The Cleveland Plain Dealer has had somewhat of an ongoing conversation over tipping, and how that money is distributed. This interesting conversation coupled with the dangerous weather and power outages at the restaurant last night which left us cooking by candle light, without ventilation, for customer who where getting pushy about where their food was, has ultimately lead me to share some of my personal rules of etiquette when I choose to dine out.
If I make a reservation I arrive on time with the correct number of people in my party. I refuse to go to a restaurant within a half hour of it’s posted opening or closing. If I am late, I will do everything I can to not be the last table. From the inside out, I understand by following these rules I will receive the best service available.
Substitutions... if I want to mix and match what I eat, then I go to a buffet. If I would prefer the risotto over the sweet potato hash, then I ask for a side of it. Perhaps if I had an allergy I might be more open minded here, but basically I never ask for substitutions. It’s that much more respectful to the staff.
I adapt to my surroundings. It’s ok to cheer for my team at the sports bar, but that is about it. If my destination requires a certain dress, then I conform to that. I try not to be in the minority with respect to other customers.
Finally, the tip! I believe the tip is a tool to tell the server they did a crappy job. Then again it’s also the best pat on the back. I’m likely to way over tip for good service and inexpensive food. Likewise I’m happy to under tip on good service and over priced food. Unfortunately for the restauranteur, if my service is crap, I won’t return to the restaurant ever again no matter what kind of tip I leave. It’s an easy equation, if the server does a good job, they get rewarded. Since Kari and I are more than likely to know someone where ever it is we go out, more than likely the server. It is always in our best interest to leave a generous tip as we believe it will come back around to us someday. Restaurant employee karma if you will.
Lastly, I push my chair in before I leave. I keep track of my valuables and don’t leave anything behind and if the electricity goes out at the restaurant while I’m are there, I would be understanding.