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View Full Version : Dont leave a large enough tip? You'll be arrested.



WVRed
09-13-2004, 12:15 PM
LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. - Humberto A. Taveras put his money where his mouth is and ended up arrested, accused of leaving an inadequate tip at a restaurant.



Taveras, 41, faces a misdemeanor charge of theft of services after he and his fellow diners argued with Soprano's Italian and American Grill managers over the legality of requiring an 18 percent tip for large parties.


"They chased us down like a bunch of criminals," Taveras said. "It killed our weekend."


Taveras and eight others had pizza at the restaurant in this resort village Sunday night. He said they weren't completely satisfied with the food and left a tip of under 10 percent. Taveras said they also were not told of a mandatory 18 percent gratuity for parties of six or more and did not see notice of it on their menus.


Restaurant owner Joe Soprano said all the menus have the notice, and the waitress informed the group. He said he did not choose to pursue charges because of the money, but because Taveras' group was obnoxious.


"It's unfortunate it has come to this, but this guy was rude and abrasive. They practically threw food at us," Soprano said.


Taveras plans to fight the charge. The arrest raises the issue of whether the gratuities that restaurants automatically tack on for serving large groups are legally enforceable debts.

REDREAD
09-13-2004, 12:26 PM
He said he did not choose to pursue charges because of the money, but because Taveras' group was obnoxious.


Another reason not to annoy resturant workers :MandJ:

KronoRed
09-13-2004, 01:16 PM
:MandJ: :MandJ:

Johnny Footstool
09-13-2004, 01:32 PM
Taveras has some guts (but no brains) to mess with anyone named "Soprano."

GAC
09-14-2004, 07:26 AM
When we were first married, my wife was a waitress for several years. Seeing her come home every night so tired and worn out showed me just how hard waitresses work. Back then, she made $2.01/hr, and depended on tips to supplement her income.

My wife was an excellent waitress and hard worker. And because of that, she made good money from tips.

To this day, whenever we eat out, she makes sure that we leave a god tip (15%).

BUT...if the waiter/waitress gives really poor service, she is not afraid to let them know she was displeased with that service by leaving them a bad tip.

And if the customer was obnoxious, as a waitress, she wasn't afraid to let them know it either.

TeamCasey
09-14-2004, 07:38 AM
I tip, so don't misunderstand what I'm about to say.

I think it's wrong that waiters/waitresses get less than minimum wage. It shouldn't be up to patrons to pay their salary. Restaurant owners really have it made. I've never really had bad service, but I certainly wouldn't feel obligated to tip in that instance.

Red Thunder
09-14-2004, 09:23 AM
I tip, so don't misunderstand what I'm about to say.

I think it's wrong that waiters/waitresses get less than minimum wage. It shouldn't be up to patrons to pay their salary. Restaurant owners really have it made. I've never really had bad service, but I certainly wouldn't feel obligated to tip in that instance.

Just out of curiosity (and to make sure that I don't act like a fool during my next visit to the US) ....

How much money (%) is appropriate to give if the meal / service was fine?

Do you also give a tip in locations like Pizza Hut? (This is not common in Germany)

In case that you pay with a credit card, do you leave the tip as cash for the waiter/waitress?

KronoRed
09-14-2004, 09:25 AM
I always leave a tip, most of these servers are getting 2.15 an hour or less.

I usually go with 15% of the bill

Unassisted
09-14-2004, 09:45 AM
Just out of curiosity (and to make sure that I don't act like a fool during my next visit to the US) ....

How much money (%) is appropriate to give if the meal / service was fine?

Do you also give a tip in locations like Pizza Hut? (This is not common in Germany)

In case that you pay with a credit card, do you leave the tip as cash for the waiter/waitress?http://www.tipping.org has exhaustive(!) info on this topic.

15% is a minimum restaurant tip for good service. 20% or more if the service was excellent.

Anywhere there's a restaurant with waitstaff, it is customary to tip them here... including Pizza Hut. Those people make that $2.01 wage, so they need it.

