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Tipping
April 10, 2005 5:47 PM   Subscribe

The professor of tipping with tips (pdf) on the age old art of tipping(pdf)
posted by peacay (72 comments total)

 
Eh. I'm not wild about pdfs or posts with every word going to a different link, but you tried hard, so here's a buck...
posted by klangklangston at 7:01 PM on April 10, 2005


The first .pdf is crazy... drawing pictures on a receipt increases tips? I don't think I've ever fallen for that, but then again, I don't eat at places like Applebees...
posted by sdrawkcab at 7:09 PM on April 10, 2005


You know, I've gotten into many an argument with my waitstaff friends about this; but I'm really having a hard time buying into this whole mandatory tipping business.

And I have one friend who keeps adjusting the percentage of his tip up for "inflation". (He now hovers around 25-30%) Good for those who serve him, but it doesn't make a lot of sense.

On a related but separate issue; I actually will deduct tips from waitstaff who try to be nice. I find it insincere and disingenuous.

(and just to prevent the opprobrium I'm sure this will engender; I do, on average, tip 15-20%, if I'm able. I grumble about it, but I do it. )

Good post, though.
posted by gambit at 7:14 PM on April 10, 2005


If a waiter is friendly (in that professional way), polite, attentive, doesn't make any mistakes in the order, and doesn't make the customer wait for a long time, they deserve a good tip. If they squat next to me, touch me, call me by name, draw weird shit and "Thank You" on the receipt, tell jokes, wear some bizarre article of clothing (hehe, flair), recommend expensive items, etc., they'll get a normal tip from me with the words "Quit trying so damn hard" on the check. The fourth link is like a recipe for the most annoying waiter possible.
posted by clockzero at 7:16 PM on April 10, 2005


i'm with you, clockzero. Those "flare" waiters need to take it down a notch. And I did have a waiter draw on the receipt once, I just thought it was kinda dumb.
posted by puke & cry at 7:24 PM on April 10, 2005


from the FT link:

Brass urns with the inscription "To Insure Promptitude" were placed in coffee houses and, later, in pubs.

Nonsense.
Link
posted by words1 at 7:51 PM on April 10, 2005


20% is the decent thing to do. These folks make like $3 an hour.
posted by danny boy at 7:57 PM on April 10, 2005


hey. where's tim leary? oh. professor of tipping
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 8:00 PM on April 10, 2005


danny boy: We love you.

clockzero: What kind of jobs have you worked? I'm guessing that you've had some involvement with the sales business at some point, being a flaneur and all. Remember that servers are salespeople. A salesperson is constantly being encouraged by their management to be personable with their customers, and to make them walk out having spent more than they thought they would. In fact, management holds this to be so important that they if they perceive you to be deficient in this, they will replace you. Thus in order to maintain gainful employment servers must perform well.

You seem to take this personally, possibly as an affront, and obviously so do others in this thread. Gambit, your friend with the "adjusted inflation" scheme probably gets nothing out of it but frustration, as servers who discuss the adequacy of a customer's tip with that person will usually end up getting it. And am I to truly understand that you believe nice servers are disingenuous? Is it so difficult to imagine that the person serving you might actually care about the quality of your experience, and that they consider it pleasant to be nice to you and do their jobs well? Or, unfathomable as this may seem, that they enjoy it? I'm interested in your response.

Of course, I'll be the first person to admit that tipping is completely optional.
posted by baphomet at 8:12 PM on April 10, 2005


If they were unhappy with $3/hr, they'd go find other work.

I don't think I've ever seen "flair." Probably because I very seldom go to a chain restaurant. Could someone describe this phenomena?
posted by five fresh fish at 8:13 PM on April 10, 2005


Errata: "...as servers who discuss the adequacy of a customer's tip with that person will usually end up regretting it."
posted by baphomet at 8:15 PM on April 10, 2005


I still go for 15% if the service was good, 10 if it wasn't so good. 30 is waaay too much.
posted by puke & cry at 8:24 PM on April 10, 2005


oh yeah, fff, have you seen office space? if so, you've seen the flare waiter
posted by puke & cry at 8:25 PM on April 10, 2005


^-- tip good for these guys out of pity.
posted by mrplab at 8:34 PM on April 10, 2005


This is a very cultural thing, and I think we've been over this before.
In other countries (e.g. here in Japan) you don't tip at all, because the waiters are paid decent wages to begin with (they need to be, because tipping is not customary).
It really makes the payment part of eating out much less of a hassle: You get the check, and you pay the figure on the check, and not one yen more. No worrying about what is appropriate, no mental calculations, no fear of violating the regional custom. Most everybody who's ever lived in a country without tipping loves it and sees that the American system of tipping is slightly screwed up.

