.

One thing that I'd recommend is to get into a conversation. It can be about the food, something we're wearing (like a funny shirt), whatever. Get me involved in the process of eating out, it's much more enjoyable for me, and probably for a bored waiter or waitress too.

Being a regular customer has its perks. You develop a rapport. If they run the place right, they'll treat you with extra stuff they know you like, and you tip better. For instance, my father goes out once a week to a pizza place with a buffet (it's a Pizza-Hut) with one of his co-workers. They tip them well, and they frequently can get whatever they want. Instead of getting the plain regular pizza, they'll custom cook one. They took some other co-workers out once who were astonished at the kind of service they got. Be a good customer, get good service.


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 7:30 am 
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Oh yeah: I hate the crouching thing. I consider it patronizing, and it puts me in a negative frame of mind from the start. I'd be willing to bet that it only works on certain types of customes. For example, maybe it works on older customers. Or maybe it works if a waitress crouches to take an order from a man, but not if a waiter crouches to take an order from a man. Or something. I'll bet there are some subtleties there...


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 7:34 am 

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Ways to get a good tip from me:
    Smile! I'm enjoying myself, splurging on something, and nothing will dampen a dinner or date faster than a surly server.
    Keep my refillables refilled, bring a carafe or pitcher if I ask for one, don't let me run out of chips or salsa, peanuts, or beer.
    Don't interrupt table conversation. If I'm in the middle of a sentence, don't cut me off with a perky, "how ya' doin!?" Trust me, we know you are there and if you'll wait 10 seconds, we will turn our attention to you.
    Make helpful suggestions. If I ask about the specials, know them. Bonus points for suggesting a wine. If I ask, specific questions like, "Is that made with eggs" either know the answer or be able find out.
    Keep us updated. Did the sous chef just storm out in a huff? Fire broke out on the grill? Let us know if our dinner is running late. Don't just let us sit there, unattended, for 45 minutes.
    Be friendly, but not friend-like. Don't sit down at my table or in my booth to take my order. Don't tell me stories about your personal life or medical problems. Don't ask us personal questions. DO smile, ask us if we've been here before. Depending on the venue, ask us about "the big game" or if we're here on vacation, or for "the big event."

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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 11:53 am 
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I sat at the sushi bar Friday night and mentally calculated how little I was going to tip when the waiters, sushi chefs, and busboys took care of everyone around me instead of me. It was noticeable and offensive.

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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 2:56 pm 

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Location: Vancouver, Canada
    If you screw up my order, you'd better apologize and make good on it before I need to tell you. If I tell you, you'd better make good on it.
    If you try to make up for a screw up by buying me dessert, do not bring a random dessert. Give me a couple of options, in case there are allergens in the food.
    If I am with a toddler, do offer to put his food order through quickly. This will make me love you. When asked, bring the cheque quickly and come pick up payment quickly, if you can see it. This will really benefit your other customers!
    If the tip you get sucks, consider that you must have screwed up. Do not send over your manager to confront us on the way out. If I had wanted to get into a disussion about it, I would have. This sort of thing usually happens when you have made egregious errors.
    Don't lie to me. If you lost the order, say so. If it's been 35 minutes and you come back and say that the order is in but that you forgot to put it into the computer, I will not believe you. Your tip will be gone. 'Fess up and bring me free dessert. You get the dessert for half off, so you're going to make more than if you lie.

(And, yes, I have worked in the food service industry.)

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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 3:02 pm 
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I've been a server, so I tend to tip high. The easiest way to hurt your tip in my book is to be disrespectfull to the bussers. If I see you do that, you'll be lucky to get a tip at all. Once, with a server who had treated us poorly and been rude to a busser, I hunted down the busser and gave the tip to him. We had a young child with us, who had made a bit of a mess and I felt the busser had earned a tip far more than the server. That's actually the only time I've left less than 10%. 20% is usually my base rate.

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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 5:14 pm 
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My wife and I both did our time in food service, and we can detect when a restaurant is busy, or understaffed. We can tell when a server is being attentive or just going through the motions. We can tell when we're getting lousy service because other tables are being demanding, or when we're getting lousy service because somebody's taking a smoke break. We are generally very generous tippers. I've tipped as high as 50%, though 20-25% is more typical for dinner. Therefor, I refuse to be guilted for not leaving a tip. I've only done this once or twice, but sometimes it's deserved. A tip is not automatic.


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 7:44 pm 
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Agreed. A tip is not automatic, but service bad enough to result in no tip is more than bad enough to result in a talk with the manager. (Discovering what kind of manager a place has can get a tip upped too!)

Has anyone noticed that most of the threads I post on are food-related. Hmmm. :)

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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 9:51 pm 

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When I'm paying, don't ask me if I want my change. Just bring it to me and let me deal with it, unless I say so otherwise. Though this increasingly common ritual is not enough in itself to be a dealbreaker, it can definitely push me over the edge.


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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 4:58 am 
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You can tell that the Brits are tight on tips. I've never left a tip of more than 20%, and lots of the time they are lucky to get more than 10%. In my defence there is a different pay structure and tips aren't as vital.

Bad service doesn't get a tip, full stop. On the bright side, leaving a tip usually gets a word of thanks from the waitstaff as I'm on my way out and that leaves me with a good impression, I'm probably more likely to go back again.

I'm with the crowd of, if its gone wrong, you probably can't apologise enough.

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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 7:00 am 

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Some generous tippers here in my book. My standard rate is 15%, although I tend to round up a little.

I have a practice regarding poor service. I almost always pay by credit card, so if I've received poor service I'll write a note on the credit card slip with the poor tip. I try to specify exactly what was bad about the experience. In my experience, we can overestimate the ability of another person to read our minds.

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