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Old 10-11-2006, 06:43 PM   #21
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Wow, what a shame! The amount of disposable income people have lately makes it difficult for many people to justify a night out anymore. Fortunately, many people in the hospitality business know this, and try anything to earn your respect and repeat business.

Unfortunately, some chains seem to believe their cute jingles and glitzy kitsch is enough to bring in the customers. While they pride themselves on consistency (you'll get the same fajitas in MA as you should get in NJ), the ball gets dropped more often than not because someone doesn't know how to think on their feet. They just know how to follow the picture. I'm sure whoever plated the food knew very well that the meal was overcooked, yet banked on no one wanting to bother to correct it. The server should have also noticed it, and sent it back without even bringing it to your table. The server banks at the same joint as the cook, I'd bet. That was your back of the house breakdown.

Now, the front of the house was just as guilty. The hostess should never have asked if you wanted to have the cook make some more. She should have been walking back to the kitchen to get more before you could stop her. A simple 'I'll be right back with some fresh peppers and onions' would have set it right. Most people will say 'no thank you' if given the choice, even though they'd love to have it replaced.

Comping things is nice, but you were prepared to pay for your meal. Wouldn't you prefer to actually have the meal you ordered, as you ordered it, without the nasty tone? They should have fixed your meal, and given you a free dessert as well...

As for your choice of a 15% tip, too high, if you ask me. It's usually big cities that have a 20% rule (unwritten, but followed...) Outside of those big cities, many people know that 15% is a decent tip. The problem of shorting the tip wouldn't correct all your problems, however. The cook is not going to get any of that tip, he makes the same amount if he spoils your meal or not. More than likely, the hostess doesn't get any tip, either, unless you press a 20 into her hand for the choice table. So, the only people who are feeling your very adequate tip of 15% are the server and the waiter.

I would have left a five per cent tip. That sends a message. As for the hostess and the cook, I would have discreetly spoken to management about them. The restaurant is in the customer service industry. You are the customer and the service wasn't up to your satisfaction.
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Old 10-11-2006, 06:59 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by GB
Luckily we did not let it ruin our time. My meal was still pretty good (the steak was cooked perfectly) and the company was top notch (wife and daughter) so we just laughed about it after the fact
Although I agree that you were a bit overly generous with the 15 percent tip, your attitude described here will undoubtedly allow you to live longer than those who let themselves get so bent out of shape by people and events essentially beyond their control.
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Old 10-11-2006, 07:17 PM   #23
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Well said, VB.
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Old 10-11-2006, 08:31 PM   #24
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Ya know, if you reaaally want to make a statement to your server, leave a penny. That's it. That way, he knows you haven't 'unintentionally' stiffed him, and it might make him made enough to think about his service!

Things do go wrong back of the house; I can remember one busy night when there were 2 of us on 'pantry', and for some reason everyone was ordering the 'gourmet' pizzas. I was getting ice cream out of the cooler for a dessert, whirled around and slammed right into my partner who was just pulling his pizza out of the oven; pizza all over the floor - and pizza is -not! - something you can do over quickly! Catering gigs where the server dropped a tray of aps it had taken us hours to assemble. Chef making shrimp stock, and the prep guy putting it all through a strainer in the sink 'cause he thought she wanted to goop in the stockpot!

Then there are all the little 'intrigues' that go on in the kitchen; I've worked places where the servers are afraid to go in the kitchen to ask the chef for anything different, or to correct an order. In my very! early years, I was a waitress at Durgin Park Restaurant in Boston, Mass. There were 3 pick-up lines the waitresses had to go through for main dishes; the fish line, the carving station, and the grill. The chef who ran the carving station developed a rather huge crush on me, and tried his best to win me over. When I showed up on my day off to pick up my check with my real boyfriend, he blew his stack. THe next day at work, whenever I came through the line to pick up an order of prime rib or turkey, he walked off his station - just walked off. The fish guy took pity on me, and carved what I needed, but brother it got me in dutch with all the waitresses waiting behind me!

