Author Topic: Tipping ettiquite  (Read 2410 times)

Offline Wilbur

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Tipping ettiquite
« on: July 14, 2017, 04:34:19 AM »
So, I've been struggling with a bit of a moral dilemma lately. There's a bar that is a "self serve" bar, you get an rfid card from the bar and grab your beers yourself. You get charged by the ounce, honestly, every pour is perfect. My question is, how do I tip?

The bar staff is just swiping a card and checking my I'd. You don't tip a bouncer, or a cashier. Now, I typically tip for service, and aim for 20% for good service. I like the idea of tip for service, but these people really aren't doing anything for me. On the other hand, depending on the state, minimum wage is atrociously low for servers, as "tips" can be deducted from hourly wages.

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Offline Phil_M

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Re: Tipping ettiquite
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2017, 11:30:22 AM »
My "defaults" are:

20% tip - normal service that isn't exemplary, but isn't bad either.
30% tip - excellent service, we aren't made to feel rushed out the door to get another warm body's cash.
10% tip - something that doesn't fit into the "normal" service expectations, kinda like a situation you describe above.

For poor service, I just make a judgement call. I've only once given a 0% tip, in an instance where the server collected our drink orders, then did nothing. The manager brought us our drinks, napkins, silverware, etc. Then our original server collected our food orders...and abandoned us. Again the manager came to our rescue, refilling our drinks and bringing us our food. He even brought us the bill, though the server collected the cards to process the payments. I should add the whole time we were at the restaurant (A national sit-down burger chain) we could see our original server talking with the other servers in the back. The restaurant was not busy. I think someone left some cash with a note that it was for the manager/kitchen staff, but who knows who got that.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Tipping ettiquite
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2017, 12:12:47 PM »
There is a bit of a movement starting to eliminate tipping and just pay servers a decent wage. In a typical food establishment your not paying the server "extra" ,tips are virtually all of their pay. The worst is when someone stiffs a server because the place is busy and their food takes a long time or isn't good. That's not the servers fault.
I think in your case you could try to find out if the workers are relying on those tips. I really don't understand the model your describing, I have not encountered it. Because I used to work in the food industry my default is to tip.
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Offline Phil_M

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Re: Tipping ettiquite
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2017, 12:42:43 PM »
There is a bit of a movement starting to eliminate tipping and just pay servers a decent wage. In a typical food establishment your not paying the server "extra" ,tips are virtually all of their pay. The worst is when someone stiffs a server because the place is busy and their food takes a long time or isn't good. That's not the servers fault.
I think in your case you could try to find out if the workers are relying on those tips. I really don't understand the model your describing, I have not encountered it. Because I used to work in the food industry my default is to tip.

I'd like to see some method where the servers aren't relying on tips for their main income, but there's still an option to tip. The ability to reward staff that knows me, and what I'm looking for, is something I don't want to give up.
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Offline MDixon

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Re: Tipping ettiquite
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2017, 01:05:57 PM »
In this case there are no servers. My initial thought it no tip, or a paltry one, kinda like when you get takeout and give a buck or two to be sure your food isn't contaminated by saliva. I was in one of those type beer bars and they did not accept tips, but any "tip" on a CC was given to a particular charity.
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Offline Stevie

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Tipping ettiquite
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2017, 01:51:07 PM »
Leave them a $1 for cleaning.the table and doing dishes. I went to a Red Robin a year ago and sat at the bar. Damn bartender didn't even take my order. I had to use a tablet. Irritating.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2017, 01:53:16 PM by Stevie »

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Tipping ettiquite
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2017, 02:07:49 PM »
When I've been to these places they offer food and cocktails, so it makes a lot of sense why there is a standard tip line. If you're just drinking beer and doing all the work getting beer, the server is doing so much less. There is some service still being performed (even if it is just checking to see if you need anything or refilling water). I tip but far, far less unless I ordered food or drinks prepared at the bar.

It's pretty weird to go somewhere that sells itself as a self-serve beer bar but then expects you to tip for service. These would be good candidates for a meaningful hourly wage.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Tipping ettiquite
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2017, 02:07:53 PM »
My view:

If you can set your empty glassware in a bus bucket at the end of the session, then do not tip a single penny.

