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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Miamoo on November 15, 2013, 01:48:15 PM

Title: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Miamoo on November 15, 2013, 01:48:15 PM
Now, as there have been so many of these stories on msn (amusing site) and reddit I question the validity of the various servers' claims.  Am posting this one in particular as it's the most recent to pop up. 



In this scenario . . . as the woman claims she was discriminated against because of her lifestyle.  Not buying this one.  Sorry.

http://now.msn.com/dayna-morales-gets-anti-gay-note-on-restaurant-tab

Only because it was posted after this one . . .

http://now.msn.com/sterver-stiffed-by-single-mom-allegedly

And this one . . .

http://now.msn.com/applebees-server-fired-for-posting-customer-receipt-on-reddit

And there are so many more recently.

So to get to the point here . . . . (my blood is boiling for so many reasons on this subject)
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1.)  How do you feel about tipping if you do occasionally go to a restaurant?
2.)  How many have worked as a waitress/waiter/bartender while in high school or during your college years?  Or even now as a side gig?

Quite often a server is putting themselves through college.  A person may have lost a job in their field and is doing what they do to make ends meet.  Perhaps there is no other job available in their area.  All rely on their tips cuz for whatever reason (in spite of being involved in the business, I still don't know why restaurants are allowed to pay less than minimum wage) but that's the way it is for now. 

Having been a waitress, then hostess, then manager in several restaurants light years ago.  I do take exception to many of the comments posted (eg:  "Get an education, get a real job" is one that's repeated over and over, implying that a server is stupid and can't do anything but work in a restaurant or as a bartender is another.

Please, read a few of the comments on the links and give your input.  I'd be interested to know.

Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Eric on November 15, 2013, 02:03:55 PM
I can't see anything about tipping without thinking about the Reservoir Dogs scene (NSFW - language)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-qV9wVGb38


Edit -- for the record, I tip ~20%
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: GuitarStv on November 15, 2013, 02:05:25 PM
I typically tip 15-20%.  It's stupid.  Why has it become socially unacceptable to pay people extra for doing their job?  The restaurant should pay the server.  I should pay the prices listed on the menu.  If the server cannot make ends meet from the wages the restaurant pays, they should quit and force the restaurant to pay them more.  What's even more stupid is when a large group of people go out and are told that XX% is automatically included on their bill as a tip.

I can understand being blown away by great service and giving extra money in appreciation, and have no issue with that.  What pisses me off is that it's socially expected / required that you tip even after getting terrible service.  That's garbage.  If I get terrible service, I should be expected to leave no tip.  A tip should be representative of the level of service you get.

That said, I only eat out a few times a year . . . so it doesn't come up too often
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: seattlecyclone on November 15, 2013, 02:09:21 PM
I'm not really a fan of the custom. This comic (http://theoatmeal.com/comics/tipping_tooting) more or less sums up my opinion about restaurant tipping. I usually tip in the "standard" 15-20% range because I know that restaurants pay their workers based on the assumption of a certain tip level. It's exceedingly rare for the quality of service to cause me to go outside of this range in either direction, and most people seem to be the same way. I have seen news articles about a few higher-end restaurants that have raised their base wages for wait staff, built that increase into the cost of the food, and stopped accepting tips. It seems to have created a better environment for customers and staff alike. I hope that more restaurants adopt their example.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Bank on November 15, 2013, 02:12:05 PM

I can understand being blown away by great service and giving extra money in appreciation, and have no issue with that.  What pisses me off is that it's socially expected / required that you tip even after getting terrible service.  That's garbage.  If I get terrible service, I should be expected to leave no tip.  A tip should be representative of the level of service you get.


I do think servers should be paid more and tips smaller, but I have no problem leaving a bad tip when I receive bad service (which doesn't happen often).  That's the whole point of the system, after all.  For fair to good service I tip 15-25%.  For great service the sky is the limit.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Aloysius_Poutine on November 15, 2013, 02:15:55 PM
I generally tip 20% because I've been there. I worked in restaurants through college and it sucks. However I have no problem leaving NO tip for terrible service, but I never do it without explaining why I'm not leaving a tip. The server is usually very apologetic and understanding if you have that conversation with them. I've even had my meal comped when doing this.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: ArcticaMT6 on November 15, 2013, 02:18:41 PM
I've worked in basically all positions (other than managing) in restaurants. If I get good service, I usually put 20% down or a bit more. But at the same time, I know it's not that damn hard to take some orders and bring out food. If I get shitty service, I will tip accordingly. I've left $0.01 to make a point before.

If I had the money (and business skills, and menu designed), I would open a restaurant that does not allow tipping and pays employees fairly.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Psychstache on November 15, 2013, 02:19:38 PM
I typically tip 15-20%.  It's stupid.  Why has it become socially unacceptable to pay people extra for doing their job?  The restaurant should pay the server.  I should pay the prices listed on the menu.  If the server cannot make ends meet from the wages the restaurant pays, they should quit and force the restaurant to pay them more.  What's even more stupid is when a large group of people go out and are told that XX% is automatically included on their bill as a tip.

I can understand being blown away by great service and giving extra money in appreciation, and have no issue with that.  What pisses me off is that it's socially expected / required that you tip even after getting terrible service.  That's garbage.  If I get terrible service, I should be expected to leave no tip.  A tip should be representative of the level of service you get.

That said, I only eat out a few times a year . . . so it doesn't come up too often

I agree the practice is dumb, but I can't even fathom the shift that would need to occur nationally to change things (federal legislation mandating a livable wage for restaurant  employees I suppose). It is simply a part of our dining culture these days.

I remember a story a while back about a man who opened a restaurant (i think in Arizona or Nevada) that expressly explained to customers to not leave tips. All of the employees were paid a livable wage and the cost of this was built into the food. He told the reporters that he would frequently get people coming up to the front to complain that THEY HAD THEIR TIP REJECTED BY THE SERVER. He would then explain the policy to them (the one that was written in huge letters at the front of the store) and tell them that if they really wanted to leave the tip, the collected the tips to support a local charities iirc. Learning this, the majority of the people would not donate and just keep the tip for themselves.

Sheeple, man. what are you going to do.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Numbers Man on November 15, 2013, 02:21:25 PM
Those photos of no tips shows 3 restaurant patrons that are despicable human beings.

With that being said, I wish restaurants would stop the charade and pay the servers a living wage. A lot of servers seem to also give off the attitude that they are entitled to 20% to 25%. That's one of the reason that I only dine out about twice a week instead of every night.

Plus it's helping me grow my 'stache.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Frankies Girl on November 15, 2013, 02:31:39 PM
I've left $0.01 to make a point before.

If you have actually worked as a server, then you know that leaving a few pennies is actually more of a "fuck you" than a "I received bad service" thing. I have worked as a server and I would never do that to someone. That is compounding bad service with a really nasty attitude.



If I receive bad service, I don't tip anything and I most of the time talk to the manager... nicely. I know what it's like to have a really bad day and screw stuff up. I also tend to tip 20% standard, more for good service... and have actually tipped the full price of the meal in some of the run-you-off-your-feet places for good service.

Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Eric on November 15, 2013, 02:33:07 PM
I typically tip 15-20%.  It's stupid.  Why has it become socially unacceptable to pay people extra for doing their job?  The restaurant should pay the server.  I should pay the prices listed on the menu.  If the server cannot make ends meet from the wages the restaurant pays, they should quit and force the restaurant to pay them more.  What's even more stupid is when a large group of people go out and are told that XX% is automatically included on their bill as a tip.

I can understand being blown away by great service and giving extra money in appreciation, and have no issue with that.  What pisses me off is that it's socially expected / required that you tip even after getting terrible service.  That's garbage.  If I get terrible service, I should be expected to leave no tip.  A tip should be representative of the level of service you get.

That said, I only eat out a few times a year . . . so it doesn't come up too often

I agree the practice is dumb, but I can't even fathom the shift that would need to occur nationally to change things (federal legislation mandating a livable wage for restaurant  employees I suppose). It is simply a part of our dining culture these days.

I remember a story a while back about a man who opened a restaurant (i think in Arizona or Nevada) that expressly explained to customers to not leave tips. All of the employees were paid a livable wage and the cost of this was built into the food. He told the reporters that he would frequently get people coming up to the front to complain that THEY HAD THEIR TIP REJECTED BY THE SERVER. He would then explain the policy to them (the one that was written in huge letters at the front of the store) and tell them that if they really wanted to leave the tip, the collected the tips to support a local charities iirc. Learning this, the majority of the people would not donate and just keep the tip for themselves.

Sheeple, man. what are you going to do.

There's this one in Athens Ohio that has a no tipping policy.  Is that the one?

http://www.athensnews.com/ohio/article-37641-local-restaurant-bar-bans-tips-in-reaction-to-federal-rule.html
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: jba302 on November 15, 2013, 02:59:43 PM
Tipping on a good meal I don't mind doing, though I'd prefer the prices just embed that in to begin with. Tipping a cab driver for not killing me despite his best efforts or a bathroom attendent for handing me a towel that was in arm's reach anyway.... no dice.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: jpo on November 15, 2013, 03:07:22 PM
I remember a story a while back about a man who opened a restaurant (i think in Arizona or Nevada) that expressly explained to customers to not leave tips. All of the employees were paid a livable wage and the cost of this was built into the food. He told the reporters that he would frequently get people coming up to the front to complain that THEY HAD THEIR TIP REJECTED BY THE SERVER. He would then explain the policy to them (the one that was written in huge letters at the front of the store) and tell them that if they really wanted to leave the tip, the collected the tips to support a local charities iirc. Learning this, the majority of the people would not donate and just keep the tip for themselves.
I think Noodles and Company does this as well.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Miamoo on November 15, 2013, 03:12:52 PM
Only from experience (as I said, light years ago).  If the servers were to be paid minimum wage, the cost of the meal would increase which would decrease the number of patrons entering and frequenting the establishment .

Restaurant owners mark up your meal by at MINIMUM 70% of what it actually costs them to purchase the food  through their purveyors, what it costs them to pay the cooks and chefs to prepare.  Part of this 70% does pay overhead of rent, heat and light on the building that they might lease. 
What happens at the register tho . . . and what is rang up versus what is pocketed is a whole different story.
 on weekends
 As far as I know the cooks and chefs were paid quite well.  As well they should have been considering the conditions they worked under.
 
Also worked banquets (weddings etc.) at a very well known H hotel in the '90's on weekends.  We took boxed wine and had funnels to pour the boxed wine (Think something like Franzia) into old wine bottles, wrapped the wine bottles in cloth napkins and did the pouring into the guest's wine glasses ourselves as waitresses. (We looked quite elegant dontcha know)  The guests nor the host had any idea what the management had told us to do.  The host had paid for a $30.00 bottle of wine and never knew that he was getting a re-used bottle containing hmmmmmmmmmm ? $2.00 worth of wine back then?
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: ArcticaMT6 on November 15, 2013, 03:15:11 PM
I've left $0.01 to make a point before.

If you have actually worked as a server, then you know that leaving a few pennies is actually more of a "fuck you" than a "I received bad service" thing. I have worked as a server and I would never do that to someone. That is compounding bad service with a really nasty attitude.


Yes, that's exactly the point I was making. The service was that bad. I complained to the manager vehemently. I've only done it once. I've done the $0 tip and less than 10% tips before as well.

The vast majority of the time I tip ~20%. I've gone as high as about 35%
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: MrsPete on November 15, 2013, 03:21:01 PM
I can't say I love the concept of tipping, but it IS appropriate social protocol at this point in our lives, and I won't punish the wait staff by bucking the trend.  That would change nothing and would hurt the people at the bottom of the pay scale.

I don't think restaurants will ever -- voluntarily -- dump tips.  Why not?  Because if they paid their servers a real wage, they'd have to raise the menu prices, and that would result in loss of customers, or customers skipping drinks and dessert.  Yeah, if you stop to do the math, it might be the same amount of money, but we all know that plenty of people won't bother with the figuring.   

I agree with the poster who says that IF you get bad service -- which, in my life anyway, doesn't happen all that often -- leaving a little bit of change is more of a "you oughta get a new job" message, whereas leaving nothing at all could leave the server wondering whether you just forgot. 
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: jpo on November 15, 2013, 03:21:12 PM
I have left a roll of coins on the table in addition to a regular ~18% tip before for kicks.

I also left about 11 cents tip on a poor Hooters experience. Guess she thought she'd make up her poor service with her hooters. It didn't work.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: chasesfish on November 15, 2013, 04:07:19 PM
It really depends, I eat pretty cheap at restaurants so I probably tip more than a % because I think if I'm getting table service, $1.50 - $2 is minimum.

In the US, the minimum wage for waitstaff is much lower than regular minimum. 

I'm solidly in the 15% range unless I get really good service.  Then if I do, like another poster, I'll tip really well.  I have to wear nice clothes to work every day, so I usually resemble something slightly better than a bum on weekends.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: dadof4 on November 15, 2013, 04:08:22 PM
Depends where.

In Oregon, Washington and California (and a few other states), waiters are guaranteed minimum wage like everyone else (currently $8 - 9.19). I generally tip 10-15%, though somewhat begrudgingly.   In states where waiters are paid below minimum and rely on tips, I tip 15-20%.

Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: pdxvandal on November 15, 2013, 04:29:37 PM
Tipping as low as 10%, even where wages are higher like on the West Coast, is pretty tightwad. Have you ever worked in the service industry?

Tipping 18-20%, as much as it hurts the pocketbook, is standard practice nowadays, no matter where in the U.S. you are eating that has table-side service. Otherwise, be careful what's in your food.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: dadof4 on November 15, 2013, 05:21:55 PM
Tipping as low as 10%, even where wages are higher like on the West Coast, is pretty tightwad. Have you ever worked in the service industry?
I haven't. I have worked minimum wage jobs that were not tipped and were also difficult.

