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Per Se vs. Eleven Madison Park

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by hopkins_student, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt The Liberator Dubiously Honored

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    Seriously, what is expected? If I go to a place in France with "service compris" they really don't expect any additional money. So kyle is saying that Per Se does. Well, how much?

    Beyond that, I think it's annoying that they require this huge service charge and then expect you to tip beyond that, and I have no idea what the expectation is.

    I generally leave 0-5% in France depending on how good the service was. I'd do the same at a restaurant like Per Se. There are a lot of things that are bothersome about his restaurants, at least to me, and this just goes on that list. It isn't to say I prefer the American style of gratuity, but I think there is something almost cruel about having this policy at TFL, where a lot of people are going for a meal the caliber of which they have not experienced before, because it adds an additional level of discomfort by putting them again outside their normal frame of reference in an area already fraught with anxiety, like a restaurant check multiples of what they have seen in the past. Honestly speaking, this describes a large percentage of the food tourists at TFL. At Per Se it is less problematic to me, but I guess I have to wonder why it is done. Taking people outside their comfort zone by offering new foods, some of them perhaps slightly uncomfortable is great. Doing it with the check is not.
     


  2. Lizard23

    Lizard23 Well-Known Member

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    does the $295 at per se include tax as well as tip?

    Yes. If you were to order nothing else and give them $295 at the end of your meal, you would leave in their good graces.

    Unless something has changed since I last dined at Per Se (about 7 months ago), or I am remembering incorrectly, $295 is the cost of the meal with SERVICE included, but NOT tax. I also just checked the current menu on the website and next to Prixe Fixe $295 it says service included, but makes no mention of tax.
     


  3. gomestar

    gomestar Super Yelper

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    ^^^

    I noticed this as well and assumed it didn't include tax (which would be like $20)
     


  4. nmprisons

    nmprisons Senior member

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    No jest, I have never been there so I don't know.

    The first few times I went to TFL it was before they had this policy (I even went when they still had an a la carte menu). Then after they adopted the policy I just paid the bill and didn't tip. Everyone smiled politely but for all I know they were seething inside.


    They were not seething. You did just fine. The whole gratuity included thing is designed to reduce stress, not create it. Guess it backfired on a large portion of this board.
     


  5. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt The Liberator Dubiously Honored

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    They were not seething. You did just fine. The whole gratuity included thing is designed to reduce stress, not create it. Guess it backfired on a large portion of this board.
    I'm not sure how going outside societal norms with regard to payment is designed to reduced stress. A high percentage of the people eating at TFL are there to tick something off a list, to put a trophy up, or whatever, and aren't as used to eating in other countries as some of us are. It is really hard for me to understand how anybody could conceive of the gratuity included idea as anything other than a stressor for these people, since a lot of this positional consumption of food is so stress inducing already.
     


  6. kwilkinson

    kwilkinson Having a Ball

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    Then what is the point of including service? And what is the expected tip beyond that?

    Seriously, at least when service is not included everyone knows what is expected. When it is, no one does. So either include it and make it clear that's it, as in Europe, or don't included it and let everyone tip as per custom.

    Well most service charges in the US are 18%, although I don't know what Per Se's is. It's not that it's expected or that the people are going to be angry. Working at Trotter's, I never even looked at the receipts until the end of the shift. It's just that yes- these people ARE paid on salary, although the salary is incredibly low, and those extra tips can help a lot. Considering that these days, having 20% be your base starting tip and adjusting it from there depending on the level and quality of service, sometimes it feels weird that people leave only 18% in the restaurants that give the best service in the country.

    I certainly didn't mean that the staff would be angry with you, which I suppose is probably what it sounded like.
    I just assume the above is in jest, but, just in case, Kyle is wrong. Service is included. FOH staff are salaried. You can add more if you want, but it is NOT expected.

    Sorry, but unless you've been a server at a place of that caliber, you don't really understand what you're taking about. No offense intended.
     