I use my credit card anywhere I can. (Frequent Flier miles!) In my experience, 99% of restaurants here have a line on the receipt below the total where you can write in a tip and re-total the bill. Occasionally, I encounter receipts with tip and total on the receipt at restaurants where there is counter service. (Order at the counter, bring food to the table yourself.) I rarely tip at such places, unless there is a tip jar on the counter.

RedFanAlways1966
09-14-2004, 09:50 AM
This story sounds like a Seinfeld final episode.

I am usually very generous with tips. However, if a server is non-friendly and acts like my party is a pain... then I'll give them what they deserve. All I ask is for is friendliness and an explanation if there is a holdup of some sort. And try to make yourself available if I need you (do not hide in the kitchen for 20 minute stretches). I'll leave 25% if I feel the server did their job. Just do your job and I am more than happy to give. Their job includes being available and being friendly in my opinion.

And no matter how bad service and/or food is, there is never a reason to be rude and abrasive. Two wrongs do not make a right.

TeamCasey
09-14-2004, 10:01 AM
But, don't you guys think servers should get more that $2.15 an hour?

Roy Tucker
09-14-2004, 10:03 AM
I usually try to leave the tip as cash. If it's on the credit card, the wait staff has to declare it as income. Cash they can just pocket (they are supposed to declare it as income but there is no paper trail).

I wish I didn't have to tip since the waitress bears the brunt of a ill-run restaurant. If they don't have enough wait staff and service is slow/non-existent, the kitchen is slow, they haven't been trained sufficiently, tables don't get bussed, etc., I have 3 choices: 1.) go find the manager and be their QA testers and tell them what is wrong with their store (which is a large pain in the neck since I'm there to get a meal, not help them debug their store), 2.) leave a lousy tip, 3.) leave a decent tip since the waitress was trying hard, she was just in a bad situation. Unless the waitress has been a total witch, I usually chicken out and do #3 unless I'm in a mood to deal with it all.

And a trend I've seen in restaurants is that they will charge premium prices but not give premium service. If I pay $20-30 for an entree (and do that for a family of 5), I damn well better get equivalent service.

If I get 30 seconds of a rushed waitress who takes our order without any interaction, someone else brings our order (who doesn't know who gets what and I have to direct traffic), I have to flag someone down to get a second drink, and then they brightly bring my triple digit bill, I get a little steamed. If they charge big bucks, they better provide big buck service.

Red Thunder
09-14-2004, 10:05 AM
Thanks for the info, Unassisted

I just listed Pizza Hut as an example as it is sometimes the case here, that you order your meal by one waiter, another one brings it to you and after you finished again someone else is presenting you with the bill. It sounds odd, but at two places I went to this was the case.

In contrast to the US, waitresses and waiters in Germany have a regular income which is way above ~ $ 2.00. So as the people who served you don't neccesarily rely on the tip, the extra you give mostly depends on how comfortable the place/ service actually was. I think we have in general not such a service-friendly attitude comparable to Americans. "Service-desert Germany" is unfortunately not an uncommon term over here.

Since we gave up the "German Mark" and got the "Euro" as currency, prices in several restaurants have gone considerable up. 1 Euro is about worth as much as 2 German Marks were .... and there are still a lot of restaurants where you have the impression, that they (nearly) kept their prices the same and just changed the currency on the price list. So a lot of people are more aware when & how much they are going to tip.

Chip R
09-14-2004, 10:20 AM
That's a good question, TC. I guess I don't know enough about the restaurant biz to make a decision on whether waitresses and waiters deserve more than $2 an hour. If they made minimum wage and tips would that put restaurants out of business since they would automatically be giving their wait staff about a $4 and hour raise? I don't know if these restaurants make out like bandits though since they seem to pop up and close down quite frequently.

