Recently while listening to NPR I heard a discussion about tipping trends for service people. A part of the discussion focused on tipping in restaurants and how many people tip less during a recession and some (a precious few) actually tip more.
As a part of the program they had listeners call in to share their thoughts. I was surprised at how many people who called in were servers who had this advice for the dining public:
"If you can't afford to tip your server well, please do not dine out. "
At first I could not believe what I was hearing. That's like someone saying, if you can't afford to give me a really nice birthday present, then don't even bother.
These servers have clearly forgotten how things work. By suggesting that only people who tip generously should dine out, they're telling us exactly where their focus is: on their own bank account.
But, as a customer, I don't care about your bank account or your paycheck. What I care about is getting good service while I am dining in your restaurant. If you give me good service, I will tip you well.
Last time I checked, that's how it's supposed to work.
These servers seem to have forgotten that. They (apparently) think they should get a full tip just for being there. It sounds like the quality of the service (and the experience) they deliver does not matter is not connected with the tip amount.
I understand many people tip poorly. And I know it's frustrating to do a good job, deliver great service and get a lousy tip in return. After college I poured drinks and waited tables so I've been there. It's not fun.
But as a server (or as any employee) you have to take the good with the bad. You accept the ups and the downs. That's life. And, you have to remember (as we all do) we are there to help the customer get what they want. That needs to be our focus.
As employees, managers or business owners, if our focus is on money then our service will suffer. Our motivation will drive our actions and our actions will become clear. We're there for the tips.
This will drive customers away faster than bad food, high prices or long lines. And it will keep them away.
Put all your focus and effort into helping your customers have a great experience and you will be rewarded with better tips. Not from everyone but from enough to make a difference. Plus you'll have more fun and you'll be creating job security by increasing customer loyalty.
Kevin Stirtz is the “Amazing Service Guy". He is a customer service speaker and trainer who helps companies increase revenue and profits by delivering Amazing Service. Kevin has been quoted in such major media as BusinessWeek, the Boston Globe, Smart Money and the Chicago Sun Times. Get a free copy of his Amazing Service Toolkit at http://amazingserviceguy.com