The Daily Rail: Tipping present challenges, problems for operators, study finds

August 26, 2016

Today's Special

How Hollywood Sees Us: The Old ‘96er

Eating challenges exist all across the US and there are always some souls brave enough to try to eat their way into the history books. No movie better exemplifies this than the Old 96er from The Great Outdoors.


Breaking the glass

The Phoenix Coyotes hired Dawn Braid to be their new skating coach, making her the NHL’s first full-time woman coach. She worked as a part-time coach for the team last year and consultant for other organizations.

It’s not all about mobile

The majority of Rio Olympic streaming was done on laptops, not mobile. Streaming on laptops accounted for more than 60% of online viewership; mobile had about 20% of the Olympic streaming and 17% went to “connected set-top devices” like Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku.

We might go vegan after this…

They say imitation is the highest form of flattery but in this case it’s just gross. A Beijing restaurant is taking it’s Lady GaGa love to a new level by serving meant dishes draped over a Barby doll to imitate GaGa’s meat dress from 2010. Ew.


Why this is important to you: Only in Texas (or Florida maybe)…

Guns and restaurants don’t mix and many operators have banned them in their establishments. Apparently a server at Little Red Bar Steakhouse in San Antonio, TX didn’t get the memo. After making an error on a guest’s order that caused the guest to get physical, the server took matter into his own hands. You see these server’s wear cowboy getups, complete with fake pistols. This time, however, the server retrieved his real weapon and fired off three warning shots to dissuade the angry guest from further fisticuffs. No word on whether he will face charges, but if the officer from our next story responded to this call, he might get off without a problem.

Another San Antonio restaurant called for police assistance when a drunken disturbance broke out in front of their location. A San Antonio officer responded and seemed to be in control of the altercation. A little later, a second officer arrived and decided a Whataburger sounded far more interesting than assisting his colleague. He proceeded passed the altercation and to the counter to order a meal. He then sat down and watched as a third officer arrived to support the original responding cop. When queried by the Whataburger manager if he was going to assist the other cops, Officer Gary Nel simply answered “No” and continued to eat. This little bit of self-gratification has cost Nel a 30-day suspension. Of course he’s no stranger to discipline and didn’t seem phased by his previous 40 day suspension either. Only in Texas!


Why it’s important to you: Yelp is fighting to maintain protections for reviewers after a defamation default calls for them to remove a negative review.

Freedom of speech is a basic aspect of our culture and the Internet has made clear how that can be an ugly thing or a glorious one. An attorney who took action against the writer of a negative review on Yelp won a default judgement when the defendant didn’t show up to court. Consequently, the judge ruled that Yelp must remove the review. This had a chilling effect on Yelp and all the other major forum operators like Twitter, Google, Facebook and Pinterest, just to name a few. They have all submitted letters to the California State Supreme Court urging them to overturn the judgement.

This is where the conversation gets interesting. On the one hand, you have your American cultural perceptions of what free speech is and how it should be treated. On the other hand, you run a business that feels exposed to the potentially damaging impact of an unwarranted negative review. It’s a terrible conflict. As a media company, we value free speech immeasurably. However, we serve one of the most impacted industries to the eccentricities of crowd-generated reviews.

So in all honesty we see both sides. However, in the end we will have to stand with the sanctity of freedom for people to express their opinions. We have posted several blogs surrounding Yelp and their incredibly powerful position in our industry. The truth is that most restaurants have a few negative Yelp reviews. What distinguishes the good ones is their response. Yes it’s infuriating, but by focusing on running your business well you will gain enough positive reviews the negatives won’t matter.


Why it’s important to you: All’s well that ends well!

On Wednesday, we included a story of a dine-and-dash perpetrator who also stole a piece of memorabilia as a tip for being a lousy human being — although he did promise to return it when he called the next day. Turns out the guy kept his word. Skipjacks has reported the 2014 Patriots Super Bowl helmet with the entire team’s signatures has been returned. Fortunately, Ted Wells hadn’t started an investigation, so this will be the last you hear about Dine-and-Dash-gate.


Why it’s important to you: A university study confirms the obvious, tipping is flawed and needs to addressed.

The University of Guelph released the results of a study that focused on the effect of tipping on restaurant operations. They concluded that the presence of tipping causes challenges in a restaurant (did we need a study to know that?). Perhaps the most significant thing about this study is that it’s the first one ever done. According to the study, among the challenges tipping is making the hiring of non-tipped employees more difficult and can complicate maintaining a cordial environment. None of this is particular earth shattering, but there is one conclusion that does cause a, hmmmm… Nine of ten servers would welcome a tip sharing policy even at the risk of losing income.

The average server polled earned $18/hour plus their base wage, which is more than the typical kitchen staff and even some managers. However, they were amenable to tip sharing if things were done equitably. The study asserts several things which are obvious to those of in the industry: Managers and servers believe tipping rewards those who provide good customer service, and when tips are not pooled 100%, some servers will only focus on their tables, instead of helping out with other tables. Ok, so no real revelation here, however, it’s at least a start. Maybe through study (read: science) we can find a way to ease the pain tipping causes across all elements of our industry. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Tip jar image by Larry