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Old 07-04-2014, 10:51 AM
 
Location: In the desert, by the mirage.
2,322 posts, read 725,550 times
Reputation: 2418

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Back in the late 80s I was working for minimum wage and wanted to take my girlfriend to a Broadway show for a special occasion. I saved up for weeks and managed to get a couple of tickets with a meal at Sardi's. The only stipulation was that we use the certificate for the meal before the show and not after the show when Sardi's was known to get very busy.

I presented my certificate and a gentleman walked us to a corner and moved a table so we could sit on a bench against a wall. A young lady came by shortly and took our order. Someone else served us and a fourth person cleared the table. At the end of the meal the gentleman that seated us presented us with our check which was zeroed out but showed what our meal would have cost so we could have something on which to base our tip.

I figured out what 15% was and added $2 just to be sure we tipped sufficiently. Well it seems like my definition of sufficiently differed from the gentleman collecting the tip. He in no uncertain terms let me know that I didn't leave enough. When I asked why 15% + $2 was not enough he stated that it had to be shared amongst four individuals, the captain (himself?), the waitress, the server and the busboy(?).

I apologized and told him that I had nothing else to give as we made our way out the door. The poor man kept looking at the money in his hand like he didn't know what to do with it. Back then I had no debit card, just a passbook savings account so even if I wanted to tip more I couldn't. Well I did have $25 for cab fare (we lived in the Bronx), but I wasn't parting with that

The whole sharing of the tip caught me by surprise. This wasn't the first time we had gone to a nice restaurant, but it was the first and only time when my tip was questioned or expressed to me that it was to be shared.

FWIW the value of the certificate was somewhere between $50 and $75 (and I'm leaning more towards 50) so that would mean I left anywhere from $10 to $15.

Last edited by winrunner; 07-04-2014 at 10:55 AM.. Reason: Rogue comma.
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Old 07-04-2014, 11:39 AM
 
Location: Striving for Avalon
1,424 posts, read 2,090,950 times
Reputation: 3348
The tipping system's significance (substituting a fair wage with supplementary bribes/tips) bothers me more than tipping itself. I couldn't imagine taking out that frustration on the server (in my area, usually college students or retirees) and stiffing them.

In the US, I try to mitigate it. I'll order the sushi as a take-out rather than dine in (I am odd in preferring to dine alone vs with people). In the extremely rare event that I am travelling within the US, I will opt for a mid-range property like a Holiday or Hampton Inn. Fewer service workers mean fewer tips. A 5 star property (Four Seasons, InterContinental, Peninsula, etc) has a much higher room rate and multitudes of staff expecting substantial tips, making for a double whammy and leaving me to wonder what the extra $200-400/night covers. Being spared the "attitude" present at higher end hotels/restaurants in US metro areas is an added bonus.
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Old 07-04-2014, 11:58 AM
 
10,847 posts, read 11,250,780 times
Reputation: 7578
Quote:
Originally Posted by winrunner View Post
Back in the late 80s I was working for minimum wage and wanted to take my girlfriend to a Broadway show for a special occasion. I saved up for weeks and managed to get a couple of tickets with a meal at Sardi's. The only stipulation was that we use the certificate for the meal before the show and not after the show when Sardi's was known to get very busy.

I presented my certificate and a gentleman walked us to a corner and moved a table so we could sit on a bench against a wall. A young lady came by shortly and took our order. Someone else served us and a fourth person cleared the table. At the end of the meal the gentleman that seated us presented us with our check which was zeroed out but showed what our meal would have cost so we could have something on which to base our tip.

I figured out what 15% was and added $2 just to be sure we tipped sufficiently. Well it seems like my definition of sufficiently differed from the gentleman collecting the tip. He in no uncertain terms let me know that I didn't leave enough. When I asked why 15% + $2 was not enough he stated that it had to be shared amongst four individuals, the captain (himself?), the waitress, the server and the busboy(?).

I apologized and told him that I had nothing else to give as we made our way out the door. The poor man kept looking at the money in his hand like he didn't know what to do with it. Back then I had no debit card, just a passbook savings account so even if I wanted to tip more I couldn't. Well I did have $25 for cab fare (we lived in the Bronx), but I wasn't parting with that

The whole sharing of the tip caught me by surprise. This wasn't the first time we had gone to a nice restaurant, but it was the first and only time when my tip was questioned or expressed to me that it was to be shared.

