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Restaurant Week Gratuities

For RW, would you tip your server based on the RW prices? Or would you tip as if the items were at full price? Just wondering because there is a similar promotion for spas (not exactly the same industry, but similar pricing promotion), and I've heard people tend to tip as if the services were offered at regular price since regardless of the pricing promotion, the servers still have to do the same amount of work.

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  1. I absolutely tip at regular menu prices. The food is discounted, and (hopefully) not the service.

    1 Reply
    1. re: misssphinx

      I do too, but it was a bit difficult last year when i ended up at Saffron during RW by accident (they extended it). When the check came, it listed two RW meals at $30 each, and our menus were long gone. I tried to get in the ballpark and add to that, but it wasn't easy to remember.

    2. How do you know what the "regular" price is, though? I mean, they often have separate dishes or even a whole separate menu, not a discount off items on the regular menu. It just seems overly complicated. I mean, I guess I would tip more on the theory that the whole restaurant is full of people ordering cheaper meals, not just me. But in general, if the system is to tip on a percentage of the bill, then that's the system, whether it seems totally logical or not. (Which it doesn't--it's as much trouble for a server to bring me chicken as steak, but that's the way it is.) When it's not RW, I'm not going to tip a bigger percentage becauseI didn't order the most expensive things on the menu that night. I figure it will average out in the end.

      I guess I'm trying to say--it seems fair to throw in a little extra on the tip. But I would not go crazy trying to figure out a percentage of an imaginary bill for a meal you might have ordered in a parallel universe.

      1. The places I've been to have separate RW prixe fixe menus; there's no way to compare and come up with a 'full" price.

        1. In many cases in RW, (or the equivalent here in SF) portions are smaller, or quality is lower. (to go with the lower price). Tipping an amount for a 'full' price doesn't make sense in that case, and the spa analogy doesn't fit, unless they give you a shorter massage....

          1. You tip on your bill received, not some imaginary, proposed, average of the resto, least expensive, most expensive, bill that might have occurred had the moon been in the seventh house and the stars are aligned such that the tip outs eaual the proposed after tax rate that a server would have received on a full friday night if the tables turn four times.

            KISS - you receive a bill and you decide based on custom of a percentage. Ifthe custo would like to leave a few bucks more that's a nice gesture. But the sale clerk at the store hets his percentage on the sale price not the full price so why should a server be any different.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jfood

              Thank you, especially from one that does retail is is paid commission on what I sell, no matter what the price paid. Plus, I agree with others above. Often the food is not something on the regular menu and is of a different portion size. Too much work to decide how much to tip if it was on the regular menu. If the service was great, then just do a higher percentage. Ta da!

            2. I'm not generally a lavish tipper (15%-18% unless service is superlative), but during RW I always go higher, because it would be unfair to penalize the servers for the promotional menu. It's true that we may not know the regular prices - and besides, who want to bother with that arithmetic? - so I generally just tip at a higher percentage, usually 25%-33%.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Fida

                I see absolutely no reason to do that. The servers are usually turning more tables more quickly (because the set menu is quicker to get ordered and served and moved out), in my experience, and the restaurants are able to accommodate the extra business.

                1. re: Karl S

                  I'm not so sure about the quicker turnover. I use RW as an excuse to have lunch with people I rarely see, so we're very leisurely. And I see groups of people that seem to be using RW as a time for a celebratory gather, also very leisurely. I do think that places are booked more solidly, but I think the general consensus is that the restaurant loses money on RW, and one of the waiters at Gramercy Tavern confided to me that there's a movement to either discontinue it or morph it into something more lucrative.

              2. In this case, when its a restaurant driven promotion, I tip based on the price on the bill. When I've got a discount of some sort that I'm bringing in (coupon, gift certificate, etc) I tip on the total as though I were paying for that discounted portion as well. As susancinsf notes, RW menus do tend to be more limited, with smaller portions and fewer options...the restaurant is taking the price points into account when they set their menus and they also tend to book tables closer together in terms of time, so I don't think you need to take it upon yourself to worry about whether the wait staff is getting the short shrift...if they're doing their jobs well they're going to be just fine during restaurant week vs. some other random week.