...and just to stir things up a bit..... Let me say this first, I am of mixed racial background. I am brown in skin tone but most people assume I am of some Hispanic origin. I am not; my background is Black, Italian and Lebanese. (Not too PC these days…LOL) Last year in Restaurants and Institutions mag (August 1st 2003, Patricia Dailey) I read an editorial that talked about the issues of Dining while Black. (That is the title) It talked about the much debated practice of black diners consistently tipping less then persons of other ethnic backgrounds. Now as a long time person in this industry I have noticed it myself personally. The article brought up the question of…Do blacks tip less because they expect less, just haven’t been told or shown different; receive lesser service because of their race or the stereotype of tipping less it carries in the F&B industry? This is what I have done for years. As a black person I have understood intimately the issue of being black and dining out. When I have had the opportunity to serve blacks I have personally gone out of my way to treat them like a VIP going way above and beyond to ensure excellence in service. On rare and I mean rare occasion I have received 20%. More often then not, no matter the level of service I have received closer to the 10-12% tip. I spoke to my fellow servers in the same town and whenever I have had the opportunity to travel I have pulled a black server aside (out of comfort) and asked, do black guests tip the same, better or worse then everyone else? Without exception they have said less, overall. This is from family style, to casual dining to fine dining, although I must confess more often then not in less then fine dining establishments. Fine dining I think is more consistently 18-20% at least where I currently work. I have had conversations with my black friends in the F&B and hotel industry. We have pondered, that when we go to a place we have never been before, they do not know that as members of this industry the server will generally receive not just a good tip but a great one, like 20-25% if not more. They only see our black skins, and how does that affect our level of service? It’s a bit of which came first? The less then service or the less then tip. Personally what I do is let it happen however it is going to happen without making a fuss. If my service is less then ( and I mead blatantly less then) I expect to receive then I will leave about 10% for the server and speak to the mgr before I leave explaining what transpired and how the server worked them selves out of a great tip, and that I am in the industry...blah blah. It is the only way I can see to handle it. So my questions are these: 1) Do you see a difference in your restaurants between the ethnic backgrounds in tipping? 2) Is there anything you think we as an industry can do to educate the black population? My own mother and some of my friends were guilty of this practice until I found out and freaked on them. They now call me from most restaurants and relay a blow by blow, (she forgot my lemons or didn’t bring this when I asked…LOL… I am not even kidding here) how much should I tip? I properly guide them taking in as much of the situation as I can and propsed when in doubt leave 15-20%. I think that having these conversations with our families, friends and co worker educates the population one by one. What do you think? sorry its so long guys!