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Author Topic:   No tipping?
Percy
Member
Posts: 22614
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 1 of 41 (770866)
10-14-2015 9:01 PM


Not a topic I've discussed at all with other people, but I'm sure i'm not alone in being uncomfortable with tipping. There's just so much uncertainty and anxiety surrounding when and how much. But if there's anywhere I feel absolutely comfortable with tipping it's in restaurants. There's no question about whether or not to tip because you always tip. And there's not much question about how much to tip because it's 15%, plus or minus depending upon the quality of service.
Of course, this isn't strictly true. Do you tip the person who brings your Applebee's Carside to Go? Is the big tip you just gave the excellent waitperson actually pooled and shared equally among all the dining room staff? So there *are* unknowns, but for the most part it's something I can deal with.
But today brings the news that a major restauranteur in New York City will be eliminating tipping in all its restaurants by the end of next year (Danny Meyer Restaurants to Eliminate Tipping). The last bastion of tipping certitude, gone! Or at least it will be if this catches on.
--Percy

Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Coragyps, posted 10-14-2015 10:00 PM Percy has seen this message but not replied
 Message 4 by ringo, posted 10-15-2015 12:13 PM Percy has seen this message but not replied
 Message 6 by Taq, posted 10-15-2015 4:10 PM Percy has replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22614
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 10 of 41 (770939)
10-16-2015 8:31 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Taq
10-15-2015 4:10 PM


Re: Rules for Tipping
Taq writes:
If it's a buffet, no tip.
Sometimes I have problems figuring out whether to tip at a buffet. There's a Chinese buffet and an Indian buffet that we visit every so often, and at both they set the table, fill the water glasses and keep them filled, take our drink orders at the beginning, and take our desert orders at the end (no desert at the Chinese buffet). Now I'm torn. It does seem to me like there should be a tip, but 15% feels way too high, but if I leave half that and they expect 15% then I'm sending an unintended message of poor service. Uncertainty like this drives me crazy. Usually we're out in a group and someone volunteers to figure out how much everyone owes, and then I just go with it, thereby circumventing the whole ethical dilemma.
I've often wondered if waiting tables is as lucrative as my cursory calculations tell me. If you take your average chain restaurant like Longhorn's or TGI Fridays or Chile's or Applebee's or Ruby Tuesday and so forth, and you take an average party of four who runs up a hundred dollar bill, the tip is going to be $15. If a waitperson can handle three tables per hour, then on a three hour dinner shift that's nine tables for total tips of $135. Say the dining room is empty by the end of the shift, but then there's another hour of cleanup duties for a total shift of four hours. At $5/hour that $20 in pay, add to that the $135 in tips for a total of $155, then divide by the four hours of total work and that's near $40/hour.
This makes waiting tables seem very lucrative, so what am I missing? Is it that there's only a small number of available busy shifts, so not many of the hours worked are that lucrative? Is it that the tips actually get shared with other staff? Something else?
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Taq, posted 10-15-2015 4:10 PM Taq has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by NoNukes, posted 10-16-2015 8:50 AM Percy has replied
 Message 13 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-16-2015 9:56 AM Percy has seen this message but not replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22614
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 14 of 41 (770969)
10-16-2015 2:30 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by NoNukes
10-16-2015 8:50 AM


Re: Rules for Tipping
NoNukes writes:
I'm not sure all of your assumptions about restaurants are correct. The average for chains is something like half of what you've calculated. Maybe your guess at average table size and turn around time are off.
It does seem to me that the dinner shift at a typical chain restaurant like TGI Friday's and Longhorn should be very lucrative. I was assuming an average table size of four, and that a server could handle three tables per hour. If the average table size is smaller (which seems weird for the dinner hour, but anyway) then a server could handle more tables per hour. I think my numbers are pretty conservative. Certainly servers can handle more than three tables per hour.
At Yahoo Answers someone asked the question How many tables does a waitress take on an 8 hour shift and how much tips do they make per day?". The first answer offered the example of a Saturday night where in three hours he served 65 people, which is twice as many as my 9 tables of four in three hours. He says he "walked with $375." If he had a couple hours of sidework for a total of 5 work hours at $5/hour or $25, that's a total of $400 for 5 hours work, or $80/hour. That seems very lucrative to me. I know the work is hard, but it still seems very lucrative.
Why the question? A couple times in my life I've wondered, "What if it all went to hell for me and I had to just get a job, just any job, just to bring in some money. What would I do?" Waiting tables at one of those restaurants I named seemed like it might be something pretty lucrative. Just wondering. Of course, that wondering was long ago. No way I could handle a long table waiting shift now.
On our vacations we usually plot our own course and stay off the beaten trail, but last year we figured it was beyond our planning abilities to plot our own tour of Alaska, so we signed up for a 10 day tour. One thing we discovered that we hadn't counted on was that you have to tip nearly everybody. We even tipped a train conductor. I did get a sort of sense that some people shared my discomfort about tipping, and there were a few people who seemed reluctant to tip at all, as far as I could tell. I imagine that for some people it was just that year's vacation, while for other people it was the trip of a lifetime and they were maxed out.
Responding to Coragyps comment about downscale restaurants like IHOP and Denny's, I wasn't thinking of them, and I wonder if maybe tipping is less at those places. Also, they don't have bars, right? Without bars their average bill would be less.
Responding to Cat Sci, in your scenarios is there still a connection between the tip and the quality of service? If so, it wasn't apparent, and if not, then what's the point of a tip?
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by NoNukes, posted 10-16-2015 8:50 AM NoNukes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-16-2015 3:18 PM Percy has replied
 Message 17 by NoNukes, posted 10-16-2015 3:28 PM Percy has replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22614
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 20 of 41 (770981)
10-16-2015 3:53 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by New Cat's Eye
10-16-2015 3:18 PM


