I generally am a very good tipper when it comes to restaurants that I frequent. At restaurants that I know I will hang out at often, like one of the brew pubs or at my favorite restaurants, I'll tip everyone. It's worked for me so far.
For normal visits to restaurants I don't frequent often my tip will be the standard 15 to 20% depending on the quality of service. Even if the wait person is not that good, I'll still tip because I assume that they have to split tips with the rest of the staff. I've only not tipped once...and that was in the early days of Kanpai.
Tip jars are a bit of a game for me. I have a few techniques that I play around with. If it's a restaurant that I'll go to often but they use a tip jar, I'm a fan of making the cashier put the tip in the tip jar for me. To do this, I will over pay with the tip included and then when they try to give me the change I'll point to the tip jar and say something like "Oh not that was for you". Or I'll make like I didn't know the tip jar was there and leave the money on the counter which they'll scoop up and put into the tip jar.
If an item is $5 like the meat, bean, and cheese at Longboard Louie's, I'll pay with a $10 and say "If you give me some ones I'll be able to leave you a tip". This works the best for validation and leaves a lasting impression.
I do not like tipping for coffee...it's the lamest tip jar there is and is usually in a spot where it's difficult to get recognition for the tip. In my opinion, if you don't see the money go into the tip jar, you're thinking I didn't tip. That does me no good. So don't turn around after you give me change or else it's going right in my pocket. I mean my own money will go into my pocket, not stealing yours of course. Don't want a Costanza situation where the calzone guy didn't see the tip so he tried to take it back to get the recognition.
Seriously, what does the tip jar do? They put the tip jar out but what am I tipping for? All you've done is successfully taken my order. What is the appropriate tip for giving me the proper change worth? If I had to repeat my order do I put less in the tip jar? If this is the norm, why aren't there tip jars at OfficeMax, Target, HomeDepot? They did the exact same thing you just did, they processed the transaction just the same.
Now if you read my mind or knew my order, then maybe it's worth something. But since I'm already paying $4 for my coffee, is it worth another buck on the chance that my coffee is exactly what I asked for? What if I had to wait longer than I felt necessary, what if you burnt the milk, what if you added the wrong syrup? Should I get to take my tip back?
What I can't stand is putting a couple bucks in the tip jar and not getting any recognition for it. I hate tip jars in the first place but if I drop my change or add a buck or two to the cup, I want you to at least say thank you.
On a recent trip to Cold Stone I added two bucks to the tip tray expecting to hear that song. I hate the forced singing but I still want the recognition and it's a policy that they pretty much have to sing. The cashier saw me put the money in the jar and didn't do anything to get the songs going.
I should have said something or just taken my money back. Could you imaging some jacknut just going off in a Cold Stone for not getting his $2 song? HA!
Go ahead and send in your comments, but I'm right and I know it.
Here's a nice resource on Restaurant Tipping and tipping in general:
Labels: restaurant tipping