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How do we handle bad service in WDW restaurants please?

Discussion in 'Restaurants, Dining, Dining Plans' started by Deb, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. Deb
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    Deb Serious Forum Regular

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    Hi :wave:

    Now, I would appreciate a little advice on what I know can seem to be a bit of a tricky subject for some reason, but I know that here we aren't like that. Well, it is tipping that can be a bit of a tricky subject, and actually, this query isn't about that at all :tongue:

    Now, I fully accept the American way (I sounded a bit like Sam Eagle there, didn't I? ) of tipping 18 - 20% on each sit down meal. And I have read enough on other forums to know that if we are not happy with the waiter's service that we are meant to deal with it straight away, and maybe have a word with the Manager to sort things out immediately. but in all of my many trips to the USA this is something that I can't seem to be comfortable with, and I'd appreciate some advice on how to toughen up!!

    When we went to WDW in February we were on the Deluxe DP and so had an awful lot of meals, and consequently did an awful lot of tipping. Whilst we had some excellent service, as well as some mediocre service that was just ok, but nothing really to let it spoil anything, we also had quite a few times when the service was downright dreadful. For example, the second time we ate at Cape May for breakfast (the first time was perfect so we thought we'd go again) the server was dreadful in performing her duties, especially considering it is only a buffet meal. We waited 15 minutes for her to come back after seating us, and even then she forgot DH's tea. We had to wait another 10 minutes for that, and even then had to remind her. She didn't bring cutlery, or the condiments....and the list went on. We tried to flag her down the couple of times we saw her, but she didn't see us, and in-between she was just nowhere to be found. There was also an absence of a lot of the food from the buffet (which I know is a whole other problem) which of course added to our annoyance.

    Now, the agreed course of action seems to be that we should have contacted a Manager after being there for a few minutes, and again at any point we were ignored. But when the restaurants are busy I can't always see a Manager. Are we supposed to get up and leave our table and hunt one down? and I don't know if this is the reticent English person in me :lol: but this lady in particular was lovely, and sweet, and obviously rushed off her feet and I felt bad telling tales on her :lol: Is it normal to do this? We kept thinking we didn't want to spoil our experience further by creating bad feeling between us and our server, and her being annoyed by us every time she came over. Maybe we just have to get over that. I suppose my question is, do we just get over that discomfort? Is it simply the usual way this would be handled in the USA, and therefore the server wouldn't think badly of us? And what would be acceptable to complain about and not complain about? 20% is a lot to tip if the service is poor and here of course we simply wouldn't tip, or tip a lot less. How do we handle it in the USA?

    I hope I have explained myself well, and people understand what I am trying to say :blush:
     
  2. foreverducky
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    foreverducky Addicted to Mickey

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    I completely understand. I know others will have plenty to say, but I want to discuss two points.

    1. When it comes to a buffet, I tip less, as they normally do less.

    2. I do not underestimate anyone, given that train of thought I do not complain at the moment. Things could go from bad to worse with food and service very quickly. I will adjust my tip to show my displeasure. Come on, service people know when they are not bringing the acquired items or taking a long time. I will however complain or discuss my displeasure as I'm leaving or later through email/phone.
     
  3. Deb
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    Deb Serious Forum Regular

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    FD, thanks. :thumbsup: I think that's how I feel, but the general consensus around what I read about WDW is that the tips are almost compulsory :unsure: And apparently in WDW the buffet tips are meant to be the same as Table Service tips? I think that part of me not being sure is that on other Disney forums things seems to degenerate into a punch up about tipping before there is a defintive answer, and so i never get to hear what i need to!
     
  4. chief
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    chief Earning my ears

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    i thought the buffet tips were meant to be $1 oer person eating. i think here in the uk we dont think nothing of complaining if its not right. well i do. but away from home i feel slightly out of my comfort zone, maybe this makes us less able to moan:unsure:
    it is very frustrating and i know how you feel by not wanting to say anything so not to make the situation worse. :yes:
     
  5. josh.p.
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    josh.p. Addicted to Mickey

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    Not sure if this is the 'done' thing in the US but I find at off-site dining places, a manager or supervisor would usually come to our table at some point throughout the meal to ask if everything was OK. We used this opportunity if there WAS a problem.

    At WDW we had bad service (really bad service) at Tepan Edo and complained to a manager. I just got up and found a manager and complained to them. Not sure if this is the 'done' thing, but I had a problem (meat juices all over my food and I'm a vegetarian) and due to the style of the restaurant, it was difficult to even get a server's attention. They didn't seem shocked or surprised that I had done it, although a manager did come and apologise to me.

    Not sure how it works in dining, but in attractions if a guest had complained about us we'd have a meeting with a manager who would discuss it with us. It never happened to me so not sure if it's a telling off or just a 'You could have done 'X' better' type meeting. :shrug:
     
  6. Deb
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    Deb Serious Forum Regular

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    Chief - I'm a little like you in that here in the UK I find it easier to complain.

