Author Topic: A Question About Tipping at Restaurant  (Read 2113 times)

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mrkitty

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A Question About Tipping at Restaurant
« on: December 29, 2012, 06:46:58 PM »
DH and I tried a new restaurant tonight - a fabulous buffet restaurant serving a fusion of Chinese and Japanese cuisine. I wasn't sure how good it was going to be because I usually think Asian cuisine is best if served immediately...but this was really fantastic.

They also had a "noodle" station where a chef would prepare a noodle or chirashi dish made to order. Another station offered hibachi steak, chicken, shrimp, lobster....again, made to order by a hibachi chef.

Both stations had tip jars.

I really, really wanted to try some hibachi steak. But I decided not to, because DH and I rarely carry cash, but rather pay for everything with a debit card. I thought it would be terribly rude to go to the special food stations and have the chef go through the trouble of making a special made-to-order dish for me and then walk off without leaving a tip.

Since it was our first time at this restaurant, we did not come prepared with extra cash. (We made a mental note to do so in the future - this is the second restaurant we've been to where they have special food offered with tips - the other being a delicious (but very expensive, according to our budget) Mexican place where waiters would circulate with a cart and make fresh guacamole from scratch. Again, we weren't prepared with cash, so we declined.

I don't know if I would ever feel truly comfortable availing myself of the special food station without leaving a tip, but I'm curious what the etiquette of the situation is: is tipping in that case mandatory? Will they curse me out if I don't leave a tip? And if I do leave a tip, but want to come back for another dish (or a third time, or more....) do you leave a tip each and every time? Or do you tip that first time only?

Has anyone else noticed this happening a lot at restaurants now? Or am I just imagining things? The thing is, these restaurants are kind of expensive to start with. We already tip the maitre 'de (in the really expensive ones), the server and the bartender...and now chefs, too?  ???

Anyway, if someone could please enlighten me on the question of tipping at specialty stations I would be grateful.

Thank you!  ;D
« Last Edit: December 29, 2012, 06:49:01 PM by mrkitty »
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Shoo

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Re: A Question About Tipping at Restaurant
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2012, 06:50:41 PM »
Tipping is completely optional at places like these.  If you don't have cash, you don't have cash.  That doesn't mean you don't get to partake in the dishes you have already paid for.  You should have enjoyed the steak and thanked the chef.  But you don't have to pass on it just because you don't carry cash.

NyaChan

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Re: A Question About Tipping at Restaurant
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2012, 06:54:44 PM »
I've seen this at sushi stations in buffets before, but I didn't tip as I was not asking for special rolls, just served from the ones already made as a matter of course.  I would ask the restaurant if tips put on the final bill are shared with the specialty station chefs.  Then feel free to avail yourself of the service and tip on the credit card.  That said, I'm not sure that you are obligated to tip them individually in addition to the tip you give on the amount you paid for access to the buffet which included those stations - if they were cooking in the kitchen after you made that same order from a table, you would tip the waiter, not the chef right?  There are tip jars out everywhere these days, and not all of them are for jobs where a tip is necessary. I tip in non-traditional places when I am asking for something out of the ordinary or troublesome.  So barista making me a 5-step drink? Yes. A worker getting me a scoop of ice cream in a cup? No.

Roe

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Re: A Question About Tipping at Restaurant
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2012, 06:57:34 PM »
I don't do tip jars.  I tip as I pay for the meal, not individual servers or chefs.

yokozbornak

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Re: A Question About Tipping at Restaurant
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2012, 08:03:02 PM »
Our favorite buffet also has hibachi and sushu stations set-up.  I almost always do the hibachi.  I will tip if I have cash, but I don't worry about it if I don't since tipping is optional. 

WillyNilly

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Re: A Question About Tipping at Restaurant
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2012, 08:52:13 PM »
I have never seen such a thing, and I doubt I would pay it much mind.  I don't carry much cash and even if I had it, I'm certainly not fumbling with my wallet in a nice restaurant up at a food station!  that does not convey to me "classy" or "upscale" and I wouldn't participate.  I do tip generously but I like to do it all at once at the end, and quite frankly this might be snobby of me or whatever, but I feel like if I'm the one tipping, especially if I'm generous, I get to do it how and when I want to.

The thing is, these restaurants are kind of expensive to start with. We already tip the maitre 'de (in the really expensive ones), the server and the bartender...and now chefs, too?  ???

I've been to some really upscale restaurants, like Thomas Keller places and a place where the dinner's start at over $500, as well as plenty of places of still expensive but more affordable, and I don't tip like that ^. I mean I think its awesome you do, but don't feel obligated to do so.  Its a tip, give as you are comfortable.

fixed typo
« Last Edit: December 30, 2012, 12:24:50 AM by WillyNilly »

kudeebee

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Re: A Question About Tipping at Restaurant
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2012, 12:07:43 AM »
Several buffets where we live have stations and tip jars out.  I do not tip at these stations, though I know some people do.  You have already paid for the food, so you should enjoy it.  If you feel the chef did something above and beyond for you, you could tip.  Most of the time, from what I have seen, they don't do anything out of the ordinary, other than that food is freshly cooked versus what is on the buffets.  My son has a friend whose family owns one of these places, the chefs are paid, they all share the tips at the end of the day.

