How Much Should I Tip at a Restaurant? (with pictures)

Tipping is not required or expected in all countries, and in some cases, leaving a tip is considered unusual or even insulting. It is common in some places for the bill to have a “built-in” tip or gratuity, usually of 10% to 15%. In some cultures, you are free to add to the gratuity for particularly good service or simply round up the bill, while in others no additional amount is expected. As you prepare to travel abroad, it is usually worth researching the specific expectations for tipping at your destination.

No matter the restaurant, adding few percent to the tip is a good idea when the server has worked particularly hard or gone out of his or her way to make your meal pleasant. This shows that you acknowledge and appreciate the quality service you have received. In addition, leaving good tips can help ensure that you continue to receive good service in the future.

Bear in mind that food and service are separate issues. A tip is generally given based on the quality of service, not the food, ambiance, or any entertainment. If the food was bad but the service was good, for example, complain to the manager about the food, but tip the server for his or her efforts. On the other hand, if the food was good but the meal was ruined by poor service, a lower tip is appropriate.

Many restaurants that offer delivery include a charge for the service, but this does not take the place of a tip. Delivery people should be tipped 15% in most cases. If the driver delivered the food especially quickly or during rain or snow, you should usually tip more.

When picking up food at a restaurant, tipping is uncommon and not always expected. The person taking and preparing your order is providing you with service, however, so consider giving a small tip of up to 10%. If your order was complicated or the person who took the order was especially helpful — for example, if you didn’t have a menu available — a tip on the higher end of the scale would be appropriate.

If you stop in at a restaurant’s bar while waiting to be seated, the bartender should receive 10% to 15% of the bar bill; it is usually best to close your bar tab before being seated, but if you don’t, tip $1 to $2 USD per drink. Once you have dined, expect to leave the waiter at least 20%. If you had wine with your meal, the wine steward should usually be tipped 15%, although tips as low as 10% are acceptable for particularly expensive bottles of wine. A small amount of up to $1 USD is also typically given to bathroom attendants.

Besides the waiters, several other staff members will likely expect tips at a four-star restaurant. A few US Dollars (USD) are usually given to valets and coat checkers. In addition, the maître d’ should typically receive a significant tip, usually as a lump sum not a percentage. These tips should be given before being seated.

Tipping for a buffet can be more complex. At a fast-food buffet, tipping is unnecessary. If a waiter serves drinks, however, it is fine to tip a small amount. At high-end buffets, a tip of 15% to 20% is common, and this may be automatically included on your bill.

When eating at a restaurant or café, a tip of 15% is common. At a bar or at the counter, service isn’t considered a big part of the meal so 10% to 12% is usually adequate. Large parties of seven people or more should expect to pay at least 20%, and this gratuity may be automatically included in your bill.

In the United States, the class of the restaurant — and even where you sit — has an effect on the tip. Besides the usual fine dining, patrons can enjoy buffets and cafés, as well as eat at a counter or bar. Generally, whenever a waiter serves your food, some amount of tip is necessary.

How much to tip at a restaurant depends on the class of the restaurant, your server, the size of your party, and the quality of the service. Different cultures have different expectations, so exact percentages vary depending on where you are in the world. Generally, however, tips range from 10% to 20% of the meal’s cost, before tax.

Discussion Comments


June 28, 2010

I tip well, at least according to this article, but I do expect more than these responses state I should in terms of service. I have to put up with a person taking my order and bringing my food, filling my drinks, etc. I am also at their mercy for waiting times, etc.

I expect waiters to be prompt and friendly. I have worked many jobs in my life, including waiting tables while going to college. At most jobs (no, all of them) I was expected to be prompt and friendly, but most of them I didn’t get tips for my efforts.

I made more money waiting tables than many other jobs, and like most waiters, and I didn’t pay taxes on half my tips. Waiting tables was no more stressful than any other job I ever had. Do your job and stop complaining, and you’ll get better tips for it.


June 28, 2010

To all you servers out there who think they should be entitled to 20 percent and above, have you ever tipped you local grocer, your auto mechanic, your yard man or any other thousands of occupations that bust their butt to serve you? I doubt it! You deserve what you get and not a penny more. I tip 15 percent for outstanding friendly service and go down from there. Keep smiling with a good attitude and receive a better tip.


June 28, 2010

There seems to be a disconnect between the posters here who are or were servers and those who are customers. (I am the latter.)

I think most customers want to pay a fair price for a meal and tip only if receiving great-exceptional service.

Yes, I realize that if the restaurant paid their servers for the food price would go up, but guess what? If I am paying the “expected” tip then my total bill would remain the same.

A waiter/bartender is not my employee. I did not interview them, train them, or agree to their pay scale, but they are the face of the restaurant I interface with the most so their actions reflect a great deal on their true employer-the restaurant! So shouldn’t they be the one deciding who gets the great “tip” by giving them the best one of all: a raise!


June 28, 2010

Its pretty funny reading all the comments on this article. I have been a server for ten years and I only make $4.66 an hour. All the servers are only allowed a three table station. If you camp out in our station then we lose money.

I normally don’t complain about tips because my good tips outweigh my bad ones. I usually enjoy waiting on people but many people are very rude. I am a very good actress.

With a greeting, well-paced service with a smile and a great attitude most of the time under all that exterior, most servers and all other restaurant staff, I might add, are very stressed out.

Most people who work in restaurants are in college or have degrees. What’s really funny is that I make more money than some of my friends who have bachelor degrees because they just can’t find jobs. With the cost of everything going up and many people living on tighter budgets, one can understand how much more important than ever that receiving good service when they go out to eat is very important.

Most servers will go out of their way at least where I work to ensure good service. Mainly, regardless of tipping I personally expect respect above all from my guests. I’m not your personal servant who will wait hand and foot on you the minute you sit down. I have other guests. Please learn patience then maybe for those of you who have a bad outlook on your service you expect when you go out to eat may change.


June 28, 2010

I have never worked in a service position, but I do see how hard those who wait on me do work, and I have actually left an extra tip when I have seen someone at the next table leave a terrible tip.

I don’t care what they do elsewhere and I don’t care what others think I should tip. I leave at least 20 percent and sometimes more, I agree with the comment that it takes just as much effort to serve a burger as it does a steak and I may be getting something less expensive but still get great service – so I will tip more

Also, if the server is aware of my needs before I ask, that means more to me and I will consider that in my tip. If you bring me spicy food and then don’t come back to refill my drink, I won’t be so happy. And I always thank the server for everything they bring to my table and when they take my order and I expect the same from my child – she knows to do that – that person is not her slave – they deserve to be treated with respect and kindness.

On top of it all, if anyone is waiting on me in any way, shape, or form, I am getting to sit there and not required to do it myself, so I appreciate it! Thank you to all you servers out there! I appreciate you, and will show it if I am seated at your table!


June 28, 2010

Yeah – 15 percent is too little these days if the service is really great. I think 20 percent should be the new standard for great service; 15 percent for average; 10 percent (and possibly a word to the manager if the service puts the restaurant at risk of losing patrons).

For instance, in one city where I have a regular client, I used to enjoy dinner once a month or so at a family-owned establishment right on the beach. Generally, my server was a professional and the service level matched the food,view and general ambiance.

Recently I visited mid-week, a little early in the evening, and a teen boy who turned out to be a family member took my table. Many problems with the service but the thing that finally turned my stomach was when he emerged from the kitchen carrying someone’s baby.

I’m a mother – I know all about babies and their constant need to have their diaper changed – and believe me, I do not want to think that anyone preparing and/or serving my meal has been handling one recently.

In my opinion, this was a moment where speaking with the owner was appropriate, along with a greatly reduced tip to reflect the quality – or rather, lack of quality – in the service.


June 28, 2010

I’m kind of a sad that this is the first page that pops up off a search. I work as a server now and I can tell you nothing makes me more sad than to see a 7 dollar tip on a 50 dollar check.

To me, if I have done my job well, that is a ten dollar table. I know a lot of people don’t think it matters for that few dollars, but it adds up for a night.

After a night, I also tip out my busser, bar, food runner, and host. I only keep about half of my tips and I have to tip out others as a percentage of my total sales, not my tips. Therefore I leave with less. I agree, bad service should not be rewarded, but good service should.


June 28, 2010

– anon68113 what? 15 percent was a respectable tip in 1960. This is 2010. A modest tip is 20 percent and 25 percent-plus for excellent service.

No, this is not Europe. The tips are not built into the bill.


June 28, 2010

OK please understand that I make $2.13/hr and I tip out 3 percent of my sales, not what I make. A 2-8 percent tip is not OK. To survive I need at least 18-20 percent. Think about it, how would you feel if you worked for two hours and someone hands you $3. How would yo feel? If you can’t afford to tip your server than eat a fast food restaurant. You don’t have to leave a tip for them.


June 28, 2010

This must be an old article. The year is now 2010. 20 percent is standard no matter where you eat.

Yes, perhaps the higher the number of stars, the more you will want to spread your tips around.

Eat, tip, and then free up the table for the next people. This is how the servers make their money. You may be a guest but the space you are taking up is “rented” space.

15 percent– are you insane or just cheap?


June 28, 2010

Wow! 15, 18, 20 percent… based on reading this it seems that servers think a tip is expected/required (Not saying they are wrong) but, if a tip is expected/required the it should be included in the meal price. Then they can complain to the manager for poor service and tip only if they feel they got exceptional service (and isn’t that what we are supposed to be tipping for?)


June 28, 2010

I think most servers would not be working in the food service business if tips were eliminated and went to straight minimum hourly wage.

Think of the service you would get and the caliber of people doing those jobs.

I think people should do their job to the fullest and do the best job they can do. People should be treated the way you would want to be treated. Whether or not you get a tip is up to the tipper.


June 28, 2010

I’ll say my opinion and practices are different sometimes, but my opinion is that tips started because someone got above expected service from the establishment they were at, but the fact that it is expected by people who don’t earn it bugs me. That being said, i tip very well if i’m happy. i work in the customer service field, not waiting tables. So i understand how hard it is to give good service to a unappreciative customer, but that’s my job and i give even the horrible customers that come back, the best service i can.

When I eat out i do expect good service. I take my wife 60 miles from my home to frequent a restaurant where i have had only one bad experience with in the 80-plus times i have gone there and the establishment made up for it. On a $40-$50 bill if the service is what i expect from that restaurant, with I’ve stated is very good I will tip $10-$15. If it is better I’ve left up to a $50 tip and on the flip side, i had a waitress that was rude and negligent, never refilled my drinks and only checked on us once on a night that was not busy compared to normal. one of the other waiters checked on us more than she did, and the food was excellent as always. I left our waitress nothing but as i was leaving found the other waiter that took time out of his work with all his customers and gave him $100, told him thanks and left. Now, I ask for him when he is there now and he gets an average of $30-$40 every time he serves us, so for those that give great service, thank you and i will continue to tip, those who just “do your job” you will get what you deserve (even nothing).

I do take into account states that change your pay to reflect expected tip income which i don’t agree with. You should be paid minimum wage or whatever the norm is plus tips in my opinion, since tips are supposed to be an extra.

But i don’t make the rules. I live in oregon where waiters do get $8 an hour or more plus tips and i am more critical of what they get for a tip than when we go to idaho and they make $3 an hour plus tips. I still expect good service either way but in oregon i have to see an effort before I’ll be overly generous. just my 2 cents. have a great day


June 28, 2010

For those servers making 3-something an hour, wow! I live in Oklahoma. Servers make 2.13 an hour. I did it for four months while between jobs. I would get big tables with kids who would allow their kids to totally trash the area.

I made extra sure that I endeavored to make sure I anticipated my customers’ needs. I tried to make sure they would never have to ask for a thing. Yet there were nights when i would get run to death by people, who in my opinion, just get off on making a server run. Then get left $2 on a table that ran up a $60 bill, and ran me so much that it took time away from my other patrons (some people act offended that you even have other customers besides themselves).

Bottom line is, not tipping or low tipping is not going to “force” the restaurant industry to change and start paying servers federal minimum wage. Meanwhile, many of these workers are doing this while trying to live and/or feed a family while either a) going to school to have a better career, b)waiting for a job opening in their chosen career or after a layoff or c)have chosen a career in hospitality.

When you don’t tip, you are actually taking food out of their families’ mouths.

If you still don’t believe in tipping, go some place where tipping isn’t customary. I personally believe (and have, even before my short stint as a server) believe not tipping is theft of services. Plain and simple.


June 28, 2010

Dear Mr. Kayne: It seems obvious to me that you have never in your life worked behind a bar or as a server. 10 to 15 percent is *not* an acceptable tip for good service.

On behalf of the entire American service industry I would like to extend my contempt of this article. However, any person who would use something like this as a guideline for tipping needs to hit the drive-through on the way home from their job at Walmart.

People who don’t get the concept of tipping (at least 18 percent) will always be a frustrating part of working in a restaurant, but please don’t publish articles like this increasing the number of cheap morons who don’t know how to tip when they go out to eat. Thanks a lot

Sincerely, Bartender in Charlotte, NC


June 28, 2010

I just read the article about tipping where the waitress said “tips are our salary”. I hate to disappoint you but it is not my job to pay your salary. I pay for my food and the restaurant pays your salary. I am sorry if you are trying to make a living from tips however, I believe tips are a bonus, not a requirement.