    Regarding the $1 tip per person for a buffet - I was under the impression that in WDW buffets are expected to be treated the same as Table Service for the purpose of tipping (perhaps someone cab correct me if I am wrong). I know that the suggested 18% and 20% tip was always calculated on the bottom of the bill.

    Josh, during character meals, or buffet breakfasts, and many other meals a member of management didn't come over to ask us. In the example you mentioned I would most definitely have gotten up to find a manager. I know when we were at the signature restaurants it happened all of the time. I am wondering whether rules in WDW are perhaps different to those outside of it :unsure:

    I know I would adjust my tip accordingly usually to reflect my opinion of the service, but that doesn't seem to be the expected norm in WDW from what I have read in various places. So I was wondering what was fact and what was fiction I suppose!
     
  7. uscwest
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    uscwest Senior Cast Member

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    Deb, if you have a party of six or more you are going to get hit with the 18% even at buffets unfortunately. However, since it is a buffet, the server does do a lot less so feel free to tip less, though certainly more than $1.00/person. The type of service you received is uncalled for, though I understand it is possible they may have been short staffed that particular day. I would most definitely have sought out a manager in that instance, if for no other reason to complain of the food items not being kept stocked and/or hot.
     
  8. josh.p.
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    josh.p. Addicted to Mickey

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    In WDW I still adjust the tip to the service I received. In tepan edo, on the receipt (I paid by card) I actually wrote 'Not Applicable' on the slip because I was annoyed at the way my complaint was handled (There's a thread on it somewhere.) I know the etiquette is an 18% tip (and with my CM discount of 20% they force you to put 18% gratuity anyway!) however there were times that I received awful service, likewise when I received fantastic service, or I could tell they were understaffed an the shortcomings weren't the fault of the server, I would tip 20-25%.

    I knew a lot of servers and their wages aren't as low a you'd think. They get fantastic tips and would earn in a week the same wage an attractions host or seater & greeter would earn in a month! It irritated me a bit as I knew the effort I put in every day to give great service, only to find that other cast members (servers) were giving awful service and being tipped for it out of custom!
     
  9. keith
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    keith Camera nut Staff Member Administrator Forum Host

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    Oh Deb, subject very close to my wallet, I mean heart :lol:

    I believe there's a huge vested interest in high tips from the service industry generally. By that I mean that the servers AND the places they work for. The servers treat it as a great source of revenue and many do extremely well from tipping, the places they work for treat it as a way to pay the servers less money than they'd have to.

    So, when we consider suggestions, and cards with amounts on, I take them with a huge pinch of salt :) it's nothing legally binding, it's nothing more than someone with a vested interest asking me for the most amount of extra money that they feel they can get away with.

    By the same token, naturally you'll rarely ever see a buffet server or establishment encouraging you to pay less tips :) but they do less for me as a client so they're not getting the same tip from me. The rubbish about them still running around after many more clients in a day and having a hard time doesnt interest me. Sorry to sound hard about it but I tip on my experience, not on how many customers they get through in a day. So I WILL tip considerably less for a buffet.

    There are definite cultural differences here :) and I think the main one is about what to do if the service is truly lacking. Over in the UK if the service isnt great and we kinda moan to each other about it :lol: but the food is ok, I'd probably live with it and zero tip and not go back. Then the seriousness escalates doesn't it... if the food is rubbish I'm going to complain as well but if it gets sorted out by a good server, they can salvage their tip potentially but it wont be as high because I'm tipping on the overall experience I've received.

    In the states, they seem to be ok with tipping something even if everything sucked which kinda does astound me since in general they're so much better at complaining than UK folks are. It's as if they say ok well it was awful so they get the least we tip which is 10% versus me in the UK "it sucked so I'm not giving anyone ANY extra thankyous on this one!"

    So :) do you want to fit in with the cultural norms of the place you're going to? or go with your feelings on service from your home country?

    End of the day, after dining with many wonderful Americans over the years in many states, I've seen all sorts of tipping behaviour and believe me, the only people tipping 20%, and then obsessing afterwards for days if they left enough, for useless service are us, the tourists :lol:

    Right, so, a suggestion if I may ;-). Ignore the cards and all that jazz, come up with a personal tipping guide you can live with.

    I feel a US etiquette friendly table service range might be :
    Useless service: 10%
    unremarkable but adequate: 15%
    Good service: 20%
    Great service: 25%

    At a buffet I'll probably just throw 10% at it unless they're truly rubbish and I never get a drink etc in which case I'll just throw a couple of dollars on the table and forget it.