Hmmmmm

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Re: A Question About Tipping at Restaurant
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2012, 09:29:20 AM »
I dislike tip jars showing up every where so I would have ignored it even if I had cash in my purse.  I tip on my bill.  How tips are distributed by management is the business of the restaurant and their employees.

Roe

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Re: A Question About Tipping at Restaurant
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2012, 10:46:29 AM »
I dislike tip jars showing up every where so I would have ignored it even if I had cash in my purse.  I tip on my bill.  How tips are distributed by management is the business of the restaurant and their employees.

Exactly!  I am doing my own little boycott on tip jars.  Not that it's working or anything but it makes me feel better not to give in.  Tip jars used to cause me great guilt and I'd always put in $.  Funny how it's quite easy to ignore them once you've done it a couple of times.  ;)

Thipu1

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Re: A Question About Tipping at Restaurant
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2012, 11:59:07 AM »
Since we each usually carry at least 20 dollars in small bills, this situation wouldn't be a problem.

We wouldn't put money into a tip jar for a simple ice cream cone or a slice of pizza, we would do so at something like a station described.  However, We would go back and do it after We had enjoyed the food and were settling up our bill. 

Mr. Thipu is more likely to do so than I am.  He frequented   Max's Kansas City when Billy Joel really was the piano man in the bar. Yes, Mr. Thipu did 'put bread in his jar'.  I'm not sure if he ever said, 'Man, what are you doin' here?'.  :)   

Deetee

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Re: A Question About Tipping at Restaurant
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2012, 02:19:59 PM »
I would have ordered the steak or noodles and then tipped on the main bill at the end. I might have asked my server about how the tips were sorted and if it turned out the prep people were not in general tips, I might ask for cash back and then tipped out.

There are actually some interesting rules in the US about how tips have to be distributed. I was reading about a co-op restaurant (all the workers are owners as well) that was not allowed to split the tips among all the workers (dishwashers through servers). Only the servers could have tips.  It was an odd situation, but I would wonder if there was something similiar here.

miranova

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Re: A Question About Tipping at Restaurant
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2012, 03:12:55 PM »
It would irritate me slightly to see tip jars at all in that sort of situation. It would be like they are making the chefs visible for the sole purpose of extracting more tips.  All resaturants have chefs whose responsibilities include, among other things, carving food.  Placing the chefs out where they are more visible does not somehow make the work harder or more deserving of a tip.  I am assuing they are paid a regular salary, not a server's $2.15 or whatever it is nowadays, so I don't think they need a tip jar.

Hmmmmm

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Re: A Question About Tipping at Restaurant
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2012, 03:30:13 PM »
It would irritate me slightly to see tip jars at all in that sort of situation. It would be like they are making the chefs visible for the sole purpose of extracting more tips.  All resaturants have chefs whose responsibilities include, among other things, carving food.  Placing the chefs out where they are more visible does not somehow make the work harder or more deserving of a tip.  I am assuing they are paid a regular salary, not a server's $2.15 or whatever it is nowadays, so I don't think they need a tip jar.

I so agree with this.

mrkitty

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Re: A Question About Tipping at Restaurant
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2012, 04:08:48 PM »
It would irritate me slightly to see tip jars at all in that sort of situation. It would be like they are making the chefs visible for the sole purpose of extracting more tips.  All resaturants have chefs whose responsibilities include, among other things, carving food.  Placing the chefs out where they are more visible does not somehow make the work harder or more deserving of a tip.  I am assuing they are paid a regular salary, not a server's $2.15 or whatever it is nowadays, so I don't think they need a tip jar.

I so agree with this.


I've got to say I agree, too. The buffet meal (and it is the kind of restaurant that ONLY has buffet; it does not offer a menu where you would sit down and order food from a server) for dinner was already $22 per person, plus beverages, plus tax, plus tip. The waitstaff delivered only beverages and bussed tables - so, of course, while they don't take food orders and deliver food, they did bring fresh water/tea on request (if one managed to flag them down) and made regular passes to bus the table, they still deserved to be tipped.

The tip jars at the special noodle/chirashi/grilled meat station threw me off a little bit. But I don't see how the chefs needed special tipping for that, since they were there to prepare/cook the dishes they put out on the buffet...?? Maybe it was extra aggravating to deal with customers telling them which ingredients to grill to which level of done-ness??? I don't get it.

It seems everyone wants to be tipped now...sheesh.  :-[
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