Ok, I'm a restaurant manager in New York City, Restaurant Row. My restaurant is owned by a black celebrity, so obviously, we get a lot of black customers, although we like to consider our menu and decor "global eclectic". Anyway, I notice time and time again my servers being screwed over by black people. It really bothers me to see my servers getting all pissed whenever they get a black table, but I have to say that I have seen that they have good reason to. My question is this: Why don't we know how to tip? DISCLAIMER: By asking this question, I'm wondering if it is a lack of knowledge of the tipping system (i.e. percentage) or is it just people being cheap? I mean, I've been in this industry for a while, but even before that I knew that 12-15 percent is the norm, no matter where you are. When you get to a white tablecloth establishment on Restaurant Row in the heart of the theatre district, 15-20 percent is the norm....and people lean more towards the 20. $5 is not an acceptable tip for a $100 check. It comes off as if the service was bad, and in that case, a bad tip is understandable.
I'm wondering if people realize that in an establishment where you have bussers pouring water, bartenders making drinks and runners bringing out the food, the server is not the only person the tip is going to. Did you know that the bussers and runners get a percentage of the actual sales of the server? That means that if you have a really big check and you only tip 5 dollars, none of that goes to the server because the server is at the bottom of the chain and gets only what's left after giving money to the house and tipping out bussers, runners and the bar. I hate the fact that my own people are the worse tippers and I actually have servers not wanting to take black tables.
I realize that tipping is not mandatory but it is firmly established in our society and in upscale places, you have to pay for someone to do your bidding.