Restaurant tipping

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tennisplyr
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Restaurant tipping

Post by tennisplyr » Sat Mar 21, 2015 8:16 am

Let's say you are eating at a good restaurant, what do you normally leave as a tip? Last night we had dinner out and the service was only so-so.....slow, got my dinner before my wife, no refill of water glasses, etc. Not awful but not great. I left 15% but wanted to leave less. My wife believes these people need tips for a living, I believe if I am not getting service why should I reward you. Was wondering what you folks do.
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cheese_breath
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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by cheese_breath » Sat Mar 21, 2015 8:25 am

I base my tip on the service.
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chessmannextmove
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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by chessmannextmove » Sat Mar 21, 2015 8:27 am

I tip 20% rounded up to the dollar. But....

I am in favor of 0% tips, making meals 20% more expensive, and the employer giving 1/6th of revenues plus hourly wages to the waiters.

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jfn111
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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by jfn111 » Sat Mar 21, 2015 8:30 am

I generally leave 20%. (In college I was a bartender and wife was a waitress).
If service was so-so then 15% was generous.

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alec
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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by alec » Sat Mar 21, 2015 8:32 am

Had this experience two years ago. I tipped 15% and never went back.
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retiredjg
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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by retiredjg » Sat Mar 21, 2015 8:34 am

No doubt there are some bad wait-people out there, but I've found it rare. Bad service can result from a lot of reasons not associated with your server, but it might still seem like your server is to blame. I'd prefer to give him/her the benefit of the doubt.

Your wife is correct that these people may not receive an ordinary salary - a tip is part of the expected income, not really a reward. To me, a really big tip is a reward though.

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jhfenton
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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by jhfenton » Sat Mar 21, 2015 8:40 am

I tip 20% rounded up in some logical fashion. I might reduce that for poor service/rudeness directly from the server, but I don't recall the last time I did that. Poor service more often involves long waits for food and/or under-staffed dining rooms, and I don't want to penalize wait staff for things that are not in their control.

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prudent
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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by prudent » Sat Mar 21, 2015 8:43 am

I make adjustments for the type of restaurant. If it's an upscale place and service is downright poor (i.e. the server is the problem), then 10% at most. At a casual place, I still leave generally 20% for so-so service as my expectations aren't as high. There have been times I've had slow service in a diner or casual sit-down restaurant but I can see the server is working hard and is just stretched too thin. I don't ding the tip for that.

Where I probably differ from most people is that at an expensive restaurant I do not automatically leave 20%. In some cases that's too much. We will order, eat, and go - we don't sit there all night. And even if the meal is good and the service is impeccable on a $200 check, I'm not leaving $40 for sitting there for an hour. I don't deny the work is hard and the base pay is low, and it would be different if we tied up a table for hours on end, but $40 for an hour's use of a server is too much. At the high and low extremes of restaurant checks, the flat percentage doesn't work. By the same token, if I eat a $5 sit-down breakfast in a diner and the server kept my cup full the whole time, checked on me regularly and was pleasant to interact with, 20% is not enough and I'll leave $3.

All that said, if a server is unpleasant, slow and incompetent, no matter what, it's going to be a pretty small tip. But those have been very rare.

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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by John3754 » Sat Mar 21, 2015 8:44 am

Not too long ago 15% was considered a standard tip for standard quality service, now it seems that 20+% is considered standard. On one occasion when I received lousy service I left 15% and was chased out into the street and yelled at by the server for not leaving enough. I feel like I'm being held hostage by the service industry.

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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by cherijoh » Sat Mar 21, 2015 8:50 am

tennisplyr wrote:Let's say you are eating at a good restaurant, what do you normally leave as a tip? Last night we had dinner out and the service was only so-so.....slow, got my dinner before my wife, no refill of water glasses, etc. Not awful but not great. I left 15% but wanted to leave less. My wife believes these people need tips for a living, I believe if I am not getting service why should I reward you. Was wondering what you folks do.
Part of the problem is that it is often difficult to separate out the service components. In nicer restaurants, it is often someone else who clears plates and refills water. Food can also be slow because of the kitchen, not the wait staff. Although getting food at different times for a party of 2 is bad - how much time between the delivery of the order? I have had the kitchen screw up my order and the wait staff catch the problem therefore delaying my meal - would I have rather gotten the wrong order quicker and then had to have sent it back? In those cases the wait staff did stop by and explain the issue.

