28
   

BANNED FOR NOT TIPPING

 
 
Sglass
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 01:43 pm
@Heeven,
Heeven you are right about taking care of a good chef! However I am sure that the base salary is much higher than that of a wait person.

Now my question is how did the wait person get on the lower rung salary wise?

Hope it is a lovely day in Boston.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 03:34 pm
@Heeven,
Heeven wrote:

My main issue is the 20% amount. If I go to a fancy restaurant and pay over $100 for the meal then I think $20 is too much money to give to the server. They give me a menu, I give them my order, they bring my drink and food, they take away my plates, they give me my bill and make change. That service is worth about five bucks per table of two maximum. It is not rocket science. If I have the poor sucker running back and forth to the kitchen, for wine, etc., etc., then I understand throwing a few more bucks their way, but generally the service is not worth $20.

The price at the restaurant for the food should include the overhead at the restaurant and that includes the salaries of their chefs, cooks, cleaners, sweepers, and serving staff. I am more appreciative of the chef who makes my meal delicious than the server who just walked from the kitchen to my table with the plate!


The thing is Heeven, in a classy restaurant where you'd be spending $100 for 2 meals, the waiter does a lot more than just bring your food out and take your plates away.

Sure, at a cheap place Maybe they could get away with that, because all you expect is for the waiter to write down "burger and fries" and then shove a plate in front of you with said items on it 10 minutes later.

At a really nice place, they are much more attentive and anticipate your needs.
They know all the specials and how they are prepared, and make sure that any particulars about a meal are carried out.
If somethings not right, they make it right, even if you weren't aware anything was wrong in the first place.
Behind the scenes, they are definately not just picking up a plate of food and carrying it out to you.
They can be doing quite a bit of the prep for certain dishes you order. They can have miscellaneous clean up tasks and other duties that must be attended to.

I've been in restaurant kitchens, and I don't think you really want to be going into one to get your own meal.

What do you imagine? That you would be able to just walk in and line up with a bunch of other diners waiting for the chef to hand you your food?

The chef wants you to have a good meal, but he doesn't want to deal with you.
Can you imagine the goings on?
The chef, busy as a one arm paper hanger, pushes your food to your pickup area, you look at it and decide your steak isn't well done enough, The wrong vegetable was served, etc.
What are you going to do? Get in another line for exchanges? Say "yoo hoo, chef? Could you please stop what your doing and take back my plate to make corrections. That's ok, I'll just stand right here and watch you."

No one wants you in the kitchen Heeven, especially a tempermental chef, and you don't really want to go in there either.

I think one of the most important things a good waiter does is what I said above. They make things right before you even know something was wrong.

That, I think, could be said of anyone's job.
You're a librarrian, plumber, nanny, seamtress, accountant?
All you do is shelve books, fix the toilet, take care of kids, sew pieces of cloth together, add up numbers....It's not rocket science.

The thing a good waiter does is make it look easy. They don't just turn on the charm when the bill comes, they have been friendly and helpful from the time you sit down until the time you leave.

Not everyone can be even a bad waiter, let alone a good one.

Seriously, if you are hell bent on not paying much of a tip, or none at all, you really need to just go to buffets or cafeterias when you do basically get your own food.

There is one group of people I way overtip, on purpose. That would be hotel maids.

hawkeye10
 
  2  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 04:13 pm
@Heeven,
Quote:
If I have the poor sucker running back and forth to the kitchen, for wine, etc., etc., then I understand throwing a few more bucks their way, but generally the service is not worth $20.



You overlook a lot of things:

1) the server only keeps a part of the tips, almost everyone in the joint get a share, if the food is great or the place really clean you should tip better so that those who are responsible are rewarded.

2) in a high end place much more time has been put into the food and service, which means that there are many more people to tip out and/or the number of tippees contributing to the daily wage of each person goes down. In order for the staff to make the same amount of money as in a cut rate place the average tip must go up

3) a high end place will normally employ a better quality staff, and with better skills (or more willingness to use them) should come in return a better compensation. Part of this should be higher wages paid by the employer which is reflected in the menu price, but part of the better compensation should also come from better tip collections at the end of each day.

4) part of service is creating an atmosphere that the customer enjoys, often meaning "treating the customer right". You act like servers are nothing but food runners and paper pushers. You miss what most of service is.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 04:29 pm
I've always admired waiters, most of them anyway. The only time I served food to many, when I was a kid, I brought the pie to the person before the main dish. I had at one point a lot of friends in theater studies who made their way through school waiting tables. (Some of them were undoubtedly theatrical waiters..)