All this yaddayadda about making dining out a pleasurable experience is really a load of BS if you think about it, as is evidenced by the fact that you can have some great dining in countries without tipping, too. Heck, you don't tip if you buy a plane ticket in a travel agency either, or if you buy clothes in a department store or wherever -- yet you can still expect a minimum level of service. So, there is no inherent reason why decent service without tipping shouldn't be possible. It's just that in the U.S. and in other countries, tipping in restaurants is customary, so this won't change anytime soon.

So in short, Mr. Pink has it almost right, except he didn't observe the customs and was being an asshole about it.
posted by sour cream at 8:49 PM on April 10, 2005


we've been down this road before.

Of course, I can't find the holy grail of "tipping" threads that became an all out war between those that serve and those that had never had the pleasure to serve. For all I know it got deleted. In any case, I imagine this thread will go the same way or worse.
posted by shoepal at 8:56 PM on April 10, 2005


shoepal: agreed.

I worked at a hotel for a summer as a porter. Everyone knows you tip a waiter in the US. But not so many people tip a porter. I got over it. I was paid minimum wage. And when I was tipped I appreciated it as a sign of good service. Too many waiters take getting a tip for granted, regardless of what they earn hourly (a practice I thoroughly disagree with).
posted by gambit at 9:08 PM on April 10, 2005


I've worked for tips numerous times. It would be nice to have a situation of no tipping like sour cream describes. It would take alot of guesswork out.
posted by puke & cry at 9:14 PM on April 10, 2005


shoepal: Is this what you wanted?

*hovers expectantly by shoepal's table*
posted by carter at 9:14 PM on April 10, 2005


I can't imagine that my favorite anonymous writer-waiter-blogger, Waiter's Rant has not been featured here before.
Many of his wonderfully-written short vignettes deal with lousy tippers, (as well as nasty customers, human observations, break-ups, urban life, more). Go thru the whole archives!

posted by growabrain at 9:19 PM on April 10, 2005


fpp it, growabrain.
posted by puke & cry at 9:29 PM on April 10, 2005


The only thing here that did not accord with my sense of the obvious is that the check-holder with the Visa logo is supposed to increase tips: Alhough it is not clear why, research has found that simply seeing these insignia increases consumers’ willingness to spend money.
posted by Zurishaddai at 9:33 PM on April 10, 2005


baphomet:

Yeah, I've had a number of jobs, including some in sales. I'm not sure I agree with your assessment about the nature of servers' jobs, but I see the logic in it: to customers, servers are semi-skilled service-people, whose job should be to ensure the order is correct, be polite, helpful, etc. To the management, the satisfaction of the customer is only meaningful insofar as they spend money, so the server is caught between two radically different sets of expectations which are not completely compatible.

I think it's unfair and kind of sleazy to treat servers like salespeople. I wouldn't go to any restaurant that treated its workers like that if I knew so. In fact, I think that if the managers of restaurants thought more about what customers expect and appreciate, they'd make the server's job easier. And, of course, they must perform well, as must anyone with a job of that sort.

What I take personally is the mentality, described in the fourth link, that it's a good idea to treat diners like children at a birthday party; it's demeaning and dehumanizing to the waitstaff and the restaurant patrons alike. I don't know if some people do go to restaurants to be given sycophantic attention by clownish actors, so I can't say there isn't a market for it, but I find it distasteful. It rarely comes up, too, but I think the fellow who wrote that guide could be responsible for a trend in that direction.
posted by clockzero at 9:58 PM on April 10, 2005


In other countries (e.g. here in Japan) you don't tip at all, because the waiters are paid decent wages to begin with (they need to be, because tipping is not customary).

Meanwhile, here in Korea, tipping is not customary, but restaurant workers nonetheless make a pittance. However, since they are almost without exception women, who are, of course, born to serve men ungrudgingly, it's all A-OK.

I kid, because I love seethe.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:00 PM on April 10, 2005


Eh. I generally don't like tipping. I do it, but I just don't enjoy it. I feel weird that I'm basically tipping the person waiting on me, but the people in the back washing dishes, cooking and cleaning (basically doing more intensive work) don't get an extra dime.

Then again, don't alot of restaruants make people "tip-out" or something like that and they distribute the tips evenly?

