Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Groupon Is Making Me Poor

Does anyone else have to deal with Groupons at their job? Or Living Social? Or any of those other online deals that bring people in to your restaurant? I do and I've got something to say about.

While I am all for taking advantage of a deal, many of the people who use Groupon have no idea what they should be tipping on. Let me spell it out for you: you tip on the original amount! Just because you are only paying $10 for a billion dollars worth of food doesn't mean that you leave $1.50 tip. Your waiter is still bringing you two apps, two entrees, two beverages and a dessert, right? He is doing the same amount of work that he would be doing if you paid full price. Why should the waiter make less money because you wanted to save some?  It's annoying and it needs to be corrected. I think it would be nice of the Groupon people to remind the purchasers of these deals to tip on the original amount. Groupon is always so witty and funny in their descriptions but never once have I seen one that said "Don't be a cheap ass. Tip on the original amount."

Think about it. I am at work and have four tables. Two of them have Groupons meaning they are probably going to have more food brought to their table than the tables who are paying full price for every item. When the check comes, the non-Groupon tables are going to be at least twice as much as the other and therefore tip more. But I brought the same amount of food to all four tables. What this does is make me resent the Groupon tables and lets them slide down my priority list, which is a real shame because the whole point of the stupid fucking Groupon is to get customers into the restaurant and then make them want to come back. But when I am repeatedly stiffed by those people I tend to give less-than-stellar service to them and they will never want to come back again. I'm not proud of this, but if nine times out of ten I am going to get a shitty tip from the Groupon table, I don't want to waste any time on them. I save my smile for people who are going to put their money where there mouth is.

Customer: Hi, we got this Groupon and I think we get free nachos and a side of guac, is that right? And then our entrees are two for one, right? And we each get a free soda and a dessert too, right? I just love Groupon. If it wasn't for Groupon, I couldn't afford to go out to eat. I love Groupon! I only paid $12 for it. Ain't that something? 
Bitchy Waiter: Yes, Groupon is something else, alright, you cheap bitch.

Please, people. If you use a Groupon, remember that your server deserves to be tipped on what it would have cost if you had paid for everything. Please don't make your server go into the poorhouse. He didn't buy a Groupon, you did. He just wants to make his rent money and get the fuck outta there.

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Anonymous said...

The Groupons I regularly purchase state that 18% of the total check will be applied to the bill. Most restaurants do not actually do this but regardless we always tip on what the meal should have cost us. I understand that I want a good deal but the server still has bills to pay. Don't be cheap bitches!!!

Ghadeer said...

It seems that there is a fixed percentage for tipping in the US? This is sort of a new concept for me- in the Middle East where I come from, there's no minimum norm for tips, and it's up to customers to decide how much to tip (and you know what that means, many people consider themselves generous if they leave any tip at all)

California Girl said...

Well, I hear this a lot. Having waiter sons and friends keeps me abreast of this newest way to not tip. It is the same with all coupons and gift certificates, is it not? I think the restaurant should show the original amount on the bill and compute the three most common tip rates for the customer, e.g.

Bill total: $100.00
15% tip: $ 15.00
18% $ 18.00
20% $ 20.00

Groupon coupon: -$40.00
Discounted bill: $60.00

The restaurant should try to protect their wait staff. Anonymous is correct in saying some coupons and gift certs remind customers to tip on the full amount but the restaurant could be more blatant about it.

Erin said...

This appears below the "How to Use the Deal" instructions on all Groupons:

*Remember: Groupon customers tip on the full amount of the pre-discounted bill (and tip generously). That's why we are the coolest customers out there.

Tony said...

What really sucks is u end up doing more work for the Groupon people which takes away from the regular customers which then affects your tips from those tables also!

Anonymous said...

The last time I used a Groupon to eat at a churrascaria (expensive), I got a 2 for 1. I tipped the price of the one I got free because they were so awesome to us

Unknown said...

I think of it the same way as using coupons or giftcards. Besides, you're saving a bunch of money anyway, you can afford to tip well. If you can't, you probably shouldn't be eating out anyway!

ChiTown Girl said...

Erin actually wrote exactly what I was going to write. And, actually, like Tony, we sometime do the same thing if the service is exceptional.

What the hell is wrong with some people? You would think that because they are only pay for half their dinner, they'd use some o f the money they saved to be generous to their wait staff.