I have my likes and gripes. I like the servicio system, where a waiter gets a reasonable salary and there is a fifteen percent tip automatically in the bill, assuming that is well distributed, and a minor extra put into a tip if everything's great. I tend to give more than that in low end places.

I'm crabby about what is a function of management choices, that a waitperson show up as your named friend for the evening and your constant babysitter. The places I like best just have the waitstaff watching, and coming over to your table if the bread basket is low or empty, water glasses empty, etc. I turn surly if I am asked six times how I am doing, especially while in intense conversation or have my mouth full. But - these are styles of running the restaurant, usually not the staff choice, far as I can tell.
Sglass
 
  2  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 12:46 pm
@ossobuco,
Oh Osso what is it with people that hang all over you trying to elicit some compliment on the food being served you when your mouth is full. I find that so excessively rude. Makes me want to spit my food all over them.
0 Replies
 
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 01:20 pm
@Sglass,
Sglass wrote:
.. In my experience as a server, the only guests I've seen ejected from restaurants are those who've publicly engaged in illegal activities. Managers will typically usher out patrons who use drugs, have sex or hit someone in the dining room " all of which happen in even the finest establishments.


Banned from the buffet ...


Heeven
 
  2  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 01:23 pm
@hawkeye10,
Actually I overlook nothing. I know all of these things. I was talking in terms of actual work the server does specifically related to me, not to the upkeep or cleaning or otherwise as part of their job.

The bill should include all tips and I shouldn't have to tack it onto my total. I don't care what it is intended for or who it is shared amongst. Honestly I am just out having a meal. I don't want to have to think of all these things and how people should be rewarded, etc., etc. I know Chai thinks it's no big deal and in the grand scheme of things it isn't - I agree - but the subject came up and I'm making my feelings known on the matter. End of Story.

I do have some experience working as a server for both low and high end eateries myself as well as bar-work, both in Ireland and in America. I am not completely ignorant of what goes on and how things are run and I assure you I am not looking at this just from the perspective of a customer who plops herself in a seat at an eatery and expects to be waited on hand and foot and not pay a fair price for it.

I have no problem paying for the "experience" - including food, drink, nice people who serve me, a clean environment, an enjoyable ambiance, etc., etc. I just want to pay one price for it. Give me a bill and I'll pay it. I think the idea of tipping is silly and I will never understand why servers are not paid a decent wage for the work they do.

We will just have to agree to disagree on the matter. I do understand your perspectives and that this is what you are used to. Maybe being born and raised in another country it seems strange to me when a tip is generally treated as the rule rather than the exception.
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 01:35 pm
@chai2,
So why not just raise the quoted price to cover those costs?

I have no problem paying what they want. I've never neglected to tip or even under-tipped in my life. But I'd rather pay 3x as much for the meal than have servers see me as a walking tip. It makes the service worse (e.g. recommending expensive items on the menu just for the tip, trying to be charming when I'd rather they be scarce) and there's no reason that they can't just charge for it upfront.

Americans often act like this is the only way it could possibly work "to get good service", ignoring the excellent service around the world that simply does not work this way and that finds this a gaudy upsell.

In Costa Rica there's something like a 10% service tax attached to all dine-in meals. Same in Brazil. I always tip on top of that anyway because as an American it's expected of me (here they expect Americans to tip but not the locals) but it's often annoying and it's often very clear that I am viewed as a nice tip instead of just a customer.

I don't want so much of my server's salary depending on the tips, it makes them act like tip whores when I just want a waiter.
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 01:38 pm
@Heeven,
Heeven wrote:
Maybe being born and raised in another country it seems strange to me when a tip is generally treated as the rule rather than the exception.


Exactly! For Americans it's just so normal that disagreeing with it means you must be cheap (as opposed to just not a fan of this gaudy bit of American culture). Hawkeye's whole post completely ignores the possibility that this service can be compensated by any means other than a tip.
Heeven
 
  2  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 01:39 pm
@chai2,
I think you get the idea that I begrudge paying for service. I don't. I am just annoyed at the automatic tipping system here in America. I think it is stupid to automatically expect tips. My mindset is that I need to be extra-delighted with something before I reward (tip) somebody. A tip should be for above and beyond service (and not taxed). I shouldn't have to "supplement peoples wages" because the industry pays them shockingly poorly.

