Friday, 22 May 2015

[Straits Times] Tipping is the key to better service

SINGAPORE has a well-deserved reputation for bad customer service ("Service levels here still not up to scratch: Experts"; Wednesday).
For the reason why, look no further than the 10 per cent service charge on every restaurant bill, which we are forced to pay - whether the service is good, bad or indifferent.
A server in an American diner, a French cafe or a British restaurant relies almost entirely on customer tips for his income.
These are discretionary and go directly into the server's pocket.
As a result, servers in the West try very hard to make their customers happy.
Waiters, barmen and other service staff in Singapore know that they will not get tipped (except perhaps by the occasional generous tourist).
It does not matter how much they smile or how attentive they are, their pay packet will not change, so why should they bother?
We should get rid of the pointless service charge. It serves no practical purpose.
Giles Holtby