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A new Travel Pet Peeve


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Most of you know that I travel a LOT. Way more than I really want to but it's the job I signed up for. Here's something relatively new that, in my opinion, is just not working.

 

I'm talking about restaurants that are "no tipping". I had read that some of the larger chains were going to that system. I assume that they are raising the prices so that they can pay the servers more and so they say that tipping is not necessary.

 

My first experience with this was at Joe's Crab Shack in Warren, MI. I have eaten there a few times over the years because I usually stay at a hotel just down the road from it. It was probably about 8 months ago when I first noticed it. Upon entering I saw a sign on the door that stated "this establishment is now no tipping"....or something along those lines.

 

So I got seated and the waitress came over. She was friendly enough and did a decent job. I asked her how the new system was working out and she said that she felt that the really good servers were making far less money. The really bad ones were probably doing ok. I asked if people were still tipping in spite of the change and she said that some would leave a couple of dollars on the table but not very often. There is not even a place on the bill for you to add a tip. She was a decent waitress so I left $5.00 on the table. Far less than the 20% that I would typically tip but at least something.

 

A few weeks ago, I was in that area again and once again stopped by there for dinner one night. The service was awful. The waitress seemed to have too many tables and though I won't say that she was actually rude, she was very fast and to the point. No small talk or any attempt to actually be friendly. She took my order. It took a LONG time to get my drink. It finally came just moments before my food did. A different person brought my drink out and a different person yet brought my food. The waitress never stopped by my table again to ask if everything was OK or if I needed another drink. The only time she came by the table again was to drop off my bill. She didn't even say anything....just placed it on the table and kept going.

 

So....I would say that all of those GOOD servers that were making more money when there were tips have found jobs elsewhere and the only ones left are those that didn't do well with tips.

 

Maybe the no tipping plan sounds good in theory but in the real world, it's not working out. At least not at this place. Not only was the service bad but I know they must be losing money. I would have certainly ordered another beer had anybody asked. I don't typically eat desert but if I had wanted to order one, I would have had to tackle the waitress to get the order in.

Edited by Freebird
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Far too many businesses are trying to maximize income by controlling costs. Yes, controlling costs is important, but it can't come at the cost of repeat customers. the profit is in the REPEATS, not in the walk-ins, in turning the walk-ins into REPEATS.

 

I think the phrase "efficient service" is an oxymoron. Being completely efficient can kill the service experience. I hold up the example of the dealer I buy my motorcycles from. They get my repeat service work because the service writer gives a damn, greets me by name, knows the general history on my bikes, and because their techs get it right. They get my repeat purchases for the same reason. Every time I walk in the door the sales guy comes over, always a personal touch in the conversation, always a gentle nudge toward the new showroom. I've lost count of the times he's thanked me because someone mentioned my name when they came in. Neither practice is perfectly efficient, but both remind me (and them) that they're employed because guys like me buy and maintain motorcycles.

 

It's a lesson too many businesses learn the hard way. Joe's will likely close before Joe learns the lesson.

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I agree with the fact of when you take incentives away from service employees to do their jobs with excellence, they will generally resort to being average, or worse. These restaurants that have adopted this policy will eventually see there service levels drop, and most likely will not ever think it is related to the tipping policy. I used to purchase all of my electronics (TV's, computers, etc.) from a store named Circuit City because all of their sales people worked on commission. This caused them to study their product, and sharpen their customer facing skills so they could make the sale while they competed against the Best Buys in the world. The Circuit City sales people would fall all over themselves to be as helpful as they could to get your business, because their paycheck was directly effected. Well, eventually, Circuit City adopted the "non commissioned sales persons" policy that Best Buy had, and that very act put them in the sea of sameness with Best Buy, and it came down to price after that, and Circuit City could never win that battle. I guarantee you the higher ups of Circuit City never caught onto the fact that changing the pay plan of their sales reps was a HUGE key to their service, which in turn eventually brought their business down.

These restaurants will fall the same way. A waiter is a salesperson. Take the commission/tip away, and the good ones will go where they can be paid for their excellence, while the bad ones will hang around and be average or worse.

 

Don, You should write the big wigs of Joes a letter explaining this experience, and why you think the service has dropped. Maybe it'll make them go, hmmmmm.

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Over the years I have traveled a lot through England and Scotland. Except for tourist venues there is no tipping, in fact a tip is considered an insult. It all depends on what your expectations are. If you expect a tip and don't get it you are pissed off. If you don't expect a tip then when you don't get one you don't care. It is a matter of local customs.

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I believe that since there is a minimum wage that waitstaff should be paid that wage or more if they do a good job. But atleast minimum wage. Tips should not be factored into what they earn per hour. A tip is exactly that, a tip for doing a good job. Good restauraunts make a lot of money and can afford to pay the proper wage.

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I learned in my years in the military and ministry, a lot of things sound good on paper but in reality they do not work out very well.

 

What sucks here is by the time the big boss finds out how much it sucks, the business will be ruined.

 

My wife is the worse when dealing with bad service. I realize not everything can be perfect every time you go somewhere. We went to a Sonny's over two years ago, service sucked, food sucked. We had been there many times before, but from now on she will not go there. I have snuck there many time since with good service and food.

