General Question

essieness's avatar

Why do people go out to eat in restaurants when they don't plan to tip the waitress?

Asked by essieness (7648 points ) February 17th, 2009

I mean seriously, this is just rude. Go to a fast food joint.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

30 Answers

Emdean1's avatar

Are you the waiter/waitress? Did you do a good job? Would you eat the food you served? Some people just don’t care and have never waited tables before.

elijah's avatar

Service must be amazingly bad for me not to tip. I cant remember ever not tipping. I don’t hold the server responsible for the quality of the food. People who don’t tip usually are just cheap and rude.

EmpressPixie's avatar

If foreign, they probably have no idea how abysmally servers are paid here. They may know tipping is customary, but may not realize why.

If local, they still may not realize that. If you’ve never been a server or known the finances of one, you might have no idea.

The service may not have been good, it may not have been habitual—I cut a tip short yesterday when my boyfriend and I stopped in a cafe for lunch and were not told until the end of the meal that they only took cash. I had enough to cover the meal, but left a scant tip. He was cash-less.

There are many, many reasons for not tipping. Some better than others. Some no good at all. But it happens.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@EmpressPixie that’s true. In the UK, for example, you don’t tip at the pub or anything like that. A lot of Americans who go there are unawares and leave money for the servers.

Grisson's avatar

If the service was so poor that leaving no tip was in order, the diner should at least have the decency to tell the waitperson why.
So I’ve got to go with the boorish, stupid, cheap ignoramus theory.

poofandmook's avatar

I know I’m in the minority, but I don’t believe a server is entitled to a tip just because they’re there. It shouldn’t be up to me to supplement a server’s income because they chose that job. I’m in this restaurant, 9 times out of 10 paying more than the meal is worth. I have no problem tipping when I get good service. But the one thing I hate… hate… is being forgotten about. If my food is going to take 1/2 an hour, have the decency to come by my table for 4 seconds, ask if I need a refill, and let me know what’s going on. And when the meal is over, do NOT make me wait more than 10–15 minutes just to get the check. Seriously. You want me to wait around just so I can give you money? If it’s extraordinarily busy, okay, fine. I get it. Servers get loaded down with tables, others call out and the rest get double duty, etc. etc. Sort of the flip-side of what Grisson just said: If there’s going to be a hang-up, the server should have the decency to tell me. Otherwise, I’m sorry, I don’t feel the need to give extra money for poor service. The other thing that really rubs me the wrong way is when my order comes back incorrect—when the server didn’t write down a word I said. They have no control over how the food comes from the kitchen, right. But if you don’t write it down, how do I know you put it in correctly? Almost nothing irks me more than that.

Case in point: My boyfriend and I went to a Red Lobster a year or so ago, and it was a small restaurant, and it was later in the evening. There were 3 other occupied tables, and four servers plus a hostess. I waited 20 minutes and still hadn’t received the check. When I went to find the server, I found her yapping with the hostess about a date. When she brought me my check (7 minutes later), I left no tip and wrote a note on the receipt.

essieness's avatar

@poofandmook I agree with you on most of your points, however, are you aware that in most places servers only make $2.13/hour and most also have to tip out up to 3% of their sales to the bussers/hostesses/bartenders?

poofandmook's avatar

@essieness: If you know you need the tip to survive financially, you should know that you have to exert a little extra effort than if you had, say, a desk job where you made the same no matter how much or little you worked. It’s the nature of the job that you chose, and it’s unfortunate, but you chose to be there. I’m not going to help you along if you didn’t provide the service that’s “promised” by the establishment.

elijah's avatar

@poofandmook you are paying for overpriced food because you chose to go to a restaurant. The server does not get a cut of that money.
I would agree with your points for why they shouldn’t get a large tip, but they are still taking your order, submiting it, bringing it to you, and cleaning up after you. That deserves something. If they really don’t attempt to take care of you, you are right they don’t deserve a tip.

essieness's avatar

My original question was directed more towards folks who DO receive good service and STILL don’t tip. Or tip poorly. Obviously, if you receive poor service you should tip accordingly. But thanks for your input, @poofandmook.

poofandmook's avatar

That’s all I’m saying. I DO tip. But I don’t feel bad NOT tipping if I get crap service.