FWIW the value of the certificate was somewhere between $50 and $75 (and I'm leaning more towards 50) so that would mean I left anywhere from $10 to $15.
I think you tipped enough. Why should he (the owner) deserve a tip? He didn't do anything and is already receiving a profit. Shouldn't the waitress clean the table as well? Does that mean if they have an addtiona person opening doors for customers, one should be expected to tip even more?

Whether they share the tips among 4 or 400 people is none of your business. 15% tip in any circumstances is enough. Whoever think it is cheap is delusional.
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Old 07-04-2014, 12:07 PM
 
10,847 posts, read 11,250,780 times
Reputation: 7578
Quote:
Originally Posted by annerk View Post
Obviously you've never dined at a high end establishment. They do a lot more than take an order and toss the food at you.

I want the server to check back and make sure the food is OK. I want my water glass refilled, wine topped off, and if I excuse myself to the restroom, it's nice to come back to my napkin folded.

I also want the server to know the menu inside and out, understand what "rare +" means, have a knowledge of wine (including how to present and serve it), and know the difference between a white and a black truffle, and why one might be better than another in a given dish.
You are right I don't go to "high end" restaurant. The higher the price, the less value you get beyond a resonable threshold (not to say the cheaper the better). The most expensive dinner I had was $160 for two, and honestly I don't think it is better than the $50-60 ones I had.

In the regular $20 restaurant I frequent, my water is refilled too. If not, I will ask for it. I don't care about if the napkins are folder - aren't you gonna unfold it later? All these "services" are nothing but to make you feel more important and elite than you really are, and it is unbelievable that people actually are willing to pay big bucks for that illusion.

And all the wine wisdom --- give me a break. I don't understand why people just keep pretending they know wines as if it were some sort of high class thing. Stripped of the lable, I doubt anyone can tell a Bordeaux from some nondescrip wine from nowhere. And you expect a 24 year old waitress with hardly a high school degree to recommend wine for you? I am sure you got a lot of expert opinions.
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Old 07-04-2014, 12:13 PM
 
10,720 posts, read 17,434,683 times
Reputation: 9920
Quote:
Originally Posted by winrunner View Post
Back in the late 80s I was working for minimum wage and wanted to take my girlfriend to a Broadway show for a special occasion. I saved up for weeks and managed to get a couple of tickets with a meal at Sardi's. The only stipulation was that we use the certificate for the meal before the show and not after the show when Sardi's was known to get very busy.

I presented my certificate and a gentleman walked us to a corner and moved a table so we could sit on a bench against a wall. A young lady came by shortly and took our order. Someone else served us and a fourth person cleared the table. At the end of the meal the gentleman that seated us presented us with our check which was zeroed out but showed what our meal would have cost so we could have something on which to base our tip.

I figured out what 15% was and added $2 just to be sure we tipped sufficiently. Well it seems like my definition of sufficiently differed from the gentleman collecting the tip. He in no uncertain terms let me know that I didn't leave enough. When I asked why 15% + $2 was not enough he stated that it had to be shared amongst four individuals, the captain (himself?), the waitress, the server and the busboy(?).

I apologized and told him that I had nothing else to give as we made our way out the door. The poor man kept looking at the money in his hand like he didn't know what to do with it. Back then I had no debit card, just a passbook savings account so even if I wanted to tip more I couldn't. Well I did have $25 for cab fare (we lived in the Bronx), but I wasn't parting with that

The whole sharing of the tip caught me by surprise. This wasn't the first time we had gone to a nice restaurant, but it was the first and only time when my tip was questioned or expressed to me that it was to be shared.

FWIW the value of the certificate was somewhere between $50 and $75 (and I'm leaning more towards 50) so that would mean I left anywhere from $10 to $15.
That person was trying to scam you. When you tip at any restaurant, it is always shared among 3 or 4 people. It is shared among the waiter, the hostess and the bus boy(s). That is standard procedure. The only difference is in your example, the guy was being sneaky hoping that if he told you that, he would receive a larger tip. This is just another example of how service in this country has declined. Servers want to do less work and get paid more. Many servers are entitled spoiled brats with unrealistic expectations. Now, most of them expect 20% and desire 25-30% for good service.