Mark W said...

To me, a "buy one, get one free coupon" simply means "you're saving this much on your check, so give it to the waiter instead."

If I buy two entrees for $12.99 each and one of them is free, the waiter (assuming the service is good) will get a tip on $26.98, PLUS the $12.99 I saved on the meal.

Because it happened to me twice when I was serving, and I believe in karma.

Kelly said...

Agreed on the comments above - every time I have seen a Groupon, it has had some sort of statement on it asking the customer to tip for the full amount of the bill. You know people won't always do that, of course, but at least Groupon tries to place the responsibility on the customer. I agree with California Girl that the onus is on restaurant owners to make clear that the customer should still tip properly.

Anonymous said...

I agree with this, but have always wondered why tips are a % anyway. Does the server bringing me a $20 burger, fries, drink do less work than a diner waitress bringing the same type of food? Why tip one $4 and the other $1.50? I (almost) always tip +15%, but it seems like there ought to be a minimum dollar amount. Never been a server for tips, so I don't get it.

BeckyMP said...

Such a timely post! My husband and I were on our honeymoon a couple of weeks ago, and we had a "two entrees for the price of one" coupon." When we got the check I had to explain to him that we tip as though we were charged for both entrees. Just because one meal was free doesn't mean the server didn't have to do any work to get it to us.

JimL said...

In theory, this should bring new customers into the restaurant who will, hopefully, become regulars.

In reality, what is does is bring in the cheapskates who have no intention to return when they have to pay full price.

Anonymous said...

I know! I'm not exactly wealthy myself, but I always tip at 20-25% because I know that I would personally probably murder most of my customers if I were a server.

Of course, it's always the richest people who tip the worst. I always do 20% minimum, and going out with a lawyer's wife, she insisted on no more than 15%. Lame.

Practical Parsimony said...

Everytime I have used a coupon to eat at Ruby Tuesday, I asked to make sure bf and I were ordering to get the deal. From there on out, the service has been shitty and smiles disappear. At some point, I assure the waiter that we will tip on both dinners unless he keeps up the poor service. Then, I inform him that we know how to tip. However, I will force bf not to tip at all if he keeps making me as for water and wait until he has given the other tables better service. BF would tip, just not much at all. So, maybe attitudes of waiter/servers has something to do with people's tips, along with the boors who are just out to stiff servers.

This may not be true with any of you servers, but I have not been back to Ruby Tuesday in over a year. Ishould not have to suffer because of a server's previous experience.

Hey, in this tiny town, we eat at Ruby Tuesday, Ryan's all you can eat or Cracker Barrel. That is good as it gets. If we were not on the interstate, it would just be greasy spoons or fast fodd.

Anonymous said...

Are you people paying taxes on your tips? I pay my taxes every paycheck. Just playing devils advocate. Why do I get to pay for your government services. (fyi I never paid taxes when I was a bartender) probably should have paid my fair share.

jMAN5 said...

Yes, we have to declare the tips that we get at the end of the night, that stuff gets taxes, that is why even though I get paid 4.35 an hour I get paychecks for less than a dollar...
My owner/manager is desperate for any customers he can get, we are in Valpak, the Entertainment book, Groupon and some other crap, it's really annoying TIP ON THE ORIGINAL PRICE PEOPLE!

Anonymous said...

I agree with California Girl, who doesn't love going shopping and seeing at the bottom of the receipt, You saved (whatever) all circled in red because the cashier really wants you to be like damn, how awesome was this shopping trip?

There should definitely be something on the bill to remind customers that they are not in fact way up in the clouds somewhere, but in the real world being waited on by a real person..

Anonymous said...

Really to the people asking about why you have to tip a certain percent and saying servers don't pay taxes? I didn't get one pay check last year and still owed the government $2,000 come tax season. And you tip a percentage because, typically, as the price goes up the quality of the food and service also go up. You don't get the same service and food from a diner that you get at a steakhouse.

Sarah said...

A great rule of thumb is to "tip back" the discount. Usually, everyone wins!

Sarah said...

@ Anonymous @2:14 -- Don't be silly -- of COURSE we pay taxes. As a matter of fact, often we pay more tax than on what we actually earn due to the fact we tip out to service staff based soley on our sales, not our tips. In Texas we only earn $2.13/hr for our time and most of us get paychecks with a shortfall for taxes. Tip your server or stay home.

