By Kevin Williams
This is a little off-topic but, hey, why not?
This weekend we ordered a carry-out meal from Bob Evans, a regional restaurant chain that might be comparable to a Denny’s or a Perkins. We were just spending Saturday evening in and thought the food would be a quick and cheap way to have an enjoyable meal and it was. That said, when it came time to pay for the meal, I was caught off guard by the “tip screen.” More and more at restaurants where you pay at the register you swipe your card and then a screen comes up asking if you’d like to add a 15 percent, 20 percent , etc tip.
Obviously, for a sit-down meal, you tip the waiter or waitress. But what IS the proper protocol for tipping on a carry-out meal? Do you do it? Do you not do it? I mean, I have no problem tipping…but if the meal has just been taken from the kitchen, boxed and bagged up, is there anyone even to tip? Perhaps my views on tipping are just outmoded and outdated. When I was a kid I think tipping was still something that was largely arbitrary, you tipped to show appreciation for good service and you tipped accordingly. But, now, I think tips are more viewed as necessity to compensate for the lack of a decent wage by the employers. So I do want to do the right thing, but I also don’t want to tip (sorry, funds are too scarce to do anything but think through each dollar doled out) if it’s not something that is expected. So, does anyone have any thoughts on this topic?
As an aside, I’ve never worked in foodservice, but I do have admiration for those who do. My deceased Grandma Williams, especially in her older years, was a sweet woman and a wonderful grandma and I miss her but she could be brutal on servers. And I shouldn’t single her out, I have other extended family members even today that give servers a hard time if things are exactly according to specifications. It’s got to be a very tough job. As a teenager, my brother was waiter at Frisch’s (another Bob Evans/Denny’s type regional chain) and I think he lasted a single shift before being shown the door (I think he was cutting the slices of dessert cake too large, a definite a no-n0 for restaurants hyper-concerned about profit margin). So he eventually landed at the much quiet, much less busy Day’s Inn restaurant in our hometown. And that was the late 80s. Nowadays most hotels (unless it is really upscale) don’t have their own restaurants, but back the even some of the most mid-list hotels and motels ran their own restaurants.