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Old 03-03-2012, 08:25 PM   #71
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What a hot topic this became! How fun!!!!
I think that servers here in the US are so unappreciated and more often than not either abused by back of house or by patrons, it is a tough job and thankless as well.
This puts me in the mindset that EVERY PERSON {be you pauper or prince} should be a server for a full month in a DINER. With the intention to learn how to treat and more importantly how NOT to treat people.
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Old 03-03-2012, 08:36 PM   #72
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What a hot topic this became! How fun!!!!
I think that servers here in the US are so unappreciated and more often than not either abused by back of house or by patrons, it is a tough job and thankless as well.
This puts me in the mindset that EVERY PERSON {be you pauper or prince} should be a server for a full month in a DINER. With the intention to learn how to treat and more importantly how NOT to treat people.
Maybe every server should be forced to eat out every night and pay a 20% tip for poor service. Maybe they would start to gain an appreciation for why customers take a certain level of service for granted, and deduct then the service is slow, when the steak is poorly cooked, or when the food is lame. There is no way for the patron (or patroness) to indicate poor food quality except by reducing the tip, or eliminating it.

(Oh yeah you can demand the head chef or owner. I've done that. You often get the next visit free. I don't get off on that. I don't want free food for poor service/cooking.)
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Old 03-03-2012, 08:38 PM   #73
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Threads about what happens in restaurants always get a lot of attention. Everybody has an opinion because everybody eats out.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:03 PM   #74
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Margi, some states do not apply national minimum wage to a category of workers. It used to be called something like domestics, I think, and you (restaurant owner) simply did not have to pay minimum wage. Ironically, you (wait staff) were taxed at minimum wage and a presumptive amount the state/country thinks you are making (i.e., tips). This was the case when I had my one experience working as a waitress in Virginia in 1977. You basically worked for tips. I don't know how it works now (anyone chime in here), but I know it varies from state to state. THEN, to make it more odd, some restaurants have the policy of all tips being pooled and divided. So lousy waiter makes the same tips as good waiter as bartender as bus person. Real incentive, huh? AND, to make it worse, a couple of owners here in town have the reputation of swooping down and collecting half the collected tips for the night.

I have a friend who did quite well over many years of being a waitress with good bosses and good coworkers. But you couldn't pay me to do it again. Hard physical labor and few rewards.

Oh, and Virginia became a national minimum wage state many years ago. But I'm not sure all are.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:51 PM   #75
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to make it worse, a couple of owners here in town have the reputation of swooping down and collecting half the collected tips for the night

@ Cllare,,,,,,,,,There is a tiny Mexican {American owned} place a few towns away from me that seats 40 including the bar. When the owner tends the bar the servers have to tip him out. I went one night and had no choice but to sit at his bar, I LOVE the staff, but the owner is....well..... I did not tip him in spite of having eaten a full meal. The next time I went, I had a conversation with my favorite person there, {the bartender} turned out that the owner said something to her about it. She said that he must have " got me PO'ed" because she ALWAYS tips me great!
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:02 PM   #76
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I've always been told that it is rude to tip the owner. But, I don't follow that. When I get my hair done, my stylist is one of the two owners and I always tip him. He doesn't act like he thinks that is rude.
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:25 PM   #77
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I've always been told that it is rude to tip the owner. But, I don't follow that. When I get my hair done, my stylist is one of the two owners and I always tip him. He doesn't act like he thinks that is rude.
You are correct, TL. My mom and Miss Manners said the same thing. Though I tip the restaurant owners if they serve us. Don't need to tip my hairdresser, as DH is the one who cuts my hair!
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:50 PM   #78
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The chronic ineptitude of waiters in the U.S. isn't entirely the fault of the wait staff. The American desire to be stuffed to the gills cheaply with food service preparations of cuisine d' micro-onde doesn't leave much room in the business model for professional wait staff who make enough money to motivate them to become expert. Nor are many owners going to invest a lot of effort in developing a fine waiter when the job is often seen and taken as temporary or merely having a convenient schedule for students. So even in well run restaurants where the waiters are trained to the local standard, it's not much of a standard. We probably get pretty much what we deserve, amateur waiters and being hustled out quickly to make room for the next customer.