    In terms of complaining well I'm on holiday and there's nothing making me complain if I dont want to but we UKers need to remember that whereas in the UK complaints are taken very personally and usually badly, which has put us all off doing it :nono: in the US service industry, a well meaning, well delivered, non-ranting complaint is usually well received and acted upon appropriately. So if you feel up to it, it's worth giving them a chance to put it right but you shouldn't feel pressured into it. Complaints should be made whilst the problem is happening though and not at the end because really, there's no chance for the establishment to fix anything and it feels like all you're doing then is wanting money off which is a little tacky IMHO.

    That generally works for me, I dont really need to put much thought into it and don't get all stressed about it.

    The only thing I've yet to reconcile in my mind is the US feeling that you're tipping the service purely on the service not on the food. In the UK, rightly or wrongly, I tip on the entire experience. My feeling is that if the server brings me rubbish food then I'll tell them and I expect them to stick up for me and get me something that tastes nice. So if the food/drink/experience is rubbish, the tip will suffer. I've been told repeatedly that in the US, I'm supposed to tip purely on the service component and well, I just can't quite live with that yet :lol:

    oh and finally.... let's never forget that a tip/gratuity is "A favor or gift, usually in the form of money, given in return for service." so it's optional and if the service isn't there, why on earth would we gift? Arguments about servers losing money if they serve someone who doesnt tip enough should be put aside, tipping or not, is SUPPOSED to send a message and if the message hurts because they lose money on it when they've done a bad job? that's just fine with me since I'm probably out a couple of hundred bucks on a bad meal too!
     
  10. Deb
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    Ah, you see Keith, you are a man after my own heart! I agree with you on just about everything there. See, we loved the DxDP last year, so much so that we are doing it again next time, but when we looked at the huge amount of money spent on tips it really was not for the fainthearted! That's really why I am asking for clarification - up to now it didn't really make too much difference.

    I have almost had the impression up to now that it is The Law (not quite, but in all but name :tongue: ) to stick to the 18 - 20% rule in WDW or you may well be accosted and asked to explain your actions :unsure: I wonder where I got that idea from over the years? I think maybe reading some stuff on other forums? Like Josh, and others here, I am of the persuasion where I leave a mega tip for service that is out of the ordinary, but can leave zero if the service has been impossibly atrocious. Of course normally it's somewhere in-between, I just don't like feeling I have to compulsorily add 18% onto the price as if it is a tax.

    The buffets - it is good to know that we don't have to leave the 18% if we don't like, even for good service. Somewhere like Chef Mickey's is so expensive anyway, and when all is said and done all a good server is doing is bringing me my drinks and taking away dirty plates, with a smile on their face.

    Interesting answers :thumbsup:
     
  11. keith
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    I've said it to friends in the past 18-20 because they've asked things like "what should we leave to not have to worry about it". The superficial yet accurate answer is to tell them 18-20 because I know that no-one is going to follow them out and yell at them :lol: but for those of us who go quite often, it's not really good enough to feel like we're being virtually mugged every time we dine! So I think we need a more detailed sense of what is the right thing to do.

    Absolutely! thats what bugs me hugely with certain town car companies ;-), restaurants who add on the %, and servers who add it without asking or even tell me how much it WOULD be and circle it a few times on the receipt. All very insulting IMHO.

    I would and have left 0 as a tip in the states but I do it less often than I do in the UK because I think in the UK, really top end restaurants aside, ANY tip is seen as very optional. In the US I think 10% is probably saying "you were really useless" and 0% is a slap in the face and saying actually you were rude, obnoxious and a waste of air :lol:

    So, I'm fine with 0, I believe it's a useful tool in the tipping kitbag, but its meaning is more severe stateside.

    you definitely don't need to leave 18% :yes: we don't and have never had a problem. Frankly 10% is when they've been attentive with drinks :) the rest of the time it's a few dollars I happen to have left on the table.
     
  12. Dawn
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    Dawn carpe diem-ing Forum Host

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    Possibly from me.

    At the Garden Grill we were a party of 8 and were told eleventy billion times that an 18% gratuity would automatically be added so we just assumed our server had added it and paid what the big number was on the bottom of the bill. A few minutes after he'd chased us out of the restaurant and practically thrown our change at us we realised he hadn't added the tip on. :unsure:

    Anyway I tip 18-20 for table service and probably 10-15 on buffet depending on how much the server has done for us. If there is a problem now I would go to the podium and ask for a manager there to come to our table. :shrug:
     
  13. Johnie
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    Johnie Budget Queen Forum Host

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    If your server goes missing or completely ignores you, it is perfectly OK to tell anyone who is working there to please send a manager over. If you cannot find anyone to do that with, then I would go to the host stand and tell them to get a manager.

    WDW likes to make you think that you HAVE to tip. However, you do NOT have to tip if your service is dreadful. I WOULD make sure you speak with a manager first and foremost to let them know this is what you are doing and what happened.

