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  #41  
Old 14 June 2013, 03:31 AM
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Most Americans do not treat servers as inferior people.
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  #42  
Old 14 June 2013, 03:35 AM
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Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
It doesn't matter if no one does it on purpose. It's well-documented that people do things without understanding why. There's also good evidence people who are more attractive get better tips.
From the restaurants perspective it doesn't really matter unless you are also saying that there is no correlation between tipping and a customers likelihood to return to a restaurant. If the fixed wages don't compensate the highest compensated wait staff they will most likely go work somewhere else which will negatively impact the business.

On the other hand if tipping has no correlation to a customer's likelihood to return to the business then a restaurant would do better financially to implement a non tipping policy while raising the servers wages as little as possible to meet whatever minimum standard they are trying to meet.
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  #43  
Old 14 June 2013, 03:53 AM
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I can only compare Australia with some European countries - not the US but I haven't noticed any significant difference in standards. I've had excellent service and average service - and from stories I've seen about the US that seems true there as well. Certainly I've never ever heard anybody come back from the US astonished about how much better the service was there and how we would do so much better if we slashed wages and instituted tipping.

And the thing is we do tip when service is excellent. So it's not like there isn't a tipping incentive.

Dropbear
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  #44  
Old 14 June 2013, 04:27 AM
fitz1980 fitz1980 is offline
 
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For the restaurant in the OP there might be another incentive in the no tipping policy. Tipping culture puts servers/bartenders in a weird position where they are often expected to steal from the company that they work for. The way that you build regulars who tip is to over-pour drinks or not ring up all of the drinks that a customer had.

Some managers will let you run a comp-tab, where you ring up the free drinks that you give to a few select customers; but even most of those are BS. If the manager lets you run a $25 comp tab most bartenders will give away more like $100+. Ironic thing is that the same managers who are ripping you a new one for food/liquor cost are the same ones who than are constantly riding you about creating regulars.

Many regulars make it apparent that they aren't tipping well, or even coming back, unless you give them a free drink or a free basket of bread; even if that's against company policy.
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  #45  
Old 14 June 2013, 05:35 AM
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That's a good point I hadn't thought of, fitz, but you're absolutely right. In some ways tipping sets up customers and servers as allies against the company. When I was a manager, I was always very present on the floor, making the rounds and checking in with tables, and I often comped an appetizer or dessert for the regulars--and even when I was comping something, the servers would still bring them stuff they hadn't rung in. They knew they were risking their jobs if they got caught, and they knew the customer was already getting a freebie and would tip well no matter what, but they wanted to do something more themselves to squeeze out a little extra tip.
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  #46  
Old 14 June 2013, 07:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beachlife! View Post
Most Americans do not treat servers as inferior people.
Is this comment aimed at me? If so, I have no idea what you're talking about. I never said or implied anything of the sort.
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  #47  
Old 14 June 2013, 07:29 AM
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If tipping is supposed to make service better, why not just compare across countries and cultures that do or don't (or somewhere between). I don't think there's any correlation at all between good service and tipping societies. The biggest correlating factor seems to be training. Earnings do make a difference but it doesn't seem to make any difference between wether they come from tips or from pay. (Just my own experience but I have worked at restaurants - and other such services - in both tipping and non-tipping societies.)
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  #48  
Old 14 June 2013, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
That does raise the question of what, as a consumer, one might do to change the situation, though.
Move to a country with different customs, learn to cook, write a sternly worded letter. Not tipping isn't a solution. There may not be a viable solution. Sometimes one person can't do anything to change a culture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Jay View Post
I am not familiar with sushi restaurants, however, at that end of the price range, you will have generally multiple people at the table.
I don't know, good sushi can be on the expensive side without any of that. Even fine sushi usually doesn't come with elaborate fine dining service. The better places have better service than cheaper ones, but even the best are often pretty low key about service.

