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JayMac: How was the service? Good or bad, tell the manager

File photo Gracie's Bar and Restaurant in Salt Lake City, May 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

I grew up in the restaurant business, and I really have a problem with people who don’t tip. I’d like to put those people in a place where their own boss can say to them, “You really didn’t perform as well as I had hoped for, so I’m not going to pay you today.”

That’s what you’re saying by leaving no tip. Even though you got your meal.

Did your meal arrive late because of the waiter — or was it the kitchen that screwed up? I don’t know where the error happened, so I leave a minimum of 15%. But tipping nothing changes nothing. Read on to find out what does.


A mother and daughter at a Harlem pizzeria recently asked their waiter why there weren’t more photos of women on the walls of the restaurant.

Jokingly, the waiter responded, “Maybe women don’t eat a lot of pizza?”

Well, the daughter, whose mom says is kind of feisty, didn’t like his answer.

“So we didn’t tip him,” and left a note that read: Women don’t tip, either, said mom, Karen Vinacour, of Manhattan, who is a retired social worker.


The waiter was bussing the table when he noticed an envelope and opened the flap to find a cashier’s check for $424,000 (legal tender), which Vinacour was going to use as a deposit on a condo.

After days of frantic, fruitless searching, Vinacour returned to the Harlem pizzeria. The first thing she did was apologize to the waiter for stiffing him.

He accepted her apology but declined her belated offer of gratuity.


So here is my solution when you experience good or poor service at a restaurant: Always tell the manager. You’re not being confrontational, you’re doing the restaurant a favor by providing input.

Giving input is valued

I know because I spent a lot of time as a manager of restaurants in several states, and I can tell you that nothing changes at the restaurant if you don’t tell the manager about the service — good or bad. I found it very frustrating when a server was regularly getting stiffed and no one was telling me (the manager) about it. Because how else does a restaurant improve?

If you experience bad, even really bad, service, don’t stiff the waiter and storm out because it changes nothing. No tip, no change. Tell a manager because she or he wants to know. Really. Same for excellent service. Getting praise sometimes can be more valuable than money.

But don’t take it out on the server because some of the things happening at the restaurant are out of their control — like the choice of photos on the wall.