If a bus boy is running around cleaning glasses and wiping tables, a buck would be all that's appropriate, but it's still purely optional.

This coming from a guy who 99% of the time tips a server >20% at any standard bar or restaurant.
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Offline Visor

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Re: Tipping ettiquite
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2017, 03:21:13 PM »
   I recall a time when a 10% tip for good but not outstanding service was considered appropriate, I sometimes wonder why that level is now considered niggardly. Having said that, I generally tip more than that for decent service, especially at places that I intend to visit again.
   Tipping is the essence of merit based pay, customers tip based on their perception of the value and quality of the service they received, and it is the only way to insure the continuation of good service. If you want to see a world where service really is terrible, then insist that service based businesses move from a tipping based pay structure to a flat hourly wage structure. Not only will overall service be abysmal, but the price of whatever you are purchasing there will go through the roof in order to pay the higher wages, restaurants generally operate on very thin margins already, the national average profit margin is far below the 10% or 20% "profit" that the tipped server receives. Like it or not, without incentives, most humans rarely exceed the mandatory minimum job expectations. It may not seem fair when viewed from the outside, but it mostly works, and I know and have known a great many folks who make a good living at it.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Tipping ettiquite
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2017, 03:42:22 PM »
   I recall a time when a 10% tip for good but not outstanding service was considered appropriate, I sometimes wonder why that level is now considered niggardly. Having said that, I generally tip more than that for decent service, especially at places that I intend to visit again.
   Tipping is the essence of merit based pay, customers tip based on their perception of the value and quality of the service they received, and it is the only way to insure the continuation of good service. If you want to see a world where service really is terrible, then insist that service based businesses move from a tipping based pay structure to a flat hourly wage structure. Not only will overall service be abysmal, but the price of whatever you are purchasing there will go through the roof in order to pay the higher wages, restaurants generally operate on very thin margins already, the national average profit margin is far below the 10% or 20% "profit" that the tipped server receives. Like it or not, without incentives, most humans rarely exceed the mandatory minimum job expectations. It may not seem fair when viewed from the outside, but it mostly works, and I know and have known a great many folks who make a good living at it.
I disagree on some points:
1. Most humans actually want to perform well and to be perceived as such. They perform at the minimum when they are treated like crap by their employer.
2. Giving a percentage based tip isn't merit based pay, its based on how expensive the food is. The server at a breakfast diner you give a $2 tip to may have done a better job and worked harder than the server you gave $30 to at a nice restaurant. Furthermore, slow service, which is one reason some tip less, is more often than not a result of poor management: not enough staff, inefficient kitchen/bar etc.
3. Places that do give real wages and benefits like health insurance report increased customer satisfaction as well as better staff retention and reliability.
That being said, a certain number of servers make a killing on tips in high end places and would be upset with this sort of change. Its great for a second income for a family or for a student who is getting health insurance through their family.
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Offline ethinson

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Re: Tipping ettiquite
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2017, 03:49:57 PM »
The self serve part makes it weird.. kinda like a buffet or a cafeteria style place where you serve yourself, but as a general rule I will usually tip a dollar on a drink.   For a 5$ pint that ends up in the 20% neighborhood. 

There's no "service wage" in Oregon, so they are making at least State minimum which just went up to 10.50 I think? So, much better than when I was growing up in NC and federal minimum was like 5.50 and the servers were making 2.75/hr plus tips. That was also 20 years ago, but to my knowledge NC has not increased anything over the federal minimum which I think is like 7.75?   

For the most part, here in Oregon, the people pulling the beers actually know something about it, a lot of them are Cicerone and can make recommendations, so to me, that's worth rewarding.
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Offline ethinson

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Re: Tipping ettiquite
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2017, 03:55:08 PM »

2. Giving a percentage based tip isn't merit based pay, its based on how expensive the food is. The server at a breakfast diner you give a $2 tip to may have done a better job and worked harder than the server you gave $30 to at a nice restaurant. Furthermore, slow service, which is one reason some tip less, is more often than not a result of poor management: not enough staff, inefficient kitchen/bar etc.


