Reactions to tipping commentary fast and furious


POSTED: Thursday, November 19, 2009

The opinion piece on tipping by Franco Mancassola (”;Restaurants penalize diners by asking them to leave tips,”; Star-Bulletin, Island Commentary, Nov. 16) generated a flurry of letters, many of them long and passionate. Here are exerpts from a few of them:

Franco Mancassola's commentary was arrogant, judgmental and naive. According to the National Restaurant Association, restaurant owners keep just 4 cents of every dollar spent by the customer.

Food costs are high, as are rent and labor. Servers are usually paid minimum wage and rely on tips to pay the rent. Cooks spend long hours on their feet in a hot kitchen, with sweat literally rolling down their backs.

Mancassola says the server took his order and brought his food and drinks in nine minutes; why should he be expected to tip for just nine minutes of work? As the founder of two airlines, how can he not know that it takes considerable time, planning and effort to provide such exemplary service?

With that sense of entitlement, Mancassola is a good fit for Goldman Sachs. Let's hope he goes there.


Georgette Woo



This is exactly the attitude that is creating the ever-growing financial and social chasm in America.  Specifically in Hawaii: Is this the type of “;aloha”; we want to exude to our island ohana? Let us hope that others are appalled by and do not support his attitude.

Restaurant owners do not all “;roll up to work in luxury cars.”; Maybe you are only frequenting the luxury eateries that have benefited from an exclusive clientele like yourself. Try sampling some of the mom-and-pop establishments that are continuously closing their doors in this economy. Many a local eatery from Kaimuki to Waiawa has humbly at the helm a woman beyond retirement age working 15 hours a day on her feet under conditions a CEO couldn't dream of in his glass office. Are you saying we shouldn't tip her?

When you are blessed enough to dine at the luxury establishments, do you stick around until closing to watch the wait staff tiredly catch one or several buses for the long ride home after you tip “;a big fat zero!”; for them doing their job graciously? Do you realize that they rely on your tips to subsidize their minimal restaurant salaries to keep food on their own tables?

Twenty percent is standard in my book. Why? Because we all have to pull together to help our neighbors. This isn't a big bonus for them, this is their livelihood.

The moral of the story?  If you choose not to or can't afford a decent tip for quality service, you should stay home to cook for and serve yourself.


Shonna Hammon Glenn

President, MICO Mechanical, Honolulu


Wait, did this disgruntled anti-tipper just get a letter published in a state that has the most residents per capita working in the service industry? Is he the guy who put my server in a bad mood my last meal out because he stiffed them? Let me say I enjoy dining out and often tip 20 to 30 percent, depending on the situation. I reserve 15 percent for average service, and if I get rude service (rarely), I'll leave nothing but explain to a manager my intention.

There are many people just like no-aloha Mancassola. I see and hear them at the tables next to me. I wonder why they even go out. They stress about tipping as soon as they walk in the door, looking for every opportunity to deduct. How can that be enjoyable? If these people insist on a restaurant, they should stick to ones that provide crayons at the table.

It should be known that if one is to leave the customary 15 percent, in most cases the server has many team members to share with, leaving them with less than 10 percent for themselves. Anytime you leave nothing, the server pays 8 percent for you because that's what the IRS assumes they have made at minimum.

Furthermore, in Hawaii it is legal for an establishment to pay servers less than minimum wage because it is assumed that they will make tips. To me a tip is expected. It's American. I understand this before I sit down.


Mark Ida

Salt Lake