Tag Archives: tipping

What’s The Right Amount To Tip When You Get Takeout At A Sit Down Restaurant?

I’m always confounded at what I should leave for the person that takes my order when I place it over the phone at a sit down dinner place.

It’s not like they are waiting on you and serving you drinks.  they’re basically taking the order over the phone, bagging it up from the kitchen and giving you change.

You gotta leave something, right? But not 20%, right?  It’s always awkward. 

How do you handle it?

Follow Up- A Note To Restaurant Owners

Following up on my thoughts about service at restaurants and bars for the owners and managers and servers and bartenders-

The point I was trying to make in yesterday’s tirade about the lousy attitude at that particular restaurant was that it behooves everyone to do with that establishment to engage your patrons.

I completely understand if the place is mobbed and your staff is doing everything in their power to get people their food or drink that they shouldn’t be expected to have a full on conversation with every customers.  I get it believe me.  If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time at all you know how often I eat out and like to sing the praises of the awesome restaurants we have here locally.  But even if you’re mobbed you should still be able to afford a smile or gesture of acknowledgment.

There are coffee shops like George’s, Sugar Mag’s and Fort Square Cafe that even when they are full on balls to the walls (I use these places as examples because they are usually very busy and for good reason) the owners and/or servers find ways to engage their customers.  It’s an art form.   There are plenty of lunch and dinner joints that perform the customer service thing equally as well.

The thing is that while I know that there are some patrons that no matter how good the service you provide they will break out their calculator and leave exactly 15-20% of their bill regardless of how well they were served or treated.  However I know there are enough people like myself that if you go just a little out of your way to make me feel welcome that tip on a $10 breakfast can easily go to $3 from $2 or in large parties out for dinner when we are all throwing money in toss in an extra $5 or more because they had a great time because they were made to feel special by their server.  Now $3 instead of $2 is 50% more and at the end of the day if you are working for tips and then at the end of the year you add all that up you just gave yourself a huge raise.

That’s all from the server or bartender’s perspective, what about the owners of these restaurants?

If you think I’ll be going back to that restaurant/bar from the other night any time soon you’re crazy.  There truly are way too many great restaurants/bars in Gloucester where the people welcome you even if they don’t know you and at the very least offer a smile when you belly up.  If you’re not insanely busy and can’t offer up a smile you’ve lost me forever, multiply that times every other person like me.

I think it would benefit you as a restaurant/bar owner to go to one of these places and observe how the servers and bartenders interact with their customers- The Farm Bar and Grill, Duckworth’s, Passports, Topside Grille, Lat 43, Ithaki, Stones Pub, Mamie’s Kitchen.  Please don’t take offense if your restaurant isn’t listed here,  there are way more very worthy local restaurant candidates but for the sake of space I’ll just highlight a few of the standouts.

Check them out and then check out how your staff interacts with their customers.  Are your servers doing anything other than the bare minimum to take an order and bring people their food/drink?  Because in as competitive a restaurant scene as we have here in Gloucester if your staff isn’t good enough to offer up a smile then you are losing your share of customers to the places that are.

Look, I get that not everyone, everywhere can be “ON” all the time, but when I’ve been to the same place a couple of times in a row and get the same “I could care less if you’re here or not” attitude, let me tell you, I’m gonna opt out in favor of someplace that wants to take my money.

We Won’t Be Back

The title of this post may as well be “How Joey and Jill got screwed at dinner.”

The Mrs and I went out for date night and had dinner at a chi chi restaurant in Hamilton before going to our first parent-teacher night.

So this place has been hit or miss in the past.  Some times I’ve had fantastic meals here and some times I’ve sat at the bar and wondered how the hell they could hire such an incompetent bartender at such a fancy joint.

Well this particular night there were no seats at the bar so we got a table just off of the bar and in sight of the the TVs.  It’s kind of our thing.  We like to be somewhat social when we go out for dinner.

Anyway our server was like a character right out of a Seinfeld episode.  I’m not saying she was coked out but she was basically in your face and way over the top high energy.  Remember that character from Seinfeld, the close talker?

Well they changed the menu and our favorite salad (the one that made the place worth going to) was no longer listed.  Okay, fine.  It took forever to find something else but we managed to pick out some things that sounded interesting.

Here’s where we messed up and got royally bent over.

The Mrs asks the crazy server for a glass of the “house red”.  Well there apparently is no “house red”.  So she asks the waitress for something fruity and not too heavy.   The server says fine and brings back a glass of red that was very enjoyable.

Skip over the blah meal to the check.  We get the check and the wine that the server brought over was $13 a glass.  I glanced at the menu and it was the most expensive wine by the glass that they have on the menu.  $13 dollars a glass when there were plenty of reds for $6-8 a glass is just plain ridiculous especially when the person ordering the wine is asking for a “house red”!!!!!! By the way, $13 was the most expensive glass of wine that they served by the glass.

When you ask for the house wine you imply that you’re not looking to spend as much for the wine that you are for your entree.

I completely messed up.  I tipped as I normally do, the standard 20%.

Seeing as I never plan on returning to this place again, I should have let the server know that she wouldn’t be getting the tip she should be getting and that the reason for that is because I feel like she took advantage of us.    I should have taken the $13 off of the tip and told her next time maybe she’ll think twice before pouring a $13 glass of wine for someone who asks for the house wine.

Understand I’m not cheap, I just don’t like feeling like I was taken advantage of.