Shaming customers over tipping trends? Here are a few rules restaurants ought to know.

Shaming customers over tipping trends? Here are a few rules restaurants ought to know.

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Tipping is unique to the food industry. As a dentist, never once did a patient hand me an extra Rs20 note as a thank you for a good diagnosis. The reason is that we expect a dentist to receive adequate compensation for his work through the bill alone. We are already paying what has been demanded. It was when I put down my stethoscope and took a hiatus, serving chai to paying customers at my own café, did I develop a greater appreciation for this art.

Tipping trends in the food industry as a token of appreciation to the labor just out of compassion. Serving food and drinks at a restaurant or a café is considered menial or even dishonorable work. Restaurant owners are thus usually happy passing a chunk of their responsibility to the customer when it comes to rewarding the servers.

This may be unfair because all labors are equally vital, but this is the world we live in and servers ‘expect’ to be tipped for their service. While we endlessly debate on the appropriate amount to tip a waiter at a restaurant, we all lean on the side of under-compensating the server’s hard work. You can term this as making your ‘rozi halal’? Period.

A picture uploaded recently by Easy by Fatsos is making the rounds on social media. This restaurant in Karachi photographed a Rs10 tip received on a Rs3,840 bill, with a sarcastic caption aimed at poor tipping habits. Shaming customers for something they are merely not bound to, justified? No!

A barrage of nit-picky posts appeared on Facebook, about how the restaurant is “overrated”, its food “unpleasant”, or its environment “unclean”.

A defiant review appeared on Facebook, published on SWOT’s Karachi page, proudly announcing a customer’s refusal to tip the servers at Easy.

Ideally, we shouldn’t have to tip. Ideally, we shouldn’t be a third world capitalist country with dirt-cheap labor, instead of one where all work is equally respected and fairly compensated. Until then, be generous in tipping the server for his or her effort. If you can afford a Rs4,000 dinner, you can surely find a crunched-up Rs100 note or two in your wallet.

Easy’s move was not so easy on public:

Needless to say, social media was unforgiving.

While the tipping amount varies from person to person – and frankly, is always up for discussion – a general rule of thumb is to leave around 10 – 20% of the total bill, according to Travel Channel. In Easy’s case, leaving a Rs10 tip is perhaps not okay, but neither is shaming a customer for it.

Instead, Easy could’ve taken the high road and sent out a message on social media asking customers to be considerate of staffers by tipping them a reasonable amount explaining why tipping actually motivates them to work better and provide good service to customers. Treat the staff well and they’ll willingly treat you well too.

Had Easy acted a bit more tactfully they could’ve saved themselves the social media bashing and gotten the point across.

Rules Pakistani restaurants ought to know:

No touching business

The owner may not have meant her act in an offensive way but non-consensual physical contact is an unsettling experience and completely unacceptable, especially by a stranger, even if they mean well.

Though this incident is a first of its kind, restaurant staff usually is mindful of crossing customers’ personal space and maintain a certain degree of physical distance; a common example is when placing or lifting cutlery and food on/off the table.

Don’t hover

This can be tricky. Restaurant staff should be around if needed and not disappear from sight, but they shouldn’t hover while customers eat their meals. Like this customer points out, it can get “uncomfortable” and awkward.

Yes, it can be hard to balance the two as the staff wouldn’t want to neglect customers or stand nearby staring, but it’s as simple as doing periodic checks on their assigned tables with either a glance towards the customers or just simply walking over to the table to ask if there’s anything else that’s needed.

Stop overbooking

Eating out at a crowded place is no one’s idea of a good dining experience, it’s worse when there are people waiting for a table standing on diners’ heads.

Loud and packed restaurants are as disruptive as waiting customers eyeballing diners to finish their meal and leave; restaurants should be particular when entertaining guests especially when there is a lack of space available for them to sit.

Some restaurants also tend to overcommit and quote a wait time which often exceeds to twice as much. It’s exasperating for customers, causes more chaos.

Dealing with food complaints

Sometimes it’s a piece of plastic, or an insect but most commonly its hair that manages to make its way into food.

Eateries aim to serve the finest they can but minor faults are unavoidable.

What the staff could’ve done was apologized and immediately ordered fresh food to replace the bad ones free of charge.
Please note: these incidents give restaurants a gateway to go above and beyond.

Some of the very many options are:
1) told the customer that due to their carelessness the food is on the house
or
2) compensated for their mistake by giving them a free box of donuts. This, however, shows a lack of training on the management’s part. The staff should be well-equipped with how to deal with such incidents.

So, when somebody yells, ‘Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup!’ instead of saying ‘Don’t worry sir, it won’t drink very much of it,’ sincerely apologize for the mistake and be creative in making it up to the customer – a free lunch for two next time, maybe?

A customer is not ‘bound’ to tip waiters.

People have become so materialistic that they tend to have high hopes from everyone regardless of what they actually deserve. Most people don’t tend to realize that it is a waiter’s ‘job’ to serve food and address customer’s choices accordingly. No customer is bound to pay premium than what the menu states – They are already paying for what is being demanded from them.

Tips are a mere token of appreciation ONLY. Learn to appreciate the good things in life and shun negativity. There’s a lot more to whine about than a 10-rupee note.

 

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Rava Desk

Rava is an online news portal providing recent news, editorials, opinions and advice on day to day happenings in Pakistan.

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