Monthly Archives: May 2012

Should You Place a Tip Jar in Your Restaurant?

tip-jarTipping is an integral part of American dining culture. Customers have no obligation to leave a tip, but it has become customary to leave 15 to 20 percent of the overall bill for a job well done. Servers in most states rely on tips to earn a living wage, as they receive a sub-minimum wage from their employers. The abundance of tipping is spreading, and a trend has emerged that has resulted in tip jars appearing near cash registers at takeout restaurants, ice cream parlors, sandwich shops, and coffee houses. Before you decide to place a tip jar on the counter of your restaurant, you should take all of the positive and negative effects into consideration.

How do customers feel about tip jars?

The mere presence of a tip jar is enough to make certain people feel uncomfortable, and many other customers are completely against the idea of tipping someone for doing a job that they are already paid to do. For other customers, tip jars are acceptable unless they are accompanied by an annoying or offensive message.

Some customers are very receptive to the idea of tip jars and will leave a tip almost every time. These are likely the same patrons that will tip your employees even if no tip jar is available. The addition of a tip jar will not alter the spending habits of these customers.

The majority of customers are indifferent to tip jars, and will only tip if the service they receive is exceptional. Simply placing a tip jar on the counter of your restaurant will likely NOT affect the amount of business you receive, but it can certainly alter the customer experience in a negative way if it is not implemented respectfully. Asking or begging for tips can make customers feel uncomfortable, and it may affect their decision to return to your restaurant in the future.

When asked to comment, several Instawares customers weighed in on the subject of tip jars. On the issue of potentially offensive messages attached to tip jars, Kellie said, “I do not like it when it says ‘Gas Money’. No one buys my gas for me!” Roy commented, “Yes I leave tips. Those people are working just as hard as waitresses and waiters.” Kathleen helped to support the majority opinion by stating, “As with all tips, the amount depends on the quality and friendliness of service.”

How do employees feel about tip jars?

This is an easy question to answer, right? All employees love tips, and more money is always better than less money. The relationships between employees, however, can be strained by the presence of a tip jar, especially if the tips are divided equally among everyone. Employees that work hard and earn tips by providing exceptional service can actually earn less money once a tip jar is implemented. Customers that normally tip directly to an outstanding employee may feel more inclined to place the tip into the jar. The tip will then be shared among the other employees that may not be as deserving of the bonus. This situation can lead to tension and arguments between employees, which will hurt the overall morale of your staff.

Some establishments have been known to keep all of the money collected from the tip jar without sharing any profits with the employees on duty. This is an incredibly deceptive practice that should be avoided, as it violates the trust of the customer and shows your employees that you do not value their contributions to customer satisfaction. Profit margins may also be negatively affected, as some employees will offer free or discounted goods and services in exchange for a larger tip.

Tips can encourage your employees to provide excellent customer service, but there are many risks involved with introducing a tip jar to your restaurant. Ask your employees if they would prefer a tip jar or not, and try a trial run before making a final decision. Ask customers for feedback during the trial run to help determine if a tip jar is right for your particular establishment.

Wacky and Weird Burgers

wacky-burgers-instawaresOne of the most quintessential American foods, burgers are a Memorial Day favorite and a summertime staple. From char-grilled to pan-fried, there are hundreds of ways to cook a burger and even more ways to top them. Take a look at these five restaurants offering some of the most wacky and weird burgers in America.

Elvis Burger – A salute to the King of Rock n Roll, the Elvis Burger at the Vortex Bar and Grill in Atlanta pays homage to Elvis’ favorite dish: fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Fried bananas, peanut butter, and bacon cover a half-pound patty for a sweet and salty twist on an American classic.

Krispy Kreme Burger – For those that have eaten a burger for breakfast, the Krispy Kreme burger may be a match made in heaven. Combining the flavors of one of America’s most popular breakfast treats with traditional burger fixings, the Krispy Kreme burger includes a beef patty, bacon, and cheese sandwiched between two deep-fried Krispy Kreme donuts. Rumored to have been created by singer Luther Vandross, the Krispy Kreme burger is now a fan favorite at the home of the Gateway Grizzles, Sauget, IL’s minor league baseball team.

Dee Snider Burger – Served by the Grill ‘Em All food truck in Los Angeles, the Dee Snider Burger is coined after the lead singer of Twisted Sister. As inventive as the band’s music, this seemingly unappetizing burger mixes peanut butter and jelly with bacon and Sriracha. Are you brave enough to try one?

Junior Columbian Burger – Dressed with Columbian flair, the Junior Columbian Burger in Orlando pairs a beef patty with lettuce, tomato, cheese, and onions, along with potato chips, garlic sauce, mayo, ketchup, pink sauce, and pineapple sauce. In addition to the standard single size, the burger also comes in double and triple patty versions for the most daring burger aficionados.

Dublin Burger – The Barley House Tavern in Concord, NH adds some Irish flair to a premium Angus beef patty with its Dublin Burger. Topped with whiskey gravy, creamy blue cheese, and crispy onions, the peppercorn charred patty is popular among locals and tourists alike.

What is the weirdest burger you ever ate?

Customer Care Outreach – Time to Ship

As a company who ships from numerous warehouses, Instawares.com realizes that there are a wide range of lead times when it comes to product shipments. Level of sophistication and customization can affect the lead time from warehouse to customer.  Complexity isn’t the only factor influencing ship time; after processing the order, some warehouses take longer to ship items due to organizational policy. Modes of transit can influence the shipping time as well.

Lead Time to Ship

Most of the confusion amongst customers revolves around the lead time for items to ship. Lead time, depending on the context, is either the estimated time of departure for products to leave the warehouse or the estimated time of arrival at the customer’s location. On Instawares.com, the lead time shown is the estimated time of departure for products leaving their respective warehouse. Each warehouse varies on the time it takes for items to ship. This could be due to organizational policy or the time it takes to schedule the transport of the product.

Transit Times

Once orders are processed they’re transferred to shipping for delivery to the customer. Our primary mode of transportation for goods is UPS Ground. UPS offers the customer the option to have orders expedited. If an item is in stock, the customer can have the items shipped next day air to their business for an additional shipping charge. However, depending on the size of the product, quantity in some cases, a customer’s order may not be able to ship via UPS Ground. For most restaurant supplies, UPS Ground will suffice; while some restaurant equipment (large units) will need to be transported via freight. Con-Way Freight is the primary freight service used by Instawares.com. While, freight shipments will take longer to ship, a week compared to 3-5 business days with UPS Ground, a lift gate is always requested as to make it easier for the customer to get their equipment off the truck.

Special Order Items

Stock and Special Order are two classifications of items. Stock items, as indicated by their name, are in warehouse inventory and can usually ship between 24-48 hours. However, special order items may take up to 2-3 weeks for the items to ship. For an item to be labeled “special order” means one of two things: stock of the item is based upon orders received from customers or the item is custom built. Glassware, for example, could be special order, if the warehouse fulfills orders by supplying the adequate amount of the product to accommodate present orders. More complex items, like a pass thru refrigerator with 4 glass doors, would carry a longer lead time to ship, as it would need to be custom built to match the customer’s needs.

As always, I encourage your involvement! Please provide your feedback or experiences, as I would enjoy the opportunity to engage all of our customers for their thoughts. For order inquiries, please contact Instawares.com’s customer service at (800) 892-3622.