Study Claims 1 In 3 Restaurant Servers Discriminate Against Black Customers

We’d like to believe that when we go into a restaurant, the waitstaff will treat everyone at the table equally (which may be a good or bad thing, depending on the server), but a new survey claims that more than one-third of servers admit to providing inferior service to African-American customers, and more than half say they’ve seen other servers treating customers poorly based on race.

The study surveyed 200 restaurant servers — 86% of them identified as white — at 18 restaurant chains in North Carolina.

From the statement released by NC State:

Survey results showed that 38.5 percent of servers reported that customers’ race informed their level of service at least some of the time, often resulting in providing inferior service to African-American customers. Findings show that many servers perceive African-American customers to be impolite and/or poor tippers, suggesting that black patrons, in particular, are likely targets of servers’ self-professed discriminatory actions.

The survey also found that 52.8 percent of servers reported seeing other servers discriminate against African-American customers by giving them poor service at least some of the time. Findings also show that restaurant servers share anti-black perceptions through racist workplace discourse, indicating a considerable amount of talk about the race of their patrons. Only 10.5 percent reported never engaging in or observing racialized discourse.

“Many people believe that race is no longer a significant issue in the United States,” says the paper’s co-author. “But the fact that a third of servers admit to varying their quality of service based on customers’ race, often giving African-Americans inferior service, shows that race continues to be an issue in our society.”

Study Shows That, In Restaurants, Race Matters [NC State via Digital Journal]

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  1. Coffee says:

    I’ve worked in food service. Black people very frequently tip less than others. That’s going to be something many waiters remember when their section is slammed and they’ve got a four-top of white people and a four-top of black people, and one of the tables is going to have to wait a little longer.

    • Coffee says:

      Before someone decides that I’m racist, there’s plenty of material on the subject: http://www.tippingresearch.com/uploads/lynn_BW_final_draft_2.pdf

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        I’m glad you were the first to say it, and spoke through experience. I was going to simply offer the postulate that perhaps waiters start out treating them equally, then find patterns in certain types of customers (be it race, age, social status, gender etc.). Never been a server myself, nor even get to experience much true diversity in my life, so I can’t speak from any form og direct knowledge.

        • Coffee says:

          Thanks, Loias…I’m not trying to be bitter or vitriolic about it…it’s just a trend that’s impossible not to notice, and it will compromise the level of service when a restaurant is busy (because a waiter only has so much time) and someone getting paid a tip has to choose between two otherwise identical tables.

          • pine22 says:

            Isn’t it a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy? You assume that black people are going to tip less, you favor other tables / provide less service to them, and then you get less tips.

            • Coffee says:

              That dynamic certainly plays a role, but if you read the paper I linked above in this thread (written by someone at Cornell), there’s strong evidence that different ethnic communities have different tipping norms, and that blacks, on average, think that a lower percentage comprises an acceptable tip. That, combined with the self-fulfilling prophecy, create a low-tipping dynamic. The paper suggests that something be done to education the black community about what the generally accepted norms are, which would hopefully phase out the self-fulfilling prophecy over time.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            The problem with the topic of racism today isn’t that it exists or doesn’t, but that we can’t talk about it openly without being called racist ourselves. That, and statistical data that shows a trend can be considered racist.

            Get over yourself people! Some races have centuries of upbringing that either compliments or clashes with the current culture they themselves live in.

            • IntheKnow says:

              The misunderstanding and ignorance of statistics and resulting charges of racism permeates many other facets of our culture : SAT scores, police exams, etc. If blacks or any other group don’t do well, as a group on SATS, “the tests are biased.” Police exams passing scores have been lowered to new depths to accomodate the same. One cannot rationally discuss these issues without charges of racism. Wait a minute, Asians are minorities and as a group, they ace the SATs. Their culture perceives lower educational acheivement as an embarrassment.

              Check out the latest rankings of reading and math scores/aptitude by country. USA is way down. We have a serious issue churning out engineers and scientists. Cultural acceptance of lower standards. Sad.

              Back to the wait staff – if one has significant samples, as many have chimed in here, of VARIOUS groups and their probabllity of receiving a lower tip, then the economics of the system will determine the level of service. I can’t blame staff for wanting to maximize their income. The economics of the system will work against them the same way if there are enough complaints of slow or ineffective service.

              I also agree that culture affects the tipping decisions as in “It’s your job to serve me ” work my butt off during the day as well and I ain’t givin away my hard-earned money.”

              I personally tip 20%, 22-25% for outstanding service AND a great attitude; I’ll drop the tip to 15-18% for average service and less if I’ve perceived a slight or a less than stellar attitude.

        • Sengfall says:

          It’s sad, but you do learn who will tip you well and who will not. You should still give your best, but everyone has bad days.

          The worst people to tip for me were pairs of middle aged white ladies out for lunch who decide to order salads……I didn’t like those tables.

          Now that I am no longer a waiter, I try to surprise my waiter by giving a nice tip. (When I go to even a really nice restaurant or anywhere for that matter, I only ever wear old jeans and a tshirt)

      • crispyduck13 says:

        To hell with those other comments Coffee, anyone who has worked as waitstaff knows what you’re talking about. It doesn’t matter if you give them flawless service and the meal is perfect, some people stiff habitually. All these people on here talking about how you shouldn’t treat customers as walking tips: why should the server work for free because you’re an asshole? Goes both ways.

        In my experience it was the following who would tip me next to nothing despite sparkling service:

        1. Indian people
        2. Asian people
        3. European tourists
        4. Young people (like under 20)

        Add large groups as a prefix to any of those and we got doubly screwed for twice the work EVERYTIME. Boss let us add 18% automatic gratuity after it happened 3 times in a row one weekend. Thank god I got out of that industry.

        • Coffee says:

          Thanks, crispy…I thought I would put it out there quickly, and I knew I would get crap for it, but the truth is the truth. It’s wonderful to be principled…I try to be in all aspects of my life, but when your living is tied to the whims of people tipping you, being pragmatic is kind of necessary. People might call me a racist because of it, and that’s fine…maybe they’ve never had to depend on others’ generosity to pay their bills.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          I tip damn well and so does my family, but I’ve seen other Asian people not do the same. I remember going to lunch with a friend and being mortified that she didn’t leave a good tip, despite us getting the same service and just separate checks.

          • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

            I’ve noticed the exact opposite stereotype with Asian tippers.

            They usually tip very well. My observation has been that there’s this magic window in terms of who a good tipper is; it’s usually somebody who grew up working class and has managed to move up into the middle or upper class. This seems to describe a huge percentage of Asians where I live.

            • pecan 3.14159265 says:

              That’s a good point. I think it comes down to experience as well. My friend who tipped poorly probably didn’t think much about how much she was (or was not) tipping and now that I think about it, it was probably because she never observed any tipping etiquette.

              I was taught that tipping for good wait service is important because on a practical level, the person serving your food is making very little and their job is most likely very frustrating and not as rewarding than other jobs. I figure that if a tip is going to break my wallet, I couldn’t afford to eat there in the first place.

            • crispyduck13 says:

              I think these comments are a better study than the original article.

          • crispyduck13 says:

            And honestly I don’t know what it is. I worked in a nice Thai restaurant that was not expensive, maybe $10-$15 per dinner, located in an affluent city neighborhood. It was literally 99% of the time that an Asian table would tip less than 10%, and I’m not going to sit here and say it was specifically Chinese/Korean/Thai/Vietnamese/Japanese because honestly in most cases I didn’t know. My best friend is Vietnamese and tips very well, she is also a barber so lives on tips herself.

            There was a Korean church next door and they would often have large group dinners at our restaurant, which is great. The only reason I knew they were from the church is because my boss would make a point to tell me, and to make sure I put the 18% on there, otherwise we got next to nothing.

          • DrBoomerNg says:

            I have seen this play out as well. I (gay “Caucasian” male of Roma descent with dark skin and eyes, raised in a trailer in a poverty-ridden town of less than 800 people) have waited tables at multiple restaurants, and, unfortunately, I have seen this bear out as truth. My best friend (heterosexual African American female) has as well. But, frankly, my white parents are also poor tippers. Why?

            My parents were married when my mother was 17 and my father was 19; she was raised on a dairy farm and went straight to trade school to become an LPN (for those not in the know, these are the poorly paid nurses). My father grew up on a different farm, then went to trade school and became an electrician, and has worked in the bowels of the sewers of the capital city for my entire life (I am not only the first person in my family to go to grad school, but the first to go to college, period). I don’t think they tip poorly because they have always had to work poorly paying jobs; I think that it is because they have never had to work jobs were tips were their primary means of support. My mother has gotten better, but my father is still really bad at it. I remember going to a restaurant with my parents when I was 17; my father tipped a scant 9% on the tab, and I was horrified. I slipped a five under the plate to bump it up a little (it being all I had on me at the time), and, when I got home, my father returned the bill to me, telling me that it was not my job or his to “pay for that girl’s college.”

            On a related note, while in grad school, I became friends with a slightly older (26) classmate, who eventually admitted to me that both of his parents were scions of local wealthy families (his mother, for those of you who care, is one of the heirs to the McIlhenny Tabasco sauce fortune). Despite the fact that he had never known want in his life, and that he has more money than he could ever hope to spend in his life, he tips like Scrooge. Not because he can’t afford it, but simply because he has never had to work a job where he was paid in tips.

            Basically, it comes down to this: people who tip well are the people who have had to work for tips. People who don’t tip well are the people who have never had to prance around like cheery automatons for entitled jerks, hoping against hope to make 15% so that they don’t have to decide between feeding themselves and housing themselves. [As a side note, let me go ahead and translate something for you: "Get a different job" means "I have no idea what the job market and economy are like in America right now"]. My parents tip poorly because they don’t understand how poorly they are behaving, under the circumstances. In my experience, African Americans (particularly here in the South) are rarely hired to work in restaurants as servers; I more frequently see them working as dishwashers or in the kitchen (which is why I do think racism affects this situation, but not in the way that people think: racist restaurant owners only hire white people–almost always women–to act as waitstaff, thus the African American community has no idea how hard it is to make a living as a server, and thus don’t tip well).

            I must also concur with the above comment that African American servers are also tipped poorly by other African Americans, as my best friend Alicia has told me many a time, because she, like her non-tipping patrons “should know how hard it is.” Upsetting overall.

            • pamelad says:

              I usually get impatient with long posts on discussion boards but read yours with fascination. You should write a book some day! Here’s another long post, not a book-worthy experience, I admit.

              You make some interesting points:

              “Despite the fact that he had never known want in his life, and that he has more money than he could ever hope to spend in his life, he tips like Scrooge. Not because he can’t afford it, but simply because he has never had to work a job where he was paid in tips.”

              I think that’s true, not regarding all bad tippers, but certainly can be a contributing factor. I worked as a waitress while in college, and because of that experience I tip 20% or more when the service is decent. On the few occasions when the service is so bad that I only tip 10%, I usually call the manager from home to explain what went wrong if it’s a restaurant I care about at all. Not to get someone fired, but hopefully to give a gentle hint on correcting the situation.

              I worked at the downtown Marriott in Atlanta, a city with a very high ratio of black people. Never saw a pattern at all in the black and white patrons’ tipping, but the black as well as the white ones were probably upscale businessmen or people who worked at the nearby state capitol. Overall, the tips were very good!

              It’s true what you wrote about blacks being relegated to dish washing and cooking, and were not usually hired as or promoted to servers. Some of them, especially busboys, relied upon tips that the servers gave them from an optional percentage of their own tips. I hope it’s changed by now. There are probably a lot more black servers and managers in upscale restaurants in Atlanta today.

        • Agent Hooter Enjoys Enhanced Patdowns says:

          100% on the Indian people. AND they completely allow their kids to do whatever they want even going up to other people’s tables!

      • schmittymcdougal says:

        “i’m not racist but here is an incredibly racist thing i think that i will attempt to back up with some dumb link”

        shut up, racist

        • TheMansfieldMauler says:

          No such thing as prejudice, there is only postjudice. It is the compliment common sense pays experience.

        • Coffee says:

          You’re so cute when you’re angry.

        • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

          HAHAHAHAHAHA

          You’re new here, aren’t you?