Unless I can definitely attribute the issue to the wait staff - e.g., they ignore you or forget a request - I tip 15%. If the service is worse than so-so I ask to speak with the manager on duty. Note - I have also done that when the service is exemplary. Great servers should be recognized by more than just an extra tip.

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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by TheTimeLord » Sat Mar 21, 2015 9:14 am

tennisplyr wrote:Let's say you are eating at a good restaurant, what do you normally leave as a tip? Last night we had dinner out and the service was only so-so.....slow, got my dinner before my wife, no refill of water glasses, etc. Not awful but not great. I left 15% but wanted to leave less. My wife believes these people need tips for a living, I believe if I am not getting service why should I reward you. Was wondering what you folks do.
It varies state by state but Federal Law only requires that they be paid $2.13/hr. by the restaurant. If you are eating in a good restaurant refills and delivering the meal may be the the responsibility of runners not the waiter. Your service is also likely effected by how many tables and the size of the tables the waiter has recently been given. If they get you and a large party at the same time likely no way they can give you the level of service they would like. To be honest unless you have been a waiter you probably can't really tell if sub par service is the waiter's fault or another problem in the restaurant even a trouble customer. Having been a waiter for a few years I can generally tell by looking at my plate if it has been sitting on a warming tray waiting to be picked up or was brought out immediately. My biggest pet peeve is when my service suffers because my waiter is trying to hookup with a waitress, not that uncommon, and easy for me to spot. That will kick you down to 10% (my minimum). I don't know if I can think of a reason to leave 0% or even 5%, I mean if the food is bad you still pay the bill. But if your service is bad enough that you honestly start thinking I want to stiff someone making $2.13/hr then I would call the manager over instead.

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dbr
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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by dbr » Sat Mar 21, 2015 9:38 am

I would tip upwards from 15% average to 20% for really good service.

I can't remember anytime I can think of that the service was bad enough to cut the tip. If that were to happen I would send a clear message such as no tip at all. I agree with people that most of the problems that happen in restaurants are beyond the control of the server. It has happened that I have walked out of a restaurant, but we still left a tip.

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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by cheese_breath » Sat Mar 21, 2015 9:49 am

dbr wrote: ...
I can't remember anytime I can think of that the service was bad enough to cut the tip. If that were to happen I would send a clear message such as no tip at all...
I can. One time. After the waitress left out food the only other time she came near our table was to leave the bill. She spent the entire time on the other side of the restaurant gabbing with the other waiters. I left zero tip and wrote the reason why on the bill.
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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by Raybo » Sat Mar 21, 2015 9:51 am

I find that I tip better at restaurants that I expect to go back to than those I'll only eat at once.

My reasoning is that I want the wait-staff to remember me as a "good tipper." At those places I usually leave 20% or more.

At places I'll only visit once, I base my tip on the quality of the service. My lowest level would be 10%.

This only applies in the US, where people can be employed for less than the minimum wage. In other countries, there often is no tipping tradition at all or a service charge is included on the bill. Frankly, this would be my preference in the US, as well. If the wait-staff rely on the tip, make it part of the bill.
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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by tylerdurden » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:04 am

cheese_breath wrote:I base my tip on the service.
+1
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Aptenodytes
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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by Aptenodytes » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:15 am

The baseline percentage is creeping up, so you have to choose where you want to be on the curve. 30 years ago it seemed like the default was something like 10-15%, then after a while 15% became the baseline and 10% was for the elderly and meanspirited. I now tip 20% as my baseline, veering a bit once in a while but mostly just sticking with 20% -- I don't want to appear old or mean; that's how norms work. When I have business meals with peers we often pay separately, and the other week I noticed my colleague's tip was double mine, even though I had rounded up from 20%. Probably within a decade 25% will be the new norm.