June 28, 2010

#205: You did fine, If you double the amount of tax you are leaving roughly 15 percent. I actually always tip 20 percent if the service is good. I tip 20 percent of the entire bill. You are going to have dinner and have someone to wait on you so you don’t have to slave in the kitchen right? On your $228 meal, you should have left a tip of $34-45. That’s just me – I am not saying everyone should do this.

Of course, as others have said, if the service is poor, adjust and talk to the manager.


June 28, 2010

Everybody listen very closely: I’m sorry, but just so everyone is clear, if you have never worked in the restaurant industry, you have no business writing an article like this, or commenting on it either.

Most states pay servers under $3 an hour, so we rely on our tips, just as people who work in sales rely on commissions. This isn’t the 80s anymore people; get with the program. Fifteen percent isn’t the acceptable standard anymore and 20 is the new 15.

By all means, if you go out and are given sub par service go ahead and tip 15 percent. You should only tip less than that if the server made multiple egregious errors, and didn’t seem to care.

On the other hand, if you have a server who is passionate about what they do, knowledgeable about both their product, and help make honest recommendations to help make sure you enjoy your dining experience, reward them for that with 25 percent.

A lot of us take pride in what we do, and it stings a little when we know we have gone out of our way to make your birthday or anniversary or first date or even just a tuesday night special for you and you punish us for it.

Oh yeah, and what’s this nonsense about not having to tip on wine? Utterly ridiculous and unacceptable! Wine service is part of service, and there is no excuse for not tipping or under tipping on the cost of a bottle of wine.

I’m sorry, but if you are not willing to tip, you are a snob, and if can’t afford to tip, you should be dining at the drive through. For those of you who aren’t very good at math, bring a calculator with you and multiply your bill by .2 and that is the tip you should leave.

My last piece of advice is, if you have a great experience and you enjoyed the food, drink and service, we love to hear you say it, but please reflect that in the tip. There is nothing worse than the dreaded “verbal gratuity” when you thank us profusely and tell us what an amazing job we did, and then we find out you left 15 percent or less. If you know you got good service, and you plan on leaving a less than adequate tip, don’t tell me I did a great job and everything was amazing. Just get up, keep your head down, walk out with your tail between your legs and don’t come back.

We remember those who stiffed us and we aren’t likely to give it our all the next time you come back. We also remember those who treated us well, and will go out of our way to make sure you are taken care of in the future.


June 28, 2010

Twenty percent is the new standard. Gas goes up, milk goes up, therefore tip percentages go up. Many states still pay servers $2.13 an hour. Also take into account most high end servers share their tips with bartenders, bussers, and others. So tipping less than 20 percent you are actually tipping 10 percent or less to the server.

If you cannot afford the extra $1-5 then please stay home or go to a place where tipping is not required. The only reason people still tip 15 percent is self imposed ignorance. I just call it cheap. Don’t be a waste of space and time.


June 28, 2010

As a single male, I often eat at restaurants by myself. I can see where a waiter isn’t all that enthusiastic when they get a one-top assigned in their area but I get great services regardless in all places that I frequent. My tip is usually anywhere from 30-50 percent because that same table could have had four people on it.


June 28, 2010

It’s funny how most people complain how restaurant prices are inflated and therefore your shouldn’t tip the waiters on the whole amount.

How many of you come to restaurant and expect to get stuff for free, making up excuses, from cold food to poor service? I know for a fact, a lot of time this is not true. Who do you think is paying for all the food, straws, computer software, taxes, insurance, plates and silverware? Sure, restaurants should be paying waiters more money, so you wouldn’t have to tip! How in the world are they going to make it?

“You want to make a million in a restaurant, invest 2.”


June 28, 2010

I believe in the “tipping” system. I tip according to service. Fifteen percent is the start for excellent service that can go up and beyond 20 percent. If it goes beyond 20 percent, I’m sure to speak to the manager and make sure they know the experience was wonderful – the same goes if I leave less than 15 percent – I want the manager to know what happened with the service.

I take into account that not all people have the best day every day and if this was the case the manager should know, and if this isn’t the case they also need to know.

If my food isn’t right, I tell the server and let them either take care of it or they can have the manager take care of it, I feel that way they don’t feel as if I’m insinuating that it’s their fault – they know that I blame the kitchen.


June 28, 2010

Tipping is not optional. Tipping is required. But, the standard tip is also 15 percent – always has been 15 percent, always will be 15 percent. People who work in the food service industry don’t just get to say they want more. I have a friend who is a server in a nice (just nice, not *really* nice) restaurant, and on a Friday night with “normal” tips, she makes $400 in tips, and has come home with $1200 in one night – but she works her butt off for that money. $40 an hour to be a waitress is definitely nothing to sneeze at. 15 percent is for good service – 20 percent for exceptional service. I’ll even give closer to 25 percent if the server really stepped above and beyond. I am also not afraid to leave the server a $1 tip on a $75 meal if they were bad – and if you are getting a $1 tip, you already know why so you have no right to complain.


June 28, 2010

I continually find myself frustrated by the complaints that servers are paid “less than minimum wage.” I suggest you take another look at the wage posters that everyone is required to put up.

If the tips are insufficient to reach the standard minimum wage, the company is legally required to make up the difference. So let’s call the front end of a ‘tip’ what it is – a subsidy for the restaurant.


June 28, 2010

I have been a waiter for 2.5 years now. And i can honestly say going into this job field i thought would be a piece of cake. It seems so easy to take orders, deliver food, and drop of the check and get paid for it. Now for the most part, that’s the job criteria.

However, guests don’t understand we do have multiple tables, and usually good waiters have a system down and they are tending to all tables in the most timely matter.

This is interrupted whenever you have guests asking for this and that, and wanting more drink whenever it’s only half empty, or any other minor thing that i promise you i would have gotten to. Now i understand your out to eat, and yes you want things to be perfect. But have respect for the server and other tables as well. Never interrupt a server by saying “excuse me” or “sir” whenever they are talking with another table — that just might send a server’s day into a downward spiral that’s hardly fixable. Just be patient with your server as they are being patient with you (with the exception of some bad servers).

Now for the tipping part, Please, please please understand that as a server we are getting paid by you– our guest. The service industry is kind of a joke as the restaurants themselves hardly pay us, so we work for tips! I don’t know how many times i feel like i just want to tell my table. “Just an FYI, i get paid $2.13 an hour.I’m here for eight hours and make $16. My pay is solely on your tip for me. If my service is good, please that’s why its called gratuity!”

Don’t be shady to a good server, especially if you were difficult at any point of your meal, it had better pay off in the end. And regarding kids: if you bring a child to a restaurant, and it makes a mess, clean the crap up. It’s semi-ridiculous that i have to, in the middle of my shift, pick up macaroni, ripped up papers, silverware and all sorts of stuff from the floor to get my table ready for the next guest. Really? And then you leave a $4 tip. If you’re going to leave a mess, you should really consider helping the waiter out within the tip.

And lastly, the tipping chart. What’s it really to you to leave an extra 5 for your waiter, if you did the job, knew the pay, and got good service, a few extra dollars goes along way and could potentially really make a waiter’s day! What the heck is a $1.72 tip, really?

Never tip less than $3. That’s just a joke.

Now the scale: Bill: $100 – tip $20.

Simple as that. So, bill: $50 – Tip $10. Bill: $25 – Tip $5. Anything less than $15 – Tip $3.

That should be the fair gratuity for a good service. It goes the same way up. Every $50 should be a $10 tip. No exceptions. If your bill is $225, and you leave $20, I’d be upset, and now my day would be all thrown off and probably ruined. Don’t do that to your server.

What comes around goes around. Be generous.


June 28, 2010

@#194! Thank you for pointing out that servers have to tip out! Sure, I might make the typical 20 percent of total sales for my wages for the night, but then I have to tip out 5 percent of alcohol sales to the bartenders (who might have been slow as molasses resulting in upset customers who didn’t get their drinks in a timely fashion, thus resulting in a smaller tip), then bussers, 1 percent of total sales, and food runners 2 percent of sales.

Let’s just say that I had $500 dollars in sales resulting in $100 in tips that I made. But I had $100 in alcohol sales, so there goes 5 bucks to the bartender, 5 bucks to the busser, and 10 bucks to the food runner. So I really didn’t make 100 bucks, but rather 80.

Take this into consideration you stingy diners! Sure you may leave me 15 percent, but I really only see about 8-10 percent of it at the end of the night. So that 5 bucks you left me is only 3. And I probably busted my butt for you to increase my tip.

And don’t even get me started on a paycheck! My employer takes taxes out of the paycheck I would get, therefore I never have a paycheck because the taxes cancel out any other sort of income that I would have received.

If your sever is kind, caring, attentive to your needs and can gauge your table, your attitude and your personality, they will be able to change along with you and make themselves a great fit to your table and your needs. Let them know ahead of time if there is a birthday or a special occasion, because we will take the extra effort to be even more attentive.

But if we do provide exceptional service, reward us for it, because it will be greatly appreciated and remembered!


June 28, 2010

Tipping is one of my pet peeves also. I don’t like tipping, but it’s not to fault the wait staff. I just don’t think it’s right that a restaurant owner can get away with paying servers lower than minimum wage.

Why does the customer have to make up the difference when it should be the restaurant’s responsibility to pay their employees appropriately? I have worked hard and many long hours with no extra compensation at my jobs, and I don’t get any tips.

Servers should do a good job so that they keep their jobs and get increases in pay because of good performance. Why is the service industry treated differently than other industries?

I don’t tip the checkout clerks in retail and they are serving me too, right?


June 28, 2010

This article seems so contradictory. Isn’t serving food serving food? Why should I pay more because I ordered a steak instead of a hot dog? Someone still has to carry one plate to me. If the cook is the one who prepares it, why would I tip the server extra for carrying it to me?

Same with the wine. If I order a $100 bottle of wine, I am going to tip you the same as if I bought a $10 bottle. The server’s job is the same either way.

If I feel so inclined maybe I would send a letter to the winery that made it and tell them how good it was. I think tipping has gotten out of control and I get the same service at Perkins as I do many nice restaurants. Why should I tip more? It’s the same amount of work.


June 28, 2010

TIP (To Insure Promptness) It is not an absolute right of passage to give a tip. However, it has become a source of income, not service! Servers deliver the food that waitresses and waiters take from the table. The coordination is rarely uniform and they still want their tip. In Europe and elsewhere it is not routine to leave a tip unless it is deserved.


June 28, 2010

I agree with “anon7666” in comment 12. I don’t tip based on some percentage amount. I leave a tip based on the quality of service provided alone, which I only slightly correlate to the cost on the bill.

If you were a terrible waiter, you’re lucky if you get a couple dollars and the pennies that I want to clean out of the bottom of my purse. However, if you’re a phenomenal waiter I’ll tip you accordingly. I recently ate at a diner and the server was excellent. I gave him a $7 tip for a meal that came to a grand total of $18. That’s almost 40 percent, if you’re curious. I also ate at a restaurant once where our server turned out to be a friend of my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend from high school (we’re in our twenties).

Still obviously harboring some ill-will, the girl brought us our food and threw it down on the table, turned abruptly, and walked away without a word. Little Miss Sassy earned herself a $0 tip.

The price on the bill does not dictate to me how much my server deserves, their attitude and work ethic does. I don’t really care if you’re having a bad day. Fake it. I’ll give a good tip to a faker, because then I can at least see that even though you’re stressed you’re still putting in the effort to do your job right and pleasantly.


June 28, 2010

I’m sorry my typing is absolute rubbish. Managers should pay properly.

Imagine going to a shop (where the staff also have to put on a “happy happy” attitude) and you buy a phone and they expect 20 percent on top of what you paid. Restaurants should either put up the prices and pay their staff properly or staff should refuse to work there and get a normal paying job.

It’s unfair to pressure customers into paying more than the advertised price to eat in the restaurant. I don’t buy the rubbish that it’s so hard for waiters. It’s a job and you get paid to do what’s required of you.

If you don’t like the pay, bloody quit. Don’t gripe about the customers. We are not your boss and we are not employing you to do anything. Remember that i don’t care if you smile at me and say lovely day — that’s just common decency, and if you think that’s a chore i feel really sorry for you.


June 28, 2010

I have a question. Last time I was at Chinese restaurant in Manhattan. we had nice food, nice service.

We had bill of $150, plus tax, plus a service charge of $20-$30. It explaines in the bill that service charge includes the waiter’s tip, so, we paid the bill in full and still left couple of dollars on the table.

The service charge is becoming very common. How do we know if the waiter gets this money?


June 28, 2010

In some states, like New Jersey (where I’m from), hourly wage is $2.13 per hour! We heavily rely on tipping, unfortunately! So, if service is good we hope that we will be compensated appropriately. If service is bad, well then that’s our own fault.