Sarah said...

Sorry -- I meant to direct my commit to Anonymous @11:54.

Sarah said...

Sorry -- I meant to direct my commit to Anonymous @11:54.

Mary A. said...

Don't people have to PAY to get a groupon coupon? So they aren't really saving, they are jsut giving the cash to someone else.

Noelle said...

Eat and work at my place. No coupons, no discounts, no specials. We don't have to.
All these reasons above is exactly why.

Yes servers pay taxes. Most of our guests use credit card. Can't deny that paper trail.

Anonymous said...

Mary, usually people pay a smaller amount for a Groupon or Living Social type we did it at our restaurant with LS and they paid $10 for $20 worth of food. I don't want to do it again because it 's a pain in the butt and after their coupons run out I really haven't seen these people come back. It's good in theory but not usually in practice.=(

Anonymous said...

Also, the restaurant gets 1/2 of the selling I said, we did a $10 for $20 and for each $10 that LS collected the restaurant received $5...

Anonymous said...

The restaurant that I work at has a "kids night" once a week, where kids' meals are $1.99. So every damn family in the universe will scrounge around in their closets and come up with a million kids and sit in my section and be a huge pain in the butt, but their check will come out to be around $25 and I get horrible tips.

Silvia said...

I'm a cheapskate & use groupon, living social & deals all the time and for more than just meals. For example, I've gone kayaking with a groupon deal. Anyway as others have mentioned, the deals are all marked that you should tip on the full amount and sometimes in fine print it says the restaurant will automatically add an 18% tip to the full price of the entire meal. If they do that, I'll add some more cash so they get at least a MINIMUM of 20% of the whole meal.

I give 20% of the whole cost if I'm getting bad service. I assume that's only happening because some other idiot stiffed them so I make allowances. If I'm getting normal to good service, I'm not as generous as those of you give the cost of the whole 2nd meal but I'm definitely more generous, say if the 20% tip should be $6, I'll leave $10. I want it to be a win-win for both of us, I save, you gain.

I had a massage through one of these deals and I gave a barely over 20% tip because I have to say, it wasn't great. The girl couldn't thank me enough & even came outside a few minutes later to thank me again. I felt sorry for her thinking that other people aren't tipping.

Remember people, service employees including massage therapists, nail & hair salon employees, kayaking guides, tour guides, etc. live on their tips. I the other hand, I don't patronize places such as Starbucks where I have to tip for counter service. I won't go in & stiff them, that's bad karma, but I won't go in.

BTW I have returned to restaurants that I liked after using the "groupon". In one case I was disappointed because I was bringing a group & after I told them how much they'd enjoy it, the place ended up being closed. I guess their deal was a way of attracting business and it didn't work in time.

Sarah F said...

This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. It's definitely not fair. People can be so cheap. I agree with everyone that is saying that since the person is saving money on the meal, they should be able to tip well. I was having a conversation with one of my friends not too long ago, and he mentioned that he only tips his barber $1!! He really likes his barber and he'll only go to him, but he tips like shit. I told him to cut his hair himself if that's how he's going to tip him, and I told him I wouldn't be surprised if he cut his ear off or something for the crappy tips. LOL. If you can't afford to tip well, don't go out to eat, don't get your hair professionally cut, don't get your nails done, don't get pizza delivered, etc. People that work at these places live off of their tips. You don't want to work for free- neither do they!!

Anonymous said...

Fun social experiment for all you servers. For just one night treat each and every customer as if they are the BEST tipper you have ever served - you know the customer who left behind a $50 for a $10 tab. Sure there will always be jerks who don't tip well or leave those stupid "inspirational" messages instead of a tip, but there are many of us who do tip and will tip well for adequate to great service. But if you assume that you will be getting a lousy tip because the table is using groupon (or is full of some other group you have prejudged as being poor tippers) this attitude will become obvious to your customers and your tip will likely reflect that. I once went to an expensive and very traditional Italian restaurant with a group of women (none of us drinking alcohol). While we were essentially ignored all evening and received the worst service ever, tables with men in the group were treated like old friends and received the best of service. And yes the tip we left reflected the extremely poor service, which I am sure only reinforced the server's belief that women don't tip well - I doubt the server ever considered that his terrible service as the cause for the lousy tip. He took it as proof of his own little self-fulfilling prophecy.
I understand that working with the public can sometimes suck, but see if a super positive and optimistic attitude for a few shifts doesn't greatly improve the tips you recieve. What have you got to lose, you are stuck at work for the shift anyway?