As we know there are deliberate efforts to encourage this trend, utilizing tricks from behavioral economics to reset our anchors (e.g. the practice of including illustrations of various tip amounts at the bottom of a check or as a check-box in on-line payment systems). But the trend was upward before such strategies were rolled out, so we can't blame them. Their widespread use may even trigger a backlash that helps halt the upward momentum.

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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by jbuzolich » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:32 am

I definitely tip based on service and if I like the place even if they might be having a rough night. I'm still in that 10% range though mostly and only moved to around 15% at places I really like. I probably would tip 10% if my wife hadn't influenced me over the years. I definitely am not cheap or mean spirited. We donate to charity frequently. I just don't agree with the constant tipping and the idea of a baseline. Definitely no baseline for me. Charge more for the meal and pay better if that's what it takes. If places charged that though I'd probably eat out much less often.
On high end places I never tip by percent. No way I'm ever tipping $30 or $40 for less than an hour at a table.

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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by knowsnothing » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:39 am

If I go to a small chain restaurant I tend to tip a little higher and more 'round numbers' - and always in cash. For instance I might leave 9 and 10 dollars on a 30 - 40 dollar bill.

If I go to a more upscale place usually around 15 - 20% and usually on a card.

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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by Aptenodytes » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:49 am

jbuzolich wrote:I definitely tip based on service and if I like the place even if they might be having a rough night. I'm still in that 10% range though mostly and only moved to around 15% at places I really like. I probably would tip 10% if my wife hadn't influenced me over the years. I definitely am not cheap or mean spirited. We donate to charity frequently. I just don't agree with the constant tipping and the idea of a baseline. Definitely no baseline for me. Charge more for the meal and pay better if that's what it takes. If places charged that though I'd probably eat out much less often.
On high end places I never tip by percent. No way I'm ever tipping $30 or $40 for less than an hour at a table.
God bless you -- you are not mean spirited. I didn't mean to imply that people like you were, just that concerns about being perceived as such help drive tip-inflation. You are providing a public service by keeping the escalation in check.

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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by stilts1007 » Sat Mar 21, 2015 11:08 am

I agree with others on here, I will leave 20% or a little more for great service, especially at a little less expensive place, and between 15-20% whatever number is easy to calculate, for average service. I don't think leaving a crappy tip necessarily sends a message, other than the server thinking you are a crappy tipper.
Once when receiving bad service throughout at a nice restaurant (not apologetic, "I'm new and we're super busy" bad service, but inattentive and attitude-heavy bad service) I mentioned it to the manager when we left, as I thought it would make more of an impression than a lower-than-average tip in the long run.
As someone who works in retail, I try to give the benefit of the doubt to people in service industry, as there are so many factors unrelated to your server that may be causing slow service. It usually isn't their fault so it seems unfair to punish them for it.

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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by wassabi » Sat Mar 21, 2015 11:18 am

I tip 20% but less for poor service. I worked in restaurants for over twelve years and would never expect a good tip for poor service. America is the land of guilt when it comes to tipping. The service you received should almost always be met with a poor tip. Don't let anyone shame you into thinking you have to tip 20% or more even if you received poor service. I dont expect great service but I do expect the food I ordered in a timely fashion and not cold. I expect refills. Having run a restaurant perhaps I am less sympathetic to people who are given a poor tip for poor service, but I always gave away freebies when service was bad. People came to me with their hard earned money and it was my job to make sure they were satisfied with my product.

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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sat Mar 21, 2015 11:31 am

Most people have no idea how hard it is for food service workers. My son worked last summer delivering pizzas. Let's give you some examples:

Base rate $7 per hour.

Say he has 2 deliveries to make. As luck has it, they always seem to be on opposite sides of town. He drives 4 miles to his first delivery and gets a $2 tip. Then 8 miles to the next and gets a $2 tip. Then back 4 miles to the pizza shop. This is all done in half an hour.

Doesn't sound that bad, right? He got $4 in tips. Let's work it out.

His car in town gets 16 mpg and takes premium only. At $3 a gallon, he spent $3 in gas alone. He ends up with $1 from tips and $3.50 for his hourly.

While in the store, he works the counter. You know that tip jar on the counter? The owner takes ALL of that for himself.