Some patrons do not realize that we do not get to keep all of our tips either. In most cases, servers are required to tip out a percentage to bussers, hostesses, bartenders or food runners, which could be up to about 3 percent of our sales. So, on a night where we bring in $1000 in sales, we tip out 3 percent which is $30. If we made 15 percent tips on that $1000 in sales, it’s $150, minus $30 tipout, so it comes to $120 for the night. That may sound great to those who don’t serve, but for us servers who just spent a double shift trying to make that in 12 hours, on our feet all day, sometimes without a break… thanks!


June 28, 2010

You have to be out of your mind if you think I’m going to blindly give 15 percent of the bill for a tip if the service was not acceptable.

I’ve been at restaurants where I’ve given 5 percent, and I’ve also given 25 percent before. Generally I double the tax and that’s the tip.

I know the waiter has a job to do, but people like myself only go to restaurants when we have enough money to do so, so this is a special occasion for us.

If you treat my visit like I’m visiting a fast food restaurant, expect 5 percent.


June 28, 2010

Tipping 10-15 percent is nuts! Tipping $1 a drink is ridiculous! I was a waiter and regularly got 15-20 percent in tips. I still tip today but I live in a country where people don’t tip and they make pennies per hour! Someone please tell me how the restaurant owners get a way with paying below minimum wage? This is crap! Why do patrons have to supplement the salaries of staff?


June 28, 2010

To all the servers, it’s your job to serve the food, refill glasses, deliver condiments upon request, etc. That is what a waiter or waitress does! If you don’t want to do this then you shouldn’t have taken the job.

Plus, where tips are concerned, I don’t get a tip where I work for performing a good day’s work. I haven’t gotten a raise in four years. You complain about your pay, well go find something else. If you can’t find something else then you will just have to deal with it. Life’s not fair so stop whining and make the best of it like the rest of the real world.

Probably those servers who are good at their jobs (and don’t cry about a tip) are the ones who get good tips and probalby make good money off it. If you work at a place where you have to combine your tips then tough luck. Go somewhere else.

I see all the time places hiring servers so don’t tell me there’s nowhere else to go to.


June 28, 2010

To put things in a bigger perspective: The whole tipping thing is such a big issue only in America. We people in the rest of the world do not feel the same way as you do.

We feel that you Americans are spoiling our local economy by blatant overtipping and raising expectations from servers in our countries, which makes it very hard for the vast majority of people in the world. Also, we feel cheated when we are “expected” to tip 15 percent or 20 percent when we visit your country.

My reasoning is very simple – the price on the menu is the price I expect to pay for a meal. Tipping is entirely my discretion – certainly not something that a server can demand or expect as a fundamental right.

The restaurant industry in America has largely created this problem by underpaying their servers and brainwashing them into believing that the customer is somehow responsible for paying part of their salary.

Imagine if a BPO worker in Bangalore expected you to tip them for every piece of information provided accurately and promptly, or if a policeman in London expected a tip for giving you directions, or an airline stewardess expected a tip for making safety announcements. Damn it, that’s what they are paid to do – it’s part of the job! Anything extra has to be earned by giving something extra in return – not just for performing the core duties of the job.

To all you restaurant customers out there: Don’t ever let any server pressure you into tipping if you don’t think it’s necessary. Change starts from within you.


June 28, 2010

I have been in the food and beverage industry for 15 years, in all aspects of it. I have learned a whole lot about people in this time. And over the course of these years, I have worked in many types of establishments, ranging from casual dining to five-star hotel restaurants.

One thing that is consistent across the board whether I was the server, the bartender, or the manager, or even the busser is that my job really has no real product other then your satisfaction.

Yes, I do provide food and drinks to you but my job is to make you happy. But it’s really difficult to make you happy when you don’t have certain knowledge about dining out. So to help your next server out I will try to give you a few pointers.

First, there is a difference between a tip and a gratuity. A tip is optional and should be given reflective of the service rendered. A gratuity is compulsory and should be counted as part of the cost of the meal. This is done in circumstances of large parties or room service and is often put into a pool and divided among the staff.

When you have a gratuity on your bill do not ask “The tip is included, right?” because it’s not. Instead ask “Does this gratuity go to you directly?”

Second, your server is a professional and should be treated like they know what they are doing until they prove otherwise. I don’t go into your office and tell you how to do your job, so don’t come into mine and tell me how to do mine. If you want an angry server, start telling them what to do.

Third, when we come to your table and ask “Is there anything else I can do for you right now?” tell us everything that you need, and do not force us to run back and forth to the kitchen for 17 sides/condiments in as many trips.

We can carry more then one item at a time and often have more going on than you may see. We are busy!

Fourth, read the menu! Don’t ask “What’s good?” I am not going to work somewhere that I don’t like the food I am serving. If something sounds good ask about it.

Fifth, if you are dining with a large group (five or more people), tell us early on in the meal that you want separate checks. Especially at lunch time when you are in a hurry. Because then we can be ready with your bills when you are ready to pay not waste our time and yours having to split it up when you need to be getting back to the office or whatnot.

Sixth, if you have an allergy or religious requirement make sure that we know about it. I don’t want to serve you a baked potato that has been cooked with bacon grease on it if you have a religious requirement not to eat swine. And then have you get mad at me because I accidentally made you sin. Just communicate to us about those things.

Seventh, I am going to fill your beverage for you when you need it. It is not necessary to call me over to tell me you need more iced tea. I can see your table and know when you need new drinks.

Eighth, water is a beverage! When I ask you if you would like any beverages and you say “No thanks I’ll just have some water.” It makes me curious what you are going to do with the water if not drink it.

I hope that you enjoy your dining experiences. Because I do enjoy taking care of you. And if you are ever unsure of how much to tip, try this formula: double the tax, add that amount to the total, and round up to the nearest whole dollar. If this total is over $50, round to the nearest increment of five. And if the total is over $200 round to the nearest increment of twenty.

Your server will remember you when you visit again if you leave a good tip or if you leave a bad tip. And you will get appropriate service based on your last tip. Good tip=good service. Even if you don’t get the same server, remember we talk to each other.

And one last thing. Watch the movie “Waiting.” Learn the lessons in it.


June 28, 2010

I have been a server for over two years now. In Florida, servers make $4.23/hr + tips, which must be declared as income at the end of the night. I took a pedometer to work one night and found that on an 8-hour dinner shift, I walk about 50 miles.

If you clear your plate and then complain about the food, you are out of luck. I will let the manager know right after I print out your check. If you come in and order 15 minutes before we close, pay attention to the screaming coming from the kitchen. Not only do I have to deal with your crap, but I have to take crap from the people preparing your food.

I do not rely on my paycheck. It is gravy. I rely on the money that I make day-to-day from my tips. I also have a 3 percent tip-out to the house that comes out of my pocket, based on my sales. Let’s say I have $500 in sales. That translates to a tip-out of $15. Where I work, that means that after 8 hours, I walk out with about $70 on a good night.


June 28, 2010

My daughter is a waitress. When she eats out, she tells me that her tip starts at 15 percent and goes down depending on the service. This is how she tells me to gauge the tip I leave.

As far as this is how you pay your bills, when I hired into my job, I was told how much the position paid. If I have an exceptionally good day, I don’t make any more money, just as if I have a bad day I catch hell from my employer. Too many bad days and I lose my job. You are paid to do the job.

A tip reflects the ‘above and beyond’ that you do. The tip is a reward, and if you expect it just because you are waitstaff, you either need to change your attitude or get into a different profession. You accepted the job to begin with knowing what it pays. If you want the tip, earn it!

I work hard for my paycheck and I don’t feel that I should tip you for subpar service just because you feel that you are expected to receive it.


June 28, 2010

So tips next year will be mandated by the help at 23-25 percent.

Got news for you pampered servers: anytime you get over 15 percent, you had better remember that customer and treat them well.


June 28, 2010

This article and many of the posts are frustrating to read. I have worked in the service industry for over 10 years and have always strove to give great service no matter the job.

I have been in inbound call centers answering calls and helping resolve issues or answering questions.

I have also worked in restaurants doing jobs from busing tables, washing dishes, cooking the food, or serving. I have waited on some truly wonderful people to wait on and I have waited on some of the most rude and inconsiderate people I have ever encountered.

I have had children throw up on my table, asked me to clean it up (to clarify: they did not ask for a towel so they could clean it, I was expected to clean the mess) and received a 10 percent tip. I have also had babies have explosions in their pants which made a mess all over the high chair.

One particular mother proceeded to clean up the child, quickly pay the bill, and bolted while leaving a $2 tip and then I noticed the trail left on the floor around and in the high chair.

This is not a an everyday occurrence, nor a normal part of the service I give, yet it is still my responsibility to ensure that my section, tables and the surrounding floor is clean of trash, food or anything else that you may leave behind.

Please be courteous to your server and do not leave human excrement of any kind for them to clean up. It is disgusting!


June 28, 2010

I am a single mother of three and have been a server in numerous restaurants from fine dining to waiting on President George W. Bush to working in corporate restaurants. I have worked in this business for well over 10 years and am only 32 years old and I just want to say to some of you ignorant people.

The tips you leave your server and how much your tab is and how you can decide what to send and I do not even think we should tip our servers: You disgust me. How would you like me to come to your workplace get some kind of work that you specialize in and not pay you?

I just did not feel like it. This is our profession. You came, you ate so do your job and tip. I make 3.40 and hour and probably still make more than most of these ignorant people that think it is an option.

To the person that says in other countries they do not even tip and it is an insult, move there! Obviously you are too cheap to do anything more than order off the dollar menu.

We are hard working individuals who impress your girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, husband, or co workers. We remember a bad tipper forever and just wait — what kind of service you will get when you walk back into the establishment? Shame on you.

I am so disappointed in my American family.

To all the servers, bartenders, bussers, hostesses and food runners, go ahead and make that money. We will still make more than half of these people who live in ignorance.


June 28, 2010

I have to echo someone else here as to the irony that servers, for the most part, think tips should be required and at a higher rate than those who are non-servers.

I myself have never been a server in a restaurant and don’t have a problem with the rules of tipping in general. However, I have worked in the service industry for 20-plus years and have never received a tip in my industry, nor has anyone else.

I do think that tipping should be discretionary and to be honest, but it’s gotten a little out of hand in the US. I have traveled abroad quite often and find that as another noted above, many countries are offended if we try to tip there. In one case, I had a bartender in Ireland hand me my money back and tell me to keep it for the American bartenders – that he was happy to serve me, it was his job and he got paid for it.

On another trip abroad, we were on a tour through Italy and had multiple people from other countries tell us that Americans have made it difficult on the travel front, because we tip for everything – even if service was bad. I’m not sure how it is that any of the servers noted above are making less than the federal minimum wage? Is that even legal? At any rate, the argument from the servers is that they are doing such and such, or such and such, to serve you and that it’s difficult to deal with customers.

Well, what about everyone else who works in the service industry? They are doing the same thing. Sure, you see a ‘tip jar’ at the local coffee shop (though not when I was a teenager working there or at a yogurt shop in the 80’s), or car wash, etc. but where do we draw the line?

I can get my cash from an ATM, so does that mean that I should tip the teller for assisting me with my transaction, or doing more for me than I asked? Or, how would we feel if we called any servicing department of any company and were then expected to tip after the fact? They are “serving” us too.

Or, how about the cashier and bag boy at the local market? Or the guy at Home Depot who helped me find all the stuff I needed for my home project? In all of these cases and more, its the nature of the industry – if you work in a servicing industry – its what you do. You serve the customer. The only difference is what is being served.

Working with people is hard, no doubt – no matter if you are serving them food, coffee, money, a clean car, health care, information, or ‘stuff’ – customers are generally difficult and want what they want, when they want it. So where do we stop? Service employees should be paid fair wages by their employer to do the job and tips should be on top of that for service that exceeds the expectation, or makes the experience better.

They should not be mandatory – that’s why they call it a tip/gratuity. Look it up – its defined as a voluntary additional payment for services rendered.


June 28, 2010

fake service that’s all it is.


June 20, 2010

Let’s not forget the responsibility of management to hire decent servers. Remember that for every hard-working server there are several who are just plain rude (in my city anyway).

Last night I took my girlfriend out to a restaurant for a couple of drinks. We each had two glasses of prosecco — that’s it. The waiter was slow, made no attempt at eye contact with me and proceeded to mildly flirt with my girlfriend. I left a $5 tip for our four drinks and was asked upon leaving very smugly, “Was something wrong with the service?”. Now, in a city of options, I’m not one to make a big deal, and it’s not my job to point out to management the shortcomings of staff, I therefore will simply never go back to that establishment. It’s simple, and although that server could care less if I come back or not, if a business is losing customers because of the people that work there, it will not last very long.


May 25, 2010

To any person who thinks that your server should be grateful for any tip they give you, or that your server is paid to serve you, or that you dine out to take in the experience and not have to deal with the waiter…

So that means I can be slow with your food and take my time. I’ll never come and check on you. I will not come to refill your drink. I refuse to help you in any way, shape, or form. If you don’t want to deal with me, then I guess I do not have to deal with you. I’ll take my 0 percent tip because I would not have earned any better no matter what I did.

To those who believe that “it’s the waiter’s fault if my food isn’t prepared properly” –

I suppose if you hire a landscaping company, it’s the fault of the people who dig the holes that your yard doesn’t look as beautiful as it should? That’s the same exact logic that you just used here.