I also need to add that I’m a pretty low maintenance diner. For the most part, I don’t really want to see my server at all. Take the order, bring the food, bring the check. That’s it. I really don’t want you to ask me, ever, how I’m doing. I don’t want to be bothered. I only expect three simple things, that are the bare-bones basics of the job. So for me to not tip, it’s definitely got to be poor.

elijah's avatar

I used to be upset if I wasn’t tipped, and would make it a point to quickly check before the person left. If there was no tip, I would go over and say “I’m so sorry if there was any problem with my service, could you please let me know what I did wrong so I can prevent this from happening in the future?”. Usually cheap/ rude people get all flustered because they have no excuse. Then they are embarassed and won’t come back.

Grisson's avatar

I wonder if, in this ‘new economy’ service will improve. I’ve heard that bad service is a phenomenon of good times. But I suppose that’s a topic for another question.

essieness's avatar

@elijahsuicide Haha, that’s hilarious. I think I would get fired. I can usually tell which customers won’t tip because they tend to get up and leave VERY quickly.

@Grisson Good point. I haven’t heard that theory, but it makes sense.

funkdaddy's avatar

If the service was good, and there was a poor tip, then that’s a reflection on the person who tipped poorly, not you. And maybe not as a whole, maybe they just had a bad day, or didn’t have as much in their pocket as they thought. Unfortunately it hurts your cash for that day, but it all seems to even out over the long haul.

It just gets slippery when people start complaining about their customers, or assuming everything they did was fine. If someone isn’t getting the percentage they want on a consistent basis, then they can always step up their game. (not saying anyone here needs to step up their game, but there’s always little niceties and efficiencies you can add)

Sorry you’ve had some bad ones, my personal favorite is the flat $5 tip, regardless of the bill. $5 on $20 is fine, $5 on $120, not so much.

onesecondregrets's avatar

Theyz hungry, raorghhhhz.

Baloo72's avatar

I always tip if the service is at least decent. Once I was at an IHOP and we asked the waitress three times for the bill after finishing our food and she never brought it to us. We waited for literally about an hour before we got up and found the hostess who got us our bill immediately. I think we left her (the waitress) a note and $.02.

PS There was only one other group of people in the restaurant, so it wasn’t because she was too busy.

Sooner_Coolkat's avatar

There are some situations where people don’t know or they had terrible service but I think that most people don’t care if a server can pay their bills or not. I was a waiter about 5 years ago and I will never do it again. I worked at a mexican place and we would get 10–15 people who came in every Sunday after church. They were extremely rude to every server and would only order drinks and fill up on chips and salsa and free tortillas. They also came with children and would order sodas from the kids menu and these kids would drink like freakin Nick Cage in Leaving Las Vegas. When offered adult glasses at the kids price they were rude and wouldn’t accept them. They stiffed the server everytime. How Christian of them. One of our cool managers put a stop to the crap and charged them for the chips and salsa as well as the tortillas because they weren’t ordering entrees. These people exploded and I loved every second of it. These creeps even called the cops! I quit shortly after and I’m not sure if they ever came back.

laureth's avatar

Taxes, I hear, are taken out of a server’s paycheck with the assumption that they made 10% in tips. Leaving less than a 10% tip doesn’t just deny the server your few bucks, but it can actually take money out of their pocket that someone else gave them.

Apparently the tax code thinks they’re entitled to tips, even if their customers don’t.

Personally, I never not tip. If service was bad, I usually ask if there’s a reason – is the kitchen short? Sometimes it’s busy and I can see that they’re also serving a bazillion other people, and take that into consideration. On the other hand, at the places where I’m a regular, I have also never received bad service – because they know I tip, and tip well.

Just like some people deny tips to sub par waitrons, I bet waitrons can also sometimes pick out the people who tip poorly and devote their best efforts to other tables.

Service workers seem to have more respect for other service workers, too – even if they’ve never been waitstaff. There’s a “we’re all in this together” mindset. (At least there is for me.) I don’t think people who have never worked in the service industry understand this.

Snoopy's avatar

When I worked as a waitress, one of the places I worked at had a Sunday morning buffet. I hated working then, as some people felt it was OK not to tip as they were serving themselves the food.

I still made the same base pay. I still had to get drinks, clear dishes, etc.

I have seen you mention this 3% kickback to auxillary staff on another thread. I never worked anywhere that did that….I wonder if that is only w/ chains or if that is now the industry standard. What if all of your tables were non-drinkers? Do you still have to give $ to the bartender? And no tip, you still have to share the 3%?

