How much do you usually tip?
I’ve been watching the latest poll on tipping in Portland with some interest. I am an 18% tipper, or I should say, that is my baseline. I start with 18%, and the rate goes up or down depending on the service. I frequently tip higher, I rarely tip less.
I’m surprised that so many of my readers tip in the higher levels. To be honest, I expected more like 15-18%. Maybe some of you that work in the industry can tell us what the average is in Portland.
After some thought, it brings me back to something I’ve been pondering for the last week. What is the sophistication level of the average people on this site? How many of you work in the industry?
Lately, it has become apparent to me that many of my own friends don’t read this site very often. When asked why, the typical response is “You seem to concentrate on the high-end restaurants – more special occasion places”. This is coming from a group of people that tend to have an above average education and plenty of disposable income, but let’s face it, most people don’t want, or can’t afford, to eat at a high-end restaurant every week. Heck, there are times I get pretty tired of it myself.
I’m rambling and have thrown a lot of questions out there. Feel free to comment on any that interest you. The other 1750 of you can just quietly lurk. I still appreciate you.
Marshall Manning says
Regarding tipping, I voted for 20% since that’s probably the average. I believe that tips should be determined by the quality of service, not just a given no matter the quality of service. If we get standard service, it’s generally 15-17%, depending on the amount of the bill (I usually round to the nearest dollar or 5 dollar increment depending on the tab). If we get good service, it’s usually 18-20%, and if we get special service (whether extremely professional, very friendly, or if we ask for extra glassware or get free corkage with a large wine group, etc.) we’ve gone up to 25-30% on some occasions, again depending on the amount of the bill.
I tip about like you do- 18% base, then up or down from there as an editorial comment.
I wonder if most of the stick-around-readers of your site aren’t pretty devoted foodies. There’s a lot of people out there who like to go to the new spots and enjoy eating out, but may not have enough of an interest in the details to do more than skim the articles. Which is too bad for them, because they’re really so well written and interesting (if you ask me, which you did).
Chris Heinonen says
I’m in the 18% or so range usually. If they’re great, or better accomadate things like splitting the check for a larger party and such, then I tip more. I should tip less when they’re rude, screw up and order and don’t care (I know mistakes happen, I make them at work), or just plain ignore us while we go hungry. However, I also know my roommate tips horribly, maybe 15% on a good day, so either his math skills are bad, or he’s just cheap about it.
I wouldn’t mind reviews of some cheaper places to eat as well. I have disposable income, and I like to eat out, but I don’t like to eat out at a $20 a plate restaurant by myself a lot, but I’ll go get something cheap somewhere without an issue. More often than not, I find I’m just too busy to spend a couple hours eating out that often and will cook myself something at home to eat for a couple days at a time.
I read you in Bloglines and usually don’t click through to your actual site to vote in the polls. Or comment. Except for this time.
Love the site though.
We tip at around 25%, and that doesn’t waver. We used to use our tip amount as commentary, but the horrific attitudes in a thread at metafilter (http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/43721) made us decide that we didn’t want to be in that company. Now, if there’s a real problem, we’ll make a note or talk to the manager. Hasn’t happened so far.
I’m not connected with the industry, I just like restaurants. However, I would love to see more reviews of the mid-range restaurants we usually visit. I admit I’ll barely skim a review if it’s someplace I think I’ll never go–and that’s even when I love your writing.
Finally, a small nitpick: http://begthequestion.info/
That phrase, I do not think it means what you think it means. ;)
Oops…forgot to mention–I’m also a Bloglines reader, though I’ll often stop by to read comments.
I tend to tip heavily, but my whole working life has been spent in the food and wine business.
Re: the clicks, I usually click on the site a handful of times a day, especially when there is a review that I am particularly interested in. I am also at work day and night, so there is an extra minute or two available on certain days, if you know what I mean.
Thanks for the Analytics tip; they’re apparently overwhelmed with people right now, if you’re new registree.
20% or slightly greater on occasions. I refuse to dine out with friends or acquaintances who are poor tippers or who are rude to wait staff. Very, very rarely do I get poor service.