Unknown said...

I LOVE your blog, so I don't want you to think I"m arguing with you :) But everytime I've bought a Groupon (and I buy them a lot--I love deals!), and they do say on the groupon & the deal to make sure to tip fairly! Unfortuantely., people are just stupid and don't understand. I used to wait tables and it's any sort of deal that makes people think they can tip less and they don't. It sucks, but realize it's not all your tables and it's not forever!

Anonymous said...

I've rarely used a coupon when paying for my meal, but the times that I have, I've tipped well. Listen, with the money I saved, I can afford a better tip.

Anonymous said...

People barely read the menu, so It doesn't shock me they miss the part about tipping accordingly. With serving I always felt like... don't look at your tips table by table.. but just count them at the end of your shift. Now if all your customers are cheap douches, well damn.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I used to waitress in New Zealand where we do NOT get tipped, so it is very interesting to read how it is rude not to tip a table over there! I worked as a waitress in a bar/restaurant for about six months and in that time I probably got tipped twice, no more than $2 as customers would say keep the change. (Both parties were American, coincidentally). Instead, we had comment cards where the lowest score I ever recieved was 9/10, so makes me wonder how well I would have done over in USA :)

vailcowboy said...

As an F&B professional for thirty years I have found, give your best service to every guest and tip-out your support staff generously. I earn the same average tip percentage every year. If you hate it that much, do the professionals in this business a favor and find another line of work. Lousy tippers are a fact of life, get over it. Love cowboy.

Anonymous said...

The Groupons for the restaurant I work at are all set to expire today. I worked last night. ARMAGEDDON. I can only imagine what my poor coworkers will have to deal with tonight. Luckily our deal stipulates the 18% gratuity on the original amount, but it's still not worth dealing with Groupon people. I am still seething. I have never had the misfortune of dealing with a 5 hour slew of cheap, high maintenance, impatient people. And frankly, 18% of a $31 tab is not worth the time and frustration of the interaction. I would much rather roll the dice with a non-inclusive gratuity on a nice couple who can afford dinner at a normal price, as they tend to be lower maintenance, order off the actual menu, and talk to you like a person. I am convinced that majority Grouponers are cheap because they're poor--and they're poor because they lack the intelligence and interpersonal skills to succeed in life. I don't mean to say 100% of Grouponers are horrid people--I had 2 very nice, normal tables last night--however, I will say about 95% of Grouponers should do the world a favor and order in.

msq said...

I love restaurant Groupons because they allow me to justify buying a nicer bottle of wine etc. And I always tip minimum 15% on the pre-discounted total. The pre-discounted total is typically higher than what I might choose to spend if I wasn't getting a discount so this favours the waiter. Usually I tip over 20% (probably not if the waiter was obviously discriminating against me because I have a Groupon). What percentage of Groupon users are selfish/ignorant or whatever other lame thing that cheap people are and tip under %15 of the pre-discounted bill?

Anonymous said...

I had a gift certificate for $10 off and I forgot to mention it to the waitress until the end of the meal when she was getting us the cheque (I know, I know, faux pas...but I did at least get it to her BEFORE she gave us the cheque). We ended up tipping the standard 20% on the pre-discount, post-tax amount (I say ended up but really I mean we did what we usually do) but it was amazing at how her demeanour changed once we said we had a gift certificate.

Anonymous said...

I wish businesses would not offer groupons. I like supporting my favorite places and count on qualified people to guide my purchases and selections. It is frustrating to see people paying less for the same things.
I reward excellent customer service and am loyal when I get good products and service.
It is shocking how unprofessional so many people in the service industry can be. I like friendly people but am private and don't like to be called by my first name by people I don't know well.

Unknown said...

