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Old 09-07-2014, 03:54 PM   #1
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To Tip , or Not to Tip, That is the Question.

I know this topic has been discussed over the years under many different circumstances. Here is another circumstance. I was in Philadelphia last night. We decided to try a restaurant that we had never eaten at before ( I lived in Philly years ago, and I visit it several times a year). We were going to see a show, and wanted to eat a little early so we had time to digest. We arrived at the restaurant at about 4:30pm. It was a relatively small restaurant ( 15 - 20 tables/ Booths) and only two were occupied, one by my wife and I, and another couple ( so only 4 people in the restaurant at this time).

We walked in, the waitress said ( from across the room) " you can sit over there ( and pointed to a booth across the restaurant). So my wife and I went to a booth we liked and sat down ( we weren't seated, just pointed in a direction to choose for ourselves). A minute or two later, she came by the table and dropped 2 menus on the table, and left with no verbal communication at all. She came a few minutes later with water and hot tea ( it was a Chinese restaurant). When I said thank you, she didnt reply and walked away. She ultimately took our order, and again, a thank you from us, no response from her.

Our food came out in a timely fashion, and was very good. It was delivered to our table from someone else from the kitchen ( possibly the chef, or possibly another helper). He was very nice and responsive to our communications.

In summary:
We were pointed where to sit
No verbal conversation ( or at least very limited)
I can say she did speak English , and had no accent , so it wasn't a communication issue
She didnt have and attitude or a tone in her voice, she wasnt nasty, it was just strictly business, no personality, no interaction.
The actual service was good and the food was great.
Also, no other people came in while we were there, and the Phone only rang once, so its not like it got busier. Also, the other table left about 1/2 hour after we arrived, so for the second half of our meal, we were the only people there
Careful attention was paid to the water and tea, constantly being refilled, never had to ask

So now the bill arrives. Part of me thought the tip should reflect her lack of personality and lack of welcoming attitude. The other part said that the food was good and the actual service itself was good too.

Trust me, Im not into the waiter / waitress that talks too much and interferes with the conversations Im trying to have with my dinner date. But , I think no personality at all is kinda rude and unwelcoming.

She was young, possibly a college student, and Im sure getting paid crap, so Im sure the tip would make a difference to her ( although if that was the case, she should have at least put some effort in to possibly make it a bigger tip).

So anyway, Im not exactly sure what my question is , but do you guys base your tip on The personality? The food ? The service ? A specific percantage regardless of all of the above ? The initial waitress was the the quiet one, but the server was better ( not great but definately noticeably better) so do I split the tip givind one more than the other?

Im the type of person who wont necessarily complain, Ill just never go back if I didnt like the experience. But I left this place thinking that it was a good place to order take out, but not necessarily to dine in.

It in itself didnt bother me, Its not like I was offended, It just got me thinking, when I was a bus boy , I busted my ass to make sure I got a good tip. I cant understand why someone wouldnt give their best effort ( in any job). Hell, they are getting paid for it and in this situation, have the potential and power to possibly earn more with just a few simple words like " your welcome" or " let me show you to your table" or even " How are you guys today?" I mean ive had waiters / waitresses give me advice on what to do or where to go in visiting cities, others giving directions .....

Sorry, just venting


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Old 09-07-2014, 04:12 PM   #2
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Interesting situation, Larry.

You got good service and good food but too little social interaction. Would that be better or worse than good service and good food with too much social interaction?

I understand that somewhere in between the two extremes is what we would like.

I would prefer a pleasant greeting and being shown to my booth. Maybe one visit to see if the food is OK. Service with a smile. Any waitperson worth their salt knows that smile mean bigger tips. Maybe she's married to the owner (or his daughter). I would have tipped a little less rather than a little more.

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Old 09-07-2014, 04:39 PM   #3
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Unfortunately the service you described is all too common in my experience, and I've noticed it never ever happens with a waitress who isn't a kid. Good manners with young servers just isn't the norm anymore it seems. I was raised in a business, and was taught by my Dad..."when you come in here, you better smile little girl."