This is a side bar to the OP, but this is a big thing for me, growing up working in restaurants you learn to recognize some things.  It's pretty easy if you pay attention to tell when a place is understaffed. Most places work in zones so if you see your server way on the other side of the place or out on the outdoor patio, they are missing some people.  Also, I will never punish the server for something the kitchen messed up.  Food coming out wrong is not the servers fault.  Speak to management if it's something really egregious and maybe you don't pay the bill, but you should still tip the server.  It's not his/her fault stuff got messed up.  Also if you had to wait an hour to get in, every table is full and there's a line out the door (brunch in Portland anyone?) don't expect the server to hover by your table and wait on you hand and foot, you'll be disappointed.
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Offline Wilbur

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Re: Tipping ettiquite
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2017, 05:22:34 PM »
Side note on the bar setup:


It's actually a pretty cool setup they have, there's a pic of it above. Each little screen has the information for each tap, you tap a card on the logo below the screen. You get charged by the ounce, and can look up info on the beer on the screen. I'm not sure if this is the same hardware, but it's similar, you can see flow meters and regulators on the back side:


I would rather see all food industry staff get paid a living wage, there's so many problems with tipping. Server performance depends on so many things out of their control-kitchen staff, managers, etc. Then you also don't know-are tips pooled? It's great to help out the server, but what about the kitchen staff making $10/hr? Does the manager steal tips? Freakonomics has a great episode on tipping, and all the factors that affect tip (Pretty blondes tend to rake in more tips).

Ethinson, I was never in the industry, but I try and be aware of these things. It's just weird with this setup, although it is nice. Love being able to try two ounces of everything without feeling bad for the bar staff.

Offline Stevie

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Re: Tipping ettiquite
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2017, 05:37:18 PM »
Food coming out wrong is partially the servers fault. They are the last line of quality control.

More expensive restaurants tend to have fewer tables per server and also have way lower turn over. A person at Applebee's with 5 tables turning every hour can make more than a server at a steakhouse with 2-3 tables that turn in two hours.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Tipping ettiquite
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2017, 07:08:03 PM »
Apparently I'm procrastinating at my place of work again, oops.

I was just thinking again, that I should probably back off on my current standard tipping rate of 20-25%.  And I can tell you why:

I worked in a restaurant for 9 years (mostly cooking in the kitchen, 7 years).  They had the utmost respect for the customers, their mantra was "the customer is always right", etc.  They treated us employees very very well also, and everyone from dishwasher to head cook got a cut of the tips, commensurate with their job and performance.  It was all very fair.  But the thing that for some reason always stuck out for me: The hostess or server was always expected to tell the kitchen when the table included young children, so that in the kitchen we could purposely speed up their order where possible.  Why?  Kids generally have less patience, are more noisy, drive their parents and nearby customers crazy, etc., and it's just a win-win for everyone if we get them their food and let them stay or go whenever they're ready, rather than having them wait 30-40 minutes for their food to arrive because they showed up at the busiest time of the night or whatever.  Senior citizens were not treated the opposite, but rather everyone else's orders were prepared in the order they were received in most cases unless someone told us they were in a hurry.  If several orders popped in at the same time, the orders for tables of 2-4 were put ahead of the tables of 6+, because more people would expect to have to wait longer anyway.  Might seem odd to anyone not familiar, but I swear there was a method to the madness, and I wish every place would care as much as this place did/does.

Now having 3 kids of my own, I really have the most respect for places that recognize that maybe we don't necessarily intend to kill 75 minutes at the restaurant; maybe we'd prefer to get our food in ~20 minutes so we can go out and do something else.  All too often, your server couldn't care less about their tip or their customer.  I shouldn't be tipping those people 20%, but for whatever reason, I do anyway.  I really shouldn't.  15% is fine for those who only do an adequate job or even less than adequate.

But for bussing and/or wiping tables?  Nah, that's not even worth a dollar IMO, although I do it anyway.  I wouldn't tip the janitor at McDonalds, so why should any other place where you order your own stuff and clean up after yourself be any different?
« Last Edit: July 14, 2017, 07:12:47 PM by dmtaylor »
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