PDA

View Full Version : Tipping a bad server?



SpikeC
12-18-2011, 09:48 PM
Last Wednesday before the Joe Bonamassa concert, my inlaws and the spouse and I had dinner at a restaurant in the local Hilton called Porto Terra. The server seemed to loose interest in us when we were not ready to order on her first pass by. Eventually we got her over to take our order and I ordered a hamburger, a 13 buck sandwich with a glowing description. She asked what cheese I wanted, and listed a variety of choices. Here in Portland we take our burgers seriously and have access to some fine cheese options. I asked what sort of cheddar they had and she said "yellow". She was serious.
My SIL ordered a sparkling water, and after asking for it twice without getting it she told her to forget it. This seemed to make the server angry, and she called my SIL rude to another worker in earshot of us. Someone who acted like a supervisor eventually brought the water. We would have had another bottle of wine, butt she never checked to see if we wanted more.
My question is what tip would be appropriate in a situation like this? My BIL gave her 10%, I thought that was overly generous.

ajhuff
12-18-2011, 09:52 PM
I think 10% is fine. I don't believe in stiffing servers. I think 10% still sends a message.

-AJ

unkajonet
12-18-2011, 10:02 PM
I think 10% was too much. She didn't provide even adequate service. Maybe 0-5%, and a brief conversation with the supervisor as to why the tip was minimal.

ThEoRy
12-18-2011, 10:03 PM
Poor service poor tip.

Great service great tip.

mr drinky
12-18-2011, 10:08 PM
I always give 20%, but if they f-up the booze, I subtract that from the total and tip 20% w/o booze. If they really screw up it is 20% on food only without tax.

I use my order to adjust tips, but I never go lower than 10%. I always assume they may have had a bad day, and 10% total is rock bottom.

Btw, I also do a few other enhancements: If the service is really good I leave 20% on the check and extra 'pocketable' cash in the book. If someone in my party shorts them on a tip, I call, get the name of the waitress and mail them them extra cash. I have only done this a few times, but once a waitress actually wrote me a thank you back. That was odd.

k.

stevenStefano
12-18-2011, 10:10 PM
I'd have given them a very small tip because if the food and everything else was nice then it wasn't all bad, but probably not as much as 10%. It is sorta hard to know though because in a lot of places the tips go to everyone and in some it is just servers/waiting staff.

echerub
12-18-2011, 10:14 PM
I think the 10% was quite generous, but then I realize the standard tip % is higher in some places than others.

mr drinky
12-18-2011, 10:14 PM
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, if something was wrong, I usually (very politely) tell the server if the timing is right. If they take it well and are gracious and seem to understand, they get the whole 20%. If they cop a 'tude, they are screwed for sure. And if that doesn't go well, I just let my infant crawl around on the floor with jelly and some crumbly cornbread;)

k.

ajhuff
12-18-2011, 10:45 PM
I always give 20%, but if they f-up the booze, I subtract that from the total and tip 20% w/o booze. If they really screw up it is 20% on food only without tax.

I use my order to adjust tips, but I never go lower than 10%. I always assume they may have had a bad day, and 10% total is rock bottom.

Btw, I also do a few other enhancements: If the service is really good I leave 20% on the check and extra 'pocketable' cash in the book. If someone in my party shorts them on a tip, I call, get the name of the waitress and mail them them extra cash. I have only done this a few times, but once a waitress actually wrote me a thank you back. That was odd.

k.

+1

I usually tip 20-25%. Since I am a repeat customer almost every where I go, I get phenomenal service. My motto is, "My goal is to be your favorite customer."

Personally I think it is a crappy job, I know I'd hate it, so I cannot see less than 10%.

BTW, I have never had good service and rarely good food in any restaurant attached to a hotel.

-AJ

Eamon Burke
12-18-2011, 11:08 PM
I don't tip shyte service. Sorry, but if you are a notice able pain in the arse, you get no money.