Granted, I've never had a job being a waiter or bus boy myself, but that's mainly because I have never wanted too. Then again, I've been a cashier at Trader Joe's, were I bag groceries all day and do pretty intensive work but aren't tipped there either.

I dunno, maybe I just don't understand the whole tipping philosophy.
posted by RockBandit at 10:06 PM on April 10, 2005


carter, I feel like it was in the blue, but I do recall reading that (ask.mefi) thread too. That was a fun one! I think the one I am thinking of was in response to a similar article of Cornell/Lynn origin that gave tips for increasing your, er.., tips (kneel, touch, etc), which may very well have been Lynn's PDF linked above, which might make this a sort of double post if the aforementioned thread even exists anymore.
posted by shoepal at 10:28 PM on April 10, 2005


It's a very uncivilised way to run an industry, relying on voluntary tipping for service. Just pay your goddamn staff the right amount in the first place.
posted by wilful at 10:30 PM on April 10, 2005


I don't mind tipping. I almost always tip 20%. Sometimes a bit more. A server really has to suck to get less that 20% from me. I do wish restaurants would just pay their staff a reasonable wage, but then they would have to roll the cost of the wage increase into the cost of the food. I imagine people would be less inclined to eat out if that 15-20% were built into the prices on the menu instead of tacked on at the end.
posted by apis mellifera at 10:41 PM on April 10, 2005


carter, here's another one of "those" threads with this "classic."
posted by shoepal at 10:51 PM on April 10, 2005


Okay, I just got back from my shift at the diner, so I'm all full of Waitress Pride and ready to answer questions.

Yes, Rockbandit, it is customary to tip out. The tip-out can be up to 35% of your tips, if you've a bartender, hostess, and busser to tip out to, in addition to kitchen staff. If it's just cooks and dishwashers, the standard is to tip out either 10% of your tips, or 2% of your sales. I prefer the latter, because that way I get to keep any windfalls, but if I fuck up and get lousy tips, the dishwasher doesn't lose money.

Many owners and managers will try to take a cut of the tip-out. Those who do this are Bad People, and should be poked with sharp, sharp sticks.

As far as tipping standards go, I think that 15% is fair for good, prompt, polite service. I'd only ever expect more if a customer was ordering something so modified and added-to* that it wasn't really on the menu, if a group of ten or more got good seating and service without a reservation, or if an absolutely obscene mess was made. (i.e. spilled milkshakes, pasta on floor AND wadded up napkins every where.)

A 10% tip is reasonable for poor service. Less than that, and you're essentially robbing the waitress of her time and labour. If you've received service bad enough to tempt you to leave less than 10%, then you really ought to complain to the manager instead of being all passive-aggressive with your money.

P.S. If you order take-out from a regular, sit-down restaurant, PLEASE tip the server 8-10%. We have to tip out on those orders, too.

P.P.S. And while I'm on my soapbox, tip your pizza delivery guy. Dude has to pay for gas out of his own pocket, so usually ends up making about $4.50 (Canadian, here in TO) an hour.


* Please don't do this. Just order what's on the menu. The waitress gets 10 minutes of screamed personal abuse from the kitchen for every major modification.
posted by Tomatillo at 11:03 PM on April 10, 2005


Not that I don't happily accept larger-than-15% tips, or give those prone to large tips extra-special treatment. Cause I sure as hell do.
posted by Tomatillo at 11:13 PM on April 10, 2005


A 10% tip is reasonable for poor service. Less than that, and you're essentially robbing the waitress of her time and labour. If you've received service bad enough to tempt you to leave less than 10%, then you really ought to complain to the manager instead of being all passive-aggressive with your money.

Agreed. The best way to handle really poor service is to call back and report it to the manager the next day. The fact that you were unhappy enough about it to call a day later tells the manager just how bad it was. I guarantee the server will get an ass chewing when they get in that night (and you might be offered something by the manager to make amends).
posted by TungstenChef at 11:13 PM on April 10, 2005


I think it's unfair and kind of sleazy to treat servers like salespeople. I wouldn't go to any restaurant that treated its workers like that if I knew so.

You've resigned from eating at restaurants. I promise you this.

To the management, the satisfaction of the customer is only meaningful insofar as they spend money...

