Saturday, March 25, 2023

Understanding why you should be a generous tipper, or not…

On the occasions I do go out, it’s an experience I relish because I enjoy dining out, whether it’s visiting a restaurant for a meal, coffee or drinks with friends, or solo, it’s paramount to be comfortable and treated like a Queen.

Obviously, it comes at a cost, not only for the meal, but the person who stands at your beck and call, trying hard to ensure that you have a pleasant dinging experience.

I recently had an unsavoury experience with a waiter who wasn’t pleased that I tipped P5, although my friend and I had spent above P400. Ideally, the tip could have been between P20 and P40. However, the orders took too long to arrive, the beverages weren’t at the suitable temperature, and the waiter ‘accidentally’ spilled something onto my dress. He spent more time hovering, eavesdropping on our conversation!

After a while, my friend handed him a P20 note to appease the situation, arguing that’s where the bulk of waiters’ income comes from. I concur with that notion since I was once a waiter in my student days, but shouldn’t waiters go all out to make the customers’ dining experience splendid?

Before you accuse me of being an ungrateful anti-tipper, let me clarify one thing that I do tip, sometimes more than I should, especially when I receive an exceptional service.

A confirmed foodie, who enjoys sampling restaurants on her many travels, Tshegofatso Makunga, says her tips depend on the quality of service. “I unreservedly reward an excellent and informed waiter. Locally, I find that waiters are poorly trained and some don’t understand food and wines. Management should know that their waiters are the face of the restaurant and invest in them!”

Tipping is a multi-billion dollar phenomenon that standard economic models cannot really explain. There are different types of tipping like reward tipping, bribery tipping and gift tipping.

All are common, but I will touch on reward tipping. Tipping is a touchy issue. No one wants to seem like a cheapskate. Tipping should however be part and parcel of eating out and dining.

It’s a civilized act of gratitude. However, it’s always best to confirm if the establishment allows tipping because believe it or not, some places have a strict ‘No tip’ policy.

As with all things, tipping is done with an end in mind to one’s benefit.

Good tippers usually get good service. I usually take friends and acquaintances to establishments I frequent confident of excellent service.

While a waiter can’t turn dry cut meat into a zesty item, they sure can make the dining experience enjoyable.

A regular diner Tsaone Ontekanye says he has no problem with tipping, as long as the service is excellent.

“I usually offer the waiter an extra P10 ÔÇô P50, depending on the service and the cost of the bill of course. I only have problems when I’m with my girlfriend because she’s tight fisted,” he laughs.

Then comes the question: How much should one tip?
Most people agree that ten percent is reasonable, but in developed parts of the world, the standard tip is 20%.

At the end of the day, it depends on the customer, the size of his or her wallet and how pleased they are with the service.

One waiter at a well-known CBD restaurant shared that he prefers serving ‘corporates’, families and whites, as they tip better.

“As a waiter you must give your best because reputation matters; it reflects on the restaurant and you. I have many regular customers who scramble to have me serve them. In a good week I make about P1500 from tips only.”


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