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jenaclaree
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Posted on Saturday, February 25, 2006 - 03:55 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

DEAR ABBY: If I go to a buffet restaurant, how much of a tip should I leave at the table? I want to do it right. My friends have told me that because this is a kind of "self-serve" restaurant, we can leave whatever amount we like. I am ... CONFUSED IN WESTMINSTER, CALIF.

DEAR CONFUSED: If you want to "do it right," leave 10 percent.

This was on Dear Abby today. What do you guys think?
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steadyservin
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Posted on Saturday, February 25, 2006 - 04:06 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Personally, I would leave at least that much. I dont think that removing plates and refilling beverages calls for the 15% to 20% standard that full service calls for.
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lords_of_acid
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Posted on Saturday, February 25, 2006 - 04:24 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Removing plates can be done AFTER the person has left so that's NOT service to the customer at ALL to me. The dishes can LITERALLY be put on another table or can be stacked up and buffet places USUALLY have big tables and big booths to have enough room to not let a extra dish bother customers. Usually there's NO NEED for refills because the glass is usually huge at a LOT of buffets. If they don't refill anything and just take the order, hand the check, ring the check up, and bring the credit card or change, I say a buck or 2 at the most as far as soft drinks go. Some buffets do have alcohol, so I determine the tip on the alcohol prices for the MOST part then, so then I WOULD leave 15% or more, maybe 20%. I DON'T COUNT picking up dishes, that's NOT a service to me. I am going to serve MYSELF the food. If there are refills, like let's say one time, then $3. I say $0.50 per refill. So if I had 3 people with me, then $4.

At Cici's there's NO service at ALL for the customer as far as I'm concerned. Picking up the dishes can LITERALLY be done AFTER I leave and I don't care if I have a pile of them at my table. I am getting my refills myself as well as my food. The clean up work can ALWAYS be done AFTER I leave. SO NO TIP at Cici's in my opinion.

If a person cares if there's dishes on the table, then I'd say that's worth maybe a buck at the MOST. I DON'T CARE if I have dishes or not. It DOESN'T bother me in the least because these tables and booths at Cici's are BIG to have ENOUGH ROOM to put them to the side without it bothering me.
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cuatro
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Posted on Saturday, February 25, 2006 - 04:32 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Depends on the buffet.

At crappy buffets (like Old Country Buffet, many "Chinese" Buffets), I leave a buck. If the host is rude, or the staff annoying (cutting off customers, items missing for extended periods of time) they can lose that buck. Sooooo-eeeeeee!

At a fancy buffet, where there is a server, I creep into the 15-20 range. I won't begrudge them the bit of exercise I get to gather food, since it's in my best interest anyways (I get to choose the portions).

Dirty plates at a table bug the crap out of me. They're just so easy to clear away.
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vozveratu
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Posted on Sunday, February 26, 2006 - 01:41 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Our restaurant has a buffet/brunch mix. You can help yourself to the buffet and you can order these bit sized items from the kitchen, which the server brings out.

During this time the server is refilling coffee, tea, and water and taking drink orders for bloody marys, mimosas, and wine.

We normally get 15-20% with a few 10%'ers. I usually walk with 100.00 bucks or so for the day.
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vozveratu
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Posted on Sunday, February 26, 2006 - 01:46 am:   Edit Post Print Post

At Cici's there's NO service at ALL for the customer as far as I'm concerned. Picking up the dishes can LITERALLY be done AFTER I leave and I don't care if I have a pile of them at my table. I am getting my refills myself as well as my food. The clean up work can ALWAYS be done AFTER I leave. SO NO TIP at Cici's in my opinion.

Umm, yeah...right. You said at the beginning that there is no service, so even if you wanted to tip, who would you tip? The cashier? Tipping is for a server in a restaurant. A list of places you don't have servers:

Fast Food
Cafeterias
Coffee Shops
Buffet - Cici style

I can't think anymore on possible others. Too tired.
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jenaclaree
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Posted on Sunday, February 26, 2006 - 06:41 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Lords,
See I would be angry if they left a pile of dirty plates there. And I use alot of them because I'll be up and down 10 ten times putting 3 little bite size servings on each one (I like to try a little bit of everything at the buffet). Dirty plates get in the way and aren't pleasant to look at. I want them gone.