Now, having said all that, I am going to totally contradict myself .... if there was a tip jar for hotel maids, I would fill that sucker up. I temporarily worked with a friend who is a hotel maid and I was shocked in general at the amount of work and the things they have to clean up. No normal salary covers that job. We had to clean a room that looked like somebody exploded in. I thought we would have to get the contractors in. Apparently the occupant got violently ill and puked everywhere, that spewing kind of puke. It was on the ceiling! She and I had to wash down the walls and ceiling and replace everything made of fabric in the room. Jeez!
0 Replies
 
Heeven
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 01:42 pm
@Robert Gentel,
That's exactly what I'm trying to say! Someone "gets" me. Thanks Roberto!
mm25075
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 01:55 pm
When I get service in a resturant, I have the expectation that it is going to be good. On occasion I have gotten poor service, but generally I find that because I am a good customer that I communicate my concerns in a way to get the service I expect and rarely am I disppointed. For example, Instead of automatically expecting that a meal be taken back if a steak is not cooked to my order, I clarify...I ordered "medium rare" and this seems to be more on the "medium" side in my opinion. Is it possible you could get me another?" Politeness, setting the expectation. One time and one time only have I ever thought about not paying for meal and that is because I shared a salad with my mother while I tried to flag down our waitress to show her my hamburger was still red in the middle. (UGH GROSS) By the time she got back to me to ask if I wanted it replaced, everyone at our table were finishing up their meal. It was too bad I was not paying the bill in this instance because the bill wasn't fixed until after a cash tip was left at the table.

I look at a bill when it comes and always always always add 20%. Easy to figure in that it's $1.00 for every $5.00 on the bill. I like the tipping because if the service is bad they only get $0.50 on the dollar. This can at least be some type of incentive to tell the waiter/waitress (service provider) that their service is lacking in a big way and if they don't want it to affect their pocket, they need to rethink their servicing.

And I have to be honest, I don't tip hotel maid's if I am staying only one or two days because I do not really mess up a room much. Rarely if ever do I ever have the maid come in to make up my bed as I put on the "Do not disturb" sign while I am gone. When I leave the bed is still unmade, dirty and used towels are piled neatly on the bathroom floor, garbage is all in trash cans....etc. I don't make big messes so there is no reason for me to think a hotel maid needs more than what the employer pays.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 02:03 pm
@Heeven,
Then let me improve on your %-based point too! The example of a fancy restaurant doesn't make the case very well (because the actual service is usually different) but your point about the service load not directly correlating with the price (and tip) is a valid point.

Consider this example instead:

If I order a $40 bottle of wine I should expect to pay $8 in tips to have it brought to my table. If I order a $400 bottle I would expect to pay $80 to bring it to my table.

Is carrying the different label to my table really worth an additional $72?

Not that I'm in the habit of ordering $400 bottles of wine mind you. However, in restaurants when I ask for a recommendation from the wine list I invariably get an expensive recommendation for this reason.

If the waiters were not compensated this way they'd give an honest opinion instead of recommending the one that comes with the biggest tip.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 02:16 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

I'd rather pay 3x as much for the meal than have servers see me as a walking tip.


Ok, go out and spend $60 for a $20 meal to make your point.

Guess you won't be going out very often.


Personally, I've never had a waiter push a more expensive meal on meal because he figures he'd get, what, an extra 75 cents?

Trying to be charming?
What if they just are....charming? I've had a lot of great conversations with waiters.

Whores?
What if they are more like high class call girls?

I just don't get that you think someone doing a job that they must enjoy as much as the next guy doing whatever they do is being a whore.

It does tell me a lot of what you think of the profession though.

My sister makes good money because her customers like her.
She has people who will wait for one of her tables to be available instead of sitting at someone elses station.
They ask her where her kid decided to go go college, and she asks them how thier mother in the hospital is doing.

I don't think she thinks of herself as a whore for serving a little tea and sympathy.

Like I said in a previous post, why would she give up making $20 an hour in tips, when the alternative would be making a "living wage" of what, $12-$13?
Why should she, or other good waiters, get penalized for performing in the upper precentiles of their occupation? Oh, I have to add, the $20 an hour in tips is after she gives the busboys their percentage of what she makes (I think each waiter gives them 10% or more of their tips) So it's more like $22 hr in tips, and the $6-$7 bucks and hour she earns. This is just for the day shift, like lunch and afternoon.
I've just never heard her complain about how much she makes.

