From Prague to Michigan

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Dannae, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. Dannae

    Dannae Well-Known Member

    Dzurisova, you do not make sense here - this is not a money issue; this is an issue of culture = because we have to be a civilized people, not just beasts eating from paper plates.
    Plus those paper plates and plastic jars cost money too - I believe having regular, ceramic jars and washing them is much cheaper here (if you are not lazy, of course).
  2. Dannae

    Dannae Well-Known Member

    Oh and just btw: I will gladly loose a few cents on an old grandpa who came out to drink his coffee and eat his cake. I know he cannot spend much. But he CAN recommend my place to his offspring (saying my restaurant was great, exceptional). So next time my place could be packed with his grandchildren and their friends - business lives on reference too (not only cost saving issues at the very moment).

    P.S. a tablecloth in CR is usually changed 1-2 times a week. The one underneath (usually colored). The one which is on top (mostly white) 1-2 times a day, depends. I guess Czechs are not that lazy or spoil :wink: ... I do not think this is a cost issue. In this case if Sb argues a cost issue - he is hiding his/her own laziness or luck of culture awareness; that is all.

    If I pay $100 for a dinner for 4, I expect an excellent service - I work hard for this kind of money. $100-$120 is the max I am willing to spend for a dinner (in CR I can get the same for about $40); if the service is not as I expected, I WILL complain and I will get what I want. I might sound like a bitch but I am not ... you will know me better as the time goes by :wink:
  3. stepan

    stepan Well-Known Member

    Yes, most certainly, the more you pay, the better the service SHOULD be.

    I do not need all the fancy things such as linen tablecloths, linen napkins, etc when I go out to eat UNLESS the going-out is for an extra special occasion, then I know I will go to a better restaurant and I will pay more AND I will expect BETTER service and the amentities that go with it.

    This past summer, my wife and I went to the restaurant at the Kennedy Center for our anniversary. The meal, with food, drinks and tip came to $200 for 2 of us. The restaurant was nice, the food was good, the served was presented well and the service was very good. Was it worth $200 - NO WAY. However, we paid for the ambiance, the tablecloths and the service. Although the food was good, the protions were small. Would I go back - NO. Would I recommend it - maybe - with a warning about the price. We did it because we were going to a show at the Kennedy Center and it was convenient. However, in the future, I will pick a restaurant that is more conservative in price. At least we can say we ate in the Terrace Restaurant at the Kennedy Center. What surprised me most was the place was full and I had difficulty getting a reservation.
  4. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    Whoa woman, didn't mean to hit a nerve :)

    What I think is that you are SO accustomed to your way of doing things that you think it's ridiculous that we don't do things just like you. I would rather eat on a table without a cloth that is washed with disinfectant after each customer than eat on a cloth that is changed once or twice a day with the one underneath only changed once or twice a week.

    Sorry we are different, but that is all it is - different. There’s no need to think one is better than the other.

    Perhaps I'm wrong but I get the impression you are really homesick and frustrated that you are stuck here so you wish things here could be more like home. :(

    If I ever meet you, I promise to put down a table cloth. :wink: :)
  5. Dannae

    Dannae Well-Known Member

    Stepan, thanks.

    I am more and more convinced that opening a Czech - American restaurant maintaining an European standard, my cooking and baking skills (everybody loves here) etc. would not be a such a bad idea.

    The only problem is I do not know where to start ...

    P.S. my parents (who passed away already) would love this idea :)
  6. Dannae

    Dannae Well-Known Member

  7. Dannae

    Dannae Well-Known Member

    Hey, come on ... yes, I might be homesick a bit; but my original purpose was to pinpoint differences. Please, I am not complaining, I am just comparing.

    Next week I am going to Chicago - make sure you washed and ironed your tablecloth :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: .
  8. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    I don't even own a tablecloth! :shock: I use beautiful forest green linen placemats with linen napkins and beaded-grapes napkin rings. However, I do have beautiful ružove porcilan from CR in which I can serve you tea. Perhaps if I put enough rum in the tea, you will forget about the tablecloth! :wink:
  9. gementricxs

    gementricxs Well-Known Member

    Interesting, in Czech rep. everyone has tablecloth on their dining table.
  10. wissy

    wissy Well-Known Member

    I've read the postings in this thread with interest and have come to the conclusion that ........Wouldn't it be boring if (culturally)we were all the same. As the French say vive la difference! :wink:
  11. Dannae

    Dannae Well-Known Member


    It is just interesting to know them.
  12. gementricxs

    gementricxs Well-Known Member

    Another interesting fact is how people pay and give tips.
    In Czech Republic if you want to give a tip to the waiter, you wait for the waiter to count how much you're supposed to pay and then you tell them how much you are going to pay.
    And americans, at least the ones I was in restaurants with, just pay what the waiter tells them and then leave the tip on the table and just leave.
    So weird.
  13. Dannae

