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Tipping inflation?

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Tipping inflation?

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  • #308128

    thefiercelime
    Participant

    TaraK wrote >>

    thefiercelime wrote >>
    I think the attitude in the post, overall, is lame and the tip is mediocre. I guess it’s all relative. Sure as hell don’t want to wait on her, though. I’ll just go somewhere that charges more money per dish if I want more tips. Haha. As far as resenting tipping to support the staff, I’ll do that proudly. All of my tax dollars in this country go to corporate welfare and our war efforts. What a stupid way to live.

    A 20% tip is mediocre?
    Did tipping become a competition? Has this become a thing where folks “prove” what a good person they are by announcing on a public thread what grand tips they leave? ‘Cause, you know, I tip 65% and rescue aborted but viable late-term puppy fetuses.

    Yes. This has totally become “a thing”. When I’m not tipping cows or chasing greased pigs, I make outrageous online claims about gratuity because it proves how good I am.

    #308129

    lisathewaitress
    Participant

    jackoh wrote >>

    Core_Models wrote >>
    I really like tipping well.
    I get to put money in the pocket of someone working hard, and more specifically working hard for me.
    I get MUCH better service from a bartender or server the next time I’m at the establishment…not that it was bad before, but there’s a difference. I tip big in bars, and the ones I frequent I never have to wait, never have to even order normally, as they remember my drink.
    Totally worth it, IMO.

    So a tip is a bribe!

    Yes. Or a reward for hard work. If you are going to become a regular anywhere – especially a bar – you ensure future great service by being a good tipper. that’s the whole point. A good tip guarantees I will go above and beyond for you.

    at a restaurant where I used to work, we had this couple who came in twice a week; they were supposedly “good” regulars, although they always sent food back (the wife would order the SAME thing every time and send it back to be replaced with a salad) and tipped 10% even with great service from everyone. Eventually we just had to divorce them because it wasn’t worth anyone’s time to provide great food and service. No one would wait on them or cook for them.

    #308130

    TaraK
    Participant

    thefiercelime wrote >>

    TaraK wrote >>

    thefiercelime wrote >>
    I think the attitude in the post, overall, is lame and the tip is mediocre. I guess it’s all relative. Sure as hell don’t want to wait on her, though. I’ll just go somewhere that charges more money per dish if I want more tips. Haha. As far as resenting tipping to support the staff, I’ll do that proudly. All of my tax dollars in this country go to corporate welfare and our war efforts. What a stupid way to live.

    A 20% tip is mediocre?
    Did tipping become a competition? Has this become a thing where folks “prove” what a good person they are by announcing on a public thread what grand tips they leave? ‘Cause, you know, I tip 65% and rescue aborted but viable late-term puppy fetuses.

    Yes. This has totally become “a thing”. When I’m not tipping cows or chasing greased pigs, I make outrageous online claims about gratuity because it proves how good I am.

    I’m not sure how I’m supposed to read your comment. If it was intended to be a jab, let me know.

    ——————

    On the topic of tipping for services other than servers, the repair guy our landlord uses has been stellar. He comes over within a few hours anytime we have a maintenance issue. I’d really like to give him a gift card or something for Christmas this year, but I don’t see him regularly, nor do I know his address. (That’s kind of a tip, right?) Anyone else tipped someone in this role? (Note: He’s not a building maintenance person, just an independent contractor. We live in a duplex, not a big complex.)

    I really like tipping people who do you well at Christmas, though I understand that this time can be a stretch for many who have to buy a lot of gifts. It’s a lot more rewarding to give a gesture of appreciation to your mail person than to buy another Old Navy fleece for your ungrateful second-cousin’s punk kid.

