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Old 08-31-2018, 04:13 AM   #1
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Looking for input on a tipping issue I've had in the past

Not sure if I posted something like this in the past ( I know I wanted to, just don't know if I ever got around to it)

I was at a Panera Bread ( for those of you not familiar with it, its basically a fast food - like restaurant where you go to one counter and give them your order. They hand you a beeper-like device that lights up when your order is ready, which you pick up at another counter. You then get your own drinks, pick a table or booth, sit and enjoy your meal, clean up after yourselves by dumping your trash and placing the dishes, utensils and tray neatly by the trash can. The restaurant is primarily salads, soups, bread....).

Anyway, I go to the counter to order my food. Tell the guy what I wanted. he then turns the screen around for me to confirm the order and sign off my credit card. But before I sign, a screen comes up asking if i want to leave a tip and gives several suggestions by percent ( 5%, 10 % , 15%, 20 % ..) for me to click on before the final total is calculated and I sign for it.

Im not a cheap person. When I go to a restaurant I always round up ( unless I have a reason for not giving as good of a tip). The issue I have here, is not that I don't necessarily want to tip, but Im being asked to tip before I get my food or any dining experience. In addition, Im picking up my food, getting my own drink, taking to the table which I select, seat myself , clean myself, and then bring the dishes and trash to the designated spot. The only experience I have prior to leaving the ' tip' is the person who entered my order.

I just find it a little bizarre.

Is it me ? or am I just getting crankier in my old age ( just about to hit 50, maybe it comes with the territory, and my wife says Im cranky (among other things).


On a second note, I went to a restaurant in NYC, and the bill comes with the suggested tip already calculated in , with a spot to add additional money if wanted. What annoys me about this, is that Im sure many people don't realize this and they then leave an additional tip on top of the 18% that is already calculated in. I understand ( to some extent) why they do this, cause its near Times Square and there are a lot of foreign tourists who may not be accustom to tipping, so they work it into the fee. But in my situation, they loose out, cause I get a little offended when some tells me what to do in a situation that should be my choice at my discretion. So, I usually give them the tip asked for ( even though under most circumstances, I probably would have given more). IF the waiter is exceptional, I may add a bit, but in most cases, its a 'get'em in get'm out ' kind of a place (due to very busy / touristy location) so although the service is quick, its rarely a place id go above an beyond.

You may ask why I eat at the above place. Reason is convenience, location, has stuff for us to eat, and knowing Ill get out in time to see a broadway show (that won't seat you if your late).

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Old 08-31-2018, 04:36 AM   #2
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One of the food delivery services, GrubHub or UberEATS, does the same thing, and it really wears my last nerve. A tip is a reward for good service; how do I know how much to tip until I’ve received the service, or if I even want to tip at all?
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Old 08-31-2018, 05:07 AM   #3
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Is there a place to check none or if you leave it blank will it let you continue? I never tip ahead of service and would be offended by them asking. I sometime go to a popular local sub shop to get a take out sandwich and will drop my change in the tip jar. Those who eat in get the food delivered to them at the table. There I can understand a tip, but not for a place where you are doing your own service.
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Old 08-31-2018, 09:24 AM   #4
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It seems they've computerized the tip jar. I typically don't tip counter help. If you are going to tip the person at Panera's register, how about the person at the dry cleaners or the supermarket? I'm annoyed they're trying to shame you into a tip.
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Old 08-31-2018, 09:33 AM   #5
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Yes, you do have the option to select no tip.
Its kind of a strange situation cause your standing there with the counter person looking at you while you're making the selection.

I have thick skin, so doesnt bother me too much ( plus I usually make my wife take care of all that ), But I agree, its like shaming you into a tip, putting you on the spot.

When I travel and use the concierge lounge, i often leave a tip for the people cleaning up the tables. I also leave a tip when I get a free breakfast at the hotel ( when there are people cleaning up my table).

Im all for leaving tip for good service or proper situations, but to me, the panera situation just doesnt sit right by me.
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Old 08-31-2018, 10:12 AM   #6
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No, you're not cranky Larry. The Panera deal is out of line for sure. Although they have better food, it's nothing more than a fast food operation and although I sometimes add to the tip jar at Burger King for example, I'd never put up with that Panera situation.


Speaking of tipping for fast food, I don't know if you've ever had the opportunity to go to an In N Out, since it's only in the west. Those kids deserve tips, as you've never seen service like that anywhere else. Those kids are trained to please every customer like you've never seen before.
I gladly tip there.
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Old 08-31-2018, 10:45 AM   #7
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When I go to a place that pulls that, I tend to stop going there. Not just out of righteous indignation, but because I don't like to put myself in that kind of situation where it bothers me. An email to coporate about your displeasure doesn't hurt.

Mistakenly adding a tip to a bill that had an automatic tip already added in happened to me once. They ended up getting a 35% tip, and it probably happens all the time there as the servers never mentioned it, to their obvious benefit.