We just don't have an expectation that, throughout the land, we will find good, small local restaurants where the food is selected and cooked by a thoroughly competent minor league chef and served with quiet style. Our spending priorities are not attuned to routinely eating out well. The corporate chain can't deliver it in their silly establishments decorated with license plates and wall to wall objets de junque and can merely load a 12-inch plate with mediocre grub. The small town places can't deliver it with Joe the fry cook in the kitchen with the one-fryer-for-all and five-gallon carton of sausage gravy and Brytannee the future dental assistant waiting tables.

At a down home local level, about the only restaurants that I find having decent wait staff are good small Mexican food places. I've never had any of them try to introduce themselves by name, as if we might become good friends, with the entirely superfluous information that they will be serving tonight. The order gets taken, the tea glasses and chip baskets and salsa bowls are kept full without comment, a brief eye contact brings them over, and there is no "anything else?" question as a veiled announcement that it's time to move on.
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Old 03-04-2012, 06:47 AM   #79
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I, too, somewhere along the line learned it was wrong to tip the owner. But there's a big difference between, say, the owners of a restaurant, and the barber/hairdresser. I wouldn't dream of tipping the guy who owns the restaurant if he happens by. On the other hand, the gal who cuts my hair owns the place, and I always tip her. Perhaps it is because it is a no middle-man situation. The restaurant owners I know are either quite well off, or at least want to give that impression. They actually "tip" me, truth be told; with occaisional free rounds of drinks and meals.

I also don't believe the server should be penalized for anything besides poor service. If the food is bad, through no fault of the server, or the server is obviously overworked because the management doesn't want to pay for more employees, then you should not return or complain to management, not stiff the server.

One time we were taking my parents for a lovely brunch at a very nice, pricey place we'd been before. Our service was absolutely appalling in the first 20 or 30 minutes. We finally got a waiter and a bus-boy to serve us. It was the funniest thing. Now, I have to tell you, our waiter was seen screwing off; smoking cigarettes out back, flirting with the waitresses and some wealthy-looking young ladies among his tables. We wound up having excellent service (good sign of an excellent restaurant) because other employees worked extra to make sure we were taken care of.

Husband was wonderful. Rather than leaving the tip on the table or putting it on the tab/credit card, he took out cash, then got up and sought out the bus boy and waiter who had actually given us service, and put the cash in their hands.
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Old 03-04-2012, 08:32 AM   #80
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I, too, somewhere along the line learned it was wrong to tip the owner. But there's a big difference between, say, the owners of a restaurant, and the barber/hairdresser.
I don't use hair salons, so I could have it wrong. But aren't they set up like auto repair shops often are. The owner owns the shop. The mechanics or stylists split the fees for their work with the owner as a kind of rent. The owner sets the standard rate, just as the repair shop uses the labor estimator book, so everyone charges the same for same work. So when the owner does hair, they're not in the role of owner but filling a space among the stylists, so tipping them is appropriate. But I suspect you wouldn't have your hair done by one of the line stylists and then seek the owner out for a separate tip.

I've come to see restaurant tipping as if it's just an unseen automatic extra charge for the food, just as it is a frank, stated charge for service in some countries. There's what we sometimes feel like doing, and then there's reality. The reality is that, like many other things, you're not paying for the food, you're paying for the place to be there when you want the food. That means people have to work there, and because the system is so common, they have to work there under the bare wage plus tips system. I like to encourage excellence when I can afford to, and I can usually afford the indulgence of tipping above and beyond for excellence, just as I would seek out the owner to compliment. But the basic tip is just part of the meal price. If the service or food is bad and can't be or isn't likely to be fixable on the spot, I pay up, including basic tip, and I just don't come back.
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