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Mangaluru: Leaving Rs 20 Tips on Rs 9300 Bill- Is it Fair? Treat Waiters with Gratitude and Gratuity

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By Alfie D'Souza, Illinois [ Published Date: December 6, 2014 ]

Mangaluru: If you have ever worked for tips you have probably formulated your own, albeit unscientific, conclusions about what kinds of people are bad tippers-Entrepreneurs? Doctors? Teachers? Religious Persons? Rich people? Poor people? Students? The young or elderly? and of course, Indians? The better you treat and respect a waiter/server, the better service you will get-that's for sure. Sometimes when I dine out with my friends, I feel ashamed, how less they tip the servers - many a times I myself have offered extra tips to the servers on behalf of my "cheap" friends.

Among all the jobs in the world, restaurant waiters fall into the class of jobs where there is a lot of interaction with both customers and co-workers. Waiters sometimes have to seat a customer, take the order, tend to the customer while their order is being prepared, and bring the customer their order. The waiters also have to communicate the orders properly to the chefs, prepare the final check for the customer, take money from the customer and deliver it to the restaurant they work for. In addition to that, waiters have to address any and all concerns a customer may have.

I have dined with many people who treat waiters very badly. From having bad attitude to scolding waiters verbally and openly, many people have the idea that waiters are second class citizens that should be treated badly because of being there to serve customers for tips. “The waiter is serving me, and I leave their kind a tip. Thus I do not have to be nice with them, and simply must order them around.” It is one thing to realize waiters are being extra nice to get tips. It is a completely unrelated thing to make them go through extra stressful tests just to release any unrelated stress yourself or to feel superior.

Many customers do not realize that it is mostly the chefs that make the food, and not the waiters. If the food is bad, it is all right to associate it with the chef and also the waiter. Sure, the waiter works at the same establishment and may represent the food too, but the waiter did not prepare the food directly. Therefore, if your food is bad, it may be all right to express your frustration and disappointment to the waiter. It may not be a good reason to blame the waiter for the bad food entirely, however. The waiter simply wants you to have a good time so that you can like them and leave a good tip. Blaming them for bad food usually only results in them hating both you and the chef.

This is probably the most important point from the perspective of the waiters. Yes, almost all restaurants pay the waiters very less monthly salary. Some waiters at a small/medium class restaurant earn mere Rs 3000-4000 a month, with long working hours. I pity these workers, although these waiters are doing a job and getting paid,however, many people leave waiters very small tips instead of reasonable tips. I personally am of the belief that waiters should usually not be tipped unless they do a very good job. However, some of the reasoning of many other people, including the reason that many restaurants pay their waiters a very low salary because of the idea of tips, makes me realize that this belief of mine needs more customization. Therefore, I recommend tipping the waiter more than just a small tip, if possible, when the waiter has done a good job.

Yes, food is a very yummy and risky business. Waiters have to take all the custom orders as fast as possible, by either memorizing the orders or writing them down somewhere. If the waiter forgets to give you regular water instead of mineral water or even gives you a rava fried fish instead of a tava fried, simply point it out.

If the food was bad, some nearby customer was annoying, the seating arrangement was uncomfortable or the music in the background was too loud, the waiter probably could not do anything about such things. If you believe in the idea of tipping a waiter, realize that the waiter is to be tipped based on his or her performance as a waiter, and not on other things, even if they are in the restaurant. Only if something the waiter does is bad or has direct power over and refuses to fix that bad something, specially after you point it out, should you consider taking out your disappointment in the tip as a logical connection to dealing with the waiter.

This is probably the point of all points. This is where majority of the people treat waiters and food like religion, expecting the waiters to either follow suit or get burnt. Instead, the customers should communicate with the waiter and arrive at a compromise. If the waiter is acting rude, tell them they are rude by being nice yourself and let them know you would like them to be different. If you do not want to be bothered by the waiter while you eat, let them know about it too. Bring up your preferences or observations in front of the waiter, if they bother you or if you think they can help your experience, while also considering the actual preferences or comfortableness of the waiter.

How much to tip at a restaurant depends on the class of the restaurant, your server, the size of your party, and the quality of the service. Different cultures have different expectations, so exact percentages vary depending on where you are in the world. Generally, however, tips range from 10% to 20% of the meal's cost, before tax.When eating at a restaurant or café, a tip of 10% is common. At a bar or at the counter, service isn't considered a big part of the meal so 10% or reasonable tip amount is usually adequate. Large parties of seven people or more should expect to pay at least 20%, and this gratuity may be automatically included in your bill. Tipping for a buffet can be more complex. At a fast-food buffet, tipping is unnecessary. If a waiter serves drinks, however, it is fine to tip a small amount. At high-end buffets, a tip of 15% to 20% is common, and this may be automatically included on your bill.

