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Banning Bad Tippers

post #1 of 72
Thread Starter 
                         
endearing about Samurai steakhouses in the Benihana mold. I'd always assumed it was the chefs' talent for flipping itty-bitty shrimp into their toques, or their ability to simultaneously pun and chop onions. But it turns out there's an even better reason to love Japanese steakhouses – their owners stand up for their servers.

While I can't vouch for official policy at all of the many Japanese steakhouses across the country, Kanpai Japanese Steak and Seafood House in Winston-Salem made headlines last week when it banned a bad tipper from ever eating there again.

"We can't keep continuing to serve her anymore because the servers and chefs are not willing to serve her," manager Michael Lam told a local television station.

Monica Covington clearly wasn't leaving bad tips because she was so dissatisfied with her experience at Kanpai. According to reports, she's dined there multiple times, and seems to be intent on remaining a customer. After she was refused service, she collected hundreds of signatures on a petition accusing the restaurant of unfairly standing between her and her teppanyaki.
 

Like many bad tippers, Covington apparently assumed it was her right to forgo tipping. But she forgot that restaurants also have the right to turn her away.

It's a right that's not exercised too frequently, partly because restaurant owners risk raising the specter of a civil rights violation. (It didn't go unnoticed in Winston-Salem -- a city with a long history of fractured race relations -- that Covington was black.) In my experience as a server, the only guests I've seen ejected from restaurants are those who've publicly engaged in illegal activities. Managers will typically usher out patrons who use drugs, have sex or hit someone in the dining room – all of which happen in even the finest establishments.

But perhaps it's time to shoo away bad tippers with the same vehemence. If restaurant owners can't find money in their budgets to pay servers a decent wage, shouldn't they require guests to pick up the slack? Or at least make the most notorious offenders feel unwelcome? A restaurant isn't a public place like a school, where everyone's guaranteed admission no matter how badly they behave. Kudos to Kanpai for remembering that.

Filed under: Restaurants
Tags: customer service, featured, kanpai, kanpai japanese steak and seafood house, KanpaiJapaneseSteakAndSeafoodHouse, restaurant etiquette, tipping, waitress stories, WaitressStories, winston-salem

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Banning Bad Tippers - What Can I Get You Folks? - Slashfood 

This is a article by, Hanna Raskin
 
What do you guys think, have we gone to far ??????????????....Why not have the sign in this Restaurant say......
              
                                                          "welcome, please wait to be seated"
                                                                   TIPPING MANDATORY

      ...................................................................CHEF BILL...........................................

Edited by ChefBillyB - 3/5/10 at 8:48am
post #2 of 72
Hey, Bill, why don't you be the first to put up such a sign. Then let us know the name of the new place you're working, cuz your current one will be closed in a week for lack of patrons.

No matter the industry rationale for tipping, the fact remains that to tip or not remains the perogative of the one being served. Are there abuses? You betcha! But more times than not, if a tip isn't left it's because the server didn't deserve one.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #3 of 72
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

Hey, Bill, why don't you be the first to put up such a sign. Then let us know the name of the new place you're working, cuz your current one will be closed in a week for lack of patrons.

No matter the industry rationale for tipping, the fact remains that to tip or not remains the perogative of the one being served. Are there abuses? You betcha! But more times than not, if a tip isn't left it's because the server didn't deserve one.

I agree, how did we get to a point that a discretionary charge, became mandatory ??? would you eat at this restaurant, with its unwritten rule ????????. This Restaurant is telling everyone that if you don't tip, your not welcome. I think its wrong.............Chef Bill
post #4 of 72

Whether bad tippers are stingy, ignorant or acting on 'principal',  the amount they leave should be up to them.  However, if this restaurant believes in what they are doing, perhaps they ought to raise their prices by 20%,  put it on the menu that gratuities are included,  and simply give the increase to the server.  How smart is that?  Many patrons love a place where tips are automatically included. 

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post #5 of 72
I don't think it's all that bad. If she has managed to offend every single one of the cooks why should she be allowed to stay? If the same guy came in twice a week for a month got drunk and abusive paid his bill and left no tip. i betcha at the end of the month I would be out of servers willing to wait on him cause I didn't provide a decent workplace. She is probably the same woman who would order off the kids menu and then expect the free dessert too.
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post #6 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by amazingrace View Post

Whether bad tippers are stingy, ignorant or acting on 'principal',  the amount they leave should be up to them.  However, if this restaurant believes in what they are doing, perhaps they ought to raise their prices by 20%,  put it on the menu that gratuities are included,  and simply give the increase to the server.  How smart is that?  Many patrons love a place where tips are automatically included. 