Honestly, that would suck. I think I would learn to bartend. Seriously.

psyla's avatar

I go to restaurants so that I can give a tip. I feel power hungry when I tip people so I place myself in situations where I can give tips.

dynamicduo's avatar

I feel it’s appropriate to share my perspective here. In Canada, we have none of this nonsense regarding tips allowing for a seriously reduced wage for people in the food industry. While some provinces choose to set the minimum wage a dollar or so lower for liquor servers (which at times does include some waiters, but does not mandate all waiters not to mention the fact that alcohol servers tend to get tips much faster and to a higher work-to-tip ratio from serving many drinks to drinking people), all other restaurant workers are paid minimum wage plus tips. Sometimes the tips are shared differently – in a restaurant chain my sister worked in, every waiter or tip earner put a percentage of their tips into a Tip Pool which was then shared by all employees, including cooks and dishboys. While I feel this is a bit too socialistic for my likings, I do agree with the fundamental concept that everyone deserves a portion of a tip because everyone provided the scenario (clean dishes, clean floors, the food) that enabled that tip to exist.

I feel that America’s system forces the customer to make up for the waiter’s salary in lieu of the restaurant simply paying them a decent wage. Then again, America’s system is more of a free-market approach than the somewhat socialist system in Canada, in that waiters who have more charm and appeal will become more successful. But it forces a burden to exist on the customer’s shoulders. Personally if I knew that I could have to give an additional 25% (for superior, out of the world service) on top of the already inflated restaurant prices, it would discourage me from going to restaurants altogether. In fact, I can say that the opposite of this situation is occurring for me right now: it is because I know I have no obligation to give any tip that I choose to go out to restaurants more often. What I pay is what’s written on the menu, plus tax. This transparency is something I appreciate.

I mean, I can break down an example of why I wouldn’t tip, and it’s most often not the waiter’s fault at all. All of my recent bad-restaurant experiences have been caused by either long waits times, or low quality/wrong/raw food. This is a sign of bad management or a badly staffed kitchen. The service for these bad events was spectacular, but that does not rectify the core issue of the food itself being the problem. Thus, I would pay for my food in full but give no tip, or accept some items being taken off the bill and would give a tip that would equal or be slightly less than the value of the food which was removed. Ultimately I come out of the situation spending around the same amount of money, but not feeling obliged to give extra money to the waiter and staff. My patronage should be enough to fund their compensation, not some ethical burden placed on me.

On a totally unrelated note, I was tipped three times while working drive-through at McDonald’s. And not just “keep the change” “graciousness” (oh thanks man, a whole 57 cents, better invest it now), but an actual “here’s money just for you because you’re awesome” tip, and not from regular customers either. As with waiters, it was my personality that gained me this. Simply put, I wasn’t a cardboard person. I joked with customers about the pains of working at McDonald’s, would answer any question asked to me honestly, would help customers to game the menu in order to get the most food for their money (I have no incentive to make McDonald’s more money, they hire me to serve their customers and that’s what I did!), dug around in the back for 15 minutes looking for a certain Polly Prissypants figurine for the 7 year old kid, lamented with customers when they came back cause someone fucked up their order. $5 from a man who got a kick out of our conversation, $10 from a woman for the aforementioned Polly Prissypants figurine, and $20 from a woman who just came back from Vegas and thought I could “use a bit of spicing up”. I think I will always remember those situations because they showed to me the most true essence of tipping – sharing your money to make other people happy. Now, instead of tipping to make other people happy, I have let my experiences at McDonald’s mold me into a person who has more tolerance for fast and slow-food fuckups, who calls the cashier by their name, who will make a joke about the work place sucking so badly, and laugh with the employee, not make fun of them or treat them like a subhuman.

bezdomnaya's avatar

I worked at a sushi place where:
a. we had to tip the kitchen out 15% of our tips (which I didn’t mind most of the time because they did a lot of work)
b. we had to split the remaining tips equally among the servers (which was awful if you were the consistently high earner at the restaurant)
c. we had to claim all of our tips (credit card and cash; most places are nice and allow you to not claim your cash tips) resulting in my getting $0 paychecks on numerous occasions.

This being said, I would get very upset with bad tips from cheap people. I understand if you’re getting consistent bad tips, you’re doing something wrong, but when you’re usually the person who earns the most in tips, then it’s just people being stingy.