Indeed, but I must qualify: "...and come back to do it again." So the management does care on some level about the customer's experience. Naturally this is nominal compared to money.
posted by baphomet at 11:17 PM on April 10, 2005


You tip-out on take out? I didn't know that (and am now feeling guilty about my lack-of-tipping on years of to go orders...)
posted by herc at 11:25 PM on April 10, 2005


I wish there was tipping in Singapore. It's nice to not to hassle over it, but frankly service here sucks and there's no individual incentive for anyone to do better. Male and female alike are paid poorly and have no motivation other than to get through their shift. The industry is too competitive to think owners are going to start charging enough to incorporate proper wages into their prices.

The truth however is that here, with voluntary tipping, staff would still get nothing 'cus everyone is too cheap. I can see that depending on what your average clientele is like, a waiter might want mandatory tipping. In effect that what we've ended up with: a 15% service charge added to every bill with no variable amount. I don't think it serves the customer well (no pun intended).
posted by missbossy at 11:40 PM on April 10, 2005


baphomet:
Part of it is that I have an innate distrust of overly friendly people. Yes, I know, that means I'm probably standoffish to a few perfectly nice people who are just being friendly. But I'm very bad at being friendly on demand, so it's been my experience that I can either be standoffish up front and have them think me standoffish, or I can make an effort and screw it up and have them think me rude. Really, it's just not worth the effort to try and make friends with a waiter with my admittedly haphazard application of social skills. See also my comments below to Tomatillo...

Tomatillo:
This is the debate I've gotten into with my many server friends. When I sit down at a restaurant I don't want to be told about specials. I don't want to be engaged in any way. I don't even care if the server is friendly and smiley. I want to order my food (with no substitutions: if I wanted it prepared elsewise I'd go to a different restaurant) and then to be comfortably left alone until I'm done eating and pay the bill. There are two ways to impress me with service, one is easy the other is more difficult. The easy way is to make sure my drink is never empty. That's a small thing but I appreciate it. The hard thing is to be very aware of bringing new bread, new drinks, new silverware/plates etc. especially if there's multiple courses... and I've found 1 chinese restuarant in San Francisco that does that and I always tip high because it's amazing service for a relatively inexpensive dinner.

What I would like to see is the waitstaff paid a reasonable wage, and then I wouldn't feel compelled to tip even if the service was mediocre. I go to one diner in SF where a bill for 2 people comes to about $12. It's cheap, quick food. So we throw down a $2 tip. This is a full meal and good food, but it's cheap. Now, let's say I go to some chain restaurant like Applebees. I don't like Applebees that much, but they do have good nachos. Anyway, two people will eat at Applebees for maybe $20? Probably $25? and that's going to require a 3-4-ish dollar tip. For what is basically equivalent service and food. The cheap diner lacks something when it comes to atmosphere, but I'm tipping the service not the restaurant. That's what bothers me so much. There's this huge disparity between tips for equivalent service depending on where you eat.

I will end now before I really get worked up. :)
posted by gambit at 11:57 PM on April 10, 2005


gambit, a few points,

1) I absolutely agree with you about tipping good servers well regardless of the type or classiness of restaurant. It bugs me to no end when people will reward a cute white kid at a trendy restaurant for adequate service, but will stiff the server at the late night Chinatown joint cause "He's probably the owner's son," or something.

2) I, too, would rather be paid a decent wage instead of relying on tips. However, I doubt that the market would stand for a restaurant food price-hike that would let me be paid $17-25 an hour, which is what I usually make with tips + wages. (I make that much because I'm very, very good at my job. Many servers make less.)

3) You want your drink freshened, your cutlery clean, and no chit-chat. Fair enough. Other people would get offended were I to give them the sort of service that pleases you. They want conversation, personal attention, all the specials, smiles, friendliness, and occasionally, heavy duty flirting. A good waitress earns the bulk of her money NOT by taking orders and delivering food, but by being able to suss out what degree of personal attention and fawning, or lack thereof, a customer wants, and behaving accordingly.
posted by Tomatillo at 12:22 AM on April 11, 2005


herc, a waitress will usually have to tip-out on takeout. A cashier won't. So: If she's running around with a money apron on, she's a waitress, and should be tipped enough to cover takeout. (So she isn't paying money to serve you.) If she's standing behind a cash register, she's a cashier, and a couple of quarters in the tip jar is nice, but not necessary.
posted by Tomatillo at 12:31 AM on April 11, 2005


Small data point. We do not tip in restaurants here in NZ, except as a real reward, and we never tip anywhere else. Nonetheless, we have many decent restaurants.

I hate travel to places where tipping is expected. I never know what to do.

The problem for you guys is that tipping has become the convention, and there's no going back.

