Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Teddy Cheapskate

All is not well in Four Star-land:

The city's top restaurants, as you might expect during the holidays, are jammed. But when it comes to tips, you hear more and more gripes from captains and waiters at a number of the leading eateries, among them the Four Seasons, Nobu, San Domenico, Smith & Wollensky, and the Palm. Almost everyone, including the well-heeled, is said to be cutting back somewhat, and spendthrifts are rapidly becoming a shrinking breed.

All told, the size of restaurant tips is estimated at some restaurants to be down about 7% to 15% from a year ago.

....more than a few bucks if you're a captain serving Donald Trump. That condemnation on the Donald's frugality comes from Romeo De Gobbi, general manager and chief captain at San Domenico, one of the city's leading Northern Italian delights, located on Central Park South, and for 16 years a captain at La Cirque.

Describing the Donald as "one of the cheapest tippers" he can recall among the powerful people he served at La Cirque, Mr. De Gobbi said "I can count on my fingers the times he gave me something extra."

Speaking of tips, Mr. De Gobbi, who has dealt in his career with many of the world's rich and famous, notes that the Donald isn't alone in his frugality. "Some extremely powerful people won't give you a penny," he said. The worst, he noted, are politicians, such as Senator Kennedy, and Europeans with titles.

....One veteran waiter at the Palm, one of the city's top steak houses, figures his tips this year - despite improvement in the stock market and the economy - will be roughly $5,000 to $7,000 less this year than they were a year ago. The business is still there, but not, he said, the tips, which he figures are off maybe 7% to 15% from last year. "Everyone seems to be cutting back," especially, he notes, diners in the fields of publishing, advertising, and television, such as CNN.

Whose taxes have been significantly lowered in the last four years, thanks to blue state voters. Share the wealth!

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