    #308131

    jackoh
    Participant

    To Lisathewaitress: Your reply to my post raises a host of issues as I thought it would. I would like to deal with the example that you used, and approach it from a business standpoint(though it raises moral and political issues as well and we can deal with those later). You point to the “good regulars” couple who were “divorced” from the restaurant because they weren’t “worth anyone’s time” to take care of. But, if I own the restaurant and I have structured my business carefully (my cost percentages are all in line and are reflected in my menu prices); if this couple comes in, orders from the menu, and pays their bill without requiring any comps, I should make about 10% of their bill added to my bottom line. 10% from an occupied table is worth more than the 0% that I would get from an unoccupied one (the same holds true for your 10% BTW). In fact, I get a negative return from that unoccupied table, since it doesn’t contribute to offsetting my fixed costs. So the very fact that they come in, order and pay makes it worth my time.

    As for your time, I would guess that the 10% that you get from them(even with the aggravation involved) is offset by the 30% and 40%ers that you get if you are good. (Remember, tipped income should always be assessed in the aggregate rather than on the basis of individual tables.) If you want to restrict your service to the 30% and 40%ers, they are less numerous and your station will be less populous, meaning less income (let alone the moral implications of denying service to the less than wealthy).

    As for the cook’s time- I pay them by the hour, whether they cook 10 meals or 100 in that hour they get payed the same so what is worth their time is measured by the minute, not by the quality of the task. What I ask of them is 60 minutes of work for the hour, not how well they like spending each of those minutes.

    I see from some of your posts and from your blog that you would like to have your own restaurant someday. If so, keep in mind that success in the business, as in any, requires that you see things from all perspectives of the operation not just one (that goes for those whose single focus is on the bottom line to the exclusion of all else BTW).

    Liz Lessner occasionally posts on this site. It would be interesting to get her perspective.

    #308132

    DavidF
    Participant

    “at a restaurant where I used to work, we had this couple who came in twice a week; they were supposedly “good” regulars, although they always sent food back (the wife would order the SAME thing every time and send it back to be replaced with a salad) and tipped 10% even with great service from everyone. Eventually we just had to divorce them because it wasn’t worth anyone’s time to provide great food and service. No one would wait on them or cook for them.”

    As someone who has been a server and a manager, I can only say I’d be amazed at the restaurant that would allow servers to get away with this. I hope there’s more to the story than just that.
    1. Cheap annoying people? Deal with it.
    2. Taking money away from my business because you don’t want to “waste” your time on paying customers? Time to find a new job.
    3. Good service, good food and good atmosphere are for all customers, not just they ones you deem worthy.

    That said. I have personally barred people from the restaurants I’ve managed. Servers, like customers, deserve an environment of respect and congeniality from co-workers, management, and customers. There are lines people just cannot be allowed to cross. But that decision is always management’s to make. And I would never bar someone for being a lousy tipper. (oh, and if management can’t/won’t stand up for their employees, then they aren’t the kind of people I would ever work for.)

    One thing a server can never assume. A bad tip means a loss of income. You would be surprised by the number of people who are just atrocious customers, who then go on to sing the praises of the restaurant to everyone they know. Happy customers = more tips, even if you can’t always see the results immediately.

    #308133

    lisathewaitress
    Participant

    I suppose I could say no one “wanted” to serve them. They were always passed off on a new person. Your post seems a little contradictory. You say you’d never ban someone for being a lousy tipper, but also that you have a manager has to stand up for their employees.

    Also, in this case, it was a combination. They came in frequently and always sent their food back. That on top of being bad tippers was the reasoning. I think it’s perfectly reasonable. Clearly, we couldn’t make them happy, so maybe it would be better for everyone if they didn’t come back. This also happened when I worked in retail. When you have a customer who complains about everything and returns everything they buy, it is in the everyone’s best interest to ask them to not come back.

    Sending back the same $25 entree twice a week is a big loss for a restaurant, and they aren’t paying customers if they take take a few bites, say it’s terrible, and demand a salad, because we take off the offending entree.

