Every year following Lobsterfest, Red Lobster nails it's servers with a crappy promotional with a low price. Every year, this draws in some of our worst customers as far as tips are concerned. During Lobsterfest, almost everyone makes more money on two accounts. First, the total check average is higher, so people tip more accordingly. Second, people just tip better. I suspect it has to do with the type of person who'll spend nearly $30 for a plate of our seafood. Our new promotional "30 Shrimp" started this past Tuesday, and all 3 nights I worked my tips were down a considerable amount from the previous weeks. My sales were down, but so were my average tip percentages. To worsen our pain, Red Lobster in it's infinately inexhaustable supply of crappy management at the corporate level, there is still a coupon out there. So not only do we have cheap meals and cheaper tips, we also have the coupon to draw in those guests many would rather not wait on.
And what is it with having a coupon as a source of pride for some of these people. As you approach the table, they don't even let you get a word out of your mouth before they almost braggingly state their intent to use the coupon they have so neatly place near the edge of the table. So decorative and festive.
I would love to get a grant to work in Social Sciences studying the spending habits of those who use a coupon in a chain restaurant like Red Lobster. My guess is that Red Lobster is a level of restaurant they don't frequent all that often. I'm not criticizing the fiscal responsibility of using the coupon, as I think that is wise stewardship. But seeing as how these tend to be the tables that are not fully aware (or completely ignoring) all social graces related with eating out at a sit down restaurant I think it would be interesting. Another interesting thing to study would be the ratio of men to women using these coupons. My experience tells me that it is the woman 70%ish of the time using the coupon. Business men never bring them in, and all the old ladies who have outlived their husbands (or perhaps were never married) seem to always have these at the ready. Does someone issue these at the Senior Center and not tell us?
Related Tags: Red Lobster, Seafood, Seafood Restaurant, Restaurant, 30 shrimp, Thirty shrimp, Bad Tips, Customer Service, Food Service, Service Industry, Waiter, Waitress, Server, Shrimp, Lobster, Crab, Darden, GMRI, Bad Management, Management, Poor Leadership