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This doesnt set well with me, I am wrong?
Old 12-06-2012, 09:46 AM   #1
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This doesnt set well with me, I am wrong?

Curious what other people here think, as my friends only seem to have opinions on beer, boobs, bets, and ball games. I read today that Darden, the company of Red Lobster and Olive Garden recently implemented a policy of a "tip sharing program". Meaning waitresses and waiters must share their tips with the bus boys, bartenders, and other employees. Now that doesn't really bother me too much, as a bus boy in my younger years I remember getting some money from the waitresses and appreciating it, though they didn't make minimum wage and I did.
What pulls my chain on this, is Darden is using this to pay the other workers the far lower "tip credit wage" now since they receive a portion of the tip money also. It seems to me now, my tips aren't used to show appreciation to the workers, but is now used to subsidize the low wagers earners and increase the companies profits since they can pay less in wages.
This seems to me to be another reason to just eliminate tips and bake the whole price of eating out into the menu price. Am I wrong to be a little bothered by this "tip sharing program"? It seems a way to screw the low wage worker a little more for the benefit to the company. Am I wrong for thinking this way? I am usually a "whatever" type person, but this bothers me a bit.
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:00 AM   #2
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I think a lot of places do something like this - tips just get pooled and shared. Kinda eliminates the intended purpose.

I hate the idea of tipping on several levels (though I do it, as is expected).

I can't recall where I read it (maybe here?), but an opinion was expressed that really got me going. Now I hate tipping more than ever!

That was - Hey, we go out to dinner, we are paying for the food and the experience/ambiance, whatever. Then, near the end of the dinner, we are put to work. We are asked to evaluate the restaurant manager's employees. WTH!! It's his/her job to evaluate the employees. I had to do it as a manager. How is it they push it on us, and we are the paying customer? And it is a cause of some stress/anxiety, if people disagree on the quality of service or tip amount deserved. Who needs that! You went out to avoid stress/anxiety.

That made a lot of sense to me - so just add 15%, 18%, 20% or whatever you need to the base price, and let the manager monitor the employees. I didn't go out to dinner to play manager - I'm retired from that!

-ERD50
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:04 AM   #3
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I think tip sharing is pretty common, though I could not find stats online. Federal labor laws allow tip sharing as long as management and kitchen staff aren't included. We did it on our own when I waited tables almost 40 years ago, and I'm convinced I netted larger tips and my busboys did too.

Not sure what's right, though I am opposed to tip pooling (vs sharing or "tipping out").

But I strongly disagree with 'baking tips into the cost as a solution,' as a frequent diner, and a former waiter and bartender. Tips are an effective incentive to restaurant servers. Including tips will lower the level of service and probably increase the cost of restaurant dining. Bad idea IMO.

If you want restaurant costs all baked in, go to a cafeteria or buffet, and note the level of service while you're there.
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:11 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
I can't recall where I read it (maybe here?), but an opinion was expressed that really got me going. Now I hate tipping more than ever!

That was - Hey, we go out to dinner, we are paying for the food and the experience/ambiance, whatever. Then, near the end of the dinner, we are put to work. We are asked to evaluate the restaurant manager's employees. WTH!! It's his/her job to evaluate the employees. I had to do it as a manager. How is it they push it on us, and we are the paying customer? And it is a cause of some stress/anxiety, if people disagree on the quality of service or tip amount deserved. Who needs that! You went out to avoid stress/anxiety.
Seriously? Stress/anxiety?

Just don't fill it out, just ignore it like most people. If you're happy with your experience, the manager doesn't care about the card.

And guess what. The cards are there because a) some people really like to provide comments and b) a good manager wants to know if something is wrong with the experience so he/she can correct it. They'd rather the patron just call it to their attention in person on the spot so they can correct it, but they know some people are afraid to speak up, so the card is an alternative way to find out. The cards with positive feedback are largely ignored by the manager, or given to the waiter/bus etc.
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:17 AM   #5
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I'm ok with tip sharing in that the service that I receive is influenced by not only our waiter/waitress but by others in the service chain who enable the waiter/waitress to provide us with a good experience.

I have never worked in a restaurant but I think one could argue that kitchen staff employees indirectly affect the dining experience as well so the question becomes where to draw the line.

I have always thought the idea of a lower wage for employees who receive tips is odd and I would particularly object to the notion of a company gaming the system to lower their labor costs at the expense of lower compensation to these employees.
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:22 AM   #6
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I agree.
If the info in this article is correct:
Darden Restaurants enforces tip-sharing policy - Orlando Sentinel,
Darden is mandating a "fairness" doctrine as a work-around to cut wages and benefits.
DH and I were contemplating a visit to the Seasons 52 down the street but we will be voting no thanks with our wallet instead.
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:28 AM   #7
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When I was a waitress, I never minded sharing tips with the bartender (we did our own bussing). But it always kind of bugged me that waitresses has a much, much lower minimum wage that counted on customers paying tips. Hourly wise, however, we made out much better than the kitchen staff. The bartenders did well too although I think they got well over minimum wage having special "skills" - they did go to "school" after all LOL!
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:39 AM   #8
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one bright side of tip "pooling," perhaps all "income" will get reported to the IRS now.

