Do I or Don't I? And How Much? -- The Tipping Thread

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In summary, the conversation revolved around tipping for professional services and the confusion surrounding it. The main question was whether or not to tip in a hybrid set-up where you order and pay at the counter but also receive some service at your table. Some people shared their experiences and opinions on tipping, with some stating that they do not tip if they have to order and pay themselves, while others believe that good service should be included in the standard cost. There was also a discussion about the increasing expectation of higher tips, despite the tip being seen as an overcharge for the meal. Some argued that workers should be paid a decent wage by their employers rather than relying on tips. Overall, the conversation highlighted the different views and customs surrounding tipping in various
  • #1
kyphysics
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Ever wonder if and/or how much you should tip for a professional service? Post your questions and preferences here.

I shall start off, because I went to a weird restaurant this past Monday and I didn't know what to do.

There's a burger joint near me called Smashburger that just got built. Supposedly it's pretty famous across the U.S. Burger was pretty decent and the fries were too. Anyhow, it's a weird set-up. You go and stand in line to order. Then, you are given a cup and a plastic "stand-up" order number to place on your table. You have to get your own drink at the fountain (I like that actually, because I can fill it the way I want with the ratio of ice to drink I prefer). Then you sit and wait for your food to be delivered to you. After I got my food, I was checked back on multiple times and had my plastic/metal dish cleared. The cup is also plastic and not paper, so it has to be cleared too and not thrown away. They have utensils if you want them (albeit, they're known for burgers and fries). But get this. They're metal utensils in the condiment area. So, it's like a hybrid set-up. It's not really a do-it-yourself dining situation, but it's like half and half. With real, non-paper/plastic silverware and trays/plates and partial service.

In this case, do you tip or not? And, if so, do you tip the regular 15-20%? Help a PF brother out! Anyone know of any other place that's like this? I was too ashamed (and confused) to not tip and left about 15%. I figure it's better to be safe than sorry.
 
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  • #2
Whatever answers can be given is going to be specific of particular circumstance and location. For example, in some countries your tip may be considered as an insult! (= read up before you go anywhere)

In my country, tipping is welcome but not necessary. Restaurants are expected to pay their workers a decent salary. Usually people will round up to a nearby even number (except that time when my total was 645 ... I just had to put 666). In places such as the one you described, it would be very strange to give a tip in Sweden. It has always amazed me how this is not the standard in the US (one of many things, other things include why prices are not quoted including VAT - I want to know how much I need to pay, not how much the store owner will get after sales taxes are deducted). To some extent, I think the Japanese got this one right: Good service should be the standard and therefore no tip should be necessary. The service is just as much part of the restaurant experience as the food is.
 
  • #3
Given the hybrid setup, I'd probably hybridize my tip.
 
  • #5
If I have to go up and order myself, I don't tip. Anywhere a server comes out to me I tip 10-20% depending on service.
 
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  • #6
In the situation described by the OP, I would not dream of tipping. Who would you tip? The order taker at the counter? The person who brings the food to your table? Perhaps leave a tip by the trash bin when you clear your own waste? No way!

There has been a strange thing happen with tipping. There was a time when the tip was routinely 5%. Later, it went to 10%. Now, there are places where 20% or more expected. Why is this? The tip is basically nothing more than an overcharge for your meal. Is a greater overcharge somehow justified today as compared to long ago? I don't understand the whole idea of tipping.

For those who will tell me that tips are what the waiter/waitress gets for income, I have to say anyone who would work for tips alone is nuts. A worker should be paid by his/her employer and no one else. If the restaurant will not pay a decent wage, I strongly suggest finding other employment where your work will be properly paid by your emloyer. Working for tips alone is not very different from being a highway man, a bandit.
 
  • #7
Dr.D said:
In the situation described by the OP, I would not dream of tipping. Who would you tip? The order taker at the counter? The person who brings the food to your table? Perhaps leave a tip by the trash bin when you clear your own waste? No way!

There has been a strange thing happen with tipping. There was a time when the tip was routinely 5%. Later, it went to 10%. Now, there are places where 20% or more expected. Why is this? The tip is basically nothing more than an overcharge for your meal. Is a greater overcharge somehow justified today as compared to long ago? I don't understand the whole idea of tipping.