I worked as a server for eight months. In that time, I somehow found myself as a shift manager, regularly closing the restaurant, and working nearly full-time for what was originally only supposed to be a part-time job. I was a responsible young male who actually determined to set out and do for other people exactly how I would expect to be served.

I want a server who is polite, apologetic for his/her mistakes, and very prompt. If my food is slow, then it’s okay if you – as my server – inform me that something’s gone awry. It’s not always going to lie on the shoulders of the person who is bringing you your food (and checking to make sure your needs in the restaurant are met, and ensuring you are dining in a clean location, and communicating your desires to an entire group of other people, and making sure your desires are met with in a timely manner, all while doing the same for a half-dozen other tables) when something goes wrong with your order.

I’ve found that waiting tables, even for that short time, has given me a whole new light on the job. I would like to challenge any person here who believes that “serving is not a real job” or that “waiting on tables is something that doesn’t deserve a tip unless you, the customer, feels inclined to do so” to go out and wait on tables for a week. Work the exact same shifts as any server in a restaurant you frequent. See how you feel at the end of the day.

I would normally go home and fall right into my bed, only to get up the next morning and rinse and repeat. Waiting tables is not only a stressful job, but one that requires an entire set of quality skills. You need to learn patience, social interactions (and social graces!) while being a hard worker with the understanding that you may end the day with a really terrible wage (I’ve ended eight hour shifts with $11 for the night because of slow nights).

Just because you aren’t expected to pay my bills doesn’t mean I expect that you won’t tip me. Just don’t forget that the next time you go to an establishment, your waiters do keep tabs on you. If you don’t tip well, don’t expect your service to be “good” because most waiters will agree that you don’t need to give good service if your work won’t be appreciated.

If I see Jill give Customer A great service and get a really low tip and then see John give Customer A sub-par service and get a really low tip, why should I now play my A-game for Customer A when the C-game will do?


April 5, 2010

I cannot, for the life of me, understand why the price isn’t the price. Just put one price on the menu and that’s it. No hidden charges. No “service” tips. That’s all fake.

Pay the waiting staff a real wage and expect from them good service for all customers. If they don’t serve well – fire them. I hate the whole false and greedy world of tipping. It is a such a wrong thing.

I don’t go to restaurants as a result. I just don’t go. Tipping should be prohibited. It promotes partiality. It’s wrong.


April 1, 2010

#205, it’s an honor that somebody would take an interest in learning what is and isn’t a good tip. The best thing to do is to decide on whether the service was great or good. With a large bill, the best thing to do is calculate 20 percent of the total amount. If you thought the service was just OK, then 15 percent would suffice.


April 1, 2010

To #202, the server’s job is to get the drink order, submit the food order, take the food order to the customer, give the customer condiments only if they were requested, and keep their section clean.

If you are going for the experience, you better be sure that the restaurant is not busy because if it is busy, expect at least one or two things to go wrong.

Keep in mind, it’s a very stressful job. If something is wrong with the food, ask to speak to the manager so that the cooks will be informed of this problem. Don’t take it out on the server. The only time it could be the server’s fault is if he/she submitted the wrong order or intentionally brought you the wrong order.

I didn’t realize a lot of the work overload that servers go through until I starting serving myself and I must say, the job is extremely physically taxing.

So to those of you who think our job is easy, you have it all wrong. The tasks are simple, but not easy.


March 10, 2010

#202: Do not assume that it is the server’s job to check the food. At the restaurant that I work at there is often a person standing on the line checking food and sending it to the table. If I am busy, I do not get to run the food to my own tables. Of course, if there is a food issue I will do everything possible to correct the issue.


March 1, 2010

Oh no, I think I made a mistake recently when I went out to eat! I was told in my life skills class at school that a tip for pretty good service is 15%. But now everyone’s saying it’s 20%. Did I insult the waitress by doing 15%? If so, I’ll have something to say to my teacher – she needs to update her class!


February 28, 2010

Dear Post 205: a $228 bill would come out to a tip of $45 for 20 percent or excellent service;

$41 for 18 percent or really good service; $34 for 15 percent or good service, or less for sub par service.

$34 should be the minimum for good service though, if the food was good, brought to you in a timely manner, if you didn’t have to wait around for everything, and if your server was good then this should be the tip on this size bill.

The reason this is so different from doubling the tax could be if you bought a lot of alcohol which wasn’t taxed, or something along those lines. I tell people to use their calculator on their phones to figure out the percentage.

Or if you have no phone round and multiply, if your bill was $200 you want to take everything but the last zero and double it- so 20 doubled would be 40, which would be a 20 percent tip on a $200 bill, and 10 percent would be half of that- $20, so you know that 15 percent would be $30.


February 28, 2010

I wonder how the restaurant managers feel about servers giving away stuff to customers, i.e. stealing from their employer.


February 23, 2010

I took my family out to eat at a nice southern restaurant. There was five of us. The food was great and the service was excellent.

My bill came to $228, the tax was $19. My mom told me to double the tax as a rule of thumb. I tipped the waitress $32, but she tried to bring some change back in the book. I told her to keep it, and she looked a bit surprised. My husband thought the tip was a bit too generous. Can anybody tell me if I tipped too big (because there is such a thing) or did I tip well? I want to go back to the restaurant soon and don’t want to look like a fool.



In California, servers earn the state minimum wage, so a lot of these complaints about making $3.80/hour and needing my tip are moot here.

I’ve been a server, and I worked my butt off for my customers – besides being friendly even when horribly hungover or in a bad mood or whatever, yes I cleaned and bused tables, made sure the condiments were clean and in working order, all the stuff people are mentioning here. However, I never expected a tip.

I was in the service industry. Besides cleaning (which many restaurants have a busser to do, not the wait staff) and serving, I felt I had a responsibility to make the person’s time in my restaurant enjoyable. I don’t know about these entitled servers whining about having bad days, but I can’t afford to eat out very often, and when I do it’s a special occasion.

If I just wanted some slop thrown at me I could stay home or go to some sleazy diner, but I chose to go to your restaurant to be treated well and have an experience, not just to be lazy. If you provide a crappy experience, I will provide a crappy tip – along with a note as to why I was not generous, a post on Yelp, comments to my friends, and I will not go back.

I usually give the benefit of the doubt and leave at least 15 percent (mostly hoping it goes to the cooks, dishwashers, bussers, etc.), but tips should not be expected, they should be earned. If you can’t afford to be a halfway decent service person, find another industry.


February 11, 2010

I am a waitress at a small diner, small but good. Everything is homemade and you get huge portions for the money you pay. I saw in an earlier comment that prices are inflated and you should tip more at breakfast and lunch that is bull!

You have to think of a waiter as self employed. Sure we get 3.75 (or half of min. wage) but that doesn’t pay the bills. It should be based on the experience, but you should also keep into account that this is someone’s job! People have good days and bad days.

Waiters are kind of like actors. No matter what, we have to smile and be nice, even if you have come in before and haven’t left a tip. We don’t always remember you but we will if you don’t tip or tip badly. And we will tell the others. I have had people stiff me and it is disgusting and makes me angry, and your service will reflect it the next time you come in.

There is so much more to waiting tables then just taking an order and bringing out the food and making sure everything is all right. Even if it wasn’t a pleasant experience they still did a service for you, so leave a tip and tell the manager the problem you had.

For me I am happy with 20 percent. More and I knew that it was really enjoyable, and you too will be remembered the next time that you come in.

You have got to look at things through the eyes of the waitress: how long have you been sitting there taking up a table? How busy is it? Did you make them run back and forth a million and a half times? And yes, I do believe a tip is an expected thing, not a reward. It is how I pay my bills and feed myself, but it is also how I pay for college.

Just a thought here: what would you think if, at the end of the week your paycheck was only $50? You would think that a tip is expected and not a reward, wouldn’t you? Oh– and I can make more working as a waitress then I have any other job. So those of you who look down on me, kiss it.

On average I make about $15-$16 an hour (that is through this winter and in this economy. it will be at least double that come this spring and summer.) I know carpenters who work for less, hell teachers work for less.

Sometimes it is just the most practical way to earn a living, but that doesn’t make us less than you because we don’t have a 9-5 job.

I bet that just about every waiter has more people skills in their little pinky than most charismatic people have in their entire body.


February 10, 2010

I disagree that the tip is just for the service. The tip is for both the food and the service. Your server is your representation to the kitchen.

If the kitchen serves up a substandard plate of slop, it is the server’s job to refuse to server and have the kitchen correct it.

I usually tip better than 20 percent but will tip less if the food is wrong, cold, ill-prepared etc.

It is the server’s responsibility to make sure I have high quality food. I just never have to ruin my evening out with having to send food back. Dining out is supposed to be a pleasant experience.


February 6, 2010

If I sit at a table in the kitchen area of a restaurant, should I also be leaving a tip for (or giving it to) the cooks? If so, what percent? They sent over a little extra food for us to sample, but when we got up to leave there was a whole group of servers and other staff standing around.

I don’t even know if the cook can touch the money, since he is handling the food. I felt terrible leaving that night after a great meal at a new place. We intend to go back and I want to be better prepared this time. Thanks for any advice.


17 hours ago

I am a server, and I don’t know when this posting was originally written, but the average accepted tip amount is now 18 percent. I agree that sometimes a server does not do a fantastic job, and maybe, maybe 15 percent is warranted.

And to those arrogant people who say it’s not your job to pay my bills, I should go to college or get a better paying job, maybe you should stop eating out.

If people ate at home there would be no need for my service, which, look down on me though you may, you still come to demand.

it’s simple. If I do my job, I am working for you. This means that yes, it is indeed, your responsibility to make sure I get what is just and fair.


January 7, 2010

So, to all of you people that say get out of serving if you don’t make enough, you are fooling yourselves! You people are arrogant, and probably look down on people too.

Yes, I am a server, and I do realize that people have their own ambitions, but really — get a clue. I do get offended when people leave me bad tips because I bust my butt for you. Good/great tips far outweigh the bad ones, but I definitely take it personally. I just laugh at you people (especially regulars) that tip crappy and continue coming back.

Just remember what goes around comes around, and servers don’t forget the faces of you cheapskates. 🙂


December 30, 2009

two words: reservoir dogs.



i think that the amount of money you pay as a tip should depend on how well you were served.

if the person was an excellent waiter then a good tip should be left. but if the waiter was very awful then a little or even no tip should be left! at all!


December 13, 2009

The comments on this article really irked me. I honestly can’t believe that people are that cheap, I mean I can, because I’ve worked as a server for three years.

Tipping should not be optional. As someone on here mentioned, even if your server isn’t the best of servers, there are things that she does to make your dining experience different from that of eating at your home or at McDonald’s. Even the most minimal of services that your server provides to you require gratitude. If you don’t want to give her gratitude for cleaning your table, making sure your silverware is at your table, bringing your food to you, bringing your drinks to you and refilling them when they are low, making sure that your salt and pepper shakers are full and clean from the last person who sat at your table, making sure the ketchup bottle doesn’t have crusty old ketchup on the lid, if you don’t want to be grateful for even those minimal things, then go to McDonald’s or stay home.

And for those of you who keep saying that servers should work for someone who pays them minimum wage, I have a rude awakening for you. Servers never make minimum wage, sorry, it doesn’t happen. You can complain all you want about having to tip, but I guess it all comes back to if you can’t tip, do the sit down restaurant industry a favor and stay home.

The restaurant itself provides you with the drinks, the food, the plates, the silverware and all of the tangible items, that is what your bill is.

The service that you get to receive all of those things, how you receive them and how they are presented to you, is provided by the server, therefore you should pay them as well.

Again, if you don’t want those extra perks of being waited on, stay home or go to McDonald’s plan and simple.


November 20, 2009

Consider that many countries don’t tip at all. Some servers in these cultures will even get offended if you tip them.

I see that each comment here is biased depending on whether you are the server or the consumer. I would never tip more than what I make an hour for my portion of the bill. The barista at the local Starbucks may get a 40 percent tip while the waiter at an expensive steakhouse may get 7 percent.

Let’s not make rules, let the dynamics of economics and human conscience move us accordingly.


November 20, 2009

First, servers and people who get tips live off of them. They don’t get minimum wage, most of the time their hourly wages are $3.80 at the highest. Also, they don’t get 100 percent of the tips anyone leaves them. They are required to tip out bussers, food runners, expo, bartenders, etc., whether they helped in the process of your dining experience or not. Yes, this means even if you didn’t order that martini because it was too expensive, your server has to give the bartenders a percentage of the tip you left them.

We all know you have that tip calculator on your phone. Sweet, so you won’t have to do the math. Sorry, but that tip calculator cannot judge how the server performed.

Yes, 15 percent is average and acceptable, but never all that you can give. tips should be based on that 15 percent and more. Like whether or not your server was fully attentive and friendly. If your server was unfriendly and failed to do common server aspects, round down on the tip, or even take a dollar off. So, 15 percent is common, but is not expected in all cases. Don’t leave 15 percent if the experience was less then expected based fully on the server’s job. They can’t help it if your order is cold or takes long — talk with the cooks, not them.