An open question: What about tipping on wine or drink? Currently the wine price is “figured in” on my 20% tip. But I often swallow hard if the higher end meal includes, for example, a $75 or greater bottle of wine. What are the tipping expectations when something like wine prices can vary so dramatically? The waitress uncorking a $20 bottle works equally as hard as one with a $100 bottle.
I’ve never felt that your reviews were overly focused on high-end restaurants. Justa Pasta, Bastas, Kens, Low BBQ, etc., all fall into what I would consider mid-range. If anything, I think there are some higher ticket establishments that are conspicuously missing from your list, but that’s just me. For the most part, I think your core readership is more likely to comment on a high-profile business, although I’m sure that many of the folks that visit (but don’t always comment) appreciate info on the small and reasonably priced neighborhood haunts, especially those that haven’t recieved the kudos they deserve.
If some of the other blogs are any indication, there seem to be plenty of Portlanders will to trek vast distances for the perfect bowl of menudo or the definitive slice of pizza. As a rule, I’m quick to take note of these little gems, however, I’m far more likely to comment on a place that has been excessively praised or pilloried.
As much as I hate to admit it, It’s that “angry-villagers-with-torches-and-pitchforks” kind of commentary that I find most entertaining, but again, that’s just me.
Food Dude says
I had an email from a reader “I’d love to see a poll on whether or not people tip on carry-out orders. I’ve never heard of a tipping standard for to-go orders. Just wondering what people usually tip, if at all, for to-go orders.”. What do you all think? I always put down $2-3.00 for their time since they are stopping their normal duties to take care of me. Am I crazy?
Generally speaking the “I’ll tip less on the more expensive bottle/Captain’s List/Reserve List” seems to be an old fashioned habit. Hopefully destined to die.
Service staff unequivocally feel cheated when they realize wine was out of the equation, or at best rated lower.
My principle: don’t buy a Ferrari when you can’t afford the parts and service.
By the way, I voted for 20% since as Marshall pointed out it is an average. It takes little to earn more, lot to earn less – but it moves both ways.
20% is my baseline: the server feels good, and a 5% difference (to 15%, that is) is hardly noticeable at the end of my check – but it can mean a lot to the server.
Ah, 20% is easier to calculate than 15% is, however it is not uncommon for a certain type of diner to drill it down to the penny, especially when they move around the less-than or sharp-on 15%.
I have mixed feelings about that.
Food Dude says
I suppose I have been covering the more expensive restaurants because they are best known and many people seem to care about them – especially newer places. For instance, my google hits for Fenouil are over 100 per day, even though I haven’t written it up yet. I think I will make an effort to mix in more middle and lower end places. I am also about to implement a cost ranking system along with several other new features to make it easier for readers.
For those that are interested, Fenouil, Pok Pok, Nuestra Cocina, and Basilico will all be posted by then end of next week.
On tipping: I used to be a 15% kinda guy, but ever since I started dating a server that has gone up to a minimum of 20% and as high as 100%. I’ve dated “waitresses” before, but this is my first “server.” There’s a big difference.
I don’t think you focus too hard on high-end restaurants. After reading your review of Siam Society, we headed over there and the damage was just $73, and that was with a LOT of cocktails.
The reason I don’t comment or answer the poll questions is because I have no idea what I’m talking about when it comes to food. I don’t think my feelings about the sweetbreads at Paley’s Place or the burgers at Castagna Cafe are going to impress anybody. I just know what tastes good. To me.
This is one of my favorite sites (I even link to it from my dumb blog!) and I check it almost every day.
I’m a 20% tipper myself. If it is great I can go as high as 50%, but that is very rare. As far as wine goes, I just do 20% of the total. If I spend $200 on a bottle of wine, I am normally pretty happy, so why not spread the happiness with the server.
FD, personally I am more attracted to the higher end restaurant reviews. I tend to skip over the lower end reviews just because life is short and I prefer eating at nicer restaurants. Not that I don’t enjoy pizza or a burger, but if I’m going out to eat I want it to be fancy. My girlfriend is a terrific cook, so the motivation for eating out is not as great unless the cuisine is terrific. But I have to admit that the political posts are what I enjoy most here. I just love a good argument. Cheers.
just me says
I would like to see places reviewed that are less expensive, as well. The only place I’ve ever eaten at that you’ve reviewed is Queen of Sheba. I don’t eat out much, however, as I recently finished a stint as a graduate student and am yet to reap the financial benefits of my new degree. In the last 6 months, the two nicest places I’ve eaten are Wild Abandon (dinner was bought for me) and Clay’s Smokehouse (bought my own).