He also worked the pizza store owner's other store that's 25 miles away. The owner gives him $10 for gas to go there. He also has to alternate with another driver while there. He takes the mass turnpike to get there and back, so let's figure that out. 50 miles round trip plus $2 in tolls. So $9 in gas and $2 in tolls. He starts his day $1 behind.

Feel free to figure out how he makes any money to save for school doing this.

I tip 20% minimum.
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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by Rob5TCP » Sat Mar 21, 2015 11:32 am

A number of restaurants run on my payroll software so i am quite familiar with that aspect in NYC.
They are paid $5+ per hour, with the balance from tips. If they make less than minimum, with tips, it's supposed to be made up by the restaurant.

I generally tip 15% for mediocre service, up to 22% for really good service.
For inexpensive diners (especially breakfast) my tips tend to be 25-35% (breakfast special is $3-$4 I leave a dollar).

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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by abuss368 » Sat Mar 21, 2015 11:44 am

Typically we leave 20%. If the service is average or less I usually still do 20% but maybe 15%. I have mixed feelings.
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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by Gropes & Ray » Sat Mar 21, 2015 11:52 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:While in the store, he works the counter. You know that tip jar on the counter? The owner takes ALL of that for himself.
This is illegal in my state and likely in yours (I think it's illegal under federal law, so illegal in all states). Although very common, it is also illegal to make waiters share tips with bartenders and other restaurant staff.

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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by linenfort » Sat Mar 21, 2015 12:26 pm

20% tip, 15% if not great.

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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by RobInCT » Sat Mar 21, 2015 12:35 pm

jbuzolich wrote:I definitely tip based on service and if I like the place even if they might be having a rough night. I'm still in that 10% range though mostly and only moved to around 15% at places I really like. I probably would tip 10% if my wife hadn't influenced me over the years. I definitely am not cheap or mean spirited. We donate to charity frequently. I just don't agree with the constant tipping and the idea of a baseline. Definitely no baseline for me. Charge more for the meal and pay better if that's what it takes. If places charged that though I'd probably eat out much less often.
On high end places I never tip by percent. No way I'm ever tipping $30 or $40 for less than an hour at a table.
Am I misunderstanding, or are you admitting that you take advantage of low-wage workers to subsidize your eating out? I hate tipping, and I would MUCH prefer if restaurants just raised their prices and paid their employees a living wage. But that not being the case, I tip because most servers make substantially less than minimum wage, and I think that undertipping is the moral equivalent of stealing, and stealing from the poor, at that.

If you admit that if tipping went away but prices went up to a level necessary to compensate employees for the absence of tips that you'd eat out much less often, what you're implying is that you are encouraged to eat out in part because you're able to keep for yourself part of the amount that would need to go to a waitperson in order for that person to make a fair market salary. That's... interesting.

I use 20% as a baseline. Yes, it used to be 15%, but wages for low-wage workers haven't kept up inflation. 15% if service was noticeably below average. Anything below 15% would require the server to do something so offensive I'd probably want to report it to management anyway--messed up my order in a non-minor way and yelled at me when I asked them politely to correct it, telling a racist joke, serving food that had been dropped on the floor, etc.

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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by FrugalInvestor » Sat Mar 21, 2015 12:55 pm

I tip on a sliding scale based on quality of service and size of check, typically between 0% and 30%. I'd say that my tips over time are distributed normally but skewed toward the high end primarily because we often share a meal and I tip as if we both ordered our own entrees. I also tip toward the higher end of the scale in a restaurant where prices are lower such as a Mexican restaurant or cafe. On a very large check, such as at a high-end steak house, I'm much less likely to tip at the very top of the scale because I expect outstanding service and the size of the check itself results in a generous tip.
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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by chessmannextmove » Sat Mar 21, 2015 1:10 pm

John3754 wrote:Not too long ago 15% was considered a standard tip for standard quality service, now it seems that 20+% is considered standard. On one occasion when I received lousy service I left 15% and was chased out into the street and yelled at by the server for not leaving enough. I feel like I'm being held hostage by the service industry.
That is crazy. I might have said "oh I'm sorry hold on let me fix that... " And changed the tip to zero.

