Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Coupons are evil!

Dear Red Lobster,
We hate - HATE HATE HATE - coupons.  Can you share with us any verifiable data that shows they bring people who tip into our stores?  They might improve your bottom like, but they give my bottom line a knee to the balls.


Anonymous said...

They always always always tip on the discounted total. NEVER on the total before. I brought you TWO dinners, right? I refilled two iced teas right? THEN tip the freak on 30 bucks instead of the coupon price of 15.

And if you can't don't come back.

[I worked at a place that had BOGO free for prime rib or whole lobsters. I served more water than Noah and never saw those lil' f***s again. I know how you feel.]

Justin said...

Do you really believe that Red Lobster, or Darden, cares one bit about their employees? I'll go ahead and answer that for you: no.

Lobster Boy said...

Justin - read my "About Me" -->

Lobster Boy

Sauce said...

I so agree. Thanks for the $2 tip when you just got a whole effing entree for free. I hope that extra cash affords you an extra ten ramen packets at Wal-Mart so you can not come in and piss me off the next time.

Jen Blacker said...

It sucks people are stupid and continue to do this. I cook at home 99% of the time. We order out once a month and only go out to eat to take the inlaws out for birthdays/mothers/fathers day and the occasional date night out.

I have a toddler. I bring snacks for him and keep him happy/distracted so others aren't annoyed. I also tip well. Why? For one, I don't want to be THAT person. I was never a server but worked customer service for 10 years. Ugh. We tip what the amount before the coupon was (if we had one). We begin the tipping at 20%. 15% tip is for crap service, 20 for normal, more for putting up with us since we have the kid in tow.

It's so rare that we go out and I appreciate how hard it is to do the jobs you do. I completely understand when the place is busy, so are you, and if you have some nasty customers it's not your fault you are slow to get to our table. We are just damn glad to be out to eat.

I also am happy you guys have a kids portion of fish. Normally most places have only chicken fingers/spaghetti/crap like that. Our kid eats what we eat, so any time I can get food cheaper and not have to order off the adult menu for him makes us happy.

Off topic, we're going next weekend for mom in law's birthday during lunchtime. Anything new/tasty to try?

Lobster Boy said...

Jen - thanks for stopping by my corner of Al Gore's invention.

I'd suggest checking out my post I got crabs from a few weeks ago about our current promotion and my opinion of a few of the items. If you are fish eaters try the new prep on the Tilapia with the lobster mashed. The Peach-Bourbon BBQ Shrimp and Scallops (which aren't new) are great. And while I don't like them personally, the Coconut Shrimp are always incredibly popular with people who like that sort of flavor.

Lobster Boy

Anonymous said...

One thing I do with coupons, which actually helps sometimes (but not always) is that I write the original total right above the amount on the credit card slip and I underline it.

I don't know if this would be santioned by Darden, so it might be worthwhile to do some discrete questioning of management.

I'm firmly convinced that there are some people who would normally tip on the pre-coupon total but just forget and automatically calculate the tip on what they see on the slip.

It doesn't work all of the time, but I see 20% on the pre-discount total more often since I started doing it.

Drewcifer said...

Wait, there are Red Lobster coupons out there? And no one told me? Have an ad-click!

Lobster Boy said...

Not that I want any more coupons, but if you go to the RL website and join their club you will be able to get the current one they are offering and they'll email you more from time to time(no, I won't link to them. They can buy a link, but none for free...).

Lobster Boy

Moose said...

Hey, LB, here's a thought for you:

I always tip at least 20%, usually more, unless my waiter is completely incompetent AND uncaring about it. When I'm eating alone I always try to tip that little more because I know the waiter is gonna get less because of less food at the table.

I was reading a discussion about coupon sites like Apparently these are mostly in the buy-on-get-one-free types. Many of them come with "18% gratuity will be added to the bill" on them.

People were saying that when they used those coupons they got poor treatment from the wait staff, even if they'd been there before. Enough people agreed that I started to wonder if there's no some kind of issue with this.

On the one hand, you would think that automatically adding the gratuity would make the wait staff feel better, because they'd know they're getting a tip. On the other, it's only 18%. On the third hand [first foot?] I wonder if they're figuring the 18% after the discount? & on the other foot, maybe there's something to this?

Thoughts, perhaps? I don't think Darden uses such a site but have you heard of this type of thing?

Lobster Boy said...

Moose - I've never used and only visited their site once, so I am a bit ignorant on the specifics.

I suspect the problem is created by the 18% being on the final total, not the pre-discount total. Many servers (not in the most expensive metro areas like SanFran or NYC) would be fairly happy with 18% all night long. If I knew every night I would get 18% on every check, I'd dance a jig.

Darden (thankfully) does not do this. But what they do is they take it like a Thai lady-boy hooker the moment someone whispers the hint of a complaint, and then they issue gift cards. Our tips off of those gift cards generally suck. I've gotten a number of tables the last couple of years where the guest comes in with their comp gift cards and the manager recognizes them as having had a problem last time, so therefore ask me specifically to wait on them (and it isn't just me, there are a good 10 server this happens to in my store I'd guess) to make sure they get a great experience. Most of the time these crabby asshats shaft us because one of my incompetent co-workers gave them piss poor service last time, or because their Extra Well Done steak wasn't quite the hockey puck they wanted.

They see it as a chance to screw Red Lobster, and I as the server am the face of Red Lobster, so all I can do is lube up and take it like a man. There are some negatives to being reliable and competent as a server.

Drewcifer said...

Your Google ads already link to various Red Lobster promotions. When I said, "Have an ad-click" I meant I was going to click the ad and Google will toss 40 or 50 cents your way. Paid for by Darden!