Tipping, Bribes and Wine
How much do you tip in a restaurant?
I tend to go wit a standard 20%. If the service is just south of par I give the server the benefit of the doubt and continue along with the 20%. If the service is really bad, I go south of 20%.
The interesting question is, do you apply that 20% to the wine you ordered. I never do, at least if it’s a bottle of wine I’ve bought. Part of the service I’m tipping for is for th waiter to bring me my meal, and the bottle of wine is part of my meal.
An interesting article appeared today in the SF Chronicle about a group of servers that has formed to convince restaurants to add a standard 20% service fee to the check. If this were done, would you also tip? I probably would not…unless the service were so stellar that it surprised me.
But here’s thing about tipping: There is a big difference between the tip you give at a restaurant and the tip you give in other circumstances. As the article in the SF Chronicle notes, "Tipping is about buying social approval." There is no question about this and the key is that the tip comes after the service has been rendered. In other words, the tip is actually a payment for service. The key to understanding the power of the tip is in understanding when it is offered.
Tips in advance of service rarely happen in a restaurant setting. It’s outside the restaurant setting when I really start to think about my tipping practices.
In other words, I’m thinking about the power of the
A pre-tip in my mind is an investment. You’re using it to let a service person know there there is good reason to pay attention to you. There are a number of situations in which
bribing pre-tipping is an excellent investment:
1. IN A CROWDED BAR WHERE YOU WILL BE FOR A WHILE
In this case you want to be sure that the server gets back to you on a regular basis. If the first round of drinks costs $20 and I know I’m going to want more rounds an the place is crowded, I’ll usually give the server an extra $10 and simply say, "will you check on us in a while?"
2. UPON CHECKING INTO A HOTEL WHERE YOU WILL BE STAYING A WHILE.
If the cost of your room is between $200-$300 per night, a $50 tip to the person checking you in will often get you an upgraded room. It’s a simple procedure. Put a $50 bill on the counter and ask if they could look to see if any upgraded rooms are available.
3. THE CONCIERGE
If I’m going to be using the services of the Concierge over the net few days I’ll go over to them, introduce myself, ask a very simple question that can be answer with no effort, then leave them with a $20 tip. .
Finally, what about tipping in a winery tasting room? I’ve done it on occasion to reward really top notch service, but that is very rare. Today’s article by Peg Melnik in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat explains it best:
"No need to pester the tasting room staff about its tipping policy.
Here’s the story, plain and simple: There’s no expectation to tip.
pretty much the general rule," said Philippe Thibault, hospitality
operations manager of Chateau St. Jean. "Once you pay a fee, you’re not
expected to tip." Fees typically range from $5 to $20. Of course, if a
customer offers a gratuity in recognition of a particularly helpful and
informative staff, they won’t say no. "We tell the staff to keep it
because it’s awkward to say ‘thanks but no thanks,’" Thibault said."