What do you consider a good tip for a half self serve experience?

Yesterday I did a restaurant job in a restaurant where you order your meal from a cashier at the front with an overhead menu board. They feature an extensive salad bar at this restaurant but also have entrees. Drinks and desserts are not served at the table as they have a self serve beverage and dessert bar as well if you purchase that. The job requirements are to order one entree and the self served all you can eat salad/hot food buffet and something from the self serve drink area. You pay up front at the order cashier and they hand you a tray with your plate, cup, silverware etc that you carry to your seat yourself. There is no host to lead you or seat you.
Someone comes to your table and brings you your entree. They do not replace your drinks, water or give you clean plates for seconds on the all you can eat or drink bars.You just go over on your own and get what you want using the same cup or plate over again.
I usually have no complaints about this msc which I will not name here but the guidelines seemed to be the standard guidelines for a restaurant job with some changes. The guidelines indicated you should leave a 15-18% tip which is what this msc says even if you are at one of their high end restaurant where they constantly bring clean everything and hover over your table . My "server" was quite nice but brought my plate to the table and then evidently her shift ended as at the end of my meal a different person brought me mints and toothpicks and a to go box. I filled my plate with a teaspoon of this and a half cup of that several times from the extensive salad bar using my already used plate to refill. I could have taken 40 different items. I did not see a pile of fresh plates. I was not offered refills as I got them all myself.
I did not leave the same tip I would have at a full serve restaurant nor did I enumerate the number of pineapple pieces I took from the salad bar or how many teaspoons of beans were on my plate that I served to myself. I did fully describe the major items I took from the bars though. Although the editor was very nice about it I was told I needed to describe everything I ate and talk about how many pieces of whatever were on my plate. Also she wondered why I did not leave the standard 15-18% tip.
So I am wondering what others think of this situation. Should the tip and reporting requirements be the same as for a full service meal. I often have to read into what they want when it seems the guidelines have not been tailored fully to the type of establishment.

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SandyF, as a normal customer (and I watch others), no way to 18%.....I leave a dollar as no service means no or little tip. If you have to leave it and get reimbursed o.k., but it's not fair to servers to leave the same amount to non servers and doesn't make sense.....

Live consciously....
The tip the msc seems to think is justified is high for the amount of hustle and desire to please exhibited by the resto worker. If I'm doing the work,she/he is not getting a generous gratuity whether I'm reimbursed for it or not.
It's nice to know that at least a few of you agree with me. I left 10%. I also noticed that when I was leaving and my "server" had gone home there were at least 20 tables of people there and only one "server". Back in the day when I was a server having 4 tables always seemed quite a bit. The "servers" were both very nice though and I am sure had I waved to them they would have come over and brought me a clean plate but it was not something they offered. I would have been reimbursed for the tip had I ordered the cheapest thing on the menu which was the senior meal or one of the burgers they offered.
Most restaurants pay servers $2-something per hour. Also, tips often go into a pool, shared among servers, bussers, and runners. I don't tip less than 15%, regardless of the level of service or type of restaurant. I just can't.
I thought it was food health regulations that you had to take a clean plate every time you refilled from a salad bar. Is this not the case?
Yeah...you tip the same % pretty much anywhere. I would assume this place is cheaper than if it had been a full meal with the same offerings. Just because you feel you were low maintenance doesn't change anything.

And yeah, get a clean plate for buffets. Serving spoons touch your plate. If you are careful not to touch the plate, that's just asking for a spill.
It seems to me it would basically be like a buffet -- and I normally leave just a dollar or two for that.
@Equine24 wrote:

I thought it was food health regulations that you had to take a clean plate every time you refilled from a salad bar. Is this not the case?