Most of the time, if you have a nice server, and they don’t charge your for a soda, or even dessert, they didn’t “forget” — they were simply being generous, especially if you have a larger bill or if you’re really nice, so tip them extra! This meaning, yes, you’ll have a lot of really good servers, but if you get one that goes completely out of their way to make you happy, or is extra friendly to you, or is really nice to your children, tip extra.

You are not limited to a 15 percent tip!

If you have a coupon for 25 percent off your bill, tip on the original bill!

If you and a girlfriend are just going out for appetizers and a few sodas, your bill will probably be $30 at the highest, but we all know you guys are going to sit there for, at a minimum, an hour after you’ve finished eating. In the time that you’ve finished eating to the time that you actually leave, two tables could have sat there, ate and tipped. So don’t leave 15 percent on $30 because you just interfered with that server who could have had two more tables and two more tips.

Gratuity at restaurants varies. At some places its parties of five or more and at other places its eight or more. Don’t just assume the gratuity is added in the bill. Read it, or ask your server.

Gratuity is usually 18 percent of the bill. But, if a bunch of guys go out and are ordering bar drinks and working the server hard, tipping over the gratuity is appropriate. You can always leave more then what gratuity says, if you feel the server did better then average.

Just because you ordered a carry-out, does not mean you don’t have to tip. Look around, if you see hostesses(sp?) or carry-out personnel, they are the ones that most likely packaged all food, made desserts, got drinks, and put your order together.

I’m not saying tip 15 percent, but even just a dollar is okay. It’s just to acknowledge they did work to put everything together for you thoroughly and double-checked you order for completeness.

When going out to eat, use your head! Don’t be overly-generous, but if someone goes way out of their way for you, do the same for them!

Lastly, if you don’t have enough money to leave at least a 15 percent tip, then you do not have enough money to go out to eat. stay home!


November 19, 2009

15 percent is still a good tip. Remember restaurant bills are inflated so 15 percent is correct. As for a four-star restaurant, their prices are even more inflated.

If anything, there should be a higher percentage for restaurants like Applebee’s etc.

If you think about it, breakfast and lunch are the meals that the wait personnel really hustle. The bill is lower so the tip is lower. So breakfast and lunch should be a higher percent tip. But I repeat, 15 percent is an appropriate tip, because of inflated menu costs.


November 19, 2009

Here’s the bottom line: If you decide to go some place and either drink, eat, or both, always remember to tip your bartender or server! It’s as plain and simple as that! If you don’t want to tip the bartender or server, stay home! No one likes a cheapskate.


November 4, 2009

I am shocked at the way people refuse to tip, you should all be ashamed of yourselves! No matter what the bill is tip 20 percent, if bad service 15. If you spend 100, 250, or 1000, tip the percent! There should never be a minimum on what one tips, always go percent. What has happened to people, when did we get to the point that we refuse to reward someone justly (not 10 percent) for hard work. Bottom line, you go out to eat, you get a service, you get a service, you pay for it!


November 4, 2009

Wow, what a bunch of cheap people on this site. The wisegeek is completely uninformed about tipping percentages. I live and work in NYC in the service industry and the standard in NYC is 20 percent if you have any class and aren’t a cheapskate. As a service worker I typically tip well above 20 percent, but that’s just me, and that’s because I know that servers rely on their tips (due to federally regulated wages for servers/bartenders). If the restaurant were to raise their wages –guess what — you would be paying more for your food and drink so that the owners could compensate for that increase in wages. Think about that before you decide to stiff your server because it isnn’t your problem that the government decided they have to work for tips.


November 4, 2009

The problem with tips is that people expect them. A tip should be a reward for something done that is extraordinary. I’m sorry, there is a reason why these jobs are minimum wage! You’re not supposed to be making 40 grand a year by waitering. If you complain about how little the customer tips, then talk to the CEO who is making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year off of your sweat and hard work. Tips should never be about the cost of the food, especially when the workload is about the same.


November 3, 2009

Most obscene discussion I have read. If you cannot make a living being a server, get another job. There are other people who will do the work. Your salary is the responsibility of the owner. If all you servers feel that the customer has to make up your boss’s refusal to pay you a fair wage, you are fooling yourself. As to those of you who say the price of the meals would go up, if you think we must tip 15-25 percent for your service, the total cost of the meal would be the same. You just could not hide any of your income from the IRS.


November 1, 2009

I have worked in the restaurant industry for 20 years now and simply must comment on this subject. I have done everything from waitressing to bartending to management to general manager.

I was taught from a very young age that the word “tips” stands for To Insure Prompt Service. A tip is a gratuity.

Now that I’ve said that, let me also say that as a waitress or bartender your tip is my paycheck. You are paying me for services rendered. If you don’t feel it necessary to tip then you should probably go to a self-service restaurant where you can mix your own drinks, cook your own meal, serve yourself your own plate, and clear your own table when your finished eating, and then go to the kitchen and wash your own dirty dishes. Then you can wipe down the table, and all the condiment bottles that are greasy and dripping from your sloppy usage. Then you can sweep and vacuum from under your own messy table. I know, you are going to say all this is the server’s job. I am inclined to agree with you, and that is why I tip them for these services they render to me. Servers make sure my table is clean, that my utensils are clean and maybe even neatly rolled in a napkin, that my condiments are clean and filled. They clear my table of dirty dishes, they make sure that if I order a filet mignon I don’t get a new york strip. Unfortunately, they cannot guarantee the quality of food or the way it is prepared. These things the are the responsibility of the restaurant, the manager, and the kitchen staff.

Some of you in your comments have tried to compare a salaried or hourly paid job with that of a server. There is no comparison. I have always worked 4-5, 8 hour shifts, sometimes double shifts (open to close) at $2.13 an hour. Without the graciousness of so many wonderful customers over the years I would not have been able to remain a server for very long if I had to rely on that paycheck. Tipping customers are what pay my bills. Some of you say to ask my employer for a raise. Well, let me put it to you this way — technically *you* are my employer. Without you to serve I have no job. I am in the service industry. My service is what keeps you coming back. If you had to do these things yourself you would stay at home and my services would no longer be needed.

As for the recommended amount to tip, the industry standard is 18 percent and has been for some time now. I can’t imagine tipping less than the standard for any reason. Because I am in the business I always tip 25 percent for good service. 18 percent is reserved for sub standard service. But that’s me and I am not suggesting everyone should tip like me. But I do suggest that everyone should tip the standard. If you feel you need to make a point to your server that you did not receive good service then I suggest 15 percent but under no circumstances do I suggest less than that. I would also advise that you point out to your server what he or she did wrong to displease you and let them know you have shown your dissatisfaction in your tip. I assure you if you return your server will remember and strive to correct their mistake.

Someone said here that if they get bad service they are sure to write 0.00 on the tip line to make a point. I would love to know what that person does for a living so I could make an accurate comparison but since I don’t know I a can only make an educated comparison. That comparison would be this: you’re a cashier. At the end of the day you find your register tape has a few errors on it. You rang something up wrong. Your till is short and you have to pay the $3.00 shortage. That day you also had a customer upset because you used plastic instead of paper to bag their things. This same customer was upset because you put their cleaning supplies in the same bag as their unwrapped fruits and vegetables. Now these are not large enough mistakes to get you fired but your boss decides to make a point and your paycheck shows $0.00. Probably not a very good comparison but I think you can understand what I’m getting at. Your tips are our paycheck. You sitting at my table for an hour eating and drinking is taking up my time and energy and if nothing else, taking away a chance for me to make a tip from someone else who could be sitting at my table who will be tipping me for my service. So, if you use any of my services: sitting at my clean table, using one grain of salt from my clean and full shaker, squeezing one drop of ketchup from my bottle, spilling one crumb onto my floor, putting one utensil to your mouth, drinking from my glass, eating off the plate I bring you, wiping your mouth with my napkin, enjoying one morsel of the food I bring to your table, sharing in any form of conversation with me, then *tip* me!!! Otherwise stay at home and have your momma do these things for you!


November 1, 2009

Who decides who should be tipped?

The owner of a beauty salon no, but individual stylists yes?

Garbage man yes, receptionist no?

House cleaner yes, Handyman no?


October 11, 2009

Disclaimer: This post got a lot longer than I had intended. But hey, it has to have some good content in it somewhere, right? Read at your own risk. I think it’s better to read either all or none of it since you might get the wrong idea just reading half of it. I’m honestly not sure why I spent so much time in a reply to a post that came up while I was on google when what I was searching for has nothing to do with tipping 😮
It amazes me how many servers (both the ones who posted here and the ones I deal with daily at work) have an unrealistic sense of entitlement.
I’m a cook, and my two roommates are servers at the same restaurant, and it infuriates me to hear them complain about their money.
For example, one of my roommates was complaining how he “only” made 30 dollars at lunch yesterday. He worked four hours, so that’s 7.5 dollars an hour, plus 3.5 hourly for a total of 11 per hour. Congratulations to him. On his “bad day” he made more hourly than I do on my best day — and I had to listen to him complain about how poorly he was paid.
But wait: he doesn’t get a pay check because it’s all taxes, right? Well, correct, but guess what? I also have to pay taxes and I have to pay them on 100 percent of the hours I worked. I can’t choose to report 50 percent of my income like servers can choose to report 50 percent of theirs.
But wait: servers only work 20-25 hours a week, so even if they are making $15 an hour, it doesn’t pay their bills, right? Well, this is irrelevant. Plenty of servers work 30-plus hours a week, but even if they didn’t, why should they be compensated for a full-time job for working part-time hours? If I work 25 hours a week, I cannot pay my bills either. Should I still be compensated for working a 40-hour week? Of course not. Why do servers feel like they should?
Seriously guys, look at some of these arguments and think about them logically. These servers are pretty much saying they deserve to make more than teachers, and other trades that require education, which is absolutely ludicrous. Being a server requires no education or talent (don’t misinterpret that statement, many servers are educated and talented), and their compensation should be lower than jobs requiring an education.
In my restaurant (and also at least a few in this post), there are multiple servers that have completed their degree and still work in the restaurant because the money they make is greater than they would make in a job using their degree (and remember, usually working fewer hours to boot). This mere fact should tell you that servers are already overpaid. But on top of that, they have the audacity to claim that they are underpaid?
I’m sure some of you specific people are reading this, so ask yourself: If you already have your degree and are still working your restaurant job, why? For some of you, you can’t find work in your field or you need the flexibility that a restaurant job can have, and I totally get that. For most of you, it’s probably because the money is better. And if it is, how can you in your right mind argue that you aren’t making enough?
The point is: you are doing a job a 16 year old high school dropout can (and in many cases, does) do. Why do you expect to be compensated so highly? From my experience and from what I’ve read on here, it seems servers are angry on a day they average $7.50/hr in tips, which is more than minimum wage in tips alone, not including hourly, for a job that would be suitable for minimum wage. Please do not take this as an insult because it is not intended to be, but think of the job description: you serve people, bring them whatever they need. I have even seen servers in this very post call the job demeaning (although I don’t agree with that). I am not saying you should be making minimum wage, but I think you should be pretty happy with what you have, and certainly not be demanding even more. So again, why do you expect or think you deserve $15-plus an hour, which is more than teachers, some policemen, firefighters, and other professions that require an education earn?
So what is the problem? In my opinion, the single biggest problem is that servers tend to completely discredit their $3 an hour because they don’t see any of that money (until tax time). Also, $3/hour doesn’t sound like much, but that’s $90 a week if you are working 30 hours, or $360 a month. Sound like a little more now? And sure, you don’t see it in cash, but without it, that is what you would be paying out of your tips every month (again, not exact but you get the idea) instead of just not getting anything added to your tips.
The other problem? Lots of servers aren’t working full-time hours, but like to think of their weekly earnings as if they were working full-time. This is flawed thinking, and only serves to fuel the irrational thought. If they are not making enough monthly to pay their bills, they should ideally get a second part-time job, and if they are unable to as far as conflicts with the first job, then they need to find a single full-time job. Some people may argue they are not be able to because of conflicts with other schedule obligations, but then the discussion doesn’t really become about the job at all, and is irrelevant.
So if you are still with me and have read all of this, I’m sure you have concluded by now that I don’t tip very well. And you are incorrect. Believe it or not, I tip pretty well, normally 18-20 percent unless I receive subpar service.
When I go out to eat, I’m a pretty easy patron. I can read (“Oh, I didn’t know that came with tomatoes! Can I get one without?”), rarely modify my food (I may 86 an ingredient I don’t like), ask for any sides/dressings I may need (in the rare occurrence I will need them) when ordering, am flat out, and know what is your fault and what is the kitchen’s fault. I’m pretty hard to give bad service to, so I rarely get bad service. I honestly cannot remember the last time I had poor service.
At last, the conclusion. I don’t think servers deserve to paid a ton of money, so it really annoys me when they think they deserve even more. That sense of entitlement is what I hate, even though I do tip well and have no problem doing so. I appreciate servers and what they do, even though I though this post makes it seem like I don’t.
Fortunately, all servers are not like this and I would never try to claim they were. Interestingly, this doesn’t appear to be linked with skill, from my experience. There are bad and good servers on both ends of the spectrum.


