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Old 08-20-2005, 12:02 AM   #31
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Sorry, all, but I just now saw this thread.

My 2

For most of my professional career, I've worked in country clubs. Country club business is much different from a regular restaurant. Therefore, the "tipping" is also different.

Members pay X dollars a month, what is called a "minimum", which is credited to their account. Greens Fees, locker-room fees (if any, I'm not sure about that), plus any food that is "purchased", is signed for, a percentage tip tacked onto that, and the total is debited from their account. Here's the kicker: If, at the end of the month, you HAVEN'T spent/signed for the amount of money you paid (the "minimum"), you LOOSE it! That's right, it's gone! So, we get the usual weekly "rush", which climaxes on the weekend, but, we also get a monthly buildup, with a surge of orders in the last week of the month, and some of those are really oddball "to go" things, like raw steaks, fruit platters, etc., anything to spend that "minimum".

That said, we basically have a "captive" clientelle. We know that we will get X amount of business in a given month. Any parties above that is extra money, although many clubs count on catering business to supplement the income of the kitchen.

At the club I work at, it is explained to the members that a percentage tip is added to each ticket, and no cash tip is required. This percentage gratuity is put into a general fund for the employees, and used to hire in employees at a higher rate than is normally expected for a "regular" restaurant.

If any member does give out a cash tip, it is kept "under the table". You don't mention it.

Personally, when I go out to eat, and I receive good service, I'll tip good. I have yet to go to a restaurant that adds a percentage tip to ALL orders, although many do mention a 15% tip automatically added to parties of 8 or more.

Not only that, but if I go out to a restaurant, and order something that I am picky about, like a high-dollar steak, cooked to order, and it comes out exactly like I want it, I'll send a tip back to the cook, as well as what I tip the waitstaff.

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Old 08-20-2005, 12:17 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Andy M.
Employees' relying directly on their customers' goodwill for a living wage is clearly not the norm. Most of the business world pays a living wage to their employees and passes the cost along to their customers.
That's all I'm saying. To say that "this is the way things work" is just not sufficient. It may very well BE the way things work and I'm sure there are perfectly good justifications for this system, but that does not mean that it's right. A mandatory "tip" might seem perfectly reasonable to some, but a tip is something extra that is given for exemplary service.

Maybe I'm old school.

It has been suggested that increased prices to compensate for higher wages (or at least INFORMING people of that) would be 'inappropriate' or 'tacky'. I am left to wonder what the difference really is between THAT and a "mandatory tip" (aka 'surcharge') to supplement a restaurant's inability to budget for an appropriate wage for their employees.

Aren't there other ways to cut costs other than assuming that waitstaff are just used to working for $2.00 an hour and collecting tips to survive? Surely... there must be, right?

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Old 08-20-2005, 12:23 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by The Z
...Aren't there other ways to cut costs other than assuming that waitstaff are just used to working for $2.00 an hour and collecting tips to survive? Surely... there must be, right?
I don't think so. It's not realistic to expect the employer can just find extra bucks to pay the help more. That would suggest he wasn't already doing everything he could to maximize profits. The money still has to come from the customer, it's just handled as a price increase rather than a 'tip' and it allows the people who know the server's performance best to make the pay decisions.
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Old 08-20-2005, 12:45 AM   #34
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Allen.Back to the old "use it or loose it.."

I waitressed when minimun wage was 50 cents per hour. No tips..it was a Navy town and they didn't have the money to tip.
We not only took orders but fixed what they ordered and did the dishes too. ( Good ol 1950's Malt shop. We had fun though.
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Old 08-20-2005, 12:50 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Andy M.

I realize waiters and waitresses work hard for their money. I know it without having ever worked as a waiter because I can see it for myself. That's why I suggested your employer take responsibility for paying you for a job well done rather than leaving it up to a constantly changing rotation of strangers.

I know what the waitperson is responsible for and what is the kitchen's responsibility and don't penalize the waitperson for the chef's screw-up. I do notice how the waitperson handles my complaint and take that into account.

Some folks are just cheapos and will use any excuse to stiff a service employee. If I can't afford to leave a tip, I wouldn't go out to dinner.
Thanks Andy M.
As far as the employer paying for a job well done, that would be great! I'd love to be able to rely on a consistant wage, not whether or not we will get busy.

As far as complaints go, sometimes it is the kitchen's fault and the waitstaff should look to make sure it is correct before taking it out if it is something we can spot. Sometimes we can't see the mistake beforehand. And then if you do spot the mistake before you take it out, the kitchen undoubtedly has to remake the dish and your customers are mad because it's taking so long to get their food even if you explained why.