I go to a sushi place that is usually around $100 a person, which is not too far off this place, especially when you consider that everything is expensive in Manhattan. It wouldn't be hard to get a bill of $260 for 2 people, depending on what kind of things you order, and that's before tax/tip, while this place includes tip. The service is better than most places, yes, but there are still fewer waiters than tables. They seem to make excellent tips there, though I don't know what kind of pooling system they may have with the other staff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by curlygirl View Post
I suppose it is an attitude thing, here it's like "It may be my job but that doesn't mean I'm inferior to you" and that is different to what you are accustomed to.
Yes, I'm sure we can't do without our obsequiousness. That must be it. I don't know from experience if there is a difference in service or not, but I think your biases are showing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
I don't think there's any correlation at all between good service and tipping societies.
There are plenty of countries in Europe with stereotypically terrible service and less of a tipping culture. Maybe it is down to training and tipping isn't the cause, but that doesn't mean the correlation isn't there. Japan is only one data point. It seems to me that not all US restaurants do tons of training though, so I doubt that's the sole explanation, though more training is surely one approach to get better service.
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  #49  
Old 14 June 2013, 08:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Errata View Post
I go to a sushi place that is usually around $100 a person, which is not too far off this place [...]
*Making note of who to call when in Santa Barbara...*
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  #50  
Old 14 June 2013, 09:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Errata View Post
Move to a country with different customs, learn to cook, write a sternly worded letter.
The first two of those things do nothing at all. "If you don't like it, leave" is seldom constructive, and cooking ability has nothing to do with whether or not you're eating in a restaurant. (Unless a substantial proportion of people in the USA eat in restaurants because it's the only way they know how to get food?)

Here's a good article on the BBC:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22846846

Quote:
"Even though the quality of service doesn't affect tipping, Americans are under the illusion they are tipping on service and like the illusion of being able to reward. They don't want to have that option taken away from them."

Tipping is an important custom, [former waiter Steve Dublanica] believes, because it propagates the "American myth" that hard work brings reward.
Quote:
[Researcher Michael Lynn] also believes, based on his own research and other studies, that restaurant tipping is discriminatory, a system in which both black and white diners tip white servers more than black ones.

So he anticipates a class action brought by ethnic minority waiters and waitresses that could lead to tipping being declared illegal.
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  #51  
Old 14 June 2013, 09:36 AM
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I do wonder, if there are whole countries that people from whole other countries regard as having terrible service, if it isn't more down to cultural expectation. By which I don't mean that Australians or the French or whoever *expect* or don't recognise bad service, but that what they like is different. For example, someone up thread talked about, as a manager, 'checking in' with diners, as an example of good service; but I would *hate* to be 'checked in with' and may be put off returning to the establishment as a result.
I've never been to the US, so I can't speak from experience, but it often sounds like you expect to be very aware of your server in a way that I wouldn't. Obviously that would affect, if accurate, how Americans regard service in places where that isn't the expectation.
Doesn't make either 'wrong'.
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  #52  
Old 14 June 2013, 09:51 AM
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Here's another quote from that article:

Quote:
[T]here was a time when tipping was widely frowned upon in the US. Six states even outlawed it.

The custom arrived in the US from Europe in the late 1800s but early in the 20th Century, an anti-tipping campaign gathered pace, driven by the view it was undemocratic and a means to create a servant class.

"Tipping, and the aristocratic idea it exemplifies, is what we left Europe to escape," wrote William Rufus Scott in 1916.

I think you're right about what people consider "good service", Moku. I thought the service in Australia was fine - no particular good or bad memories about it. The only thing I remember was one waiter in a fairly posh place said "cheers, sir" to me at one point ("cheers" in the sense thanks) which I thought was an amusing mixture of formality and informality.

In the USA I have a couple of memories - one of the barman who I've mentioned before, who made a conspicuous point of not serving me for ages after I'd ordered, because the previous time I'd been in there I hadn't realised I was meant to give him an extra dollar on top of the price of my beer, for taking a can out of the fridge and handing it to me, even though his job was to take cans out of the fridge and hand them to people. Every time I mention it, people say he was an arsehole and that's not meant to happen - but, well, it does... and it seems inevitable to me, since giving deliberately bad service to people you don't think are going to tip is surely the only way that you could give better service to people who do tip. Unless the default is (deliberate) mediocrity, which also doesn't agree with the idea that tipping makes the service better.

The other is of a waitress in a hamburger place, who was probably giving very good service by American standards, but who made me quite uncomfortable with her somewhat forced flirtiness - it came across to me as though she was only doing it because if she implied she fancied me, I might give her more money. Frankly I could do without overtones of prostitution when all I wanted was a cheeseburger. She was friendly enough apart from that though, and brought my food to the table without dropping it or anything, so I tipped her as you're supposed to.

I've also had a waitress tell us we've not tipped enough (although she didn't chase us down the road) but that was in Canada, and the reason for it was that we didn't know that there was an extra 20% tax to add to the quoted menu price as well as the extra 20% tip - which we were aware of and had tried to leave.

(eta) In fact, an older article linked from the other one makes a similar point about what's considered good service:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programme...nt/7927983.stm

Quote:
The world really starts to look like a different place when you spend a few months exposed to the world of American service with the laser-beam intensity of its hurried charm.

