Owner Tipping

I tip in cafes. Normal right? Question though, if every single person in the cafe is an owner or the wife of the owner and are not part of the barristas who’s lousy salary we “complement”, should I still tip?


Frank February 28, 2006

Call me old-fashioned, but I haven’t been able to convert to the idea of tipping somebody working behind a counter. If I start at Second Cup, why not McDo? I’d be interested to hear the arguments for tipping in those cases, because I haven’t heard any to date. Another question would be whether it is socially accepted to tip for carry-out and if so, how much do you tip?

marie February 28, 2006

In all honesty…a very good question.

If you know it’s the owner serving you and the owner knows you know he/she is the owner (or wife or husband of…)and you just ordered a coffee, I guess you could let it go. Although I would find it uncomfortable as a regular client if they were the only staff all the time.

A waiter will snigger at a low tip and its tipper, an owner will never snigger at anyone who comes into his establishement and buys something. Actually, you will most likely get the best service from them too. I guess if you believe good service deserves a good tip, then it doesn’t matter.

Have you ever wondered about the salary of a restaurant owner? No, not the ones that launder money and pay everyone under the table, the one that pays everything up front, declares it all and whose staff get paid with a real paycheck? You might be surprised who has the “lousy salary”!

But the bottom line is that the tip is at the client’s discretion ALWAYS, a humbling lesson for everyone and anyone waiting on a table, owner or not.

All this from a restaurant owner’s wife!

Patrick February 28, 2006

“A waiter will snigger at a low tip and its tipper, an owner will never snigger at anyone who comes into his establishement and buys something.” In the case of cafes I go to, it’s almost always a tip jar anyway, they mostly don’t notice one way or the other.

Blork March 1, 2006

I agree with Marie. Any cafe that is small enough that the employees are all family members of the owner is probably not a gold mine. So yeah, a tip would be appreciated.

Frank raises a good point though, when it comes to counter service. However, I think there is a distinction between, for example, a Second Cup (or Starbucks, or whatever) and a McDo (or St.Hubert, etc.), in that the employees at the cafe are usually involved in preparing your order. Even if they’re not (at that particular moment), it’s a small operation with just a couple of low-paid people behind the counter. If you look at European cafes, tips are always given, although there is no expectation that they be extravagant. Just a few coins from each order adds up over the day. Pooled tips help make the lives of the staff a little better, and helps make everyone feel a bit like there is a sense of service to the customer.

At a McDo (etc.), on the other hand, the cashier is just a cashier, not really any different from the cashier at a grocery store. The whole thing is a streamlined operation designed to get a product in your hand and to separate you from your money as efficiently as possible. Operations like that are not set up for tips, so forget about it.

Patrick March 1, 2006

Marie: Good point. It’s a franchise so I hadn’t thought of it but yeah, if they work there all the time they’ll probably appreciate the tip.

Blork: I hadn’t thought of it that way but you’re right, the food preparation angle is a good separation.

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