Can you explain why the food service industry deserves preferential treatment over almost all other industries, whether client facing or not? I'd change my ways if I heard a good argument.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Bruised_Pepper on November 15, 2013, 05:47:49 PM
Can you explain why the food service industry deserves preferential treatment over almost all other industries, whether client facing or not? I'd change my ways if I heard a good argument.

I delivered pizzas before (which is better than being a waiter since you earn minimum wage/near minimum AND get tipped.)  Even if you are having a terrible day, a $5 tip on a pizza (the highest not-out-of-the-ordinary tip when I was bangin') would completely turn it around and make you believe that there's still good in the world.  It's not so much an economic consideration as a psychological one. 
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: dadof4 on November 15, 2013, 06:05:11 PM
I delivered pizzas before (which is better than being a waiter since you earn minimum wage/near minimum AND get tipped.)  Even if you are having a terrible day, a $5 tip on a pizza (the highest not-out-of-the-ordinary tip when I was bangin') would completely turn it around and make you believe that there's still good in the world.  It's not so much an economic consideration as a psychological one. 
Getting extra money is nice, I'm not doubting that. But why is a faux-pas to tip 10%?

I'm sure the fast food worker, bank teller, or hotel check in clerk would also appreciate getting $5 extra from every client just for doing their job. There are a lot of people you can make happy with $5, so it's both a psychological and an economic consideration.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: wtjbatman on November 15, 2013, 07:56:48 PM
I gladly tip waitresses, pizza delivery guys, etc. Anyone who has to actually wait on me and serve me food and beverages. Also tip the bartender for good drinks!

But I don't tip carryout or at buffet places where all they do is bring you a soda. Ok so my girlfriend hates that I don't and she says that makes me a cheap ass, but seriously I am paying for my food and I have to serve myself (other than the 12 ounce drink you brought me). Where in THAT equation have you earned a tip? Nowhere! says I.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: vern on November 15, 2013, 08:54:24 PM
http://waiterrant.net/?p=276

Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: athomeintheworld on November 15, 2013, 11:35:21 PM
20% almost always. Unless service is really bad, then 10-15% but I would say this is rare. 

I personally do not think this is an area to skimp on in an attempt to save money.  I think you should go out less if you want to save money, not be cheap on your tipping.  It's been a long time, but I understand that tips support these people and I believe in a "working wage" - however we get there.  In this country we are unfortunately not willing to pay the true cost of things, and tips help to make up for this.

I will say it was really enlightening a couple of years ago when we visited amsterdam and copenhagen.  Servers are paid a living wage by the establishment, have benefits, etc.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: stripey on November 16, 2013, 03:16:48 AM
As an foreigner, the custom of tipping seemed unbelievable to me when I have visited the US. One shouldn't have to rely on someone's goodwill just to get paid a decent wage. My US friends were flabbergasted when I explained that we don't often tip, that tipping is usually into a jar at the counter, which is shared amongst staff at the end of the night, and that our minimum wage is THAT HIGH... however eating out is more expensive on average too...
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: wtjbatman on November 16, 2013, 03:21:15 AM
As an foreigner, the custom of tipping seemed unbelievable to me when I have visited the US. One shouldn't have to rely on someone's goodwill just to get paid a decent wage. My US friends were flabbergasted when I explained that we don't often tip, that tipping is usually into a jar at the counter, which is shared amongst staff at the end of the night, and that our minimum wage is THAT HIGH... however eating out is more expensive on average too...

To be fair, a lot of restaurants/bars pool their tips and distribute them to the entire staff. This is so people like the cooks get something for their efforts, and not just the server who carries the plates to the table. If I tip the pizza guy, yeah, he's probably keeping the money. But Wendy the waitress? She doesn't keep all of my tip.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Charlotte on November 16, 2013, 03:44:51 AM
We tip 20% plus (usually rounding up). We tend to eat at the same restaurants a lot and I do not want to be remembered for being a cheap tipper -- that's like asking someone to spit in your food!  ;)

Seriously though, we do get recognized at these restaurants as regular customers. And truthfully, the service has always been pretty good.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: NumberJohnny5 on November 16, 2013, 04:23:15 AM
I absolutely hate tipping.

It used to be 10%, then 15%, now 20%. Of course it's raised a bit more subtly (I think it went from 10% to 12%, then 15% when I became a young adult, then 18% which of course one rounds up to 20%, and now we're officially at 20%). The explanation for this is generally inflation...I call BS! 10% of $5 is $0.50. If inflation eventually causes prices to double, then 10% of $10 is $1; wow, the tip doubled without having to change the percentage, imagine that!

Many people advise tipping to ensure you don't get your food spit in, your mail lost (yeah, supposed to tip the mail carrier in the form of a Christmas gratuity), etc. Um...that's not a tip, that's extortion.

There's no list of people you should tip. Well, thanks to the internet there are lists now, but I have trouble believing some of them. You're supposed to tip a super who repairs something in your apartment? Anyways...I want to know who I'm supposed to tip, and how much. I remember the anxiety I felt when I first realized I was supposed to tip hairdressers (had my hair cut at Walmart, paid with a debit card, receipt had a spot to put in a tip). I tipped, but worried about all the times I hadn't.

Here's another good one. I like to cruise. I read CruiseCritic a lot. The tipping threads there are...interesting to say the least. Of course, everyone who posts there tips the standard amount, plus extra. They all know a lot of lowlifes who don't tip, but of course none of them dares to actually say so. Except me. I have the audacity to...get this...tip for services provided. The nerve! What's that? What could possibly be wrong with that? Let me explain.

You tip per person, per day, for certain things. Stateroom attendant might get $5. That's per day, per person. One person in a room, you tip $5 to have the room cleaned up twice a day. Four people in a room, total tip of $20 to have the room cleaned up twice a day. I don't know about you, but when I'm at home I don't need someone coming in twice a day to clean up after me (I may be messy, but I'm not THAT bad). So I posted on this cruise forum that I might have the stateroom attendant come once every two days, and tip for the entire day (as though he/she had come twice in that day). So $20 every other day. I got flamed. But that's not all....

Another group of people you tip are the main dining room staff. Makes sense. Except sometimes I may dine elsewhere, and tip that person instead. Well, again I'm in the wrong; the main dining room staff are being shorted because there's an empty table that was assigned to you, and it's not their fault you decided not to dine in the main dining room. Um, excuse me? Let's use an on-land example and see how this holds up. I decide to go to Red Lobster, and tip an appropriate amount. Afterward, I swing by Olive Garden and give someone a tip there, because by gosh, they would have loved the opportunity to serve me and earn a tip. Nope, total idiocy.

Of course, many times you're told you should tip simply because you're in a better economic situation than the person serving you. That may be, but if you're giving someone money just because they're poor, that's not a tip; it's charity. I don't mind who you give your charitable donations to, but please don't chastise me because I don't donate to your charity of choice.