I probably tent to tip just over 20% because I eat at less expensive places and rarely buy more than a beer as my beverage. 20% is easy to figure and I round it up for convenience. If I ate out at the more expensive places, I would probably lower the tip a bit as I’m not flush. Overall, I feel that if I can’t afford to tip 20%, I shouldn’t be eating out, though I will tip less for bad/rude service which is maybe once every 2 years or so. I’ll tip 20-50% for low-cost items with awesome service (coffee or cocktails in non-restaurant settings).
Maybe I should tip a bit less at times, but I’ve known a few people in the tip-reliant portion of the service industry and I know how important tips can be for some people.
Since I used to wait tables, I also start at 18%, and adjust as an editorial comment.
And as a FYI, it’s pretty standard in any online community/bulletin board/weblog/whathaveyou to have the comments follow the 80/20 rule: 20% of the readers make 80% of the comments. Or, to slice it another way, lurkers always heavily outweigh commenters (sometimes in a 10 to 1 ratio, so you’re actually doing quite well.) It’s not just you…!
just me says
I wonder if anyone would admit to tipping less than 15%… even anonymously on a blog.
Marshall Manning says
Restaurateur, maybe I have a view more like a consumer, but why should one have to tip on the price of an expensive bottle of wine? First, as someone pointed out, the service shouldn’t be any different or more difficult than a lower-priced bottle. Two, you’re probably paying a high markup on it anyway. I generally bring wine, but if buying off the list, I’ll tip the normal percentage up to a $50 bottle, but above that, it’s a smaller percentage.
Just, I have tipped less than 15% when the service has been extremely slow, condescending, or intrusive, but that’s only a few times in all of the years I’ve been dining out.
Maybe I don’t belong on this site, but since I stumbled in I thought I would comment on this since it gnaws at me sometimes.
I do not eat at the fancier high priced resteraunts. I don’t have the expendable money and my job doesn’t require me to wear anything more than business casual, and that is pushing it. So, I don’t feel comfortable not fitting in. Although, we did go to Ruth’s Chris for our anniversary. That was real nice.
I usually tip between 15-20% adjusting for service and to round off the amount.
I don’t have a problem tipping and I think I am fair or more than fair at all times. The one thing that gets me is that if I go to Denny’s and my waitperson is attentive and my food is good and my bill is $20. My tip should be $3-4 range. Great!
But, if I go to a ‘nicer’ place and I get the the same service or below, decent food and my bill comes to $50. Now I am Expected to tip $7.50-10 range.
Maybe it is just me. Seems like some people for one reason or another don’t mind spending the extra, and that is just fine. I don’t have any issue with people spending their money in any way they see fit. It just needles me a bit that just because the prices are higher my tip has to be higher for the same or less service.
Again I have never stiffed a waitperson. I am never rude (I plan on eating the food). I leave an appropriate tip each time. In my mind I start at 20% and go down to 15 if things don’t go well. I don’t expect much, but if I have to ask several times for something or my drink is not refilled in a reasonable amount of time. I don’t think that is unfair.
If I am way off base here please try to straighten me out. I will listen.
just me says
I agree. I have tipped less that 15% as well. Twice in the last 6 years I have tipped 0% (don’t get me started on those two memorable situations). One of those two times I was even given a serious discount on the food (should have been comped, imo, and I am a very easy going diner).
Food Dude says
David, a couple of things. One: though some of these places sound a bit fancy, there are very few I wouldn’t wear a pair of jeans to dinner. Business casual is just fine for 90% of them. The few exceptions that come to mind might be Wildwood, Higgins, Fenouil… that’s about it.
