Do dim sum waitstaff get paid on commission?
March 23, 2013 7:28 PM   Subscribe

Do the waitstaff at traditional dim sum (yum cha) restaurants get paid a commission on what they sell from their trolley? Or do they need to sell a minimum amount? Why are some quite pushy and others don't seem to mind if you buy from them or not?
posted by dontjumplarry to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
All waitstaff are essentially paid on commission, because the tip is a percentage. The pushy ones are more worried about making money.
posted by amaire at 8:24 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've noticed this too. But in Australia where the waitstaff aren't really getting tips anyway.

I would say that (generally), the ones with the trolleys full of the "usual" dim sum stuff are less pushy, the ones with trays of "special" or more unusual stuff seem to go the whole sales pitch. I'm sure that completing a round of the restaurant without having sold much would be frowned upon, so it makes sense that those with items which are less popular have to be a bit more pushy.

Or maybe some have been instructed to move products that have higher profit margins? Or maybe they're all supposed to sell as much as they can, and some take it more seriously. Or maybe some are more motivated to get stuff off their tray/trolley so it's easier to carry/push around?
posted by pianissimo at 10:45 PM on March 23, 2013

Not sure, exactly, but as someone who has lived in China for several years, I can tell you that service is either pushy or practically it might be a cultural thing.

For example, when I go to Starbucks here, the baristas will often come around to where the glass case is and hover around me, offering suggestions.

In a normal Chinese restaurant, it is difficult to get the waiter to come over at all.

I'm not really sure why this is, exactly (well, I understand why low-paid waitstaff in China who do not get tips act that way; not sure why servers at "higher-end" places are more enthusiastic) but what you described pretty much echoes my experience with service in China,so it may be partially a cultural thing.
posted by bearette at 10:53 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: This is in Australia where tipping is not so widespread. Also, there would be no way of directing a tip to an individual waitress -- you're served by a dozen different people -- so why should they go the extra mile to sell food from their particular trolley?
posted by dontjumplarry at 11:28 PM on March 23, 2013

It's cultural. Even in Hong Kong where staff don't get tips (and may be low paid), they are still pushy.
posted by xtine at 1:05 AM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Just because you don't get tipped or receive commission, doesn't mean you don't have sales targets you have to meet.
posted by MattD at 6:02 AM on March 24, 2013

« Older As-Salatu Khayrun-minan Nawm.   |   Seeking a simple, cheap, quiet place to stay near... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.