Re: Rules for Tipping
I think you've got different questions. First there's this:
Cat Sci writes:
Yeah, it was all assuming that the service wasn't bad.
I don't know what to make of this. Are you talking about some binary approach where you either tip good or bad depending upon whether the service was good or bad? Or is there more nuance?
I was just curious why you care about how the number in the percentage feels?
You mean how it feels to the server or how it feels to me? For myself, uncertainty about whether I got the percentage right and sent the right message about how I felt about the service makes me feel uncomfortable. I don't like feeling uncomfortable, so of course I care about how it feels to me. But I didn't say that about normal restaurant meals. I said it about buffets.
By the way, I also care about how it feels to the server, just because I'm human. I'm never happy when I tip low, because oftentimes it seems like the server was doing the best he could. On the one hand it seems cruel to punish someone financially when he was trying as hard as he could, and on the other hand it seems like the right thing to do because it should motivate him to either improve his performance or find another line of work, each better alternatives than continuing to be a horrible waiter.
Sometimes terrible service is a result of a manpower crunch. Once a long time ago our dinner took over an hour to arrive after we ordered. It became apparent after a while that the restaurant was terribly understaffed that night, and that's not the server's fault, but what to do? You don't want to reward horrible service, but you don't want to punish the server either because staffing isn't their responsibility. I don't actually recall how much I tipped, it was 15 or 20 years ago, I only recall the dilemma now.
You were torn because 15% felt too high.
For buffets. You mentioned buffets, too, in your previous message:
For buffets, I just give them $5 regardless of the percentage that comes out to be.
Just because you have a hard and fast rule doesn't make it right. You have the same uncertainty I do about whether that's an appropriate tip, it just doesn't seem to bother you the way it bothers me. Maybe some buffet establishments pays their wait staff enough that they don't need tips, and others don't. How would you know which is which? If your fixed $5 is actually stiffing someone with a very low tip, wouldn't you want to know about that?
We're talking about a couple dollars, are you that hard up?
Well now you're way off course. I never mentioned affordability as a consideration.
But I do feel uncomfortable not knowing whether the tip I just gave sends the message I intended it to send. This isn't an issue at a normal restaurant meal, and I said that right up front in my opening post. I said you just tip 15% plus or minus depending on the quality of the service. I think I called restaurant tipping the last bastion of tipping certitude. It was in a subsequent post that I mentioned that buffets present some uncertainty that makes me feel uncomfortable.
--Percy
Edited by Percy, : Typo.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-16-2015 3:18 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 23 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-16-2015 4:26 PM Percy has replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22614
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 22 of 41 (770983)
10-16-2015 4:09 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by NoNukes
10-16-2015 3:28 PM


Re: Rules for Tipping
Oh, I didn't realize you were getting off into general table waiting. That wasn't what I was wondering about. I said I thought waiting tables at places like TGI Friday's, Longhorn's, Applebee's, etc., seemed pretty lucrative and was wondering if that was true. My estimates seem pretty conservative, anecdotal stories support it, and so it does look pretty lucrative, but one open question is how much one can count on getting scheduled at the lucrative times. If you know why or why not waiting tables at those establishments wouldn't be lucrative then it would be interesting to hear about. Just something I've always been mildly curious about.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 17 by NoNukes, posted 10-16-2015 3:28 PM NoNukes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 36 by NoNukes, posted 10-19-2015 11:04 AM Percy has seen this message but not replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22614
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 25 of 41 (770989)
10-16-2015 5:35 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by New Cat's Eye
10-16-2015 4:26 PM