October 8, 2009

Annon. I’m not going to reply to everything you said because that would be a waste of time. Though I just wanted to point out that you are misinformed. First of all over 65 percent of America’s adult population is overweight and/or obese (this doesn’t include the children which is close to 20 percent). Yet only 30 percent of Americans consider themselves overweight. That’s a lot of chubby people in denial. You could be fat and you don’t even realize it (or you don’t want to). Me I’m Canadian 5’10 and 125-130 lbs with a 27 inch waist and 34 inch bust and hips.
Now when it comes to tipping at a restaurant. You don’t *just* tip the waitress/ waiter! Lots of people don’t seem to realize this. Ten percent of that tip usually goes to the kitchen staff. I worked in a kitchen for a year. It was a small restaurant without much staff and the business was often slow. It was really frustrating that if the waitress got $20 that night, that only left $2. Sure at larger popular restaurants it’s not a huge deal because the service staff gets a lot of customers and tips. But when a person comes into a small restaurant (that serves speciality ethnic food that you can’t get anywhere else in at least a 100 km radius) that is often short staffed and tips a dollar or two even with great service (which is really hard at times, especially when you have a full house. Two, sometimes one waitress serving 20 tables isn’t easy!) and food, that is terribly rude. It should also be expected that things won’t be perfect on a very busy night. So what if the food is a little later than you wanted? You’re hungry, yes that is a given. But there is a load of people in this tiny restaurant and two waitresses, one cook and one dishwasher. And it’s also very likely that there were customers *before* you. Give them a break. As long as your server is polite and hospitable and the food is good then that should be what counts the most.
At high end restaurants is it often *expected* that you’ll have to wait a while for your food (sometimes over an hour), or even to get a table (which is why it is best to make a reservation. Don’t go in just expecting to be seated in two seconds!) It’s a given and anyone who doesn’t understand that should not go to one. If you can’t handle this then stick to cheap family restaurants or fast food.


October 6, 2009

This is crazy how many people think 20 percent is required. Some places the server is the only person receiving the tip. Seconnd, if it’s cash they don’t have to report it, as in no sales tax, no taxes at the end of the year. I also would like to mention that i know multiple people pulling over 30k a year as a waiter/waitress/bartender. That is way more then i make in a year, why the heck do you deserve so much more then me because I am hourly and we both have to deal with difficult people all day? I guess some people have a higher sense of self worth than is deserved.


September 30, 2009

I agree with an idea that the service must be paid for. What I would like to see is a menu or price list for the service. Something like:
Bring plate: $2
Bring beverage: $1
Clean table: $2
Etcetera. I don’t understand the idea of good service versus bad service. What is that? How much better or worse could be bringing the plate? Or the waiter intentionally can make it bad service, postponing it or spitting into it? Also I don’t need specific knowledge or skill about food from a server beyond of that already in a menu. I don’t understand how bringing up a plate worth $20 of food is twice as difficult as a $10 one.
The tipping for service system is screwed. Normally I tip 15-20 percent but I’m not comfortable with that and it makes my experience with restaurants spoiled. I take the advice “if you don’t want to tip stay at home”. I dine at home usually and avoid going to expensive restaurants in general. My wife cooks like a goddess and has beautiful smile and I don’t consider putting up a table as some sort of a hard work.
I can tell my fairly tale of how fair corporate America is. But who cares – it’s just easier to call me cheap.


September 27, 2009

I have many thoughts on the matter but a waiter online says what so many of us in the industry think and feel.
He teaches people how to be better customers, and what to look out for when they are dining. He has already covered what happens with your tip (who he tips out to, what he’s taxed on), the caffeine sub for decaf trick, never order things well done, that people don’t know what the heck they’re drinking – as far as liquors and wine, etc. Plus, he’s funny, nice, angry, cute, bitter, and charming!


September 19, 2009

This is a response to anon 38948. I just can’t believe you can make comments like it’s a fact that if you have universal health care you will let yourself go and become fat like in Europe and Canada. What? The U.S. has the *fattest* people in the world. The U.S. has the highest rate of diabetes, heart attacks, and cancer in the world. Have you ever been to Europe? Everyone is thin. For that matter have you been to Canada? People there are not nearly as out of shape as in the U.S. and have a higher life expectancy. Get your facts straight. Universal health care is not perfect and no one in those countries will tell you it is. It is a different philosophy supporting the idea that everyone is entitled to health care no matter how much money you make. In the U.S. a select few get full access at high expense. Over 50 million Americans don’t have health insurance. If you think that’s fair then so be it.


August 22, 2009

I received a complementary dinner from a local restaurant. How much should I have tipped?


August 21, 2009

I am not sure if anon38948 is totally serious, but he/she has a point. When people are paid a good salary, they have no incentive to do a good job – how much a person makes should not be determined by some minimum wage, but by their performance, as determined by customers. This is why the US excels in customer service – it is all about incentives.

As for health care, he/she is also right – when people are guaranteed to be covered by universal health care, they don’t have an incentive to be healthy. This is why the US (and other countries without social health care) has a much healthier population and a much higher life expectancy than western Europe or Japan.


July 29, 2009

What some people here – especially those from Europe/Canada – don’t seem to understand is that in advanced societies people should work for free, and rely on the charity of customers for a living. It is a demonstrated fact that when people are paid a good salary they will not do their job, that is why service in Europe is so bad. It is also a fact that when people get universal health care they will let themselves go and be grossly overweight. That is why people in the US are so healthy and slim.


July 7, 2009

Any tip the customers give should be grateful. It is disrespectful for a waiter/waitress to make demands to customers.

I find that very rude, will notify the manager/owner for discipline, and never return if that happens.

They are already paid to serve. if it isn’t enough to pay their bills, feed their family, complain to their boss or someone who cares. it isn’t my problem.

If its good enough the restaurant gets patronage.

I go there to enjoy the food, service and atmosphere. not have to put up with waiters.


June 27, 2009

I think it’s ridiculous to leave a tip on a percentage basis. It does not take the server any more of an effort to bring a $40.00 steak than it does to bring a $10.00 hamburger. A good rule of thumb is too just base your tip on the quality of service provided.


June 26, 2009

Good service and good food is a given. That is what I pay for. To me tips start after that. Ten percent is normal for really good service and really good food. Exceptional service and food gets 15%.


May 29, 2009

anon32898, *Are you kidding me?!!* Your server has *nothing at all* to do with the food preparation!! The server *has* to claim 8%! Don’t go out if you don’t want to tip. Eat a frozen dinner!

How would you like your company not to pay you?

I’m going to guess you never worked in food service.


May 28, 2009

Overall good article. Although I disagree on one point in particular. If I get good service, but a bad meal, then I don’t tip. I tip for the entire experience…so, a poor experience deserves no tip.

The only way the message gets back to fix the kitchen is to impact their pocketbook.

A pissed off server will get the message to the cook & owner. If it doesn’t impact them, then why would they change anything?


May 21, 2009

A tip is earned. If you provide bad service, I don’t care where you live or what your menu looks like, you do not deserve a tip. And if you get any tip, then you deserve the bare minimum to satisfy the taxes.


May 4, 2009

I live in Chicago. Plain and Simple: At a normal “chain” bar or restaurant (Chili’s, Friday’s, Flingers, Chachkies etc….) the minimum you tip should be 15%. If you had bad service give 15% and feel good about it. Period. If service was good to great, give 20%. No more. While over 20% is always appreciated by the servers, I certainly don’t think that giving over 20% gains you respect. It is important that customers, especially regular customers are respected by the people serving them. I especially do not agree with men tipping good looking waitresses at Restaurant Bars over 20% because they want the girls to like them. Female servers are much more likely to respect the customer who tips the socially agreed on amount (20%) than one who tries to buy their affection with a big tip. Pathetic.


April 22, 2009


1. “…servers wouldn’t do their jobs if they received salaries instead of tips. Tipping is *not* expected in…Europe…servers still do their jobs.”

-Yep they do… Really slowly.

2. “If you…bring…disgusting food to a table, you aren’t doing your job…you’re…ruining my dining experience…”

– It’s hilarious that you say you were a server and still assert that it’s the server’s responsibility to notice if your food isn’t cooked the right way. So, I’m guessing when ‘you were a server’ ::snicker::, even if you had 4 tables that needed drinks, 2 newly sat and 2 tables with food to run that you had a thermometer to check the internal temp on burgers? Lifted up the bun and the cheese to see if it was burnt? Tasted the food to see if it was too salty?

3. “Rude or..bad servers deserve no tip…”

– Your lie about working in a restaurant is even more apparent with bullet number 3. Since servers get taxed based on a percentage of the check, not the actual tip itself, you’re actually costing them money for waiting on you. Nobody that ever worked in a restaurant would recommend taking money out of the pockets of servers. Not only that, even living in Boston, most servers I know are not college students with rich parents. Many are single mothers that need a job with flexible hours. Hope you feel good about taking food off some kid’s table.

4. Telling the public to…give great tips…”

– Bad tippers like you don’t realize (as you would if you had actually worked in a restaurant like you said) that most people tip well. Bad tippers do nothing but take up time and space, and they’re usually jerks to boot.

You’ve worked as both server and bartender?

-Nice try!


April 22, 2009

to anon25151: “At what point can you…go to a flat amount?…does a wait staff person really give any more service when the dinner goes from 200 to 500 for two people?…”


Chances are the knowledge of wine, food, etc. and the experience required to be a server at this level indicates that they should be paid much more for the service. It’s quite likely that they’ve put as much or more effort into building that career than the executive sitting at the table… I’ve even come across a handful that had degrees in business or hospitality specifically for their restaurant career (though their end goal is usually to be a restaurant manager, not a server).

Unlike in a smaller place where they might have 10 tables in their section, in a fine dining restaurant they *might* have 3 tables. They’ve not only got to coordinate you and the other diners getting their multiple course meals and drinks, they’ve got to communicate with the kitchen, manage the efforts of food runners, back-staff, bussers, bartenders and sommeliers. You’re not eating at Denny’s. Face time at the table is the *smallest* investment of time and effort that a server puts into your dining experience at a fine dining restaurant. As a result, large percentages of the tip that you give are going to be given to the food runners, back-staff, bussers, bartenders and sommeliers… it’s not going straight into the server’s pocket.

$100 tip on a $500 check.

Bartender gets 10%.

Food runners get 5%

Sommalier gets 10%

Busser gets 5%

Back Waiter gets 20%

12% is taxe (in my state)

That’s half the money, into the pockets of the people that work with them. The reason that gratuity is added to large checks automatically when you dine at a nicer restaurant is because you’re not just hurting one person when you leave a bad tip, you’re hurting at least 5 people. If you tip less than 12% on a large check, you’re potentially costing that server a lot of money that they’ll have to pay in taxes whether you pay or not. That’s right… you’re not just giving them a small amount of money, you’re actually taking money out of their pocket.

The 2 primary arguments that people have against tipping are absolutely hilarious.

a) It’s not my responsibility to make up for the low wages that the servers make.

– Where do you think it would come from if they were paid a proper salary?! The cost of the food would go up at least 20%.

b) They don’t tip in XYZ so why should I have to?

– Well you’re not in XYZ now are you? Just like stopping for red traffic lights and not farting in elevators, tipping between 15% and 20% (below 20% is considered pretty lame in most larger metropolitan areas) is a commonly accepted social custom in the US. If you can’t abide by the common social customs in our society, don’t be surprised when people get really pissed off at you… especially when you’re taking money out of their pocket. If you’re so ignorant that you can’t see why it’s necessary, or so mind-blowingly self absorbed that you just don’t care, do yourself a favor and insulate yourself from the rest of society and snag a shack in the middle of the woods.


March 11, 2009

I just want to say that as a server I have *never* considered messing with a customers food. I say this to reassure customers out there. I think it is disgusting and unethical to even consider this. I understand the supreme frustration of a cheap customer, but there is a line that can’t be crossed. To the person who lives in Canada we do not get above minimum. I have approached many employers for raises and have been told by them that servers are not ever going to get paid above minimum. Also, we don’t get benefits, full time hours, paid sick days or any other perk that many jobs have associated with them.

I also have something to add about customers on cell phones. Don’t get pissed at me if when I approach your table you are on the phone and I leave without talking to you. I don’t want to interrupt your conversation or overhear what you are talking about. If I don’t come back the second you are off the phone, deal with it. My time is valuable and when you are at a restaurant that is my office. I don’t think you would be happy if one of your customers sat in your office and took a 20 minute call wasting your time and preventing you from doing other necessary work or making you late to see another client. I have other tables and am not going to ignore them so you can keep me at a table for 10 minutes while you have a chat.


March 1, 2009

I leave whatever tip I feel like depending on the level of service I get, sometimes I leave nothing because the service was horrible. But I live in canada and servers are paid above minimum wage along with everyone else who works there anyway so they should not feel entitled to anything unless they offered extra effort. But if the servers are employed on a super low wage system and depend on tips than it’s definitely a necessity to tip decently.


February 15, 2009

1. It’s totally wrong to say (as one poster did) that servers wouldn’t do their jobs if they received salaries instead of tips. Tipping is *not* expected in some parts of Europe and guess what, servers still do their jobs.

