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I Mean, When I Order Coffee I Want It Filled Six Times

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Volo, Feb 13, 2010.

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  1. Dcc001

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    Just a point about minimum wage. In Canada, at least, restaurants aren't allowed to go lower than minimum wage using the argument that tips are making up the delta.

    In Calgary, for instance, minimum wage was $9/hr. All serving and bar staff got paid this rate. Any tips they earned were over and above this. Also, on statutory holidays all staff make time and a half. If they'd been with us longer than the mandatory three month probationary period, they also got the average day's wage (for example, if the holiday fell on a Monday, and the server had worked 5 of the last 9 Mondays, you'd work out her average hours), regardless of whether or not the server was working that day.

    And before anyone PM's me about 'Nine dollars an hour being plenty,' Calgary saw one of the biggest booms in history over the past five years. You really can't live on a full time job paying minimum wage; you need roommates and a second job to supplement that.
     
  2. Guy Fawkes

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    Chances are you're not only sitting in the restaurant where you're eating your $30 steak for substantially longer than you are in Denny's but you are also likely making the server do more for you.

    Denny's/any diner you get a drink, your food, and maybe a refill. Unless you're the guy who sits around all day drinking the bottomless cup of coffee you'll be out of there in 30 min.

    At a steakhouse or higher end restaurant you'll order drinks, appetizers, probably another drink, then food, another drink, maybe dessert, etc. You'll be there for at least an hour and a half. Maybe more.

    That's why you shouldn't be pissed about paying the steak bearer more than the grandslam bearer.
     
  3. lust4life

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    Not pissing me off gets you 20%. How much you piss me off determines how much I subtract from the 20%. If service was flawless (i.e., I didn't even notice you and never had to ask for a damn thing) 25% in cash.
     
  4. Rob4Broncos

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    What are people's opinions here of this type of tipping? I once worked at Cold Stone Creamery, and tips worked this way. Base pay was $5.50/hour, and tips were doled out in proportion to the number of hours you worked that day out of the tip jars on the counter. So, if I worked 6 hours that day, and a coworker worked 8, she'd receive 33% more from the tip pool than I would. In a typical 6 hour shift, I'd walk out with about 15 bucks, or an extra $2.50/hour.

    Worst. System. Ever.

    Are they? I'm not being rhetorical here. When the employer can get away with paying its staff below minimum wage due to tips, and thus can afford to lower its menu prices (presumably), what's the net difference to the customer? Wouldn't the money you're meant to tip the server be used to pay more for your bill otherwise?

    I'm not familiar with how restaurants work financially, so I'm in no position to speculate.
     
  5. effinshenanigans

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    But what Cold Stone does very well is make you sing for your tips you little ice cream monkey. By that alone, I'm sure you received more tips than you would've at a normal ice cream parlor. "Sing me a tale ice cream boy! And mix a brownie in there while you do it."

    I may or may not have entered Cold Stone drunk a few times with a fistfull of singles to accompany my order so that there was no shortage of chippy tunes while I waited for my treat. But, in doing that, I'm sure I represented a higher tip to food ratio than most of the normal patrons. Everybody wins when a group of people sacrifice their dignity for money, right?
     
  6. Nettie

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    I've had to do that bartending, but never on varying shifts.* Let's say I work from 10-noon, and someone else came in at noon, I pocketed what was in the tip jar, and we started at 0, flat 50/50 split. If I leave, and they're still there, then we'd split then, and anything they made after I left is theirs.

    Now, this system worked great, when you had two good people. One bartender I refused to do that with, because she'd stand around talking, while I did 90% of the work. Those days, I'd set up a separate tip jar for her, and have my own. I'm not busting my ass making money for you.
     
  7. Volo

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    If she did it right, she already got more than the tip.

    Oh yes, that's a knee-slapper.
     
  8. Dcc001

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    It all depends on the base wage. In my restaurant, the kitchen staff were hired at a much higher rate (if the servers were making $7/hour - the minumum wage at the time - then the dishwashers would make $12-14/hr and on up as you climbed the pecking order in the kitchen). In that circumstance, what you described for tipping is pretty fair.

    The servers and bar staff, though, got paid minimum wage. They were therefore allowed to keep individually whatever they earned in excess of their 7% tipout. I found it works great; the servers could make tons of cash, and the staff that did not have the ability to earn tips directly got paid based on the hours that they worked. It was fair.

    Someone earlier likened restaurants to manufacturing, and argued that restaurant owners were getting a sweet deal since they could hire capable people at a much lower rate. I disagree. Unlike most businesses, the profit margins in a restaurant are razor thin. It's bad enough in some establishments that a case of lettuce going bad can write off the profit for that day's sales. Add up food wastage, liquor spills, customer complaints, etc. and it's very difficult to turn a profit. In fact, you could have high sales and zero theft and the money would still walk out the door, with the owners having no clue where it went. That's why it drives me crazy when I see places where the staff are allowed to drink or the manager comps a meal for a guest for no reason; it's destroying the profit.