Re: Rules for Tipping
Cat Sci writes:
Now that you mention it, though, I think that you are over-thinking it. If you are trying to send a message to the server, that they need to improve their service, by lowering your tip by a few percentage points, then I don't think you are achieving your goal.
If the amount of a tip doesn't provide feedback about the quality of service, what is it for?
When you give a low tip, the server most likely just thinks: "that guy was an asshole".
They're not thinking: "Judging from this tip, I need to be more polite and responsive next time"
Wouldn't the reactions of service staff to the amount of a tip be as widely varied as the service staff themselves?
Anyway, if it's generally true that tipping provides no incentive to provide quality service (which is what you seem to be saying), if low tips don't tend to make servers wonder what they did wrong and what they could do better next time, then that's very interesting. It calls the very concept of tipping into question.
For myself, uncertainty about whether I got the percentage right and sent the right message about how I felt about the service makes me feel uncomfortable.
Why do you care so much about the percentage quantity?
...
I just don't understand why you care so much about the digits in the percentage.
I wasn't trying to say anything like that, it's just my style of talking. Rephrasing, uncertainty about whether my tip communicated what I intended makes me feel uncomfortable. I understand you don't believe tipping does anything much anyway.
Maybe some buffet establishments pays their wait staff enough that they don't need tips, and others don't. How would you know which is which? If your fixed $5 is actually stiffing someone with a very low tip, wouldn't you want to know about that?
I don't see how I could be stiffing them when I'm going and getting my own food.
But not your own tableware, water, drinks, deserts, other extras. How do you know how well the establishment compensates their waiting staff during a buffet? Maybe your $5 plus salary just doesn't cover it.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 23 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-16-2015 4:26 PM New Cat's Eye has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 27 by NoNukes, posted 10-17-2015 12:11 AM Percy has replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22614
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 29 of 41 (771021)
10-17-2015 8:31 AM
Reply to: Message 27 by NoNukes
10-17-2015 12:11 AM


Re: Rules for Tipping
NoNukes writes:
If the amount of a tip doesn't provide feedback about the quality of service, what is it for?
The tip is to reward good service, but tipping is an inexact method of communication. Unless the waiter has some experience with me, the waiter cannot tell that the 15% gratuity I just left is less than I would normally leave. Even if I leave a smaller than traditional tip, the waiter might just think I'm cheap.
They might. But wouldn't most servers recognize that there is more than just that one possibility that the customer is cheap? Wouldn't most understand that it's somewhat of a crap shoot, that sometimes they're perfect and get a bad tip, and other times they screw up and get a good tip, and all cases in between? Wouldn't most tend to compare their tips with other servers and try to understand why some get better or worse tips? Wouldn't servers notice over time that they get lower tips on average from dinner parties where things went wrong, like the wrong order getting sent back to the kitchen or letting the group sit with empty drink drinks for too long or forgetting to fetch something the table requested?
So, yes, tipping is an imperfect system for communicating satisfaction with a specific instance of providing service for a meal, but there's still plenty of information there, and the general idea of tipping is to provide motivation to provide good service.
If you think the service is bad and you want to communicate that accurately, perhaps you should speak up.
I must be saying something wrong, because both you and Cat Sci seem to think I'm having a problem with tipping in restaurants. I'm not. For the third time now I'm calling it the last bastion of tipping certitude. I mentioned buffets as an exception to this certitude. That's it.
Anyway, I think most instances of poor service require speaking to the server, like receiving the wrong order, or not getting the condiment or glass of water you requested. Or did you mean having a conversation with the server about the tip at the end of the meal? If so, that would feel pretty weird.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 27 by NoNukes, posted 10-17-2015 12:11 AM NoNukes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 34 by NoNukes, posted 10-18-2015 7:26 PM Percy has replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22614
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 30 of 41 (771023)
10-17-2015 9:20 AM


Buffet Tipping
This page from Yahoo Answers about tipping at buffets has a number of different answers, but there seems a rough consensus around tipping in the neighborhood of 10-15% for a buffet: Should you tip at buffet restaurants?
  • I briefly worked as a buffet server and I did appreciate the tips, but at the same time I always felt like I wasn't giving the service that required a tip.
  • Even if you only got buffet you should tip...
  • A server at a buffet restaurant usually does more work than a server at a sit down restaurant.
  • Tip on the average of 15% - maybe a little more or less depending on the service.
  • I think you should tip at least 15%.
  • Fifteen percent is acceptable.
  • I dont believe I should have to tip, as I get my own drink at my buffet, and I never ask the waitress for
    anything.
  • Normally I just tip about $2-$4 for the table depending on the service.
  • I think about 10% is good.
  • I feel at least 10 percent here.
Interesting variety.
--Percy

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22614
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 35 of 41 (771060)
10-19-2015 8:16 AM
Reply to: Message 34 by NoNukes
10-18-2015 7:26 PM


