Archive for restaurant tips

Do you work hard for the money?

Posted in Rants with tags , on April 23, 2010 by grimgastronomicon

This is going to be contentious with some people I know, but why the hell do tip percentages for the service industry keep rising? I was reading one of Andrew Knowlton’s (BA Foodist, really interesting, and Ramsay seems to get him for tons of KNUSA eps, for those of you that watch that ) blog entries on the subject, and apparently a ,minimum for good service is now 20%. He then goes on to say that if this seems like too much of a gratuity, you probably can’t afford to be eating out. I take exception to that. Now, I’m more than willing to reward friendly, accommodating wait staff with a 20% tip. Hell, for a few of my favourite waiters and waitresses, I’ll even go up to 25% if the service is exceptional, but otherwise, you’re just doing an adequate job, and I’ll adequately tip you. Apparently, this is notable behaviour, and waiters will remember your stinginess. I take exception to that, as well. I’m well aware of the ills of dealing with the public as a full time job (though from what I’ve been told, waiting is a brutal, awful job at best, far removed from most other branches of the service industry), but I also except to be treated with full attention and care. I frankly don’t give a damn if you got in a fight with your significant other, or if the head of the front of house is a tyrant; for all intents and purposes, you’re on commission, and you need to keep your game face on at all times.

The amount of times I’ve been to a restaurant with someone, been one of the only couples or groups in a section, and still can’t get the time of day from a waiter or waitress is shocking. Sorry, making us wait around after we’ve visibly pushed our plates forward and are fiddling to go isn’t when you disappear for 10-20 minutes, and then come back hoping we’ll want dessert. Instead, if you really want to keep that account open, try passing by your section more often, and offer dessert menus as soon as we look like we’re done our main.

Also, if you don’t want to smile, at least look like we’re not wasting your time by daring to be in your section. So, I guess I’m not knocking the rising tip (nor the fact that tipping now seems to extend itself to nearly every possible form of low-paying wagery. If you interface with me at all, apparently you expect recompense. Clearly I’m a pain to interact with?), nor the idea that you should always budget for that when going out. Instead, I’m merely being a jerk, and tut-tutting all the service staff out there who seem content to do a half-assed job, and then expect a full-assed (is that a real expression?) tip, proportionately.

I’ve been admonished by friends’ who worked service and bar jobs for this attitude (which I can’t be alone in sharing), saying I need to walk a mile in their shoes, but it probably won’t happen.