Well, Happy Valentine's Day =)
As expected, Valentine's Day @ Posh was mainly full of couples. Almost all of them tipped very well, which was nice, but I had a couple of "incidents". I've had this problem (well, to servers, it's a problem) a few times in the past and it just isn't right. As much as it shouldn't, good/bad tips make or break the work shift in terms of satisfaction and happiness for a lot of the employees. The money aspect contributes to part of the happiness, but to us servers, it's more of an unsaid pat on the back. When a customer dishes out over 20%, it's like they are telling us "good job, you were a great server" - a compliment and definitely a confidence booster in the work place.
We are paid a base pay of $8/hr so tips make up most of our income and definitely determine how much we earn. With this new tip structure, a percentage of our food and drink sales (separately) are deducted from our tips and are given to the bar, host, bussers, and kitchen staff... so even if we'd make about $150 in tips for one shift, for example, we would only get tipped out about $70-80 on a decent night.
Although it varies from country to country (and of course by industry), it is common knowledge that it's generally rare to tip in many countries in Asia... whereas in North America, a 10-20% tip is pretty much expected given that service is of a certain high quality. Yes, I realize that maybe the sort of service we're providing is just not to their liking, but that just doesn't make sense if a server gets 20% from one table and only 5% from the next. How much one should tip is not legally required, but it is considered unethical to tip so miserly.
Many people think Asians are terrible tippers, which does hold true for the most part. From my experience, there are different and distinct levels of Asian tippers. Japanese are the worst, apparently Koreans are pretty bad too... around the 5-10% but I haven't noticed, Chinese give you 10% max but usually hover around the 7-8% range, and Taiwanese leave about a 8-12% tip. Though we don't serve very many, the Filipino and Vietnamese also seem to hover around the 10-15% range... and just to give you something to compare to, a Caucasian/European person almost always tip between 13-30% (unless they are students).
But anyway, there's the problem... Japanese people are just not accustomed to tip ANYTHING in Japan. I've heard that if you even give them a dollar more than what's on the bill, they'd be practically bowing down to you. I consider Japanese people to be the worst tippers in that they don't tip at all. They give you everything on the bill to the penny. All this talk about tips may sound like I'm a money hog but customers should realize that when they don't tip, we, as servers, are paying out of our own pocket to serve them b/c we have to give money back to the restaurant! That in itself is just not right.
My "incident" was with this table of 3 (and previously a table of 7) Japanese people whose bills came out to be $69 (and $192) and they left me with no tip whatsoever. For the $69 table, I had to pay approximately $7 from my own pocket to serve them. That's almost an hour of my base pay! PLUS they tend to ask you for certain things verbally instead of filling out that order sheet so I was running back and forth from the kitchen to the table, giving things to them individually as they decided they wanted 2 more pieces of Shitake mushrooms. And then at the end, I think they feel bad for not leaving any tip or they wanted to show their gratitude in another way so they, with apologetic looks in their eyes, practically clean the whole table for me, maybe thinking that they'll make up for it in that way ............ no. It doesn't work that way.
If it weren't for tips, no one would want to work at a restaurant as a server. And it's not like we're giving them poor service - I'm proud to be working with happy + smiley servers who are amiable, helpful and polite, and who work quickly and efficiently - all to bring the customers with good quality service. There should be no reason why we should receive less than 5%...
No, I don't want to see a 10 or 15% service charge automatically added onto bills because that would definitely not make employees feel they need to work hard to earn their tip and our teamwork would definitely not be the same. All I want is for someone to force all Japanese (and apparently Korean) visitors to read a manual titled "Proper Customs While In Canada" and highlight certain parts to clearly outline what is or isn't acceptable. Anyway, I have more to say, but I'll end my rant here.
Here's a bit of a laugh:
I don't know about you guys, but I'm pretty darn comfortable to wear whatever and do whatever around the house when it's just me w/ my family. This includes NOT closing the bathroom door (though I actually do close and lock the main floor bathroom door out of habit for some reason), when I have to pee. So I was on the toilet upstairs, when heard footsteps coming towards it with the same footstep-weight as my brother, but with more of a sock-shuffle (my brother doesn't seem to like wearing socks as much as I do). I'm curious so I crane my neck (while still on the toilet), trying to hear more... and it turns out to be one of my brother's friends (I've never met/seen before)! hahaha I wasn't actually embarrassed to be seen on the toilet in my Hello Kitty robe and teddy bear fleece PJ pants @ my knees and my pink underwear, but his expression was so funny! His eyes got really wide and his mouth formed an "o" shape and it really reminded me of a Cheerio and his hand flew to his mouth. He kept on apologizing "sorry" hahahaha I couldn't help but laugh. Now, I'm using the computer in the computer room in the main floor and just heard someone come upstairs and knock lightly on the bathroom door (for some reason the door was closed.. I think something is wrong w/ the toilet again) and the guy chuckled to himself as he was doing so. lol... great first impression too, eh?? I wonder if he's traumatized.