Article: “When restaurants exceed the tipping point” (Jun.2006)

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excerpt:
“By now, tip overage preauthorizations should be a thing of the past. In 2004, Visa U.S.A. established a 0% tip-authorization policy for restaurants. Likewise, MasterCard International stipulates that restaurateurs must not add a tip without the cardholder’s prior knowledge and agreement.

Yet the issue still arises, with misinformation abounding, particularly in the case of a newspaper blog where some discussion participants last August thought restaurants were actually billing extra for tips that were never left. Their ire illustrated the downside of the practice, particularly for debit card users who keep their account balances low. A one-week hold on funds never spent can be frustrating…”

source: “When restaurants exceed the tipping point” (The Green Sheet, Jun.28,2006)

Article: “Tip for that? Paying extra for carryout service inspires variety of responses” (Jun.2006)

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excerpt:
“It’s the age-old question: Should I tip for takeout?

After all, nobody sets your table, fills your water glass or listens to you whine about the spots on your butter knife. The kitchen does most of the work.

On the other hand, somebody goes to the trouble of packaging the food, utensils and napkins, and double-checking the order — hopefully — before ringing it up.

Understandably, opinions on the subject vary…”

source: “Tip for that? Paying extra for carryout service inspires variety of responses” by Gary Seman Jr. (ThisWeek, Jun.22,2006)

Article: “The Barman Speaks – Our resident bartender skewers the Top 10 myths about drinkmasters” (Jun.2006)

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excerpt:
“Most bar patrons have severe misconceptions about the actual lives of bartenders—who we are, what we do and why we do it. Also, remember that the interaction between bartender and customer is a delicate one; it’s both an economic and a social relationship that has stood the test of time. Most other relationships in life are fleeting but, if managed properly, the partnership between drinkers and their bartenders is sacred.

Consider this a pocket-size operating manual for our mutual good times. And, if these points are taken to heart, we can continue to raise our collective glasses and toast to our long, drunken future together.

So forget all those third-person fluff pieces you’ve read everywhere else. Here it is: the plain truth about bartending, from someone who knows.”

source: “The Barman Speaks” by Ryan Osterbeck (MetroActive, Jun.21,2006)

Blog Post: “Ex-Kissimmee Restaurant manager tells all” (Jun. 2006)

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excerpt:
"From the Former Kissimmee Restaurant Manager Himself:

Hi, I think some of you will be humored by some of the comments I shall share with you.

First, I am English, but have lived here in the States for many years. Coincidentally, I was a restaurant manager in Kissimmee/Hwy. 192 for several years.

You would be amazed at some of the TRICKS of the trade I witnessed…"

source: "Ex-Kissimmee Restaurant manager tells all" by Kelly Griffith (Across the Pond, Jun. 6,2006)

Article: “Survey: High levels of tipping at finer restaurants” (May 2005)

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excerpt:
"We learned that 25 percent believe restaurant service has improved over time, compared to only 8 percent who believe service quality has declined," says Thomas Layton, OpenTable CEO, in a written statement. "This raises the bar for restaurants, which now have higher service standards to meet."

According to the survey, spending on white-tablecloth dining is trending upward, with 40 percent of respondents saying they spend more today than they did a year ago. In contrast, only 4 percent say they are spending less than one year ago, while 56 percent say that there has been no change.

Respondents reported that their average dinner tab is $49.37 per person, including taxes, tip, and beverages. In addition, compared to one year ago, twice as many say they are dining out more often as say they are dining out less often (31 percent vs. 15 percent)."

source: "Survey: High levels of tipping at finer restaurants" (Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, May 18, 2005)

WaiterBell Angle: A couple of notes on this survey, it was sponsored by OpenTable.com and it the respondents are OpenTable.com members. Depending on your restaurant and clientele, those details may make the survey more relevant for you. As you can see in this 2005 survey, a higher percentage of respondents believe that restaurant service was improving, meaning that some restaurants are raising their service standards distinguishing themselves from the competition.

WaiterBell helps raise service standards by providing a service safety net for your waitstaff and empowering customers. The result is a consistent dining experience with the right amount of attention from your waitstaff.

Resource: International Tipping Etiquette

Empowered dining includes knowing the tipping etiquette for restaurants in other parts of the world. Below are articles and web sites to provide some guidance:

BBC's International Tipping Etiquette
Magellan's Worldwide Tipping Guide
A few tips on handling gratuities worldwide (SFGate.com)
Quinwell's International Rules of Tipping
The Original Tipping Page
Tipper! (Denton Software Group) – Free Palm program with tipping tools and guidelines.

Happy Eating.

Article: “Before you go: Tips for prom dinner”

Here are some tips for being an empowered diner for your prom dinner:

excerpt:
"- Make your reservation as far in advance as possible. May and June are popular months, not only for prom groups, but also for high school and college graduations. Popular time slots — 7 to 8 p.m. — go fast. Call early and if you have your heart set on a specific place, be prepared to take an early dinner reservation time.

– Show up on time — or even slightly early — and that means the entire group. Guests who straggle in 20 to 30 minutes late ruin the pace of the dinner for their companions and delay the next group's reservation.
 
– Reconfirm your reservation with the…
"

click for more: "Before you go: Tips for prom dinner" by Candy Sagon (Washington Post, Apr.26,2006)