JohnnyChance
12-19-2011, 12:07 AM
Ehh, tip whatever you want. Most waitresses, especially if they are bad to begin with, will just assume you are being cheap if you tip less than 15-18%. I have never once heard one say "I only got 10%, I think I will have to be more attentive next time!". They don't take it as a notice that they did a poor job. The good ones who are having an off day will usually be very gracious and apologetic, trying to remedy every mistake and will know they messed up before the tip amount comes.

Even though I find most of them to be whiny, overpaid, lazy, ungrateful and greedy (the ones I know I mean, I usually can't tell this from being waited on by one, haha), I still usually tip 15-20% because the tips don't just go to them, they go to support staff and bartenders, etc.

Mike Davis
12-19-2011, 12:57 AM
I had horrible service at a reputable steak house. Having been in there a few times, i enjoyed some great food and drink, but one night it all went bad. I had a waitress bring me someone else's food...twice in a row. They weren't even busy. She brought me the wrong drink...And i ended up getting cold food. Then when she asked if everything was ok( in a very uninterested manner) i told her no. She got upset and brought the supervisor to talk to me. She told him i was being rude...He watched the whole thing...I was pretty jovial(libations) and he saw that. She got huffy and said "screw this" and went out for a smoke...I tipped her 2 cents...If i get good service i will tip well...If not, you get what i think your service was worth, usually not much at all.

tk59
12-19-2011, 01:08 AM
I'm generally an understanding, repeat customer and a generous tipper, esp. because I have little kids but I won't tip poor service and I take every opportunity to give feedback to the owner whether it's good or bad.

jm2hill
12-19-2011, 01:54 AM
I like good service and I get angry when I don't get it. I take it out on tips :). Never out on the server.

I start by knowing I'll give 15-20 percent (depending on party and bill size). Every time the server does something to annoy me I drop a percent. If it manages to hit 10 percent I give about 5.

I worked as a server during uni, and you work for the tips, the people you're serving owe you nothing. Maybe a cynical few, but hey, its mine :)

JBroida
12-19-2011, 02:08 AM
honestly, i have no solid system for it. Generally its about 20% +/- . If i had a great time, i may throw in a few bucks more. If the service sucked, i've been known to leave nothing. If i'm really pissed, i'll leave whatever pennies i have on hand just cause its a pain in the ass to deal with. When a restaurant comps me something, i tend to make up for it in the tip.

mateo
12-19-2011, 02:33 AM
20-25% for great service... which I've done exactly once since moving to Seattle (in four years of dining out). 15% for average, getting the job done (which means they are attentive and don't mess up). 10% for Ok service (this happens more than I'd like), gaffs here are things like: forgetting drinks/food, getting drink and proceeding to have us sit there for 35 minutes to order food, etc. 5% for very poor service (think the latter category, multiple times!). 0% for rude and something utterly absurd happens without apology or attempt to make amends.

I will say that Seattle has no waitressing wage. When I moved form NY waitressing wage was about $3.50 an hour, plus tips. Here, everyone earn $8.67 an hour -- with the chance for a bonus or not. If I tip in the 0-5% category I will always speak to a manager, as well as the 20-25% tip range, but for very different reasons.

memorael
12-19-2011, 02:50 AM
In my case it depends what I am doing there and how much service I need. For example at buffets, I will tip 15% usually thats what I leave. If it is a big party then its 18% or more. If I get really good service like, wow they were on top of it all I will leave a lot more depending on how happy I leave. If they piss me off, I will usually call the manager or whoever is in charge and unleash hell. I have always believed that there is no excuse for half assed jobs and I just don't tolerate that.

NO ChoP!
12-19-2011, 10:15 AM
I hate to be the barer of bad news, but these days 20% is average. EVERY server considers 15% as a poor tip. Remember, severs make 100% of the earnings through tipping. Their $2.33 hourly rate is quickly ate up in taxes, and they rarely receive a check of any real monetary value.

For bad service, I communicate the issues to the server, and tell them "I am tipping you 20%, It would have been higher without these issues".

For good service, I tip up to 25%; For outstanding service, I will tip 30% or more.....

NO ChoP!
12-19-2011, 10:21 AM
I also hate it when a restaurant thinks they are fixing a problem by "comping" part of your bill. This is shameful , and insinuates you are a cheapskate looking for a deal.