I thought so too but there was no stack of clean plates around and there were many customers going up for seconds with their same plate. If I wanted a clean plate I sure I could have walked over to the kitchen entrance and asked for one. The "server" I had was not lazy or not doing her job. She did her job but her job did not entail waiting on the tables in a full service type of way. She brought the entree over and smiled at me if she passed by but after the delivery of the entree everything else was self serve. They did come by at one point and pick up finished plates and offer a box.
I did write a comment that the minimum wage in this state is now $12 an hour, not $2 like in other states. Our serving staff get paid the same starting wages as all jobs. Not sure what happened but that comment seems to have been dropped.
I leave 10% at buffets, unless the server was extraordinary in some way, then I will leave more. For a shop, I will leave whatever the MSC tells me to leave.
As a full-serve waitress most of my life, I always felt a little resentment toward buffet personnel who expected a full-serve tip. They have less than half the amount of customer interaction per table and do less than half the amount of serving. They have other duties, though, cleaning tables, restocking dishes, wiping the buffet but it would be up to their employer to pay them for that. I always assumed they got minimum wage but truly have no idea.

sestrahelena
This sounds like Sizzler. The one I go to and shop has clean plates at the salad bar. Since almost everything is pretty much self serve, I feel ok to just tip a couple of dollars. I don't remember the guidelines saying to tip 15-18% but maybe that changed.
@kenasch wrote:

This sounds like Sizzler. The one I go to and shop has clean plates at the salad bar. Since almost everything is pretty much self serve, I feel ok to just tip a couple of dollars. I don't remember the guidelines saying to tip 15-18% but maybe that changed.

Yes it is Sizzler and I have done it before and left a few dollars. I do not have access to the full guidelines right now but the editor chided me for not leaving 18%. The shop was accepted however. I was told that I would stand out with a smaller tip. I feel I would stand out (in a good way though) with a big tip there. I did not see clean plates at the salad bar. There were only clean small bowls at the dessert bar.
I am using SandyF's thread to see if my tip problem has happened to anyone else. I did a nice dinner and left my 18% tip on my debit card. I just checked and the bill was for the amount not including tip. I wrote down tip, it's on the receipt, how can this happen?

Live consciously....
I think 10% is appropriate for semi-serve situations. However, if the client requires another amount and reimburses for it, I would comply. If they are paying lump sum and insisting on the tip rate, I would consider that out of line as they are overly controlling your proceeds as a so-called independent contractor. In such a situation it's probably best to discuss it with the scheduler. There is also the question of whether you can pay the bill by credit card and tip in cash.

Doing my best, every day
@Irene_L.A. wrote:

I am using SandyF's thread to see if my tip problem has happened to anyone else. I did a nice dinner and left my 18% tip on my debit card. I just checked and the bill was for the amount not including tip. I wrote down tip, it's on the receipt, how can this happen?

I’ve seen this before when the transaction was still pending. After a couple of days the tip was included with the final transaction. However I recently was on a non shop where the tip never showed up. It had to be a mistake by the restaurant’s cashier or the server.
If the reimbursement is a fix amount with specific ordering requirements, I tip based on the service and how much I want to pay out of pocket.

Similarly, I wouldn't tip more than 10% for a semi-self service restaurant. Nando's Peri Peri is similar in regards that you seat yourself, get your own drink and utentials. They do deliver your food however and it isn't buffet style. I typically tip them 15%.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/14/2019 10:33PM by eyelove2shop.
@Irene_L.A. wrote:

I am using SandyF's thread to see if my tip problem has happened to anyone else. I did a nice dinner and left my 18% tip on my debit card. I just checked and the bill was for the amount not including tip. I wrote down tip, it's on the receipt, how can this happen?

This happened to me recently too. I went to a restaurant, added the tip to the credit card and gave the restaurant copy back to them and when I got my credit card bill it was without the tip. With a credit card they add the tip after you leave as they no longer have the card but they have the number of your card and add it on using your signature and numbers you filled in. Not sure what happens with a debit card but I assume the server forgot to run it through a second time after you added the tip.
I would like to add that when we take the baby with us, if she leaves a mess (IF? LOL!!!) I usually tip generously, because somebody has to clean up the mess. And it won't be me.

I have been known to leave 100% tip when the baby's along.....yes, even for a buffet.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/15/2019 03:55AM by ceasesmith.
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