Two: You have to keep in mind the amount of training it takes to be a server in the higher end restaurants. I could write an entire post about it, but here are some of the things that make it different from a low end place: You must memorize every detail of every dish. You must know and be able to describe every ingredient. You had better know the characteristics of every wine on the list, and be able to point every party to a wine that is going to meet their taste/price expectations. You have to deal with a broad array of specialty cocktails and be able to serve them. Rather then deal with your average Joe, your clientele tends to be picky and thinks they know more then you do. They are much more apt to raise a fuss and send something back. Finally, everyone wants your job and are just waiting for you to screw up so they can trample you on the way to the manager. I’m sure there are people who have waited far more table then I have that could jump in with more comments.
Finally, as to the comping issue: If the kitchen messes up and part of your meal is comped, I always tip on the full value of the meal. It’s not the servers fault. He shouldn’t get stiffed because the chef was in the weeds all night.
My friends laugh at me because when service is going south, I simmer quietly, slowly counting down the percentage of tip. When things get really bad, it is almost comedic.
Chris Heinonen says
I also agree about the dress code at restaurants in Portland. I do computer programming for a living, so the dress code is very casual (no shorts is the only rule), so I’ll often be there in a polo shirt and jeans or khakis and there are very few restaurants I won’t go to in that. Paley’s Place was the last really formal restaurant I went to, or at least that I felt the need to dress up for. Lauro and Siam Society I went in what I was wearing that day, no problems. I fear that I’m going to have to start dressing better when I move to North Carolina next year.
I have rarely had anything comped, but I also almost never complain. The last time I really complained heavily was when I ordered half a roasted chicken somewhere and it came out half raw. Sent it back, came back still raw. Eventually it was cooked after everyone at my table ate, and they didn’t even comp that then. I guess I start tipping under 15% now if I get really, really horrid service, but I’ll also leave them a note why so they know I’m not just cheap.
I think I must be the cheapest one here as my baseline is 15%. I’ve wondered for a while when the jump went to 20%, in particular when servers here, without doing anything, already make 7.25/hr(and another raise this year) as compared to most other states who avg. around $3/hr before tips. I realize it’s a controversial subject that could be debated for hours, but I think it affects service in this down in a negative way. In any case, for 20% in Portland I want stellar service(which I’ve found near impossible to find).
The last time I walked out without leaving a tip was one horrendous Valentine’s Day dinner, just after Billy Reed’s opened its doors. I should have known better since it was a brand new spot and the location was attracting insane amounts of press, but my curiosity got the better of me.
My server was apologetic in telling us that they had something like 150% of capacity for the evening (recalling that ep of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares). We were thankfully seated 20 minutes after our reservation time, but things went downhill from there. Server disappeared, entrees served before appetizers, side dishes changed without notice (I was told they had run out of items). Nothing comped, no glass of house wine, nothing whatsoever.
While I felt very sorry for the server essentially being held hostage to the kitchen, I still felt that she could have used her own initiative in trying to salvage the situation instead of keeping as low a profile as possible.
Anyway, I generally tip 18-20%, higher if it’s a mom-and-pop or excellent service.
I’ve lurked here for a month or two now. Don’t really feel qualified to talk about anything, since I’m currently exiled in the culinary abomination that is South Florida. Coming to this website as well as a few others allows me some vicarious daydreaming.
When I go out, I am a consumer too. The rule I go by is for me an example of carrying my life. If I am splurging on wine, which is what you do when you buy expensive at a restaurant, I will share the love. I don’t think “this service cost me twice as much as the same service at the next table”; I think “Thank you, server, I feel good about what I am doing today and you should too”. I would feel cheap otherwise.
“I am never rude (I plan on eating the food).”
I laughed out loud!! Exactly! There are certain professionals that you don’t mess with while they are giving service, no matter what, because they are in a position to retaliate:
*Your WaitPerson (server)
*Your Dentist or Dental Hygentist
Complain about bad service afterwards, sure, but during? Not unless you want to pay for it in ways that don’t involve money!
I’m with girl_cook – my baseline is and has always been 15%, and goes up or down depending on the service.
I’m a first-time commenter from out in the ‘burbs – just wondering if “Portland Food & Drink” means you stay within the city limits, or do you ever venture out in the suburbs? A restaurant’s gotta be pretty stellar to get me to come all the way into Portland, so it’d be nice to have some reviews from out here in the nether regions.