That is why i don't tip any differently at the buffet. Part of the fun of a buffet is looking at all the food and picking out what you want. I don't feel like because I served myself I should reduce their tip.It's not like actual work. Besides at most with the exception of the brunch buffets which are $30 most buffets I go to are like $12 a person. If I gave only 10% that's like $2.50. I just can't do that.
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jammie
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Posted on Sunday, February 26, 2006 - 06:59 am:   Edit Post Print Post

jena, As a thank you to a friend a couple of months ago I took him and his girlfriend to the Bomb Squad, on Southern Blvd. in West Palm. It was great, it is table cloth, and linen napkins. The eggs Benedict were out of this world. I would highly recommend the Sunday brunch. For all 4 of us the bill came to $89.00. I left $110.00. I didnt find the price too high for what they offer, oh let me not forget the mimosas. Even though our server didnt exactly wait on us, she was right on top of the mimosa refills, and coffee, prompt at removing the plates, and asking if we got everything we needed. The food was set up in stations, in different spots. She was sure to ask if we saw the omelette station when she noticed none of had omelettes. Now I was not insulted, or her thinking we were stupid because we didnt get omelets, I thought of it as her being helpful. But of course I was out for good food and good company, what a nice time we had.
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jenaclaree
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Posted on Sunday, February 26, 2006 - 07:30 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Carmen's in Boca has the same kind of brunch. It's in a waterfront restaurant. They were so great at refilling my mimosas. They laughed at how drunk I got and basically were just having a great time. I love brunch. Do you know of any others?
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jammie
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Posted on Sunday, February 26, 2006 - 10:47 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Nothing is coming to mind right now. Gotta love those fun brunches on a leisurely Sunday, there must be a secret ingreediant in the mimosas.
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scarlett
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Posted on Monday, February 27, 2006 - 12:05 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I'm with Jennaclare 100%.
I couldn't have said it better myself.
Jenna, I'll bet anything your servers all love you. Aside from the fact that you're a good tipper, you sound like a really nice person.

LOA, no offense, but looking at dirty dishes and congealed food is gross and disgusting.

I wonder what your home looks like?
~"Imagine if they gave a war and nobody came."~
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lords_of_acid
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Posted on Monday, February 27, 2006 - 07:39 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

scarlett
"I wonder what your home looks like?"

Actually I'm a clean freak for the most part. I vacuum once a week. I pick up hairs everytime I comb my hair so hairs aren't all over the floor, sink, or bathtub. I make the bed everyday. I put dishes in the dishwasher as soon as I'm finished with them. A friend of my husband's that works at a Goodyear shop said "That's the cleanest car he's seen in a while" when I went to bring in my car. I don't wash my car very often, but I shake the rug on my side every week. I fold clothes and NEVER let them pile up. I even folded laundry when I had fever last monday of 100.8 degrees. That's how much I take care of the household. I did leave the ironing for the next day because I was too weak that night to get up.

If anything, my husband's computer room is messy. I usual try to get him to clean up by giving him mail that gets pilled up that's not bills, like credit card offers or other junk mail.

A lot of people said a the donut shop "Your room must be spotless" or something like that, because I always was cleaning during the downtimes when I didn't have customers or restocking to do.

I just feel service is something that the server does for "ME." I don't mind at a buffet if I move my own dishes to another table or if they stay at the table. If it's a small table, it may bother me a tiny bit because of the lack of room, but for the most part, I honestly don't care. I feel service is what the server does for me. You may feel if a server moves the dishes away for you that it makes you feel more comfortable, it doesn't bother me if my dishes are on the table or not, unless it is a small table, then as I said above it bothers me a tiny bit, but usually every buffet I've EVER been to, had big tables or big booths. I don't count them picking up dishes as something they do for me, because I don't care if the dishes stay there or not. The things the buffet servers are doing for us is serving us the soft drinks, possibly refilling our drinks, bringing the check, and ringing up the check. The rest of the service is the CUSTOMER doing the serving. If it's Cici's, the picking up the plates is meaniless to me.