    #308134

    DavidF
    Participant

    I agree that consistently sending the exact same dish back would be a real issue. Of course a good manager would have had a conversation with them before making such a decision. (And I’m not assuming your manager didn’t).

    I guess what prompted my post was the idea that “nobody” would wait on them. I’ve always had a problem with people in service positions taking a position that they could pick and choose who got good service and who didn’t. Frankly, after following your posts over several threads. I can’t honestly see you having that position either.

    I thought about it a little bit, and I realized what was really bugging me (note: if you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m digressing in a big way. Apologies) was the horrible state of restaurant management in general. I do believe a manager has to stand up for his/her employees. (And no, I don’t think that includes stinting on service for lousy tippers.) No one should have to work in an abusive environment, and yes, I’ve tossed customers who were absolute jackasses.
    T
    However, time and time again, I see situations where managers treat employees like dirt. They create an atmosphere where line employees have to deal with situations that simply shouldn’t be a part of their job because the manager either refuses to handle it, or is so punitive to the employees that they learn to never bring their problems to her/him. My employees always knew that I wouldn’t treat the inevitable issues that arose in the restaurant as a black mark against them, and/or a personal affront to me. My job was to work with them as part of a whole. In my mind, bad service is always the fault of management. Either from bad hiring, bad training, or a bad work environment. I get so incredibly frustrated when I get lousy service from a server who has obviously not been properly trained, and is basically just trying to survive. (Honestly, that’s a 40% plus tip from me)

    Sorry for rambling. This is a much longer discussion that should probably have it’s own thread.

    I respect your opinions and if you want to talk this out further, feel free to pm me.

    #308135

    michaelcoyote
    Participant

    jackoh wrote >>
    To Lisathewaitress: Your reply to my post raises a host of issues as I thought it would. I would like to deal with the example that you used, and approach it from a business standpoint(though it raises moral and political issues as well and we can deal with those later). You point to the “good regulars” couple who were “divorced” from the restaurant because they weren’t “worth anyone’s time” to take care of. But, if I own the restaurant and I have structured my business carefully (my cost percentages are all in line and are reflected in my menu prices); if this couple comes in, orders from the menu, and pays their bill without requiring any comps, I should make about 10% of their bill added to my bottom line. 10% from an occupied table is worth more than the 0% that I would get from an unoccupied one (the same holds true for your 10% BTW). In fact, I get a negative return from that unoccupied table, since it doesn’t contribute to offsetting my fixed costs. So the very fact that they come in, order and pay makes it worth my time.
    As for your time, I would guess that the 10% that you get from them(even with the aggravation involved) is offset by the 30% and 40%ers that you get if you are good. (Remember, tipped income should always be assessed in the aggregate rather than on the basis of individual tables.) If you want to restrict your service to the 30% and 40%ers, they are less numerous and your station will be less populous, meaning less income (let alone the moral implications of denying service to the less than wealthy).
    As for the cook’s time- I pay them by the hour, whether they cook 10 meals or 100 in that hour they get payed the same so what is worth their time is measured by the minute, not by the quality of the task. What I ask of them is 60 minutes of work for the hour, not how well they like spending each of those minutes.
    I see from some of your posts and from your blog that you would like to have your own restaurant someday. If so, keep in mind that success in the business, as in any, requires that you see things from all perspectives of the operation not just one (that goes for those whose single focus is on the bottom line to the exclusion of all else BTW).

    Speaking of limited perspectives, I think your post assumes that there aren’t numbers less than zero :-)

    If you have to waste say a $8 piece of fish (cost), then you’re getting into the negative numbers. What if I could send a server or a cook home for the evening instead of waiting on this couple or have someone sit there that I’ll actually make money serving?

    You’re also assuming that all costs are equal, which I’m willing to bet they aren’t. If you get a good deal on space rental, you are probably better off turning the couple away and having an empty table than wasting food on the impossible task of keeping the couple happy.

