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The Discount Dining Tipping Debate Rages On

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Yesterday, we ran a reader complaint about the above card given to diners at the restaurant Dressler who are dining there as part of a discount deal. We posited that as sites like Blackboard, Village Vines, and Gilt City rise in prominence, waiters and operators will find new ways to make sure servers earned their deserved tips.

And what a comment thread that complaint inspired! Most commenters contend that the restaurant is doing the right thing, keeping cheapskates in check. Some suggest even adding auto gratuity on the pre-discounted price of dinner. But not all agree. A couple of the best comments from both sides of the aisle.

Point

Worked a spot that bought into one of the discount plans years ago, and we tracked the results. Of the first 100 couples to use the "buy one entrée, get one free" not one tipped on the full amount. Not one.

Counterpoint:

As someone who always tips 20%+ (with tax included), and I tend to round up after that even, it always annoys me when tip is automatically included for smaller parties. If I get a discount I always tip on the original amount. If something extra is thrown my way for free, I tip for that as well. So it REALLY annoys me when the tip is added in.

A tip is a thank you for a job well done, I should get to decide how much or if I want to thank you...The whole entitlement thing with gratuity is annoying, you do your job, you get a tip. You do a good job, you get a good tip. You do a great job, you get a great tip. You act like I owe you a tip, you get an OK, much smaller tip. It's the service industry and that service extends beyond just handing me my food, it's the entire experience that you've provided me so you want a good tip, earn it.

Point:

As a restaurant employee who has recently dealt with a Black Board Eats promotion I am deeply upset by this posting. The practice of suggesting a tip on the non discounted price is at the request of BBE, not the house. It is a requirement stated before the BBE promotion begins. I'm assuming this is something they do to ensure the staff does not lose out on tips while the promotion is in effect. That being said, 90% of BBE users still under tip, and that's on the discounted amount. Just last night I had two ladies leave a $6 tip on a on a $37 dollar check. Great if there wasn't a free $27 bottle of wine included. Help a server out.

Counterpoint

No one should ever be told how much to tip. Auto-gratuity (sub-20%) on large parties is the only acceptable exception to that in my opinion. I waited tables for years. If this is such a big fuss for the waitstaff, they should complain to management and seek refunds for any instances where a tip on a Blackboard meal is discounted by 30%. Further, management should gladly take on that concession to their workers since they do not have a say in the marketing efforts of the business. Slipping someone a card to imply you're owed X amount of gratuity is insulting and inappropriate. The reader is correct in saying "Tips are earned." Sadly, the trend in Manhattan and all over seems to be that many waiters believe it is simply owed to them. This mentality is cancerous and breeds poor attitude and service quality.

And this guy doesn't even think one should tip on the pre-discount price:

Why should one have to tip on the pre-discount amount? The restaurant is doing this promo because business is slow i.e. the waiter should be happy that he has a table to wait on. In fact, what is the difference between me ordering an app and entree at a diner vs. Dressler. If the service is comparable then why shouldn't the tip be the same. All those who have traveled to Asia should get me.
· Dressler's Not so Subtle Note to Cheapskate Diners [~ENY~]

Dressler

149 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY

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