Tipping at a bar

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Tipping at a bar

Postby makena » Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:11 am

ok...
I have to rant a bit..
Last night a buddy and I went to a bar called Drunky Two Shoe's in White Center, a neighborhood south of Seattle.
I said I'll get the tab and my buddy said he will get the tip. The bill was $44.00 and my buddy decided to leave $10. That is a hair under a 23% tip... which I thought the bar tender didn't earn but doesn't matter as he left the tip.

I didn't say anything to my buddy about the high tip and signed my tab (paid with a card). While I was putting my card away the $10 tip fell out and slid under a menu on the bar which both my buddy and I did not see. When the bartender came to grab my signed receipt, she said to me that the tip was not included in the tab, gave me back the receipt, looked right at me and said that I need to leave a tip. Her tone was a bit odd... a bit desperate and rude all wrapped into one. My buddy was talking with another patron and was unaware of what was going on. I was taken back and shocked a bit and began to look around for the tip he left. As I was doing so, I became angry as "tipping" is not mandatory. What I wanted to say to the bartender was, " F#@k you, I don't have to leave a tip". I obviously didn't as my buddy and I were having a good time and I didn't want to be the A hole. I don't like the idea of "enabling" or even "subsidizing" bad crappy service without consequences. I'm against it entirely. So, when this bartender confronted me, I almost lost it. I found the $10 and put it on the receipt, got up and walked outside to cool off and wait for my buddy.

I used to work in restaurants when I was putting myself through school and I relied on tips, so I understand where the bartender was coming from. However, when a patron did not leave a good tip or no tip at all, I would never even consider getting in a customers face about it.

There is a culture in Seattle that is brewing where restaurants are implementing a mandatory gratuity. Here is another example.. the other day my Dad came into town and I took him to a restaurant called Derby. Their website says this about their theme:

Derby is located inside The Shop—a state of the art facility for car and motorcycle enthusiasts to indulge all aspects of their passion. Classic comfort foods (BLT, Cobb Salad, Derby Burger) will be served alongside local seafood dishes (oysters, crudos) and a handful of entrees (pastas, fried chicken, steak). Wines are predominantly sourced from the Northwest and the bar leans toward bourbon and scotch.

I took my Dad there as he like old cars and whiskey... and they have some good ones on display. After walking around their show room, we were seated next to a window with a view inside the shop. My Dad quickly ordered an Irish coffee and I waited a bit to glance over the menu. I then noticed a baseball card size notification laying on our table stating that all purchases with be subjected to a 20% service fee. I showed it to my Dad and we both quickly got annoyed. My Dad questioned the waitress about it and she replied by saying that the "mandatory tip" will be distributed to all of the staff regardless if service is good. After she left, both my Dad and I stewed on the issue and we decided to get our check and leave. The coffee was listed as $9 on the menu (pricey), + 20% + plus tax leaving the bill to be $11.89. I paid for it, got up and left but my Dad decided to let everyone know who was working there that this is BS.. I figure he has earned the right to complain as he is 84 years old and has put up with a lot of crap in his time.

Regardless, I'm done with mandatory tipping and the culture that supports it. I will no longer patronize establishments that enables crap serviced without consequences.

What do you think?

Mak
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Re: Tipping at a bar

Postby Largent80 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:30 am

A tip is NOT required at any establishment unless the establishment says it will be included in with the bill. It is up to the patron. I get that servers are paid low and rely on tips for income, but when that person told you that, they were so far out of line it isn't funny. Go to YELP and let everyone know about this and that place will change in a hurry. White Center????....Dude that place has been a dive town for ages and I don't even live in W Seattle anymore.

Go to SE Asia where tips are non exhistant.
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Re: Tipping at a bar

Postby burrrton » Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:12 am

Life's too short to spend that much effort on something as trivial as tipping.

Tip what you think is appropriate, and if the tip is mandatory, quit going there if that forces the price to exceed the perceived value.

Bing bang boom done, and you can move on to worrying about things that matter. :)
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Re: Tipping at a bar

Postby kalibane » Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:41 am

The bartender in your first anecdote was completely out of line. A tip is not technically mandatory. I get them being annoyed that a tip wasn't left but they know the industry they are in. Not everyone is a generous tipper. And for all they knew you were from Europe where tipping is not done and is in some places considered rude.

I have no problem though with restaurants adding a 20% service charge for the tip. People in the service industry do not make a living wage without tips. Restaurants pay them below minimum wage and justify it because of the tips they receive. This restaurant is insuring that their staff is being compensated. Maybe it's not the most elegant solution but I get why they'd do it.

You could for instance just decide to pay your staff a living wage and jack up the prices on all menu items by 20% to cover the cost. The problem with that is if someone is choosing between your restaurant and a competitor, when they look at the menus and see they a dish at your restaurant costs $24.00 vs. $20.00 at the other place, where do you think they'll go? They may even spend more at the other place by tipping more than 20% but psychologically a lot of people would still go to your competitor.

Ultimately I'd like to see restaurants go the way of Europe where tipping is simply not a thing (or is just the loose change leftover). But it would take a universal philosophical shift in the Restaurant industry so good luck with that.
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Re: Tipping at a bar

Postby Largent80 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:18 pm

Tipping is ridiculous considering the outrageous prices these places charge for simple things like burgers or beer.
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Re: Tipping at a bar

Postby Aseahawkfan » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:58 pm

I worked in that industry. The majority of their wage is tips. Tip according to the service level, but don't be a dick over small stuff the wait staff can't always control. Sometimes they're overworked due to staff shortages and high traffic. Food work is a tough business.
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Re: Tipping at a bar

Postby yoder » Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:43 pm

Tarantino summed it up quite well, a clip is worth 1,000 words.