        • DrLumen says:

          If you had read the link…

          “One concern about a study of this kind is readers‚Äô reactions, especially given the stereotypes already found in the restaurant industry. Some people who have examined these findings have expressed a fear that they will be used to justify continued industry prejudice and discrimination against blacks. I understand those fears, but I believe that they are misplaced for two reasons. First, as previously discussed, the belief that blacks tip less than whites is already widespread in the restaurant industry, based on servers‚Äô assessments of their personal experiences. Consequently, those inclined to racial prejudice and discrimination have already developed an excuse for their attitudes and behavior. Given the finding that blacks do tip less than whites, it is naive to believe that the resulting stereotypes, prejudices, and discriminatory behavior will disappear if the industry simply pretends that ethnic differences in tipping do not exist. In fact, failing to acknowledge and address this sensitive issue will only perpetuate a status quo that harms restaurants and customers alike by encouraging restaurant servers to discriminate in service delivery and discouraging restaurant operators from opening restaurants in predominately black communities.”

          Truth hurt much?

        • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

          Yeah, that’s why even the black servers I’ve worked with hate waiting on blacks. They actually bitched the loudest about it.

      • partofme says:

        That’s what the data in this study shows, too. The response to changing service based on perceived tip is similar in trend but larger in magnitude than changing service based on race. This make sense, as there will be factors other than race involved in the process of perceived tip. Basically, people are optimizers, especially when overloaded. In this case, they’re optimizing perceived tip. Since they have little information, they use proxies such as age/race/group size.

        This kind of optimization happens everywhere, and in some cases correlates with race. I know when I picked out classes, I pretty much ran profs through trial runs with the first few lectures (and race soon became a minor proxy (though not in the direction you would think (and the race that got it worst in the classroom was the race I picked my research adviser from! lolz))).

        • Coffee says:

          Exactly! I seriously am not trying to pass off some veiled racism here…only pointing out that the way the pay system works in the American food service industry, waiters are highly incentivized to give service to the table that they believe will tip them best. There are a few variables that correlate with likely tip amount, and race is one of the strongest predictors. Sure, it’s not true all the time, but when you’re serving X tables a night, you’re not going to take the time to get to know everyone. You use what you know to maximize your income.

      • IntheKnow says:

        +1 Great article. Fascinating at a minimum; servers fears/beliefs are statistically justified but morally hushed. I wonder if this exists with all chains, even the “upscale” ones.

        • Coffee says:

          Thanks, ITK…I know this kind of thing is a sensitive topic, and it’s very easy for people to misconstrue issues pertaining to race as inherently racist. I’d read that article in the past and found it interesting, and I thought it was applicable here.

      • Southern says:

        Great article, Coffee.

        I am a little concerned over the sample size, though – they interviewed 8x more whites (788) than blacks (99) during the gathering of their data, which could have skewed the results somewhat.

        Also, WHERE they collected their sample size could also have affected the results somewhat; I’m sure that everyone would be inclined to tip less at their local IHOP vs. an upscale restaurant that has $50 entrees.

      • Professor59 says:

        Good article, but it blames the vast majority of the problem on education. It says that most of the problem is that many black people are unaware of tipping standards. That’s just bullshit.
        Again, when a non-tipper is confronted, they are usually pretty clear about it, they just chose not to tip.

    • samonela says:

      Solution:

      - Nobody tip
      – Pay servers a decent wage
      – Adjust product prices accordingly

      • Power Imbalance says:

        Or just tip appropriately…

      • Esmeralda the Calipygian says:

        Unfortunately, this tends to result in much slower service. When I lived in Denmark, where there is no tipping, I noticed that the servers never felt the need to hustle, or to go out of their way to be helpful. They were getting paid by the hour, so there was little incentive to hurry. Once I got used to it, it didn’t bother me, but that took a while.

    • BennieHannah says:

      When I worked a restaurant, I did my job, professionally and usually cheerfully (some day I had to fake the cheer…it happens), without regard for my anticipated tip. I had regular customers who were elderly and on a fixed income. They got the same prompt, friendly, professional service I was hired to provide. If you’re slammed, you walk a little faster, you cajole the people at all tables and step up the charm. You don’t separate the tables by stereotype and neglect one in favor of the other. If you’re a server and you’re treating customers as walking potential tips rather than real people, then you don’t get optimal tips. If you don’t like waiting on people or if you dislike people in general or any race/gender/type of people in general, do everyone a favor and get out of the service industry.

      • moonunitrappa says:

        Amen.

      • Coffee says:

        I’m glad that when you have two places to be at the same time, you can just divide yourself in two and serve both tables. That’s an amazing power.

        I didn’t advocate giving poor service to blacks…I just pointed out that, all things being equal, if I have two tables and I have a good reason to think that one will tip better, that’s the table I will go to first. Because I need income to pay bills.

        • BennieHannah says:

          It wasn’t that hard for me – I preferred a hopping, busy restaurant. It made the time go by faster. I mean, it’s food. It’s people. There aren’t really that many surprises. Ask me about the time I spent working at a high-kill animal control facility. After that, waiting tables. NOT HARD.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        “I did my job, professionally and usually cheerfully (some day I had to fake the cheer…it happens), without regard for my anticipated tip. I had regular customers who were elderly and on a fixed income. They got the same prompt, friendly, professional service I was hired to provide.”

        Really, you never discriminated at all, not even a little bit?

        The table with the people ordering mixed drinks and steaks got the exact same service as the four teenagers ordering nothing but Cokes and enjoying their constant supply of free refills?

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Who are you to question what he did or didn’t do? Were you there?

        • BennieHannah says:

          Nope. That’s what being “professional” means. It means some nights are stellar nights and some nights are dud nights, and you’re there to do a job and you do it. Because I was a great employee and had excellent customer service skills my stellar nights far outweighed my dud nights. I genuinely like people, and it helps that I’m a writer so every interaction is material for another day.

    • moonunitrappa says:

      Each patron should get the same amount of service to the extent of an server’s abilities. If anyone tips less, boo hoo, life is unfair. Get a different job that doesn’t rely on tips. /troll comment with some truth to it. We live in an unfair world but you don’t have to play the hurt game to exist in it.

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        Each patron should get the same amount of service to the extent of an server’s abilities.
        We live in an unfair world

        Those two statements contradict each other.

      • dolemite says:

        Yeah…no I don’t think so. Everyone is entitled to some basic service, but if table 1 are regulars that leave you $1 tips while never being satisfied, and table 2 are regulars that tip 15% and are nice, and a server’s time is split between 10 tables, table 1 is going to have to suffer.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          This is pretty much why even when we’re not nearly as satisfied with our service at a place we go to frequently, we still tip 15% (20% is for good service). We’re regulars and they know who we are, so on any given night when the service isn’t nearly as excellent, it’s usually the waiter and a busy restaurant, not because the restaurant is bad. We are a little more forgiving because we are regulars and good experiences have heavily outweighed bad ones.

      • crispyduck13 says:

        Awe you didn’t get good service because you’re a repeat shitty tipper – tough shit, life is unfair, get out it.

        If life is so unfair then maybe people who can’t tip need to get their asses to a McDonald’s. No one will fault them for it there. What an entitled prick you seem to be.

        • crispyduck13 says:

          Ugh: get over it, not get out it.

          Although I’d like to see someone demostrate out to “get out it.”

      • malraux says:

        Look, the only way to make sense of tips is that the server is working for the customer instead of for the restaurant, after all, its the customer who is paying. If I have a boss who pays poorly and wants me to work really hard and another who pays well for a reasonable amount of work, I know which one I’ll be more enthusiastic about.

    • schmittymcdougal says:

      uuuuuggggh

    • Emerson says:

      It is not soo much the weak tips… the black crowd usual works you hard. They want everything customized. The drinks are almost never just straight tee or soda. You have to get different flavorings from the bar to make their drinks. Then you have to take the order which they want everything customized and a lot of times you have to track down management to ask if the request is possible and how much will it cost. Then you have to ring/turn in the order. It takes time typing the special instruction into a touch screen pc and then you have to explain the request to the cook. The cooks are slowed down by the special request and the food takes longer to get to the table. While you are waiting for the food, the server has to do countless refills that involve getting the flavorings from the bar and refilling of the bread. Once the food gets to the table, the server is run raged getting sauces and more refills. Then you get a crap tip once they have left.

      In short: The table runs you raged. Does not tip well. Affects the tips on your other tables because you are getting ran all over the place. Last but not least, they are sitting longer at your table which means the server will have less costumers. In my state, servers get paid from tips. Hourly wages almost covers the taxes.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        But if they ordered tee, don’t you have to walk all the way to the green?

      • Cat_In_A_Hat says:

        WOW, generalizations all around…This Black person doesn’t “work my server hard” or “want everything customized”. I tip the standard 20% for average service and go above that if my server has made a point of to provide excellent customer service and and doesn’t ignore my table. Sadly I hate to bust your bubble, but what some Black people do or people of any race, doesn’t equate to what ALL people do.

        • partofme says:

          Did he (or anyone else) use the word ALL? As soon as obvious strawman stops being obvious, we can figure out a way to go about fixing real-world problems (and differential service is a real-world problem).

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          I’m not going comment on black people in general, because I have nothing to base it on.

          But this person says they see a pattern. Just because they personally experience a pattern, or perceive one, doesn’t mean they think 100% of all black people act this way. You might be different. But you are also probably not a customer at his store.

      • dks64 says:

        As much as I hate to admit it because I try to be color blind… for the most part, this is true. Not all, of course, but at least 60%. I tend to do more work and get tipped less. That being said, I still give the SAME service I give everyone else. I will be patient with questions, make sure drinks are refilled, ring in the modifications, and give them the same “steps of service.” You know what’s worse though? Waiting on “bro” type Mexicans. I’m in Southern California and it’s VERY common (8 times out of 10) to get a 3-5% tip from them.

      • RandomHookup says:

        The table runs you raged.

        Freudian slip?

    • technoreaper says:

      @Emerson, they do that deliberately just to be obnoxious, and because they are aping the celebrity rappers and ballplayers that they worship. They have no class. I agree, it’s not all black people, but it’s a certain lower-income culture.

    • smartypants503 says:

      @ Coffee I completely agreee with you. In my extensive experience in the industry this is usually the rule. I have even had black wait staff that have bitched about having to wait on Black people…apparently it would go even worse for them becuase they were supposed to know “it’s hard out here”.

      And in response to the black people who comment about how they are exceptional tippers…the fact that you are regular and comment on a website like Consumerist already puts you ahead of the common man regardless of your race. The bottom line is that this happens, period. Everytime?…no. But enough to make it true.

      And don’t get me started on Europeans…

    • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

      Word. Sarah Silverman got it right.

      http://vimeo.com/5159927

    • CommonSense(‡≤†_‡≤†) says:

      I used to work at a restaraunt.
      The same ghetto black couple came in every sunday after some church that people wear wierd funny hats with feathers and leapard print. They never tip, but keep coming back.

      One day every server refused to serve them because they never tip and the manager told them everyone refused to serve them because they never tip. They started yelling about racism and finally left.
      The black server used to hate serving any black customers and was 100% open about this. He always said black people tip less or not at all. I was just a busser so I did not get 1st and experience to know if his claims were really true, but him being black makes me think he knows what he is talking about.

    • prosumer1 says:

      Stereotyping, yes. However, this is often true. Black patrons are often shitty tippers, they’re demanding, they’re loud, and they take forever to clear out the table for other patrons on busy nights. Worst of all, they are seldom on time for their reservations. A table sitting empty equates to profit loss. You made a reservation for 6:30pm, show up on time. Otherwise, have the courtesy to call ahead and change the time. We are not here to wait ONLY on you. There’s a restaurant full of people that need to be waited on, in case you haven’t noticed when you walk in.

      Sure, you can stick it to me and continue to be a shitty tipper, but don’t expect your food to be there while it’s hot.

    • BigDragon says:

      How do we fix this? The study and your personal account indicate there is a problem with tipping when it comes to races and that is contributing to the service inequality. Should black people tip more or white people tip less? One or the other has to happen. You can’t do both because then the tables would be turned.

      I don’t like the archaic tipping system so I advocate white people tip less. This should help with race relations. Everyone needs to be equal and the same.

      • malraux says:

        The most equitable solution would be to get rid of tipping and pay servers a wage or commission.

      • Kevin says:

        It sounds like it’s fixed already. Proper tippers are given the service they deserve, lousy tippers have to wait. Fair isn’t necessarily equal.

        • jiubreyn says:

          The problem with your logic is that you cannot predict how a person is going to tip. Sure, it’s common that black people are going to tip less than a white person but that doesn’t mean that EVERY black table you get is going to be poor tippers. The way to “fix” the problem is to treat all of your tables the same. At the very least, it’s common courtesy. (I’m black, and have worked in the service industry for several years.)