Worked another restaurant where the chef was French - very! - and all the waiters were Serbian - talk about language problems! They would walk up to the line and not know the difference between lamb chops and beef borgnuinon, lol. So the chef just quit trying to tell them, and much hilarity ensued. I saw more French temper tantrums there than I have ever seen!

So, bottom line is there is so much going on behind the scenes; front and back of the house. If the server was in trouble with the hostess, he may have been 'afraid' to ask her to comp the meal. That's the way this biz works. They were both at fault for not trying to correct the food problem, but the 'water' issue was squarely on the shoulders of the server.
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Old 10-11-2006, 08:58 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marmalady
Ya know, if you reaaally want to make a statement to your server, leave a penny. That's it. .
i know people that have done that, and the server actually threw it at them as they left. it's happened more than once.

imo, respectfully marm, it's insulting. explaining your displeasure to the power that is (beyond the server), and if the situation calls for a tip, a percent based tip such as 5% makes the same statement.
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Old 10-12-2006, 05:20 AM   #26
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Bucky, having been on both sides of the house, believe me, a penny tip makes its point - if the problem was squarely the server's fault; ie, the water and plate issue GB had. If the problem is back of the house, it's not the server's fault, and I would tip accordingly.

I've been on the receiving end of a penny tip, so I know exactly how it feels!
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Old 10-12-2006, 06:35 AM   #27
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Marmalady, I loved your stories, but Auntdot sums it up for me when she says:

Quote:
Originally Posted by auntdot
Things screw up at restaurants.

The measure of a well run place is how they handle it.
It doesn't matter where the screw-up is or why, behind the scenes because of a crush or out in front because somebody's hired a dunce ... it's still ALL management's fault and the onus is upon them to make it right. Like GB said, someone just acknowledging the error and trying to make it right makes a world of difference.

GB, 15% is you when you're displeased?! 20% should be reserved for truly excellent service, 15% for average/satisfactory, and that wonderful penny for truly horrible, rude, useless service in order to make a point.

Everything else? Call the manager.
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Old 10-12-2006, 07:11 AM   #28
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Quote:
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GB, 15% is you when you're displeased?! 20% should be reserved for truly excellent service, 15% for average/satisfactory, and that wonderful penny for truly horrible, rude, useless service in order to make a point.
Yeah around here 20% is the norm (at least with the people I know), and actually it is even usually a little high than that because people often round up to the nearest dollar. I actually can not remember the last time (other than this experience) when I left less than 20%. I am seriously rethinking that practice though based on this thread. I now feel that I should have left 10% or so for this particular waiter.
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Old 10-12-2006, 07:16 AM   #29
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c'mon gb!

say it! saaaaaaaaayyyyyy iiiiiiittttt!

5 percent!


F I V E percent!

or marm and i will throw 10 % worth of pennies at you!

(i really think i am becoming homer simpson)
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Old 10-12-2006, 07:18 AM   #30
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Maybe if I start getting lousy service and tipping 5% more often I can afford to go out to eat more
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Old 10-12-2006, 08:28 AM   #31
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When I have bad service, I write a note on the bill--the bill usually has the server's name/initials on it. Something like: "Waited 30 minutes for a water refill! Billy Bob needs more training!"

At one local restaurant, a guy took our order for drinks, told us he was going to watch the football game (we didn't understand what he meant by that), then he brought our coffee and spent the next 45 minutes ignoring us while he watched TV in the bar, 15 feet from our table. We left 5 bucks on the table to pay for the coffee and walked out. Never went back, either. This is a fairly popular spot, too.
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Old 10-12-2006, 09:21 AM   #32
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I think Hopz hit the nail on the head when he said we become enablers if we leave a tip for crappy service. You're telling the server that it's OK to act that way. There's also the guilt/embarrassment factor behind not leaving a decent tip and your wife (or SO, or you) feels sorry for the server.
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Old 10-12-2006, 09:58 AM   #33
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I think Hopz hit the nail on the head when he said we become enablers if we leave a tip for crappy service. You're telling the server that it's OK to act that way. There's also the guilt/embarrassment factor behind not leaving a decent tip and your wife (or SO, or you) feels sorry for the server.
I second this. If you just do it as a matter of course rather than a merit thing, waiters/waitresses can get to expect it. It's one of the frustrating things about having the service percentage imbedded in the bill which is common here. Crap service? Tough -- no recourse!
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Old 10-12-2006, 10:01 AM   #34
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I think my thought process was flawed. Since i was used to giving 20% I thought that 15% would be a way to show I was displeased. What I failed to realize is that the waiter did not know that my normal tip is 20% so in his mind I was completely satisfied.
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Old 10-12-2006, 10:04 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by TexanFrench
When I have bad service, I write a note on the bill--the bill usually has the server's name/initials on it. Something like: "Waited 30 minutes for a water refill! Billy Bob needs more training!"
.
lol, i don't think i've ever had a waiter named billy bob.

