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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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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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.”
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]
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 »
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,Â 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]
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]
Yesterday, we discussed the slippery nature of the auto-gratuity. Today, we find out if it’s even legal!
What happens when you’ve received crappy service and an automatic gratuity is applied to your bill? Are you within your rights to refuse to pay the gratuity or to pay a lesser percent? Or are you legally bound to pony up? The answer, in all of its litigious glory, after the jump…
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While looking over the menu at Bindi, the new Indian-ish spot in the Midtown Gayborhood, we were slightly taken aback by a notice on the menu that a gratuity of 20% would be added for parties of five or more.
Even though we were only a party of two, we had a nice long discussion about auto-gratuity policy in general. Five or more? 20%? What’s the deal?
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Yes, Philadelphians are still tops in tipping, adding 19.4% on top of the bill over the past year.
While some other nations’ diners pay much more for their meals, they are not big tippers. Americans, on the other hand, are more generous — especially in cities like Orlando and Philadelphia (both 19.4%) and St. Louis (19.3%) where tipping exceeds the national average (18.9%). Inexplicably, West Coast diners tip less than those on the East Coast, up to a full percentage point less in San Francisco and Los Angeles (18.4%)
Zagat Releases 2007 America’s Top Restaurants Survey [Yahoo! Finance]