Hmm...how the waitstaff handles the complaint. That is also not in our control sometimes. I work at a place now where the owner is sooo stingy, he'd probably jump out a window before comping a meal. My tips suffer because of this. I do everything in my power for the customer with a complaint but it is up to the owner or manager to do something that could really make a difference and make that complaining customer want to come back again. The restaurant I worked at previously was very good about recieving complaints. They would give out a card for a free entree which the customer would come back at a later date and have a great meal, and then they would keep returning! Just because it was bad once, doesn't mean it will be bad the next time.

And you're right, some people are just cheapos!
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Old 08-20-2005, 06:58 AM   #36
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In the UK tipping at restaurants is expected to be about 20 per cent. However, many, many restaurants have a 'servicecharge' on your bill, in which case there is no need to leave a tip. I am uncomfortable with the latter, as I know that waitresses and waiters often rely on the tips given to them, and I am suspicious that little if indeed anything that you give as a service charge will actually GET to the servers.

We also tip cabbies and hairdressers. In a pub, it is not expected, but if you like the service, then you can offer to buy the barmaid a drink - in many cases she will say 'thanks, I'll take one for later' - and will charge you a basic sum (about 2 pounds) - which goes in her 'glass' (each staff member usually has their own, although I've noticed recently that often all the staff on shift put their 'drink' in the one glass - presumably to share out equally at the end of the shift.

I found it amazing in Australia and New Zealand that you do not tip. And, in some cases, the cabbie or whoever gets a little irritated that you are suggesting it! I presume they do not wish to be thought to be 'servants' of anyone.....
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Old 08-20-2005, 08:00 AM   #37
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corazon90 I am in the same boat as Andy. I have never been a waiter, but I can tell how difficult a job it is. I know that it is a job that I would never be able to do. I have had friends who did it and it really does take a certain type of person to handle it. I give you a lot of credit for doing that job.

I understand you point about customers complaining about everything and making it your problem. If the A/C is too cold then it is your problem. If the steak is not cooked right then it is not the cooks fault, but yours ect.

I have had many jobs in both sales and customer service and the same sorts of things happen in those jobs. I used to work for a large bank doing sales for them. I would get people who I was talking to who would blame me personally for the fees the bank charged. I now work at an internet type company and if the website goes down it is my fault (even if it was because a blizzard just blew through and knocked out the power). The difference is that these people do not have the power to affect my income as a way of punishing me for these things they were unhappy about.

I think that because being a waiter or waitress is such a hard and sometimes thankless job that you guys should get paid a fair wage and not have to rely on people who decide if they want to pay you and can use any reason they want for not tipping.

I like the way Andy talked about a $100 bill and tipping $20 or just having the bill come to $120 and no tipping is allowed. The money is the same, but the power is taken away from the customer and given to the restaurant or employee. I do not feel that tips are necessary to ensure good service. I believe that most people want to do a good job were they work because people like things well. plus if you don't perform well then you get fired.

I give you a lot of credit for doing the job you do corazon90. Especially since it is something I would never want to do.
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Old 08-20-2005, 10:18 AM   #38
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MAN! You guys are pretty passionate about whether or not to throw a few bucks on the table at the end of the meal! Here's my experience, take it as you will. I was a server for two years at TGI Fridays and I will never do it again. The job is VERY stressful and the pay is a constant rollercoaster. It's impossible to predict how much money you'll make, you might make 40 bucks on a bad day and 200 bucks on a good day. Personally, I tip at least 25% of the bill everytime because I know what servers go through, I've tipped up to 40% when I see that a server is having a particularly bad day. I'm not sure how to solve the wage problem, I'm just giving you my two pennies!
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Old 08-20-2005, 11:00 AM   #39
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The system stinks. All staff should receive a sufficient base wage independent of tips.

I tip. I'm just saying that, in my opinion and understanding, a "required tip" is not a tip. It is a surcharge and I believe it should be indicated as a wage supplementation surcharge, as 'tacky' as it seems. It is the reality of the situation.
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Old 08-20-2005, 11:14 AM   #40
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Thanks GB, Andy M and DampCharcoal! I wish all my customers were like you guys!

3These public service jobs are just awful, aren't they? My husband is a EMT/Firefighter and he probably hears more complaints than anyone. He was telling me that yesterday this guy got really angry with them because they wouldn't take him to the hospital, but there was no emergency with him. What would happen if while they were taking this man to the hospital there was a real emergency. Someone else could be dying while this guy is being taken to the hospital for leg pain but my husband is unable to go to the dying person because of it so they call for another ambulance who is farther away and may not get there in time...

My mom is a nurse in the ER, where people don't realize it is not first come, first serve! It is the severity of the case that matters. But as GB said, it doesn't affect their income.

As for me, I can't wait until I don't have to wait tables anymore. I don't see that day coming very soon but hopefully in a few years I can say goodbye to all those chumps who decided to stiff me for no reason.

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