This Just In ...

Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Culinary no-no #249

Culinary no-no's




Saturday night was sweet for the Fischer family. The occasion: A celebration of Sweetest Day.

Jennifer was bedecked in a strapless sequined dress. Kyla was 30 pounds of angeliccuteness. Daddy was armed with a hefty certificate. Thus, surf and turf turned out to be the entrée of choice.

Stipulated on the certificate was an automatic 18% gratuity. 18%? Fine with me, I thought. I was getting a super deal, and I normally tip 20% or more anyway.

In the past I’ve blogged that restaurant patrons should not disrespect their servers. They do hard work that all too often goes unappreciated by condescending diners.  If they do a great job, they deserve a corresponding tip. The norm is between 15 and 20%. But they should earn it.

Reports this past week had San Francisco restaurant employees floating the idea that a 25% gratuity should be standard practice in restaurants by the Bay. The very notion sent diners into orbit.

Here are two comments left on the local CBS affiliate website in San Francisco:

I live in San Francisco and dining out costs have already gone up due to healthcare tax. A automatic 25% on top of that is ridiculous. I only dine out at private clubs I am a member of in town. All other dining out is out of town only.

A tip has always been voluntary based on actual service delivered. I tip 15-20% if normal good service. If excellent service, then 20-25%. If poor service, then little if any tip with final visit to applicable establishment. Pay for performance works and anything else does not work.

There are plenty of restaurant fish in the sea. Deliver what I seek or perish. If you don’t like it, go pound sand.

TIPS stands for “to insure prompt service” what incentive is there to do so if you already know how big a tip you are going to get?

I have worked in and owned a restaurant, if you give good service, you will get a good tip. Yes, every so often you get a cheapskate, but on the whole, you make good money.

The only time I am okay with a mandetory tip is when it is a large party, 6 or more or a banquet. For some reason, large parties seem to undertip and the waiter has worked himself to death.

I would agree. However, I can understand the call for a mandatory surcharge because, let’s face it, too many diners are too cheap and too dumb. By that I mean that they don’t understand the entire tipping ritual which isn’t all that difficult. The IRS says 15% is standard, Above and beyond ordinary is up to the discretion of the diner. That’s where the trouble starts. A waiter/waitress is subject to the whims of a total yahoo, especially if the kitchen makes even the smallest of errors. The anger is taken out on the server who did nothing wrong. A bad economy also has turned restaurant patrons into penny pinchers. My thought: If you can’t afford to eat out, stay the hell home.

So, I repeat for those who would misinterpret my view: While I disagree with a set gratuity, especially one of 25%, I empathize because the average restaurant patron is a yutz.

Case in point: Andrew Meyers. The guy should be banned from every sit down restaurant in America for life.

Recently, he and a lady friend stopped in at Bimbo's Cantina in Seattle.

They had the customary tortilla chips, guacamole, and a double-decker pork taco. There were no issues or complaints. The bill of $28.98 came and Meyer paid with a credit card, thus revealing his identity.

Take a close look at what Meyers left for a tip and his parting shot at his female server.

bad tipper

That's zero tip, and this advice: "You could stand to lose a few pounds." The local news media has turned into a pitchfork/lantern carrying search mob desperately seeking the worst tipper of all-time for an explanation.

Andrew Meyers is the poster child for calls to institute mandatory restaurant surcharges. Can you understand? I sure do.


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