Author Topic: autograt  (Read 2189 times)

Offline totm

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 989
autograt
« on: May 26, 2011, 09:36:22 AM »
There may already be a thread for this topic but I couldn't find one.

Normally I consider the act of autograt a detriment for a server for a party of two.  I can understand autograts when there is a large party involved.  But when you autograt 18% when I was going to tip 20% I think the restaurant has cheated the server.

Recently we used a groupon at a local restaurant.  I don't remember if the groupon stated that 20% gratuity would be added to the bill.  But when the bill arrived it had 20% gratuity added on the original amount.  That doesn't bother me if we got really good service but we did not.  Several items arrived at the table not at optimum temperature as if they sat on the pass shelf too long, we ordered a salad that never arrived (we weren't charged for it), and I changed up my beer preference from Sam Adams to Guinness to be served another Sam.  What does one do when autograt-ed when you might have tipped a little less than your normal 20% due to these service issues?
"It's your last day on earth, what is your final bite to eat?" Eric Ripert

"A good potato with a slab of butter.  I'm a happy man." Joel Robuchon

Offline LizR

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1427
    • Email
Re: autograt
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2011, 10:55:15 AM »
I don't think that there is much you can do. Complain online?  :D

Offline KoPP

  • Infinite Member
  • Hero Member
  • *******
  • Posts: 1780
Re: autograt
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2011, 11:27:09 AM »
There may already be a thread for this topic but I couldn't find one.

Normally I consider the act of autograt a detriment for a server for a party of two.  I can understand autograts when there is a large party involved.  But when you autograt 18% when I was going to tip 20% I think the restaurant has cheated the server.

Recently we used a groupon at a local restaurant.  I don't remember if the groupon stated that 20% gratuity would be added to the bill.  But when the bill arrived it had 20% gratuity added on the original amount.  That doesn't bother me if we got really good service but we did not.  Several items arrived at the table not at optimum temperature as if they sat on the pass shelf too long, we ordered a salad that never arrived (we weren't charged for it), and I changed up my beer preference from Sam Adams to Guinness to be served another Sam.  What does one do when autograt-ed when you might have tipped a little less than your normal 20% due to these service issues?

I would say that the best thing would have been to talk to the manager then and there. If you have to pay the 20%, there's still the need to give the manager feedback. If s(he) doesn't care, I hope you don't have another groupon there. But that's just me.

Offline Foodgeek

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 934
  • Half of what I say is meaningless.
    • The Food Tutor
    • Email
Re: autograt
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2011, 12:37:40 AM »
If you speak to a manager, you will almost always have the gratuity removed or get an item comped for your trouble. Sometimes you will even get the gratuity removed and get an item comped and get a free dessert, especially in this economy. Your chances of getting all 3 of these at one time are way better than your chances of talking your way out of a speeding ticket, which I would say are also pretty good, given my recent experience watching a not-very-charismatic character talk his way out of a ticket, even though he put forth only a small amount of effort, and he'd just given me a speech about how he rarely gets pulled over, and he almost never gets a ticket. Totally worth it to talk to a manager from a financial perspective.

On the other hand, tipping less than you normally would, in order to "teach a server a lesson," or "weed out the bad servers," or "send a message," or "get better service next time," are all bad motivations that are entirely ineffective in the real world. Servers never change their habits based on a bad tip, because there are simply enough bad tippers out there that there's no way of knowing that you'd normally be a 20% tipper, but you chose to tip 18% this time, unless you spoke to a manager and said exactly that. Tipping is still voluntary, and servers aren't mind-readers, nor are they paid enough to become mind-readers, even if that skill was something that could be learned.

In addition, the service issues that you mentioned might not be easily explained by bad service on the part of the server alone. Items that arrive at an improper temperature could easily be the result of line cooks being lazy or sloppy, and are definitely the result of an expediter who either doesn't check for quality and temperature as things go through the pass, or who doesn't call for runners when needed, or it could be the result of a policy from the restaurant owner wherein they expect all servers to run their own food, but then they don't limit the number of tables a server can have, or how many people they have to serve, yet they don't have a cooperative system in place, so that where you sit ends up being a crapshoot as to whether you will get good service or not, no matter how fast your server runs or how much he/she tries to orchestrate the front and back of the house.

Tipping is an imperfect way of paying people for a job done, because it often rewards the weak and lazy who end up being lucky, and it often punishes those who really care about their tables, because everyone ends up being unlucky, sometimes. The best bet is to speak to a manager, because even if you are unfairly autogratted, and even if you unfairly get poor service, he or she is ultimately the one responsible. Tip the way you normally tip, and talk to a manager.

This should probably go in the Industry forum, or someplace devoted to that sort of topic.
Food is my favorite.

Offline totm

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 989
Re: autograt
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2011, 06:31:40 AM »
My intent was not to "teach a server a lesson".  In my mind tipping is, as you say, an imperfect way to pay someone for a job done.  Do a good job, you get payed more.  Do a poor job, you get payed less.  That pay structure doesn't apply to anything else but a service industry or commission oriented sales.  Yes, some of us in the corporate world might get a bonus for how well the company as a whole (or even a section of the company) has performed.  But that bonus is not as individually oriented as tipping.

FG, I realize you have experience in many aspects of restaurant operation but how can you make the statement that improper temperature of items (it was more than one) "are definitely the result of an expediter" when you weren't there or don't know which restaurant is in question?  Based upon the number of vehicles in the parking lot when we left (I believe we were the last customers at that point) I don't think there was more than a cook or 2 in the kitchen.
"It's your last day on earth, what is your final bite to eat?" Eric Ripert

"A good potato with a slab of butter.  I'm a happy man." Joel Robuchon

Offline Foodgeek

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 934
  • Half of what I say is meaningless.
    • The Food Tutor
    • Email
Re: autograt
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2011, 09:34:12 AM »
A good expediter never, ever lets hot food sit in the window, whether that expediter is the chef or the manager. Servers can get caught up bringing the 12th diet coke to a table or running to get extra napkins, but hot food is always the priority and the expediter needs to either call for runners until they come - within 30 seconds of the food hitting the window - or run it him/herself. If a chef or a manager isn't expediting, then that is a poorly managed restaurant. If no one is expediting at all, then that's another serious problem.

Even if the restaurant is terribly small, it's certainly a lazy cook who puts the time and effort to put together a plate, puts it up in the window and then watches it wilt because no one runs it. As a cook who cares about what I put on a plate, I'd have run it myself, and I've seen other cooks do the same.

Even the crappiest restaurant I've ever worked in insists that servers run each others' food to keep hot food from getting cold, so at the very least, the fault lies in every server who was working that shift, and not just your particular server.

You seem to think it would make a difference if I knew which restaurant this was. Would it?
Food is my favorite.

 

Powered by EzPortal
anything
anything
anything
anything
anything