NSFW if you recall.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-qV9wVGb38

I will say that restaurants are getting hit hard with the minimum wage increases and barely turning a profit. Tom Douglas has an entire rant on it and has turned to cook books to generate income. He was also one of the first to adopt the no tip, yet 20% service charge model.

I think your point Mak, was the attitude of your server. Not cool. Maybe it has to do with the new millennial mindset? Perhaps the new culture of Seattle, which has changed dramatically in a very short period of time. The city is not the same, it's has become rich, arrogant and too big for its britches. That's why I chose to leave my home town, it didn't feel like it was mine anymore. Sure cities change, grow, adopt, etc. But the pace is something that humanity has never seen, probably surpassing SF and Portland.

Anyway, I miss the old town...Seattle in the late 70's/early 80's. It was a good place to grow up.

Finally, and for some comedic relief, here's Mak at the bar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svWjtDhGQFg

P.S. @Largent80 - You should see White Center now.
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Re: Tipping at a bar

Postby Largent80 » Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:12 pm

What's White Center look like now?

I used to go there to the Asian market to get supplies for cooking (I'm a Thai food chef).

Also there used to be a really good teriyaki place across from the Albertsons. Other than that, that place was somewhere to avoid.

I moved away in early 2008.
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Re: Tipping at a bar

Postby yoder » Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:58 am

It's becoming quite gentrified, lots of young couples moving in, tech folks, new restaurants, breweries, etc. I lived there in the late 90's for a bit, got robbed in the Alberson's parking lot my first day there, in the AFTERNOON!

It still has some grit left to it, but it's changing quite rapidly.
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Re: Tipping at a bar

Postby RiverDog » Tue Sep 12, 2017 5:20 am

If you don't like a bar or restaurant adding a gratuity, tell them to take it off your bill, that you refuse to sign for it unless they bill you only for legitimate charges. I've made such requests and they've always taken it off, then I'll leave whatever tip I think it's worth. I'm not a cheapskate and I always leave a tip no matter what level of service I get, but I don't like the policy of adding in tips. It's like requiring that you say "thank you" before you leave. Fortunately, most places I've gone do not have that policy. IMO it's illegal pricing, as it's usually not mentioned on their reader boards at the entrance to the establishment or in any advertisements.

The other thing you can do is go into Trip Advisor or Yelp and post a comment, which is what I would have done had I experienced what Mak did. I had a friend that did that with a hotel stay and the manager read the comment, called him and offered him a free night if he'd post a follow up comment. It's a competitive business and they pride themselves on customer satisfaction.

To Kal's point about adding into their prices the 20% vs. calling it a gratuity, the establishment can estimate how much in tips are being left by their customers then adjust their wages/prices accordingly if they determine that their employees are underpaid vs. the rest of the industry. Most customers tip without being asked to do so. That would be a lot better than simply adding 20% to every customer's bill and the price/wage adjustment would more than likely be a nominal amount and customers wouldn't notice it as much. Monitoring tips provides good feedback to the employer on which they can gauge customer satisfaction and look for areas in which they can improve.
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Re: Tipping at a bar

Postby Hawktawk » Tue Sep 12, 2017 5:54 am

Im a GC superintendent at a club with a full service very nice bar and restaurant. I make OK money, underpaid by industry standards but decent.

But I learned that the ASSISTANT manager in the club who works the floor makes almost TWICE my wage when adding in tips although the restaurant is basically a ball and chain on the entire club as it almost never shows any profit.
Don't cry any tears for food servers. Im sure it isn't nearly the same in a dive but like anything else the better you are the better place you will be employed by.

I usually tip 15% or so although I recently tipped 25% for perhaps the best service I ever received. And almost as important as the tip IMO was complimenting this lady and saying she was excellent and one of the best wait staff I ever met.
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Re: Tipping at a bar

Postby RiverDog » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:01 am

Hawktawk wrote:Im a GC superintendent at a club with a full service very nice bar and restaurant. I make OK money, underpaid by industry standards but decent.

But I learned that the ASSISTANT manager in the club who works the floor makes almost TWICE my wage when adding in tips although the restaurant is basically a ball and chain on the entire club as it almost never shows any profit.
Don't cry any tears for food servers. Im sure it isn't nearly the same in a dive but like anything else the better you are the better place you will be employed by.

I usually tip 15% or so although I recently tipped 25% for perhaps the best service I ever received. And almost as important as the tip IMO was complimenting this lady and saying she was excellent and one of the best wait staff I ever met.


Yea, that's the real hidden travesty, the mid level managers that are on a salary. I once had a friend that worked as a store manager for a fast food restaurant that figured he was making about a buck an hour over minimum wage. He was putting in 12-14 hours a day, 6-7 days a week, no overtime pay, and still on call anytime he wasn't at the store.
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Re: Tipping at a bar

Postby rocket » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:39 pm

I rarely drink at bars so much that tipping is a problem... but when I feel drunk I hold on to things to stabilize me, so that helps.
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