I have both Living Social and Groupon deals at my work! They keep us busy, that's true, but some of the people are just driving me nuts! Last night I had a couple that came 1. without any reservation motivating that with just a "we have a Groupon NOW deal, it says "Go now!" *even though it also says RESERVATIONS REQUIRED!!!THE PLACE IS SMALL!!!*%-) and then after I squized them in and gave them all good service they didn't tip ANYTHING, like literally big fat Zero. =(

Groupon Newbie said...

It sucks to hear that groupon users are not tipping the full amount of the original bill. This is why I have been skeptical about buying any groupon deals for restaurants though I would like to try. I think it's a great way to try a new place without having to pay full price BUT I would never skip on tipping well unless the service was really bad.

So, as a new groupon user, how do I reassure the wait staff that they will get their full tip without being rude? I don't want the wait staff to assume that because I have a groupon deal, I am automatically like other cheap groupon users that does not tip.

Since you are a wait staff, can you give me some tips on how I can let my wait staff know that without being rude so they won't spit in my food. I don't want to be b*tchy about it but I don't want to have a bad experience either.

Anonymous said...

The best thing is to just not give the server the groupon until after the meal. Make SURE you tip on full amount, but you will get better service anywhere if you are believed to be a "regular" customer and not one with any sort of coupon.

Anonymous said...

The business I work with ran a groupon deal recently. My experience? The customers have not left a gratuity, one single time. The staff has been repeatedly abused by groupon customers who failed to read the fine print (or blatantly ignored it)failed to keep their appointments, were rude and demanding, asking for extras...and then when it is done, they stiff the staff for tips. The customers schedule appointments, then show up hours late, or not at all...then call again to reschedule because they forgot about their original appointment. This causes us a loss in revenue. For example, I had one groupon customer miss her appointment 4 times, each time calling a day later and saying she had forgotten, and requesting a new time. For her 4 missed appointments, I lost the opportunity to earn revenue with other customers as the time was held for her, and she no showed without the courtesy of calling to cancel. Had she had the decency to call, I would have filled her time slot.
101 customers bought our deal. Out of the 101 customers, 41 were chronic scheduling problems requiring multiple calls to tweak time around, reschedules or no shows. I even had one person show up 4 hours late, then throw a tantrum because I did not have time to fit her in right then.

I have been as gracious to my groupon customers as I am to everybody else, however I can agree that none of us here have been remotely impressed with groupon, or the business that they bring in

Anonymous said...

Ah that's right. So when you give a groupon table shitty service that's slow and surly they're really going to think "hey, I got great service, here's a really big tip". No, they're going to think "What an Ass, here's a minimum amount". Then they don't come back, tell their friends what a bad waiter they had and no-one comes back. Glad you don't work in my restaurant, bitch.

btw - I live in the UK.. our waiters get paid (mostly) decent money, then if they give good service they get tipped on top.. maybe you should start bitching to the people that pay you, not the people who pay them.

t'ra for now!

Anonymous said...

Maybe the fact that you are giving, as you put it, less than stellar service to Groupon tables due to a few bad experiences had something to do with the tip amount. I am sick of people who run restaurants looking down on people who utilize Groupon and other deals. If the owner doesn't want to take Groupon, then don't sign your business up. I always tip 20 percent of the original bill, by the way, even if the waiter or waitress socks I won't go below that.

Anonymous said...

First pardon my bad english as I am not from the states. I just cant understand the tipping system that you guys are using over there. In the country I'm at, for the meal we are ordering there is a service charge of 10% that is compulsory for everyone, which I believe is the same idea as tipping. So it means everyone has to pay the service charge which I believe is then to be given as a part for the waiters/staff. So all the waiters earned accordingly to the number of hours they worked and all of them have to give a good service or else lose the job.

Anonymous said...

Why is every word out of your mouth bitch and fuck? Did your parents raise you proper or ever bitch slap you into decency when you talked dirty to them? If you are SOOOO bothered about grouponers tipping you less you could just WRITE your 15 or 18 percent tip on the bill and adjust it so they KNOW what to tip you. Use your brain!

Also you are doing the restaurant you work for a disservice and not being a good employee if you are providing lousy service just because you aren't tipped well. Maybe its your attitude that gets people and that is the reason why. The restaurant pays you and you should provide good service no matter what because youre causing your employers place to lose money with your tude.

Anonymous said...

Uber and lyft drivers would be ecstatic if they got anything, at least your getting a tip...

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