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Sep 2, 2007 03:19 PM

Is it time to stop/reduce tipping? (moved from LA)

I'm starting to feel more and more like a chump when I go out, get poor service and then still tip.
Is it just me?
I eat out a lot and have for decades. I tip well, generally 25-30% of the post tax total.
I've worked in restaurants in almost all positions at one time or another. I know what the staff goes through
I realize that aside from very high end dining. Los Angeles doesn't really have good waiters, generally just entertainment types between gigs. Still, I want good service and at a minimun, my food delivered as ordered and basic requests handled in a polite and efficient manner. Is that too much to ask?
I'm begening to think I might as well quit automatically tipping . If the service is already poor? what's the point?
And Yes, I could also write pages about all the wonderful restaurant workers who go above and beyond their job and the great meals they have helped make. They are not who I"m writing about. I'm happy tipping even with just adequate service.
Have we all been "guilt tripped" into thinking we should tip no matter what? I know waiters are taxed based on assumed tips. Perhaps they shouldn't work with an assumed tip attitude?
Your thoughts?

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  1. I have no doubt whatsoever that tipping should not be compulsory. You get poor service, you give no tip. It's only common sense. The only thing I disagree with in your post is that you say "aside from high end dining, Los Angeles doesn't really have good waiters." That is not true. High-end dining does not guarantee high-end service, and more inexpensive dining does not mean poorer service. A good waiter/waitress does not treat customers based on the level of pay they receive or the rating of the restaurant. Some of the best wait staff are in the non-trendy places and some of the most sniveling, snide staff reside in the fancy ones.

    1 Reply
    1. re: monkuboy

      Yep, I may have been a bit broad. What I meant to refer to was waiters who are a professional waiter and not just doing it between gigs. I agree with your poing

    2. wow. 25-30% is mighty generous. 20% is my average.

      1 Reply
      1. re: steve h.

        Yeah, me too. And I'm more apt to give that (or a little more) at a low-end place where the waiters are working just as hard as those at high-end places for a lot less money.

      2. my wife and i eat out quite a bit. thanks to this website we have found many great places that were not known to us before. the quality of food is obviously important to us, but we both enjoy cooking and are quite good at it, so to go out, service and atmosphere are almost more important than food.

        my approach to tipping is very simple (i'm a simple guy!). everyone starts at 10% and can work their way in either direction. 15% is pretty easy, and, if the service is truly outstanding, 25-30% and even more is not out of the question. on the other hand, though it takes some effort, 5-10% does happen on occasion, and i have (only a couple of times) left 2 cents. when that has happened i have always let the manager know what has gone on, though one time i was dealing with the owner's wife!

        i don't think that tips should be "assumed".

        1. Trouble is, in some places waiters are paid much less than minimum wage with the expectation that tips will make up the difference. (I remember when we voted in Oregon to raise the minimum wage, the restaurant association tried to get the legislature to allow them to pay less and make up with tips, and it didn't fly. The restaurant association claimed all its restaurants would go broke. I don't think they went out of business at anything more than the normal rate.)

          Tips ought to be, in my opinion, a bonus for good service, not something waiters have to have in order to make a decent wage. But as long as that's the case, I'll tip reasonably generously. I've worked in restaurants, and I know it ain't an easy job.

          4 Replies
          1. re: revsharkie

            In CA, waitstaff is required to receive at least minimum wage.

            1. re: mojoeater

              Is that in all of CA or just SF? Just wondering because I live here and the argument of "you really should tip something" is because they are making a lot less than minimum wage.

              1. re: boltnut55

                All of CA:

                In SF, minimum wage is $9.14/hr. The rest of CA, it's $7.50.

            2. re: revsharkie

              I've had the job too. I understand, but am begining to think too many waiteres dont care about their service and just assume the tip will be there so there is no incentive to actually work well.

            3. What caught me wasn't just the "generally 25-30%" but the "post tax".

              Regardless how generous one wishes to be, why would anyone ever tip on the tax?

              I haven't had many opportunties to dine in "fine" LA establishments, but I'm surprised that your comments indicate restos at the top end hire average to middling waitstaff instead of searching out and/or training professionals to their standards.