    In other businesses it's much more difficult for the product to just disappear. Yes, there's theft but in Manufacturing Company X you don't have product just vanishing because of wastage or comp'ing or whatever.

    For the people that are complaining that they don't like the institution of tipping, I agree with them. Tipping has evolved from it's rightful place (something extra for really good service) to the unwritten social contract that restaurants will not pay their staff the proper wage because it's understood that they can live off tips. At the end of the day, if the practice of tipping was abolished it would cost the customer the same thing; restaurants would be forced to tack on an mandatory gratuity of 20% (or whatever) just to retain capable servers.
     
  9. redbullgreygoose

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    I average 20% most of the time. More if the service is really good, less if it isn't. But 19 times out of 20 I'll leave 20%. When I take care of my bill I usually pay with plastic, tip with cash. I feel like it's the right thing to do. A tip is a TIP. It's an extra bonus you give the server for the job they did. Fuck trying to tax tips. No paper trail for me.
     
  10. MoreCowbell

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    This is generally true in my experience. Every Canadian relative I have tips less than normal by American standards (at least when in Canada. My brother consciously tips beyond what he thinks is appropriate when he's visiting the US). Above a certain age and outside of major cities, they're only marginally aware of the concept of tipping. My grandmother once took a tip my father left out to the car because she thought he had just left money on the table. I'd say that the 5% gap is about right for my experience.

    And no, Toronto is not all like that. But maybe more so than average.
     
  11. Rob4Broncos

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    It should at least be understood that the notion that "society says we should tip" should be blamed on the employers, not the servers making the tips. Tips have gone from a luxury to a necessity for the people who make them, and they can't be penalized for that. If they give shitty service (and I mean very shitty service), then withholding a tip could be justified. But if the service was "so-so, okay but nothing special," you'd still better goddamn tip. You're not tipping for great service at that point; you're tipping so your server can get up to minimum wage. Like Crown Royal said, if you're too cheap to tip, you shouldn't dine out in the first place.

    The Mr. Pink rant is funny, but nobody with good sense will agree with it.
     
  12. MoreCowbell

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    That was me. The size of the profit margins is actually irrelevant to the argument that I was making. Regardless of their rate of profit, restaurant entrepreneurs are able to get away with lower labor costs per employee than other business sectors, all else being equal, due to a loophole in the American labor laws. They are able to pay employees a below-minimum-wage rate, which is an undeniable comparative advantage.

    What would happen if American restauranteurs were suddenly required to pay minimum wage? Their costs would rise, and this would have to be accounted for somewhere. There's really four possibilities.
    a) They would cut costs somewhere else.
    b) They would raise prices accordingly
    c) Their profit margin would decline
    d) Some restaurants would close.

    Obviously, the answer is probably some combination thereof.

    I just don't see why federal wage laws should be structure so as to give restaurant owners a competitive advantage in labor costs.

    Canada is sort of a different thing entirely, because the tipped employee credits do not apply to restaurant owners there.

    One last possibility that might be worth considering is that maybe tipping policy is socially optimal. Looking at those four consequences...maybe we tip because we want to avoid a) and d). It's entirely possible that we tip to support an otherwise unprofitable level of quality and/or number of restaurants.

    That said, I find that argument unconvincing for two reasons. One, restuarants clearly exists in non-tipping countries. In fact, in the UK, as far as I can tell, they have almost as many restaurants. So I find it unlikely that we tip to keep restuarants in business. Secondly, if it were really to support an otherwise unprofitable level of quality.....we could always just pay more. Maybe there's a sticker-price-effect, but certainly, if tipping were abolished tomorrow, consumers would be able to bear some higher level of cost.
     
  13. Uno

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    Reading this thread I was astonished at how many people were tipping 20% as the norm. Everyone I know here in USA Jr tips 15% normally, 10% if the service is bad. 20-20% is the service is excellent. Growing up everyone always said double the GST here and round up to the nearest dollar, which works out to be about 15%. Doesn't work since they lowered the GST now, but, 15% still seems the norm, and a decent amount. 20-25% seems like a lot to me.

    What do people do for take out? Tip the same, even though they are getting no service?
     
  14. Rob4Broncos

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    Just out of curiosity, how do you people approach tipping for delivery, such as pizza? I used to deliver for Domino's, and tips were good enough that I never questioned them, but I'm curious if anyone has a "percentage rule" or something of that nature. Is it the same as when dining in? Lower? Higher?
     