Re: Rules for Tipping
NoNukes writes:
Again, the communication is simply not exact...etc...
Gee, why does that sound so familiar? Oh, because I just finished saying almost the same thing in the message you're replying to:
Percy in Message 29 writes:
Wouldn't most understand that it's somewhat of a crap shoot...
...
So, yes, tipping is an imperfect system for communicating satisfaction with a specific instance of providing service for a meal, but there's still plenty of information there, and the general idea of tipping is to provide motivation to provide good service.
You have a unique talent for molding agreement into argument.
Or did you mean having a conversation with the server about the tip at the end of the meal? If so, that would feel pretty weird.
Not a conversation about the tip, but about the service. If you tell the waiter the service was no good, then he's more likely to get the message sent by the bad tip. But trying to send the message with the tip alone can easily result in a missed message.
You're trying to solve a problem I don't have, and that I think most people don't have. Like many things in life, tipping is not perfect, but it works well enough. I'm fine with tipping. If I have any problems with tipping it's that it may be going away, which is why I started this thread.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by NoNukes, posted 10-18-2015 7:26 PM NoNukes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 37 by NoNukes, posted 10-19-2015 11:06 AM Percy has seen this message but not replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22614
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.4


(1)
Message 39 of 41 (903897)
12-18-2022 8:56 AM


Time To Resume The Tipping Conversation
Since 2015 when we had this conversation about tipping things have changed a bit. Perhaps driven by covid, tipping seems to be everywhere.
My stance hasn't changed. I tip only in restaurants because the employees are underpaid on purpose and the difference is intended to be made up by tipping. I still think 15% should be the starting point, more for good service, less for bad.
Many believe the starting point should be 20%, but that means 25% or 30% for good service, and to me that high a tip just feels absurd.
I'm against tipping of anyone who isn't wait staff because only wait staff are exempt from Federal minimum wage laws. Why is there a tip jar in my pizza parlor? They're all paid around 10$/hour (a lot of kids in town have worked there, it's general knowledge). The wait staff in the restaurant a few hundred yards away? I don't know, but minimum wage for wait staff in my state is $3.26/hour, something else that's absurd. I'm sure they pay more than that but have no way of knowing what they actually pay.
We went to a 110 Grill with friends last weekend. We couldn't get a table at the time we wanted, so we got one in the next time slot. When we arrived we found there were plenty of tables available. We asked and were told the reason we couldn't get a reservation earlier wasn't because of a lack of tables but a lack of wait staff. This 110 Grill could only use about half their restaurant space because of a lack of staff.
Maybe if restaurants paid their wait staff more than $6.15/hour (we were in Massachusetts, not New Hampshire) they wouldn't have that problem. I have no idea how much discretion a 110 Grill manager has for setting his own wages independent of corporate, but I don't see how he can pay the rent while only half his restaurant is bringing in money.
The service was fine but we tipped an incredible 36%. Why? I don't know, ask my wife, she happened to be on the outside of the booth and so she grabbed the bill and I wasn't paying attention because I was engaged in conversation.
I'm sticking to my guns. If you're not wait staff you get no tip, and if you are wait staff then tips are 15%, plus or minus depending upon service. If you're a restaurant manager who can't hire enough wait staff then you increase your wages. If you're an automated checkout machine, which have become especially obnoxious, you especially get no tip. And I'll vote for anyone for national office who commits to eliminating the Federal exemption from minimum wage laws for wait staff.
Oh, about the Danny Meyer Restaurants to Eliminate Tipping article that opened this discussion back in 2015? The owning Union Square Hospitality Group resumed tipping in 2020 during covid.
--Percy

Replies to this message:
 Message 40 by Phat, posted 12-18-2022 9:30 AM Percy has replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22614
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 41 of 41 (903904)
12-18-2022 10:20 AM
Reply to: Message 40 by Phat
12-18-2022 9:30 AM


Re: Time To Resume The Tipping Conversation
Phat writes:
Does New Hampshire only pay ten dollars an hour regular minimum?
If you reread my post you'll see that I said it is the local pizza house that pays $10/hour. The minimum wage in New Hampshire is the same as the federal minimum wage, $7.25/hour.
But no one will work for that little. I'd be guessing at how little someone might accept in NH, but I'd guess the floor is around $9/hour, and that would be a teenager around 15 or 16 getting their first job.
The point I was making earlier about tipping was that people not exempt from federal minimum wage laws should not be tipped.
Here's another tipping issue: When staying in a hotel with maid service, should you tip the maid? In the old days you might run into the maids for your floor several times during the week. You knew that when you left a tip that your maids would get it.
But the hotels I've always stayed at no longer offer daily room service. Many only offer room service when you request it, and the maids seem to change every day. While we used to consider tipping the maids because we were sure the maids who worked on our room would receive it, that's no longer true and we no longer tip the maids.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 40 by Phat, posted 12-18-2022 9:30 AM Phat has not replied

  
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