It was very noticeable to me on return from an extended trip away in 2000 or so that my favourite cafes (coffee houses to you Americans) had acquired tip jars. It emerged that there were so many damned foreigners working on the Lord of The Rings in Wellington that almost overnight, tipping had sprung up. Since then, I see tip jars in a lot of cafes. I never put money in them unless I get something really special, because in this country, we have this thing called minimum wage. I hope the practise doesn't spread.

Unfortunately, tourists are fucking it up for us locals.

Come to New Zealand. But don't tip. Unless you get something really good, or you're a major pain.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:25 AM on April 11, 2005


RE: minimum wage: minimum wage for servers in Ontario is $6.15 an hour. You cannot get a bachelor apartment here in Toronto for less than $500-550 a month.
NO restaurant will put a server on the schedule for more than 26 hours a week, except when desperate, but all will demand round-the-clock availability.

You do the math.

(Spleen-of-Joe, NZ sounds lovely for many reasons. Yet I hear that the immigration laws are so strict, one must marry a New Zealander to move there. [Bats eyelids. And can my fella come, too?])

And now I really must take to bed.
posted by Tomatillo at 1:35 AM on April 11, 2005


Tomatillo: you've hit it exactly on the head; most people would be offended by what I prefer at a restaurant. Most of my waitstaff friends agree that I require so little taking care of that they wouldn't expect me to tip much for the privelege of being left alone. So you see the bind I find myself in.

As a brief aside: if a waitress flirts with me it's the quickest most surefire way to get me to tip light. If I want to pay for flirting I'll go to a strip club.

(yes, I know, I'm somewhat atypical in this respect.)
posted by gambit at 2:14 AM on April 11, 2005


Tomatillo, good luck on this thread. I went round and round a few weeks ago on this subject. The people who don't want to tip will find any way to rationalize their thinking. They get it, they just don't want to admit it because then they would realize that they're just cheap.

Oh, and thanks for pointing out tipping on take-out. I'm a waitress and a bartender. During the day the waitstaff takes all the take-out orders and at night the bartender does, so I do a lot of take out orders. I take the order, pack it up with all of the requisite condiments and make sure that it's ready to go when they get there. The government assumes that I make 10% on every order I take and they don't care if you ate it there or not. Oh and just a side note, if you call a restaurant to
place a take-out order, the time to ask everyone what they want is before you call--not during the call. "Hi, I'd like to place a take-out order hold on a sec. Jim, what do you want?
posted by bas67 at 6:35 AM on April 11, 2005


I admit I am confused by the buck-a-drink tipping rule (mixed drinks, okay, sure, but drafts and bottles?) but pay it out of time honored fear of the bartender (we rummies are the Stockholm Syndromes of the restaurant world).

When it comes to a tab that includes many drinks and a bit of food, though, I'm at a loss. It's math enough to take 15%, let alone dollar-per-drink-plus-15%-of-food.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:45 AM on April 11, 2005


Why do tourists to the US get so stressed over tipping? My theory is that it's because it says "15-25% depending on the quality of service" in the guidebooks. So they feel like they have to evaluate the service before picking a tip, and that the server will take it personally depending on what number they pick in that range.

But in reality, most Americans just have a set percentage they always tip at all restaurants, unless the service is awful. No thinking and no stress at all (except in the math). A server might not love a 15% tip, but they surely get a lot of them.
posted by smackfu at 6:55 AM on April 11, 2005


robocop, I'd say just do 15% (or more if you want) on the whole bill. The buck a drink thing is more for when you're paying pint by pint, I'd say.
posted by transient at 6:55 AM on April 11, 2005


Tipping on take-out doesn't seem to be universal, which has led to many an awkward situation. When I try to tip at some places, it's either handed back to me, or I shove the money in some place it wasn't meant to go, like the time I mistook a pen-and-pencil cup with a bit of change in it for a tip jar, which led to the restaurant increasing their supply of writing implements to prevent further mistakes. When I don't tip at other places, I find myself in a staring contest.

I don't want to tip on take-out anyway, I just want to ensure that I can continue getting food from a place I enjoy without worrying about its bodily fluid content. (This is an entirely different thread, but anyone that would even think about fucking with someone's food, even if it was Hitler's Thai Takeout, should be executed in the most gruesome manner possible. I'm against capital punishment for everything else, but food tamperers should be drawn and quartered.)

