Author Topic: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.  (Read 20242 times)

NumberJohnny5

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Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
« Reply #50 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).

Monkey stache

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Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
« Reply #51 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?

Left

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Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
« Reply #52 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.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2013, 11:21:05 PM by eyem »

Caoineag

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Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
« Reply #53 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).

radcrast

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Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
« Reply #54 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.

Left

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Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
« Reply #55 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.

Bruised_Pepper

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Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
« Reply #56 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". 

C. K.

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Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
« Reply #57 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.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2013, 01:59:54 PM by C. K. »

NumberCruncher

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Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
« Reply #58 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%.

 

Miss Growing Green

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Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
« Reply #59 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. 

netskyblue

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Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
« Reply #60 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.

Kriegsspiel

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Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
« Reply #61 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.

Melody

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Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
« Reply #62 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...

Miamoo

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Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
« Reply #63 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?

Kriegsspiel

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Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
« Reply #64 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?

StarryC

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Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
« Reply #65 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. 

netskyblue

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Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
« Reply #66 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.

Miamoo

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Re: "Tipping" in the USA at restaurants etc.
« Reply #67 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.