I would build the 20% service fee into the prices.
Tipping should be based on performance, right? Turns out, it’s not. My experience shows tipping is based on everything BUT performance, and judging by the articles I’ve read, my assumption remains correct.
A couple things that influence tips:
- Boobs. Male customers tip better if being served by young, blonde, busty servers. Female customers tip their male servers better.
- Age. Young adults and teenagers tip better than mid-age customers.
- Table size. The larger the table, the less tips (per person) the server gets.
- POC and tourists. POC customers and tourists tend to tip less. POC customers and old ladies with strong Italian accent also tend to give me more attitude if we’re busy and I have to seat them at a noisier table, or when they don’t get a booth. From an experience I know how it feels to be a tourist, so I expect tourists to get upset. You can’t speak the language properly, can’t understand tonality and body language. Being in a foreign country is always stressful, so I know they’ll take it out on me. It’s fine. Regarding to POC, my theory is that POC have been kicked in the face by other people, other restaurants, other servers so many times, they expect the same to happen everywhere. Say what you want to say, this is still a very racist society. If I were as oppressed and mistreated as they are, I would be grumpy, too. Therefore POC get a pass in my book, even if I get criticized and yelled at by them on a highly frequent basis. (The winners of the yelling-contest are white mid-age, mid-upper class men, however.)
Edit: As I said, we live in a racist society, so I’m walking on eggshells here. I understand this comment might come out very racist, despite all my intentions. Please note the fact that I also point out sexism, and the greediness of older generations in this same article. I’m picking on bad tippers, not POC.)
- Performance. This seems to be a binary parameter in oppose to a continuous array. Meaning, if the server tipped well, she gets tips. If the server’s performance wasn’t satisfactory, she gets no tips. Even a small inconvenience in the serving experience results in huge drops in tips.
- Awkwardness. My manager told me he gets $10-$15 on any average night when he sits at the door. (which then he gives to the kitchen, or buys a round for the servers at the end of the shift.) I was shocked, because I host on two of the busiest nights, and I’m happy if I get $15 out of tips IN TOTAL. He said, “you have to make them feel awkward. Be super nice, lean in, hold onto that credit card slip for just a second longer.” So I did, I made them feel awkward, and I doubled my tips. It’s guilt money – it’s not for my performance, but to make the customer feel less guilty in his/her own head. *mind blown*
Now a word on math, since we’re on my blog. At the restaurant where I work, an average person will drop around $30 on a meal. If Average Person wants to tip 15%, the total check ends up being $34.5. If Average Person wants to tip 20%, the check ends up being $36. See that right there?! It’s a matter of $1.5!
For Average Person the difference would be $1.5, which is loose change, pocket money. (Especially if Average Person already decided to go out and have dinner for $30.) For the server, that small sum of $1.5 adds up over one night.
Tips are part of a server’s/busser’s/bartender’s salary, and you shouldn’t have the power to adjust that salary unfairly. You, who come in once a month for 60 minutes, get drunk, make inappropriate comments, yell at the staff, complain about the prices: you shouldn’t be allowed to determine anyone’s salary.
I hope I’ll get to own a restaurant once, and in large, red letters write it on the cover of our menu:
“20% gratuity is built into our prices. If you think you’ve received excellent service today, please tell our staff. We’re always happy to hear your feedback. We, however, don’t require you to pay our staff’s salary – we already took care of that.”
Conclusion: When you tip, you think you consider performance, and performance only. NOT TRUE. Be a good person, and shell out that 20%.