I guess I just don't have the lousy experiences you have in restaurants Robert.
Maybe you should go to where my sister works. But make sure you leave her a good tip.




chai2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 02:22 pm
@Ticomaya,
We're a dry cleaner now.
Laughing
0 Replies
 
Heeven
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 02:27 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Another good point.

Whatever about the 20% tip on food/soft drinks/juices/coffee. 20% tip on alcohol is not really fair.

I work for a company who reimburses us for expenses but we have to exclude the alcohol from the bill and only tip 15% of the food total.
I have to take the time to add the amounts up in my head - split the food from alcohol and then calculate one fifth of the food, in order to come up with the tip.

Not so easy any more. It's becoming a bit of big deal now, right? Cumbersome, bothersome, an inconvenience.

If I make a mistake and over-tip, the company will not reimburse me. Can get pretty pricey personally when I am expected to entertain clients. I have paid bills in the hundreds only to later find out I am not being reimbursed for the $100 tip I left because I incorrectly calculated it at 20% of the food bill or 10% of the total bill, or something quick so I could get out of the restaurant. I really can't lash out the calculator in front of the clients - can't have them thinking I'm an idiot. They don't know that my company make us jump through hoops to cut down on expenses.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 02:33 pm
@ossobuco,
ossobuco wrote:

I've always admired waiters, most of them anyway.


Had you not qualified that, I would feel obliged to remind you of the waiter we had at The Restaurant on Church Street. Mame told me the final tip we left; I thought it was at least $5.00 too much.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 02:53 pm
@roger,
Forgot about that. Now there was an exception.. Mr. Dither. To explain to others, I never did get the dish I ordered (I forget what it was but it needed baking or resting or something and much time went by), and made do with some of the guacamole on one or more of the other a2ker's order and some chips.

Good guacamole, though.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 03:01 pm
@chai2,
chai2 wrote:
Ok, go out and spend $60 for a $20 meal to make your point.

Guess you won't be going out very often.


Wrong again. I eat every single one of my meals from a restaurant.

Quote:
I just don't get that you think someone doing a job that they must enjoy as much as the next guy doing whatever they do is being a whore.

It does tell me a lot of what you think of the profession though.


No, it tells you what I think of tip whoring. There is such a thing as very classy service and I don't have any problem with that. I also don't have a problem with whores or waiters for that matter. What I am against is tip whoring and I think the tipping compensation structure lends itself to it.

Just in the last month I've been asked about the tip while being seated at a restaurant (as in "I'm your server, please remember a good tip") and I've been hit up for 5 tips in one single restaurant visit.

You do realize I go to different countries than you are living in right? And the cultures are very different? When you have a hand shoved at you while you are taking a piss by the bathroom attendant asking for tips then you might understand what I am talking about by tip whoring.

When they are jostling in front of you to be the one to take your tip it's tip whoring. And when they see you tip someone else and come running with their hands out it's tip whoring.

Quote:
I don't think she thinks of herself as a whore for serving a little tea and sympathy.


Neither do I. But if she does the things I reference above I would consider it tip whoring. If she turns on the charm at bill time or tries to upsell clients for bigger tips then I would consider it tip whoring. If she doesn't (and most American service is not this gaudy) then good for her. Here's a good list of what I consider the typical American server's gaffes:

http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/29/one-hundred-things-restaurant-staffers-should-never-do-part-one/

Most of those are on a whole different scale of what I am talking about. The type of stuff I'm talking about I'm pretty sure you have never experienced.

Quote:
I guess I just don't have the lousy experiences you have in restaurants Robert.


No **** chai? That just now sinking in? I am mainly talking about cultures outside of the country you life in. Namely some places in Mexico, where the tipping culture was so damn annoying that I paid 3 tips to take a piss once and then had the toilet paper and soap ransomed for more.

Quote:
Maybe you should go to where my sister works. But make sure you leave her a good tip.


Where is it at? I'll go sometime in the next year and I will tip well (I always do, I'm a waiter's dream customer because I'm usually very easy to serve and usually leave big tips).

I treat servers impeccably, I tip for my guests when they are stiffing their servers. I just don't like the structure of the compensation because it puts too much of the focus on the money (for some people, and especially in some cultures that you seem unfamiliar with). I am not arguing against their compensation, I am not arguing against their trade, I am simply arguing against this compensation structure.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 03:07 pm
@Heeven,
But....at least they don't expect you to rely on your clients paying you for being nice to them at these dinners in order for you to pay your rent, electricity bills etc?

I know this is not what you are arguing for, but I just don't comprehend those who are.

 

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