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Tipping Conundrum....
blaisepascal
skitten and I headed out to a local well-established franchise location of a well-known national chain restaurant for dinner tonight. The quality of the meal was typical for fare at this particular chain, as was (with one exception) the service. If it weren't for the one issue, I would have no hesitation tipping my usual 16%.

However, it took 30min from when we were seated to our being acknowledged by the waitstaff, and even then it was after patrons at another table complained (to a passing manager) about how long we had been sitting there unattended.

The manager took 50% off of our meal.

This left me the conundrum of how much to tip. I know what I decided, but I'm interested in what you would have done. Poll time!

How much would have been acceptable to tip?

16% of the non-discounted bill. The hefty discount, and manager obsequiousness is sufficient notice of displeasure.
4(30.8%)
16% of the discounted bill.
6(46.2%)
5% or some other token tip. Not nothing, for that indicates you don't tip, but no where near the regular amount.
0(0.0%)
Tip? For service like that? Are you kidding?
1(7.7%)
Other, discussed in a comment.
1(7.7%)

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Depends on how ticked off I feel and whether I consider the 50% discount a sufficient reparation. If subjectively I believe the management's response was adequate, I'd tip on the total. If I decided that the restaurant has crossed the suckage threshhold and I don't intend to come back, I'd leave tipless.

Had the manager not addressed it, it'd likely have been the dime tip and looking for other places to eat at in the future.

IF the service was good after that point, 16% of the full amount.
Sometimes the waitstaff don't get notified that they've got another table, or there's a misunderstanding about whose table it was intended to be. So if the service is good from that point, I give them the benefit of the doubt. Of course, if they're surly or slow, not so much.

I agree. Thirty minutes sounds like the waiter wasn't notified. If the service was good once they knew you were there.

I personally tip a standard 20 percent. It think it's more fair to the server, and the math is easier fo rme.

Where I live, the tax rate is 8%, so doubling the tax is easier for me than dividing by 5.

Since the gratuity goes to the waitstaff (and sometimes the kitchen staff as well), the staff were the ones that screwed up, and so I would pay the appropriate tip on the discounted bill.

However, if I were to get a bill discount for, say, using a coupon, I make sure to re-add the value of that coupon when calculating tip, as they provided service commensurate with the original bill.

There have been cases where I have received discounts for reasons not related to the service.

For instance, I once ordered a soup to be told that they were out for the day -- but they would make up some for me anyway. The resulting soup was cold and not fully cooked, and this was mentioned to the staff, who had gone out of their way make it special. The soup didn't appear on the bill, the staff confirmed this was intentional. We tipped on the full amount, including the soup I ate.

I don't have a problem on tipping on pre-discounted amount when it isn't a service-related problem.

In lieu of a tip, a note to the manager thanking him/her for acknowledging the problem and discounting the bill, and stating that because of his/her handling of the situation, you will be returning to the restaurant in the future.

Since it doesn't sound as though the server who ended up serving you was clearly responsible for the initial screw-up, tipping that server based on how good a job they did after showing up is the right thing to do. In other words, tipping based on what the full check would have been, so that they are getting properly paid for the work they actually did, instead of half of it. Otherwise, you are penalizing the server who did a good job of serving you for someone else's screw-up, or at the very least for an inadvertent error.

It's nice that the restaurant apologized in a fairly meaningful way; 50% off the whole check is non-trivial. Shit happens; how the establishment corrects it once it's happened says a lot.

Of course, you should never wait a half hour before deciding something's gone wrong in the process and asking the hostess to send someone over. :-)

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