For Those Who Earn Tips: How To Increase Them

Here’s a booklet for increasing tips.

Hope it helps.

Interesting. The pamphlet recommends three things that cause me to tip less, namely squatting next to the table (Condescending, like you’re talking to a child), upselling and suggestive selling (Annoying, as I am capable of reading the menu and choosing from the options thereon) and touching me (YUCK YUCK YUCK YUCK YUCK!!!)

Nobody’s ever called me by my name after reading it off my credit card, but that’d make me tip 15% instead of 20%, too.

Some of the more subtle stuff was really fascinating though. I guess being manipulative pays. Unless you’re trying to manipulate me by being overly familiar, which doesn’t work, you smarmy jerk.

You’re going to have to defend that. That is not at all obvious to me.


Manipulative?? They’re not being dishonest. They’re not playing you against anyone for their gain. They’re not trying to exert power over you. They’re not hurting you. Can you please explain how telling a joke or wearing a flower in one’s hair to increase the average tip is being manipulative?

If you find it when one says “Here’s your card, Mr. LastName,” when one gives you your card and slip, then are you the best person to be throwing stones? :slight_smile:

Bloody typo gnome.

A sizeable part of my income comes from tips. It is my belief that good service, promptness, a pleasant, cheerful, respectful attitude, and courtesy generate most of my tips. When I encounter people who are expecting tips from me, I’m not likely to be influenced by cheap tricks. When I see that a lackadaisical, unresponsive waitress has drawn a cute smiley face on the check, I want to cringe. Smiley faces don’t get me to throw dollars, honey, not if you have ignored my needs throughout the meal. :dubious:

I had a friend that waitressed for a year or so during college. One night she slipped and dropped her tray with everyones food on it. I believe she said she quadrupled her tips that night from all the people that felt bad for her. I think she said she even got tips from people that she wasn’t waiting on.

She considered doing that on a more regular basis.

I’m really quite thankful to not work for tips anymore, but thinking back to when I did, a lot of those techniques seem likely to work. Of course, the best way is to be an effective server, adding cheery and friendly on top of that is only going to work in your favor.

I hate the order-taking squat, however. It either seems condescending or weirdly familiar, like we’re having a personal chat over my choice of salad dressing. I love to have the order recited back, especially if the server isn’t writing things down.

I’m going to print it out for my employess and then photocopy it for & distribute it to the staff of just about every Korean & German restaurant I’ve ever eaten in.

Hrmmm… I recall years ago seeing on a TV show where they did a test to see how people responded to touch…

They put a $10 bill on the floor of a phone booth and waited until somone came along to use the phone, found it, pocketed it and then they had an actor walk up and ask if they had found $10 they thought they might have dropped there. Half the time they had the actor touch the person in a casual manner and half the time they did not.

They did the test with both a male and female actor and with both male and female passersbys (passerbii?) who found the money. The man would shake hands while the woman would casually reach out and touch the other persons shoulder.

I don’t recall the exact percentages (this was over 20 years ago) but when touched, the person was much more willing to admit they found the bill and return it. And the touch was subtle enough, in the context of the moment, that many of them, when asked afterward, did not even recall being touched.

no I can’t give a cite. Wish I could though.

I hate squatting servers. I also hate when they sit down at the table (that’s happened way too often!) - I want to sit and talk with my husband, not the server. I don’t want chit-chat. I want quick, courteous, attentive service that doesn’t distract from those I’m dining with. I’m not a snob, but the fact is the servers are supposed to be working, and their work is to make my evening pleasant. If they do that, they’re getting at least 20%.

Interesting. On the other hand, this This American Life Episode, an informal experiment was done which suggested that being mean increased tipping. (It’s the third segment, about 23 minutes in).

I start at a 20% tip. I’ve heard too many tipping horror stories from friends and family to not tip well. Be friendly (but not too chatty) and bring me my food reasonably fast (except in the case of a problem in the kitchen) and I’m happy. I suspect I’m not the sort of tipper this stuff is targeting.

I don’t like strangers touching me, beyond something like a tap on the shoulder if I’m in their way.

I really don’t like the kneeling maneuver unless it’s a really loud restaurant. I CAN hear them better if they do it. It still seems condescending, though.

I also detest the squatting by the table manouver. I’m not a child!

Another annoyance is when the server refers to the whole table as guys, as in “How are ya today, guys?” “can I get you something to drink, guys?” “Would you like to order, guys?” This is just a pet peeve on my part, and probably wouldn’t have bothered me if she had said it just the once instead of every time she spoke to us. It seemed unproffesional and over-familiar.

These things don’t usually affect the way I tip, they just cause me to roll my eyes.

I’ve never had a server sit at the table or touch me (although they may have touched my parents, in which case I probably wouldn’t notice.)

Squatting or sitting at the table seems strange. How long do you think you’re going to be here? We’re not having a conversation. I’ll do my very best to make your job painless and I won’t treat you like a subordinate, but you’re not my friend.

Touching me seems even stranger. I don’t like being touched by my friends and family, much less strangers.

Saying my name when I don’t know you is also something I don’t like. It’s okay when it’s necessary, but “here’s your check, ma’am” works just as well as, “here’s your check, Ms. Bean” or, even worse, “Here’s your check, Ella.”

I can be a very difficult customer in restaurants, so I usually tip pretty well. I’m vegan, so when I’m someplace I’m not familiar with, I ask a lot of questions and often ask for things to be left off. repeating the order is a very good thing as it lets me know you’ve got all the details. I’ll also love you forever and pay your way through college if you can sort of read my mind. i.e:
“does (insert item) have dairy in it if I get it without cheese?”
“okay, then I’ll get (insert other item) without cheese”
“okay, do you want the mashed potatoes with that/ they have milk in the. I can get you fries instead if you like.”

that makes me happy, right there.