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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Mar 21, 2015 1:23 pm

I removed a comment related to not tipping at all, as it resulted in several off-topic replies. I also removed the off-topic replies. As a reminder, see: Forum Policy
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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by spectec » Sat Mar 21, 2015 1:26 pm

I generally leave 20%, rounded up. I leave a higher percentage of the bill is very small, so if the bill is $13, I will still leave a $4 tip. The service has to be really bad, AND I have to know that the bad service is the fault of the sever, before I will tip less.

I think you can usually identify someone who has ever worked for tips by their tipping habits. I also think one measure of character is how a person treats people who have no control or influence over them. The combination of those two is what drives my tipping habits.
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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by mjdaniel » Sat Mar 21, 2015 1:27 pm

I normally leave 20% and it would have to be pretty bad for me to leave less or nothing, but would, if it was deserved.

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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by Spirit Rider » Sat Mar 21, 2015 1:28 pm

John3754 wrote:Not too long ago 15% was considered a standard tip for standard quality service, now it seems that 20+% is considered standard. On one occasion when I received lousy service I left 15% and was chased out into the street and yelled at by the server for not leaving enough. I feel like I'm being held hostage by the service industry.
Maybe it is my age, but this is a pet peeve of mine. What I call tip geometric inflation. Tips already have a built in inflation mechanism. As the price of restaurant meals go up the servers tips go up. No need to raise the base tip percentage.

Yet we have seen the base percentage go up over the years from 15, 16, 18, and now 20. Not for this person. I still give a 20% or even 25% (or more if the bill is small) tips if warranted. However, my base is not going to budge off of 15% ever and no amount of coercion is going to change that.

Don't get me started about this trend of using tablets with 20% and 25% as the only easy choices. They think people will be lazy or ashamed to select the option to enter a manual tip. Not me, I'm not lazy and I am completely without shame. Even the airport shuttle lists a minimum 18% The driver is getting paid above minimum wage, not some low sub wage like wait staff. They are getting at best 10% and I don't care if they see it looking over my shoulder.

Tipping in this country is out of control! Now I will ease off of my soapbox.

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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by ChicagoMedStudent » Sat Mar 21, 2015 1:33 pm

Just a few observations:

1) Federal law requires that employers make up the difference between base wages and the minimum wage, so that even if everyone under-tipped, employees would still make minimum wage.

2) I am sympathetic to how hard restaurant workers work, and that their jobs can be really rough. However, I have to call BS on the "restaurant staff work so hard and therefore deserve a tip" argument. Lots of people work hard at jobs that don't pay a lot and don't get any tips. Nurses don't get tips, nor do many day laborers, technicians, farm workers, newspaper reporters, factory workers, and the list goes on.

3) Given #1 and #2 above, I'm inclined to say that the tipping culture surrounding restaurants is a way for employers to pass extra costs onto the consumers.

4) While it's advisable to tip at restaurants you go to frequently, I don't think people should be shamed for saying they tip less. Strictly speaking, tipping is NOT mandatory, for the simple reason that you can put a 0.00 in the tip line, pay, and leave. Maybe it's improper, or rude, or even unethical (depending on your own moral inclinations), but I don't think people should be shamed or insulted here for that.
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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by AddingUp » Sat Mar 21, 2015 1:41 pm

Being a waiter/waitress is a service job, hence, I tip completely on how professional and efficient the service is. (And I'm not talking about factors beyond the server's control such as how the kitchen does or doesn't pull through. My tip is based purely on the attitude/competence of the waiter/waitress.)

When service has been poor, I've left nothing. When it's been great, I've left an excellent tip. And, I say this as someone who HAS waited tables in the past. When you're dealing with the public, you have to be "on" when you come into work. If you've had a bad day, it's best to put it behind you and play your part. This is true for any profession where you interact with people. No one is demanding you serve time (no pun intended!) in a restaurant. If a public-facing role isn't for you and your personality, find a job where you don't have to interact with people.