The proper response is to make NO excuse, apologize, and FIX the problem.

The free dessert doesn't make up for my chicken being burnt....

Rotary
12-19-2011, 10:22 AM
I'm not so quick to reduce my tip as I used to be, now that I have two daughters working as waitresses to make ends meet while trying to find jobs in their fields.

Some customers really are just cheap. One of my sisters-in-law and her spouse was a case in point. You know the type. They'd tell the server "one check," and then would calculate their share to the penny (leaving out shared appetizers and tax) and would throw cash on the table sufficient to leave the server a 5% tip. After a while it became separate checks always, though I'd leave extra for the server. Then there's the guy who thought he was a stud, and was badgering one of my daughters for her phone number after leaving her $3 on a $70 bill (she worked at one of those trendy places that was really popular with young people who wanted to hang out there but couldn't really afford to eat there). After putting up with him for a while she told him in front of the whole table that she only dates guys who have enough money to leave a tip.

I generally consider 20% the norm, and often will go higher for very good service. That being said, I'll drop to 15% for indifferent or mildly neglectful service, and won't hesitate to go lower on those rare instances where I've been made to feel a server was in effect flipping me the bird. Sometimes it's hard though to distinguish between the overworked, the clueless and the simply not very bright on one hand, and the server who's terrible service is willful.

shankster
12-19-2011, 10:32 AM
They get what they give....
0-10%=bad,surly, unapologetic service
20% +=great, attitude free service

echerub
12-19-2011, 11:14 AM
When I was younger, my mother worked as a waitress and the average tipping % servers in the USA get are a helluva lot higher than the average here north of the border. 10% is standard for good service, and 20% is practically unheard of unless someone's trying to show off or pick up the waitress.

I heard a lot of stories of cheapskate customers who give 0%-5% even though service was very attentive (and the restaurant claims back 3% from the servers regardless of the tip level).

I gotta say your servers have it better than in other places :)

Having parents who worked in service positions as a kid, I learned the importance of tipping for good service - but there's no way I'm giving even close to 10% for bad service.

jmforge
12-19-2011, 12:20 PM
Just tell them that you are German and you thought service was included in the price. :D

Kyle
12-19-2011, 12:34 PM
I tip 20-30% for great service. If service was bad I'll leave a 10% tip.

One time my friends and I went to our usual Sunday morning breakfast and bloody mary hangout, but we made the mistake of going on a Saturday night for dinner. Our usual waitress wasn't working that night and this new lady had a chip on her shoulder from the beginning. She tried to charge my friend when he ordered water (something we've never done, as it's just an old, quiet dive) and was generally very rude and inattentive to our needs. We overheard one of the bartenders telling her, "I don't know what you're talking about... these kids come here every week and are always very friendly and order a bunch of food and drinks and tip well." Most of us didn't tip, those that did just left pocket change on the table. She literally grabbed some of the coins off the table, ran out the door and threw them at us.

Despite all this, we went back the next morning for our usual Sunday morning bloody mary and our usual waitress brought us our first round on the house and in pint glasses (as opposed to the smaller glasses they usually use). She apologized profusely and had a lot of not-so-nice things to say about our waitress from the night before.

I always thought this was funny.

3189

In case you can't read it, the guy subtracted 10% from his bill and signed the ticket "Serivice Sucked." Of course, he was still charged the full amount, but without a tip.

99Limited
12-19-2011, 12:52 PM
When I get poor service, I call them on it. There are ways to tell your server that their service sucked without offending them. I understand people have bad days but that "bad day" attitude has to be shelved when the server is taking care of patrons. In the end though I generally tip 15% unless I great service. I figure that as the years go by, the amount on the check goes up so the amount represented by the 15% tip goes up.

Lucretia
12-19-2011, 01:02 PM
I will say that Seattle has no waitressing wage. When I moved form NY waitressing wage was about $3.50 an hour, plus tips. Here, everyone earn $8.67 an hour -- with the chance for a bonus or not.