  7. Dashaansafin

    Dashaansafin Senior member

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    So anyplace with gratuity included you dont tip correct?
     


  8. gomestar

    gomestar Super Yelper

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    I still have no idea if I'm supposed to pay $295 + wine + tax or not.
     


  9. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    Our thought is to do either Eleven Madison Park or Per Se.
    These two restaurants are very different. Everything about both is structured and choreographed ... but to a much higher level at Per Se.

    If I were going to be with good friends and wanted to really enjoy the others' company as we dined, I'd choose EMP. If I wanted the focus to be targeted more on the food, I'd choose PS.

    BTW, you dine at a restaurant, you do cocaine.
     


  10. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    So anyplace with gratuity included you dont tip correct?
    Not correct.

    If I am unhappy I would leave no more.

    If truly happy I'll add to the service charge as required to bring the total to 25%. However, if the restaurant staff went out of their way to provide some exceptionally personal service, I would consider even more as might be appropriate to the service offered.

    The above are the extremes ... there is certainly middle ground.

    Edit: I just noticed Iammatt's post and this is quite similar to our approach when it comes to tipping in places where the service is compris.

    I generally leave 0-5% in France depending on how good the service was.
     


  11. Lizard23

    Lizard23 Well-Known Member

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    I still have no idea if I'm supposed to pay $295 + wine + tax or not.

    You will pay the $295 for the meal plus drinks plus tax.

    Upon further consideration, there is no way tax can be included because it varies depending on your total bill.

    As far as additional tip goes, every time I have dined at Per Se (3x) I have given an additional $50 (around 5%) although I did not feel I had to do so, but rather I wanted to because of the absurdly great level of service.
     


  12. Lizard23

    Lizard23 Well-Known Member

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    Not correct.

    If I am unhappy I would leave no more.

    If truly happy I'll add to the service charge as required to bring the total to 25%. However, if the restaurant staff went out of their way to provide some exceptionally personal service, I would consider even more as might be appropriate to the service offered.

    The above are the extremes ... there is certainly middle ground.


    There is no service charge listed on the bill at Per Se, it is included in the $295, so this method will not work. If you want to speak in percentage extra tip, it would have to be in the percentage of the overall bill. Unless, of course, you know how Per Se management defines it within the $295.
     


  13. nmprisons

    nmprisons Senior member

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    If I were going to be with good friends and wanted to really enjoy the others' company as we dined, I'd choose EMP.

    I find just the opposite to be true. Never once during my meals at Per Se have I had to think about anything other than the food or my dining companion. They literally take care of everything else. Unless superior food is distracting to you, I just can't see how EMP is the better choice, especially since my meals at Per Se have been uniformly longer than those at EMP so I have had more time with my friends.
     


  14. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    There is no service charge listed on the bill at Per Se, it is included in the $295, so this method will not work. If you want to speak in percentage extra tip, it would have to be in the percentage of the overall bill. Unless, of course, you know how Per Se management defines it within the $295.
    I think it's fair to assume it is 18% to 20%.
     


  15. SField

    SField Senior member

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    A while ago, when I actually considered opening my own restaurant, I was working with a FOH guy that I became friends with at the place where I worked in France. Our idea was to not accept gratuities and to pay staff a salary. This tipping bullshit is something that really, really bothers me.

    Great service should be taken for granted, and not something that should be rewarded with anything other than a return by the customer. Happy customers also tend to spend more anyway, and the included service charge would reflect that.

    I think that in a way, allowing tipping removes responsibility from the owner of the establishment, saying hey, if you don't like the service, don't tip our guy. It's kind of passing off accountability to your servers. My attitude is that impeccable service shouldn't be rewarded with anything but a return customer. There shouldn't be this sinister expectation of a fucking tip. I should note that I am an obscene tipper, and always was, even in some of my leaner times being a student.

    The restaurant should be sold and packaged as one cohesive unit. Not this divide between food and FOH like there is now. Everyone works together and sinks with the ship if there's a fuck up. I think it's a cop out.
     


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