    • thezone says:

      It’s funny. It’s a giant chicken and egg. Servers teach each other. Hey the black people are going to tip less so don’t serve them well. Don’t you think black people know this and therefore don’t tip well?

      I’m black and I can guarantee I tip better than nearly everyone here. If I get great service I tip even better. I worked a long time at a job that relied on tips so I know how hard it is. And I served all sorts of people. And you know what. Most low tipping was done by people who didn’t have a lot to tip. And you know what I did? I gave them the same excellent service that everyone else got because a person making probably less than me who goes out deserves to have a good meal. You do your job to your best ability because that’s what the customer deserves. Any waitstaff that does not because of some BS prejudice deserves to not only get a bad tip but they deserve to be fired. If someone constantly gives you bad tips too effing bad. You do your job.

      • jeduardocafe says:

        I’m African American. I was a waiter in college in CT and MA. Generally, African Americans tipped less well than other groups. Tables of older Jewish ladies all wanted separate checks and tipped 15% to the penny, wanted all dressings on the side, and were generally very high maintenance.

        The best tables, and I used to make deals with hostesses to get them, were gay couples, interracial couples, and business execs that were cheating on their spouses. If I just treated them normally, I’d get outrageously good tips. Now, as an African American customer that eats out frequently, I do notice that I get poorer service at certain establishments – and my steak is always overcooked – because (and this is a stereotype that is true – but not for me) if an African American orders a steak medium or medium rare, it is often sent back for being underdone. Fact is, until I worked in a restaurant, I had no idea that there was any other way to eat steak other than well-done. The cooks, many of whom were fellow African Americans, knew that if the table was ‘of color’, they would want their meat cooked more thoroughly than whites.

        Other commenters have mentioned Europeans – and yes, they’re lousy tippers because in most places there, tipping is not required. My solution for Europeans was to write a 15% suggested tip (service charge) into the bill. They understood this completely, and paid it without hesitation.

        Overall, it came out in the balance. Some tables tipped well, some didn’t. There is a pattern, but what can you do…. it’s a service business. If I could average 18%, and I did, it all came out in the wash. But yes, I would attempt to turn my (presumed, based on stereotypes I developed on the job) lower tipping tables faster than my higher tipping ones – to me, that was just good business. You have a set number of tables and you’re trying to maximize yield – just like any businessman.

        • thezone says:

          I think what you’re doing is very dangerous. Generalizing groups of people is unacceptable. I worked in food service for years. You know what. I realized that every group of people is different. You never know who is going to be a good or bad table. Anyone who thinks otherwise is being bigoted. It’s no different than police officers pulling over minorities because “they usually drive without insurance”. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy. What I’ve found over the years is that most people tip. And any gratuity should be appreciated for what it is.

          It also amazes me that the only places where I have received bad service because I was black has only been at family style restaurants. When I go fine dining the waitstaff is either amazing for everyone or crappy for all. Those establishments to allow for the staff to give ANY paying customer a bad experience. Maybe all these other servers need to take a tip from the top.

          • benminer says:

            So a person is not supposed to alter their behavior based on past experience? Because that would be stereotyping right? Not only is that not “unacceptable”; it’s stupid not to and won‚Äôt earn you as much money.

            • thezone says:

              No you’re not supposed to make sweeping judgments about 50 million people based on interaction with a few dozen. If you do then you’re part of the problem.

              • JennQPublic says:

                I suppose not ALL Filipinos like karaoke, even though the hundreds of them I’ve met do.

                Still, if I meet a new Filipino, I won’t hesitate to ask what kind of karaoke machine they have at home.

                (And black people are always late. So there!)

      • alana0j says:

        I tip based on service. Period. I did the waitressing thing and now I deliver pizzas so I do understand how it is to work off tips. That said, if your service sucks and you obviously don’t care, don’t expect a tip out of me.
        And I’m white…which means I always tip better than you…right? /s

    • Papa Midnight says:

      I (and most of my family members) tip based on service. If you wish to poorly render service to me then you can expect a tip which will tell you what I thought of your service. If you render good service with a polite attitude (even if I can visibly tell you’re stressed – and I’ve worked Customer Service. I know it when I see it), then you can expect a tip which reflects that and I’m sure you’ll be happier at the end of it.

      It’s really that simple. So if I walk in with a party of 2, and have to wait 30 minutes for my order to be taken while 5 other parties walk in and have their order taken in minutes and are on entree’s before I’ve placed an order for drinks and gotten a basket of bread, expect the tip to reflect that.

    • alana0j says:

      AHHH! I’m a delivery driver and several of my co-workers have this belief. I have, on numerous occasions, kept track of the race and gender of people who stiffed me. Guess what?? It never was predominantly black folks. EVER. You ever think that maybe when the black don’t tip it’s because you’re providing sub-par service because you assume they won’t tip you?

      I fucking hate racists….

    • JennQPublic says:

      This echoes what all of my server friends say, and I don’t hang out with bigots. Black people will readily admit that many of their race don’t tip or tip poorly. But…

      Last weekend I was at a nice restaurant in SF with a black man, and we got terrible service. Our drinks and food took much longer than the two tables seated after us, and the waited never once asked if the food was okay or if we needed anything else (we did). He literally ducked his head when walking from one table to another past ours. We did not leave a tip, and we are both generous tippers (me generally 20%, him 25%). Neither of us said anything about it, but I’m sure we both wondered if the color of his skin played a part in our treatment. And I wonder if afterward the waiter justified his shitty service by saying “See, I knew the black guy wasn’t going to tip!”

      It really pisses me off, but it’s kind of a catch-22. Because as much as some would like to pretend there are no cultural differences between whites and blacks, there are, and the fact that many black people are bad tippers is one of them. But that still doesn’t make it okay for servers to assume that *every* black customer is one of them.

  2. missminimonster says:

    It’s North Carolina, though. Is’nt that techincally a Southern state? It would be interesting to see how the study would turn out if they surveyed a few different states.

    I have had a few friends and clients who have waited tables and they have stereotypes about many different kinds of patrons, not just black ones. Some of the waitstaff I know hate waiting on older people and people from foreign countries as well.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      North Carolina is a Southern state, but that doesn’t make everyone in it backwards hillbillies. I would also like for them to survey states in several regions because it’s simply unfair to start in a Southern state. There’s inherent bias from people who read it and assume waiters there are discriminatory because of the state.

    • iamjustjules says:

      Waiting tables in Virginia, we really feared getting a table with heavy, southern accents. No matter the service or bill amount it was the traditional, “$1 for bad service, $5 for good.” This was regardless of race

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        I would not generalize quite like that… I married into a Deep South family and they’re some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, and generous tippers.

        • Now-n-Later says:

          No one is making generalizations. People are merely reporting their experiences here.

          Where in any of these posts does it say that “ALL” Southern, or black people are bad tippers?

          • thezone says:

            You need to read more of these posts. There are plenty of idiots on this board overgeneralizing.

    • impatientgirl says:

      North Carolina is not the podunk hillbilly southern bed of racism that some of you automatically assume it is after watching movies and reading about things that typically happen in *other* southern states like Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. In my lifetime I’ve worked as a server and bartender is several different types of restaurants and clubs in a major city. The truth of the matter is that certain groups do typically tip less even when receiving great service. Identifying that doesn’t make you a racist. I worked with black servers who hated waiting on black tables because they knew that chances are, they wouldn’t tip as much. That’s just how it was. You knew the elderly on a fixed income wouldn’t tip as much either. That’s how it is here. Why not have a study of how a certain group tips less than saying a study on how servers realize it? No one wants to be labeled a racist so they may not talk about it outside of the server circle, but everyone realizes it. It may not be that way all over the country, but it is here.

  3. AcctbyDay says:

    This is not a comfortable trend, however I can state this with confidence. My wife as a waitress never discriminated, but nothing she did ever got African American tables to tip decent or in many frustrating cases – at all.

    Maybe it’s a shitty situation, maybe people should tip better. I got sick and tired of my wife telling me she got stiffed by African American’s who she was a competent and attentive server to. Step one in fixing a problem is realizing that it is there and actually addressing it from both sides, not just one. Those servers could provide better service, the African American’s could tip better when they receive it.

    Problem solved.

    • bluline says:

      Perhaps if we did away with the tip system for paying wait staff salaries they wouldn’t have to worry about busting their butts for little or no reward. Tipping food service personnel is a stupid business model.

      • AcctbyDay says:

        Stupid business model for the servers yes, I agree with you and I am so happy my wife no longer waits tables. It is so ingrained in many restaurant styles that I don’t see an easy alternative.

    • dks64 says:

      I’m a waitress and NEVER give a table of black people less service. What you’re saying is true, no matter how hard you try to impress them, the tip is small or non-existent (rarely no tip, usually 5-10%). There was this party that came in two weeks in a row, about 12 people. They kept ordering food and sending it back, never touching it, claiming it was “cold” when it was steaming when it hit the table. They ran the server around so much the first time that he couldn’t be sat the entire time they were there (2 hours). They were rude, bossy, and asked for the 18% gratuity to be taken off after all of that. They left him $5 on $200 worth of food. The next week when they came in, they did the same thing. That poor server lost about $20-30 alone just not taking other tables.

      • thezone says:

        So you’re saying you never received a good tip from a black person? You see I think that’s crap because I’m black and the lowest tip I usually leave is 20%. Unless the server is utterly incompetent that’s what I do. And even then I’ll give 10%. I’ve gone to dinner with other black friends and we never had problems with tipping. I have other friends who do all the other crap you’re talking about and they’re white (OMG). I’m so sick and tired of people with their self fulfilling prophecies. Oh you never treated “them” poorly. I highly doubt you were able to hide your biased attitude. And the people tipped you because you were most likely pissy and slow to their needs.

        The reality is that most people that tip poorly are actually poor. It’s not their fault that you work in a system that screws you. I dealt with it for years. For every crappy tipper there is someone like me that will tip 30% or more for great service. You do the best job every time because you don’t know if the group will be good bad or indifferent.

  4. Fast Eddie Eats Bagels says:

    You can ask any server who has been waiting tables more than a year who tips less and they’ll either say Europeans or African Americans. I have a handful of friends, included an African American, who served tables during college and they would tell you the same.

    • Coffee says:

      This is exactly right, and their tipping was pretty much on par.

    • McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

      OMG Europeans are the WORST. Of course in their culture tips are built in, so they don’t know how to do it, but we have to yell at some of our Dutch relatives that a 5 dollar tip on a $150 meal is not only too low but it makes you a douchebag as well.

      • partofme says:

        How has no one called you a racist yet? Where are you Cat_In_A_Hat? schmittymcdougal? I feel like they’re slacking in their duties… Hehe. I said duties.

      • Patriot says:

        There are only two things I can’t stand in this world. People who are intolerant of other people’s cultures… and the Dutch.

      • omargosh says:

        But I assume you think that a $5 tip on a $10 bill would be quite good? That’s the problem I have with tipping in this country … it’s tied to the cost of the food, not to the actual quality of service. A flat rate seems like a better idea to me (or living wage, probably even better).

        (And no, this isn’t some sort of justification for me to ignore the 15-20% rule. I still do it, though I always try to leave a minimum of $2, even if the bill is just $8.)

    • dks64 says:

      I got stiffed on a $200 bill from Europeans. There’s no excuse not to know the standard tipping rules when traveling out of the country. I had to pay taxes on $16 I didn’t make.

      • wade says:

        I waited tables for a few years, and the only time I got stiffed, I was waiting on a table of European businessmen. Of course, consistently, other (Western) Europeans tipped *very* poorly, and while I understand that it is (supposedly!) because tipping isn’t expected in Europe as it is built into the cost of the food, this was in the early- to mid-2000’s decade, which was at the height of the European “Oh, you stupid uncultured George Bush-loving Americans! Get out and travel more and culture yourselves!” sentiment.

        When in Rome, you lousy Eurotrash!!!

        • Coelacanth says:

          It was odd the other way around… I recently spent a significant amount of time in Europe, and one of the very first conversations people had was me about the rules of when and when not to tip.

          It felt weird, but I enjoyed knowing that servers were being paid living wages.

          • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

            And that’s why you will often get shitty service in Europe. Not always, often.

        • dks64 says:

          You only got stiffed one time in a few years? Wow. I’m impressed. It happens at least a few times a month for me (it’s always unexpected too). I work in a decent area in Southern California, but it could be better. I heard that working with the same company in other cities, you average 18-20% every time. I average 10-15% now.