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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by lcs » Sat Mar 21, 2015 1:46 pm

John3754 wrote:Not too long ago 15% was considered a standard tip for standard quality service, now it seems that 20+% is considered standard. On one occasion when I received lousy service I left 15% and was chased out into the street and yelled at by the server for not leaving enough. I feel like I'm being held hostage by the service industry.
Spirit Rider wrote:Maybe it is my age, but this is a pet peeve of mine. What I call tip geometric inflation. Tips already have a built in inflation mechanism. As the price of restaurant meals go up the servers tips go up. No need to raise the base tip percentage.
I'm only 24, and I remember when 10% was considered standard. Now the price of meals has gone up, which means the amount the server gets as a percent goes up, plus the percent has gone up! That's a double raise if you ask me. But I just don't go out to eat ever, so I never have this problem.

I am against tipping entirely. Restaurants that have done away with tipping altogether have had fabulous results! They have better, happier servers who actually make more and offer better service to customers, and happier customers!

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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by oxothuk » Sat Mar 21, 2015 1:53 pm

lcs wrote:[Restaurants that have done away with tipping altogether have had fabulous results!
Where are those restaurants? I can't ever remember eating at such a place (in the US).

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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by lcs » Sat Mar 21, 2015 1:59 pm

oxothuk wrote:
lcs wrote:[Restaurants that have done away with tipping altogether have had fabulous results!
Where are those restaurants? I can't ever remember eating at such a place (in the US).
I've read a few stories from a select few restaurants around the US that have done this.

This is the first account I read: http://jayporter.com/dispatches/observa ... -overview/

But here are some news articles about more and more places making the switch: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/1 ... nt-workers

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/more-restau ... ng-policy/

humanities
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:21 pm

Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by humanities » Sat Mar 21, 2015 2:25 pm

Normally, I leave 20% of the pre-tax amount. When the bill is very small (e.g. breakfast, or a cheap lunch eating alone), I tip a higher percentage, normally not less than $3.

If I get bad service, I will reduce the tip to 15%. I don't think I've ever tipped less (except possibly as a result of a math error). I don't think I would choose to tip less unless a waiter did something that I consider an offense that merits firing. As I see it, waiters get almost all of their income from tips. If the service is good enough that the waiter deserves to be paid for coming to work that day, then the waiter should get a tip.

Durzo
Posts: 102
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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by Durzo » Sat Mar 21, 2015 2:38 pm

I think tipping is very weird construct overall. Late high-school and first couple of years in college I worked two tipped jobs. Waiter at local place and bellman at a fancy downtown hotel.

At both places the actual hourly wage was very low. Both under $4/hr if I remember correctly. Even at 40 hr/week that was under 150/week. That is below the poverty level. To not tip at all would be very cruel I think.

The actual tips were part of very rigged system. For the bellman position I had figured out the system. It was common for me to end the night with $300+ tips on Saturday and Friday shifts. Some of tenured 10+ years bellman never broke $100.

I was not as lucky in the restaurant. $80 in tips was a good night. Some of the girls were making $200+ at least once a week. They had figured out the system.

Those jobs paid for my first two years of college. I always tip at least 20%, usually more.

-Joey

BrooklynInvest
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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by BrooklynInvest » Sat Mar 21, 2015 2:53 pm

I tip at least 20% at restaurants and tip delivery folks well, and in cash when I can. These people work very hard and don't make a lot of money. I delivered pizza and bussed tables at college. Believe me I know.

I might reduce things a bit for bad service - assuming it's clear that the bad service is the fault of the wait person and not managers/owners deliberately understaffing the room, which is often the case.

scrabbler1
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Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 2:39 pm

Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by scrabbler1 » Sat Mar 21, 2015 3:03 pm

I use 20% as my baseline but will go down to 15% if the service is subpar and will go a little over 20% if the service is unusually good. One restaurant I frequent often enough for the very skilled waitstaff to recognize me (and my dad, who is with me there), I don't go lower than 20%.

As others have mentioned here, it is important to recognize as best as we can to distinguish between problems which are not necessarily the fault of the server from those which are the fault of the server. Last year, for example, my ladyfriend and I were at a local TGIFridays and the waitress was a bit of a PITA from start to finish. While she served our food okay, later on she was inattentive to our table, yapping it up with some customers at another table instead of bringing us the check (we were in full view of her). I tipped her slightly under 20% but made sure to go to the TGIF website and provide feedback about our dining experience. The next day the store's manager called me and I went into more detail about what the waitress did which annoyed us. After all, it's the manager's job to fix these problems, not mine.