Perhaps one of the pro-takeout tippers here could explain to me why I should tip on takeout? I don't mind rectifying your employer's shitty payroll practices when I've actually been served, but when you're just handing me a bag, not so much. When I call the dedicated take-out joints, the person answering the phone is more than likely also the person cooking it AND giving it to me, all without expectation of a tip. In some cases, like my local pizza and chinese joints, a tip is kind of an affront. So why tip on takeout?

I have all other sorts of problems with tipping, such as the fact that, with a large family, you can tack on $20-$40 on top of an already expensive meal. How do you deal with something like that without looking like a dick?

Oh, for the record, even with all the problems, I'm a universal 20% tipper.
posted by unsupervised at 9:48 AM on April 11, 2005


I really wish the general public was forced to work in a service (preferably restaurant) industry job for 6 months .. and keep the job .. before they were allowed into their chosen profession. I think the tipping schema in the US is utterly incomprehensible, on top of the ridiculous "*.95" trick that further makes tax and rounding and all that more difficult (see: gas stations). I've been to foreign countries where barcoded receipts and sane monetary denominations and pricing mean a hostess gabbing on the phone can change you out in three seconds flat without you breaking step past the register as you walk out the door.

Either way, when the typical lunch or dinner means that the difference between a 15% and a 20% tip is $1-2, just give the extra amount or at least round up for benefit of the doubt. I've never understood the economy of scale that transpires in folks' minds when calculating tips.
posted by kcm at 10:16 AM on April 11, 2005


I'm a 20%-er as well. Having lived with various server roommates (and now marrying an ex-server) I know what a horrendous job it is and have tremendous sympathy for those who Wear the Flair.

I'm also a big tipper for cab drivers for the same reason. Although I'm much more willing to not tip a cabbie for bad service. And to shout at them, too, come to think of it.
posted by papercake at 10:27 AM on April 11, 2005


KCM- The unreconstructed authoritarian in me would have everyone in America work one shit job for at least six months. Rich or poor, everyone should have to learn how much it sucks to clean up after inconsiderate sons-of-bitches. (I'm never quite sure on how to pluralize son of a bitch. Is it like surgeons general?)
posted by klangklangston at 11:30 AM on April 11, 2005


One thing that's always bugged me is that I'm supposed to tip the waiters in expensive restaurants much more than waiters in your local diner, who are doing essentially the same thing.

For example, that over-priced $40 bottle of wine is going to end up costing me 6-8$ on the final bill.

I tend to tip the expected 15-20% in more expensive restaurants, and tend to over-tip (20-30%) in less expensive restaurants, just because it seems that the waiters in those places seem to be bustin' their ass a bit more.
posted by mach at 12:54 PM on April 11, 2005


It's been my experience that most people who bitch about tipping do, in fact, tip, they just don't like it because it's such a schizophrenic institution in this country and the more you think about it the less it makes any sense.

(I'm sure it makes sense to those who are profiting off it, but for the rest of us it's kinda confusing.)
posted by gambit at 2:07 PM on April 11, 2005


P.S. If you order take-out from a regular, sit-down restaurant, PLEASE tip the server 8-10%.

No thanks, I'd rather not. I always tip when sitting down but I'm just not going to do it for counter service.
posted by grouse at 2:10 PM on April 11, 2005


One thing that's always bugged me is that I'm supposed to tip the waiters in expensive restaurants much more than waiters in your local diner, who are doing essentially the same thing.

That's why more expensive restaurants can hire better waitstaff and pay them the same wage.

I tend to tip the expected 15-20% in more expensive restaurants, and tend to over-tip (20-30%) in less expensive restaurants, just because it seems that the waiters in those places seem to be bustin' their ass a bit more.

That might be because the experienced waitstaff in the more expensive restaurants make a very difficult job seem effortless.
posted by grouse at 2:12 PM on April 11, 2005


I suppose it was predictable that this would be a for/against discussion. *sigh*
Being from the (mostly) non-tipping antipodes I made this post basically because I stumbled across the first link and the idea of an academic studying tipping fulltime seemed to me to be strangely unique/bizarre.
I'm otherwise in accord with my cross-Tasman Spleen of the Joe variety - when you do visit Oz/Nz, don't tip except in taxi's and restaurants and only when you get above and beyond the call of duty.
posted by peacay at 2:38 PM on April 11, 2005


baphomet, quoting me:

I think it's unfair and kind of sleazy to treat servers like salespeople. I wouldn't go to any restaurant that treated its workers like that if I knew so.

You've resigned from eating at restaurants. I promise you this.


