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trinacriabob

Tipping at restaurants

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Hey, we all know that tipping in America means about 15% and up to 20% +/- for exemplary service.

This being said, I almost always tip a hair over 15%, usually to make my total an even .00 or .50 dollar credit card figure. Now, at a buffet in Vegas or Reno or Tahoe, I usually tip 10%, since they don't take the order nor bring you food. I figure 10%, in that scenario, is ok.

This past weekend, in Vancouver, I had two eye-opening experiences and I tipped LESS.

1) trendy Mexican restaurant in a run-down Bohemian area. The food was overpriced and late, for an almost empty restaurant. In the process, I consumed the salsa and chips. I pointed to the chip bowl and the Chinese chick (the waitress was from Mexico) said,

"You wan' 'mo chips?"

"Yes, thank you."

So I get the bill. There was $3.25 for these overly-salty chips and salsa. When I got the bill, I saw this and said,

"I wasn't told this was extra. Every Mexican restaurant I've been to brings chips once you finish, especially if the wait is long."

She apologetically smiled. And I wrote in "zero" on the CC slot for the tip.

2) family style Greek restaurant I've been to many times. Good food, and they do lamb souvlaki right. The dude brings out 2 big slices of pita in the basket. Again, the food took a while, so the pita slices were G-O-N-E. When my dish arrived, he brought out no extra pita bread. Like what, it will kill you or it will break you. I tipped to close out the tab at $22.00, giving him about 12%, instead of $23.00 which would have taken him over 15%.

Bottom line: Chisel on a small item like chips/salsa or pita bread, and I'll chisel on your tip. I swear...

Your stories? Overly generous? Have you stiffed someone?

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I eat out alone a fair bit, so I usually tip 20% and sometimes feel it's not quie enough. Frequently I will enjoy food at family style resteraunts where the whole bill is five or six bucks, so I tip a buck. I feel cheap but that's about twenty percent.

Also, I eat out frequently with the TDI VW Club and the Miata club. With the Miata club we will usually sit for two hours or so, and the wait staff usually keep my drinks full. So if I sit there awhile I'll tip more.

Although there is a good mexican resteraunt here in Columbus one of my SCCA friends and I eat at a lot. We always get the same asshole middle aged male aiter, who is not real friendly. He usually get's ten percent.

Those are my thoughts...

Chris

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In Manchester, NH there is a famous little diner called the Red Arrow that has some of the best food around for breakfast lunch and dinner. I usually go for breakfast food since they serve it 24 hours a day. Ginormous fluffy pancakes, super thick bacon, giant glasses of ice cold milk, you name it. All excellent. About a year ago, the Red Arrow bought a small diner in my town and redid it as the second Red Arrow diner. The same people own and operate it, and in some cases, even the same people work there. This excited me because now I'd be able to get the same amazing food right around the corner, instead of driving 40 minutes for it. Or at least I thought. So one morning my girlfriend and I decide to go in for breakfast. I got pancakes that were small and the batter had to have been a month old with the way they crumbled, paper-thin microwave bacon like the garbage you'd get on a breakfast sandwich from McDonald's, and $h!ty watered-down apple juice. I left zero for a tip, filled out one of the survey cards with exactly what I thought, and even e-mailed the owners of the ORIGINAL Red Arrow telling them not to piss away their excellent reputation they've spent the past 85 years building by putting their good name on such low-grade dog food. I still eat at the real Red Arrow frequently, but it wouldn't bother me a bit if number two burned to the ground.

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I almost always tip in the 15-20% range, though I left no tip not too long ago. Some friends, my wife & I went to TGI Fridays on a Sunday afternoon. They were dead - maybe 3-4 tables with people, and just as many servers, so our server maybe had one other table. In spite of this, drink orders weren't taken for probably 10-15 minutes, refills were terribly slow, food was slow, etc, etc. And half the service we got was because I'd wait to catch our server's eye as he was standing around chatting with his coworkers, and I'd have to come up with hand signals to let him know what we needed. I'm very patient with overworked servers, but if we're one of two tables, the service had better at least be a bit above average.

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In today's economy, when restaurant receipts are down and there are fewer people in restaurants, those who work there should provide the same, if not a higher level of, customer service since tips are their livelihood...unless they're depressed.

No excuse for what I've read above.

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TCB, I gotta ask what Mexican restaurant that was? It wasn't the one in Kitsilano, was it?

Edited by Captainbooyah
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TCB, I gotta ask what Mexican restaurant that was? It wasn't the one in Kitsilano, was it?

It was Tio Pepe on Commercial Drive. What a mistake. Nothing special, chips salty enough to send you to E.R., and overpriced.

(On Commercial Drive, I should have stuck with LaRocca, which is always reliable, but I was trying to eat at the PCOV, Portuguese Club of Vancouver, for its down-to-earth authenticity, but they don't accept credit cards).

The Greek restaurant I mentioned was actually in Bellingham WA. Their food is excellent, but priced ok for lunch and priced too high for dinner. The Greek restaurant I was trying to visit was Tsoulas (sp) Greek on Hastings, near Nanaimo or Victoria, IIRC, which is unremarkable from the outside, but their portions are tasty/good and their prices are reasonable. On Labor Day, it was closed. Kalamata, near Broadway and Cambie, is also very good, though more expensive, but was also closed this Labor Day.

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I tip at lowest 25% no matter what If there is bad service I just wont go there for a while.

However I tend to tip higher at cheaper places like dinners and such than i do at fancy restaurants because I feel bad for people working in dinners. I don't know why either.