Everyone has things that bother them or don't bother them. I am just a person that I don't care if I see dirty dishes as far a restaurant goes. In our home I DO care, because it's our home, but a restaurant is NOT ours, so I don't care if it's messy for a while. I'd MUCH, MUCH, MUCH RATHER the dishes be pilled up by a table by me than WAIT LONGER to get served. MOST people would rather NOT wait longer I feel in general for ANYTHING. Especially if they had a wait for a table a long time. I'd much rather my own dishes be pilled up than to have my request get delayed. That's just how I feel.

I am just the type of person that would rather be thought of as "I HAVE FEELINGS and MY TIME SHOULD MATTER" than for the wait staff to be more concerned with dishes that COULD be done AFTER they serve me. Those dishes being picked up I feel are actions that are helping the "RESTAURANT" clean up, NOT helping my waiting times to get served.

Like the time at Chili's that I posted about months and months ago WAY BEFORE Katrina hit. The waitress came up to us after we had finished eating and we ordered refills on our soft drinks and I ordered a margarita. She proceeded to pick up our dishes on the table which I didn't mind that, but I DID mind the next step she did, which was go to the table EXACTLY ACROSS from us and start piling up those dishes at the this table without no one at it and started wiping the table BEFORE going to put in our order we JUST placed. She took at least a couple of minutes doing this. I feel she COULD have thought about our wait by going to put in the order for the margarita and brought the 2 refills to us. It was around 11p.m. at night and they closed at 12p.m. at the time, so it wasn't at a busy time or anything like 8p.m. at night or some time like that. After she was finished bussing the table, THEN she could have went to the kitchen to put the dishes away and then brought my margarita if it was finished being made. That would have been the CARING thing to do. She cared more about dishes that are just sitting there. I care about my wait and so did my husband. We had only left her 15% tip for JUST that action by telling us by her actions that she cared MORE about dirty dishes that didn't tip her than she cared about her customers that did tip her.
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minerva05
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Posted on Monday, February 27, 2006 - 08:45 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Lords, buffet servers do a heck of a lot more than just get your drinks and ring up the bill. Who do you think brings out all the food to the buffet, and monitors the number of people int he restaurant and orders the appropriate refills of food fromt he kitchen. The make sure all the food is fresh and hot and that the buffet stations are clean and well stocked with dishes and food. They may not be carrying food to your table, but instead they're carrying huge loads of food and dishes to the buffet station. You know how annoying it is when you go up to the buffet and they're out of your favourite dish? A good buffet server makes sure this doesn't happen.
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scarlett
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Posted on Monday, February 27, 2006 - 09:28 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Lords, sorry you were ill, I hope you're feeling better.

Me, I'm one of those peeps who is paying for(tipping) some one else to clean up my mess after me.

We like to sit a few minutes over coffee and digest our food, but then again, as you said it's an individual preference.

If you are leaving a lesser tip because something displeased you, let the server or the manager know it though; otherwise they will just think you are cheap.

On another topic, and hoping Mannie doesn't mind, have you gone to http://www.limewire.com ? You can download all kinds of cool tunes there, including LOA music.


~"Imagine if they gave a war and nobody came."~
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lords_of_acid
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Posted on Monday, February 27, 2006 - 10:50 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

scarlett
"Lords, sorry you were ill, I hope you're feeling better."

Thanks, I am. I've been having a cold every since last monday, so it sucks to have a stuffy nose and some couching. I also got conjuntivitis(pink eye), which my eye is doing better now.

"On another topic, and hoping Mannie doesn't mind, have you gone to http://www.limewire.com ? You can download all kinds of cool tunes there, including LOA music."

I have BEEN knowing about limewire, bearshare, and other programs like that. Now people are getting sued for downloading music without paying for it, which I can understand that. I have been paying $0.99 a song on itunes. It's cheaper to buy per song than to have the whole disc sometimes and a lot of times I don't like all the songs.

I also bought a bunch of LOA albums to support the band I LOVE so they can tour again one day. I saw them in 1997, 2000, and in 2002. They are from belgium so they don't tour very often at all. I'm not sure if they are going to ever have another tour.