          • wade says:

            I was fortunate enough to work for a fine-dining steakhouse (not a chain), so we generally catered to businessmen (and women), travelers, business travelers, and more upscale clientele. We didn’t get a lot of, “Oh, let’s go out to eat, where do you feel like?” customers like you might get at Applebees or places like that. The weeknights would generally be pretty strong, with ~$50+ a seat, and *averaging* 20% tips (assuming, of course, they weren’t European, haha), you would be looking at $10 a head, minimum. Good times were had by all when nice bottles of wine were ordered for the table (the best bottle I sold was $400, and I was tipped nicely!), or a table of businessmen would all order $20 single malts.

            The weekends would be more of a crapshoot, and you’d get some people who were obviously taking their significant other out to someplace fancy to impress her, and then “punish” you with a bad tip because they didn’t expect it to be so expensive. You’d still get some big parties or nice tables, but the shifts were less desirable (which is backwards from most other restaurants) because the $ per seat as well as the tipping % were down.

            New Year’s and Valentine’s Days were the work of the devil. You could really luck out and get some awesome tables, but it was also amateur night – you’d get twice as many tables because everyone wanted to go out somewhere fancy, and they’d frequently save a little bit of money on their expensive date by leaving a less-than-desirable tip.

            I really liked waiting tables, but I hated that ultimately, your night wasn’t determined by how good of a job you did, but whether the people you waited on knew how to tip.

  5. Out For Delivery says:

    OK feel free to delete this comment but I have dated a lot of waitresses/bartenders of all backgrounds and all report certain types of people are (some combination of) very bad tippers, unable to control children, or very picky about sending stuff back and refusing to pay for weak reasons.

    • kaptainkk says:

      Better not delete the comment. Your harem of dates speak the truth. It’s all true!!

    • Hoss says:

      Why would they delete this? It shows a certain sexual preference for dumbass bitches, that’s all.

    • thezone says:

      Feel free to delete this comment but I’ve dated a lot of people who were highly educated and said that anyone who believes anything a bartender says must have an iq below 80. So it must be true.

  6. wildbill says:

    North Carolina, I am shocked, shocked, that there would still be discrimination there.

    That said, I am sure servers profile people all the time everywhere, and I am sure the targets vary from place to place too based on demographics.

    • Coffee says:

      1. It would have been the same anywhere…I worked just outside San Francisco in Sausalito, and waited attitudes were pretty much the same.

      2. Yep…profiling happens…when you see a large table of Texan tourists come in, you lick your chops because they’re likely to drink a lot and if they’re happy, they’ll tip really, really well…if you see a small family from Ireland, you’re likely fucked. When it’s not busy, everyone gets equally good service, but if the restaurant is terribly busy, it’s not a hard decision when you’re determining which table will have to wait a little longer. It would be nice if everyone could be idealistic all the time, but pragmatism pays.

      • bhr says:

        When I waited tables I had a lot of regulars who always requested me. I loved my gay regulars. They tended to drink a lot of wine, order multiple courses and tipped very well. Many nights they were the difference in me making about minimum wage and walking out with a lot of extra cash.

        I also had a group of black Sunday regulars that I dreaded. They came after church (1130ish) and would take up my entire section for the entire lunch rush. They did cheap/annoying things like making their own lemonade or complaining about the number of shrimp in their dishes (we had a standard number for our signature dish, it was always the same). The kicker was when one member of the group claimed that he sat in something that stained his suit and demanded that we both comp their check and pay for dry cleaning (I knew for a fact he didn’t sit in anything because they were my first table and I had worked the same section the night before and cleaned the chairs when I came in.

      • winstonthorne says:

        “…a small family from Ireland.” Or a unicorn?

  7. bluline says:

    North Carolina? That’s the sample area? The state that invented the lunch counter sit-in in the 1960s? I’m a North Carolina native, and unless this study was conducted in Charlotte or the Raleigh-Durham area, I’m not at all surprised at the results. Much of the rest of the state is still living in the 1960s in terms of racist attitudes.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      Yeah I can’t believe they are publishing this study with that test group and making such broad statements. Or maybe Consumerist needs to add “North Carolinan” as a qualifier before “Restaurant Servers.”

    • baquwards says:

      Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham are a whole ‘nother North Carolina. Leaving the city limits is like going to a whole other time and place.

  8. Derigiberble says:

    Oh come on, every waiter knows the worst group of tippers is the after-church crowd. You are lucky if you get $2 for a six person table and might instead get a coupon good for one “soul saving”.

    • tsukiotoshi says:

      Totally off topic, but last year I met up with some friends from college I hadn’t seen in ages. At the end of our weekend I noticed them slipping something in with their bill from breakfast. When I inquired, I was shocked to discover they were leaving pamphlets about Christianity and some mission they volunteered for with the tip and had been doing so all week. I can’t even imagine how obnoxious that would be as a server.

      I guess the upshot was that they left a tip with the soul-saving coupon.

      • dks64 says:

        I don’t care when people leave those things, as long as they don’t leave them INSTEAD of the tip. Oh yeah, that happens. The other day, I had some guys leave a $5 tip on $75 and included their business cards. Why would you leave a sh***y tip with your business card?

      • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

        As long as they ;eft a generous tip, I don’t see it as obnoxious. Leaving a tract in place of a tip, especially one that looks like a folded twenty (I’ve seen them in the wild), is douchy. As well as berating wait staff for working on a Sunday.

        • Lendon85 says:

          You may not, but when I waited tables I found those things to completely obnoxious whether a tip was left or not. I did not need nor want anymore trash to deal with other than the normal table mess. Of course they usually did accompany a very low or non-existent tip.

    • bhr says:

      Oh, I received those ALL the damn time, and it was in a very liberal area. the worst ones were the dollar lookalikes that made me hope for a second that I got a good tip.

    • baquwards says:

      Or as I call them “the god squad”

    • Kevin says:

      It’s also the worst time to visit a restaurant if you don’t plan on yelling, clapping and being ridiculously loud.

    • ARP says:

      Agreed- and in this case, bad tipping knows no color. The god squad doesn’t tip well. Add cultural differences and its magnified.

    • gttim says:

      In general…. The after church crowd is horrible! Groups of women during lunch are horrible! Many people low on the economic scale are horrible.

      However, gay men? Love you! Please come see me again!

  9. AllanG54 says:

    I understand why Europeans tip less and that’s because they don’t tip at all as waitstaff make enough in salary. When I dined out in Europe and left a tip the server looked at me like I was from a different planet. As for African-Americans, many years ago I drove a taxi while I was in college and yes they do tend to tip less than other people. It was just something that I had to deal with.

  10. Important Business Man (Formerly Will Print T-shirts For Food) says:

    I tip very well, thank you. I speak articulately too.

  11. Cat says:

    As a white man working in food service years ago, I was treated very poorly by blacks – especially black women. Don’t ask me why, I treated all people the same. Just relaying my experiences, not being racist, not trying to incite.

    But a question for black Consumerists who have been in similar positions in the service industry:

    Were you treated poorly by blacks also? Or were they just singling me out as a target for their anger?

    • Coffee says:

      I wasn’t treated more poorly by blacks than anyone else…in fact, they were probably my most pleasant customers. This was in Northern California. Also, they and Europeans were generally the poorest tippers.

    • dks64 says:

      I’ve received the most disrespect from black customers. They tend to talk down to you more and raise their voice. I had one lady a few months ago give me a hard time because SHE ordered her food wrong. She did not order her sandwich without mayo, I even asked her if mayo was okay and she said yes. She yelled at me and even made a bitchy comment when I passed her over to another server because I was going home for the day. She said “Oh, they’re sending (my name) home because she can’t take orders right?” In my 10 years in the food industry, I’ve never gotten that treatment from a white person before. I still don’t give less service, I treat people like they’re all going to tip me 20%, but that doesn’t erase the fact that the majority of disrespect has come from one group.

      • thezone says:

        So one black lady yells at you and now all black people have treated you poorly. I’ve had dumb people of every color at some point complain/yell/threaten me when I worked in food service and with the general public. I had a white person all but call me a racial epithet because he was too stupid to understand our menu. I’m sick of listening to people like you who claim black people are soooooo mean to me. Unless you are a great theater actor your obvious disdain for black people can’t really be hidden. But uh oh I guess I’m another black person treating you poorly. Oh heavens.

        • dks64 says:

          I didn’t say that, did you even read what I wrote? The lady was a specific case, it’s happened quite a few times. It happens more frequently with black customers. That’s a fact, you can’t dispute my personal experiences. I’ve waited on a lot of awesome black customers too, I don’t see a black table and think “Oh yeah, I have to wait on them.” I don’t assume they’re going to tip me bad or give me a hard time. Please read before commenting, it’s not hard.

          • thezone says:

            And I quote “I’ve received the most disrespect from black customers. They tend to talk down to you more and raise their voice.” Why would you even bring this up? You also said you were never treated that poorly by a white person. Who cares? If you were treated poorly by 100 black people that represents nearly no black people. There are people who are disrespectful and they are every shade imaginable. There’s no legitimate reason to bring that up on this point except to try to point out that black people overall are worse customers than white customers. So I did read your post. If you meant something different then spell it out.

            • tungstencoil says:

              s/he is talking about their personal experience.

              If your personal experience is that 100 black tables treat you really poorly, and out of the approximate same amount of non-black tables a lesser percentage treat you poorly (like 10 or 20), it is safe to say that more black tables treat you disrespectfully. As s/he points out, you can’t really argue effectively against their personal experience.

              You’re tired of ‘bigots’? I’m tired of people who think that because racism is wrong (and it is), there aren’t any cultural considerations that hold generally true for one group of people but not another. Is tipping (or respectful behavior in a restaurant) one of those instances? It is difficult to tell; anecdotally yes, but it is more complicated than that. But you’re naive if you think that there are no cultural norms that apply to groups of people, and that sometimes stereotypes come from those norms, and that those norms can be positive, negative, or neutral, and that even the norms don’t apply to everyone – but that doesn’t make them false.

        • wade says:

          You sound like a really shitty waiter/waitress. I’m surprised you’ve made it so long working with the general public, especially with your thinly veiled anger management issues. Perhaps that’s why you got yelled at so often, and by such a myriad of races and ethnicities.

          • thezone says:

            First off, I have no thinly veiled anger management issues. I am angry at these comments because they are over generalizations that people are using as excuses for the poor service they are giving to minorities. Second, take a second to read the word “when” as in past tense. I am no longer a server. I did that back in college before becoming an engineer. My other public job was at an ISP where we literally would get bomb threats from people because they couldn’t connect. If you read my messages my point has been that there are bad customers everywhere and of every race. If you work for tips you do the absolute best job you can regardless of the tip you may or may not receive because you have an obligation to give that customer great service. The bad servers are people who prejudge a table. The good one’s like I was just do your best to make the person happy. Once the person becomes crass or actually does something wrong can you blame that INDIVIDUAL.

            • wade says:

              Take a second to read the word “got.” As in, past tense. I have acknowledged that you are no longer working a job in which you painfully interact with the public only to *get* yelled at on a continuing basis, which is a good thing, because you seem on the verge of losing touch with reality. You’ve made that perfectly clear by showing that you’re too busy prejudging others to even bother paying attention to what they’re actually saying before you decry them as being racist. I bet you really were a great server, although I’d imagine you probably bumped into a few tables with your head so far up your ass.

              • thezone says:

                First off I didn’t call dks a racist. Most of the people I’ve been complaining to I have called bigots. And there is a huge distinction between those two things. Racists inherently believe another group is inferior. Bigotry is treating other groups poorly due to your thoughts or stereotypes. And for the record you did use the past tense for got which was correct but you said “I sound like a real shitty waiter” So that’s why I mentioned the tense. But I think you have some nerve to tell me I’m prejudging dks. DKS is the person who brought up how “s/he received the most disrespect from black customers.” Why even mention that? What does it add to the conversation? Another anecdote that’s as useless as the others. You call me a racist but I’m the person who is arguing that there are all sorts of cheap people and you shouldn’t just give poor service to an entire group of people because of a subsection of that group. Maybe you don’t know what the word racist really means.

  12. CharlesFarley says:

    An interesting article from former NPR person Juan Williams:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1329241&sc=emaf

  13. kevinroyalty says:

    if we would take a lesson from other countries where the “tip” is built into the price of the food this wouldn’t be a problem about poor or no tips. the wait staff would get paid standard wages vs the lesser wages and have to survive on tips to hope to meet minimum wage.

