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Big Jones--"Contemporary coastal Southern cuisine"

Big Jones--"Contemporary coastal Southern cuisine"
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  • Post #331 - November 2nd, 2021, 11:20 am
    Post #331 - November 2nd, 2021, 11:20 am Post #331 - November 2nd, 2021, 11:20 am
    Tambreet wrote:Here is what Big Jones said in their email newsletter last month about their service charge. Like others said, they are trying to go with a more European model, where servers don't need tips to survive, but where smaller tips are welcomed but not expected.

    We decided to introduce a 20% service charge - the standard modern tip rate - and apply that to wages and benefits. Everyone at Big Jones makes at least $16 per hour ($17 and up in the kitchen) and has access to health care, dental, and vision with a 60% co-pay by Big Jones, and everyone receives free accident and hospitalization insurance at our expense. With paid vacation, time off, and sick leave, everyone receives up to two weeks paid time off every year.

    What about tipping? Most guests still choose to leave a tip - in fact, we added the tip line back to the sales slip at customer request. Any additional gratuity you choose to leave is definitely appreciated, but keep in mind that our dining room staff all make at least $16 per hour before tips. If you're happy with the service, 10% would be generous, 5% appreciated, and leaving no tip is not inappropriate. They don't depend on tips to make a living, but if you like their service, you are welcome to leave a little extra for them, it definitely is still an incentive for them to provide excellent service.

    It does sound like the server gave him inaccurate information. According to him, she "explained that this was COVID related. The 20 percent was to cover the various plague-related challenges, and the blank tip space—which I had already drawn a line through—was for her." That he prefaced it by being a dick and writing "At that moment the waitress swept in with well-practiced timing and explained that" eliminates any sympathy I might have for him. However, the server was actually getting a portion of the service fee indirectly - the restaurant claims it's setting an hourly pay rate taking into account service fees.

    Service fees started replacing tipping well before covid - it frees the restaurant from a lot of legal risks under federal, state and municipal wage laws.
  • Post #332 - November 2nd, 2021, 11:50 am
    Post #332 - November 2nd, 2021, 11:50 am Post #332 - November 2nd, 2021, 11:50 am
    jellob1976 wrote:
    gnarchief wrote:He made sure to throw in some casual misogyny to put you in the right headspace for his douche-y take on the service charge. You don't want to pay it? Don't eat there and move on with your life. He'd have no doubt complained if all menu prices went up 20% as well.


    Where was the casual misogyny? I re-read the article and didn't see anything, although I may have missed it.

    As for whether this is douchey or not, I have mixed feelings. I think there's douchey-ness on both ends.

    I understand surcharges now, be it for Covid, supply chain issues, or just the cost of food increasing.

    That said, restaurants absolutely should make this clear before the bill comes. If the menu says an item is $10, then it should be $10, not $12. If the restaurant doesn't want to fold this cost into the menu prices, then there should be a disclosure on the menu.

    And what's really douchey on the restaurant's part: forcing the wait staff to explain the upcharge after the meal. I can certainly see situations where the wait staff is getting shorted/stiffed because a customer is pissed off at the policy. That's not fair to them.

    On the other hand, if I were Steinberg, I'm not sure I would have named the restaurant. Shit's so tough for restaurants right now. So while I do think it's fair for journalists to criticize these types of practices, I do think they should refrain from "naming names", or at least give the restaurant an opportunity to respond before publishing the criticism.


    This guy was clearly upset that he paid an extra 15 in tip, and so he was clearly gonna let his blog audience know about the place that did this to him...

    And while i agree that more transparency would be better, I feel as if the people most likely to argue with the mandatory service charge are the exact reason why this is in effect in the first place.
  • Post #333 - November 2nd, 2021, 3:48 pm
    Post #333 - November 2nd, 2021, 3:48 pm Post #333 - November 2nd, 2021, 3:48 pm
    If the 20% is labelled a gratuity on the check, that does seem misleading and/or confusing. Has anyone seen the actual check?
  • Post #334 - November 2nd, 2021, 4:34 pm
    Post #334 - November 2nd, 2021, 4:34 pm Post #334 - November 2nd, 2021, 4:34 pm
    Hi,

    This situation has a parallel to a story I heard recently from a friend.

    She organized a very nice dinner to show her appreciation to her employees. She negotiated a 20% tip built into the cost. When the meal concluded, the bill had a line for a tip. The waiter pointed to the blank line advising that was his tip. She explained the tip was already built into the cost and declined to add more. From that point on the waiters were pouty and rude.

    When I do large dinners of this type, I have tip built into the final agreed total to avoid any misunderstanding or a surprise digging into my pockets.

    In her situation, I wondered if the management did not explain their tip was already considered for the waiters or the waiters were they trying to get more.

    The similarities are uncanny.

    Regards,
    CAthy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #335 - November 2nd, 2021, 4:52 pm
    Post #335 - November 2nd, 2021, 4:52 pm Post #335 - November 2nd, 2021, 4:52 pm
    I ate at Big Jones recently and all of this is made very clear to the diner.

    The menu clearly says "A 20% service charge is added to each check in lieu of tip". You see the menu for yourself on their website. They don't have paper menus; you scan a QR code and it pulls the menu. See https://bigjoneschicago.com/dine/

    The receipt also very clearly shows the 20% service charge. And, yes, you have the opportunity to leave an extra tip.