    I used to think that buffet servers deserved less since they did less but after watching them in action, I think they might actually do more work than the regular server.

    Deb, I know it can be very difficult to complain about someone but you are paying for a service. The server is supposed to be working and taking care of you along with everyone else they are serving. If someone is unable to do that, it is not your fault. They could have too many tables assigned to them or a particularly difficult group, etc.
     
  14. DisneyFreak
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    :bravo:

    Well said Johnie!! I believe some servers are under the impression that they are entitled to their tips instead of having to EARN their tips.

    I, however, do generally tip less at buffets. Based on the service I receive, I will give 10-15% compared to my usual 15-20%.

    Also, don't feel obligated to automatically give the 18% tip Disney adds to the checks of parties of six or larger. You can talk to a manager to have it reduced if you feel the server didn't perform up to standards.
     
  15. chief
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    chief Earning my ears

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    some very interesting views. i have enjoyed reading them. a lot of my friends have been discussing tipping as there are quite a few of us going ,at different times, next year.
    i definately will have to increase my tips next year:thumbsdown: lol
    i went to jimmy spices with dh and 2 ds in the school holidays and the bill included their tip, i was furious, they only brought us 1 round of drinks and cleared plates away, that i stacked all nice! dh just told me to leave it cos he was paying but i wanted to say 'remove this from my bill and i will tipp what i want to / can afford.
    this is what i dont agree with 'being told what you should tip' i think whatever servers get as atip they should just e thankful, times are hard lol:happybounce:
     
  16. Johnie
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    Johnie Budget Queen Forum Host

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    I agree that times are hard. It is very hard on servers too. Many restaurants here are offering really good meal deals to get people in the restaurants. The server is probably get a lesser tip from most people due to that. Yet they are working as hard as before.

    My daughter works as a hair stylist. She gets tips. I have learned A LOT since she started.
     
  17. gwennie81
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    gwennie81 Earning my ears

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    I had an aggrivating experience at AS Sports last month. I complained. Nothing happened.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
  18. keith
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    That's the annoying thing for sure :/ Frankly I don't want to have to complain but if I take the time to do it, I want something more than the usual Disney "I'm sorry you FEEL that way".

    We had a really disturbing experience at the liberty tree tavern. A server staggered over to our table and grabbed onto it like she was going to fall over at any moment and managed to spit out the word "drinks?". I asked if she was ok, she nodded and staggered off.

    The table next to us said we're really worried, the kids are scared and we don't know if she's in some way disabled or ill or hung over or what. Perhaps in the cold light of day it seems like we should have been able to tell which, but I agreed with them, she was extremely unsteady, very untidy looking and very undisney.

    She managed to get our drinks on the table but when she staggered to the next table, she dropped the tray of drinks all over everyone. Anyway, by now everyone's getting kinda concerned and there was a discussion between all the tables as to how we shouldnt order any hot drinks.

    A few of us went to see the manager without making a fuss because again it did look like she may have had a disability but all we knew was she wasn't safe to be serving.

    The manager said what? who? oh yeah she shouldnt have come in today really should she, laughed and said we'll sort you out some new drinks. We said no look it's really not about the drinks, we're all holding our breath whenever she walks up the steps and across the room in case she falls. To which the manager said I've already said she's just a little tired.

    We went back to the tables feeling stupid for having bothered to complain. A few minutes later the server tried to walk upstairs with a tray full of food and drink and fell on the stairs and just lay there. Kids were screaming, everyone was trying to help her up but she just wasn't having any of it and just lay there.

    After that we just paid up and went to leave. I saw the manager on the way out and asked pretty pointedly was the server ok and she snapped "Ive already told you she's fine" and walked off muttering to herself.

    I took the time out to relate the episode to Disney guest services but didn't hear anything back and I think they thought I was a bit mad and making it up :(

    Same thing happened when we were on a Disney bus to Downtown Disney when the driver kept falling asleep!!! we kept seeing his head droop to the left and the bus would start veering across the road. A few of us had to take turns sitting right by him and waking him up! Again complaining did nothing other than earn us "dont be stupid that didnt happen" looks and no response.

    So yeah, I agree, Disney need to get better at handling complaints
     
  19. DisneyFreak
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    Well those are both quite disturbing episodes Keith!! WOW! On both cases I think I would have gone over the heads of the manager and guest services since in both cases guests were at risk. If Disney still wouldn't have done anything I might have gone to the press (since there were multiple witnesses).....that might have got their attention.

    Seems like Disney's cut backs are really starting to effect Cast Members.....less of them and too many hours for those still there.

    :thumbsdown:
     
  20. chief
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    chief Earning my ears

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    :thumbsdown:that is not good at all keith, i wouldnt have liked that at all:nono: do they have health and safety over there:unsure:
     

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