There's a recent tipping issue that I'm seeing at more restaurants in the Twin Falls area and I'd like to know your thoughts, especially if you're someone who works behind the counter.

Everybody knows how to tip

I think it’s safe to say that we’re all familiar with the process of tipping in Twin Falls area restaurants, right? It’s pretty simple: You dine at a restaurant, and after you’ve enjoyed your meal,  you consider the amount of money you’d like to leave your server based on the service you received.  Was the service good? Did they offer you refills? Did they attend to your concerns?  I’m sure the criteria of what deserves a generous tip varies a bit for each of us, but I think we can all agree that the amount of gratuity you leave has something to do with your experience as a whole. 

Brooke Cagle - Unsplash
Brooke Cagle - Unsplash

Cafeteria-style ordering is on the rise

I’ve noticed a recent trend-bucking the traditional method tipping that’s become problematic for me, and I’m interested to hear what you have to say about it.

It seems like the number of stand-to-order restaurants is on the rise. You see it in everything from burgers and sandwiches to pizzas and pasta.  Even though these are dine-in establishments, the customer is doing a certain amount of the legwork themselves. You’re finding your own seat, getting your own drinks, and in some cases, even clearing up most of the mess when you’re done eating. Bear in mind, I take no issue doing any of this. When we’re living in a time where help is hard to come by, it makes total sense… but it does lead to my challenge.

How can you tip prior to being served?

Most, if not all of these cafeteria-style restaurants provide an option to tip when you go to pay. Now, I don’t take issue with tipping the staff that just took my order or the team in the kitchen who are about to assemble my sandwich or make my pizza. I’m all for it. My problem is that I’m being asked to tip before my experience is complete. Is it unfair of me to suggest that I can’t possibly rate my service when I haven’t been served yet? I mean, if I’m being asked to tip at the register when I’m delivering my own food and getting my own drinks, what’s left for me to critique other than my experience at the till and the quality of the food, right? But I can’t rate my food before I've even seen it, let alone tasted it. I’m not trying to be stingy, but judging my experience prior to having it just seems a bit off to me. 

Erik Mclean - Unsplash
Erik Mclean - Unsplash

The same challenge exists with food delivery

A similar situation arises with food delivery. While I’d never hold a delivery driver accountable for food quality, there are things that I’d like to consider prior to tipping. Were they prompt? Did they text and communicate delays? Were they friendly? I’ve even had occasions when I wished I could have added to my driver’s tip because they were especially pleasant and professional during the transaction. But since I paid in advance, I had no way to increase the gratuity.

One possible solution

Someone smarter than me will probably figure this out, but I wish there were a way to add gratuity after my experience at restaurants like this. Like maybe a way to receive a text after my meal by adding a tip post transaction.

I don’t want to leave you with the impression that I’m against tipping in situations like this… On the contrary. I just think it’s reasonable of me to suggest that I should be able to do it after I have the opportunity to consider my overall satisfaction with my dining experience.

Oh… and I’ve already talked to someone who said I should just carry cash that I can leave in the cup on the way out. I appreciate the idea but If the option isn’t electronic, it’s probably not happening. Nobody carries cash. 

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