 

Bottom line, food could be great but if service sucks people are not coming back.

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Seattle passed a $15 per hour minimum wage. "To comply" some restaurants went to no tipping and added 20% to your tab. The math works out that the additional minimum wage costs the restaurant nothing. The 20% surcharge covers more than the entire $15 wage so the restaurant ends up making an additional profit and saves wages at the same time. Most of the time the servers end up making less. What a way to scam your employees. I won't eat at these places.

 

Mike

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Ya know Don, I've been thinking about this for the last few days! Haven't hit a no tipping place yet, but with the new minimum wage laws being passed, if my waiter/waitress is now making minimum wage instead of the "below minimum" wage they were making, then why should I tip 20% any more?? After all, wasn't the reason for the 20% because they were paid such a small wage and tipping was considered part of their hourly wage?? Now I remember waaaaay back when the minimum wage was $1.25 and waitresses were getting $1.10 plus tips so a 10% tip was considered a very good tip, the average was less than that. A decade or so later the Federal Government stepped in and considered 15% to be the average tip so they could tax accordingly. It really hasn't been THAT many years that restaurant owners, in order to save money, got the minimum wages for servers even lower and justified the "suggested" 20% tip!

 

I am starting to develop the European attitude towards tipping, why tip at all unless the service is exceptional? After all they are getting a fair wage to do what they do!! Now, in Canada their servers do get a much better wage than their US counterparts. As a matter of fact, Canadians visiting in the states get a bad reputation as being terrible tippers because they are not used to our US standards for tipping!

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm still tipping at 20% but am beginning to wonder why! You know what also burns me?? The "suggested" tip on the register receipt when it includes the TAX as part of the amount to tip on!!! I have noticed some restaurants do, some don't...

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I'm probably going to get into a lot of trouble for saying this here..... But it's another form of socialism and will eventually fail.....

 

I am right there with ya Jack,, I miss the old days.. Days like what happened to us up at Mt. Hood - remember that brother? Just to fill in the gap for folks who weren't there, our fearless Harley riding leader - one Mr. @LoneEagle had taken our group of hungry riders to some really cool resturant for lunch. We all sat down for dinner, were sitting there waiting for our meals when one of the waitresses announced she had an order of gravey covered fries that the people who ordered them didnt want and wondered if anyone wanted them (FOR FREE).. Of course, my hand instantly went up!! WOW what a plate of deliciousness!! After passing the plate around the table there was still a good 3/4 plate of gravey covered fries left on the plate, Jack and I :178: gobbled on those scrumshes fries and finished em just before our dinners came out!!

We triple thanked the waitress and left her a GOOD tip to let her know how much we appreciated HER thoughtfulness and genuine good service attitude!!

Now I know she did something that was neither Politically Correct or, maybe even something slightly illegal by todays standards BUT - IMHO, she did something that has almost disappeared in our country today - she took care of her customers (and was highly rewarded for it)..

MY HATS OFF TO YOU YOUNG LADY WHERE EVER YOU ARE!!:bowdown::bowdown::bowdown:

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Those were great fries...huh?? That's all I ever ate when in Hi School. Wet Fries and a Chocolate Coke while cruising at Henry's Drive-In. Yep, just like the one in American Graffiti. Rarely have had them since... They bring back some awesome memories... Now I'm siting here eating a bowl of Cookies and Cream ice cream with Maraschino cherries. Yumm!!

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I like to tip with cash. I figure that way the waiter gets most of it. I hate places that have the 20% tip. I figure the waiter has to share that with the owner. I also hate not having the option. Some places automatically add it in the bill.

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I like to tip with cash. I figure that way the waiter gets most of it. I hate places that have the 20% tip. I figure the waiter has to share that with the owner. I also hate not having the option. Some places automatically add it in the bill.

 

The way this works in the bigger places is... Tip on the CC goes to the restaurant. Cast tips left on the table are shared with the shift. Cash tips in the waiters hand are theirs to keep. This isn't absolute but what happens most of the time...

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A few weeks ago, I was in that area again and once again stopped by there for dinner one night. The service was awful. The waitress seemed to have too many tables and though I won't say that she was actually rude, she was very fast and to the point. No small talk or any attempt to actually be friendly. She took my order. It took a LONG time to get my drink. It finally came just moments before my food did. A different person brought my drink out and a different person yet brought my food. The waitress never stopped by my table again to ask if everything was OK or if I needed another drink. The only time she came by the table again was to drop off my bill. She didn't even say anything....just placed it on the table and kept going.

 

 

No tipping is one thing, but this seemingly new system of having 1 person take your order, then another delivering it, same with drinks etc., is on of my biggest pet peeves at the chain restaurants. I don't want to have to deal with 5 or 6 people while I am there. I believe the management thinks people will think they are getting better service but the reality is this service model sucks. It is one of the biggest factors for my wife and I when making a choice on where to spend our restaurant $$.

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In Europe the waiting staff is paid a living wage just like the factory worker they are not paid a lower wage because they are in the service industry. Many of these people make these jobs carriers since they can support a family on there income. Thus it is considered an insult by these workers for making them look like beggars and lowlifes. In other places like Canada the USA and other countries the service industry is a lowly job only fit for the poor and uneducated, not in Europe.

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