Tipping Adventures: Will Tabletop Units Be A Tipping Game Change?
Restaurants are implementing something that may be a game changer when it comes to tipping. I have no problem giving a great tip when it’s well deserved, but what I’ve experienced at an increasing amount of restaurants may reduce the amount that qualifies as a great tip. Table top units allowing customers to order food and pay their bill may take a bite out of the work done by a server, as well as the tip they receive.
My wife and I stopped at an Applebees for a quick bite to eat while running errands. The restaurant was busy, and it took our server a longer than usual time to get to our table to even take our drink order. While waiting, I noted the table top unit between us and wondered allowed if we could just order from there. I started pressing buttons, and sure enough appetizers and desserts were available to order. We selected an appetizer each, and hit the button labeled, â€œSend To Kitchen.â€ A few minutes later, the server stopped by, quickly apologized, and took our drink order. By the time she returned, our appetizers had arrived (delivered by someone else). Our server returned one more time to deliver some sour cream asked for by my wife. We finished our food, paid right at the table and left with no further interaction with our server.
What kind of tip would you leave?
When I paid, the table top unit displayed a screen to select the tip amount. Given our bill was only $16 I did leave 20% tip (which was the default, of course), but as we walked out the door I told myself she really didn’t deserve it for the following reasons:
- It took the server an abnormally long time to get to our table
- The server didn’t take our food order
- Our server did not deliver our food
- Our server didn’t stop by again to see how we were doing
- We paid at the table, no server intervention needed
Had the table top unit not been present, I’m absolutely sure our experience would have been long, painful, and unsatisfactory. The table top unit helped improve our experience, but I don’t think it necessarily justified improving the server’s tip. Even if we had experienced excellent service, the amount of work she would have done for us would have been less than in a traditional restaurant experience.
My question to you, Clever Friends, is this: If table top units like this become more popular, and the amount of interaction and work done by a server is reduced, does this change the scale for what constitutes a good tip? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
Brought to you courtesy of Brock