I tip 20% for service that's passable, up from there depending on how much I like the server.
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Old 09-07-2014, 05:10 PM   #4
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That's an interesting question. When the bill came, I think I would have asked for the pleasant person who brought the food to the table, thanked them for the great service, and then personally handed him or her the tip.

I generally tip well, even if the service is just so-so, as long as the server is doing his/her job. I'm not too concerned about attitude that's not overly friendly. Servers are allowed to have bad days just like anyone else. However, when the person who is doing the serving is simply doing as little as possible, then I fully believe the tip should reflect that as well.

And yes, I have worked as both a bartender and a server.
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Old 09-07-2014, 05:17 PM   #5
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I stopped for breakfast at the little pub in the village for the first time. I have had lunch and dinner there. Food is excellent, service is excellent. I was very disappointed yesterday. Granted, I did not order one of the regular dishes. I did everything as a side. Two soft poached eggs, a side of steamed spinach, a side of fresh fruit, and iced coffee. One egg was soft, one was medium-hard. My side of spinach--counted it--10 leaves of baby spinach. The fruit was good and the iced coffee was refilled once (I didn't really need that much coffee). I mentioned to the waitress that I expected a bit more spinach than 10 leaves. She agreed and asked another waitress to get me a side of spinach. I got a salad bowl of raw spinach about 10 minutes later. I know the owner, I'm going to give him a call on Tuesday. I didn't leave a tip. I was not happy--I let the waitress know that one egg was perfect, the other not and that when I ordered the spinach I was very clear that I wanted the eggs served on a bed of steamed / cooked spinach. Sort of eggs benedict without the sauce and without the English muffin. Since I could order this combination, I sort of expected it to be what I ordered. Service was slow, inattentive (I had to wait to get my bill a good 15 minutes after I was done--I was tempted to walk out w/out paying I was getting so annoyed that I could not get the waitress's attention), so I didn't tip. But, I do think the owner needs to know about my experience to make sure there is enough staff on Saturday mornings or ??
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Old 09-07-2014, 06:21 PM   #6
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We have a Vietnamese place nearby that we haven't t in a long time, the service was always terrible, but the food spectacular, we did tip, but not a generously as we would other places.

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Old 09-07-2014, 07:27 PM   #7
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Just a thought:

Surely the tip would go in the kitty and be shared out among all the staff from the manager down to the old guy who washes the pots and pans. I which case depriving the girl would be depriving them especially the guy who brought the food and you said was OK.

What's the procedure with tipping in the US? Was there a service charge as part of the bill? If so, are you expected to tip as well?

Sadly the restaurant trade works on the principle that the employees should be paid breadline wages and should expect to make up a living wage with tips.
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Old 09-07-2014, 07:28 PM   #8
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That's her day to day character and personality. There are people like that everywhere, in all professions. Bottom line, people like that should never work in businesses where they involve customer service, regardless of type of business. She shouldn't be punished, she should be in a different line of work where there's no customer/client interaction.

In this case, she's probably the owner's niece.....the owner probably knows she's bad for business, but need her help out front, regardless.
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Old 09-07-2014, 07:33 PM   #9
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Steve put it as well as anything I could say.
It does seem that younger folks often have little or no working people skills,.It comes with experience, I believe.
'Course, I tend to tip well in spite of Mrs Hoot's objections, and she has worked as a bartender and a server.

(I have worked as a bartender, but not a server)
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Old 09-07-2014, 07:38 PM   #10
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It never hurts to be polite, remember that you are ultimately paying her wages. I would expect a welcome, at least, and maybe a " hope you enjoyed your meal", but total silence, never. Did you say anything to the owner, maybe he needs to have a word with her? Now you probably won't go back, so he's lost a customer. Very poor business.

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