Not saying all employees who work on tips game the system, but I know many people who have worked for tips and have openly admitted to me that all their income didn't get reported to the IRS.
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:39 AM   #9
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Seriously? Stress/anxiety?
Yes, seriously. Not heart-attack-level stress or anything, but I don't want to deal with it. I go out to dinner to be served, not to do an employee evaluation.

We recently were out to dinner, and we were being treated. Service was terrible, and the couple paying argued about leaving a regular tip or none at all. The whole tipping thing added some anxiety to the situation.

I personally would not have felt too bad about leaving zero tip in this case. The place was hopping, because there was an 'event' at the restaurant (that we were not informed about when we made the reservations, and it ended up ruining our experience). So the restaurant/staff made plenty of money that night. And yes, management was made aware of our displeasure. It took some time to get the check, I suspect that maybe they eliminated what may have been an automatic tip for a party >8, so that we had a choice, but I don't know, I didn't see the bill and don;t know if they do the automatic thing or not.

I don't know where the 'card' comments are coming from - I didn't mention 'cards'? I was talking about the tip level itself being a form of employee evaluation.

-ERD50
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:51 AM   #10
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Years ago I was a waiter for Denny's. Back then, there were pretty much five positions in the whole restaurant: Waiter ("server"), Host, Dishwasher ("service assistant"), Cook, and Managers.

Back then, minimum wage was $3.35/hr, and waiters made 60% of that, plus tips. I started as a dishwasher, and made $5.25 an hour, but I heard that some of the other employees made less, as little as $4.50. The host, which would seat customers and handle the cash register, made about the same as the dishwashers, and I think the cooks started off at around $7.00 per hour.

Waiters set up and cleared their own tables, brought out the food, and when there was no host would also seat guests and run the register. Sometimes, if the waiters/waitresses got really slammed and were falling behind, the hosts, dishwashers, and/or management would pitch in and help with clearing/setting up tables, bringing water, etc.

In those days, it was VERY rare for a waiter to share their tips with the hosts, dishwashers, etc, unless they provided an extraordinary amount of help. And as for alcohol, all we had was a very limited selection of beer and wine, so there was no bartender to deal with.

These days though, at some restaurants it seems like all the waiter does is take your order, check up on you a couple times, and then handle ringing up the bill. The host usually seats you, someone else often brings you your water and drinks, a foodrunner brings out the main course, and the busboys clear your empty plates and then clear the table afterwards. So it seems like much more of a team effort than it was in the past, with the waiter doing less of the real work. In those cases, I don't have a problem with sharing the tips, but don't like the idea of cutting wages on the other positions to below minimum wage.
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:55 AM   #11
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Darden is doing some maneuvering to try and save money.

In addition to the OP's issue they "tested" cutting full-time staff hours to less than 30 hours a week in anticipation of the 2014 regulation requiring large companies to provide health insurance to full-time employees.

Darden worker hours Obamacare: Darden says it won't cut full-time workers to part-time - OrlandoSentinel.com

There was enough local pressure that Darden ended the test saying it wasn't successful, but it is believed that they will be limiting full-time employment opportunities in the future.

Shared tipping may be one way Darden is trying to level the playing field for their employees.
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:00 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50
We recently were out to dinner, and we were being treated. Service was terrible, and the couple paying argued about leaving a regular tip or none at all. The whole tipping thing added some anxiety to the situation.

I personally would not have felt too bad about leaving zero tip in this case. The place was hopping, because there was an 'event' at the restaurant (that we were not informed about when we made the reservations, and it ended up ruining our experience). So the restaurant/staff made plenty of money that night. And yes, management was made aware of our displeasure. It took some time to get the check, I suspect that maybe they eliminated what may have been an automatic tip for a party >8, so that we had a choice, but I don't know, I didn't see the bill and don;t know if they do the automatic thing or not.
It's horrible when that happens, and you did make management aware of the issues. But baking in the costs would have made it even worse no? At least it appears they dropped the automatic tip for large parties.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50
That made a lot of sense to me - so just add 15%, 18%, 20% or whatever you need to the base price, and let the manager monitor the employees. I didn't go out to dinner to play manager - I'm retired from that!
Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50
I don't know where the 'card' comments are coming from - I didn't mention 'cards'? I was talking about the tip level itself being a form of employee evaluation.
My mistake. I don't find deciding on a tip stressful at all, so I wrongly assumed you were referring to the comment cards some restaurants offer.
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:05 AM   #13
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I'm not against shared tipping but I like to do a little extra for a great server.

So, I add the traditional 15% to the bill, call the server over, show him/her that I left a tip, then while we're shaking hands I slip him/her a few bucks and tell the person it is for him/her ONLY since they were so helpful. Otherwise if I had great service I would have left 20% so my cost is the same and the server is rewarded. And, I do get GREAT service at my favorite restaurants......all the servers want my table.

No hassle, no stress......life is too short and most stress is self induced......why worry?
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:15 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
I don't know where the 'card' comments are coming from - I didn't mention 'cards'? I was talking about the tip level itself being a form of employee evaluation.-ERD50
Hmmmm, interesting.