2. If you, as a server, bring undercooked, burnt, or otherwise disgusting food to a table, you aren’t doing your job. Period. Don’t whine that you’re not the cook. Use your head. You bring inedible food to my table, ruining my dining experience and costing me valuable time arguing with a manager, and you get a lousy tip, if any.

3. Rude or exceptionally bad servers deserve no tip. If I’m spending hard-earned money to eat out, I expect a courteous greeting and reasonably attentive service. You get 15% if you’re just OK, 20% or more for providing great service. I don’t have to subsidize your college education by overtipping. Get your parents to do that.

4. Telling the public to either give great tips or stay home may give you the career change you’re so desperately hoping for – unemployment. It’s no skin off the public’s nose if your restaurant goes out of business due to bad attitudes. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out….

And yes, I’ve worked as both server and bartender, and never whined, complained, and demanded as much as many of the posters here seem to do. And yet I earned tons of tips. Imagine that! ;->


January 28, 2009

if you can’t tip eat at home, we’re out there to make a living, and it’s hard work, think about the next time you rude people sit and take 2 or more tables and order a coke and play on your computer for hours, and leave a $1.00, or foreigners come in and rack a bill up in the hundreds and leave .35 cents get with it no one is that stupid, and you wonder why no one wants to wait on you, check our policies out before you come here we would do the same for you, we’re out there to make a living not for our health. think about it next time, it could happen to you.


January 24, 2009

After reading all the comments I felt compelled to leave my opinion regarding tipping. First, I was a waitress for a brief time during college. I must confess, despite my strong efforts, I was a lousy server. I couldn’t keep all the different requests straight and, consequently, messed up many orders. That being said, I finished college with the help of my parents and went on to law school. My father has been a server for at least the past 20 years. I know how hard he works, how kind he is, how much he enjoys other people. And yet, on some occasions, not only have people not tipped him, but they have treated him poorly and acted as though he is inferior to them. For this reason, even when I am not impressed with the service at a particular restaurant, I still tip a minimum 15 percent, and always act graciously to my server. IF service was great, then I leave about 22 percent. Yes, tipping may not technically be required. But, not tipping in my book, is simply not acceptable.


January 24, 2009

Get this right guys. In the United States, you are tipping your waiter/waitress for the service provided, meaning serving hand and foot over you for an hour or more. Delivering your food, explaining the menu, offering suggestions, explaining drinks, specializing your dish. The tip is not meant to reflect the gracious nature of the diner. If you can’t afford to eat out at a sit down restaurant please go eat at McDonald’s or Jack In the Box and don’t take your financial woes out on the wait staff.


January 24, 2009

After reading all of the comments made on this subject, and myself finishing a grueling shift at a local family restaurant, I was very glad to find that I was not alone in my feelings.

Those of you who do not think a tip is necessary I have one question for you. Would you go to work for free one minute let alone an eight hour shift? My guess is probably not. By the time I pay out all of the “extras”, I end up paying for your night out on the town. We make little money on paychecks, clean up after people who do not feel that they need to be even the slightest bit neat, deal with condescending patrons and crazy cooks, just so that we might have some money to take home after the shift. Your tip does count. We must claim our tips which are taxed as all income should be, pay the bussers, hostesses,etc.., then we are once again required to pay taxes on a percentage of our sales. This is the amount of things that YOU bought which includes food, alcohol, merchandise whether it was consumed in or out of the restaurant establishment. Would YOU pay your employer to come to work? There are days that everyone is below par-it’s human, but do you get a lower wage because you were a little off on Tuesday? My guess is no. Cut us some slack. Most of us are as hard working as you. Don’t talk down to us or act as if we’re idiots. I have a better education than most of my customers with two bachelors and a master degree, but many assume that I am deficient or lazy because I work in a restaurant. This is a horrible economy for everyone and all need to make ends meet. Think of how you expect to be treated before you start making your end of the meal decisions, something may happen to even the most secure of jobs and you may be in the same situation. Everyone is downsizing and you may be next. We work for tips that are based solely on what you leave on the table. Your check is for the consumption of the meal only-we are at your mercy. But remember what goes around may someday come around.

One final word. When you come into an establishment and they are close to the closing hour, PLEASE don’t stay past a normal meal time. We have families to go home to also. If you work say 9-5 would you stay at the office until 7 or later just for “fun”. We don’t want to either. It will take us at least another hour after you leave to get the “clean-up” done for us to lock-up. We have families and children we’d like to kiss goodnight. Many are probably saying boo-hoo get another job. Well, that would be nice in an ideal world, but this is 2009 and right now you take what you can get. Besides, who would serve your meal? For the non-tippers, go somewhere where you don’t get service that you don’t want to pay for. Service fee is not included in the check and no one wants to work for free. We could use the table for those who ARE going to pay for the service they are being provided. Maybe someday reform will come to the service industry and we will be paid the same wages as everyone else. Then prices of the meals will go up and service, well who knows. I’m sure that will give consumers yet another thing to complain about, but at least I won’t have to pay to go to work and leave my family.


January 24, 2009

I highly recommend that anyone visiting this issue watch the movie titled, “Waiting”. It should give some insight into how a restaurant “really works behind the scenes”. Here’s some advice:

1. If your waitperson comes across as harried, stressed, etc., then tell them that you’re in no rush and be mellow. (Regardless of what you do, there is someone that will “breathe down your neck and cause undue stress”.) Be that stress reliever. You will in turn get the best service ever, as the server will appreciate you.

2. If your waitperson responds to your mellowness by being a jerk, then your best choice is to just to get up and leave.

3. If you are unhappy with the food, don’t say as much until you are done eating what is edible. (Ex: your steak is over/undercooked. Make an attempt, though never over 1/2 of the steak, and ask for the manager. Once you complain, do not agree to a replacement. Ask for a reduction in the bill.) Your waitstaff may be sorry, but the cooks don’t get tipped and could see your unhappiness as being a jerk.

4. This is the most important! If you have gone to an establishment twice, and were not happy with the outcome either time, Do not return! You have now complained twice, so the place obviously sucks, regardless of the reason. Add to that, most of the staff from management to busboys will recall you as a problem. The number one problem in most restaurants is the customer. They will find a reason to screw with you until you do not come back.

5. If everything is awesome, tip accordingly. (Ex: I used to deliver pizzas. It would take about 2 min to make it, 13 min to bake it, and I’d get it there in less than 2 min after that. The tip was $3-8.) If you ordered a pizza 10 min. before this family and did not tip, or were cheap, your pizza was delivered after theirs. If that pizza was cold, I didn’t care, you didn’t tip me. Capitalism at its finest; I take care of those who take care of me.

6. Just be friendly! A friend and I went to a restaurant… good food, great service, left a 50% tip… The waitress bought our first drink the next time back. And we got our food before people who had ordered before us…


January 24, 2009

At what point can you stop tipping a percentage and go to a flat amount? 20% is fine for most dinners but does a wait staff person really give any more service when the dinner goes from 200 to 500 for two people. How many actual minutes does a wait person spend with each table? Add up the per minute pay and some wait staff are making more per hour (minutes serving a customer) than the executive eating the meal.


January 24, 2009

Although well put by those above, I thought I would put in a thought as I and my husband are servers at a mexican restaurant that we’ve worked at for 6 years. 2.13 is our hourly wage, and yes a certain percentage of our tips are given to the bussers, food runners, and bartenders. Anymore the tips have become closer to between 11 to 15 percent of total tickets no matter how hard we try to be happy, helpful, and informative (this being a casual restaurant). You still get people that are rude and unpleasant to deal with, and even more so now that the economy is as it is.

Are we then to assume that we were not giving good service if the customer is leaving unhappy?

Raising 3 children is hard enough, but to have to suffer with a loss in tips over the last year hurts.

Our theory is that if we are short on cash, it’s McDonald’s all the way. Not that the kids complain. Simply put, think about it before you go out to eat.

“Do I have enough to pay my restaurant bill and tip decently if I have good service?”

If you tip accordingly then I guarantee you will see change in attitudes of these servers. We will want to try harder to make sure you have a great experience.


January 24, 2009

when i was younger i did not realize that the wait staff did not make a decent wage without tips. when my daughter started school i met a mom who supported her 3 daughters that way and she filled me in. i know a lot of people do not realize that this is the way they are paid. my son was a server for 10 years and my daughter has been one for 8 years. i always tip at least 20%. if i can’t i eat at mcdonalds. i have watched my children be kind considerate and do everything short of cutting up the people’s food and not get left a tip or just a dollar. wake up people and smell your coffee…TIP!!!


January 24, 2009

If 15% was the standard in 1985, then based on inflation, 15% should be the standard in 2009. Let’s say food prices doubled during that time…that translates to tips ALSO doubling during that time. In other words, since tips are based on a percentage, they are rising in lock step with inflation.

It’s like politicians who say “the sales tax hasn’t been increased in 30 years, so we need to increase it from 7% to 8%.” Um, is anyone paying the same sales tax in dollars in 2009 as they were in 1985?


November 15, 2008

My 15 year old went to a small restaurant after a school play with his friend and the rest of the kids. He ordered on his own check, a chicken strip dinner $5.99 and a soda $1.25. Just because he sat down with a few (4)friends (which this also gave them an extra empty table for other guests. he could have sat with the friend by themselves and took up a whole table.) they automatically added a 15% tip in on his bill, I assume they added the same tip automatically to all separate checks. To me this does not sound right, he was not a large party he was one person sitting with 4 other kids (I do believe their rule is 8 or more for a large party) I also know the service is not so good in there either. Should the restaurant have a right to do this?


November 9, 2008

Yes there are a lot of rude servers here, there are also some very reasonable ones too. No, a tip should not be automatically given when service is bad, but should be given when it is not bad. I thank god that I work in a nice enough restaurant to not have to deal with low lifes that don’t believe in tipping at all.


November 9, 2008

This is federal Law. The required cash wage for tipped employees under federal law is currently $2.13 an hour. That means employers in states that follow federal law can pay tipped employees a cash wage of $2.13 an hour and apply tip earnings toward the balance of the minimum wage obligation. (This is called taking a “tip credit.”)

To illustrate: Under current federal law, FLSA-covered employers may pay a cash wage of $2.13 and take a tip credit of up to $4.42 an hour ($2.13 cash wage + $4.42 tip credit = $6.55 minimum wage). In all cases, an employer may take the tip credit only to the extent that employees actually receive that much in tips.

Your pay must equal the hours you worked times the minimum wage. As an employee, if you have to tip out others, this reduces your received tips and the boss must guarantee that you make minimum wage for that pay period.

I can tell you from my point of view if the food is good and the service is poor, then the server will get what ever small change is in my pocket, but I have been in the position that the service was excellent, but the kitchen was horrible and I complained about each item with the manager, (the server felt bad, but it was not her fault) but left the server (for her only) with enough money to pay for the total check for three people at a seaside resort plus I paid the negotiated check. (Didn’t want them to think that I was cheap!)


November 8, 2008

All these waiters here making a big deal about tipping need to ask their employers for a raise. It’s not the customer’s responsibility to pay your bills!! These waiters are working for less than the minimum wage which is illegal for employer. I hate paying more than I need to, I have my own bills to pay! So stop walking around expecting a tip. A tip is voluntary that is supposed to be given when a customer is happy with service and food. Otherwise, you don’t get one!


November 8, 2008

I am a decent tipper, but it is not a given if the service is poor. A meal can get expensive as is and if the waitress was rude, or slacking, leaving 20% is ridiculous, and by these comments, most of these servers seem rude! You take a job as a server, knowing that you will bust your rear but that you can make good money at it. I work in a clothing store, I do not get tipped for dealing with rude customers, I do not get tipped when you leave a million items in the dressing room for me to clean up, and I do not get tipped to watch your child rip clothes off of racks or tags off of clothes. But I know this is part of my job and a dealing with these people goes with dealing with the people that are a joy to help. It’s the same in every job, there is good and bad and if you expect a large tip, I expect good service. I know your job is hard and I’m very forgiving of errors if you show effort and are friendly but if you expect everyone to be wonderful to you, I hope you do the same every where you go. Just as you think servers are seen as idiots, so are cashiers and I have a college degree and am debt free due to my job, so pay the same respect to others and be appreciative that tips have become customary at all cause everyone puts up with stuff but not every job gets tipped for doing their job.


November 8, 2008

What about in buffet restaurants? I usually leave a couple dollars but I don’t know if that is right. The visible (to the customer) part of the server’s job is much less. As far as regular tips, I almost always leave between 15 and 23%, unless the service is bad, and then, who knows! But if the service is really bad, I will not go back.

I agree with the guy who said that if you can’t afford to pay the tip, you should not eat out, or go to McDonalds.


November 8, 2008

Anyone who does not tip, or tips very poorly should know not to eat at the same place more than twice because you have just messed with the person you has your food before you eat it. A server handling their junk then touching your food is the least that will be done.


November 8, 2008

Tips should not be expected…they should be earned. As for the overhead costs,don’t bring this to the table for it’s the cost of doing business. Should I sit at your table and complain how much my car costs, my clothes cost, my kids teeth and my wife’s make up?????

Overall, if you give good service and serve good food you will be in business and your staff will get good tips.