When I dine out I always start with a benchmark of 15%. If the waiter/waitress provides the minimum service, they get 15% regardless. But I adjust up or down depending on the service. If the food takes too long to get there even after we've made it clear we've been there for a while, the tip goes down. Same thing if we don't have a waiter/waitress come over and ask for our order within a reasonable time after we've been seated. If I need a refill for my drink and I don't get it fairly soon, I knock a percent or two off. I don't usually penalize for bad foof since I really have never been in a situation where there has been bad food and I can't fault the waiter/waitress for that. I won't penalize for a wrong order cause that's something that can be easily fixed. OTOH, if the experience was pleasant, the food was good, the wait staff was prompt and nice, I will up it a few percentage points but I won't go past 20%.

Johnny Footstool
09-14-2004, 10:31 AM
I usually try to leave the tip as cash. If it's on the credit card, the wait staff has to declare it as income. Cash they can just pocket (they are supposed to declare it as income but there is no paper trail).

I do the same thing when I have enough cash on hand.

GAC
09-14-2004, 10:43 AM
But, don't you guys think servers should get more that $2.15 an hour?

This may have changed since my wife was a waitress, but if a restaurant is not part of a chain business (such as a privately owned restaurant), and where tips comprise a part of that person's salary, they are not under the minimum wage law/guidelines.

Plus, at tax time, they have to claim a certain percentage level of their tips as income. Not sure anymore what that level is though. But if you figure in tip income, most are making above minumum wage.

KronoRed
09-14-2004, 10:55 AM
But, don't you guys think servers should get more that $2.15 an hour?

Yes they should, I have a friend who does payroll who told me about the system in place, it really reeks if you ask me..but she did tell me that if the server fails to get about a certain amount of tips that they restaurant will pay them enough to get them up to a minimum wage scale

Chip R
09-14-2004, 11:01 AM
Thanks for the info, Unassisted

I just listed Pizza Hut as an example as it is sometimes the case here, that you order your meal by one waiter, another one brings it to you and after you finished again someone else is presenting you with the bill. It sounds odd, but at two places I went to this was the case.
That's not odd at all, Red Thunder. I've been to many restaurants where you have your order taken by one person and another person serves you the meal. I always wondered who gets the tip in that situation. Usually the person you order from is the one who presents the bill though.

Unassisted
09-14-2004, 11:08 AM
As a public service to my fellow posters, here are a couple of excerpts from the official Department of Labor factsheet on restaurant wages:

http://www.dol.gov/esa/regs/compliance/whd/whdfs2.htm

Tips may be considered as part of wages, but the employer must pay not less than $2.13 an hour in direct wages and make sure that the amount of tips received is enough to meet the remainder of the minimum wage.

Tips: Tipped employees are those who customarily and regularly receive more than $30 a month in tips. Employees must be informed in advance if the employer elects to use the tip credit, the amount of tip credit to be claimed, and the employer must be able to show that employees receive at least the applicable minimum wage when wages and tips are combined. Also, employees must retain all of their tips, except in the case of valid tip pool arrangements.

TeamCasey
09-14-2004, 11:08 AM
But if you figure in tip income, most are making above minumum wage.

That's really my point. Servers should not have to rely on tips to earn a fair wage. A tip to me is a bonus for a job well done. It's an acknowledgement, a gift even. A fair wage should be the responsibility of the owner, not the patrons.

I want to tip for good service, but I don't want to feel I NEED to tip because the server isn't get paid what they should be. I just don't like the system.

I don't think it would put the owner out of business. There are plenty of successful stores, small businesses and even counter service restaurants where tipping isn't a norm.

Unassisted
09-14-2004, 11:17 AM
I want to tip for good service, but I don't want to feel I NEED to tip because the server isn't get paid what they should be. I just don't like the system.But the system must be working, because restaurants are able to find people willing to work as waitstaff. Sometimes holding the job for many years!

http://www.thedesertsun.com/news/stories2004/national/20040905022703.shtml

New Yorker Bill DeLong, 84, was fired three years ago from his longtime job as a waiter at a Shea Stadium restaurant, but he continues to seek out charitable volunteer assignments and still works as a waiter occasionally at special events.