    One cost I think is often overlooked is the cost of training new help. If you keep the help happy you won’t have to waste time and money training new staff. Not only that, “lossage” goes down in a happy kitchen. All the more reason to refuse service.

    Just saying that there are plenty of possible economic reasons to refuse service.

    #308136

    misskitty
    Participant

    I have never sent a meal back.
    I will say that one time I was out with my mom and dad. When we ordered my dad ordered some steak kabobs dish. Then the food comes out my dad said “ This is not what I ordered” . So he said he wanted a steak, I pointed out that he did order that. He is a little blind. The waiter was really nice and took it away to make the new dish even though my dad was in the wrong. That night I made sure to tip that guy the price of the neglected dish on top of his regular tip. I just felt really bad about my dad from now on I double check with my dad before he orders. Lol

    #308137

    misskitty wrote >>
    I have never sent a meal back.
    I will say that one time I was out with my mom and dad. When we ordered my dad ordered some steak kabobs dish. Then the food comes out my dad said “ This is not what I ordered” . So he said he wanted a steak, I pointed out that he did order that. He is a little blind. The waiter was really nice and took it away to make the new dish even though my dad was in the wrong. That night I made sure to tip that guy the price of the neglected dish on top of his regular tip. I just felt really bad about my dad from now on I double check with my dad before he orders. Lol

    OMG – Yes. Dining with old people is definitely when we tip best. We take my MIL (87) and her sister (97) out to eat about once a month. My MIL always has to substitute sides and request items to be prepared special (like: “I want the parmesan tilapia. What’s that parmesan stuff like? Oh, I don’t want that. I want the parmesan tilapia, but I don’t want parmesan on it. What does that come with? Rice? Oh I don’t want that? What do you have for sides? Mixed vegetables? What vegetables are in it? Oh, I don’t like squash. What does the fish come with again? Oh, I don’t want rice.” And around we go, with me and Carl saying, Mom, you like mashed potatoes. How about mashed potatoes…), and she’ll have the waitress go through possible options about 3 or more times before deciding each of these exceptions. She’s been known to send things back, too. On the way out, if there are toothpicks available, she’ll take about half of them and put them in her purse. Be thankful they don’t travel to Columbus. It’s the restaurants out in Marion where we do this. However, the servers are always very nice, and we tip them very well because of that.

    #308138

    lisathewaitress
    Participant

    Going back to the management thing; it is kind of sad in this economy, I have lots of server friends who being crapped upon because everyone is looking for a job. A friend of mine had to have a Saturday night off for something very important, told her manager a month in advance, and her manager said something like I’m not the kind of manager who grants requests.

    he saw his employees as completely dispensable and would fire them at the drop of the hat. I always found this strange because it costs SO MUCH to hire and train a new employee. A smart manager would have worked with the employee; your employees are people who occasionally need time off (imagine if you had to fight for a day off for EVERY wedding you went to). A lot of times egos get in the way of sanity.

    Thankfully I work for awesome people who legitimately want their employees to be happy. Imagine!

    As far as sending food back, it is totally fine, just not the same thing repeatedly. When I wait on people I really want them to be happy. If I can see they don’t like something I will usually convince them to let me find something they will enjoy.

    That being said, there are always times when I fail miserably and probably ruin someone’s night.

    #308139

    jackoh
    Participant

    michaelcoyote wrote <a

    Speaking of limited perspectives, I think your post assumes that there aren’t numbers less than zero :-)
    If you have to waste say a $8 piece of fish (cost), then you’re getting into the negative numbers. What if I could send a server or a cook home for the evening instead of waiting on this couple or have someone sit there that I’ll actually make money serving?
    You’re also assuming that all costs are equal, which I’m willing to bet they aren’t. If you get a good deal on space rental, you are probably better off turning the couple away and having an empty table than wasting food on the impossible task of keeping the couple happy.
    One cost I think is often overlooked is the cost of training new help. If you keep the help happy you won’t have to waste time and money training new staff. Not only that, “lossage” goes down in a happy kitchen. All the more reason to refuse service.
    Just saying that there are plenty of possible economic reasons to refuse service.