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I try to remember the server did not cook the food. I tip on service, up to and above 20% (if the bill is tiny and/or the server is cute).
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Oh, heck yeah, if the bill is small...$4 or $5, then I leave a buck, making it at least 20%.

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It depends with me-though the last server was great and got a 30% tip. (I don't eat out as often anymore.)

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I try to remember the server did not cook the food. I tip on service, up to and above 20% (if the bill is tiny and/or the server is cute).

The bummer here is not knowing what tipping system they use, meaning:

My wife worked varying positions from hostess to floor management at Moxies restaurants in Calgary. Their tipping system also contributed to the chefs as well. The chefs received a percentage of the total tips each individual server earned. On top of this, they received an amount per dish, so if the server sucked ass the chef still made something for his food and the server had to pay for that if the guest didn't tip. The only time this really sucked for the server is when the guest was a cheap-ass tightwad or was extremely picky about good food and tipped very little.

The whole point was that the food very rarely was the reason for a guests' dissatisfaction, so the server had to hold up his/her end of the dining experience if they wanted to earn the big bucks. If the food was a problem and the guest gave the server a good tip because of how it was handled, that didn't matter. The guest didn't get to dictate who got the tip by telling the server he/she did well and not to share the money. They had to share, regardless.

While she was a server, my wife made a whole lot of cash, that's for sure. I don't tip minimal out of guilt; rather, I'll offer a minimum of 10% for service. I rarely get crappy service and am usually satisfied with my food. The only time I'll question my tip offering is when a restaurant doesn't manage to handle a problem with at least an ounce of satisfaction.

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I almost always tip in the 15-20% range, though I left no tip not too long ago.

I've always felt you should NEVER leave no tip... the server may assume you just forgot. OTOH, leave them a tiny tiny tip... 7 cents... then they know you addressed the service level with your tip.

That said, I'm pretty easy to impress, service-wise... and usually just tip 20%... its easier to figure out quickly (double the bill and move the decimal) and its generally accepted in the area that 20% is the minimum.

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I tip depending on service rendered, starting at 10% as a base, going up or down as necessary.

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I usually do 15-20% unless the service is really bad (-) or outstanding (+). Then there are the gray areas (how much to tip the pizza delivery guy?)--or to tip or not to tip at fast casual places where you order at the counter, fill your own drink, but they bring the food out to you and bus the table--i.e. like Pei Wei's (which I go to fairly often, and tip if I have cash).

I always round up to the nearest .50 or .00 total, makes it easier to read in the Money and Mint reports I run at the end of the month..

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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Interesting, ShadowDog, and I never knew that. Maybe I will ask the server about that next time I have something extreme happen (good or bad).
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Being a bartender/server in the past (I still bartend for fund sometimes as a way to subsidize my going out) I tend to tip well though I will tip less for bad service and on a few ocassions have tipped nothing for extremley bad service.

normally I tip 20 percent for good service. If I feel service is below average, ie. the waiter/ bartender isn't really trying that hard and isn't propt and alert I'll tip about 15. If on top of being slow they are inacurate taking orders or they make something improperly (many waiters make deserts, and bartender make drinks obviosuly) I will downgrade to 10 percent. In the extreme case that the waiter/waitress is all of these things and is rude or has an attitued on top of it all then it's no tip for you! (this has happened 3 times that I can remember but i eat out a fair ammount)

On the other hand I'll tip up to 25 percent and sometimes even higher if the server is as prompt and speedy as can be given their workload, is exremley alert and attentive and has a personality and is engaging.

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I tip 15-20%. The service has to be reaaaalllly slow for me to tip less, and really rude for me not to tip at all.

The last time I felt like not tipping (I wasn't paying for the meal; it was my birthday) was at a dinner at a trendy place in South Pasadena. The waiter was making a theatrical gesture and spilled red wine on my light green sweater, basically ruining it. I didn't make a huge stink because it was an accident, and I had bought the sweater at the Barneys Outlet for like ten bucks a couple years earlier. Fine. The food was good but took forever to get there. Then they brought coffee. Which the same waiter managed to spill in the lap of my friends husband.

Needless to say my friend had a word with him when the bill arrived saying "I find it a bit curious that you charged me for the coffee you poured in my husbands lap"

They ended up comping my dinner and the coffee. I thought they should have comped the whole meal, frankly, because here's the kicker: the owners (and the waiter) were friends of my my hosts!

They were out of business in about 6 months.

She didn't tip.

Edited by tmp
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I leave 18-20% generally... if it's terrible service, 15%

Or when we were in college and it was our friend waiting on us, 40% ;)

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Well, If she has a nice Ass then it does go up by all means!

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Well, If she has a nice Ass then it does go up by all means!

:lol:

But if a person will never get within 100 yards of that nice ass (as in a one-night stand), why increase the tip? When I'm being toyed with along these lines (happens every now and then), I automatically drop the tip into the 10% to 15% zone, assuming the food was good and the service (prompt/correct components) was acceptable. It's to send out the message that the manipulation doesn't work and the tip is based on the "professionalism" and the GENUINE courtesy that is being extended.

In defense of people who wait on tables, some obviously really enjoy their jobs and working with the public, so they get at least 15% for how REAL they are, regardless of age, gender, nationality, etc.

Edited by trinacriabob
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My brother works at a restaurant. He gets tips. I can promise you he never thinks about anything the customer is trying to subliminally tell him with tip amounts.

Now if you only leave him a religious pamphlet, then he gets pissed.

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I'm glad I've never had to work in restaurants..I have a number of friends that did it in high school and college. The closest I've come is working the cash register in a college bookstore for a few semesters. I don't like having to directly deal w/ end users/customers.

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