Here here
"Ye can lead a man up to the university, but ye can't make him think."

Finley Peter Dunne
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"Ye can lead a man up to the university, but ye can't make him think."

Finley Peter Dunne
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post #7 of 72
>Many patrons love a place where tips are automatically included.  <

Wish you could quantify that "many,"  cuz I don't believe it.

Personally, I don't know anybody like that, and wouldn't patronize a restaurant with such a policy. It just promotes mediocre service. Why should a server do a particularly good job if, at the end of the day, the pay will be the same?
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #8 of 72
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post

I don't think it's all that bad. If she has managed to offend every single one of the cooks why should she be allowed to stay? If the same guy came in twice a week for a month got drunk and abusive paid his bill and left no tip. i betcha at the end of the month I would be out of servers willing to wait on him cause I didn't provide a decent workplace. She is probably the same woman who would order off the kids menu and then expect the free dessert too.
 
How could you compare her to a person that gets drunk, and abusive. The article says nothing about her being rude or unruly. Looks like the employees run this restaurant, maybe if the owner had some nuts, he would have done things differently....................Chef Bill
post #9 of 72
fair enough,  says nothing about her being a drunk or abusive, it's an unfair comparison. However I suspect that the customer has other issues then just being cheap.
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #10 of 72
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post

fair enough,  says nothing about her being a drunk or abusive, it's an unfair comparison. However I suspect that the customer has other issues then just being cheap.
 

Hey Gunnar, you would think, I know we have all had some people in our Restaurant that we wished on others. Look at the interview with the manager, no one really has anything bad to say about her, except the tip deal...................Go figure...........Chef Bill
post #11 of 72
well, of course the manager is just going to say it's about bad tipping. That's managerese for "she's got all sorts of issues, the one we are picking for the public record is bad tipping, that way we can't be sued for libel or slander."
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #12 of 72
What an awful situation.  The woman comes in and patronizes the restaurant repeatedly and then gets booted for not leaving a tip.  I think it's absurd to ban her from the restaurant.  Things could have been dealt with more properly.  First of all, what did they do?  Pull her aside and tell her they couldn't wait on her again?  I think a more appropriate way of dealing with it would have been for the manager to have a conversation with the woman about the purpose of gratuity.  Furthermore it should have been explained to her that none of the servers wanted to serve her due to her lack of generosity and that service wouldn't be available unless she contributes.  A restaurant should have an open door policy and have given her the chance to leave on her own accord.  "You are welcome at our restaurant any time however we can no longer force our wait staff to serve you when they knowingly know that they cannot make their earnings from your table."

Regarding inclusive gratuity:  I'm not opposed to this, I've seen this work in europe.  Yes there are instances where service is not as high quality as you would like but to be honest I don't see much difference in service here where most waiters/waitresses feel entitled to 15% regardless of service.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #13 of 72
Thread Starter 
Gunner, I say, charge a "Per Person Service Charge" of $2.50 to $3.00 per person, cut and dry. I don't know where this whole thing came up about a % of the bill. Why would it cost more to tip a person, because their meal cost more, was the costlier meal more work, or heavier ?????................Chef Bill
post #14 of 72
It's incredible to me that you can read all sorts of things into a person's behaviour when all you know is one thing about her.

I can think of all sorts of reasons why she might not think tipping is appropriate in one of those places.

Gunner, let me ask you this. If you attend a concert, do you then go backstage and tip the performers? Do you tip the clowns at the circus? How about the bullriders at the rodeo?

For many people, tapanyaki (sp) is just a show; the food is secondary. And they're not even aware that there are separate servers (who, most often, merely deliver a drink and then disappear).

I'm not saying that's the case here. Just that I'm not so quick to call names when I don't know the circumstances.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #15 of 72
Actually yes, I have thrown money on a stage for a performer, several times. Once was a time when people did it as a show of how much they appreciated the performance, where do you think the idea of a tip came from?
As far as reading into anything, people are complex and no news story is going to get the full picture and no restaurant manager is gonna tell the complete truth when it comes to a customer or ex-customers behaviour and why they are no longer welcome.