According to a captain/server at a popular pub in the city, who spoke to me said, " Sir, these students/youngsters who come here are mostly from rich families, some of them treat us like we have been hired by their parents, and few are rude to us. And specially when it comes to tipping many of them are bad- some tip Rs 20-30 on a bill ranging from Rs 7000-Rs 9000. We can't do much, instead accept what we are offered as tips for our good service, although we are not happy with it. Couple days ago, there was a party for 25 people, and 4 waiters and a captain served that group for nearly 4 hours, and bill was Rs 23,646- guess how much they left us as tips. Rs 120?- Even we didn't add any service charge on the bill.

I have also noticed our desi people, they will not use words like Sorry, Thank you or Please, and I am talking about educated, affluent ones (What happened to lakhs of rupees spent on education but three Golden Words not taught, Sorry Thank You and Please), they think that restaurant staff are like servants in their house, whom they can make them run around as many times as they like. The worst bit is clicking fingers, or calling waiters like they are calling their pet animals. Restaurants are a place to display and experience Civility, Charm and Courtesy, and its a two way process, treat restaurant workers with respect and you will get experience of life time, treat them like Ramu Kaka and you will be ignored, If Indians travelling abroad don't want to leave a tip that's absolutely fine, acting like Prima Donnas not acceptable. Even though I am American citizen now, but I am a born Indian, may be I should put up a video on You Tube about Etiquette to eat in a restaurant.

Besides the waiters, several other staff members will likely expect tips at a four-star/high-class restaurant. Take Out and Delivery-When picking up food at a restaurant, tipping is uncommon and not always expected. The person taking and preparing your order is providing you with service, however, so consider giving a small tip will be nice. If your order was complicated or the person who took the order was especially helpful — for example, if you didn't have a menu available — a tip on the higher end of the scale would be appropriate. Many restaurants that offer delivery include a charge for the service, but this does not take the place of a tip. Delivery people should be tipped 10% or more or reasonably in most cases. If the driver delivered the food especially quickly or during rain or bad weather, you should usually tip more.

Bear in mind that food and service are separate issues. A tip is generally given based on the quality of service, not the food, ambiance, or any entertainment. If the food was bad but the service was good, for example, complain to the manager about the food, but tip the server for his or her efforts. On the other hand, if the food was good but the meal was ruined by poor service, a lower tip is appropriate. No matter the restaurant, adding few percent to the tip is a good idea when the server has worked particularly hard or gone out of his or her way to make your meal pleasant. This shows that you acknowledge and appreciate the quality service you have received. In addition, leaving good tips can help ensure that you continue to receive good service in the future.

People should educate themselves, service tax is a government levy. Reflect TAX to Government. The Dal and Roti you eat at home is not the same when you dine out. One should hug their moms/sisters/who ever for preparing your meals only then you will be able to spread the love around and not take people for granted. The restaurant industry is not all profit and many run empty and have a lot of wastage which must be considered when paying servers. Servers do get the rough end of the deal and so look towards the dinners kindness.

In conclusion, to all those customers out there who are decent and nice people, I can tell you that many waiters/captains don’t really care about the money, they want you to treat them and respect them like you respect others. They don't want you to make them your slaves. They sincerely thank you for coming into their restaurant and give them a little bit of hope in our day. Something little like the way you treat others when you go out can really have a great impact on someone, whether that be lifting them up so they can get by, or tearing them down with your negativity. You can say a lot for yourself by your conduct at a restaurant. Like one said in here, if you were not happy with the service you call the manager and tip becomes an option. Until then put yourself in the shoes of humanity. Do unto others as you would like others do unto you. So next time you dine at your favourite restaurant, and the waiter provided you the "good service" please make sure you give "good tips". Thank you, and I hope that the waiters/servers/captains will thank me for this article on their behalf.

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vinu, India :
Suresh Kamath. Your comment suggesting Tipping practice was practiced by the Britishers on the Indian fellows serving them to show their superiorness and treat Indians as slaves & treat them low is absurd. The amount of money the waiters earn is next to nothing. As a matter of fact tipping should be encouraged so the waiters would make a decent living.
Suresh Kamath, India :
No! No!. I don't agree with any of the above explanations. Waiters are employees of the Restaurant Owners. On behalf of the restaurants, the waiter services are given to the customers for which any cost has already been recovered by the Restaurant bill.
Tipping has been a western culture to please the servers to extract added advantages from them. This practice was exercised mostly by the Britishers on the Indian fellows serving them to show their superioress and treat Indians as slaves & treat them low. This practice should be stopped.
Therefore, the present generation should not practice taking unaccounted or illegal money which will make them weak and bias in their work culture.
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