    • Heresy Of Truth says:

      In some states, the wait staff do get minimum wage. Here in WA state, they get the same minimum wage as everyone else.

  14. John says:

    I do not condone this treatment. It seems that the servers may have had specific and repeated problems (i.e., much lower tips), and under the “fool me once shame on me, fool me twice shame on you” they are reacting to a situation they have experienced. That is a VERY different thing than someone who simply decides they don’t like black people in general.

    • thezone says:

      Uh that would only be true if they treated the people who “fooled” them the same way. Under your line of thinking a black person could order food and be treated poorly by a white server and say “all those white servers are mean to me so I’ll never tip again”. Every server should treat every customer well because it’s their job. Any server who says they slow down things for black people or anything else is a bigot who only deserves to be unemployed. I spend my hard earned money eating out. And I tip well. I shouldn’t receive crappy service from some knucklehead because I happen to have a similar amount of pigment as the last person or persons who left them a bad tip. Making judgments about people based on their coloring is bigoted and stupid.

  15. xantec says:

    The solution is, of course, to get rid of the wait-staff.
    http://www.geekologie.com/2007/08/wolds-first-automated-restaura.php

  16. dolemite says:

    I’ve never waited tables, but I know a few people that have, for extended periods, and they all said black people frequently leave no tip at all, or a pittance like $1, even when they went above and beyond for them. However, they usually have many demands and requests and are unsatisfied no matter what the server did.

    • thezone says:

      Um. I have waited tables and there are a lot of people who don’t leave tips and they’re not all or even mostly black. Your friends are idiots and bigots. You should get new ones.

      • dks64 says:

        Isn’t it funny how a majority of people with serving experience say this, yet you think your experience is a better representation of reality?

        • thezone says:

          Oh so you mean that your lack of empirical evidence means that my anecdotes are less true. The reality is individuals tip and anyone who makes negative generalizations about a group of people by their ethnicity, country of origin or gender, is a bigot. That’s the fact. If you want to behave as one have the decency to just say it.

          • CoachTabe says:

            Scroll up to the link to the NPR Juan Williams article for your empirical evidence.

            • thezone says:

              Good job. The average black person tips 13% versus 16.5% from that article. Hmmmm….so given a four person meal coming out to about $50 to $60 dollars the difference is a whopping $1.75 to $2.10. So you think it is legitimate for a server to argue over either not serving or giving poor service to a person they have never met over $2. Oh and by the way the person who did that research also showed that Christians tip worse than non Christians and Jews. Yet I don’t see people fighting to stay away from people wearing crosses. The small differences in these rates are no excuse for treating all people poorly. Oh by the way they also determined that black flat tippers were tipped the same as white flat tippers. But still fighting over $2 on a bill and treating people poorly over that much is dumb.

            • thezone says:

              One other thing. If you read Lynn’s research he says that most of the difference in tipping is because black people and latinos don’t know that 15% to 20% is the customary range. So he suggests restaurants to the following.

              1. Create literature that shows normal gratuity. (you see this on receipts at the chains).
              2. Work with local churches and organizations that cater to minorities.
              3. Have secret shoppers to minimize bigoted staff (Hmmmm. sounds just like something I said).

              By the way the researcher also says that tipping is not heterogeneous throughout minority populations. Therefore, servers should not give poor service to all minorities based on the lack of knowledge of some. So overall this research just highlights what I’ve been saying. Some servers are making a huge deal and giving poor service to customers over a relatively small difference in gratuity that could be fixed by the restaurants.

  17. Hartwig says:

    So a study from a state where they are allowed to pay a lower minimum wage because of tip income has employees that choose to provide better service to certain people. It sucks that this is happening, but i can’t believe this is strictly a discriminatory action. I do believe that it is a learned trait to maximize their potential income.

  18. BigDragon says:

    I was really hoping we’d move past all these racial issues once Obama got elected. Things seem to be getting worse instead. We spend tons of money, time, and energy bickering with each other over racial matters. I wish we spent more time trying to build a moon colony or mass-produce lab-grown organs. Instead society is content to discriminate over race, invest obscene amounts of money determining when something is racist or not, and constantly fight over the color of one’s skin. Clearly the superior species on this planet is cats. I’ve seen hairless sphynx, orange tabbies, striped begal, and white/black tuxedo cats all get along just fine. Their plot for world domination by using the internet has gone unabated.

    • technoreaper says:

      I’ve found, as a black immigrant from another country, that African-Americans are responsible for much of the racism directed towards them. Their behavior is ridiculous and shameless.

      • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

        The Ethopian cab drivers in Vegas are the hardest working people I’ve ever met, and they are amazingly successful because of it.

        • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

          Funny, I thought I knew how to spell Ethiopian just a minute ago.

  19. Fast Eddie Eats Bagels says:

    I predict that the comments will reach 200 on this one. Popping a bag of popcorn now.

    • blogger X says:

      Came for the comments.

      Made, oh, guess I’ll supply the raisinets.

    • elangomatt says:

      Well it did reach your 200 comments, but I am actually surprised it wasn’t more. If it wasn’t for one particular commenter on here, it probably would have been less than 100 comments.

  20. GoldVRod says:

    http://www.danslenoir.com/

    Don’t read French? The wait staff are blind and the place is pitch black so you can’t see them or your food either.

    I wish all wait staff were ‘blind’.

  21. incident man stole my avatar says:

    tthere is a chain of diners in the Baltimore area and some of the locations build tips in at some locations and not at the one 8 miles not 40 miles down the road.. there is a huge difference in the service also… the one without the built in tips has much better service.

    • Patriot says:

      Baltimore is a heavily black city so that may have something to do with the policy.

      • incident man stole my avatar says:

        tthe one tthat includes the ttip is definitely has more black customers…. even though it’s a majority white neighborhood… the servers that moved to the one in Howard County from the one in Baltimore County say that the tips are much better in HC

  22. BooBee says:

    I always tip 15% but if service is exceptional I will leave 20% and leave a note on my receipt praising the service so that the manager might see the note. If service is terrible and the place is busy I leave at least $5 but if the place is empty and I’m blatantly ignored I have no problem leaving a $1.

    • Cat_In_A_Hat says:

      Sounds about the same with me. I’m from Northern Cal and don’t generally feel ignored, but if I ever felt ignored by my waitstaff you’re damn well I will speak with my wallet and give them exactly what they deserve. If I feel that they have already made assumptions about me because I’m Black, I am more inclined to leave less than I would, but this is difficult to tell unless the discrimination is obvious. Excellent service in my book=20% standard tip. Story. Once in Georgia (where my mother is from and her views on race relations is completely different than mine being a native Californian), my mother and I stopped at a Waffle House to grab breakfast before heading up to my grandparents home. I had never been to a Waffle House before so I wasn’t used to the type of service one may encounter. My mother and I ordered our food, simple waffles and eggs, 10 minutes later, another white family sits down at a table near us, orders their food. About 20 minutes go by, their table miraculously gets their food, and after another 10 minutes (40 minutes total from the time ordered), we get ours. When my mother asked our waitress why our food delayed, she said “oh um sometimes the kitchen just gets things out faster than others”. Needless to say my mother wasn’t very happy a group of 5 received their food faster than us 2. This would be a case when my tip would definitely drop as my mother clearly felt discriminated against and I understand why she’d feel that way.

      • Mrs. w/1 child says:

        “Excellent service in my book=20% standard tip.”

        You just proved the point everyone is making about black people being crappy tippers. A standard tip is 15% – 20%, excellent service means you should leave more than that. Nothing to do with racism, everything to do with you don’t know how to act when you dine out.

        Possibility – If the kitchen tries to send out burnt waffles or hasn’t cleaned the waffle iron it is the servers job to make sure you get the food you ordered not burnt second rate food. The cooks get paid no matter what – the server is your advocate since his/her tip relies on you having a good dining experience. Another possibility – If there are 6 other tables who ordered waffles ahead of you, since waffles take a bit more time than eggs (most sausage and bacon are pre cooked ahead of time and eggs only take two or three minutes) there is a possibility that others who have not ordered foods that cannot be par cooked will get their food before you. Even another possibility – The server can’t tell you the kitchen sucks today or that there was hair in your food so she sent it back before it got to you.

        Of course the only explanation could be because the server discriminated against you and your Mother. Not because you acted like you were the only table in the entire establishment, ran your server, and got pissy when you received hot, hair free, waffles. Of course if you were served burnt waffles or food with hair in it that would have been discrimination too.

        Servers can’t win when attempting to wait on black people so it only makes sense that they don’t even try.

        • thezone says:

          Listen you racist idiot. For most of the country the standard tip is 15% to 20%. So if your normal tip would be 15% then your excellent tip could be 20%. If your normal tip is 20% your excellent tip could be 20%. Of course you have no idea if the person you’re talking to tips before or after taxes. Tips are generally figured in before taxes so in reality he may be tipping even higher. But what you can’t say is that excellent service is generally over 20%. When you read guides to tipping the range says 15 to 20. There is nothing that says 15 to 20 for good and 21 to 25 for great and 30 for ball the walls excellent.

          Second, have you ever been to a waffle house? There is no way in gods green earth that your waffles should take 40 min. They are known for cooking freaking waffles. If the other table had 5 people you are guaranteed that one of them had waffles. Maybe you’re right that the first waffles were burnt. Then the server should have went to the table that had the food issue to let them know there was a problem and they were cooking up a fresh batch and sorry would you like an OJ for your time. I worked in a restaurant. Things happen you let the customer know so they don’t think you just forgot them. But go ahead and use your excuses. Either the server did serve the other table first or they were a poor server. Either way they deserved a poor tip.

          I honestly cannot believe that you are using someone saying they tip 20% for excellent service for proof that black people tip poorly. I go out to eat at great restaurants and I find myself adding to the tip all the time to make up for my cheap white friends. Not all of my friends are cheap but the ones who are cheap happen to all be white. But to say that all of any group are cheap because of any individual statement is dumb. Which I can say you are because as an individual you proved it. So please do us a favor Mrs. w/1 child. Keep it one so you don’t spread you dumb racism out into the rest of the world.

          • wade says:

            Please seek professional help for your anger management issues and your racist attitude.

            • thezone says:

              Wade please tell me how I’m the racist? This woman tells a black person that he’s part of the problem because he tips only 20% isn’t racist. The person who tells her off is. I am angry. I have every right to be. Any human being with half a brain cell understands who evil racism is. The only way to combat it is head on. But you tell me how I’m racist.

          • Agent Hooter Enjoys Enhanced Patdowns says:

            “I mean, you’re totally racist for everything you said. By the way, did I mention all my cheap friends are white? That doesn’t make me racist or anything. Just sayin’.”

    • smartypants503 says:

      This is an article about servers discriminating against black customers not vice versa.

  23. May contain snark says:

    I’ve never waited tables, but two of my best friends are black and neither one of them tips. They believe if you don’t have to, then they aren’t going to do it. It’s sometimes embarassing to go out to eat with them and I usually try to tip extra.

    OTOH, when I go out with my gay friends, they always tip a minimum of 20% and usually call the waitresses “honey”.

    • dks64 says:

      Let your best friends know that servers often have to tip out based on their sales and are required to claim 8% of their sales. So if you don’t tip, they have to pay out of pocket to the bartender/food runner/host/busser, get taxed on money they don’t make, AND the customer is also taking a service they’re not paying for. If the service is bad, that’s different, but when it’s not, it’s stealing.

      • thezone says:

        Whooooaaa there partner. A tip is still a tip. You can’t say on the one hand if service is lousy you shouldn’t tip and then on the other say it’s stealing. I agree that it’s against the norm. But calling it stealing is a big load. The person paid for the food. It’s not their fault that they will be taxed. I don’t see you whining when they only tax you 8% and you receive 20%. The cost of food includes the service. At the end of the day your employer pays you. it is taken out of your check but it still hits your employers bottom line and when they set their prices that is factored in. Feel free to call a person who doesn’t tip cheap. But don’t call them a thief. I think that’s going way too far.

        • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

          You’re right. They’re not thieves, they’re just low-life, ill-mannered, ignorant douche bags who have no qualm about screwing somebody over simply because they can.

          You claim that poor service is tantamount to racism. You’re wrong. I guarantee you that if you were to do an experiment where you took a brand-new wait staff and purposely had 80% of black customers tip the norm, and had 50% of the non-black customers tip little or nothing, you’d find out that the wait staff would trip over their collective dicks to wait on the black tables first.