I was just saying that everyone feels different about things in that for instance my husband doesn't care if he gets a refill without asking, I do. So to you dishes bother you, for me it's more about "I'm hungry and thirsty NOW." I just rather them get the dishes AFTER they get me what I asked for. This way I can enjoy my food and/or drink that much sooner and then they can clean up AFTERWARDS. I think MOST people in general want their food or drinks as SOON as they can receive them. I think most people aren't looking at the tables with dishes, they are busy talking to the people they are with. Most people don't want to see piles of dishes, but I bet they'd rather have their food starting to be made than wait for a table 5 minutes longer or wait to get their food 5 minutes longer. I just know when I worked at the donut shop, people use to honk their horn at the drive-thru, knock on the window, etc. if people didn't get their food in 3 minutes. We cooked the food to order, so it wasn't like their food was instantly under a heat lamp like at McDonald's. If people weren't in a hurry, WHY would I have had gripes from people that were getting stuff to-go inside and drive-thru? Yes, those type of people would be more in a hurry, but still, I think for instance, people on their lunch break want to hurry too. I just think if a person is on a lunch break for instance, I feel that usually a customer doesn't care about if the dishes are on another table, they care about going back to work on time. I don't think piled up dishes are their main concern when they are on a time limit.

I want to thank you for being nice. I am NOT trying to be mean on here, I just see things the way I see them because my order is wrong a lot of times and it's so frustrating that I'm writing my own order down at times and asking servers to bring condiments before my meal. I wish the servers/and or food runners could get the orders correct. It's to me, that frustating. I like going out to eat, I just wish things went well. I'd rather wait 10 min. for my bill than my food to be wrong. I value my food more than the waiting time to leave. I wish I'd like the food "AS IS", but unless it's like a pasta dish or something like that, I usually have either substitutions or extras or specifics. I find some pastas I've had at SOME restaurants have not tasted as good as a box of pasta roni in the grocery store. Like my husband and I find Olive Garden's pasta to taste like a frozen dinner. We've gone to Olive Garden a few times, but we don't think it's all that. There is usually a LINE out the door everytime we pass there, so a good majority seems to like Olive Garden. My point is, I rather gets sandwiches, burgers, ribs, mozzarella sticks, and things like that usually than pasta. I tend to be VERY picky if the pasta sauce is not thick. I like it to have a little thickness. My point is, I mostly don't order pasta when I go out to eat, so my orders are mostly COMPLICATED.
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scarlett
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Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 12:31 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Lords. from what I was told, and I could be wrong, Olive Garden IS frozen food.

Any OG servers here who can give us the 411?

I've never eaten at a chain Italian restaurant; I live in an area where there are plenty of individually owned Italian restaurants with food (and sauce) made fresh. In fact, I used to work at one, and still frequent them as a patron. Their sauce is "to die for"

Their pizza and mussels are the best, bar none.

I travelled by auto to the west coast last summer, and was surprized at how few privately owned restaurants there were along the way, even off the interstates. All we seemed to see, with a few exceptions,like the Roadkill Cafe in Seligman, AZ were Denny's (I had my first Denny's meal ever; YUCK!)and other fast fooderies.
~"Imagine if they gave a war and nobody came."~
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jammie
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Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 06:56 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Scarlett, I have heard the same about O.G. I usually get the a skewer of marinated chicken with veggies and marinated beef with veggies grilled. That is pretty good. My family loves the o.g., they do have a nice selection of wine by the glass. Myself I would never order pasta out, I could show them at og a thing or two about pasta.
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jenaclaree
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Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 09:54 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Olive garden not only has horrible food they have horrible service across the board. Every Olive Garden i have been to has bad service. I remember going to one at 10 on a Saturday. They close at 11. Nobody even greeted us for 15 minutes. When I mentioned it to the hostess she said well i'll find Jason he's your server. When Jason came up he said "sorry nobody came over, but I'll be glad to help you tonight". He acted like he was saving us instead of the one weho screwed up. I was quite amused.
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gasmith
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Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 02:17 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

We ate at OG once. We went specifically for a glass of wine I wanted to try that was not avail locally otherwise (as i liked it, i later special ordered some form my local wine shop). i said I could wait if it was not a problem. Well, I ownt do that agian. obviuosly a customer/server error as the wine came to the table about 25 minutes later...... (i still tipped %20 for the extra work)

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