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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tipping ain't easy.

A lot of people work in the bar/restaurant business. I've never been a server or bartender, but I know it has to be a tough job. Remembering all the orders, smiling to mean customers, being on your feet for 8 hours... I probably wouldn't be able to do

Posted on Wed, Jun 18, 2008 at 5:27 PM

A lot of people work in the bar/restaurant business. I've never been a server or bartender, but I know it has to be a tough job. Remembering all the orders, smiling to mean customers, being on your feet for 8 hours... I probably wouldn't be able to do it.

With that being said, you shouldn't expect to be tipped for your work bartending/serving. Even if you're the best, fastest, most pleasant server in all of Canada, you just can't have the "I'm getting a tip" mindset. And I know that anyone (especially a server) reading this is going to have a bunch of reasons for why somebody should tip...

“It's a hard job. I did it well. I only make minimum wage. My employers pay me this wage because they expect I’ll get tips.” Valid points, but it doesn't entitle you to tips. The guy at your favourite clothing store was helpful in finding the perfect style and fit of pants. The guy at the supermarket checkout scanned your food items and packed your bag faster than you ever could. The girl working the front desk of your apartment building chats you up and smiles even though she's on an 8-hour night shift. These people all do their tough jobs well, and do it with a smile (granted, not everybody is pleasant). They get minimum wage, and they would be shocked if they ever received a tip. In some workplaces, you get fired for taking any type of gift or reward from a client.

Getting a tip is like finding the special million-dollar can of beer; you knew you’d be getting beer, but the cash is an added bonus, just like tips are an added bonus on top of your agreed-upon wages.

Let’s look at a few different reasons why people may not tip, or under-tip.

-The simplest reason is that you’re not the great server you think you are.

-Sometimes the customer can’t afford to tip. “If you can’t afford to tip or tip well, you can’t afford to eat out,” you’ll say. But hey, every now and then somebody needs a treat. I’m sure you splurge on an unnecessary movie once in a while.

-The food was bad. “Don’t stiff me because your food was sub-par. I still did MY job well.” Customers know that their tip gets shared with, among others, chefs. If the chef did a bad job, maybe he/she shouldn’t get a set portion of a big tip. You, unfortunately, get under-tipped for your good work, but that’s part of the game. It goes both ways. If the chef does a good job and you don’t, he gets under-tipped because of your shoddy service. Maybe there should be an option to tip only the waiting staff, or only the cooking staff.

-People don’t always want to tip 15% or any percentage for that matter. They tip according to what they thought you merited for the work you did. Why should the guy serving at a diner get a smaller tip than the girl working at a fancy restaurant? They both did the same job. Is it somehow harder to carry filet mignon than to carry a burger and fries? The girl at the restaurant probably has better conditions and wages than the guy in the diner. Doesn’t seem fair to me.

-Some customers come from cultures where a 15% tip is automatically included in the cheque. These people don’t think to add anything on top of that.

-Lastly, your customer may have picked up on your “I’m only being nice to get a tip” attitude. Genuine niceness is the only way to go.

So if you have the idea that you’re entitled to a tip, you should just tell me before you take my order. I’ll ask for another server.

P.S. If the food and service is good, I generally match the tax on a tip. So don’t think I’m against tipping.

Hungry For A Smile

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