Maybe that explains some of the service we've encountered. The restaurants in the Seattle area have some of the WORST service we've ever encountered--with a few notable exceptions. When we get good service we leave 20% or more. We leave 10-15% of the service is slack, but knowing that the waitstaff is making minimum wage might cause us to revise that downward a bit.

shankster
12-19-2011, 01:48 PM
"I understand people have bad days but that "bad day" attitude has to be shelved when the server is taking care of patrons"

+1

mano
12-19-2011, 02:46 PM
Generally speaking, people who have worked in restaurants tend to be better tippers and more understanding of service issues than the average person. I've worked both FOH and BOH and my wife managed and tended bar and if service sucks we'll ask, indirectly, if there's a problem. Well before 20% was the norm, we've left that amount, or more.

In about 35 years of leaving tips I can pretty much remember the few times I left no or a very low tip. The server was most always a medalist for the World D!ckhead Olympics. While dining we were cordial, because getting irritated during a meal gives me the heebie jeebies they might mess with my food.

Servers are at the mercy of the BOH, management and the customers. It's a tough gig selling food and serving it, unsure what your pay will be. SpikeC's situation probably warranted 10%.

jmforge
12-19-2011, 03:14 PM
The call that the "Pan Am' smile.
"I understand people have bad days but that "bad day" attitude has to be shelved when the server is taking care of patrons"

+1

SpikeC
12-19-2011, 04:43 PM
On the other end of the spectrum, once a week 2 of my sisters and a cousin of ours meet for shuffleboard at a local tavern, and the barmaid that is usually there drinks us our drinks when she sees us coming. She is attentive and sometimes fills in when we need a forth to play. I generally have a couple of PBRs and spend a total of 4 bucks, so the tip should be 80 cents, right? I generally leave 2 bucks, so that is 50%. How do you guys tip at a bar?

rahimlee54
12-19-2011, 06:41 PM
10-20% like everyone else. I am not afraid to leave 0 if the service is bad. The last poor service I left nothing at was the worst service I had in my life on a 30 dollar casual ticket for 2. Came twice and had to ask for everything, which I don't usually mind since I drink around 4 of the big cups of water at a meal, but this time was pretty horrible. Maybe I should start telling them why they aren't getting anything. I usually and pretty easy going and understanding, if the issue is poor communication with the kitchen or something that isn't a problem, lack of care is.

Lucretia
12-19-2011, 07:17 PM
What gives me heartburn is the way a tip affects waitstaff at either extreme of the scale. I've left a $5 tip on a $10 bill at a breakfast joint when a waiter busts a hump. But what do you do with so-so service on a $150 meal? Do they really deserve a $30 tip for less work than someone who really takes care of you at breakfast?

SpikeC
12-19-2011, 09:08 PM
This is why I have a problem with the server at the tavern that I frequent each week. She gives us great service, but the bill isn't much. The fact that she's a dog person doesn't make it any easier!

unkajonet
12-19-2011, 09:21 PM
For those places that a lot of money isn't spent, but the staff treats you like long lost family, I usually do something for them around the holidays: a nice bottle of booze, a gift card for someplace nice, or even a ridiculous tip ($20, maybe even $50) to show them I really appreciate the way they treat me & mine.

Pensacola Tiger
12-19-2011, 09:33 PM
This is why I have a problem with the server at the tavern that I frequent each week. She gives us great service, but the bill isn't much. The fact that she's a dog person doesn't make it any easier!

If I'm reading this correctly, you believe that you are limited to a particular percentage for a tip, like 20 or 25%?

My wife and I often split a meal when we aren't that hungry, so the bill is only around $20, but if the server is known to us and has provided great service, I have no problem with leaving a tip of $10.

Just my two cents.

SpikeC
12-19-2011, 09:58 PM
That is why I give a 50% tip at that place. Now I think that an Xmas tip is in order!

Pensacola Tiger
12-19-2011, 10:56 PM
That is why I give a 50% tip at that place. Now I think that an Xmas tip is in order!