          It’s not a “I give you less service simply because you are black” thing. It’s a “I give you bad service because blacks are too often bad customers” thing. That ain’t racism, and until you can get smart enough to understand why, then you will continue to wrongly blame others for your problems.

    • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

      Butch-up and call them out on it. My daughter did it to one of her friends and they coughed up a tip.

  24. hmburgers says:

    Headline is misleading… it would be surprising to hear this was true nationwide… it is not surprising to hear it’s true in NC.

    • sadie kate says:

      I’ve waited tables in three states and run into the same attitudes everywhere (Maine, California, Florida).

  25. Daniel Svoboda says:

    “The study surveyed 200 restaurant servers ‚Äî 86% of them identified as white ‚Äî at 18 restaurant chains in North Carolina.”

    Now there’s a representative sample size and distribution if I ever heard one. /s

    • ChilisServer says:

      Take a look around every restaurant you go to. How many servers are white vs other races?

      • thezone says:

        If you go across the country it should average out to around 70%. And that will also depend on where you are. I could go to some places in Chicago or New Orleans or Los Angeles or New York or Miami or Atlanta or (insert major metropolitan area) that would have less white people. What percentage of their customers were black? If only 5% of their customers were black maybe they just remember the bad black tippers. Oh but wait, I get it. You only make decisions based on the limited knowledge of the immediate world around you and you make assumptions based off of extremely small and non-diverse criteria. I can’t see how doing something like that would ever make someone look stupid? Nope not at all…I’m being sarcastic. It does make you look kinda dumb.

  26. wasabirobot says:

    This is a great example of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  27. firedancerbk says:

    I am a black female that lives in NYC. I go above and beyond to tip my cab drivers and servers. My boyfriend is from Ireland (born and raised, came her 6 years ago) and didn’t know how to tip at all. When we first started dating I would be embarrassed when he left a tip and I would run back in and add more money. He finally got the clue and started tipping at the levels that keeps you from being deemed a douche bag. Hell, I even tip the cable guy, delivery guys, the UPS guy, the lady that does my laundry. It’s just called being a human being. You want a certain service, be willing to pay for it. I am appreciative of what people do for me; I don’t dare think I am entitled to have someone run ragged for my demands for free.

    • dolemite says:

      I’m pretty sure the cable guy and UPS guys make at least what I’m making and I know for sure they have better benefits. The ONLY people I tip are those that depend on it for their livelihood, and that’s waiters and waitresses 99% of the time.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        i agree. I pretty much only tip wait staff, hotel room staff, and spa and salon staff.

        • firedancerbk says:

          For UPS it is a christmas tip. For the cable guy that has to walk up 5 steep flights to my apt and fixes the problem or installs new service he gets a tip. I tip because I appreciate the work these people do.

  28. ChilisServer says:

    Racism runs through all professions, not just serving. Still, I have kept track of my tip percentages from different “types” of customers and see that some races tend to consistently tip lower than others. THAT BEING SAID, I do NOT give poor service to those races. I will, however, keep this correlation in mind if I’m in a crunch and need to prioritize one table over another. I do the same thing when I have, for example, a table (of any race) that regularly tips me well and another table (of any race) that consistently does not. I will make the better tippers happy before the lower tippers.

    I really do want to emphasize that I do not give poor service to any particular race. Mostly because if and when I received a poor tip, I want to know that it was NOT my service that earned me the poor tip and just the ignorance or prerogative of the customer.

    • thezone says:

      Seriously, you need to go back and read what you wrote. I’ve read a lot of stupid statements today. But yours is a special kind of dumb. I mean it’s really class A asinine. So let’s just start off with the fact that you are actively tracking your tips by “types”. I know you talk about race everywhere else so I have to believe that “types” mean you are going beyond simple color. Do you have age brackets? Maybe percentage of gender at tables. Do you ask about religious affiliation beforehand? Or maybe, just maybe you said “types” as a code word for ethnicity. Of course if that’s the case then you really blew it later on.

      Of course you follow it up with what every other racist server said “I do NOT give poor service to those races” But if you’re in a crunch and you need to prioritize……well you know. Of course if you know that black people and they’ve already paid in you’re more than happy to treat them like any white person you’ve never met before. Of course if a white person has the audacity to treat you poorly you will prioritize them like the brown people who you’ve never met before.

      Of course you emphasize that you don’t treat us brown people poorly. You just prioritize all the white strangers in front of us. And when you receive a bad tip from us you want to make sure it was because we are brown. Not because we it took way too long to get those baby back ribs. Because Chilis is known for never being busy. Yes it was because we are ignorant. It’s not that when we walked in you took out your scorecard and checked a box and proceeded to walk to another table. Uh uh. No way.

      Thank you for my last laugh of the night. I’ve emailed your quote to my friends. You may make the top 100 dumbest things I’ve read on a board. I’m pulling for you. Oh and most of the people who are voting are not brown so you will get very quick service.

  29. Slatts says:

    Having worked as a waiter during my college years, I can definitely second many of the previous comments concerning the lack of tipping by African-Americans. I also worked as a pizza deliveryman during that time, and would often be stiffed by the same folks at that job, too. It’s not racism, it’s a simple statement of fact, albeit non-scientific.

    At first, I had thought that it might be anti-White racism against me, but that turns out to be wrong, too: while waiting tables, I once heard one of my co-workers — who happened to be Black — groaning about having a large African-American table to serve. I asked, sort of sheepishly, “you mean they don’t tip you well, either?” His reply: “Hell no — they don’t tip *anyone* well! It makes me embarrassed to be Black!”

    I don’t know what the issue is, but it’s there.

    • dks64 says:

      My black coworkers who are/were servers say the SAME thing. It pisses them off that black people in general don’t tip well. I even had one black coworker tell the hostess “If you sit black people in my section, I’m coming up here to raise hell.”

    • Bsamm09 says:

      I used to deliver pizzas and we ALL kept a log of whoever tipped poorly. And we shared the addresses. if your pizza was slated to be first but was on our lists, you got moved to the back. Even if your house was a block away.

      I’d stop to get gas before I would go to their house and if I had to drive past my store I’d go in and see if more orders were up, deliver those and then bring them their pizza. Cold as hell by then so they would complain and request a free one. It would be the same pizza that was originally brought out this time by the newest delivery person. Eventually, they would stop calling.

  30. raybury says:

    Imagine two tables: One table is filled with slovenly-dressed, loud individuals who alternately ignore the server, yell for her, or make unreasonable demands. The second has people who are dressed in clean and neat clothing, even if in casual dress, who display patience with the server and frame their reasonable preferences as polite requests.

    The first may include my brother and his unruly family — bad tippers, by the way, and undeniably Caucasian. The second table may have my African-American boss, who is also a good tipper.

    I posit that based on a reasonable sample we would find that (1) the second table is usually treated better than the first, regardless of the race of the patrons or the server; and (2) mainly African-American tables account for an outsize percentage or even total majority of table one types.

  31. jenolen2161 says:

    I still have a hard time buying the argument that “Europeans don’t know because it’s not in their own culture.” Um, every guidebook I’ve ever seen has a “local customs” section, and for people traveling to the States from Europe, I’m sure tipping is covered. Plus, aren’t most of those countries ranked higher than us in math? Those people, upon reading the “local customs” section, should be able to figure out what 15%-20% of a bill is. BTW, not a server and never was. Just think that in this day and age, cheap foreign tourists like to hide behind this convenient out.

    • technoreaper says:

      Have you ever gone on vacation with a guidebook? Is there ever time to read the whole thing? Most of those customs are baloney; no one cares, and some people haven’t even heard of them. The people who write those books are out of touch with reality. London for example, has very few native English people there. It’s a free-for-all with customs there. There are some things that are unmannerly, but if anyone gives you dirty looks, ignore them or look at them and ask them to do something. Unless you’re naked or causing trouble, no one will say anything to you.

    • sadie kate says:

      I had a table of German customers come in one time when I waited tables. I resigned myself to little or no tip; I lived in a tourist town, and it happens. I still provided my usual level of kind and attentive service. It was a slow night, so near the end of the evening, I engaged them in conversation about their vacation plans, and the family patriarch brought up the tipping custom because he genuinely didn’t understand it, and wanted to be educated. I gladly explained that I realized 15-20% may seem high, but I made $2.14/hour when standard minimum wage in my state at the time was $5.85, and that tips comprised the bulk of my income. I explained that food prices would be much higher if they paid servers a living wage. I explained what tip-outs meant, and how if I received no tip, I actually lost money. The whole family seemed genuinely interested and empathetic, and I felt sure I would get an appropriate tip at the end of the evening.

      I got 5%.

      At least they didn’t stiff me?

  32. Slatts says:

    Here’s a silly little “thought experiment”:

    Imagine a restaurant near a very large black church. It’s parishioners often dine there and, true to form, often don’t tip. Then the pastor gets wind of this, and how it negatively affects the reputation of his congregation, and delivers a powerful sermon on the importance of tipping, after which the flock begins to tip very well indeed when they visit said restaurant.

    It might take a few dines, but once their reputation as awesome tippers caught on, the waitstaff would be fighting one another for Black customers, who’d receive the best possible service from pleasant, smiling waiters.

  33. The Wyrm says:

    Hmm, could it be that this isn’t actually about race, but is more about CULTURE? Americans have this weird logic where there’s no difference between people of a certain race, and the culture that is predominantly made up of that race.
    I can’t say: “Koreans drive like maniacs.”, that’s racist!
    But I can say “People from Korea drive like maniac.”, that’s… oh wait, in America that’s considered ‘racist’ too. It’s TRUE… but that won’t protect me from accusations of racism. Funny how that works out huh?

    • thezone says:

      Please tell that to my Korean friend who never goes above the speed limit. Also, do I get to say that all white people are racist because of the racist comments here? You know. It’s just true. And white people can dance. Yes, last time I saw the ballet I noticed how dark everyone was. But you know it’s true. And white people can’t play basketball. I mean Steve Nash is horrible and Kevin Love is the worst. Tell me about it. But it’s all true. And white rappers. Eminem has maybe sold 5 albums. Please stop saying dumb bigoted things. Stereotypes are not true. They are over generalizations people believe that are based on weak anecdotal evidence.

  34. lotussix says:

    the other 2/3 lie about it.

  35. technoreaper says:

    I am from the Caribbean and of African heritage, originally. I experienced racism in America, and I hated it. However, the values we were brought up with mirror the ones of American whites, Hispanics, Asians and East Indians. African-Americans are a whole other story. Working with them for a bit, it’s not hard to understand why no one wants to hire them or deal with them. Teachers I know tell me horror stories about dealing with them in school. One basically said that the more African-American kids that are in a class, the worse it will be. They are taught by their parent(s) to defy authority. They are not encouraged to value an education or behave. They are horrible workers who feel the boss owes them everything and they owe nothing. They do things on their own time. In customer service situations, they are extremely picky and petty. It’s really true, they don’t like to tip! I don’t like dealing with them, and I know several other African and Caribbean immigrants that agree that they are worthless. Back where we came from though, we didn’t have bleeding heart liberals that made excuses for everything we did. That’s a huge part of the problem in America. The Democrats are buying black votes by letting them get away with everything. It’s a sham.

    • thezone says:

      Wow a black racist. Now I’ve seen everything. I think you should go down to Alabama for a while and tell them you were raised with “white values”. You seriously disgust me. There are plenty of hard working intelligent African Americans in this country. If you think any racist looks at me and you differently you’re dumber than you sound.

      • airren says:

        Ya know, there are decent non-racist people down here in AL too. Just sayin’.

        • thezone says:

          There are very nice people in Alabama. But about 50% of the people in that state believe that either it should be illegal for a white person and a black person to marry or their not sure if the law should exist. So that’s some empirical evidence that there’s a problem. It’s also the first state where I was shot at for talking to a white person. Unlike a lot of the country the racists there are willing to act. But like I’ve said a bunch of times. I treat everyone like they’re not racist until they do something that is. But you sound like a very nice person for Alabama.

          • technoreaper says:

            @thezone, so now I’m a black racist? Typical of your mentality! So because I am a decent human being, I am a racist, and probably a sellout. Yeah, keep drinking the liberal kool-aid. American blacks are still the white man’s slaves, and they don’t even realize it. Pathetic.

  36. teke367 says:

    Doesn’t surprise me at all. Whether it was mathematically true, or just seemed that way, there is a perception among servers that black customers don’t tip well. And this is one of those circumstances where perception is more important than the truth.

    I think it has more to do with that perception than the server just not liking black people.