    I am acutely aware of negative numbers, as I pointed to in the case of an unoccupied table actually netting a negative number because it doesn’t contribute to offsetting the fixed costs incurred simply by having the doors open.

    But you are right to call attention to the “hidden costs” in Lisa’s example. Tolerating the situation of those “regulars” certainly incurs costs in terms of employee morale. That cost is not a hard number like the $10 on a potential $100 dollar check, but it is no less real. How often and in how many areas of endeavor do we see the costs of doing something or the costs of changing the way something is being done assessed only in terms of the directly quantifiable without taking into account the “soft” or the indirect costs(e.g. see the discussion on the issue 2 thread)? As I said, perspectives limited to one concern are never adequate.

    #308140

    Mercurius
    Participant

    lisathewaitress wrote >>

    he saw his employees as completely dispensable and would fire them at the drop of the hat. I always found this strange because it costs SO MUCH to hire and train a new employee. A smart manager would have worked with the employee; your employees are people who occasionally need time off (imagine if you had to fight for a day off for EVERY wedding you went to).

    I also will boycott a place if they fire a friend for less than just cause.

    #308141

    DavidF
    Participant

    lisathewaitress wrote >>
    Going back to the management thing; it is kind of sad in this economy, I have lots of server friends who being crapped upon because everyone is looking for a job. A friend of mine had to have a Saturday night off for something very important, told her manager a month in advance, and her manager said something like I’m not the kind of manager who grants requests.
    he saw his employees as completely dispensable and would fire them at the drop of the hat. I always found this strange because it costs SO MUCH to hire and train a new employee. A smart manager would have worked with the employee; your employees are people who occasionally need time off (imagine if you had to fight for a day off for EVERY wedding you went to). A lot of times egos get in the way of sanity.
    Thankfully I work for awesome people who legitimately want their employees to be happy. Imagine!
    As far as sending food back, it is totally fine, just not the same thing repeatedly. When I wait on people I really want them to be happy. If I can see they don’t like something I will usually convince them to let me find something they will enjoy.
    That being said, there are always times when I fail miserably and probably ruin someone’s night.

    There are always what I used to call the Bermuda triangle tables. No matter how hard everyone tries, it just all goes wrong. I’ve even gone to the patrons involved and said that. Right before I comp everything and offer them free meals if they would just come back and give us another chance. It’s funny how much leeway people will give you if you just admit that everything’s gone off the rails. ((Side note: On three different, consecutive occasions, we had long time regulars come in and have completely different, but still horrible things happen (drinks spilled on them, something funky in the food, and I can’t remember the third one now). They were actually wonderful about it and never stopped giving us chances until we got it right.))

    On the management side of things, I guess my frustration comes from hearing horrible management stories from my friends in the industry while I’m sitting here unable to land any kind of chance to do what I actually love, which is running a restaurant. So hopefully that explains my rant. It was never meant to be directed at anyone here. Just frustrated venting.

    And we all fail, it’s how we pick ourselves up that really shows who we are.

    #308142

    michaelcoyote
    Participant

    jackoh wrote >>

    I am acutely aware of negative numbers, as I pointed to in the case of an unoccupied table actually netting a negative number because it doesn’t contribute to offsetting the fixed costs incurred simply by having the doors open.
    But you are right to call attention to the “hidden costs” in Lisa’s example. Tolerating the situation of those “regulars” certainly incurs costs in terms of employee morale.

    Right but food/materials waste is probably the biggest cost I was referring to. If it costs you several dollars to seat these two “regular customers”, then you’re not doing yourself any favours by seating them. Especially if you can seat customers in their place that you can make money one.. or, if the night is slow, send someone home. Those are costs that are more quantifiable.

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