@eponymoushipster It’s true that in the UK, it isn’t customary to tip, but it can still be a good idea. I now live in the UK and I still tip at pubs, restaurants, and bars. Since I live in a small town (Cambridge), it pays off because I get remembered and get better service the next time.

laureth's avatar

@dynamicduo – not defending America’s system as I think just giving them a wage is the better thing to do – but if the pay is rolled into the meal price, the responsibility to pay the server is still on the patron’s shoulders in terms of increased meal price, right?

I think the Tipping system is supposed to insure charming waitrons as well as keep meal prices looking “lower.” (Devil’s advocate here.)

dynamicduo's avatar

@laureth – Yes, when the pay is rolled into the meal price, the patron will still be assuming some responsibility in paying the server. But I can’t think of any situation where it would be appropriate for a restaurant to have a waiter who was NOT considered an integral part of the restaurant so as to totally exclude their wage from the food prices. It’s a hand-in-hand relationship, restaurants and servers. One cannot exist without the other. Thus I feel it’s not only a farce, but disrespectful to both clients and waitpeople to not include their wage in the price of the meal.

One may argue that by not including servers in the food price, the restaurant can be more flexible in adding or taking away servers as the restaurant gets more or less busy. This is true, but as a patron of the restaurant, it’s not my problem to compensate for crappy management (and here I define crappy management as not using their sales data from previous weeks to determine how many servers they will need for the upcoming week and scheduling appropriately). Plus, this flexibility for the restaurants often leads to a lack of flexibility for the server (they are forced to stay late if things are busy, or are sent home early if business is slow).

That’s exactly it, the price looks lower, but it’s not. It’s deceptive marketing, where they purposely try to entice you to purchase items at a price that is not the final total price. Yes, ultimately part of my money will be going to the server, but I accept this if I choose to dine-in instead of taking out. Then again take-out prices are often a dollar or two more expensive for just this reason, and also to make up for the lost drink profit. Simply put, I don’t respect deceptive marketing, nor do I respect those who implement it.

Very rarely have I encountered any waitperson who’s given service above “substandard”, let alone “charming”. In fact I consider it lucky when I get the simplest of service, such as having my food delivered correctly and within a good amount of time, or having my drink refilled. As such, I define a server who deserves no tip as someone who simply brings me my food and drink without conversation or messups – they are doing their job exactly as it is laid out for them, and my choosing to eat there is how I pay for their wage, I don’t see why I should be forced to give them more money simply for doing the job they were hired to do. I would certainly give a tip to a “charming” server, but I have yet to meet this person. Maybe it’s a case where the servers here in Canada are a bit less eager to please and strive for that tip since they have that safety net of minimum wage behind them.

CMaz's avatar

Some people just do not get it.

Like double dipping the chips.

proXXi's avatar

One of two reasons (these aren’t mutually exclusive):

1 They’re cheap bastards.

2 They’re miserable little control freaks.

Whats the difference between a Canadian and a canoe?

Canoes tip.

Nataliegrl's avatar

I Work in a reataurAnt and yes we have to tip out a 3% total of our sales to the bar/hostess. So really 1.5% to each. I understand the host seats us and cleans our tables. But not the bartender. I work the lunch shift and about 99% of the time my tables don’t even get a beer. Just water and soft drinks, which I make. Why should we tip out a bartender OUR income when we aren’t garunteed tips but still have to tip her out. The bartender answers the Togo orders (and that’s a bit of an exaggeration bc when shes too busy the servers are required to do it) but the servers still box, bag, and deliver too orders to the bar as well as run the bartenders food to the bar when she’s gt costumer at the bar that order food as well as roll ALL the silverware that she uses all day and have to refill ALL the condiments that go on HER bar tables. Fair?? Not even close. The truth is we could be getting stiffed on 1 or more tables with tips during the day yet we still have to give part of what we make away to the bartender and possibly pay for some assholes meal that didn’t tip us. Not fair. Yes, our pay is 2.13 an hour and it’s automatically assumed that we get a certain percentage of tips. My check is always 0–30$ depending on how much or little I work and getting a 30$ or less check every two weeks isn’t that much. I know how it sucks for waiters/waitresses and honestly I thought tipping was optional but since I’ve become a server I always tip atleast 5 even if I get jst a glass of water. 90% of problems withthe food are not the servers fault. You know that if you work in a restaurant contrary to what people believe Dont take it out on the server.

Nataliegrl's avatar

And if you are too cheap to tip then go to mcdonalds. I work in a restarant and still don’t thinkthe cooks should get tipped out bc that is what they make 10–15$ an hr for and we still don’t get anpayvheck half the time

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