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Thread: tipping at a buffet

  1. #1
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    tipping at a buffet

    we are heading to LaVista tonight

    typically this is the only buffet place we go to, here and at home

    every time we go, my husband and i have a discussion as to the tip amount

    what would be a fair tip ( 20% ) for buffet?

    the people we are meeting there, always insist that since it is a buffet, we should tip less

    (we don't )

    what do you all think?

  2. #2
    Senior Member act1966's Avatar
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    It would depend on how well they do the jobs - filling glasses, removing plates and silverware between buffet visits, re-folding napkins etc.

    I think that old standard of only tipping 10% because it's a buffet has fallen by the wayside.

    When I was a waiter in my teens, Sunday buffet was always the deadliest shift because you would run around like mad constantly clearing the same tables over and over way more than fixed/served seating.

    If you find yourself constantly flagging the service staff down though, I'd tip less than 20% as they're not staying on top of things.

  3. #3
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    DH and I agree with you and have often thought that the servers worked harder than non buffet.


    Quote Originally Posted by act1966 View Post
    It would depend on how well they do the jobs - filling glasses, removing plates and silverware between buffet visits, re-folding napkins etc.

    I think that old standard of only tipping 10% because it's a buffet has fallen by the wayside.

    When I was a waiter in my teens, Sunday buffet was always the deadliest shift because you would run around like mad constantly clearing the same tables over and over way more than fixed/served seating.

    If you find yourself constantly flagging the service staff down though, I'd tip less than 20% as they're not staying on top of things.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Pegmeister's Avatar
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    For the most part our starting point is 20%, even at a buffet. My feeling is they are constantly clearing plates and bringing drink orders. That said, if I didn't feel the service was good I would have no problem leaving less.

  5. #5
    Senior Member arubabob's Avatar
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    We ate there a couple of times and I cant remember if they charge the 15% service fee like many other places or not. that makes a difference. We generaly tip a little less at buffets because they dont take your order or bring your food. That being said, great service on drinks and removing plates does get rwarded.

  6. #6
    Senior Member WaltVB's Avatar
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    We think the service (and the food) at La Vista is some of the best on the island, buffet or not. We tip about 20% but sometimes go a bit over that because the service for drinks and extras is so good. I think the servers at buffets sometimes work a lot harder than at normal restaurants, especially in Aruba...

  7. #7
    Senior Member AndyM's Avatar
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    No offense intended to anyone, but when did a 20% tip become the minimum acceptable as it appears to be from the posts here?

    Generally, 15%-18% is quoted with more for exceptional service.

    If you are eating at a full service restaurant, a trained wait person, sommelier and chefs are at your disposal to prepare and serve the specific meals you requested to your individual specifications. They are supported by bartenders, bus boys and other support staff. Good service in this situation calls for a full tip.

    At a buffet, the food is mass produced, you serve yourself, and a bus boy clears the dishes one or more times. In my minority opinion, this does not warrant a tip equal to a full service meal.

    When I dine at a full service restaurant, I tip generously for good service. It the check comes with a 15% service charge, I add 5% or more to it. I also ignore the booze exclusion for tip calculation.

    At a buffet, I would not add to a 15% service charge.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Liz - Aruba Lover's Avatar
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    I'm in the minority also. I think the standard tip at a buffet is 10%. Full service I always tip at least 20%. Sometimes more if service was exceptional. When the service charge is added, I add 5% or a little more. Again depending on service.

  9. #9
    Senior Member act1966's Avatar
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    Having worked in the industry in my misspent youth, I know how hard wait staff work and how terrible the minimum wage is in most western countries. And that tip gets split across the house - maitre d', bus staff, kitchen, bartenders etc.

    I'm not saying that 20% (or more) is the standard but it's what I'm comfortable with for good service.

    Waiters and bartenders have long memories on people who tip well... And those who don't. Tip big the minute you sit on that bar stool and your glass will never be empty!

  10. #10
    Senior Member AndyM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by act1966 View Post
    Having worked in the industry in my misspent youth, I know how hard wait staff work and how terrible the minimum wage is in most western countries. And that tip gets split across the house - maitre d', bus staff, kitchen, bartenders etc...

    The tipping we are accustomed to in the US is not common in the rest of the Western world. I agree restaurant workers have to work hard for not very much money. I don't feel the customer should be expected to make up the difference. Customers are guilted into tipping because everyone knows how badly staff are paid.

    I have respect for restaurant workers and always treat them that way. The pay structure for restaurant workers is broken and should be fixed.

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