Sorry, one addition to my earlier comment.
Marshall, you write a point Two: “you’re probably paying a high markup on it anyway.”
I fail to recognize the link between a restaurant’s markup and the server’s tip. It’s not like the server is pocketing the margin here.
Food Dude says
Robert – thanks for taking the time to codmment. As a matter of fact, there are lots of first time commenters this week, and I really appreciate you all taking the time. I spend a lot of time thinking about what people have to say, and you do influence the direction this site takes and the stories I run.
As far as the suburbs, I don’t tend to get out of town very often. Because of medical reasons I don’t drive much. However, if you have any recommendations, please let me know and I’ll put it on my list.
Marshall Manning says
Rest, I really dislike the idea of restaurants taking a large markup on wine when there’s no value added by the restaurant nor by the server. And if I decide to pay for a bottle even though the markup is high, why should the server get a larger tip if they aren’t offering any extra service? You’re right that the server isn’t pocketing the margin, but if he also isn’t providing any more service with a $200 bottle than they do with a $25 bottle. Why should the tip be increased when it is supposed to be for the service one receives, not simply a fixed percentage of the bill?
Marshall, yes, a server extends the same amount of energy corking a $50.00 bottle of wine as a $200.00 bottle of wine. He may also put just as much energy into serving a customer a $6.00 bowl of soup as a $30.00 entree. If one were to apply your wine theory across the board, the tip would be calculated on a fixed food price (of your choosing) regardless of what you’ve ordered. I’m sorry, but I feel that if you’ve had good service, anything short of a reasonable percentage of the total bill is simply a way for you to rationalize tipping less.
Re tipping, I agree completely with food_girl: Baseline is 15%. I’ve been a server, and I must say Portland service tends to be slow and less than stellar as well.
Re tip jars and to-go tipping, I think they are unnecessary as counter service doesn’t warrant a tip (bar and table service does), especially if you have to bus your own table (as you tend to do in most indie coffeehouses and some restaurants). Baristas only spend 5 minutes making your coffee. Why should they get a 50% tip? I used to tip them liberally, but so many baristas have holier-than-thou attitude…
More details on tipping:
I’ve been a server for most of the past dozen or so years. I’ve also worked the line, the dishtank, and done plenty of the dirty work that goes into making a restaurant functional.
I tip 20% as a minimum, because I know first hand how
soul sucking it can be to fetch and carry for 20+ people at one time, each individual wanting something different from you: possibly an entertainer, a scullery maid, a shadow, a confidante, a dietician, a sommelier… the possibilities are as endless as the line of people coming through the door, and they all want that something from you now, if not sooner. Which is not to say that it isn’t an interesting or mostly pleasant line of work, just unusually challenging in ways that many people fail to think about, and anyone who isn’t up to that challenge should probably think about finding employment in a different venue.
I moved here from a state where the minimum wage for tipped employees was 2.65. I got a paycheck that represented an actual dollar amount about three times a year. It was usually between six and twelve dollars. The reason it works that way is that servers are taxed on their sales as a minimum, as well as reported tips and given that about ninety percent of tips are on credit cards, at least that percentage is reported automatically. The amount of tax levied usually exceeded the amount of my paycheck, and one establishment actually charged us the difference (the others kept a running tab, so only after a few weeks of dismal sales did you make up the difference, and actually get a check), so payday could mean owing money. Fortunately, one of the benefits of being a server is that you walk with the other part of your “paycheck” nightly. And not to be a pollyanna princess, but I do report all of my tips–I tend to believe in honesty, even in dealings with the federal government.
The same rules apply here, with the difference being that once every two weeks I got a paycheck that averaged in the one hundred dollar range–keep in mind that servers are almost exclusively part time employees. Now, If I’m making approximately two hundred dollars a month from that hourly wage I’m earning, it obviously still remains essential that I make decent tips while working those hours. The onus is on me, as far as I’m concerned, when it comes to making up the difference, five hundred rent, another hundred in bills, school loans, etc…etc… I can tell you that I don’t lead a very lavish life, but what I lack in liquid assets, I make up for in scheduling flexibility and free time, my time being more valuable to me than any percentage of spare change left as an afterthought (some people just don’t tip. It’s nothing personal, they just don’t); I also enjoy my job. I enjoy good food, good wine, and good service.