    In my time serving, this perception was held among just about everybody, the black servers didn’t like serving black customers.

    I considered myself a decent server. But I definitely wasn’t good enough to serve one table poorly without serving all tables poorly. In short, I didn’t care if I got a bad tip, I cared if the bad tip was my fault, so I did my best for each customer. But I honestly can’t say my expectations for the tip weren’t lowered.

  37. P=mv says:

    I have been both a cashier and a waitress. When I was a waitress black customers very rarely gave me a tip and if they did it was to the tune of about 5%. When I was a cashier the game was “find something to be offended about so the manager is forced to give me free shit to shut me up.” They treated me like less than dirt simply because I have white skin. I never was even a little racist until those two jobs. Now, I say, experience has taught those waitresses what they know now.

    Stop griping about how you are being treated and consider how you treat everyone around you.

  38. technoreaper says:

    I have had a few friends that weren’t racist until they became teachers. Yeah, the schools are out of control, and there is one select socioeconomic group to blame, unfortunately. They said the more they worked as substitute or full-time teachers, the more they identified who the problem kids usually were. I imagine for cops, it’s the same way. You learn that it has everything to do with their culture and little to do with poverty. It’s sick.

  39. BadIdeaSociety says:

    American tipping culture is simply a broken system.

    The custom is supposed to be 15% for good service and 20% or more for exceptional service. The cost of food and drinks should simply reflect the cost of the food, plus the chef’s labor, plus a 20% tip, and a whatever profit the restaurant can get away with.

    Tipping is a system by which, whether you want to bring race or social class into the equation, always favors the person throwing around the most money. It is — by its very nature — a economically biased system.

    If I stiff the waiter at a local restaurant, the restaurant is still compelled to provide me with top-notch service in the event that I return to the restaurant at a later date. There is no official (legal) reason to tip waiters. It is not considered shoplifting, it is not theft. It is demoralizing, arbitrary nonsense and should be reevaluated immediately.

    • technoreaper says:

      True, but then again, you’re making excuses for African-Americans again. They know how the system works quite well.

      • BadIdeaSociety says:

        I am not making excuses for African-Americans. I am making the case that the tipping system creates favoritism and inequality even before the topic of race, age, sex, or any other signifier comes into the equation.

        If I am a loyal customer and I have the means to tip 25%, I will gain significant leverage at the establishments I frequent.

        I am equally irritated by the customers who would attempt to leapfrog other “attended-to” customers when I worked in retail under the flimsy idea that they have spent infinitely more money with the company than the customer I was handling at the time.

        What you spend in an establishment has a value, but everybody who enters your establishment (who hasn’t been banned for one reason or another) should be treated as a potential sale. This is part of the reason why corporations are able to affect legislation more than individual citizens.

  40. sadie kate says:

    I am going to break from the majority of the crowd here and say that as a server for very many years, I don’t recall any major tipping issues from any black customers. In fact, there were a few black families that would come into my restaurant semi-regularly that I always waited on, because no one else on staff wanted them. They said they were demanding and were lousy tippers. Only I found, they were exactly as demanding as any other customer I had, and they always tipped me in the 15-20% range. I quickly came to the conclusion that my fellow servers saw they were black, decided they would be shitty tippers, provided subpar service, and then received a shitty tip due to their lack of attentive service.

    This is just such a pervasive stereotype, that I believe people look for supporting evidence, and reinforce their own already-established bias. Are there some black customers who are poor tippers? Undoubtedly. But I’ve waited on proportionally a lot more white people who were terrible tippers, and I don’t jump to the conclusion that all white people tip poorly.

    • technoreaper says:

      Wherever you live, either doesn’t have a problem, or you’re blissfully ignorant. Don’t assume that everywhere is like that, because it clearly isn’t.

      • thezone says:

        Wow, someone doesn’t agree that all of us black people are terrible tippers and you say it’s where she lives or she’s ignorant. I think the real ignoramus is you. Let’s see. She didn’t listen to stereotype. She served customer well and she received the standard gratuity even though her coworkers warned her of the cheap black family.

        What it comes down to is this. People notice when servers don’t like them. And that’s because most servers are not great actors. Their body language, tone and crappy service just shows up and the family tips accordingly. But I’m sorry technoreaper maybe we should just listen to you since you have multiple degrees in human psychology. So Dr Reaper what makes you the expert in all black people? Have you served every black person across this great country? Maybe you knew the income level of every individual who came in and noticed that the tipping being done by black people was a statistical anomaly. Oh you must have a Phd in Statistics too. So please tell me what modeling method you used to determine that she lives somewhere unique or is ignorant? I’m waiting ….

      • sadie kate says:

        I live in the South, baby. Believe me, we are not free of troubles here. And for the record, I am not ignorant; in my opinion, people who racially stereotype are the ignorant ones.

  41. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    I’m a white female, and I don’t judge people by their color. I don’t care if you’re black, white, red, orange, or Marvin the Martian, I care about how people act and how they treat people. Period.

  42. CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

    Great topic as it is self inflicted discrimination by certain black people.
    I used to work at a restaraunt.
    The same ghetto black couple came in every sunday after some church that people wierd funny hats with feather and leapard print. They never tip.

    One day every server refused to serve them because they never tip and the manager told them everyone refused to serve them because they never tip. They started yelling about racism and finally left.

    • thezone says:

      So are you saying it is ok for servers to give worse service to black people because of their belief that black people tip worse?

      And as far as your story about the couple goes they were right. Unless your restaurant has a mandatory tip you should have served them. I think you forget that it’s a tip. Should they have tipped you? Yes. Since you know they are poor tippers do I expect you to treat them well? Actually, yes because they’re still paying customers. If you did that at any restaurant I ever worked in you would be fired on the spot. We had customers who did not tip. The owners didn’t care. It’s their prerogative. They pay the restaurant for the food and it is marked up to include your service. Blame your local laws and your boss for the crappy wage.

      • kiltedbrandon says:

        Not how it works though. See, when I was a waiter, the business paid me 2.13 an hour, all of which got taken in taxes due to credit card tips. Every two weeks, they’d give all of us checks with $0.00 written on them. Ergo, I work for the customer, not the restaurant. If a group is known not to tip, fuck em. Let the owner serve them. I told my boss that once, and he saw the logic in it and didn’t bother me about serving customers who don’t tip.

        • thezone says:

          Um no you still work for the restaurant. But that’s besides the point. My issue with your statement is not about known bad tippers. I believe that every customer regardless of tips should receive outstanding service. But the first part of your statement implied that you believe that giving poor service to other black people is ok and caused by the initial bad customer who was black. This is why I asked you if you thought that was ok. But let’s be honest. There’s no way that couple was receiving good service. You can say you were but I doubt that you can really hide disdain very well in person. I guess you should feel lucky. I know you would have been fired at the places where I know the owners.

  43. v0478 says:

    Look I want good service like the next.. but have u sat there while a omg black couple sits besides or near you .. They bitch about everything from. The way thw coke taste to the catsup… they send everythung back an even when they eat almost everything jesus chrrist 5hey want a free meal. .. im not a racist just a witness. To the abuse ..

  44. Mrs. w/1 child says:

    I worked as a server in college and when I was too busy to provide excellent service to everyone, I used a triage system. It isn’t racist, it is a fact that most black people do not tip as well as other demographics. They also tend to demand more service and “run” you. It is fair to say that many (not all) black people do not understand the cultural norms of dining out. So did I “discriminate” against rude black people? Yes. For the record I also discriminated against white people who didn’t understand the cultural norms of dining out. Is it “racist”? No.

    Of course the worst tippers are foreign people who travel to Chicago for events such as blues fest and refuse to tip at all. So is that “discrimination” against foreign people? Yep. Is it racist? Nope.

    Wanna know a dirty little secret? Black servers discriminate against black customers too. Is that still “discrimination” or is it just being realistic?

    • thezone says:

      Yes. It is still being a bigot. There you go. ANYONE who discriminates against someone for the actions of someone else who is from the same place or is the same color is a bigot. And you move past simple bigotry to racism.

  45. v0478 says:

    We try to service you like everyone else But when you get serviced like everyone else includeing. White people you get your black asses in a bunch like we r descrimiminating against u.. grow up

    • thezone says:

      Here’s a a quick note. When you refer to an entire ethnicity as “you” and “them” and talk about “black asses” you are most likely a racist. But hey enjoy what very little power you have by treating your customers poorly. That’s why you will never earn more than your tips.

  46. jcoltrane says:

    There are two kinds of discrimination: discrimination due to ignorance, and discrimination due to experience. This seems to be the latter.

    You can educate people to overcome discrimination due to ignorance.
    The only way to overcome discrimination due to experience is to change people’s experience.
    Get black patrons to tip better and they will receive better service.

    In my short experience as a server, I found the worst tippers by far to be college students. I avoided serving them like the plague… and I was one.

    • thezone says:

      Here is the major flaw in your flimsy argument. Using your logic if a black person receives poor service they should wait for great service from most servers before tipping well. There is no discrimination based on experience because all of your experience is based on a “small sample size” You know I went to a baseball game where I saw Albert Pujols get no hits in 5 attemps. In my experience he is a lousy player. Small samples size. Saying that your poor treatment of customer is acceptable is just a poor rationalization of the bigot that you are.

  47. Mrs. w/1 child says:

    I also believe a little grease keeps the wheels moving! *grin* Tips are for movers, cable installers, grocery deliveries, etc.

    Of course, I live in Chicago where a tip is pretty much expected for a lot of services, it may be different in other areas of the country.

  48. Miss Malevolent says:

    I always try to tip at least 20% for great service…15% for okay service, and a dollar for mediocre service.

    I feel for waiters and waitresses, cause yes, I know a lot of my friends are notorious for not tipping…and look at me crazy for tipping or forcing them to tip. Once my mom and I were out at a restaurant…and this table across from us started making all these demands and sucking their teeth about the girl not getting the order right.

    My mom said, “They’re just trying to talk themselves out of giving a tip cause they’re being cheap.” My mom’s dish was $14 bucks…she pulled the waitress aside and said, “I know what they’re going to stiff you, so here’s a tip from me to compensate. She gave her a 20. On top of the 20% tip I gave her for our meal.

    Unfortunately that stereotype is right. Also unfortunate for me, that I’ve received crap service because they assume because I’m black, I’m not going to tip.

    Rotten apples and all that…

  49. Libertas says:

    I’ve been in law enforcement my entire adult life dealing with every walk of life. The following phrase sums up the conclusion of the arfticle:

    Well, duh!

    • thezone says:

      As a person that has been pulled over by the small percentage of police officers like yourself I have to say you only do harm to your profession. Your bigoted views make other police officers lives more difficult. Because in areas where there are more officers like you the youth who are stupid and assume all officers are like your stupid ass don’t cooperate with the local authorities. But believe me there is no greater joy than when someone like you gets in my way. I go out of my way to make sure your careers go into the crapper. They should take your badge.

  50. bitplayer says:

    I’m rather sensitve about this subject. I’m black and I often get stonen cold shitty service but I still tip at least 15 percent because of this perception. It was great when I went to London and I automatically tipped, the waitress almost had a heart attack. I also think it’s weird that some restaurants you tip but others you don’t. I hate the whole tipping thing anyway.

  51. B2BigAl says:

    I used to have a black co-worker that would come to lunch with us occasionally, and he would never leave a tip. Not ever. It was so embarrassing, because we frequented the same places quite often. In fact, he flipped out one day because his bill was $4.99…and the waiter didn’t bring him back his penny. Not kidding, not making this up.

    So, I finally confronted him about it one day, and asked why he wouldn’t tip. He told me his dad taught him black people don’t tip because they have it harder than everyone else, and waiters don’t give them as good of service. Self perpetuating problem it seems.

    • technoreaper says:

      That is unfortunately, the common mentality.

    • thezone says:

      No I’ve never seen this type of behavior from someone white. Oh no. Oh wait. I have. It’s amazing. I hear white people say all the time that “oh that person is white trash”. But when a black person does something you don’t like it’s black people do this. blah blah blah. You had one black coworker that had idiot parents and somehow that gets distributed to all black people. I wish I could tell you every dumb thing a white person has asked me about black people that they thought was true. Yet I realize that not all white people are bigots or racists. But somehow you haven’t made that same connection. Do you now see how stupid you make yourself sound? People who listen to and spread this type of garbage are STUPID. Be smart. Realize that everyone you meet is a unique person. Stereotypes are based in ignorance. You choose to keep yourself ignorant.

