Tipping Thread Appendix A (tipped wage discussion)

Tipping Thread Appendix A (tipped wage discussion)

Some of the funniest, if not best, service I ever had was in Rome. I forgot and tipped a waiter for chasing down some ice for my Coke. The next time I walked into the restaurant, waiters were climbing over each other to bring a bowl of ice to my table. :laughing:

I’ll bump this up since I’ve got an interesting comparison point.

Two weeks ago, my wife and I were in Europe on a last minute trip. Business for me, pleasure for her. We went to London, Amsterdam, and Vienna. I’d say service was rarely bad, mostly good, but I can’t think of “great” service at any location we visited. We tipped a few euros here and there depending on service, what was ordered, etc. It was the same deal about 8 months ago when we were in Italy.

Right now, we’re in Hawaii on a long-planned vacation. I somehow forgot how ridiculous tipping is when you vacation in the US. Square is set up to ask for a tip everywhere - coffee shops, activities, even places where you order at a counter, have to go back to pick up your food, and then bus your own table. Several places tack on a 2-4% surcharge to pay for stuff like a “living wage” and “healthcare” and then expect you to tip 20% on top of that. It is a bit over the top.


“When tipping becomes mandatory, good service becomes optional”


I’ll never understand this dichotomy. Where else is is the perception that doing your job well is optional so prevaliant and given so much validity? Most everywhere else, it’d be considered grounds for termination.

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I don’t see that as being the case in food service or in tipped jobs specifically.
I don’t think the management anywhere purposefully allows poor work.
I don’t think the employees in tipped jobs are especially lazy or incompetent.

I would say that people who make low wages in mostly thankless crap jobs are often not the best workers and thats market driven.

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USPS (the retail counter people, not delivery people)

The people who work in the post offices around here are mostly efficient and friendly. There are exceptions.

There are bad eggs in every field. I’m talking about the general perception that if you dont tip well, you’re going to be served refried beans instead of the steak you ordered.

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Yeah I don’t know why we got that idea.

How did “lets give people extra money for doing a great job” turn into “you’d better give em 25% or they’ll spit in your food” ?


I honestly don’t understand it.

If I compare the price of eating out in continental Europe (Germany, Italy, and Austria specifically) to, say, where we live in Seattle, the pricing is pretty comparable until you include the tip. I was quite shocked how I could get two plates of good pasta and a mezzo liter of wine in Italy for 35-40 euros all inclusive when in the US, this amount of food and beverage would easily be $45 + tax + tip. I can point to similar stories in other European cities I’ve visited, aside from London where everything is crazy expensive.

The restaurant business isn’t typically wildly profitable either… so I don’t really feel like most owners are taking their customers for a ride. How can Europeans pay their waitstaff and charge a similar amount while American restaurateurs can’t?


I don’t think this fully explains it, but there are generally fewer servers in Europe for the same number of customers.

That seems to be less true by the day. :slightly_frowning_face:

Our counter people are more reliable, albeit slower. I get mail delivered by my neighbors. :smile:

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Probably not the best city to compare. Your minimum wage is $15 isn’t it? And wait staff get 100% of that plus tips.

The huge disparity in comp between front and back of the house staff has always been controversial, with the higher-paid waitrons being the ones to scream bloody murder when a change is suggested.

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So is the real reason for the objection because she’s/they’ve been reporting significantly less tips than they’ve been receiving? I fail to believe there were all these customers suddenly trying to give her a $100 tip out of pitty. I suspect this change in tipping policy was going to cost the business.

Facing questionable business volume over the next few months, I’d think they’d appreciate getting their historical average in tips, instead of blindly hoping there’s enough customers each shift to get a meaningful amount of tips.

“staff would be paid the average of their tips that they earned prior to the restaurant shutting down due to COVID-19, and it would be on their paychecks”

That seems like potentially fair deal for a restaurant that used to do dine in but is no longer doing so.
And it sounds like the plan was in place while the restaurant was doing just takeout.

But if they then reopened with dine in then the arrangement may no longer be fair (or at least not agreeable to servers who previously got all the tips)
And I’m very willing to believe there are going to be some fat tips immediately after reopening.
I’ve been more generous with tips for people delivering etc.

But do you expect table counts to be the same as before? A somewhat higher per-tip average doesn’t help when there’s half the number of tables.

Despite being framed as the restaurant taking their tips, it seems like the restaurant helping to preserve their waitstaff’s income level. Unless, of course, the waitstaff’s was never reporting all their tips…

Actually some have adapted already. DD works after school at an ice cream place. During the lockdown they shifted to operate more based on online orders for pickup or delivery. Since people no longer came in the store, tips were going to be abysmal and at $8.75 hourly rate pre tips, nobody would work there. So instead, they built-in tip into the online prices so that she’s actually making slightly more per hour now than before.

But for some, I guess restaurants will adapt the pay split between hourly rate and tips, because they just won’t have anyone to wait their tables if they stick to a format relying on volume of customers like pre-COVID-19.

Count me in the group that thinks the front is overpaid and back is underpaid. Working in a kitchen is really tough work and constant pressure, and most line cooks make very little, outside of fine dining restaurants. Cooking requires a ton of learning and skills to excel at.

We haven’t been waited on at a table in over 2 months now… and despite really enjoying eating out, we don’t really miss the service from wait staff. We miss the ability to get the food fresh from the kitchen without having to trudge home with it, but we definitely don’t miss having to place an order with a human and then wonder where our entrees are, and at the end of it, hand them a credit card while they walk out of sight with it. We’d much rather sit a table with an app on our phones, place orders for items as we want them, and enjoy the meal at our own pace. Then just pay with a mobile wallet and leave.

I understand this describes a lot of fast casual places, like say Panera or Red Robin. But I’d like to see this lower level of front-of-the-house service make its way into restaurants a few rungs up the ladder from those two.