For all of you who have been living under a rock all these years, Dunkin’ Donuts is one of the major franchises that specializes in desserts (doughnuts and cookies) and breakfasts (breakfast sandwiches and coffee). In my ESL class years ago, we learned that the company name depicts an act of dunking one’s doughnuts into a cup of coffee. I applaud Bill Rosenberg, the original founder, for managing to make a grammatical mistake and misspell both words.
Before I go any further, I must warn you that most of what I will describe next is none other than employee-stealing and should not be taken seriously. In short, do not try this at your workplace! Having said that, let us continue.
The training videos will emphasize “upselling” as a major part of your job, but don’t be fooled! Dunkin’ Donuts is different from any other fast food restaurant because there is a tip cup. When working at Dunkin’ Donuts, your major concern should be how to increase the money in your tip cup without getting fired, that’s it! Forget about being a model employee, nobody gives a rat’s ass. Your efforts, however big or little, do not matter if nobody is watching, so throw your morals and ethics out the window. You are now an underpaid worker in a shit job, so think accordingly.
- Your customers are your enemies because they drain your sanity.
- You rely on your customers because they provide you with tips.
- Your employer is your enemy because he/she keeps you from maximizing your tips by monitoring you and wasting your valuable time with needless work.
- You rely on your employer because he/she provides you with a place from which you can steal.
- Your fellow employees are your prime enemies because they compete with you for tips.
- You rely on your fellow employees because they perform tasks that would otherwise take your time away from maximizing your tips.
I strongly suggest you look for a better job in your spare time. If you have school, it may be a little more difficult, but you should still look for opportunities.
When you start working, you should spend your first week familiarizing yourself with the point of sale system, remembering the prices, memorizing and recognizing combos1. Other employees will bombard you with words of wisdom and needless tips, most of which will contradict each other or the training videos. Remember them! Even if they’re completely moronic and more difficult, you should remember every employee’s tips and act accordingly in their presence. This way, you’ll avoid needless arguments and will not be labeled stupid. You will probably have to remember two or three ways to do everything and which person prefers which way. Also, you will have to do all the dirty work and a lot of it. Don’t complain at this point, first get on the employees’ good sides. Be nice to your customers, you should have no reason to hate them just yet, as they haven’t had the opportunity to inflict any real damage yet. Remember, you are new, use that as an excuse! Most importantly, DO NOT TRY TO STEAL just yet. If you are told that you can’t do something now, it will be very hard to start doing it later on. In a month, you can stop tucking your shirt in, come in a few minutes late, and eat as much as you want, but for now you need to be a model employee.
By the second week, you should start to dislike your job. Although proficient at everything, you will occasionally have to ask for help. Customers will still think you are fucking up no matter how good you are, simply because they think you are new. You’ll experience strong urges to talk back, but be careful to not let loose. Just remember: you have one of the worst jobs out there, so it’s OK to be treated accordingly!
By the third week, you should develop deep hatred for your job. Your legs will grow tired of constantly standing up, and you will want to quit. You will want all your customers to die slow and painful deaths, but don’t tell them that to their faces! Smile, pretend like you care, and collect the tips. Other employees should stop teaching you and you can start getting back to doing things the right way. You will probably be given more responsibilities, so prepare for the worst. Also, you should be familiar with the point of sale system by now, so you may start under-ringing once or twice per day by using the Senior Citizen discount when nobody is looking.
After one month, you should be proficient with everything. You will find that other employees are leaving you alone more frequently, so you can now start to pull more complicated schemes. Just remember to do it when no other customers or employees are around! You can probably start taking home donuts if you notice others doing the same thing. All this stealing should keep your mind occupied and the paranoia should make hours go by quicker and customers less bitchy. By now you should have accepted the fact that this job blows, so your urge to kill customers shouldn’t be so extreme.
To make stealing easier, you need to try to get the customer to leave before you ring the order up. You can do this by memorizing the prices for most common items (a cup of coffee, a donut, a muffin) and saying it before even ringing the order up. If you’re lucky, the customer will give you the money and leave without waiting.
Dunkin’ Donuts pays homage to the elderly by providing them with a 10% discount for all items. Occasionally, there will be people who pay you and leave without waiting for you to ring it up. If you’re relatively new, Senior Citizen discount is the safest way to steal some of that money. Just press the button and put 10% in your tips. I don’t suggest you do this with orders over $5 as it may seem suspicious (old people never buy anything above that at Dunkin’ Donuts). Because of this, it’s difficult to make this scheme very profitable, since you can’t ring up too many senior citizens.
If somebody pays for an item and leaves without waiting for you to ring it up, you can also enter a smaller order and keep the difference. For example, if somebody gets a large coffee ($1.65), you can enter in a cookie ($.65) and keep $1.00. This is significantly less suspicious on paper, but you absolutely have to make sure nobody is watching you. A cookie is the cheapest item that anybody can buy without it looking too suspicious on the order. A pack of butter ($.25) or cream cheese ($.50) are certainly cheaper, but they’re not the things an average person would buy.