I actually like KouKouvagia's idea. Come on in, earn yourself a bad reputation and noone will wait on you.


p.s. I am not an artillery man, the name is Gunnar
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #16 of 72
I would hate to think that if my mother or grandmother, on a fixed income , and who may not have understood that waiters and waitresses are not paid a living wage but depend on their tips to make up part of their income, were to be asked not to patronize a restraunt because the manager didnt have the were with all to at least go to their table and ask if there was a problem with the service since no tips had been left, and to explain how these staffers are paid.  Shame on them!  They do not know this persons circumstances and there for shouldnt have jumped to assume she was cheap.

And personally although iam not totally opposed to included tips, but  what recourse is there for bad service but to tattle to the manager.  I perfer to make my statements on service with a tip.  If there is a problem with the food that is not the waitstaffs fault I dont figure that into the tip. 

There iam getting off my soapbox now.  
post #17 of 72
>Actually yes, I have thrown money on a stage for a performer, several times....<

Does that include performances which did not include G-strings and a pole?

>Once was a time when people did it as a show of how much they appreciated the performance,<

Once was a time when we bombarded poor performers with rotted fruit and even feces. We don't do that anymore either.

Or are you suggesting that would be an appropriate response to bad service in a restaurant?

The point is, without knowing one way or another, you attribute all sorts of behavioral characterists to a women who is a total stranger to you. And you offer these unfounded opinions as catagorical statements of fact.

Must be nice to be all-knowing.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #18 of 72
Thread Starter 
Lack of tipping properly, is not a good enough excuse, for a server to refuse to serve a customer. I would tell my server, its their job to serve the customer. the only reason, I would see as a good reason, is if there was a personality conflict, or the server wasn't treated well during other visits. Its up to the employees to put the restaurant first, if I owned that restaurant, and a server refused service for lack of a proper tip, the server would be gone. The Manager needs to manage their employees, its not up to the server to dictate, who they will, or will not serve.....................Chef Bill
Edited by ChefBillyB - 3/6/10 at 8:24am
post #19 of 72
wow, Sorry to have disturbed you so much. First off, only ever been to a strip club twice, both times they were bachelor parties for someone else.  The times I am referring to are actually Renaissance and Theatre Festivals, "Pass the Hat"  style of performances. not unlike tipping a street musician. I don't seem to recall talking about throwing food , so I'll just ignore that one.

As far as attributing characteristics to someone, I already said I had made an unfair comparison and withdrew the statement, I didn't delete the post for continuity of the conversation. I then did make the following statement of I SUSPECT she has other issues then just being cheap.  I don't see how that makes me all-knowing, just aware that people and situations are more complex then they seem.



KYH, I truly apologize if you have been offended, I have always enjoyed your posts and book reviews and generally regard you as a helpful and knowledgeable person. I just don't agree that the restaurant doesn't have the right to ban someone and accept the fallout that happens with that action. As (usually) the largest male in the restaurant I myself have had to politely eject more then one customer in my duties at the behest of managers and owners alike. It happens, life isn't a black and white newspaper. story.
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post #20 of 72
>I just don't agree that the restaurant doesn't have the right to ban someone and accept the fallout that happens with that action.<

I never claimed, nor even implied, otherwise. A restaurant owner always has the right to serve, or not serve, anybody (except in those rare instances where the law specifies they cannot).

Like you, I suspect there is more to the story. But I don't presume to know what those other factors might be. That's where we differ.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #21 of 72
The whole thing seems silly to me. Tips are like the lottery, sometimes you win and sometimes you don't. Most people in the industry tip more than the average 15%, I think most people going out to dinner do so as well--maybe I am wrong here but bear with me.
The one person who does not tip is made up by the people who tip more than the 15% and the occasional person who gives way more than the 20%, that does happen I have seen it myself.
The servers should suck it up, the one bad apple stinks for sure but it is not like they aren't paying the bill that would be a different story. The point is they are coming in and keeping the restaurant open. Since the customer likes the place and most likely brings friends too it is still beneficial to have them. If the server is exceptional perhaps the manager might give the server some $$$ for the continued service.
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post #22 of 72
Hehe.. Gunnar and Kentucky Heirloomer goin' at it      . While you two are at it, I want to see a little more of this and  maybey some of this  but in the end we can all do this   .  

 
"Ye can lead a man up to the university, but ye can't make him think."

Finley Peter Dunne
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"Ye can lead a man up to the university, but ye can't make him think."