    This isn't rocket science. I assume he misunderstood or miscommunicated with the server and decided to escalate this to his blog.
  • Post #336 - November 2nd, 2021, 7:05 pm
    Post #336 - November 2nd, 2021, 7:05 pm Post #336 - November 2nd, 2021, 7:05 pm
    Darren72 wrote:I ate at Big Jones recently and all of this is made very clear to the diner.

    This isn't rocket science. I assume he misunderstood or miscommunicated with the server and decided to escalate this to his blog.

    I agree. Plus, he professes to be a seasoned restaurant goer and yet he's surprised by these types of charges 20 months into coronatime? Does he live under a rock?

    In any case, I have no doubt the charges are not kept secret at Big Jones in any way. :x

    =R=
    Same planet, different world
  • Post #337 - November 2nd, 2021, 9:44 pm
    Post #337 - November 2nd, 2021, 9:44 pm Post #337 - November 2nd, 2021, 9:44 pm
    There are two villains to this tale. First is the server who, if Steinberg accurately communicated her words, lied about the purpose of the 20% service charge in order to extort a tip. Second is Steinberg, who should have acted like a reporter and checked the veracity of his “source”.
  • Post #338 - November 3rd, 2021, 7:56 am
    Post #338 - November 3rd, 2021, 7:56 am Post #338 - November 3rd, 2021, 7:56 am
    We have ordered Thanksgiving dinner from Big Jones this year to take out to my mom's. I'll be interested to hear her take on it. Mr. X and I are very excited about this menu!

    Punch
    Battery Punch—Cognac, gin, loquat shrub, colombard wine, black tea, citrus, mace

    Beginnings
    Horseradish beer cheese, two-year country ham, quince preserves, fall kimchi, hot chow, fresno pepper jelly

    Buttermilk rolls with Farmhouse Kitchens butter and Bull’s Bay sea salt

    Cauliflower bisque with bread & butter pickle relish and garlic butter croutons

    Salad of frisee and herbs with local apples, celery, almonds, and Capriole Wabash Cannonball

    Entree
    Deep-fried turkey in the Cajun style, with giblet gravy and cranberry sauce***
    onion, apple, and sage stuffing

    Sides
    Mashed sweet potatoes with brown butter, pepitas, and Caudill’s Sorghum

    Skillet-charred Brussels sprouts with sea island benne, lemon, crispy shallots

    Sweets
    Pumpkin pie, whipped Kilgus Farmstead cream

    White chocolate-dipped bourbon balls with a dusting of freshly ground sassafras
    -Mary
  • Post #339 - November 3rd, 2021, 4:44 pm
    Post #339 - November 3rd, 2021, 4:44 pm Post #339 - November 3rd, 2021, 4:44 pm
    I just wish they'd bring back that huge ass chicken feast that they used to serve at lunch.
  • Post #340 - November 3rd, 2021, 6:17 pm
    Post #340 - November 3rd, 2021, 6:17 pm Post #340 - November 3rd, 2021, 6:17 pm
    “I just wish they'd bring back that huge ass chicken feast that they used to serve at lunch.“

    YES!
  • Post #341 - November 26th, 2021, 9:21 am
    Post #341 - November 26th, 2021, 9:21 am Post #341 - November 26th, 2021, 9:21 am
    The GP wrote:We have ordered Thanksgiving dinner from Big Jones this year to take out to my mom's. I'll be interested to hear her take on it. Mr. X and I are very excited about this menu!

    Punch
    Battery Punch—Cognac, gin, loquat shrub, colombard wine, black tea, citrus, mace

    Beginnings
    Horseradish beer cheese, two-year country ham, quince preserves, fall kimchi, hot chow, fresno pepper jelly

    Buttermilk rolls with Farmhouse Kitchens butter and Bull’s Bay sea salt

    Cauliflower bisque with bread & butter pickle relish and garlic butter croutons

    Salad of frisee and herbs with local apples, celery, almonds, and Capriole Wabash Cannonball

    Entree
    Deep-fried turkey in the Cajun style, with giblet gravy and cranberry sauce***
    onion, apple, and sage stuffing

    Sides
    Mashed sweet potatoes with brown butter, pepitas, and Caudill’s Sorghum

    Skillet-charred Brussels sprouts with sea island benne, lemon, crispy shallots

    Sweets
    Pumpkin pie, whipped Kilgus Farmstead cream

    White chocolate-dipped bourbon balls with a dusting of freshly ground sassafras

    The verdict on Thanksgiving dinner from Big Jones was good, but not great. Winners: horseradish beer cheese and accompaniments, the salad, cauliflower bisque (for me & mom, Mr. X was not as impressed), Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and gravy. The turkey was good to great depending on who you asked at our table. (It was dog approved.) I found the punch to be too sweet. I also wasn't a fan of the pumpkin pie. The crust was odd. The bourbon balls are still to be eaten. The rolls or cranberry sauce were left out of our order so no comment on those.

    I'm a fan of Big Jones so was surprised at the misses. I waited almost 30 minutes to pick up our order and was not alone in that wait. The staff was cranking but something was off in their planning to have so many people waiting. This was not an inexpensive meal either, which highlights the low points for me. I still like their food so we'll continue to support them.
    -Mary

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