I really love how it is in Australia. I go to a restaurant, and the price listed is the price I pay. I get a taxi, driver takes me from point A to point B, meter says $10, I pay...get this...$10. If I ever go to get my hair cut again, I know that whatever the price is...is the price I'll pay. I don't have to worry about what the postman thinks if I don't give a Christmas gratuity. One MAY tip, but it's not expected (but it's starting to creep in, I've seen tip jars spring up just in the couple years I've been here).

Anyways...back in the US, I tip where expected. The old geezer I am (mid-30s), I still tip 15% for standard service (i.e., did your job). Poor service can get 10%, horrible service less. Good service 20%, great service can get more. I might tip a bit less at a buffet (at Golden Corral they don't even get the initial drink, just the refill; they used to bring rolls but it seems they don't do that anymore; 15% for refills seems a bit high).

My wife has been a waitress. She's ok with my (our?) tipping policy (I think she's the one that pointed out we shouldn't tip as high at certain buffets). I do remember that Christmas Eve was the best day for tips.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Cyrano on November 16, 2013, 08:10:04 AM
In defense of standardized restaurant tipping, giving the customer arbitrary power over a significant fraction of the server's compensation even if that power is seldom exercised, does improve the quality of restaurant service vs similar retail service.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: KingCoin on November 16, 2013, 08:47:18 AM
In defense of standardized restaurant tipping, giving the customer arbitrary power over a significant fraction of the server's compensation even if that power is seldom exercised, does improve the quality of restaurant service vs similar retail service.

Believe it or not, anecdotes aside, studies have shown that there's basically 0 correlation between service quality and tip size. However, the race, gender, and age of a server are highly predictive of tip size. This is obviously extremely problematic.

Restaurant managers should set and demand a certain level of service from its staff. If diners don't like the result, they should take their business elsewhere. Simple enough. Tipping unfortunately benefits shirkers at the expense of generous patrons.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: kkbmustang on November 16, 2013, 11:44:40 AM
Former waitress and hostess here. The Hubs also waited tables in college. I sucked at waiting tables, was awesome at hostessing. It's also my understanding that servers pay taxes on the percentage of your meal that is the sales tax rate (or something similar). So, not only are the restaurants including the $2.14/hr in wages, but also a percentage of total sales. Regardless of whether the server actually makes that much in tips.

Our policy is to tip 20% for good service, higher for excellent service. Regardless, we tip a minimum of $5, even if our tab is $10 or whatever. There was one meal where the service was so poor, the server so rude, we left a quarter and a penny. But that has only happened once.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: SwordGuy on November 16, 2013, 02:50:57 PM
Since this thread started off with a mention of a server being mistreated because of her perceived sexual orientation, I thought I would share this amusing story.

A friend of mine I used to swordfight with is "a big guy".  Really big.   No, not merely big.  REALLY big.  He's 6'9" tall, his shoulders are way wider than my own wide shoulders, his wrists are like my thighs.   My 6'5" son looks like a little kid next to this guy.

My friend was standing in line at a food eatery and the fellow standing in line ahead of him started making loud, mean, hateful comments about Lesbians - directing the comments towards one of the staff. 

After making a number of such comments, the fellow turned around to survey the other patrons of the establishment and bask in the expected glow of people agreeing with him.

My friend, who's straight as an arrow, smiled at the fellow and asked him out on a date.

Swoosh!  The fellow left really fast.

I am SO proud of my friend.  That was classic.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: ender on November 16, 2013, 03:12:18 PM
Today I think my bill was $9.58 or something and I gave $12, which is about 25% tip.

I tip generously. Do I need to? Absolutely not, but honestly I'm in a financial situation where I can afford to tip people and I enjoy being able to bless people in that situation.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Krum312 on November 16, 2013, 04:33:03 PM
I may be very rare and unique. This might be hard to believe. I actually enjoy waiting tables.

I enjoy the flexibility of essentially making my own schedule. I have taken five vacations this year, and have a few more this holiday season. This time of year it starts getting dark pretty early, but I have days off work full of sunshine.

Since I enjoy a very low cost of living as well as some side work on my own time, the inconsistencies in the income doesn't bother me. My pay is proportional to the success of the business. Every two weeks I receive a direct deposit for my hours which add up to about a quarter.

Restaurants and bars are often very seasonal. If the server's wage were built into the menu prices, what happens during the slow months? This time of year I am averaging over around thirty dollars an hour. I don't think the restaurant could stay open if they paid servers what they make. I really do not care what anyone tips me. I happen to find a place in one of the nicest neighborhoods in Denver. I give good service because I enjoy what I do, and I enjoy the people I work with and work for. Business drastically slows down in the summer, and I found myself averaging 10-15 an hour with less hours to work. The bi weekly paychecks might have netted closer to $5 over the summer. Turns out summer is a great time to go on vacation.

I enjoy an active work environment. I like that I do not need to sell my time. My hourly wage covers my income tax, but it doesn't cover any of my living expenses. My pay is based on the success of the business as well as how hard I work. I am looking into other career opportunities. I am currently on the waiting list for an x-ray technician program at a local community college, so I can continue to serve people in an active work environment.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Miamoo on November 18, 2013, 01:00:57 PM
I kinda miss it too.  Just can't do it (waitressing or hostessing) physically anymore.  Poop.  Great workout!  MOSTLY nice people.  Had my regulars and made really good $.  More than just paying taxes so I'm not sure what you meant by that.

Good luck and hope you find a job for you that's a perfect fit.  It was soooooo difficult for me to transition from running 200 mph all day to sitting behind a desk or drafting table.  I know you know what I mean ;-)  At least as an X-ray tech you'll be moving around and have plenty of people contact!  Not to mention the benefits.

Best of luck to you.

Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Mr.Macinstache on November 18, 2013, 01:21:57 PM
The point is - why should I have to more if I order a $30 steak instead of a $7 hamburger? The waitress is doing the same amount of work carrying that plate out.

It's a flawed system for sure, but there has to be some incentive to do your damn job. I've been out to eat where there are some lazy asses and some who bust their ass. No incentive = no motivation.

So for everyone who bitches about leaving a tip, don't go out to eat. These people make $2 a HOUR. If you aren't going to tip 15% then you're cheap and just stay home. Bitch about a living wage? That is YOU who is supposed to provide that to them. Tip them appropriately. Let them earn it, and enjoy giving that generous tip.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: NumberCruncher on November 18, 2013, 01:27:07 PM

Restaurants and bars are often very seasonal. If the server's wage were built into the menu prices, what happens during the slow months? This time of year I am averaging over around thirty dollars an hour. I don't think the restaurant could stay open if they paid servers what they make.



The restaurants must be used to the seasonal flux of income by now, too. One would expect the total amount of money spent at restaurants would stay about the same if they built servers' wages into the menu, so the restaurants could definitely afford to pay the servers the average $$ they make now.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: dadof4 on November 18, 2013, 01:36:59 PM
The point is - why should I have to more if I order a $30 steak instead of a $7 hamburger? The waitress is doing the same amount of work carrying that plate out.
Good point. So what is the justification for giving different tips in those two cases?