    Dannae Well-Known Member

    Yes, there goes another difference. As a matter of fact you should tip on tje percentage spent on food. In Michigan it is 15-20%. So you spent e.g. $100, you should leave $15-20 on the table.
    Restaurants count on the tip so the regular pay for the waitresses is very low.
  14. gementricxs

    gementricxs Well-Known Member

    Whereas in Czech restaurant the waitress is lucky if you give her 10 korunas just to round up the price.
  15. stepan

    stepan Well-Known Member

    I have mixed feeling on tips - I guess they are a necessary evil.

    I believe everyone should be paid a living wage. However, in the US, restaurants are able to pay their wait staff BELOW the hourly rate that is the minimum standard. The government then says that the difference between the low paid hourly rate and the minimum government set hourly rate is the tips the wait staff receives and they have to declare the tips they receive when they do their taxes.

    However, if the wait staff does not receive the difference in tips, then they are not receiving the minimum hourly rate. In addition, if they work in a restaurant where there are excellent tippers, they could make a lot more and not declare it. It is a lose-lose situation as far as I ma concerned. Low tips, lose for the wait staff. High tips - lose for the government - unless the person is VERY hones.

    Now I never had to work in the restaurant industry, so I do not speak from experience, but the above is based on what I have heard, read and spoken to wait staff people about.
  16. SMZ

    SMZ Well-Known Member

    What an interesting thread! From holding a fork to tablecloths to tipping!

    I think US people may be more obsessed with germs, because if I'm seated at a table (in a restaurant) with a tablecloth that wasn't changed I can't help but think, "Who sat here before me?" and "What IS that stain over there?" and "Did someone cough into their hands and then lay them on the table earlier???" Ugh.

    The difference in serving coffee in cups (with saucers) versus in mugs (no saucers) is an interesting difference, too. When I was a child, most people used cups and saucers for coffee at home; now hardly anyone does, it's always mugs. Some people don't even own "regular" cups, they just have mugs for hot drinks.

    But, I'll admit that I don't find either the US way or the CZ way of tipping to be satisfactory. I know I tipped more than is usual in Prague because I simply couldn't bring myself to only round up the total if I thought it didn't give the waiter/waitress enough. Plus, having worked as a waitress, I know what good service is and I'm willing to reward it.

    In any case, I like to see these differences as simply that -- differences. As soon as I start thinking "What's wrong with them?" I realize that I've got blinders on. I mean, really, if everybody acted the same, ate the same foods the same way, talked the same, etc., why bother traveling? Just stay home! :lol:
  17. gementricxs

    gementricxs Well-Known Member

    I think this problem would mainly happen in touristy restaurants.
    It's probably not a problem in an ordinary restaurants with only Americans as customers. Customers know what's waiters wage and they tip the usual 15-18%.

    However in touristic restaurant where you get customers from Britain, Europe and other places where the people are not used to tip or not used to tip that much, it might became problem for the waiters.

    My friend used to be a manager in a Grand Cayon restaurant, you can imagine you get lots and lots of tourists and he knew what amount of tip they can expect from different nationalities. For example he didn't like when Britons came, they would never give more than 10% (Americans would usually give 18%).

    Imagine when Czechs go to those restaurants...
  18. stepan

    stepan Well-Known Member

    What, they take the tip off the table that the previous customer left? :oops:

    I gues tipping is a personal thing and people tip based on service received, although other criteria are suppose to come into play. I have read that when one calculates a tip, one should use the amount BEFORE any tax is applied. I have also read that one should use different criteria if there is are many drinks on the bill. Also if one gets a discount - such as a coupon for money off or a free meal - one should tip based on the total value of the meals BEFORE any discount is applied.
  19. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    I wish that were true. Unfortunately, it depends on the type of restaurant. Expensive/middle of the road restaurants, yes, most Americans will tip 15-18%. But in other restaurants like "buffet style" or "mom & pop" diners (small family owned diner), many Americans will only leave $1 or $2 even though the waiters/waitresses continue to only make $2.35 per hour.
  20. gementricxs

    gementricxs Well-Known Member

    I can imagine that if the money is on the table when they sit down and if they are unfamiliar with the American way of tipping.

    When I was with American in a czech pub for the first time I was puzzled when I saw them do it. It was the first time I saw something like that.
    I though that it's really weird, that some sitting at the next table could just take the money.

    Wow, interesting. The czech way of tipping is just much much more easier, just round the price and that's all.
    You don't have to spend 15 minutes counting on a calculator how big tip should I give. :D

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