Saturday 21 January 2017

Supporting 'counter intelligence' and other good tips for the New Year you can dine out on

John Daly

Published 26/12/2015 | 02:30

Having worked my share of J1 summer jobs from the Cape to the Shore, I can attest to the truth of chef Anthony Bourdain’s dictum: 'If anything is good for pounding humility into you, it’s the restaurant business.' Getty Images/iStockphoto
Having worked my share of J1 summer jobs from the Cape to the Shore, I can attest to the truth of chef Anthony Bourdain’s dictum: 'If anything is good for pounding humility into you, it’s the restaurant business.' Getty Images/iStockphoto

Were you a little more generous in adding up the restaurant bill over the last few weeks? Sitting amid the cheery chaos of this 'season of the steak', as a café-owner friend calls it, it's likely most of us will be spurred to increase the tip for harried waiting staff serving those holiday multitudes high on a lot more than Yuletide cheer.

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Woe betide any party animal who departed a dining room leaving anything less than a blue note on the saucer this week. Yet, it's only recently that Irish people have become more gratuity conscious, perhaps as a result of a million J1 students down the years who financed their education in restaurants everywhere from Martha's Vineyard to San Diego. Having since graduated to decent wages at Facebook and Apple, these big-buck boomers are now spreading the same wealth they earned on that first Big Apple summer job a decade ago. After all, who can resist such tip jar reminders found near most cash registers nowadays: 'Alms for the pour' was one recent zinger, as was 'We knead the dough' at a local pizzeria. Some of them are almost poetic: 'Hello, is it me you're tipping for?', with a Lionel Richie picture above. Or how about this up-to-the-moment classic: 'Evil Sith Lord killed my father - need money for new lightsaber.' Gas.

"Customers do tend to be more generous at this time of the year," says Neil Boland, restaurant manager at Roly's in Ballsbridge. "If the service is good, which it should be, Irish people are very good tippers throughout the year and will generally add 10pc or more to the bill. At this time, when people are getting ready to celebrate the New Year and being home from overseas, they are definitely more generous. There is a good vibe out there this year, and we are busier in Roly's than previous years."

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