A tip for customers | AspenTimes.com

A tip for customers

With the holidays upon us and (most) people in the giving mood, make sure to pass some of that generosity on to your server if you dine out in the coming days.

This is the time of the year when waiters and waitresses will be at their busiest, and it’s also a time when they depend on gratuities to pay their bills and put away some extra money for the off-season. On top of having stressful jobs, many servers will be working days when most of us are:

a) on the couch;

b) on the slopes; or

c) having them serve us.

Not only is it the job of servers to be at the beck and call of their customers, they also do behind-the-scenes work such as cleaning up messes, preparing the restaurant for the next day and making sure the condiment bottles are full, among other tasks.

For sure, that’s part of their job, but servers only make between two and three bucks an hour, because that’s all restaurants are legally required to pay them. Last year the average tip increased to 18.7 percent from 17.65 percent in 2000, according to Zagat Survey.

We think 20 percent represents a fair rate for service, but paying that rate doesn’t give customers the right to treat their servers like dogs while barking out orders to them (an apparent pastime among some members of Aspen’s jet set).

Servers may also want to take note of a Cornell University report that said those waiters and waitresses who introduce themselves by name see their tips 53 percent greater than servers who don’t. Also, those who squat by the table and chat it up with customers make 15-18 percent more than those who don’t. But male waiters, take note: Your tip will decrease by 3 percent if you put a smiley face next to a thank-you note on the bill, according to the Cornell report.

Tipping is part of the dining experience, and we encourage dining patrons to remember that rule not only during the holiday season, but also year round. To not tip adequately ” or to short-change your server ” simply because your meal is expensive or you had a bad day means you should probably be eating at home.

Nobody likes to work on everyone else’s day off. Think of that tip as a way of saying thanks that you’re not at work.

Enjoy the holidays.

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