It's a flawed system for sure, but there has to be some incentive to do your damn job. I've been out to eat where there are some lazy asses and some who bust their ass. No incentive = no motivation.
If that were true, then you would be tipping everyone you interact with who provides any kind of paid service.
e.g.
I've seen some lazy asses working the checkout counters at the supermarket.
Then there are some who are super friendly, work quickly, double bag things they should etc. 
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Miamoo on November 18, 2013, 01:40:05 PM
WOW!  You just brought up a really, really good point that I'd never considered.  Honestly never thought about it but you are 200% right.

Mr.Macinstache said:

" The point is - why should I have to more if I order a $30 steak instead of a $7 hamburger? The waitress is doing the same amount of work carrying that plate out."  ( I'm pretty sure you meant tip more.  Maybe the quote didn't copy correctly)

Mia:
Huge flaw in this system fer sure.  I have my ideas about why it's allowed but that may take up pages and it's only one old waitress/hostess/manager's opinion.

Mr.Macinstache said:

"So for everyone who bitches about leaving a tip, don't go out to eat. These people make $2 a HOUR. If you aren't going to tip 15% then you're cheap and just stay home. Bitch about a living wage? That is YOU who is supposed to provide that to them. Tip them appropriately. Let them earn it, and enjoy giving that generous tip."
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: KatieSSS on November 18, 2013, 01:46:27 PM
Glad to see that most people here tip well! Waitressing has been my side hustle for a while now, so I'm a proponent of good tipping. I was also a hostess during grad school.

One of the worst parts about being a server, but also one of the most humbling, is taking the blame for other peoples' mistakes. When the kitchen messes up and it isn't your fault, when the hostess forgets to assign you a table (then when you do finally get the table the patrons are pissed), or when the bus boys don't clear your table so you have to. All of these things are ultimately your responsibility because your table is your table. You get all of the blame, but only some of the rewards. This is because of the 'tip out' system, which I believe someone mentioned upthread.

The tip out is the percent taken out of your sales each night to pay the hosts, bus boys, cooks, and food runners. Let's assume the tip out is 3% on each table. So, let's say that I have a table where the final bill is $100. The service was fine, but they had to send the steak back because it wasn't cooked enough (kitchen's fault - I said well done on the order). That left them upset, so they tip only 10% instead of a nice 20%. The tip that is left is $10. But $3 automatically goes to the tip-out pool, so I keep $7. Had the tip been a nice 20%, I would have made $17 with the tip-out still being $3.

Now, I have had people just NOT tip me. That's even worse. Let's assume the bill is the same as above, but no tip is left. So $0 on a $100 tab. The tip-out still happens. So the table didn't just not tip me, they actually ensured that money would be taken away from me. That $3 would still have come out, which means it would be taken out of other tips I made that night. Thankfully, I've never had someone not tip on a bill that big. I have had someone not tip on a $30 tab before. And no, they didn't forget - they actually wrote ZERO in the tip line. No issue with their service. Everything was fine.

I'll just tell one other anecdote. Once, I had a super-busy night early on in my serving career. Probably my most busy night at that point. I took a table when I should have told the hostess I was too overwhelmed. I didn't stop by this table enough, and I did make one mistake on their order when I entered it into the computer. But then the kitchen also made a mistake. Basically, it was the perfect storm of shit. I apologized profusely and offered first dessert on the house, then a free meal. One of them looked at me and said "I've been a bartender before and I've never seen such horrible service. You are the worst waitress I have ever seen." I told him I know I made a mistake, and that I was so very sorry and offered to have him speak to the manager. I said we would give him a free meal and do whatever we could. He grabbed his girlfriend and walked out. I went in the back and cried. My manager sympathized since this was the first time I'd ever have that happen to me. Nothing like that has happened since, either. Normally, I would have had to pay for that table's meal out of my pocket ($50-ish), which would have been half my wages that night. Thankfully, the manager was nice and said he was cancelling it out this time. But if it ever happened again, I'd have to pay that table's entire meal. I'll never forget that guy's face and I hope I see him again so I can tell him what I think of him, outside of the restaurant :)

Next time anyone thinks about getting up without paying, think about what you are really doing to the server. My opinion is that unless someone is actively trying to make me have a bad experience, or I see them spit in my food, etc. etc..., then I'm paying for the meal and leaving a tip.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Mr.Macinstache on November 18, 2013, 01:54:54 PM
The point is - why should I have to more if I order a $30 steak instead of a $7 hamburger? The waitress is doing the same amount of work carrying that plate out.
Good point. So what is the justification for giving different tips in those two cases?

It's a flawed system for sure, but there has to be some incentive to do your damn job. I've been out to eat where there are some lazy asses and some who bust their ass. No incentive = no motivation.
If that were true, then you would be tipping everyone you interact with who provides any kind of paid service.
e.g.
I've seen some lazy asses working the checkout counters at the supermarket.
Then there are some who are super friendly, work quickly, double bag things they should etc.

The difference is service based. I'm really not paying for the supermarket checkers service. I could care less if she's even there. I often do the self check.

When going out to eat, that is a service based economy. There needs to be incentive for quality service. To fix the $7 vs $30 one plate flaw, I suppose you could work a system out where you tip by the "trip to table" method, where she's entitled to X amount every time you get visited AND brought an item. That would be more accurate. And doesn't mean the waitress could bring you a fork, spoon, and napkin in 3 trips. Lol.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Krum312 on November 18, 2013, 02:12:32 PM

Restaurants and bars are often very seasonal. If the server's wage were built into the menu prices, what happens during the slow months? This time of year I am averaging over around thirty dollars an hour. I don't think the restaurant could stay open if they paid servers what they make.



The restaurants must be used to the seasonal flux of income by now, too. One would expect the total amount of money spent at restaurants would stay about the same if they built servers' wages into the menu, so the restaurants could definitely afford to pay the servers the average $$ they make now.

I do not know how a restaurant gets used to a seasonal flux of income. The wine bar that I work at is only two years old. It is hard to keep staff over the summer with the drop in business. Should menu prices change seasonally? When business slows down over the summer, how much higher must menu prices be to pay every server another ten to fifteen dollars an hour? I have also worked at a place that was great over the summer but had small profits in the winter.

There are ups and downs to the system. I like that if I wait on 100 people and have a busy night, I will make more money than if I wait on 50 people and have a slow, easy night. Eventually I might have to switch over to getting paid for my time.

The last time I worked for $2.13 an hour, it was not enough to pay my income tax. I did make the mistake of getting health insurance. I ended up owing the $600 in state income tax. I still make under minimum wage at $5 an hour, but my direct deposit checks are usually less than a quarter. The hourly wage is just enough to cover income tax. The tips I receive cover my expenses and my investments.