For those who will tell me that tips are what the waiter/waitress gets for income, I have to say anyone who would work for tips alone is nuts. A worker should be paid by his/her employer and no one else. If the restaurant will not pay a decent wage, I strongly suggest finding other employment where your work will be properly paid by your emloyer. Working for tips alone is not very different from being a highway man, a bandit.
That would all be fine it you lived in a world designed by you. Unfortunately you live in the real world and your point of view just makes you ... well forum decorum forbids me from going further.
 
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  • #8
phinds said:
That would all be fine it you lived in a world designed by you. Unfortunately you live in the real world and your point of view just makes you ... well forum decorum forbids me from going further.

I rather expected that, I just did not know who would say it.
 
  • #9
Dr.D said:
I rather expected that, I just did not know who would say it.
I can say it without being judgemental: since you didn't design the business model, the only thing in your power is whether you pay the waiter what is expected or not. If you treat it as a cumbersome but essential part of the price of the meal (which is exactly what it is), then you don't need to judge the waiter for his life situation and he doesn't need to judge you for violating convention.

Quick clarification though:
The tip is basically nothing more than an overcharge for your meal.
No it isn't. The business model allows a base pay below minimum wage with the expectation that tips will make up the difference. If tips were abolished, the base pay would go up and the menu meal price would go up.
 
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  • #10
Where I live it's fairly common (though not always), that when you pay for the meal you'll get a receipt stating that the price includes service.
In effect it's saying that tipping is not expected
 
  • #11
rootone said:
Where I live it's fairly common (though not always), that when you pay for the meal you'll get a receipt stating that the price includes service.
In effect it's saying that tipping is not expected
No, it's saying that tipping is included, not separate, and you don't get to decide the level of tipping.
 
  • #12
Where I live we don't tip, we pay proper wages, although there is sometimes a jar on the counter where people will put loose change which, is usually divided out equally amongst the staff.

Cheers
 
  • #13
phinds said:
Fair enough, phinds. Although, I don't mind making THIS ONE the be all and end all of tipping threads if people want to do that.

I think I come across random situations like this frequently enough where it'd be nice to get some ideas, so as to know I'm not being unreasonable. Having said that, I'm a play it safe guy. I always tip if I'm not sure, because: a.) I just feel bad if I stiff someone; and b.) if I return to the biz and they recognize me, then I don't want bad service the next time.

russ_watters said:
Given the hybrid setup, I'd probably hybridize my tip.

That was my thought too. I sort of did that and would have given 12% or so if I had the change. But I only had dollar bills, so gave a little more closer to a standard tip (though still on the low end). I've Googled Smashburger and tip and haven't found anything useful.

If you ask me, it's a weird business model too. Why not go completely paper? That way, your workers can just throw away the eatery stuff and not have to wash them. Five Guys burgers does that. This Smashburger place was just too weird for me. Caught me off guard, but dangggg their burger was pretty good! Fries were tasty too. On a random note, I'd give them a thumbs up for food if you're okay with paying $5-6/burger.
 
  • #14
Greg Bernhardt said:
If I have to go up and order myself, I don't tip. Anywhere a server comes out to me I tip 10-20% depending on service.

Dr.D said:
In the situation described by the OP, I would not dream of tipping. Who would you tip? The order taker at the counter? The person who brings the food to your table? Perhaps leave a tip by the trash bin when you clear your own waste? No way!

There has been a strange thing happen with tipping. There was a time when the tip was routinely 5%. Later, it went to 10%. Now, there are places where 20% or more expected. Why is this? The tip is basically nothing more than an overcharge for your meal. Is a greater overcharge somehow justified today as compared to long ago? I don't understand the whole idea of tipping.

For those who will tell me that tips are what the waiter/waitress gets for income, I have to say anyone who would work for tips alone is nuts. A worker should be paid by his/her employer and no one else. If the restaurant will not pay a decent wage, I strongly suggest finding other employment where your work will be properly paid by your emloyer. Working for tips alone is not very different from being a highway man, a bandit.