The fundamental problem that waiters have is lack of anticipation of needs. We shouldn't have to ask you to refill our drinks or call you out from accross the room because you haven't checked up on us. Most current waiters don't understand this concept. They think it's normal when you ask them to do things that they should have been doing in the first place. The fact that I'm asking you to bring my check after we waited 30 minutes after our meal means you slacked off and didn't check up on me to ask. It's part of the millenial generation mind set; do the minimum and expect the maximum. They don't understand that you have EARN your tips.
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Old 07-04-2014, 12:24 PM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,565,311 times
Reputation: 13019
Quote:
Originally Posted by winrunner View Post
Back in the late 80s I was working for minimum wage and wanted to take my girlfriend to a Broadway show for a special occasion. I saved up for weeks and managed to get a couple of tickets with a meal at Sardi's. The only stipulation was that we use the certificate for the meal before the show and not after the show when Sardi's was known to get very busy.

I presented my certificate and a gentleman walked us to a corner and moved a table so we could sit on a bench against a wall. A young lady came by shortly and took our order. Someone else served us and a fourth person cleared the table. At the end of the meal the gentleman that seated us presented us with our check which was zeroed out but showed what our meal would have cost so we could have something on which to base our tip.

I figured out what 15% was and added $2 just to be sure we tipped sufficiently. Well it seems like my definition of sufficiently differed from the gentleman collecting the tip. He in no uncertain terms let me know that I didn't leave enough. When I asked why 15% + $2 was not enough he stated that it had to be shared amongst four individuals, the captain (himself?), the waitress, the server and the busboy(?).

I apologized and told him that I had nothing else to give as we made our way out the door. The poor man kept looking at the money in his hand like he didn't know what to do with it. Back then I had no debit card, just a passbook savings account so even if I wanted to tip more I couldn't. Well I did have $25 for cab fare (we lived in the Bronx), but I wasn't parting with that

The whole sharing of the tip caught me by surprise. This wasn't the first time we had gone to a nice restaurant, but it was the first and only time when my tip was questioned or expressed to me that it was to be shared.

FWIW the value of the certificate was somewhere between $50 and $75 (and I'm leaning more towards 50) so that would mean I left anywhere from $10 to $15.
It sounds like you tipped enough to me. I probably would have left 20%, but the $2 add-on brings it close. The only additional people you need to tip in a restaurant are the valet if they park your car, coat check girl if you check a coat, and maitre de if they find you a table when the restaurant is sold out, do something special such as help with a proposal, or get you a special or specific table.
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Old 07-04-2014, 12:29 PM
 
10,720 posts, read 17,434,683 times
Reputation: 9920
Quote:
Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
You are right I don't go to "high end" restaurant. The higher the price, the less value you get beyond a resonable threshold (not to say the cheaper the better). The most expensive dinner I had was $160 for two, and honestly I don't think it is better than the $50-60 ones I had.

In the regular $20 restaurant I frequent, my water is refilled too. If not, I will ask for it. I don't care about if the napkins are folder - aren't you gonna unfold it later? All these "services" are nothing but to make you feel more important and elite than you really are, and it is unbelievable that people actually are willing to pay big bucks for that illusion. .
I agree with you. I've dined at many high end restaurants including famous ones. In my experience, the more famous or high end the restaurant, the more attitude the server and hostess has. They feel they are special because they are working in a popular restaurant when they are doing the same job the guy at Chilis is doing. Sorry, your'e still just a waiter, hostess or bartender.

In contrast, I have received better service at chain restaurants. The reason is the chains are managed well. They have regional and corporate managers. They have established routines and codes that employees must follow. They are required to refill drinks within so much time. They are required to check on you within so much time. The hostess is supposed to greet you and smile. Sure, it might seem a bit canned or artificial but at least you are receiving that service.

Also, if you receive bad service at a chain, there are real consequences for their actions. You can complain to corporate by going to their website and filing a complaint. The regional manager will read your complaint and address it with the local manager. This reflects poorly on the local manager and he or she will reprimand or fire that server. Even if the local manager attempts to protect the bad server, they can't in a corporate structure because the regional manager is aware of it so the local manager can't just sweep it under the rug.