I prefer to make my own food and drinks. However, if I am tipping someone, I am probably enjoying good times with good friends when I might want to know which wine pairs well with which entrees. Tipping is only requested when you make purchases you do not need. If you prefer not to tip, invite friends and family over for dinner and drinks. It's probably more rewarding to make dinner for your friends than to purchase dinner for your friends. To each their own.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Albert on November 18, 2013, 02:22:10 PM
Honestly what's even to discuss here? The system is what it is and not tipping or tipping very poorly in American restaurant is unethical. I certainly wouldn't do it unless something really horrible happened. Haven't been there for few years now, but I used to add 15-20% if nothing extraordinary happened. Your restaurants aren't that expensive anyway.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Chiron on November 18, 2013, 02:23:11 PM
Always a hot button issue.  I also dislike the US custom of tipping but still acquiesce because that's the way it is.  I generally tip 10-25% based on poor-good service, 18% being about standard.  Only once have I not tipped, and it was for pretty egregious behavior (and a small bill). 

I think the reason this custom is so prevalent in the US is that the restaurant lobby has been successful in convincing lawmakers and the public that servers should rely on tips.  Keep in mind, though, that servers do not really "rely" on tips to make minimum wage - every employer in America with few exceptions must ensure that its employees make federal minimum wage.  So if a server doesn't make it in tips, employers make up the difference.  But there are two parties interested in keeping the current tipping regime: restaurants and servers.  Servers like it because they can chronically underreport their income and pay fewer taxes.  Some of my former-server friends consciously tip in cash (even when paying the rest of the bill with a credit card) because they know servers would rather receive tips in cash so they don't have to report all of it.  By the same measure, restaurants don't have to pay payroll taxes on servers' unreported tips, so they also like the regime. 
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: CommonCents on November 18, 2013, 02:49:21 PM
He grabbed his girlfriend and walked out. I went in the back and cried. My manager sympathized since this was the first time I'd ever have that happen to me. Nothing like that has happened since, either. Normally, I would have had to pay for that table's meal out of my pocket ($50-ish), which would have been half my wages that night. Thankfully, the manager was nice and said he was cancelling it out this time. But if it ever happened again, I'd have to pay that table's entire meal.

Wait, whoa!  Someone walks out without paying (and without getting a manager's a-ok), then that's stealing.  The tip sure, they can stiff on as per our American system, that's optional.  (It may hurt servers per your tip out system described above, but that's the current system.)  If you aren't doing your job and this happens frequently, maybe you lose your job.  But taking it out of your hide for even one time is just flat out wrong to me and I'd argue with mangagement over it.  Ooooh, this is probably why I went into law.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: mpbaker22 on November 18, 2013, 03:18:20 PM
I think 20% is fine.  I normally will do 15% then round up, making it closer to 18-20%.  I've had one time in the last 2 years where I tipped less than 15%.  It took about 60 minutes from the time we ordered to get our food, and this was after we waited more than 30 minutes for her to first come over.  It was a bar type place, so service is normally slower, but still ....  The food portions were tiny, though that obviously wasn't the waitresses fault but it made the mood worse.  She then messed up the receipts and insisted we paid for a meal we didn't have.  Actually, we went around the table and determined everyone had received one meal and paid for that one meal, but she insisted there was an extra meal we were missing.

I think I gave her like 7% or something which seemed pretty common around our table.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Mr.Macinstache on November 18, 2013, 03:22:20 PM
I waited 30 mins for raw Tilapia and I still tipped our server 15%. She delivered our plates, filled our drinks, etc, so it was not her fault that the kitchen could not cook the fish properly.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Miamoo on November 18, 2013, 04:47:35 PM
KatieSSS:

Correct.  It is rough, humiliating and humbling.  But does prepare you for life beyond.  Now you'll know how to smile and put on your waitress face no matter where you go, no matter what your line of work.  It's actually a future asset.  To learn not to get personal feelings in the way.  Keep smiling.

KatieSSS said:

"One of the worst parts about being a server, but also one of the most humbling, is taking the blame for other peoples' mistakes. When the kitchen messes up and it isn't your fault, when the hostess forgets to assign you a table (then when you do finally get the table the patrons are pissed), or when the bus boys don't clear your table so you have to. All of these things are ultimately your responsibility because your table is your table. You get all of the blame, but only some of the rewards. This is because of the 'tip out' system, which I believe someone mentioned upthread. "

BIG GRIN FROM MIAMOO
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: NumberJohnny5 on November 18, 2013, 05:55:09 PM
One of the worst parts about being a server, but also one of the most humbling, is taking the blame for other peoples' mistakes. When the kitchen messes up and it isn't your fault, when the hostess forgets to assign you a table (then when you do finally get the table the patrons are pissed), or when the bus boys don't clear your table so you have to. All of these things are ultimately your responsibility because your table is your table. You get all of the blame, but only some of the rewards. This is because of the 'tip out' system, which I believe someone mentioned upthread.

But aren't we supposed to tip on the overall quality of the meal? If the kitchen is constantly screwing up orders and costing a server money, maybe he/she should look for work at a restaurant with a decent kitchen staff?

Regardless, since we're only tipping the waiter/waitress, we try to tip just based on that person's performance. Just bringing out an underdone steak wouldn't (shouldn't) be enough to justify a lower tip...but if you took 30 minutes to give us menus, then another 60 minutes to get the food to us (food that looks like it'd been under the warming lights for a while), and don't come back within 3-5 minutes to make sure the food is edible...ok, that's not all the kitchen's fault. If you're on top of things, and try to fix any mistakes that pop up, we can be awfully forgiving.

My wife said at one restaurant she was made to take out food even if it was obviously not cooked correctly (say, a burned steak). She'd do so, let the customer know that she had to bring it out, and tell them she could take it right back and get another. Odd thing, that restaurant didn't stay in business much longer, though she still managed decent tips.

The tip out is the percent taken out of your sales each night to pay the hosts, bus boys, cooks, and food runners. Let's assume the tip out is 3% on each table. So, let's say that I have a table where the final bill is $100. The service was fine, but they had to send the steak back because it wasn't cooked enough (kitchen's fault - I said well done on the order). That left them upset, so they tip only 10% instead of a nice 20%. The tip that is left is $10. But $3 automatically goes to the tip-out pool, so I keep $7. Had the tip been a nice 20%, I would have made $17 with the tip-out still being $3.

But that shouldn't be the customer's problem. If the customer is expected to tip based on the waitress's performance, and the waitress gives abysmal service...why should the customer worry how it'll affect the waitress?

BTW, I don't like the tip-out custom at all. All these people are getting at least minimum wage. I think it started out as a simple bribe (in a system where no one tips the bus boy, if you're a waitress and start tipping him "out of pure kindness", I bet he'll make sure your tables are always the first ones cleaned and ready for more customers). Eventually it became expected, and now it's virtually mandatory.

I guess with all the "mandatory" tip-outs the servers have to do...I can almost forgive the recent creeping up of the tip percentage. Really doesn't excuse the jump from 10-15% (since I don't believe tip-outs were as mandatory then, if even a thing), but I can understand going from 15-20% (though I'm so set in my ways, I'll probably keep tipping 15% for "did the basic duties of the job" service).

Next time anyone thinks about getting up without paying, think about what you are really doing to the server. My opinion is that unless someone is actively trying to make me have a bad experience, or I see them spit in my food, etc. etc..., then I'm paying for the meal and leaving a tip.