  15. MoreCowbell

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    Lower. $1-3 was my norm. So we're probably talking 10-5%.

    I think people generally tip less on a percentage basis with delivery, and more on a basis of how much change they have on hand. I've never heard of anyone using a firm percentage rule for delivery.
     
  16. effinshenanigans

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    I usually keep it at 15-20 for delivery. 15 if they're a little late, 20 if they're not.

    In college I used to tip with beer and bong hits. Every now and then the delivery guy would have a pizza that someone decided they didn't want and he'd bring it in and eat.
     
  17. Nick

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    Per my earlier post, I generally think that tipping 20%+ is always appropriate, but am interested to know what people think about individual drink tipping. For instance, if I don't already have a tab open and I get a $3-$5 beer, I always just leave an extra dollar. Many times, a bartender will even leave you with five 1 dollar bills (instead of one 5 dollar bill), so you can continue to tip as needed. I generally do this with mixed drinks as well. However, a vodka tonic in a small neighborhood bar may cost you $5, whereas, an "upscale" place up the street might charge you $10-$15. In reality, the server hasn't done any additional work, but if you are sticking to a 20% rule, you would end up leaving a $2-$3 tip for a single drink. Is it a dick move to leave a $1 tip for a $10 marked-up drink?

    Also, what's the rule for tipping at a restaurant when buying an extraordinarily expensive bottle of wine or champagne with dinner? A couple of years ago, after getting a promotion, I took my fiancee out for a nice dinner. Dinner and drinks alone probably only ran us $300, but I also ordered a $500 bottle of champagne for dessert. When I got my bill, I didn't even really think twice about it, and left a 20% tip on the whole amount. Basically, the server picked up an extra $100 just for uncorking a bottle of champagne. Would it have been unreasonable of me to tip just for the main dinner portion, or to tip a lesser % on the champagne?
     
  18. Frebis

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    I only eat fast food, that way I don't look like a jack ass when I don't tip. It is one of the many things fast food places are doing right.

    In reality I tip 20% + or - 10%. We only get into the plus range when I get things for free. We only get into the minus range when I am annoyed by you, or something you do. Only twice have I left absolutely no tip, and that was because my server was so stoned he forgot what I ordered. As in I got the completely wrong food.

    90% of the time I live on the road in hotels. I only tip the maid if I've done something wrong. Like made a mess beyond making the bed.

    My question is, how much should I tip the valet at the hotel? Several of the hotel's I stay at have a parking rate that hovers around $50 a day. I'll be damned if they think pulling my car from the garage under the hotel is going to get them any more than a couple of bucks more than that.
     
  19. DrinksOnTheHouse

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    Wait, what? This is an undeniable comparative advantage? Compared to whom? Yes, restaurants can lower the cost of the bill with the assumption that the customer is subsidizing the wait staffs' salaray, but how does that give them a comparative advantage? The majority of restaurants in the US do this (My guess is that is damn close to all, but I am sure someone will have an example to prove that sweeping generalization wrong) so who are they getting the advantage over? I really doubt Mr. Yankee Restaurant Owner is saying: "Oh, we will keep those customers coming to our place instead of flying to the UK where the restaurant pays the true cost of the employees service and that price is reflected in the bill." Comparing the number of restaurants in the UK to the US is meaningless. What is the comparative cost of a meal in each of these restaurants? I don't think London is that cheap to eat in.

    Yes, its a weird artificial construct, but in the US (and many other countries) the tip is part of the price of going out to eat. If all restaurants had to pay the true cost of service in the backend, then the price of the meal would go up. This is not theoretical; this is reality. For example, in my glorious city of San Francisco, restaurants that employ over a certain amount of employees are now required to pay for the employees' health care or contribute to a fund to pay for the health care. Restaurants have responded by either charging a bit more for the meals or putting an actual line item on the bill to show what you are paying for. They are not just saying, well it now costs us more to keep these people employed but that will not affect the price we charge out (and to bring it back, this gives cities surrounding San Francisco a comparative advantage, because there is an actual chance that customers will drive 10 minutes out of the city then 10 minutes in the city if the price difference is significant, all other things being equal -- with that caveat being key).
     
  20. Elset

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    I parked for 2 days at $43 a day and tipped $5 when I got my car back. I didn't have any cash on me when I gave them my car, so that dude didn't get tipped. Felt kinda bad there. Oh well.

    I also tipped the baggage guy $5 for retrieving my bags from the back where they were stored for the few hours after checkout and before I departed.

    Additionally, I tipped coat check at restaurants $2 and cabbies $3 (for a $12 fare).

    I have never heard of anything about tipping these people, so they got what they got, good or bad. Anyone have rules for the future?
     
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