December 8, 2013
BrandingBlog by Dave Young
Marketing Advice and Advertising Strategy for Local Business Owners
This is the bottom of a check at a restaurant. What do you think of this? Is it a good customer experience or presumptive?
If I had a good to great customer experience with an excellent server, I would be grateful for the help. If I had a crappy meal with poor service, this would piss me off. In fact, I would appreciate the same information on 3%, 5% and 10%. In this way I could give them a better rating of my experience!
Love this. Assume your staff does a good job and lead the customer to where you want them to be. No problems with this at all.
Helpful, especially if vino is present in the bloodstream. Very common in nice places here in Cal.
A well deserved application. Simply a suggestive reminder that here in the U.S. of A. waitstaff DO NOT GET PAID. What they receive from the employer is basically a minimal down payment on the taxes they must pay on their tips.
For example, in the state of N.J. the minimum wage is currently $7.50 per hour. That’s what you’ll pay your dishwasher for example. However if you can prove that your servers will make at least that much in tips in 1 hour then you are required to only pay them a mere … $2.13 .
As a result whether you have customers to wait on or not – a server must work for 3 and 1/2 hours to make the same pay as that dishwasher makes in only 1 hour. So a server working a 7 hour shift receives only 2 hours of minimum wage pay.
I may be biased but I hardly call that pay. Rather it’s more realistically merely a minimal contribution towards the taxes you further have to pay on tips the server earned.
Most folks also do not understand that most restaurants also require a server to pay off a nearlly a full THIRD of those tips earned in a shift to other staff members. For example you must pay 11.5% of your tips to your busboy. Then a full 10% goes to the food runner – the person who delivers the plated food from the kithchen on a tray and brings onto the restaurant floor near the guests table and sometimes (but not always) lays the food down in front of the customer. Finally another 8.5% is then distributed to the service bartender who creates the drinks that the server then delivers to the customer at the table. (to be paid even if you never even served any drinks at all for that shift)
So nearly a third of your tips are taken off the top upon settlement (30% total). Then your remaining 70% is subject to the usual state – federal – and local tax requirements. If the bill was paid in cash you are also required to claim a full 15% tip on it even if you did NOT GET a full 15% tip on that bill. (So some tables actually force the server to pay out of his/her own pocket for the privilege of having to wait on you.)
People seem to accept that if you have kids and go out to eat you’ve got to PAY extra for a baby sitter. Some locations may require that you may have to pay a local parking garage or put money in the meter for parking your car. People have complete acceptance and understanding of those extra costs. But when it comes to tipping they view tipping servers in America as a nuisance and a rip-off.
Least of all do they remember the extra demands when they fail to order off the menu and add extra reqiurements of how they want their food – drink – and service demands to be handled.
Thanks Don! Great explanation. Another side to the story…this was in Portland, OR where servers are required to be paid minimum wage, unlike other states, where servers MUST rely on tips for the bulk of their pay. Does that make any difference?
is it illegal for a server to question their customer as to where there tip when being stiffed.
Oh em gee….utterly ridiculous!!! A tip is a courtesy. Unfortunately, if someone relies on this subjective method then it’s a personal problem if the tip is stiffed. If I feel forced to pay, I usually feel “encouraged” to pay less than listed…considerably less or nothing…tips are not mandatory. frickin A
Living in a non-tipping country, I find this a bit insulting! I have heard that US waitresses get something stupid like $7 an hour – is that true? I think minimum wage here is about $15, I’m not sure though.
I'm Dave Young, a senior Partner at the Wizard of Ads group. Read More…
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