It would depend on the situation. We've left before without paying for the food we ordered...but never after the food had already been brought to the table. In my mind, once the food's brought to me, then I am obligated to pay for it, even if I hate it (manager may agree to comp the meal...but if he/she doesn't, I'm not walking out without paying). An obvious exception would be if they brought the wrong meal out (so if I order steak and they bring fish...I would feel no remorse if I got up and left). Now...since we virtually always order a soda, this makes a quick getaway impossible; rather, we get up, find somewhere to pay for the drinks, have to explain why we're leaving, then go. This doesn't happen often (last time I can remember was years and years ago, we'd waited over an hour, got up to pay for our drinks, was told the food was suddenly ready, but I said nope...waited long enough, we're leaving).
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Monkey stache on November 19, 2013, 09:43:52 PM
What about people who work for tips only? When I used to shop at the commissary (military grocery store on base) they had baggers who would bag your groceries and take them out to your car. There was a sign that said baggers only worked for tips. Finances were tight (which is why I was shopping there) so I politely declined their services. If I can't afford to tip properly then I shouldn't be using the service, right? My sister said I was asshole since their income is based solely on tips. She said they often don't even make minimum wage and are poor college students (as was I at the time). I just don't think I should be socially pressured to accept a service I don't want or can afford because employees aren't paid the legal minimum wage. I'm not a tightwad either. I hardly eat out but when I do I tip at least 20%. What do you guys think?
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Left on November 19, 2013, 11:15:55 PM
That's common in the resturant industry, someone walks out without paying, it's somehow the server's fault... and they get to pick up the bill for it.

On a side note, servers are required by law to make the minium wage, even though they can be paid less than that per hour, if they don't get the tips to make up for it, the employer HAS to make up the difference.

That said, mimium wage isn't all that great since most servers don't live MMM lifestyles and can't make due with $19k/year...

I had a great customer service in Miami last year (forgot places name... chain restruant :S) but the server sat me down in a corner (they were busy). He forgot about me and didn't come to take order after giving me a drink. About 20-30 minutes went by (not that long for a busy place so I didn't mind and I was busy taking in the scene). Anyways he had the manager to come out, apoligizing that I was forgotten about and manager said the meal was on the house and I could order anything I wanted. Anyways, I left the server the price of the meal as his tip. I wasn't trying to save money and I felt that the place went out of the way so I didn't have a bad experience.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Caoineag on November 20, 2013, 07:58:01 AM
Always 20% unless the service is truly horrendous and I intend to never come back to the restaurant. If service is truly awful but I want to come back, I tip very well in hopes that the server will remember and treat me better the next time (And yes it worked in all but one case. In the one case it didn't work, we never came back to the restaurant after the second time and she got no tip the second time).

But then my DH and I are very memorable for some strange reason (seriously, whether we are in a tipping restaurant or not, people always remember us). I would hate to see what kind of service we would get if we were stingy (not why we tip, just an amusing thought) since no one apparently ever forgets us. (We have had waitresses from one restaurant chat with us in another about the previous restaurant...6 months later).
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: radcrast on November 20, 2013, 08:03:00 AM
That's common in the resturant industry, someone walks out without paying, it's somehow the server's fault... and they get to pick up the bill for it.

At least in my state (Ohio), this is illegal. The employer can punish you for a walk out (write you up) or ask you to secure a credit card at the beginning of the order, but they can't make you pay for it.

I was a server and bartender through high school and college, and I do miss it sometimes. During football game days (I worked on a college campus) I could make upwards of $30 an hour. The flexible schedule was also great - not many people in line at the BMV at 9am on a Tuesday. I do not miss people throwing food or money at me, or having to cleaning up vomit at 3am.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Left on November 20, 2013, 09:46:01 AM
just wondering, but if one of you has had a bad server but like the place/food, do you ask for another server? Even after being sat down? I've gotten bad looks from the one that was suppose to be my server but I had a bad experience with her before. I just ask for another one when I'm talking to host so the place knows who I don't want serving me.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Bruised_Pepper on November 20, 2013, 11:23:54 AM
just wondering, but if one of you has had a bad server but like the place/food, do you ask for another server? Even after being sat down? I've gotten bad looks from the one that was suppose to be my server but I had a bad experience with her before. I just ask for another one when I'm talking to host so the place knows who I don't want serving me.

You might try turning it from a positive to a negative.  Find a server you like and specifically ask for him/her instead of saying "anybody but X". 
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: C. K. on November 20, 2013, 01:27:41 PM
Since I don't spend lots of time in restaurants, I've got more to spend when I do, making the meal less about tipping and more about the experience.

However, if people spend an inordinate amount of their week in a restaurant, I could see where tipping can become really annoying.

I may be very rare and unique. This might be hard to believe. I actually enjoy waiting tables.

 That's great to know! I'm glad someone loves the work.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: NumberCruncher on November 22, 2013, 05:02:22 AM

Restaurants and bars are often very seasonal. If the server's wage were built into the menu prices, what happens during the slow months? This time of year I am averaging over around thirty dollars an hour. I don't think the restaurant could stay open if they paid servers what they make.



The restaurants must be used to the seasonal flux of income by now, too. One would expect the total amount of money spent at restaurants would stay about the same if they built servers' wages into the menu, so the restaurants could definitely afford to pay the servers the average $$ they make now.

I do not know how a restaurant gets used to a seasonal flux of income. The wine bar that I work at is only two years old. It is hard to keep staff over the summer with the drop in business. Should menu prices change seasonally? When business slows down over the summer, how much higher must menu prices be to pay every server another ten to fifteen dollars an hour? I have also worked at a place that was great over the summer but had small profits in the winter.

There are ups and downs to the system. I like that if I wait on 100 people and have a busy night, I will make more money than if I wait on 50 people and have a slow, easy night. Eventually I might have to switch over to getting paid for my time.

The last time I worked for $2.13 an hour, it was not enough to pay my income tax. I did make the mistake of getting health insurance. I ended up owing the $600 in state income tax. I still make under minimum wage at $5 an hour, but my direct deposit checks are usually less than a quarter. The hourly wage is just enough to cover income tax. The tips I receive cover my expenses and my investments.

I prefer to make my own food and drinks. However, if I am tipping someone, I am probably enjoying good times with good friends when I might want to know which wine pairs well with which entrees. Tipping is only requested when you make purchases you do not need. If you prefer not to tip, invite friends and family over for dinner and drinks. It's probably more rewarding to make dinner for your friends than to purchase dinner for your friends. To each their own.

I'm just saying that if the total money coming in to the restaurant stayed the same, the total money going out for expenses and wages could stay the same. Money in, money out. I'm not saying it would definitely work out that way - depends on how the owners managed money - just that it theoretically could stay the same if they stopped the tipping practice and raised menu prices by 20%.

 
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Miss Growing Green on November 22, 2013, 12:24:15 PM
We almost always tip 18-25%+.  We're pretty economical at restaurants- don't order appetizers, desserts, or drinks, and alot of times we use coupons.  So, even at 25%+ the tips aren't crazy high.