I appreciate your perspective on wine mark-up, and the difference between tipping on a twenty dollar bottle of wine vs. a two hundred dollar bottle of wine. Your server is still paying the taxes based on what your total bill is; in the case of excluding an expensive bottle of wine from your tip total, your server is paying to serve that wine to you. That can hurt. I realize the price difference has an impact on you, too. I am inclined to support the opinion of one of the previous posters who suggested that one ought not opt for the Rolls Royce, so to speak, if one can’t make the payments, though I understand that sounds a little harsh.
I think you do good things here, and as far as the choice with regard to the style of restaurants reviewed goes, I personally don’t see the point in reviewing the sort of places that are providing a mass produced product from the stack of Sysco cans back in dry storage. There was talk at another Portland food forum about the smart choice at the salad bar being to avoid the prepackaged chicken bits because the soup is chock full o chicken. Valid information, and worthy of consideration if one is a salad bar maven, but I am more inclined to ask where the chicken came from, how it was prepared, and I would definitely prefer to avoid pasteurized processed chickenfood. Neither point is more valid than the other, just representative of a different focus, and different preferences with regard to a dining experience. I’m sure that there are lots of mom and pop type places that are more than worthy of review–perhaps it’s a stylistic question that can be met halfway. Thank you for your recognition of the skill set required for dining service, the front of the house has to know as much about the food as the kitchen, among other things.
I used to have a recurring fantasy of how to make the world a better place, much like some countries have a two year mandatory military conscription policy, if everyone was required to spend two years working in restaurants: six months as a dishwasher/prep cook, six months working the line, then a year serving and bartending, I’m convinced the world would be a much, much nicer place and people would be more inclined to treat one another decently and with respect.
I think I heard somewhere sometime that in terms of etiquette, a ten percent tip was considered appropriate on take out orders, not sure where that came from, though.
Food Dude says
Fathom – First of all, thanks for the long post from a servers perspective. I’m sure everyone here appreciates the time it took to writer that up.
You brought up something that I have never considered before:
I never think about the wine cost when I tip so have never adjusted for a more expensive wine. Now that you make that point, I never will in the future either. One thing many people forget, is that you are taxed on the same amount whether your tip is higher or lower.
Thanks for the props and your reasonable consideration of details pertinent to a server’s experience. During those free hours not spent in a restaurant setting, I am something of a “wordie” and an English major by trade (so many servers are slaves first to the humanities), so I apologize if I tend more toward the verbose than succinct.
Sorry to say you are incorrect: the system you describe for taxing servers is employed only by SOME, NOT ALL restaurants.
Some restaurants automatically declare servers’ tips based on sales. It is a House policy.
In my and other restaurants the server declares his/her tips at the end of their shift.
They can choose to plug what they want. It is their responsibility toward the IRS and the Law.
While it is true that servers in many establishments are allowed to choose what portion of their income they report, there still remains a definite record of their sales, not to mention credit card transactions, and servers are responsible to report a tip income that represents at least eight percent of their sales, if not more on average…if a restaurant as a whole is consistently submitting claims that average less than eight percent for the total of the waitstaff, an eventual knock on the door can be expected. It’s a minimum accountability.
I am stating the obvious by saying that there is a definite difference between the blanket statement you made earlier and what you just wrote. :)
Marshall Manning says
Interesting comments, Fathom. I’ts been over 20 years since I’ve worked in the food industry (and then it was a small mom & pop pizza joint where tips were rare), but it sounds as if the laws have been changed regarding reporting tip income. From your second post, though, it sounds like you’re only required to report 8 percent or above as a “reasonable” or average tip amount.
So, if someone comes in and has a $100 dinner and a $100 bottle of wine, the 8 percent average only works out to $16. If I’m a customer and feel that I’ve had very good service, and I tip 20% on the dinner bill and 20% on the first $50 or so for the wine, that works out to a $30 tip, which is still far above that 8% threshold, so it’s not costing the server anything. And for those who don’t report all of their tips (which I imagine is a pretty good percentage), it’s actually beneficial for them to have a lower total dinner bill and a higher tip “on the side”.
