Restaurant Changes

The last couple of restaurants I have gone to have done away with menus. They also have done away with humans I get to interact with when ordering. Instead, I have had to scan a QR code attached to my table that then brings up an online menu. I scroll through the whole thing and order everything myself, put in my credit card and then am asked how much I want to tip and I pay before I have even been given a napkin.

At one place today I had to get up and go to a central station to get my own napkins and water and I had to clean my own table. Now I have no issue with taking care of myself. I have done plenty of food service work in my life. What I do have a problem with being asked to tip before I have gotten anything at all.

I love tipping people an extraordinary amount who provide great service. I believe in rewarding excellent behavior. What I don’t like is being asked to tip on hardly any service at all. When I do my own ordering, my own table cleaning, both before and after a meal and getting my own drink I begin to wonder why the person who comes and drops a bag on my table deserves 20% or even 15%.

I don’t mind online menus as they save paper and are cleaner because lots of different people are not handling them. I also think that not printing menus give restaurants the opportunity to change the menu more often. My issue with online ordering is I have no chance to ask questions. Like, “Which is better, the chicken or the fish?” Or “What do you recommend?” This is all part of the service.

What if I order something online and the bag with my food gets dropped in front of me and I never see a server again.? What happens if I don’t like something or the order is wrong. At the place I went today I could not tell you what our server looked like because they dropped the bag from behind me and I never saw him or her again. For this I tipped 15%.

Also ordering with a group is slow and difficult on the app. If everyone does their own phone scan and orders their own items they don’t necessarily all come at the same time. It also makes paying an individual thing. What if I want to treat someone? It just takes a lot longer to place the order.

Covid has caused all kinds of changes in food service. I want restaurants to stay in business and hopefully in the future we can have an actual conversation with a person working in a restaurant. What I think needs to happen if I am going to do all the work as the patron is tipping needs to go away. The restaurant can raise their prices to pay their workers a living wage. Something I wish had happened long ago. People should not have to depend on tips to make enough money to live. Tipping should be for exceptional service in place where service actually exists. Tipping should also happen after a customer has been delighted, not at ordering.

As someone with food service experience I will continue to tip upon ordering if that is the way the system is set up. I know what can happen to someone’s food if there is a no tip order. I am not interested in pissing people off. I just don’t want to tip someone else if I do all the work.

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