Oh, absolutely!

apicius9
12-19-2011, 11:05 PM
My Dad has been known to generously round up a 66 Euro bill to 68 Euro. But that was in Germany where waiters get actually get paid and tips are generally much smaller than in the US. Whenever I have German visitors, it really hurts them to pay 20% in tips, just a different culture. Not that German waiters wouldn't be happy about tips also, I think it has become more common to tip higher in recent years. I usually tip somewhere between 15 and 25%, but I also occasionally tell waiters if I am not happy with something.

Stefan

NO ChoP!
12-19-2011, 11:15 PM
At a bar, when paying cash, a dollar a drink should be the norm. When leaving, another dollar (or two) can be left for good service. So, four beers = $5.

Pabloz
12-19-2011, 11:43 PM
One job I always wanted to do to was and never got to was wait tables....I just LOVE to serve people. At dinnere parties I'm the one that always walks around removing emply plates and dumping the trash...I JUST CAN"T HELP IT!!!! So with that I have great respect for wait staff. My daughter was also wait staff for some of the more up scale places and whenever we would go to one of them when she was on we would of course do 50%+ which she always very graciously shared.....but then when she was at the table with us, whoever served us would get 30%+. We got to be known as THE OTs...OBSCENE TIPPERS (no not OLD TIMERS). We used to have this one little hole in the wall Japanese place we would go to just for the garlic chicken wings and beer....unbelievable garlic wings. Our waitress there was so GOOD that she would see us drive up and have our table preped w/ our favorite drinks etc. ready to go. Wings were always "on the way" and then we would get something off the menu...this girl would get 30-35%++++mad cash.

Honestly, I cannot ever remember getting poor to bad service.

OH wait..I do remember one...the valet lost our car at aan art show opening and we had to wait almost 30 mins. to leave. Took back my $10.

SpikeC
12-19-2011, 11:47 PM
I put the question to my shuffleboard team, and we are going to give our barmaid a Xmas bonus.

Delbert Ealy
12-20-2011, 12:28 AM
I don't go out a lot and most of my eating out is done when I am attending shows, and I usually eat at places where I can get a meal for $10 or less. I don't drink unless my hotel is within walking distance. I used to get half a dozen $2 bills before going to a show to leave them as tips. I worked in fast food for 14 years and I know things are not the same, but I do know what it is like to be treated like **** by your customers. If there are issues with the food I don't take it out on the wait staff, but if the service is poor then it affects the tip. I usually leave 20%, but I have left a quarter a few times when I am ignored, especially if the place is less than busy. My needs are usually modest, a single warm-up on the coffee and making sure I get the right food. I have noticed lately that there is almost always more food on the plate than I can eat, so I never order dessert of any kind. In fact at some places i just order a side dish, because its more than enough for me by itself.
Over the past 20 years I would say I have left the quarter maybe 3 times.
I think it is part of the job to be curteous at the minimum, and friendly at best, if they can't handle the first then maybe they should be doing something else.
Del

half_hack
12-21-2011, 09:42 PM
i usually tip 15-20% for restaurant meals. I've heard that Canadians are poor tippers compared to americans. Judging from this thread, that might be true. If I had really bad service, I have in the past tipped 10% when I *really wanted* to tip 5% (hey, they have to tip out the kitchen...). Long string of dating servers (and eventually marrying one) has changed my tipping habits.

Having also been 'in the industry' for a little while myself, the tipping sometimes got out of hand. I'd be fed a lot of free drinks, so when a buddy would actually let me pay for something, I'd end up tipping 2-500%, just to make up for all the comp'd stuff. Ditto for friends and family discounts and the like - tip generously on what the bill would have been without the discount is the usual route.

What really drives me crazy though, is that everyone seems to want a tip these days. I buy a donut and a coffee and there's an option to tip. Screw that, I'm not tipping for counter service or if you made me my shawarma to go. forget it - where's the service in that? I'm always wondering whether I need to tip when I pick up a takeout pizza also...

echerub
12-21-2011, 09:52 PM
Well, the expectation over here (Ontario) is 10% standard. 15% for good service.

Tipping delivery guys is something I always do. My dad used to run deliveries. Taught quite a few friends in highschool about the need to tip these guys.

No idea where the tipping for counter service thing started. Maybe it started with the "got a penny, leave a penny; need a penny, take a penny" bins.