Abolish Tipping? The Practice Should Actually Be Expanded

You fly to Chicago. Your hotel has a courtesy shuttle that picks you (and a few other people) up at the airport. The driver has a “tips” bucket in the front of the van. Do you tip him? How much do you tip him?

You arrive at the hotel. A valet greets your shuttle, helps you down with your bags and points you to the reception desk. Do you tip him? How much do you tip him?

Before going to your room, you go to the Starbucks in the lobby. You buy a $4 coffee. Typical of most Starbucks in hotel lobbies you are given a receipt to sign which has a line for a tip. Do you tip the barista who poured your coffee? How much do you tip her?

Later that day you leave your hotel and another valet hails you a taxi from the line of taxis waiting around the corner. He opens your door, tells the driver your destination, and wishes you a good day. Do you tip him? How much do you tip him?

You check out of the hotel the next day. Before leaving your room do you leave a tip for the housekeeper? How much do you leave?

Everyone tips the wait staff. But do you tip the coat check person? Do you tip the cab driver? Your hairdresser? The pizza delivery guy? The furniture delivery guys? The babysitter? At Christmas do you give “gifts” to your postman, your newspaper delivery person, the doorman, your trash guys, your manicurist?  Why should you? Aren’t they getting paid already for their job? Why tip them and not tip other service providers, like the flight attendant or even the SEPTA bus driver? What makes the SEPTA driver different than the taxi driver – aren’t they accomplishing the same thing?

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QUIZ: The Ultimate Guide to Tipping

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

To tip or not to tip?  That is the question.

The answer wasn’t a difficult one for one wealthy patron of Rouge in Rittenhouse Square.  Earlier this week, the anonymous eater left the wait staff a $7,000 tip on a $258 bill.  Sadly, not all of us can afford to be so generous. In fact, some proprietors feel that tipping is a broken business model altogether.  This was said by David Jones the proprietor of the Smoke and Water, a 155-seat restaurant located on Vancouver Island, in British Columbia. According to one report, Jones (an admitted neophyte in the hospitality industry) has increased menu prices by about 18 per cent to replace tipping and intends to pay his staff a living wage, which is a business model that is accepted around the world in places such as Japan, New Zealand, Australia and parts of Europe.

Not sure what or who to tip? Don’t worry, I’ve got all the answers for you. Just take this simple quiz.

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UPenn Jerks Tip 40 Cents at McGlinchey’s (After Brandishing Two $100 Bills)

40 cent tip at mcglincheys

Jo-Ann Rogan was bartending at Philadelphia dive bar McGlinchey’s on Thursday night, as she has many times over the course of her 21 years there. And on this particular Thursday night, Rogan had an all-too-familiar encounter with one of the most dreadful things that a Philadelphia bartender has to contend with: cheap Ivy League brats.

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Meanwhile, Over On The Philly Post: Misinformation Is Like Information…

If the (very) active argument surrounding servers’ tips, City Council bill No. 110341 and Victor’s Q&A about same with Marc Vetri isn’t enough to satisfy your legislative bloodlust, then man do we have some good news for you…

Once the bill passed the Council and made its way to Mayor Nutter’s desk, Victor decided to put in a call to Councilman Kenney (who’d sponsored the bill, which disallows restaurants from taking out of servers’ tips a percentage of the fees that credit card companies charge the restaurant), just to wrap up a couple of loose ends from an earlier interview and see whether the Councilman was now willing to talk about some of the restaurateurs he’d spoken to while putting the bill together. The response he got was…surprising.

Now that the bill has passed through Council…I decided to give Kenney a call to see if he was ready to name names and call out these evildoers [who, allegedly, were charging servers the entire credit card fee, not just a small percentage]. Sarah Sachdev, Kenney’s director of legislative affairs, said, “To tell you the truth, I think that the councilman got a little bit of misinformation there. We did try to ascertain this and learned that it wasn’t the case.”

Oops.

You can check out the whole story over on the Philly Post, and see Victor’s Q&A about the bill with Marc Vetri right here.

Councilman Kenney’s WMD Moment [Philly Post]

Marc Vetri is Pissed: A Q&A [Foobooz]

What Do You Think: Should Restaurant Owners (Like, Say, Stephen Starr) Use Waiters’ Tips To Pay Some Of The Credit Card Fees?

You probably know that restaurants get hit with fees when you use a credit card. If your bill is $300, you leave a $60 tip (because you are a solid person), and pay with your Visa — their fee is around 2.5% — the restaurant is charged $9. What you might not realize is that some restaurants take a percentage out of a server’s tips to cover the fee assessed on those tips. In other words, the $60 you thought was going to your friendly waiter for a job well done has turned into $58.50. Well, not everyone is happy with this arrangement. Read more »

Quick Bites

Jolly’s Dueling Piano Bar will be opening Friday. There will be 2 dueling baby grands, room for 125 and a menu put together by Brendan Smith of *Smiths. [Meal Ticket]

If Jose Garces decides to open a New York restaurant he says it will be an Amada. [Grub Street]

Meal Ticket has a slideshow and the menu for Grey Social,  French bistro spot that is promisingly swimming against the Old City current. [Meal Ticket]

Grey Lodge didn’t stop their refurb with new urinals, they also have gotten a glorious new sign. [The Grey Lodge]

Year after year Zagat polls diners to find out who is most generous. And year after year Philadelphia comes out on top. [KYW 1060]

Shinju Sushi at 930 Locust Street is moving to the former site of Aso Sushi at 719 Walnut Street. They’ll also get a cool new name, The Fat Salmon. [Meal Ticket]

MidAtlantic has started weekday lunch. [The Insider]

Sarcone’s Deli is adding a franchise in Delaware. [The Illadelph]

Here’s a Tip: Anyone Can Be A Restaurant Owner On The Internet

FINALLY!

We almost fell off of our chairs yesterday when we saw that the blog Consumerist had picked up a story from the comments–yes, the comments–of the City Paper’s online listing of Arbol Cafe. The big story being that commenters were sniping back and forth about Arbol’s purported policy of keeping server’s tips and Arbol’s owners had allegedly even written in, but seriously! It’s the internet and anyone can pretend to be anyone.

[Our current favorite comment: “Did anybody read the PW write up of Arbol this week? It seemed a desperate cry from the owners. It was all about how great the owners are. Not many mentions to the food. It seemed like it was geared at fixing this thread. The service wasnt mentioned until the last paragraph, when it stated that the service was poor, but it wasnt worth not coming. I am angered by PW printing this in a blatant remedy for Arbol. Looks like somebody was paid off!” Maybe the owners are using all those stolen tips to pay off our colleague Adam Erace? Ah, conspiracy theorists.]

Then, of course, the always-opining eGulleteers rang in with their pronouncements of doom and so did Phoodie and then Consumerist ran this ridiculous regurgitation and nobody ever bothered to actually go down there or pick up the phone and talk to the owners to see whether or not any of this was even accurate! Or maybe check with a former or current waiter for the same reason.

So we were glad to see this post from supersleuth Drew Lazor, promising the real story along with the full legalese from our favorite food-loving attorney PhilaFoodie. We are so looking forward to someone actually reporting on this story. We know you’re a famous Food Network star now, but what took you so long, buddy?

UPDATE: Arbol Cafe owner responds to Clog comments. The Arbol Cafe Question: Owner Beth Acuna says her piece [The Clog]

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