Redsland
09-14-2004, 11:32 AM
That's really my point. Servers should not have to rely on tips to earn a fair wage. A tip to me is a bonus for a job well done. It's an acknowledgement, a gift even. A fair wage should be the responsibility of the owner, not the patrons.
Waiting tables is a well-known way to make easy money. Well, not "easy," but cash daily, and lots of it.

There is no shortage of people who choose to work for tips. They must be happy with the system.

Doubling or tripling the single largest expense of business owners who already typically have only single-digit profit margins would wipe out scores of businesses and put untold numbers of people out of work.

If the importance of tipping is diminished, where is the incentive for the better servers to go to the better restaurants, since their wages would remain flat? Where is the incentive for any server to provide good service without knowing that a tip is on the line?

What do we do about cab drivers, who also live on tips? Or sky caps? Or bartenders? Or (gulp) strippers?

In some ways our system of tipping certain workers and not others seems a bit random. But that's the system, and plenty of people are happy to tip and others to work for tips. That's good enough for me.

REDREAD
09-14-2004, 11:39 AM
Plus, at tax time, they have to claim a certain percentage level of their tips as income. Not sure anymore what that level is though. But if you figure in tip income, most are making above minumum wage.

I was a waiter for awhile. At least in the state I worked in, they were supposed to look at your total receipts and then if you declared an amount of tips that was too low, they'd "assess" you more tips. For example, if you served $200 worth of food and only declared $2 in tips, they might assess you with $16 (I think 8% was the minimum threshhold they assumed, but I'm not positive).

So if you got stiffed on a big ticket, not only were out the income, but you had to pay taxes on the "phantom tip".

And yes, on slow nights, you'd definitely make less than minimum wage. And this was back when minimum wage was less than $4/hour.
The nights when you made good money were generally the nights when other waiters didn't show up, and since the staff was short handed, you had way more tables than you should. (And thus service suffered).
But these people definitely aren't getting rich, that's for sure. So be generous.

Also, some resturants are on a "Team" system where all the tips get pooled and divided among the staff. That's why you might have a different person refill you drinks, bring your food, and take your order. It's actually a good idea, as it builds teamwork among the staff, as opposed to people only worrying about their own tables (and not refilling the ice bins, etc). So don't assume that the waiter took your order and disappeared in the breakroom for 30 minutes and thus doesn't deserve a tip

GAC
09-14-2004, 11:42 AM
That's really my point. Servers should not have to rely on tips to earn a fair wage. A tip to me is a bonus for a job well done. It's an acknowledgement, a gift even. A fair wage should be the responsibility of the owner, not the patrons.

I want to tip for good service, but I don't want to feel I NEED to tip because the server isn't get paid what they should be. I just don't like the system.

I don't think it would put the owner out of business. There are plenty of successful stores, small businesses and even counter service restaurants where tipping isn't a norm.

I undertsand where you are coming from TC; but I never get a bonus for a job well done. It is what is expected of me.

And what is a fair wage? And what happens if that business cannot afford to pay that? Do they then lay-off some of their servers/waitresses or maybe close their doors and send these people into unemployment?

Waitressing is hard work; but we are also talking about an entry or low-level job.

Now if people are willing to pay even more for their meals that enable restaurants to pay their waitresses at least minimum wage, then more power to it. But I doubt people would want to see that.

REDREAD
09-14-2004, 11:43 AM
Doubling or tripling the single largest expense of business owners who already typically have only single-digit profit margins would wipe out scores of businesses and put untold numbers of people out of work.
.

I'm not disputing your main point, but just as an FYI.. At KFC, they spend more money on just the frying oil than they do on (non management) labor. In other words, labor isn't necessarily the largest cost of doing business.

TeamCasey
09-14-2004, 11:58 AM
I guess I'm just not expressing myself well. I was not trying to diminish the tipping system. I just view them as a tip and not a wage, as I feel they should be. I'm not sure how else to write that, so I'll leave it at that.

GAC
09-14-2004, 12:08 PM
I guess I'm just not expressing myself well. I was not trying to diminish the tipping system. I just view them as a tip and not a wage, as I feel they should be. I'm not sure how else to write that, so I'll leave it at that.

