The Never-Tipping Pasta Bowl

September 30, 2009 at 10:17 pm

Tis the season for all-you-can-eat specials.

There’s a nip in the air, the kids are back in school and restaurants are empty.  It must be Fall.  The main giveaway is that restaurants are running “bottomless” specials.  After buying uniforms and school supplies parents are tapped out.  There’s no money left for a night on the town.  For this reason it is the slowest time of the year for the restaurant industry.

Servers hate this time of year because it means they have to work harder for less money.  Why?  Because to lure customers in many eateries are offering all-you-can-eat specials at super low prices.  This is great for mom and dad but not necessarily for that struggling undergrad trying to put themselves through school.

Now this lecture is not aimed at those of you who take advantage of such bargains and leave a proper tip for service received.  It is for those of you who rationalize that if you don’t tip the neighborhood mega buffet then why should this be any different.  The difference is that you don’t have to go get your refills yourself.  Someone brings them to you, freshly cooked mind you not poaching on a steam table for hours.

There are probably some of you reading this wondering, “How could anyone think that you wouldn’t have to tip just because the menu says all-you-can-eat?”  That’s the other reason servers hate this time of year.  These specials draw non-tippers like moths to a flame.

It also brings out the bingeaholics as well.  These are people whose goal is to make the restuarant lose money.  They will actually skip meals so that they can put away five, six and even seven portions of the never-ending special.  What’s worse many bingeaholics are also non-tippers but even those who aren’t need to realize that if you are going to make the server fill your trough a half a dozen times with unending meatloaf you need to up your tip.  Hey, you are already getting a break on the price so why not throw a few extra George Washingtons at that single parent trying to make ends meat?

Now from the consumer’s standpoint – if they can possibly offer you all-you-can-eat for under $10 do you think it is something you want to put in your body?  Doubtful.

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Stuart Reb Donald

Stuart is a celebrity chef and award winning food writer. Donald performs live cooking demonstrations and penned the cookbook Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor."

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