Dr. Patty Ann and I went to see the Commodores in concert last night in Stamford. It is called the ‘Jazz Up July’ series. Held outdoors in downtown Stamford, CT. in Columbus Park. Sometimes we all bring lawn chairs and sit right near the stage if we arrive early enough. Our group of eight had reserved an outdoor table at one of the numerous restaurants in downtown Stamford with a view of the stage.
The weather was great with a slight breeze in the evening. The company, the music, the food and the beverages were all wonderful!
Because this event is a big draw, the majority of the restaurants include an 18% gratuity to the bill for food and beverage.
Here is the question:
Part 1: How do you find the level of service you are given in a restaurant when the gratuity is included in the bill as opposed to when the gratuity is not included?
Part 2: When you see that an 18% gratuity is going to be automatically added to the bill, would you add more of a gratuity to the final total – how much more and based upon what?
Feel free to share your viewpoint in the comments section.
My behavior is based upon previously owning a small bar/restaurant some years ago. Bartenders and wait staff are depending upon their tips to make their money. A smile, some small conversation and quality service and you are good to go with a 20% to 25% gratuity. How about you?
The other side of this equation is your business. Do you have a business where some of your employees obtain tips? Is the ‘tip jar’ a permissible item on the check out counter?
Where is the line drawn in asking for and giving a gratuity? How do your customers really feel about it?
Here are a few examples of these questions which are from the food industry.
Case 1: There is the ability to order food to go or to pick up and take out from numerous levels of restaurants and food establishments. The people who are packing up this order to be picked up are in fact making certain the order is correct and placing napkins and other paper or plastic wear into the bag with your food order. When you go to pick up this order and pay – do you leave a tip or not?
Case 2: You go through the Drive Thru area. You stop at the brightly lit menu and speak into the microphone your entire order. You drive through the line and arrive at the Drive Thru Window to pick up your order. There is the tip jar. Do you leave a tip or not?
A general question is where is the line? If you go to the office of your CPA or other professional would you expect to see a tip jar? If you did see one how would you feel about this service provider?
Case 3: If you physically enter a shop for your morning coffee drink or tea at a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts or other coffee shops, and as many people do now, you pay with the loaded rewards card from that company or directly on your iPhone – do you reach into your pocket and leave a tip? What if your specific style of beverage plus your morning sandwich is right there for you as soon as you walk into the door each and everyday?
It seems everyone has an opinion on this topic. It is a topic which many people say one thing and tend to do another. Only your bartender, waitress and barista know for sure.
Mitch Tublin is an advanced certified executive and personal coach who resides in Stamford, CT.
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