What would go a long way in helping is to make tips tax free and not included as income. But if it can be taxed then a politician will figure out how to do it. ;)

Johnny Footstool
09-14-2004, 01:05 PM
Nice Guy Eddie : C'mon, throw in a buck!
Mr. Pink : Uh-uh, I don't tip.
Nice Guy Eddie : You don't tip?
Mr. Pink : I don't believe in it.
Nice Guy Eddie : You don't believe in tipping?
Mr. Blue : You know what these chicks make? They make ****.
Mr. Pink : Don't give me that. She don't make enough money, she can quit.
Nice Guy Eddie : ...Let me get this straight: you never ever tip, huh?
Mr. Pink : I don't tip because society says I have to. Alright, I tip when somebody really deserves a tip. If they put forth an effort, I'll give them something extra. But I mean, this tipping automatically, that's for the birds. As far as I'm concerned they're just doing their job.

-Reservoir Dogs (1992).

15fan
09-14-2004, 01:22 PM
In Italy, there's usually a separate line on the bill that's for table service. I think it's called something like COPERTA, and it's stated up front as to what % it will be.

If you feel that you received outstanding service, then you leave another Euro or three on the table for the server & company.

I really like that system.

Another solution to the tipping dilemma is to just do take-out. You don't have to cook. You don't have to buy overpriced beverages. You don't have to tip. You never have to wait for a table or remember to make reservations.

And when you have a toddler at home, take out is really about the only alternative to fixing something out of the refrigerator.

Unassisted
04-11-2005, 12:02 PM
http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2005/04/what_do_we_know.html


What do we know about tipping?

1. Two studies show little relationship between quality of waiter service and size of tip.

2. Hotel bellboys can double the size of their tips, on average, by showing guests how the TV and air conditioning work.

3. Tipping is less prevalent in countries where unease about inequality is especially strong.

4. The more a culture values status and prestige, the more likely that culture will use tipping to reward service.

5. Tips are higher in sunny weather.

6. Servers can increase their tips by giving their names to customers, squatting next to tables, touching their customers, and giving their customers after-dinner mints.

7. Drawing a smiley face on the check increases a waitress's tips by 18 percent but decreases a waiter's tips by 9 percent.

8. In one study, waitresses increased their tips by 17 percent by wearing flowers in their hair. In general it pays to look distinctive albeit not freaky.

The above was distilled from a long article at the Financial Times of London...
http://news.ft.com/cms/s/be390fbe-a893-11d9-87a9-00000e2511c8.html

Spring~Fields
04-11-2005, 01:28 PM
But, don't you guys think servers should get more that $2.15 an hour?

Yes, restaurant owners should pay them at least minimum wage and a 15% tip for suggestive selling and pushing drinks, pass the entire cost through the menu items. If a customer chooses to tip then fine, that would be bonus.

919191
04-11-2005, 01:31 PM
Yes, restaurant owners should pay them at least minimum wage and a 15% tip for suggestive selling and pushing drinks, pass the entire cost through the menu items. If a customer chooses to tip then fine, that would be bonus.
Most servers would hate that- they would possibly take a cut in pay- and then they would also have to pay taxes on all their tips instead of what they report.

CincyRedsFan30
04-11-2005, 01:34 PM
Is he related to the Astros' Taveras? ;)

StillFunkyB
04-11-2005, 04:59 PM
I always had a few of my own tipping "rules":

Decent service was 15%, Excellent was 20%. Bad service was $2. I can only remember not leaving a tip at all once, and with the service I got I should have got the entire meal for free.

For delivery (pizza and chinese), when I lived in Clifton, and then Covington I lived on the third floor so I would give a 2 dollar tip if I had to walk down and get it, or 4 dollars if they brought it up to me. I started that because the Dominos delivery guy was a big guy and climbing stairs was something he probly didnt really want to do alot, but yet everytime he delivered my pizza he came up all three flights. He was the only one who did that every time.