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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Holiday Tipping


One day I went to lunch with a world-famous multi-platinum artist on my label and he did something he had never done in all the years we had been eating together. He offered to pick up the tab. I was so flabbergasted that I didn't have time to grab the check before he handed his credit card to the waiter. I was composed by the time the waiter returned but I noticed my lunch companion hadn't added a too to our rather expensive meal. I pulled out some cash and put it on the table. The parsimonious singer-- then in his 30s-- asked me why I was doing that. I explained the concept of tipping. Apparently no one had before. He also had trouble with the concept of 15% but it liked how much easier it was to figure out 20% and I expect waiters the world over have me to thank for that extra 5%-- if not the entire tip.

Last week my favorite restaurant guidebook, Zagat, asks the pressing question: Holiday Tipping: How Much Do You Give?. In line with the true Zagat ethos, it all came down to reader surveys. First off, they wanted to know how does your tip change if you receive bad service?
43% said they would leave 5% less, 29% said 10% less, 7% said it wouldn't alter their typical tip and 6% said 'no tip' at all. So it looks like, for now, service is still affecting the amount of tip being left in restaurants and hence, should be a motivator for staff to do a good job.

Also, when it came to changing our current system, we asked respondents how they would feel about a no-tipping policy if it meant higher menu prices? 28% said 'hate it' 34% said 'not sure,' 21% said 'love it' and 17% said 'like it but only in upscale restaurants. So there's still a large contingent that is unsure and against overhauling the system.

The longstanding debate: Do you tip on the pre-tax total or the post-tax total? Our data revealed that most people tip post-tax (57%) as opposed to pre-tax (43%). Also the post-tax tip was more common in the South and Midwest (both at 64%) than in the Northeast (55%) or West (54%). Also men are slightly more likely to tip pre-tax (44%), while only 41% of women do this.

If you've ever ordered an expensive bottle of wine and wondered if you should factor the full value of the wine into your tip, well, so have we. We asked surveyors this questions and found that most people didn't know what to do (34%), 24% found it appropriate to tip on the full value of the bottle, and only 21% found it inappropriate, with another 21% saying it depends on a sommelier's assistance. Guess there's no standard practice for wine tipping on the consumer front. The confusion continues...

What about tipping on on discounted meal via Google Offers or Groupon? We asked diners whether or not they tip on the meal pre-discount or post-discount. 75% said they tipped pre-discount with only 7% responding that they tipped post-discount. Good to hear that those hard-working servers are being taken care of.

Now for the question of the hour, what factors the size of your tip? When it comes to what affects tip most, attentiveness of server was the #1 factor (49%) that affected the amount of the tip. Next up was the level of friendliness (21%) and problem with an order and resolution at 9%.

  When asked "are you likely to tip more if..." attentiveness won out again, with 80% saying that this would cause them to tip more, 38% said they would tip more if it was their 'regular server,' 32% said if they got something for free and 22% said if they were impressed by the quality of the food.

…As for food delivery folks, 52% said they tipped a percentage of the total amount ordered (averaging 14.2%), while 32% they left a flat dollar amount regardless of the total, (averaging $4.52). Not too shabby!

…Which service personnel do you plan to tip?



47% said they were planning to tip their housekeeper/maid, 47% said mailman/postman, 41% said hairdresser/stylist, 40% said the paper boy, and 24% said the garbage collector.
And, yes, none of this applies anywhere but the U.S.

1 comment:

James Aldrich said...

Niagara Falls and Kilimanjaro seems really interesting place. I want to go there. This year I will certainly go here. Thanks for the impressive pictures that you've uploaded.