That was partially my own fault, though. My wife and I were in Maryland enjoying pitchers of beer and steamed crabs at a beachside reastaurant, and after a few pitchers (crabs take a long time to eat), we paid the bill and stumbled back to our hotel just down the boardwalk 3 sheets to the wind.

Still, ANY time a tip is automatically added in, the server should paeticularly mention it when they hand you the bill. It's not good enough for it to be written in the margins or bottom of a menu, or worse, is it especially not OK to have a sign by the hostess or bar as was the case where we ate the crabs.
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Old 08-31-2018, 10:55 AM   #8
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Yes, pre-tipping does seem a bit much. I'd be pretty annoyed too! I generally tip in cash, and might leave the change if I'm picking up some fast food.
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Old 08-31-2018, 05:57 PM   #9
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I'd be annoyed under those circumstances, too, Larry. And I'd leave a big, fat -0-.

Wasn't the concept of tipping developed as a way to reward servers based on their performance because they were paid at a much lower rate than the counter help? And, by law, I think states require a food business to pay counter help and kitchen staff at minimum wage, although the business is free to pay more, of course. So, if everyone who takes care of your order is considered counter help, I think the business should not be asking for tips.

I wonder if those businesses ever think that the "suggested tip" notation on a bill can backfire. We usually base the % we leave on the service provided. The convenience of going with the suggested amount might end up short-changing a really good server out of more money because someone figures "that's good enough". In those cases, when we have had a really good server, we usually hunt him/her down and hand them extra cash. And if we have the tip already figured into the bill when we've had bad service? Oh, you do not want to be the manager of that place by the time I am done telling you what I think!
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Old 08-31-2018, 06:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larry_stewart View Post
Not sure if I posted something like this in the past ( I know I wanted to, just don't know if I ever got around to it)

I was at a Panera Bread ( for those of you not familiar with it, its basically a fast food - like restaurant where you go to one counter and give them your order. They hand you a beeper-like device that lights up when your order is ready, which you pick up at another counter. You then get your own drinks, pick a table or booth, sit and enjoy your meal, clean up after yourselves by dumping your trash and placing the dishes, utensils and tray neatly by the trash can. The restaurant is primarily salads, soups, bread....).

Anyway, I go to the counter to order my food. Tell the guy what I wanted. he then turns the screen around for me to confirm the order and sign off my credit card. But before I sign, a screen comes up asking if i want to leave a tip and gives several suggestions by percent ( 5%, 10 % , 15%, 20 % ..) for me to click on before the final total is calculated and I sign for it.

Im not a cheap person. When I go to a restaurant I always round up ( unless I have a reason for not giving as good of a tip). The issue I have here, is not that I don't necessarily want to tip, but Im being asked to tip before I get my food or any dining experience. In addition, Im picking up my food, getting my own drink, taking to the table which I select, seat myself , clean myself, and then bring the dishes and trash to the designated spot. The only experience I have prior to leaving the ' tip' is the person who entered my order.

I just find it a little bizarre.

Is it me ? or am I just getting crankier in my old age ( just about to hit 50, maybe it comes with the territory, and my wife says Im cranky (among other things).


On a second note, I went to a restaurant in NYC, and the bill comes with the suggested tip already calculated in , with a spot to add additional money if wanted. What annoys me about this, is that Im sure many people don't realize this and they then leave an additional tip on top of the 18% that is already calculated in. I understand ( to some extent) why they do this, cause its near Times Square and there are a lot of foreign tourists who may not be accustom to tipping, so they work it into the fee. But in my situation, they loose out, cause I get a little offended when some tells me what to do in a situation that should be my choice at my discretion. So, I usually give them the tip asked for ( even though under most circumstances, I probably would have given more). IF the waiter is exceptional, I may add a bit, but in most cases, its a 'get'em in get'm out ' kind of a place (due to very busy / touristy location) so although the service is quick, its rarely a place id go above an beyond.

You may ask why I eat at the above place. Reason is convenience, location, has stuff for us to eat, and knowing Ill get out in time to see a broadway show (that won't seat you if your late).
I don't see why you should be expected to tip the person who takes and just keys your order into the system in what is basically a self-service joint. The trouble is that if you decline to add the tip at the first stage someone might spit in your food!

Over here, if the restaurant automatically adds a service charge to the bill at the end of the meal and the meal was horrible and the service rude or inept, you can legally decline to pay service charge. I wouldn't add a tip over and above the one on the bill.

I'm not being mean here but I decide whether the food/service is worth the tip. And before anyone jumps in with the poor badly paid waiter/waitress argument, I've been there, done that and never expected a tip but was grateful when I got one. Unfortunately there are unscrupulous owners & managers of restaurants who cream off a large percentage of the tips and the staff only see a fraction of it.
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