have never been to texas, either, i reckon.

i agree that imbedded tips are wrong. just because there's 6 or more of you doesn't guarantee good service. if i know i'm gonna get stuck with a mandatory 18 or 20% tip, you'd better believe i'm gonna be a p.i.t.a. if something's wrong.
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Old 10-12-2006, 11:31 AM   #36
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Waiting tables is so different now than it was when I was slinging hash, lol. When I worked at Durgin Park, the waitresses did all this:

-bussed the tables
-reset the tables with silver and water glasses, and made sure the pitchers of water were full at each table
-took orders
-filled drink orders - both alcoholic and non
-served appetizers
-bussed the tables
-served main course
-bussed the tables
-served dessert
-bussed the tables

with no busboys, chirpy little servers, or go-fers! We did'nt split tips, pool tips, or tip the chefs. What we made was ours.

I don't know when that all changed, but it really seems sometimes the wait staff feels they deserve that tip whether they've worked for it or not. If they don't provide me with the 'service', I don't provide them with the bucks!
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Old 10-13-2006, 12:27 PM   #37
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how many times does this happen to all of us?...

....but most of us do nothing.
it's rude to be rude back, I've heard people say.
"two wrongs don't".........blah blah blah...............
how many restaurants or eateries are there in the very same vacinity?
why do these dwellings not care to be more cognicent of customer service?
do they not know that you could have gone anywhere? that you chose theirs to frequent? why do company's/businesses/corporations not care more about what makes you, the person that keeps their place open, happy and content and satisfied?

all I can say is this wasn't in Tennessee, was it.
My DH and I just got back from a mini vaca there a few days ago. suffice it to say, they are just plain nice folk. very considerate of us and our dining experiences.

I say, like others have too, I'd have left pennies on the table. because I think giving a 15% tip didn't emphasize anything to the server. he still got his tip. So pennies on the table, pulling the manager aside and telling him/her of your dissatisfaction with the restaurant/food/service [or lack there of] and mentioning that you won't be promoting this eatery to anyone you know, unless of course, it's in a negative form and the form will be complaints.

Okay, I feel better too having just gone to Paula Deens place. I've still got the letter on my computer but haven't had the nerve to send it and probably won't.
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Old 10-13-2006, 12:30 PM   #38
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Luckily we did not let it ruin our time. My meal was still pretty good (the steak was cooked perfectly) and the company was top notch (wife and daughter) so we just laughed about it after the fact
and that means you still won. even tho the night wasn't superb 'there', the night was still superb!
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Old 10-13-2006, 12:37 PM   #39
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I have been thinking about this topic a lot since I made this post. You all have convinced me that a smaller tip would have been the right course of action. I now agree with that.

But...now I am looking at it from the other side and wondering if it would really even make a difference. We are all saying that we need to send a message, by way of a small tip, that the service was not up to par. What I am now wondering though is if this message would really get across or if the waiter would just think he was being stiffed or short tipped. I have been on a number of websites where waiters and waitresses moan and groan about their jobs and getting bad tips. It is rare to ever hear any of them on these websites say that they deserved a bad tip. It is always the customers fault. Now to be fair to the waitstaff, I have seen a lot of people tip very poorly so I don't doubt it happens, but I am just wondering if the message actually gets through when it is mean to show how bad the service was.
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Old 10-13-2006, 12:45 PM   #40
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GB: In your situation, I'd bet the waiter doesn't even know he did anything wrong.
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