A 411 and 911 of things that might enrich your world.
Thursday, October 12, 2017
Tip The Server?! Why I Oughta! or To Tip or Not to Tip. And what if the service sucks?
Los Dos Fronteras- Great Service-
Great Food. Cleveland Ohio
Is Tipping a motivator?
In restaurants tip is often "known" to be mean To Insure Promptness or To Insure Prompt Service. Completely false etymology but I think many servers work on this assumption, I did and I extrapolated. Prompt courteous proactive.. etc., this would never happen -5 Easy Pieces [Page on bit.ly] I even got manicures so my hands looked purty... Ok I liked the attention too. Good servers are well versed in all of the menu items and many restaurants have regular food and alcohol tasting for wait staff so they know. I think minimum wage for severs/waitstaff is up to $2.28 as of 2016. It is anticipated servers will make up to at least the legal minimum wage .
Communicate. Don't wait for the experience to totally go south before you say something. ... 5 Easy pieces again: Page on bit.ly .. Have to be out the door for a movie in 45 minutes?.. ask can that be done. I have a friend who at seating is known to tell the server, "ya know what I can be labor intensive could you just keep that in mind and glance over a lot?"
What the hell!? All ya have to do is bring.. the food.. to the table! Decent servers have an extraordinary skill set and it ain't always as easy as it looks. Many things can keep the food from getting to the table on time. Anything from cook staff that is "in the weeds," meaning behind on orders, to a server taking out your party's meal meant for you, to to a host/hostess who doesn't seat evenly or can't seat evenly. When a server gets "slammed," (mean a server or the restaurant is seated all at one time) say with 4 "four-tops" (4 tables seating 4 people each) in a fine dining store it can be difficult to say the least.
Sometimes a restaurant kitchen sounds like the floor of the new york stock exchange from .. the hostess barking orders to bussers, servers fussing with the chef about timing appetizers and meals, chef fussing with server about protocol or something, sous chef yelling to line cooks, to line cooks barking out appetizer orders and meals.
Scenario: The server leaves the kitchen on the way from dropping off orders at the "back of the house" which is usually at the very back of the house, then negotiates through tables to the bar which sometimes is.. wait for it.. at the front of the house, where often one has to queue for drinks, to his or her tables and back to the kitchen with a single plate, "she says this is supposed to be medium rare, it's medium instead," on the way back through the dining room, "excuse me Dude, we have someone else here can you grab a chair and shit?"
What I look for
I look for a server who addresses the table within in a few minutes of being seated, (Whether or not they can serve the table right then) who is attentive and on the floor for me to connect with every so often and who doesn't keep me waiting when I want to leave.
We've all had the server who was 15 minutes getting to the table in a half empty restaurant, the apps are late, the meal is cold, s/he didn't show up for us to ask for whatever or inform them the soup never came and made us wait on the check... possibly they're not getting a tip.
What I don't look for
So often you will see that your order comes out after another table even those yours went in first. Ninety-nine percent of the time, a none issue, let it go. If you are African-American as I am even though there have been several well documented cases of prejudice causing this... usually it's not an issue. Some will remember the 54 million dollar lawsuit Denny's lost in 1994. The final straw turning public opinion against this subsidiary of Flagstar Companies of Spartanburg, S.C., was when six black Secret Service agents assigned to President Clinton's detail were refused a table at a Denny's in Annapolis. Md., while their white Secret Service colleagues were seated and served.
It is "well known, yall don't tip. " I tested this stereotype at a few restaurants and on average found it was not true though the perception was there. With many servers having this perception this can lead to slack service which can lead to the self fulfilling prophecy of no tip.
Teamwork? We ain't got no teamwork... we don't need to show you no stinkin' teamwork! Restaurants can't excel without it. In many restaurants there is a lot of teamwork between servers and some other server helps tend your table so issues are mostly avoided. Depending on the system this is driven by the hostess/host and front of the house mgr for making the floor run smoothly.
I've been know to "under" tip and write comments on the bill so the server knows when the service is just excruciating. If you don't feel like writing/talking to the manager three pennies in a row or column is a somewhat recognized signal that let's the server know it was intentional. I usually overtip a bit. Realize that servers often tip the bussers, the hostess, the bartender out of their tips. I also feel everyone's allowed a bad day, right? When I was poor I was not so nonchalant.
When I go to places that are not fine dining and there are "specials" (actually fine dining houses do this often) or coupons, I tip on the original price of the item. So if it is 2 for 1 at $30 I tip on $60. If the appetizer was accidental laced with arsenic and the manager takes it off the bill, I tip as if it was on the bill. A 15% tip is the standard for a server in the USA. In my opinion you don't need a tip calculator. I round up to the nearest number with a zero divide by two and add the two together... don't forget to move the decimal point... I'm pretty sure no one will. Eg., If my bill is $125 I round up to $130/2=$65, $130+$65=$195. Move the decimal=$19.50... for me I'm tipping $20. Easy peasy. The actually 15% on $125 is $18.75. If you're frugal and round down 15% of $120= $18. We're talkin a $2 difference from top to bottom.
I also view tipping as a subsidy to the restaurateur. It pads the pockets of indies and chains alike. No way they would get quality staff at minimum wage in a fine dining establishment. I've know some struggling restaurateurs but no poor ones. There is a trend that is more or less commonplace now that I resist... tipping the owner. This goes for service industry period, restaurants, nail salons, and more. I read a columnist saying not to tip was passe. I don't understand AT ALL. In a capitalist society why do I just give the owner more money on general principle who is charging me the most s/he can get away with and not getting underpaid like the staff? I'm sure they appreciate it like I appreciate a free meal for my party of five on general principal. The last time that happened was..about never.
Parenthetically it is not uncommon for a server to get even with rude customers by making them wait, not attending the table, foregoing the tip in favor of the good feeling from sticking it to an elitist, belligerent client.
Although I've heard that it happens I've never ever seen a server spit in food or anything of the nature. Cooks dropping stuff on the floor and wanting to reuse it. A $15 steak... is a $15 steak .. ur ah ahem.. time to go folks.