This is best done with a line of two or more customers and no other employees around. If a customer pays for an item and doesn’t wait for you to ring it up, you can proceed to take the next customer and simply leave the money on your side of the register. When you are done with the line, simply put the money in your tip cup. Nobody will remember anything and it will not look suspicious on camera.
Should be done very rarely and with large orders (once every few days at max). It’s best to have nobody around when performing this. Once you ring up a customer, and nobody is around, you can fake an over-ring2. Simply make a new order with one less item and keep the difference (works best when there are duplicate items ordered).
I’ve never attempted this feat, so I can’t vouch for its effectiveness. If a customer is in a hurry (to catch a bus or something similar) and hands you a large bill, you can “accidentally” leave out a buck or two. This is rather dangerous, but can be played off with a simple apology. Just don’t be overly dramatic. Take back the money, recount them to “make sure” you gave too little, and then give back the difference. The problem is, you can’t give change too quickly and without any emotion because it will seem as though you planned it, and you can’t take too much time because it will aggravate the customer. Since I don’t have the best people skills, I try to stick with the more systematic tricks.
Tips on Getting Tips
These are legitimate tricks that you must use on every customer! This can be done with other employees present and is completely safe. The fundamental way to get any tips at all is to be nice to the customer and do as he/she says. If somebody asks for a dark coffee with no sugar, don’t put any sugar in!
This won’t outright result in tips, but it will encourage generosity. Keep the customer area clean of coffee spills and crumbs, and keep everything nice and organized.
Learn your combos! Suppose a customer orders a small coffee, a large coffee, a medium hot chocolate, a Boston Kreme donut, and then decides to get a muffin for his kid. When ringing it up, look the order over for any combos that he may have gotten without realizing it and point it out to him. In this case, since I’m an expert on this, he unintentionally ordered Combo #4, a large coffee and a muffin. By saving him some money, he may very well end up giving you more as a tip in return!
You don’t have to be an ass-kisser to do this successfully. Just say “Hi” and “Have a nice day” to seem friendly. Don’t make a face when a customer asks you for something extra. Laugh at their jokes, no matter how stupid. Offer to give them a replacement if they don’t like something or accidentally spill it (remember, you don’t pay for the supplies).
As one Russian comedian noted: "ВЕЖЛИВОСТЬ -- ЛУЧШЕЕ ОРУЖИЕ ВОРА" (sorry for the poor translation) “politeness -- thief’s greatest weapon”. If you are polite, you will not only get more tips, but you will also be able to pull off a Short Change trick more easily, since you will seem more trustworthy.
A lot of the time, customers will drop all the change you give them into your tip cup. This means that if you can somehow give them more change than they need to receive, you are increasing your potential tips. This doesn’t mean giving smaller coins in place of larger ones. By “increasing change”, I mean tweaking the price to get the most change out of it.
You see, Dunkin’ Donuts has these small “add ons”, such as an extra pack of butter or cream, that employees are supposed to charge for. Suppose the order comes out to $1.97 before you factor in the extra butter the customer asked for. If you get $2.00, you will only get $0.03 as tips. You can try to factor in the extra butter ($0.25) to make the total order $2.22. Now, if the customer gives you $3.00, you may get as much as $0.78 of legitimate tips. Suppose the order comes out to $1.74. You should not factor in the extra butter, as it will reduce your potential tips.
Sometimes, it is wise to pause for a couple of seconds before handing the change to your customer. The reason for this is to give your customers time to notice the tip cup on the table. Many people simply don’t notice it if they are constantly looking at you, so giving them this very brief pause may allow them to look around the counter and hopefully notice the cup.
Leave the Change, Take the Bills
If a tip cup has a lot of coins in it, people will naturally be compelled to jump on the bandwagon and give you tips as well. If a tip cup is empty, people may think that you haven’t been doing a good job and will not give you tips. Because of this, I believe you should always leave some change in the tip cup to give a subtle hint to your customers.
Another issue with tip cups is customer-stealing. If you leave dollar bills unattended for too long, you may find that they can magically disappear. I suggest you don’t keep bills around in your tip cup and instead put them away in a drawer behind the counter.
You probably have noticed that none of the stealing tricks yield significant profits. Although they certainly do add up, they will never give you anything significant. Personally, I steal from Dunkin’ Donuts out of boredom and to pass time.
The Tips on Getting Tips yield even less profits. However, these tips are completely safe and should be done every time you take a customer. If you are going to serve the customer anyway, you may as well get as much out of it as you can.
1 Successful recognition of combo meals is vital. Make sure you point out your customer’s combo order if he/she has not recognized it. You will usually be thanked and rewarded with a more generous tip!
2 Over-rings refer to times when you accidentally add an extra item onto the order. Since you can’t delete anything, you must then issue the receipt for this order, make the correct order, then tape the two receipts together and indicate which one was the over-ring.