Finley Peter Dunne
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post #23 of 72
lol, I really don't know what the issue is. just stating my opinion. as I am sure that KYH is too.  I just didn't resort to minor name calling or saying that ones opinion is a fact. I will guess I shall have to strive to make that clear in the future. peace.
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post #24 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by rat View Post

The whole thing seems silly to me. Tips are like the lottery, sometimes you win and sometimes you don't. Most people in the industry tip more than the average 15%, I think most people going out to dinner do so as well--maybe I am wrong here but bear with me.
The one person who does not tip is made up by the people who tip more than the 15% and the occasional person who gives way more than the 20%, that does happen I have seen it myself.
The servers should suck it up, the one bad apple stinks for sure but it is not like they aren't paying the bill that would be a different story. The point is they are coming in and keeping the restaurant open. Since the customer likes the place and most likely brings friends too it is still beneficial to have them. If the server is exceptional perhaps the manager might give the server some $$$ for the continued service.

Haha brilliant.  You're right.  I've never seen a server receive well over 20% gratuity and say to the customer "Sir, you overtipped me, here's some money back."  The article states that she is a repeat customer and isn't it more important to try to keep her business than to oust her for not tipping?  The fact of the matter is that tipping is not mandatory, it simply isn't and if I were this woman I might sue.  As a waiter you're taking a risk that some people will tip well while others may not tip at all.  I was a server, I didn't get tipped several times and from others I got more than enough.  It's just the nature of the industry.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #25 of 72
All this over one person who doesn't tip.
One person.
So what happens then, the waitron ends up earning an amount more closely to what they are actually claiming to the IRS?
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post #26 of 72
more closely to what they are actually claiming to the IRS?

You mean they normally aren't? I'm shocked. Shocked I tell you!

Actually had an experience the other day that made me wonder. I never put tips on credit cards. Having been a server, I figure whether to report them is the server's business. So I needed some smaller bills. Put the lunch on a card, and asked her if she could break a 20 for me. No problem doing it, but she'd was curious as to why.

When I explained my policy she really was shocked. Apparently she and all her friends always report all tips, so it didn't matter to her whether they were in cash or not.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #27 of 72
I wonder how Thomas Keller is fairing at the French Laundry where he banned "tipping" and replaced it with a "20% service charge"?
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post #28 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

 Apparently she and all her friends always report all tips, so it didn't matter to her whether they were in cash or not.


Interesting, that.  When I waitressed the house didn't even bother to show interest in server's tips.   The tips paid electronically were just deducted from our cashout at the end of shift.  We voluntarily contributed to a pot to tip out the kitchen staff; the house did not get involved.  The closest there was of house involvement was with the bar tender's tips; the owner would take our tally, buy out the change, and divvy it up equally for each of us.
post #29 of 72
No, Charron, I don't mean reported to the house.

When a tip is put on a credit card it gets reported to the IRS. Part of the house's bookkeeping. When a tip is paid in cash, it's the server's option whether to report it or not. Legally, he/she is supposed to. But how many actually do?

When I was serving I took care of the staff myself. One of the things that always amazed me were the number of servers (we were called waiters and waitresses in those days) who saw no reason to share their tips. Somehow, the relationship between that and slow bussing, and a shortage of clean dishes never occured to them.

Of course, they tended to be the same ones who complained about how you couldn't make a living as a server. Meanwhile, I was taking home more than the chef.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #30 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

When a tip is put on a credit card it gets reported to the IRS. Part of the house's bookkeeping. When a tip is paid in cash, it's the server's option whether to report it or not. Legally, he/she is supposed to. But how many actually do?
 

That must be a big difference between Canada and the 'States.  No one tracks tips here, beyond the servers themselves, that I'm aware of.  Come tax time, it's expected that a server should claim gratuities income based on 10% of thier paycheques. (which, of course, is silly.  I could make hourly wage of around $60 per night with tips averaging $300 per night) 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

When I was serving I took care of the staff myself. One of the things that always amazed me were the number of servers (we were called waiters and waitresses in those days) who saw no reason to share their tips. Somehow, the relationship between that and slow bussing, and a shortage of clean dishes never occured to them.
 


I think I was pretty lucky where I worked.  We were all good friends, and no one would even consider not tipping out the kitchen staff, generously.  We took care of each other, FOH and BOH.  Sure, the servers kept a larger part of the tips than we gave the kitchen staff but no one griped.  After all, servers were the 'face' and had to take any customer flak for both thier own behaviour and the performance of the kitchen.

Ever notice how servers tend to be very good tippers?  I think if more ppl gave the job a try there would be far less 'bad tippers'.  Perhaps the Kanpai Japanese Steak and Seafood House could have solved the problem with the woman by inviting her to work there for a week.  Or even one shift.
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