In a high end or fancy restaurant, there is much more good ole boy tactics. The manager will come to your table, apologize and may offer you a free desert. Nothing will happen to the server. They have no website in which you can complain directly to the owners. The manager of this restaurant protects himself and the bad waiter. Also, in many occasions, they simply don't care if you are upset. They think they are popular and one unhappy customer is not going to hurt them.
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Old 07-04-2014, 12:33 PM
 
10,847 posts, read 11,250,780 times
Reputation: 7578
Quote:
Originally Posted by annerk View Post
It sounds like you tipped enough to me. I probably would have left 20%, but the $2 add-on brings it close. The only additional people you need to tip in a restaurant are the valet if they park your car, coat check girl if you check a coat, and maitre de if they find you a table when the restaurant is sold out, do something special such as help with a proposal, or get you a special or specific table.
don't forget the guy who handed you a nakpin in the bathroom.
By the time you finish you dinner, you have already paid 7 people various tips equivalent to 60% of your dinner price.

In hotels, I especially loathe those who approach me to carry my non-heavy luggages. I can lug them along effortlessly and I don't want to pay someone $2 just to drag it into the elevator and my room. It is completey unnessary and unsolicited services. If it is the stairs, that's a different matter.
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Old 07-04-2014, 12:37 PM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,565,311 times
Reputation: 13019
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amelorn View Post
The tipping system's significance (substituting a fair wage with supplementary bribes/tips) bothers me more than tipping itself. I couldn't imagine taking out that frustration on the server (in my area, usually college students or retirees) and stiffing them.

In the US, I try to mitigate it. I'll order the sushi as a take-out rather than dine in (I am odd in preferring to dine alone vs with people). In the extremely rare event that I am travelling within the US, I will opt for a mid-range property like a Holiday or Hampton Inn. Fewer service workers mean fewer tips. A 5 star property (Four Seasons, InterContinental, Peninsula, etc) has a much higher room rate and multitudes of staff expecting substantial tips, making for a double whammy and leaving me to wonder what the extra $200-400/night covers. Being spared the "attitude" present at higher end hotels/restaurants in US metro areas is an added bonus.
I often stay in high end properties and don't tip any more than I would at a Hampton--unless I am using more services. I travel light and don't need bell services. I don't use the concierge for anything. I self-park. I leave a $2 tip for the housekeeper in either hotel.

If I use the concierge, the valet, bell services, etc., then I tip accordingly--but that happens maybe once a year. When I use room service (rarely and typically only as a special treat) I tip. Likewise if I order pizza or Take Out Taxi while at the Hampton, I tip that driver.

As to what the $200 more gets you--a nicer room with top quality bedding, a robe and slippers, soft, fluffy towels, quiet HVAC, often a view, a more secure facility when in an urban area, fitness center, pool, spa on premises, at least one full service restaurant on site, a lounge on site, convenient location, the list goes on.

By the way, I've run into far more surly staff with attitudes at lower end places than ever at the four and five star hotels. Most of the staff at those can't do enough for you. Most of the staff at the zero to 2.5 star places would rather be watching paint dry than assisting a guest--and they certainly let you know it.
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Old 07-04-2014, 12:39 PM
 
10,847 posts, read 11,250,780 times
Reputation: 7578
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Originally Posted by azriverfan. View Post
I agree with you. I've dined at many high end restaurants including famous ones. In my experience, the more famous or high end the restaurant, the more attitude the server and hostess has. They feel they are special because they are working in a popular restaurant when they are doing the same job the guy at Chilis is doing. Sorry, your'e still just a waiter, hostess or bartender.
This is exactly true.
The most popular and expensive restaurant here in my city with a great city view is full of snobbish servers who have the reputation of pre-judging customers and deciding how the service they deserve.

To make matters worse, if you go there but just order something inexpensive, with no wine, they won't even hide their unhappiness and contempt on their face.

For Christ's sake, a waitor at the most upscale restaurant is still a waitor. I see her no different from one from AppleBee's or Olive Garden.
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