      • tungstencoil says:

        Where does he distribute this attitude toward all black people? He’s just telling an anecdotal story.

        Would you feel better if instead of saying “I worked with someone black” he said “I worked with a piece of black trash” or “my co-worker, who was black trash”? That makes it better?

        BTW, stereotypes are awful, but typically based on some kernel of truth.

        And yes, I’m a minority. And yes, they piss me off. And yes, I recognize that they come from someone, which pisses me off too.

        • thezone says:

          First, when dealing with a subject like this anecdotal evidence is useless. Second, the last line was “Self perpetuating problem it seems.” So every black person who is cheap is perpetuating a problem. Yet every white person who is cheap is just a cheap person. That’s my issue. And in my opinion stereotypes aren’t really indicative of reality. They are based on one groups dislike of another group and any small anecdotal story is used to perpetuate it. Blonds aren’t stupid. Women are good at math. Asians can drive, Jewish people aren’t cheap. All stereotypes that are dumb.

  52. Gardius says:

    I have never worked as a Server, but from talking to friends who have, I wonder if this discrepancy is somehow less true in Canada. Maybe it was the community I lived in, but the waitresses I knew never seemed to complain about any one group. Everyone generally tipped between 10% and 30%.

    Personally, I tip on a scale from 5% to 35%.
    5% for terrible service, given out of societal pressure.
    35% for totally amazing and efficient service.

    What is likely happening, as numerous comments have already addressed, is that a racial cycle is emerging. African-Americans, on average, tip less. So African-Americans, on average, are given poorer service. So African-Americans, on average, tip less. And the cycle repeats into oblivion.

  53. technoreaper says:

    My brother and I went to this one chain restaurant that’s known for hamburgers one time in this suburban area of Detroit. We had a coupon for a free burger on my birthday, which was that day. We tip well. The server was this obnoxious, spoiled brat that seemed very nervous about waiting on us. I saw and heard the servers talking and debating, our initial server apparently gave her table to another girl, that one. We told her in advance we had the deal. She came back and starting hemming and hawing, telling us that the system wasn’t working right, and if the deal didn’t go through, she would have to pay for our burger, and she was making a big scene out of it.

    I got extremely irate. I asked her why she would say something like that, like I couldn’t afford to pay for the burger, or that we were running a scam? I pointed out that the deal was pretty crystal clear on the website and in the email, why was this such a problem? She started getting nervous and stammered, like she was uncomfortable with us there, and I just said, “Ok, I get it, we’re leaving, I’ll be talking to your manager.” She lied and said her manager wasn’t around, to begin with. I took note of the time and date. I went up the highway to another location of the chain that we were familiar with, and the waitress didn’t even blink. I asked her about it and she basically indicated that she couldn’t understand why that location gave me such a big deal about it, that it was easy to scan into the register.

    Was that first server racist? Don’t know, but I made my feelings known to the manager and got a gift card, which I used at my usual location, and of course, tipped well! I hope that server got fired, I really do. I can understand not wanting to wait on people you suspect won’t tip well, but to treat them like dirt before even serving our drinks is ridiculous. I really enjoy putting some servers in their place because some of them can be truly obnoxious at gaming the system for tips. I had two at a certain chain Italian restaurant that ignored our group, comprised of mostly white girls and me, because the tip was already added on. I got them good too, but I stayed away for a while. There should be an article about scumbag waiters too.

  54. Professor59 says:

    I used to be part owner of a restaurant in Philadelphia. It had two floors, and servers who were “promoted” didn’t have to serve the second floor, which required carrying food up and down stairs all shift. It was commonly discussed that each and every one of them would rather work the second floor than serve black customers because they knew they wouldn’t be tipped much, if at all. That includes black servers.
    We had no reports of servers providing lesser service. It was more of a case where everyone had to share equally so some servers wouldn’t suffer unfairly.
    When a server or a manager would catch a customer leaving without tipping and confront them, the black customers would often say, “So what? I don’t tip. It’s not a law.”
    How this well-known cultural fact gets left out of a seemingly thorough article makes it appear like reverse racism. Naughty, naughty.

    • thezone says:

      Reverse racism? We had no reports of poor service. Sure you did. They were called bad tips. Did you approach every white person who tipped poorly? Or was it only the blacks? You also know that cultural fact that white people are bigots. No really it’s true. All of you are. How that wasn’t in the article is really beyond me. Tisk tisk tisk.

  55. Sian says:

    hyperbolic title misses the very important qualifier *IN NORTH CAROLINA*

    • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

      commenter misses 200+ comments verifying trend is ubiquitous largely because way too many blacks are rude, demanding, petty, and don’t tip well or at all.

      • thezone says:

        commenter misses comments showing that people that give poor service based on skin color and not prior interactions are bigots.

        You know there are more than 200 posts that autism is caused by vaccines. That doesn’t make it verified. There are more than 200 posts that say 911 was an inside job but that doesn’t mean it’s verified. There are more than 200 posts that Elvis is still alive but it doesn’t mean it’s verified. I could continue but I’m hope you see the logical fallacy in your statement.

        But lets say that there are more black people who are cheap. Does that mean that every black person should receive lesser service? I think that way too many people post on this thread are bigots. But I don’t take this section of the populace to represent all people.

        You can say what you want. But treating ANY group of people you have never met poorly because of what someone who happens to share their, color, religion, gender etc, mean you are a bigot. Fight against your bigotry and treat all people based on their actions not the things they can’t or shouldn’t change.

        • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

          Blacks are disproportionately shitty tippers and bad customers. Every black server I’ve met, and I’ve met many, says the same thing. It’s not racist, it’s the truth, and the studies quoted in this thread back it up.

  56. Extended-Warranty says:

    Before we tear apart this article, I think it would be interesting if you could compare data from the actual theory here. What would happen if we surveyed who *actually* tipped more? I can pretty much say for certain that blacks will tip less than whites.

    The biggest problem of our racial divide in America is ignoring that any problems exist. The more we say we just need to treat everyone the same, the greater the divide will be.

    Simple solution here is to get rid of the tipping system. If we want everyone to be treated the same, everyone needs to pay the same amount. Why is it accepted that wages are paid for by optional tips?? For the argument that waiters will provide less service if they are not tipped, I don’t agree. There is no shortage of waiters/waitresses out there, and management can just as easily get rid of the poor performers.

  57. noscamsplease says:

    I’m not going to say I’m the exception or the rule, but I tip 18% almost every time I eat out (at least 2x per week) AND I’m Indian (West indian to be exact). Coming to the 18% figure is very easy as in NYC the sales tax is almost 9%. I just double the tax amount. The only times I tip less are when I get horrid service. Recently at a Red Lobster the waitress was perhaps one of the worst I’ve ever experienced: wrong orders, appetizers coming out after main courses, forgot to give us cutlery, forgot to give me a lobster cracker, made me wait 7 minutes before getting one after I asked, brought water to the table (after being asked at the very beginning) 10 minutes before we finished eating, etc, etc. etc, salads but no dressing. I left her $3 which I thought was super generous.

    • technoreaper says:

      West Indian people are decent, you see.

      Don’t know what is up with American blacks. They have problems.

  58. tungstencoil says:

    Well over 200 comments so I doubt this will even be seen, but my $.02:

    I spent a number of years working in a predominantly black restaurant. By predominantly black, I mean both staff and clientele. It was truly a volume business. I can’t lie – I did well, which is why I stayed.

    But I also can’t lie that the stereotype exists because of real-world experience. It’s amazing to me that people will decry “racism” on items based in fact or valid anecdote. Even if you buy the argument that it is chicken/egg and they do it because they’re treated poorly, it’s still a valid stereotype. Do all black people tip poorly? No. Are all poor tippers black? No. On a given night, were tips less than 15%? Yes. Across the board and all servers, so leveling out for experience/quality? Yes.

    The restaurant was *busy*, so it’s not like it sucked and people were expressing their opinion on how bad things were. What was particularly outstanding was that it was just that tips were sub-par, it’s that tips were either high-standard (~20+%) or quite low (~5%), with the overall balance working out to somewhere in the neighborhood of 10%.

    Eventually, I moved. The stereotype held, even when I moved to a part of the country that isn’t nearly as heavily black as that from which I moved.

    Did anyone *discriminate*? Nope. Most of the clientele was black, so you just dealt with it. You knew that if you gave sub-par service you were likely not to get a tip at all. Sometimes someone would gripe, and someone else would remind them, “but yeah, overall you’re still making more than $100/night” (and this was in 1992).

    BTW: Worst tippers ever? Teachers. Period. I’ll take a group of freaking vegetarian-gluten-intolerant-only-put-5-icecubes-exactly-in-my-drink CAVEMEN before a group of teachers. I actually quit a job at a hotel because they had a rash of teachers’ conventions, and I said I wouldn’t work another, and they scheduled me. The last lunch I worked, I rang over $1000 (during their allotted 45 minutes for lunch) and grossed less than $20 in tips, and that was typical.

    • c_c says:

      I dunno I have a lot of friends my age who are teachers (late 20’s / early 30’s) and they are perfectly normal restaurant patrons, including their tipping habits. Maybe it’s a generational thing?

      • tungstencoil says:

        Probably.

        My sister is a teacher and she’s commented that she will only go to lunch with co-workers if she picks up the tab. She’s embarrassed by the fact they don’t tip, and will even argue with each other over how much the person who had tea ($1.29) versus the soda ($1.49) owes.

        My nephew is also a teacher and was surprised by this. He said he and his friends all tip ‘normal’.

        As an aside, my totally anecdotal anecdote is ~15 years old at this point. But still: wouldn’t want to wait on groups of teachers again. They would have conventions at the hotel, and be allowed 45 minutes for lunch. The convention wouldn’t include food (too expensive!), so they would gang-rush the restaurant in the hotel.

        Virtually every one would order soup/salad or soup/sandwich combo. This was smart: mostly pre-made, quick to serve. I remember distinctly: it was $5.41 if they got nothing to drink. The overwhelming majority would not even leave me the $.09 and take the two quarters from the $6. Interspersed in there would be the occasional quarter or even a dollar, but those were rare.

        Seriously. And this happened like every other week for a few months. Different groups of teachers. So I quit.

  59. dush says:

    Just saw a program where a geneticist said it’s likely all those KKK guys in the south have at least some African genes keeping them alive.

  60. rambo76098 says:

    I’m shocked it’s only 1/3. When you repeatedly get stiffed or get a shitty tip from a certain group of people after providing good or excellent service, you learn to read people. You start to pick out the good from the bad.

    And the one time a month you judge wrong, you feel like a pile of shit and remember that you can’t always read a book by its cover, and shouldn’t let the bias of your past experiences effect how you treat completely different people.

  61. Promethean Sky says:

    I’ve waited tables before, and though I hate to say it, this is true. You’re more likely to have a black customer tip poorly, and be a bigger pain, though that’s not across the board. So what? You do your job the best you can.

    I understand what many of the commenters are saying about allocating more time and energy toward customers more likely to tip well. I can’t even fault them for it.

    The root of the problem is whole tipping system. Pay servers a decent wage. Though I support tips for extraordinary service.

    • thezone says:

      Why do you understand people saying they will allocate more time and energy to other tables? Why is it ok for people to discriminate against someone based solely on their color?

  62. km9v says:

    Stereotypes exist for a reason.

  63. Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

    Oh, so you want real proof? How about a research paper on the subject?
    http://www.tippingresearch.com/uploads/lynn_BW_final_draft_2.pdf

    And here’s a little ditty from former NPR reporter Juan Williams
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1329241&sc=emaf

    Cue the lame straw man arguments, deflections, and denial in 3… 2… 1…

  64. HollzStars says:

    Oh, another tipping article. Every time I see one of these, I am overjoyed that I live in Canada where the lowest wage workers receiving gratuities can receive is $8.35/hr, or about $1,336 a month, pre tax. I can go to a restaurant and know that my waiter does not depend on my tip to make a living wage. I find that most wait staff do not expect a tip, and most seem truly grateful when they get one, regardless of what percent it is. If I leave a tip – it is my way of saying you did excellent. Unless service is dreadful, then I leave 2 pennies, to make a point that I didn’t “forget.”

    This thing about “regulars” is also confusing to me – I go to the same restaurants fairly regularly, but have never had special service because of this, or even staff that remembers I’ve been there before. Maybe to do with our turn over rate? Not sure on that one.

    I really can’t comment on the racial part, as the province I live (New Brunswick) is prodominately white, though that has been changing over that past 10 years or so.