When service is blatantly horrible and the server doesn't care, I tip 10%.  One time I tipped $0.01 to a server that took our Buy One Get One Free coupon, served our food, let us eat, THEN came and told us he wouldn't honor the coupon and there was nothing he could do. 
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: netskyblue on November 23, 2013, 01:54:15 PM
I worked as a server for a few years part-time, after I got off from my "real" job.  The place I was working was run by a couple of Russians who were TOTALLY doing illegal shit though.  They didn't pay their waitstaff.  Yeah, you heard me.  They did not pay us.  We got W2's with made-up numbers on them.  I know, because I wrote down at home each night what I took home in tips.  We did have to declare all our tips in their computer, so we weren't taking home unreported tips.

Why did I continue to work there for so long?  I made $20-$25 an hour, that's why.  Without my "employers" paying me a dime.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Kriegsspiel on November 23, 2013, 03:17:11 PM
I typically tip 15-20%.  It's stupid.  Why has it become socially unacceptable to pay people extra for doing their job?  The restaurant should pay the server.  I should pay the prices listed on the menu.  If the server cannot make ends meet from the wages the restaurant pays, they should quit and force the restaurant to pay them more.  What's even more stupid is when a large group of people go out and are told that XX% is automatically included on their bill as a tip.

I can understand being blown away by great service and giving extra money in appreciation, and have no issue with that.  What pisses me off is that it's socially expected / required that you tip even after getting terrible service.  That's garbage.  If I get terrible service, I should be expected to leave no tip.  A tip should be representative of the level of service you get.

That said, I only eat out a few times a year . . . so it doesn't come up too often

I agree the practice is dumb, but I can't even fathom the shift that would need to occur nationally to change things (federal legislation mandating a livable wage for restaurant  employees I suppose). It is simply a part of our dining culture these days.

I remember a story a while back about a man who opened a restaurant (i think in Arizona or Nevada) that expressly explained to customers to not leave tips. All of the employees were paid a livable wage and the cost of this was built into the food. He told the reporters that he would frequently get people coming up to the front to complain that THEY HAD THEIR TIP REJECTED BY THE SERVER. He would then explain the policy to them (the one that was written in huge letters at the front of the store) and tell them that if they really wanted to leave the tip, the collected the tips to support a local charities iirc. Learning this, the majority of the people would not donate and just keep the tip for themselves.

Sheeple, man. what are you going to do.

There's this one in Athens Ohio that has a no tipping policy.  Is that the one?

http://www.athensnews.com/ohio/article-37641-local-restaurant-bar-bans-tips-in-reaction-to-federal-rule.html

I knew Casa Nueva was going to be the restaurant-in-question. Those hippies make amazing food. I loved that place.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Melody on November 23, 2013, 04:15:07 PM
I hated tipping in the US because you felt obligated to tip even if the service was sub-par.
In Australia servers get a living wage (As a minimum they get minimum wage + 20% to compensate for the fact they do not have fixed hours of work and do not have job security, their employer can stop giving them shifts at any time - about $20/hr). You don't tip unless your service was exceptional, although you may round up a bill (e.g if the bill is $38 you might put $40 on the table and walk out.) As the employer can stop giving you shift at any time, if you're not good you won't get shifts.
Also it seems crazy to me to tip the server - Surely the chef also has a big part to play - if my meal is slow to come out,  it's probably not my server's fault...
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Miamoo on November 23, 2013, 04:37:01 PM
I worked as a server for a few years part-time, after I got off from my "real" job.  The place I was working was run by a couple of Russians who were TOTALLY doing illegal shit though.  They didn't pay their waitstaff.  Yeah, you heard me.  They did not pay us.  We got W2's with made-up numbers on them.  I know, because I wrote down at home each night what I took home in tips.  We did have to declare all our tips in their computer, so we weren't taking home unreported tips.

Why did I continue to work there for so long?  I made $20-$25 an hour, that's why.  Without my "employers" paying me a dime.

Then you had it good as an employee.  We were paid our hourly $2-$3 - tips were split between us and busboys. Our taxes were calculated on a percentage of total sales on the register.  Of course. cash payments were never rung up on the register and so never taxed.  Owners just pocketed the money and wrote off a loss towards operating costs.  Win-Win?
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Kriegsspiel on November 23, 2013, 04:52:17 PM
Also, maybe I've always been wrong, but I thought tipping was... a way to get around taxes? IE, in Germany, and I would assume Finland et al, don't expect much in tips, because they pay their servers more, so that they can tax them more. In the US, tips are not taxed, so you pay the servers less, but they actually get more untaxed money. So there is no "tip more for good service, less for bad", it's simply a part of their wages?

Is that a wrong way to look at it?
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: StarryC on November 23, 2013, 05:50:00 PM
Yes, for several reasons.
1) Employers sometimes "estimate" tip income and then the taxes are withheld.  So, let's say your wage is $500.  But they expect you got $500 in tips.  Your $500 is taxed as if you got $1,000.  So, often, that means your $500 check is closer to $200.  So if you don't tip, they are still taxed on that money in the paycheck.  Then, they'd have to record all the tips and challenge it on the tax forms during the next year.
2) Tips are taxable.  I'm not sure how good of a record servers keep, or how often they are audited, but in theory they are supposed to be taxed.
3) This is even more true now that many tips are on credit cards- there is a record so the server can't just put the $5 in their pocket. 
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: netskyblue on November 24, 2013, 10:51:43 AM
Yes, tips are (supposed to be) taxed.  Where I worked, EVERYTHING was rung into the computer, including all tips, even cash.  However, our dishonest employers put on our W2s that they paid us $X in wages, that we were NEVER paid.  We were taxed on this fake money that was never paid to us, on top of being taxed on 100% of our tips.

At the end of the night, after all our tips were handed to us, we had to hand back 10% of them - half to the kitchen, half to the bar (even though most of the time, the owner was bartending.)  So we also paid taxes on 10% of our tips that we didn't get to keep.

Screwy.

But the money was still so good.
Title: Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
Post by: Miamoo on November 24, 2013, 12:45:29 PM
Also, maybe I've always been wrong, but I thought tipping was... a way to get around taxes? IE, in Germany, and I would assume Finland et al, don't expect much in tips, because they pay their servers more, so that they can tax them more. In the US, tips are not taxed, so you pay the servers less, but they actually get more untaxed money. So there is no "tip more for good service, less for bad", it's simply a part of their wages?

Is that a wrong way to look at it?

Kriegssppiel, I don't know how other states in the US do it but please see my previous post.  At least in the part of Illinois I worked in, we were taxed on the $2-$3 per hour we made and a percentage of the register receipts for the year.  That being a percentage of whatever the owner declared for his taxes.  Didn't amount to much in taxes.  Please keep in mind too that there was no health insurance, sick days, vacation time or any type of benefit attached.  So as much as one can make some great cash . . . it's only good for temporary employment.  Or as a side gig.

It's more the restaurant owners that benefit on the tax side of it than the employees in the end.