Last edited by Richard W; 14 June 2013 at 10:06 AM.
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  #53  
Old 14 June 2013, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
The other is of a waitress in a hamburger place, who was probably giving very good service by American standards, but who made me quite uncomfortable with her somewhat forced flirtiness [...]
Last time DW and I went to North America together, many years ago, we were so amused and sometimes slightly annoyed by this that it's still a running joke in our house. If you say this one word to DW she will almost certainly break out in uncontrollable laughter: "Awesoome!"
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  #54  
Old 14 June 2013, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post

I've also had a waitress tell us we've not tipped enough (although she didn't chase us down the road) but that was in Canada, and the reason for it was that we didn't know that there was an extra 20% tax to add to the quoted menu price as well as the extra 20% tip - which we were aware of and had tried to leave.
I'm curious where you were that had 20% in sales taxes, I'm going to avoid that province if I can . Did you get a bill before you paid? I know in the UK the VAT is included in the price so it's a lot easier to figure out what you owe, unlike here where our various sales taxes are added on only when the bill is totaled.
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  #55  
Old 14 June 2013, 02:20 PM
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It was BC - I don't know if it was 20%, but it was close to that (17%?) and it was only mentioned in the small print at the bottom of the menu, not where the actual prices were listed.

The problem was that this was a "pub", and pubs never work properly in other countries because even when the owners get them right in every other respect, they for some reason always think that they can improve them by adding table service. So people were coming in at various times, eating and drinking and then leaving when they wanted, as one does in pubs, without wanting to wait for some complicated bill to be sorted out. Since people all knew what they'd had, and thought they knew the prices, they left the right money plus a reasonable tip - but not the tax (since we didn't know about it). At the end, when we finally got the bill, there were only a couple of us left and at that point we found out that this tax pretty much wiped out what we had allowed for the tip.
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  #56  
Old 14 June 2013, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
I wonder if the best servers are so much more likely to get the better tips. More likely the ones the customer finds most physically attractive. Serving more tables means more tips, though...
Best tip I ever got while waitressing was when I dropped the tray carrying their orders. It was a pity tip, of course, but that didn't bother me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by curlygirl View Post
I suppose it is an attitude thing, here it's like "It may be my job but that doesn't mean I'm inferior to you" and that is different to what you are accustomed to.
I am not accustomed to thinking that those who wait on me at restaurants are inferior to me, or to their thinking/behaving as if they are. When I waited on tables, i did not think myself inferior to those I waited on. I believe my experience is more the rule than the exception in the US.

I'm curious -- where did you get the idea that wait staff in the US are considered inferior?
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  #57  
Old 14 June 2013, 04:47 PM
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In the US, Do some people feel obligated to tip the waitperson even if they are not paying the bill? I used to date a girl who would would always leave a couple of bucks at the table even when I was paying. Initially, I thought that I was tipping too less. I asked her and she said something along the lines of "oh no! I used to be a waitress, and I know it's a hard job". Later I realized that she would tip even when I tipped like 25-30%.

Is it customary in the US for the invitee to leave a tip? or was it just her?
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  #58  
Old 14 June 2013, 04:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Jay View Post
In the US, Do some people feel obligated to tip the waitperson even if they are not paying the bill? I used to date a girl who would would always leave a couple of bucks at the table even when I was paying. Initially, I thought that I was tipping too less. I asked her and she said something along the lines of "oh no! I used to be a waitress, and I know it's a hard job". Later I realized that she would tip even when I tipped like 25-30%.

Is it customary in the US for the invitee to leave a tip? or was it just her?
I would say that generally a guest can expect to be a guest. There is no such custom of a guest adding to the tip, but of course, her attitude is entirely understandable. Also, when the meal-going is more mutual and less guest-host, but one of the two is substantially better-off than the other, they might agree for the better-off to pay for the meal, and the other to take care of the tip. But that is all just for the participants to decide.
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  #59  
Old 14 June 2013, 05:18 PM
Ellestar Ellestar is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Jay View Post
Is it customary in the US for the invitee to leave a tip? or was it just her?
No, it's not customary. However, many of the wait staff I've been out with will tip a lot, even if they're not taking care of the bill. My sister, who has waited tables for the past decade, will usually leave a 50% tip. Among her and her coworkers this isn't unusual. It's a way of "taking care of your own." Also, from what I understand, if a waiter knows they're serving a fellow waiter, they tend to go out of their way to give excellent service.
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  #60  
Old 14 June 2013, 05:49 PM
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If I'm not paying the only time I would leave an additional tip would be when the person paying is clearly under-tipping out of ignorance or cheapness. When I do this I try to be very discreet about it.
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