I really enjoy your site but I never participate in the polls. That’s because self-selecting polls don’t collect any useful information — the only type of poll that’s useful/even vaguely scientific is one in which the participants are randomly selected from a determined pool (registered voters, women under 21, whatever).
Food Dude says
Well, obviously, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t fun/interesting. They are very usefull to me when I am trying to figure out what direction I want to take things on this site. In that situation, I am getting a very specific group of people, which is what I want.
I usually tip 18-20%…
So what are the thoughts on take out tipping? It does not seem like I take a lot of their time or really get any service. Your thoughts?
Any tips on how to get cheapskates/classless people to tip?
I only give them such a horrid classification because I’ve worked in a service industry for nearly five years and am more than a decent, sincere server. It just peeves me that these people think they don’t have to tip because I work in a “hole-in-the-wall” local favorite ramen restaurant.
Oh, and to comment on Comment 42, right now I’m in a legal search to see if take out sales need to be considered as part of a tipped employee’s total sales (this helps the employer calculate the minimal 8% of tips reported to see if the tipped employee is underreporting). Now, if I’m not being tipped, then why should the sales go against me? (Yes, I know we’re supposed to report all our tips so in essence it’s kind of a moot point). I guess, if I get tipped then I have to report it, but if I don’t tip then I’m still responsible for it??
By the way, in the smaller restaurants, we DO have to work harder. We not only have to control bussing, waiting, refill water, and serving food, on top of all that we have to handle take-outs?? See how hard that person is working. If it’s slow, then sure, nobody expects you to tip, but if that person is sweating and hustling, then is that extra dollar or two going to hurt? Somebody had to put your take-out order together AND COOK IT too.
pollo elastico says
Ok, off topic, but what’s the local ramen restaurant? I’ve been looking for decent ramen in Portland, and have had it at Uwajimaya, Noodle Me, Koji Osakaya, and a couple random bento places, all with varying (limited) success.
I’ll promise to tip 20% the price on a bowl of soup if a good bowl of shoyu or tonkatsu will bring me to your establishment. Hell, I’d eat Korean instant ramen if it was done well.
I’m a bit surprised there aren’t a few more comments about the political ramifications of tipping. I mean yeah, ya’ll are gormet, but… I have to admit, even after my brief stint as a waitress, I didn’t think much about the concept of tipping until I moved to a country that actually pays servers a living wage before tips. Here, tipping is (almost) optional and good tips are offered only with really good service.
Now in reference to comment #21 suggesting that it takes more training to work in a more expensive eatery: As a former server, I have to say my skill as a server was far less a factor than the simple fact that I was a cute girl and most of the tips are still paid by men. Did I have to be able to pronounce the menu? Yes. Could the people working at Denny’s also memorize the menu? Yes. Why (despite comment #21) did I get hired? Oh yeah, that’s because I was born into a family that provided me with a background that made me look the part. A monkey could have done my job (to be frank, some of the other watresses were pretty bloody close) and if it shaved its legs, the tips probably would have added up.
Before moving out of the US and after being a server, I used to judge men trying to get into my pants based on their tipping habits. We all want to belive we’re generous and watching a guy short somebody making a base of $3.50 / hour was an easy estimate of their nature. Of course if they overtipped, I’d also be a bit creeped out – it’s like they’re begging for approval.
So does anybody else think that American wait staff grovel for their wages?
Hi, I waited tables in Las Vegas for 9 years before moving to Portland 3 months ago. I would have to say that people here either tip really well 20-30% OR they don’t have a clue and leave a few dollars on a 100$ check not knowing that I AM going to pay for their meal. The advantage of Vegas for a waiter is that (hopefully) the person you are waiting on has just hit a winning streak and that (throughout the course of a year) those exceptionally big tips can be substantial and increase a waiters income or off-set the taxes that one is paying! I served a chicken caesar salad one night for a $1500 tip. The guy hit $ 27,000 on a 7 spot keno card! Cool! Will be back to your site with more information. Haven’t been in Portland long enough to really ascertain my yearly wages…. I do know though that I am making less money and paying more taxes on my tips and so far no one has hit a jackpot. :) :)