I agree with the people who say that many of these ideas make me tip less. Let’s take a look at 'em:

OK, maybe. As long as it wasn’t obnoxious. And really, most places have a dress code for their server. I guess something like a great pair of earrings or a pin would make it easier to pick your waitperson out of a crowd, but in general, if I have to track down my waiter, I’m not a happy person.

“Hi, I’m Cindy, and I’ll be your waitress!” means to me: “Hi, I’m trying to use tricks to get you to tip me better rather than just providing good service. I’m probably not a very good waitress.” Definite no-no. I don’t want to make friends with my waitperson, I want them to provide me good service.

Like the previous one - I don’t want to be your friend, I want you to wait on me. Stand up, please.

I’m semi-neutral on this one. Sure, if it’s a loud place or something, it’s OK to repeat back an order. But not in a fine dining restaurant. I want them to get it the first time, and ask questions if something was unclear.

OK, as long it’s not over the top or fakey.

Only if you can do it unobtrusively. Really, the examples they give don’t seem to me to be selling - they seem to be good service. A waitperson should check back to see if customers want more drinks several times. That’s not selling, that’s doing their job. The advice “Thus, you should recommend appetizers, liquor, wine, expensive entrée selections, and desserts during slow shifts” is bad. I’m going to notice if the waitperson recommends the most expensive thing on the menu. And I don’t want suggestions unless I ask.

Hell no. Don’t touch me.

No. Just give me good service, and let me talk with the people I came to the restaurant with. You know, the people I want to be with, as opposed to the waitstaff.

I have a hard time seeing how you could work this into the conversation without it seeming artificial. Sure, if the customer asks about the weather. But if they don’t - wtf? And writing the weather forecast on the bill? That’s just weird.

That’s just common politeness. And really, I don’t think I’d notice either way.

Give me a break. Who even cares?

Uh, who funded this study? Visa?

I like candy. But I see candy as a reflection of the establishment, not the waitstaff. I don’t think I’d tip more because of candy.

Another example of “be a waiter, not a friend.”


No wait, that should be inplants. :smack:

No wait, that should be implants.

I agree with Athena throughout except for:

I prefer to know my server’s name so that I can hail them if need be. Agreed that I would prefer never to have to be calling for a server, but sometimes it’s necessary and knowing their name is useful. Also, I find that by calling the server by their name, you get better service. Sort of a reverse trick.

Speaking of which, we should make a list of sneaky things customers can do to get better service.

#1: Call the server by their name.
#2: Ask them which they recommend between two choices.
#3: ? others?

How to get good service from your server?
When they arrive and introduce themselves and ask how you are doing, smile and ask how their day has been. Look at them and actually listen.
If they are very busy (busing plates say) and they tell you that they will be right there, tell them to take their time, and you can wait the extra minute or two.
Treat them like you would like to be treated.

“Defend” it? That’s how I feel. People squat down to talk to talk to children. People don’t normally squat down to talk to other adults. They take a chair, if that’s appropriate, or, the person who is sitting down gasp looks up. Most of the problem is it’s just overly-familiar and casual for them to squat down there. I don’t want a server to be my friend, I want them to do their job politely and efficiently, and mostly in a standing-up position.

Given how ubiquitous it is at some restaurants, I suspect that servers are required do it. That kinda sucks for them.

I strongly dislike being unnecessarily touched by strangers, when they’re doing it to try to influence me.

Why do you think someone has to lie or be in a position of power to be manipulative? And they don’t have to hurt me, they just have to get me to do something I wouldn’t do if they weren’t being manipulative. “Hi! I’ll be your server, and I’d like you to give me an extra 5%, if you don’t mind!” wouldn’t fly, so I don’t think doing things other than giving excellent service to try to get a tip are cool. Wearing a flower and telling a joke are the two most innocuous examples, which I don’t really find very manipulative and which, you’ll notice, I didn’t cite in my post, though if it’s a lame, forced joke, it’s not going to have the desired effect. Flowers, though, I’m pretty universally okay with. :slight_smile:

If, by calling diners by name, or touching them, or squatting by the table, a server sets the customer at ease and makes their dinner more pleasant, then good for them, they’ve earned their bigger tip. But I, personally, find it unpleasant and uncomfortable when I realize someone has to manipulate me. I feel like I have to be on guard against further manipulation, rather than just expecting and recieving good service. The manipulation could be very mild and benign, but it’s just a matter of psychology that once you know someone’s trying to pull something, you’re put on edge.

Um, what? I think there is a word missing from that sentence, but I can’t puzzle out what it would be.

And if they call me MISTER lastname, they’re sure as hell going to get a small tip. Assuming they can get my sex right, I wish them good luck in pronouncing my last name without help from me. And if they call me by my first name, I’d say that’s about the same level as mangling my last name. I don’t consider myself to be on a first-name basis with a server I have just met; I call them “sir” or “ma’am,” if I need to get their attention. (Though I agree with USCDiver that it’s nice to know their name so you can identify them, say if you’d like someone to fetch them or if you’d like to mention to the manager that they gave particularly good service.)

I certainly don’t want to sound like I’m evil to servers who are just trying to be nice, or anything. I certainly would never tip less than 15% for reasonable service. But too many behaviours that seem like blatant tip-grubbing might push the tip closer to 15 than my usual 20+.