Hence why I was confused gentlemen. Dr. D, you don't throw your stuff in the trash. Rather, a quasi-server guy comes by to pick up your metal burger tray and plastic cup. You make a good point about who to tip though. It was weird as heck!

A girl brought my food out to me. I never saw her again. Then a guy came and checked up on me several times after that and would clear my finished stuff. And, of course, there's an order-taker, who I had to walk up to originally. Food and other service places are just getting weird nowadays.

re: tipping standards - I wonder if during the 5% tipping days if hourly wages were higher? I bussed tables before for the Clarion Hotel's restaurant over a summer once and we got a few bucks for our hourly + tips. I don't remember the exact hourly, but I think it was something like $3.50/hour and the rest we'd have to earn in tips. We made the bulk of our wages from tips and it was over min. wage on average. A few random days I'd get less than min. wage for that day's work, due to slow business. Pretty decent job and I kind of miss it for the quick same-day cash, but when I recall how heavy those buckets were to lift during busy hectic hours, I'm glad I'm in school now and hopefully won't have to go back to that type of physical labor!
 
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  • #15
Also, last week I called AAA for a car breakdown. Tipped the guy a few dollars for towing me 9 miles. Nice guy to chat with during my ride with him.

Anyone tip AAA?

And do you tip people who mow your lawn? Some are wage-earners for a "large" landscaping company, while others own their own small mowing business (doing both the work and management) and get all the profits.
 
  • #16
kyphysics said:
If you ask me, it's a weird business model too. Why not go completely paper? That way, your workers can just throw away the eatery stuff and not have to wash them.
Maybe the owners of Smashburger don't want to contribute to unnecessarily filling up the landfills, or the company is shooting for a slightly more upscale image than the traditional fast food joint.
 
  • #17
vela said:
Maybe the owners of Smashburger don't want to contribute to unnecessarily filling up the landfills, or the company is shooting for a slightly more upscale image than the traditional fast food joint.

Maybe, vela. Some interesting possibilities. :smile:

They do have a Panera-esque interior.

Does anyone tip for Panera dine-in meals? I haven't been a while, but last time I went they had ppl bring me food and clear my dishes too. I didn't tip. But, I almost always get Panera for to-go (99.9999% of the time), so didn't realize there might be a tipping custom with them. Totally didn't think about it.
 
  • #18
I pretty much follow Greg's rule of thumb. If I have to go up and order, I generally don't leave a tip. (I may if there's a tip jar at the counter.) I've never left a tip in Panera (and I don't recall seeing anyone leaving one).
 
  • #19
Dr.D said:
I don't understand the whole idea of tipping.

It certainly provides a big window into a persons ideals lol

I like the idea of tipping, it's a near perfect transaction.

The argument about they should just be paid more..the aggregate cost is the exact same...at least with tipping there is incentive for the other part of the value, the service + buyer control of price of the service...too bad the food preparation service isn't like that lol

even the idea it's a "hidden" income doesn't bother me as a tax payer...just makes the transaction that much "cleaner" and straight forward lol
 
  • #20
if you have a good heart, leave a 10% tip. otherwise, with that set-up, i won't leave any. call me stingy.
 

Related to Do I or Don't I? And How Much? -- The Tipping Thread

1. Do I have to tip for takeout orders?

It is not necessary to tip for takeout orders, but it is always appreciated. If the restaurant has provided exceptional service or has gone above and beyond for your takeout order, it is a nice gesture to leave a small tip.

2. How much should I tip for sit-down service?

The standard tip for sit-down service is 15-20% of the total bill. However, if the service was exceptional or below average, you can adjust the tip accordingly.

3. Do I tip for delivery orders?

Yes, it is customary to tip for delivery orders. The standard tip is 10-15% of the total bill, but you can adjust based on the distance of the delivery and the quality of service.

4. How much do I tip for a taxi or ride-share service?

The standard tip for a taxi or ride-share service is 15-20% of the total fare. If the driver provided exceptional service or went above and beyond, you can tip more.

5. Should I tip for services that already include a service charge?

If a service charge is already included, it is not necessary to tip additionally. However, if you feel the service was exceptional, you can leave a small tip on top of the service charge as a gesture of appreciation.

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