Really? You're saying there are no restaurants that don't do this?
posted by clockzero at 3:45 PM on April 11, 2005


Perhaps one of the pro-takeout tippers here could explain to me why I should tip on takeout?

Because if you don't, your waitress is paying out of her own pocket for the pleasure of serving you.

And as I said before, this doesn't apply to restaurants that make take-out a regular feature, or have separate staff designated to serve take-out customers.

Mach, I have two jobs: one in a neighborhood diner, one in an upmarket bistro. I do more running at the former, but for the latter I also have to make everything look easy AND deal with rich assholes who've never worked a service job in their lives. Both the diner and the bistro jobs require a hell of a lot of heavy lifting, most of it damagingly anergonomic. I'd say the physical workload is about even. I make a little less money at the diner, but the customer/staff camaraderie at the diner makes up for the slight pay cut.

Clockzero, there is the occasional rare exception. The owner of the bistro, for example. But I must stress that he is an exception. Most owners have a distinct, "Bitch, where's my money?" attitude toward their staff.
posted by Tomatillo at 4:59 PM on April 11, 2005


P.S. If you order take-out from a regular, sit-down restaurant, PLEASE tip the server 8-10%.

No.

You handing me food across a counter does not warrant a tip.

I'd love to see your attempt to support a claim that operating the register (been there, done that) and moving the food from the kitchen to the counter amounts to 66% of the work of serving a seated customer for an hour-long meal.
posted by NortonDC at 5:52 PM on April 11, 2005


NortonDC: Part of a server's job is to receive food from the kitchen in an ungarnished, very barebones state- essentially just the ingredients of the meal, which they customize to your specific order (if you communicate your tastes well) and visually improve its presentation (all: yes, this important. Very much so. Presentation is at least as important as the taste of food when serving in restaurants, because perception of deliciousness informs preceived taste psychologically). Naturally since curbside service needs to travel well the importance of this is diminished. However, your meal still requires assembly before it gets to you. The person taking your call is usually the same person that does this and also brings it to your car. Since your interaction is so much shorter and less personal the tipping aspect of restaurants seem not to apply.

Usually, I agree with you. I don't really mind if I don't get tipped on takeout. Giving the person a buck or two is still not unthinkable. However, there are circumstances in which a gratuity should be strongly considered:
1) Order taker exposed to extreme adverse weather conditions
2) Large order (5 meals or more)
3) Complicated order (Lots of substitutions, writing people's names on the box, etc.)
The people that do the takeout at sit-down establishments have a specific timeframe for your order (usually 12-15 minutes) and if you have a large or complicated, or large and complicated, order, s/he will have to bust their ass to get it all assembled in a timely fashion so that your food stays hot and you don't get pissed waiting for it. This is especially true since they may be taking and processing other orders at the same time. 11 or 12 concurrent orders is not atypical on a busy night during rush hour. Please consider these factors the next time you order takeout.

clockzero: There are some, but they are either closed already or will be within a year. Many restaurants operate under small profit margins, and sales pressure on servers pays off.
posted by baphomet at 6:46 PM on April 11, 2005


baphomet, curbside service is not any part of my question, at all. In fact, it's explicitly beyond the bounds of my question since I specifically mention handing food to me across a counter.

Feel free to try to address the actual question again, or to reformulate your response without the bogus additions.
posted by NortonDC at 6:59 PM on April 11, 2005


Hey, I misinterpreted the question, jump down my throat about it already. I don't really give a fuck what you tip when you get counter service, but just consider that the jobs those kids have is probably a lot shitter and lower paying than yours. You might appreciate the occasional buck or two if you were they.
posted by baphomet at 8:10 PM on April 11, 2005


Jumping down your throat or trying to shut you down would have been, let's say, proclaiming that I don't give a fuck about what choices you make. Inviting you to address my actual question would be something a bit different.
posted by NortonDC at 8:23 PM on April 11, 2005


Part of a server's job is to receive food from the kitchen in an ungarnished, very barebones state- essentially just the ingredients of the meal, which they customize to your specific order (if you communicate your tastes well) and visually improve its presentation
Seriously? I was under the impression that kind of stuff was done in the kitchen (excepting, of course, that obnoxious pepper-mill thing they sometimes do - and anything else that's done at the table)..
posted by kickingtheground at 8:54 PM on April 11, 2005


Pardon me for getting personal but I truly, sincerely must express that you're coming across as a real prick regardless of the circumstances.

kickingtheground: Food and a meal connote different ideas in the restaurant business. Food is stored in the kitchen and cooked by the kitchen staff. Meals are presented to customers by servers.
posted by baphomet at 12:13 AM on April 12, 2005


Food is stored in the kitchen and cooked by the kitchen staff. Meals are presented to customers by servers.