I have also provided feedback on unusually good service, going into detail either there or if the manager calls me later. I feel if someone on the waitstaff is doing something well, the manager is best suited to see that others on the waitstaff learn of this so they can all do the same thing in future visits. Why have a good thing be kept secret?

FedGuy
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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by FedGuy » Sat Mar 21, 2015 3:08 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:His car in town gets 16 mpg and takes premium only.
I think poor tips might not be the entire problem here....

tim1999
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Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:16 am

Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by tim1999 » Sat Mar 21, 2015 3:19 pm

At full-service restaurants I tip 15-20% depending on how good the service is. If a bottle of wine makes up a large portion of the bill, I tend to go to the lower end of that range. I also go way beyond that range for breakfast servers since the food is usually so cheap. If I have a $4 pancake and bacon breakfast I'll usually leave $2.

If the service is awful I usually tip 10% and speak with the manager. This has only happened a few times in my life.

I usually leave tips in cash even if I charge the meal to my credit card.

Louis Winthorpe III
Posts: 780
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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by Louis Winthorpe III » Sat Mar 21, 2015 3:24 pm

lcs wrote: I'm only 24, and I remember when 10% was considered standard.
I'm quite a bit older than you are, and 10% was never standard.

lcs
Posts: 66
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Location: Iowa

Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by lcs » Sat Mar 21, 2015 3:29 pm

Louis Winthorpe III wrote:
lcs wrote: I'm only 24, and I remember when 10% was considered standard.
I'm quite a bit older than you are, and 10% was never standard.
Maybe not where you are, but where I live it was.

anil686
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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by anil686 » Sat Mar 21, 2015 3:40 pm

After being a server during college, I almost always tip 20% at a sit down eatery. To be perfectly honest, I was pretty busy with tables and felt more frustration and anger at a 0% tip than having a deeply introspective moment and trying to figure out why the customer was not happy. Often it was a mish-mash of things from the kitchen being somewhat slow or not preparing food right or not enough staffing setup for a busy Friday or Saturday and occasionally not paying enough attention to the customer. I will add that if it was my fault (i.e. poor order taking) - I often comped the meal out of my pay which stunk for me - but many customers said don't worry about it.

From that experience, I typically will email the manager or proprietor of the restaurant with my receipt and explain why I was disappointed with the experience. It probably has never made a difference, but at least I know that I am trying to provide valuable feedback that hopefully will help those whose livelihoods depend on my repeat business (i.e. owner/proprietor/manager) rather than taking out my frustrations with the service person at the table who is likely not making a career out of this. JMO though...

tim1999
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Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:16 am

Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by tim1999 » Sat Mar 21, 2015 3:47 pm

lcs wrote:
Louis Winthorpe III wrote:
lcs wrote: I'm only 24, and I remember when 10% was considered standard.
I'm quite a bit older than you are, and 10% was never standard.
Maybe not where you are, but where I live it was.
I see lcs is from Iowa. I visited friends and relatives in Missouri and Kansas very often in the 1990s, and they were shocked when I'd tip 15-20% in a restaurant, and told me 10%,maybe 15% for exceptional service, is normal. Must have been a Midwest thing.

gkaplan
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Location: Portland, Oregon

Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by gkaplan » Sat Mar 21, 2015 4:51 pm

I don't think the individual server should be penalized if the service is slow because of a shortage of servers or because the kitchen is slow.
Gordon

stlutz
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Re: Restaurant tipping

Post by stlutz » Sat Mar 21, 2015 5:11 pm

In other countries, there often is no tipping tradition at all or a service charge is included on the bill. Frankly, this would be my preference in the US, as well. If the wait-staff rely on the tip, make it part of the bill.
+1

Bottom line is I'm better off than 99.87% of the people working at the restaurant. My life is not going to better nor am I going to retire 5 years sooner if I tip 15% vs. 20%.

http://dilbert.com/strip/1995-05-11

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