TIPS - To Insure Prompt Service (or at least that's the legend). Part of the pleasure of dining out, for me, is being waited on. And if the waiter does an excellent job it really enhances the experience and I tip accordingly. I have no trouble "evaluating" the waiter, because in each instance he/she is temporarily working for me. I find the evaluation easy as well. I have my "usual" tip % amount, and if the service way better than usual or downright lousy, then I will adjust the tip accordingly. I like being able to give instant feedback that way.

To each his own methinks.
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:16 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by jerome len View Post
I'm not against shared tipping but I like to do a little extra for a great server.

So, I add the traditional 15% to the bill, call the server over, show him/her that I left a tip, then while we're shaking hands I slip him/her a few bucks and tell the person it is for him/her ONLY since they were so helpful. Otherwise if I had great service I would have left 20% so my cost is the same and the server is rewarded. And, I do get GREAT service at my favorite restaurants......all the servers want my table.

No hassle, no stress......life is too short and most stress is self induced......why worry?
Never done that, though maybe I should. However as a former waiter, who appreciated great busboys, I occasionally tip bus persons $5 directly who have gone above and beyond. Sometimes they outshine the servers...
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:18 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver
Darden is doing some maneuvering to try and save money.

In addition to the OP's issue they "tested" cutting full-time staff hours to less than 30 hours a week in anticipation of the 2014 regulation requiring large companies to provide health insurance to full-time employees.

Darden worker hours Obamacare: Darden says it won't cut full-time workers to part-time - OrlandoSentinel.com

There was enough local pressure that Darden ended the test saying it wasn't successful, but it is believed that they will be limiting full-time employment opportunities in the future.

Shared tipping may be one way Darden is trying to level the playing field for their employees.
That was mentioned in the article I read too. Maybe I am making too much of this, but throw in the possibility of this type of industry cutting wages to count tips as wages along with possible cutting out health care benefits, we run the risk of "racing to the bottom" which means the government will pick up more of the healthcare cost which means more tax revenue is needed. At what point do people just say the heck with it, I can make almost as much money from government assistance and just not bother working? The Darden restaurants I frequent all not just teenagers working. I would say over half appear to be 30 ish and over. I am probably coming across as a liberal type (which I am not trying to denigrate that word in anyway) when actually personally, I am more conservative/libertarian. But I do worry about unintended consequences and racing to the bottom on wages as it pertains to the health of our economy and government.
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:28 AM   #17
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one bright side of tip "pooling," perhaps all "income" will get reported to the IRS now.

Not saying all employees who work on tips game the system, but I know many people who have worked for tips and have openly admitted to me that all their income didn't get reported to the IRS.
While I suspect there are a lot of unreported tips, I suspect that in many cases the tax evaded is minimal in the whole scheme of things because the individuals wouldn't be subject to income taxes or would be in a low tax bracket. It still doesn't make it right though and the evaders SS will suffer as a result.
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:33 AM   #18
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I waited tables at Olive Garden back in 2001 and we were forced to share our tips with the bartender and bus boy, so I think this has been going on for quite a while even if it wasn't company-wide policy. Other cost savings come from limiting the veggies put on the salad (2 olives max, 2 slices of tomato max, regardless of the number of patrons at the table).

On the general tipping topic, I have spent a lot of time in Europe and South America where tipping is not the norm (in Iceland the waiters feel that tips are your way of saying you have a better job than them and feel sorry for the poor, uneducated waiter). In general, the service in America is MUCH better than the non-tipping world. In Spain I have a hard time even paying my check at the end because the waiter is nowhere to be found. Please, take my money so I can leave and you can feed someone else!
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:34 AM   #19
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It's horrible when that happens, and you did make management aware of the issues. But baking in the costs would have made it even worse no?
Yes, but then it's up to management to decide if they want our business. They should have some backbone, they should take some action - comp us, apologize, tell us 'tough', whatever.

But the tip just pushes that on us. I guess that's the deal, I feel like they are abdicating their management responsibility to manage their employees, and putting that on the customer. The manager should assure they have quality staff and do what it takes to assure that. Or lose business. That's how just about every other business does it.


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Hmmmm, interesting.

I have no trouble "evaluating" the waiter, because in each instance he/she is temporarily working for me.

Too each his own methinks.
Sure, but this would apply to every person we come in contact with on any transaction. Should I tip the checkout person at the grocery store, the bank teller, my mechanic?

If I buy a product that I think is exceptional - should I send an extra 15% to the company? Why not, someone is responsible for doing an exceptional job? It's really all the same thing - I don't understand where a line is drawn.

-ERD50
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:42 AM   #20
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For the people that have mentioned not leaving a tip....


I was told by one of my sisters not to do this... there are a number people who just do not tip... if you do not tip, the server will assume that you are one of these....


What she does is tip them a nickle... this indicates that she does tip, but the service was so bad that it was only worth a nickle...


Now, my thinking is that the wait staff really does not change how they serve no matter what tip they get... IOW, they will justify how they did their work by saying or thinking negative thought about the low tip... if I get really bad service, I do ask for the manager...
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