You Americans do it differently, I guess. At my restaurant, the entire assembly is done by the kitchen staff. The waiter just takes it out.
posted by madman at 1:43 AM on April 12, 2005


baphomet, I don't feel the least bit like a prick for vehemently disagreeing with the proposition that a check-out clerk is entitled to 10% of the value of that which they ring up, though I can see how telling some who's come to expect such a largess could lead to a certain display of attitude.

Despite your attack, the invitation to address the issue is still there.
posted by NortonDC at 6:06 AM on April 12, 2005


Norton- The reason why they "deserve" it is because most waitstaff have to tip out on that order to the kitchen staff. Meaning that they're losing money by handing your food to you.
And you did act like a prick to Baphomet. Your question has been asked and answered already. If I were to act like you, I would imply that it was your lack of reading comprehension that has led others to assume you must have been talking about something else, since you clearly did not get it the first time. See how that's prickish? Now quit whining about being attacked.
posted by klangklangston at 9:23 AM on April 12, 2005


Alright. Here's the thing. We're talking about a REGULAR, SIT-DOWN restaurant. Not some kind of line-service sandwich shop, like bagel joints or the Chipotle/Noodles franchises that must dot your local urban landscape. What we're talking about here are places that don't have counters, because they have host stands. The food is (usually) not prepared by someone you can see or interact with. We're talking about a Ruby Tuesday/Applebee's/Chilli's type chain restaurant that will bring food to the curb for you. Most of these places don't even have a register: they have a cash till that employees pay into at the end of the night as necessary, which is kept in the safe behind a locked door. So this isn't a register monkey we're talking about. There isn't even a register in the picture. Nor, as I've said, is there a counter.

Please, again read your response to the comment that started this whole tif. We're talking about a restaurant with waiters, not line-and-counter service. Now, read my justification as to why such workers just might deserve partial compensation. I retract my earlier apology; it is not I who has misread and misunderstood. klangklangston,
posted by baphomet at 10:49 AM on April 12, 2005


thanks.
posted by baphomet at 10:49 AM on April 12, 2005


The reason why they "deserve" it is because most waitstaff have to tip out on that order to the kitchen staff. Meaning that they're losing money by handing your food to you.

I agree that in this situation that this is an unfair situation for the waitstaff. However, the people who put them in that situation are their employers and their manifestly unfair policy. Why expect the consumer to make up for that? It is the employer who should change.

If I knew which restaurants engaged in this practice, I assure you I would not order take-out from them.
posted by grouse at 12:11 PM on April 12, 2005


If I were to act like you, I would imply that it was your lack of reading comprehension that has led others to assume you must have been talking about something else

This is false, because nothing in my statement carries that meaning. Everything I wrote is about the post, not the poster.

The rest will have to wait for now. busy.
posted by NortonDC at 6:42 PM on April 12, 2005


Norton: Feel free to address the issue of having your question already answered before you asked it.
posted by klangklangston at 5:33 AM on April 13, 2005


Sure: it wasn't.

The original comment: If you order take-out from a regular, sit-down restaurant, PLEASE tip the server 8-10%. We have to tip out on those orders, too.

That's false, or at least unsupported. A Close Personal Friend of mine routinely orders take out from a local Bertucci's, which is an honest-to-god sit down restaurant. It's a significantly sized chain. You might have heard of it. They process take-out orders at a counter or at the bar if it's late. This is "handing me food across a counter," just as I specified, and it does not involve a wait staff.

Just last weekend, while waiting for a movie I was drinking in another chain (Friday's? Chili's? who knows.) that had a takeout counter adjacent to the bar. No wait staff involved. (The story of them trying to stick us for ~50% on bogus drink charges is another conversation.)

Apart from chains, over and over at mom'n'pops, it's the same story: bar or separate counter for take out, no wait staff involved.

These are all "regular, sit-down restaurants," so I doubt that what was described in the original post (that a take out order sans tip results in money-in-hand leaving the pockets of the wait staff) is an accurate description of most take-out order situations. I don't believe it. If you want to support your point, find some credible support for the proposition that it represents the norm for take out.
posted by NortonDC at 9:37 PM on April 17, 2005


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