November 8, 2008

A lot of things that inconsiderate or uninformed diners are the following: 1.Servers are legally paid less than (under half) of minimum wage because the government assumes, by this point in time, that people know that they are expected to tip on service in a restaurant. People shouldn’t take advantage of hard working people, that are on their feet carrying things around for up to 12 hours a day, just because they are not forced and monitored to pay what is due. 2.When you leave an 18% percent tip, that total of that gratuity does not go solely to your server. 4% goes to the busboy (who has cleaned up after you each course and once you’ve left). 2-3% goes to the food runner (who brought you your appetizers and meals and garnished and decorated your plates). Another 2-3% goes to the bartender who made you drinks all night. That leaves a little more than half of what you tipped for your actual server (who kept you informed on specials, took your drink & dinner order, made you feel comfortable, brought you your drinks, answered your questions, and was the face you looked for whenever you needed to ask for something. They also are balancing your needs along with 8 other groups of diners and trying to look out for each of you). 3.Servers are taxed on their sales. For every $100 of checks they have, the IRS assumes that they’ve been tipped 15% and tax them on that money at the end of the year. That means, if you tip less than the standard 17-20%, after the busboys, etc. are given their share of tips (also mathematically based on the check)- the server would actually be paying out of his or her pocket for you to sit and dine in their restaurant.

So, be considerate. Unless your server really screwed up in a bad way, you should tip like everyone else does. Plus, people who tip poorly are quickly made public to the coworkers and management. Therefore, you may not get a nice table, prompt service, priority of favor the next time you come to dine. One hand washes the other.

Your informant, A NYC server


November 8, 2008

After reading these over I just wanted to throw my two cents in. I am a college student and have been a server/bartender/ and food expo for about 4 years. This is how I am paying to go to school!! I recently had to get a second job in addition to serving because it seems with the economy going down so do my tips. Yet the cost of the food is the same so I don’t know how people just assume they don’t need to tip as much. I expect a 20% tip. I know I am excellent waitress and anything less than 20% is a slap in the face to me of how hard I worked to keep my customers happy. Also I expect this because I have to tip out 20% at the end of the night. 5% to the bar, 5% to the expo, and 10% to the busboys. When I go out I tip at least 20%. I am a broke college student but I am going to guess my server is too and this is our way of living. Also yes it is true you should tip more if you hang out at someones table more than 20 min after your bill was given, also tip especially better when you are dining right before closing and making the server stay. This is my job not my life. Overall just remember we are handling your food and we decide when you get to eat it so be nice to your server.

Just a little story of the life of a server: The restaurant I work at is on the river and on 4th of July everyone comes in to watch the fireworks. Well the fireworks start at 9 and people come in and sit from 5-10 when they are over. You then only get tipped from those few tables in your section. Well this year I had the lovely pleasure of this middle aged couple coming in at 6pm. They order a bottle of wine and an appetizer. They say that they want to wait to order, fine. Well they wind up not wanting to order until after the fireworks. Then of course they didn’t even look at the menu and needed some time. They did not order until 10:45, the place closes at 11. So the night goes on and they finish eating right around 11:30 after another round of apps, soup, salad, and dinner. Well then they order dessert, which I had to go make because the dessert person left hours before that. Then after sipping on coffee until 12:15 they ordered another bottle of wine. They wound up staying til just past 1am!!!! Then proceeded to leave me 18% thinking that was generous. I should have been out of work hours ago enjoying the rest of my favorite holiday but instead i had to sit and wait for this doe eyed couple to enjoy theirs!! It was ridiculous and soo rude!! If this was you I hate you!


November 8, 2008

15% tip is way out of date the expected amount is 20%, and hasn’t been 15% for a long time. Servers only make $2.30 an hour and depend on tips to make a living.


November 8, 2008

I worked as a waitress for years. I always make sure there is not a mess to clean trash is in one plate or bowl glasses are normally stacked out of habit and so are plates. The tip is clearly a reflection of the service i received…If i had a good waiter or waitress i leave a good tip… No service you can bet the tip is not a good one but i have never left without leaving one the best way to let your waiter or waitress know how you felt about the service is the money you left on the table.


November 8, 2008

My wife and I have worked in restaurants for over 35 years combined and I still can’t believe that customers are not aware of how much work actually goes into serving you a meal. This is the bottom line. Servers are supposed to claim all of their tips. The only record of this is of course any charged tips, because there is a paper trail. The government can also track what you should be making by looking at servers individual sales. And, what is their guideline? 15% Random audits are done by the government on restaurants on a yearly basis and I have had friends in the business that have had to dig into their pockets because they did not claim 15% of their total annual sales. It is quite difficult to claim 15% of your total sales when the majority of the time you walk away from an evening with 10%-12%. I know most people don’t want to take this into consideration when they dine out, but if your service is good, a minimum of 15% should be left. If everything was tremendous and over and above what you expected, in any way, an 18%-20% tip will cover the sever for all of the other idiots who plead ignorance when it comes to gratuity.


November 8, 2008

To anon20934, The state may be Massachusetts. I worked as a server there in 2007 and my hourly wage was $3.50. If I didn’t make up the $4.00 hr in tips, the restaurant had to pay me the difference to get my minimum wage of $7.50hr.

And to the other servers who’ve posted here, I realize how hard you work…I’ve been there! I won’t eat in if I can’t leave an adequate tip.;~)


November 8, 2008

I work at a restaurant in tennessee i have two kids and have supported them on serving. if you want to tip me 10% when i only make 2.13 a hour go to mcdonalds. I would rather you leave me nothing when you tip me 10%. at the end of the night i have to tip out 2% of my total sales which is the money i made from tips to the hostess, the buss boy, and the bartender. My paychecks aren’t $500 a week there more like $10-$20 dollars. Wake up people!!! We make our money from TIPS!!!! Tip 18-20%!


November 8, 2008

I thought excellent service is what we are paid for in the first place. From chefs to bellboys we are expected to serve customers to the best of our ability regardless if they give us a tip or not. And customers pay their taxes from their own pockets, why don’t we? I’ve worked as a chef at a local restaurant years ago and observed that tipping corrupts and destroys a man’s work attitude. We are supposeed to serve every customer excellently not just the ones that gave the tip because that is our responsibility. My wife once worked at a resort hotel that bans tipping. Anyone caught accepting a tip is terminated without delay. And guess what, they’re one of the best resort hotels here in our place because the workers are consistent in their service quality. Without spending extra cash as tip, the guests in this hotel get the best of what they’re paying for. For those people out there who’s work quality is tip dependent, find another job. This is not for you! This line of work demands a high standard of efficiency, deligence, commitment, consistency and most of all passion.


November 8, 2008

I would like to say one thing. I agree waitresses are no different from the rest of us. I appreciate the fact that they are there, otherwise one would not be able to eat out. There have been a few times when the service was bad. Also remember they deserve respect, and not to be yelled at. If the food is not right it is not there fault, so don’t tip them less because of this. Ask to see the manager.


November 8, 2008

i am a server and have been one for awhile now. first things first most servers make good money and are in school so we are not below you. The average tip is no longer 15 percent…it is 17. Do not and i mean do not wave your hand at us for a refill most likely we already know you need it we just haven’t had time. Also do not use the double the tax method, taxes differ in different states. If you are a bad tipper please watch the movie waiting, servers control a lot.


November 8, 2008

i’ve been working at a restaurant for over a decade now, can’t believe how some parents bring their kids in and make a HUGE mess and then leave without a tip!! even worse, some didn’t even bother to “try” to clean up a spilled drink. yes, we notice the “effort”. they think we’re like servants or something, begging on our knees so they can spend money here! I notice the cheap ones the moment they walk in. sigh, it’s a shame, they’ll lose their money one way or another, because they’ll be cussed at everywhere they go. (i don’t do that though) amen


November 8, 2008

After reading a lot of the comments, it sounds like servers are a very bitter group. Yikes! The next restaurant I patronize, I may sit in fear.


November 8, 2008

Simple solution to this: DON’T EAT OUT!!


November 8, 2008

This is in response to 20934 –

Yes, dear. If a server makes less than the State minimum wage and the tips plus hourly wage do not add up to that, then the server MUST be paid minimum wage. This is a big deal to the restaurant because it skews their budget. In defense, if a server making $2.83/hr. can’t make at least $4.32 (total of $7.15 min. wage), then that person should look for a different profession. I’m 53 and have worked as a server since I was 18. I LOVE the work, but was realistic about how long I can do it. I went to college, got a degree and am currently making +$40,000/year. and still do not make what I took home in my pocket as a server. The person that said everyone should walk a few hours in a server’s shoes hit the nail right on the head. Servers are not illiterate and should be treated with respect by those that deem themselves better than we are. It is definitely a profession right along with lawyers and doctors. It is not something that can be learned how to do from a book. The amount of skill that a server has is astounding. You either have it, or you don’t.


November 8, 2008

I have just perused over half of the comments. There are a lot of cheap people out there! I have never worked in the industry, but this is how I tip: I always start at 20%, unless service is horrible. I try to strike up a conversation with the server to determine what kind of day they are having. It shouldn’t affect their work, but they are human, as I am, and a bad day at home translates into a bad day at work sometimes. At a diner, or inexpensive restaurant, if the 20% tip is less than $1 per person, then I will leave at least $1 per person. At all other establishments, I take notice if the server is able to keep my glass full of beverage (I consume a lot of water), then they are paying me enough attention to maintain the tip at 20%. I have tipped as high as 40% in a chain restaurant for exemplary service. My usual tip runs in the 20-25% range and I do know that my servers appreciate it, because they are glad to see me. My wife and I do not eat out now, because though we can afford the food, we cannot afford the service. I will not eat at someone else’s expense.


November 8, 2008

Oh and coming from a server, i don’t agree with “expected” tips.. .T.I.P.S = To Insure Proper Service…….. People should tip based on service level.. if you are average, you deserve average tips. period. and i strongly believe that. if you want better tips, WORK for it, go above and beyond.


November 8, 2008

im jealous of those people that say they tip out 3% of sales or 30% of tips… standard for me is 9.5% of sales and roughly 45% of tips..


November 8, 2008

I have worked as a server and a bartender in Virginia for 10 years, the majority of that time I have been a bartender. I can guarantee that even the kindest server notes who it is that tips them standard, 20%, and who does not, and their drinks reflect their tip. If you think 10% is satisfactory then I am likely to 1/2 as much alcohol in next drink is also satisfactory. Many servers do not have the option of offering service recompense to wages tendered by the customer, but if you are cheap, you should acknowledge that like any other business professional who recognizes an unwelcome client you will be treated as such and thereby be possibly subject to all manner of ill will. Therefore enjoy your time out and let the server’s pocket reflect your happiness. I myself tip 25% to 35% depending on the service, and my service is always topnotch. After all, would you expect good service from a doctor who said was worth only half their hourly rate? The only time I tip a server a minimal amount is when i am out and I observe neighboring tables set, served, cleared and then set, served and cleared again while we continued to wait. This was obviously server error and not the kitchen. In this case I tipped 5% and did so begrudgingly because this person by their poor service was justifying all the uniformed individuals who thought it acceptable to treat all servers as unskilled idiots that are unable to recognize basic human decency when they see it and are thereby undeserving of it. Be kind it those who take of you and they will take care of you and be truly thankful for your patronage.


November 8, 2008

I’d like to share an experience I once had:

A group of five friends (in total) decided to frequent a popular rooftop restaurant. Upon entry, we were seated and proceeded to order drinks. When we were finished, we asked for the tab.

Looking at our tab, the restaurant had added a per-person admission charge (they had a live DJ) added a tax and then calculated an automatic 20% tip onto the total bill.

I was furious. I fought back, and won.

First of all I complained that nowhere was it posted the venue charged an admission fee. Second, the establishment had no right to automatically add a 20% tip on a tab which included the cited admission fee. Third, I voiced vehement opposition to a sales tax being added onto an admission fee.

The proprietor threatened to call the police when I refused to pay the bill as presented. While waiting for the police to arrive (they never did) I recalculated the full tab by adding up the cost of drinks, calculating the tax, and tipping on the cost of drinks only.

We paid what was due in cash, got up and left. We were threatened the police would arrest us, somewhat bullied, i.e. prevented from leaving (at first) and told the authorities would come after us. The police never “came after us” but at least I know we did what was right. I agree: what the restaurant industry is providing isn’t a service, it’s fraud.


November 8, 2008

you know, i find it really funny that a lot of people on here think it is okay to not tip!! I am a server/bartender, very well educated, and always give great service. i am friendly, attentive, prompt, and the order is always right. i take special care to make parents comfortable by engaging their children when they order or need something. hell, i even played love connection for some regulars i had at a previous restaurant that i worked at, and they are still together till this day. so, if that is the kind of server i am, then why would you think, in a million years, that it would be okay to not tip me. just this evening i had a table of young adults come in, dined to the tune of $80, and left me $5 as a tip??????? their food was hot, fresh from the kitchen, their drinks were cold, and never empty, the whole nine. to add insult to injury, i heard them laughing about it when they were leaving. guess what kind of service they will be getting next time…probably the same kind of service all of you that think its okay to not tip get when you go out. don’t get me wrong, if the service was bad, and you leave a tip to reflect it, then the server knows and understands where they dropped the ball…but if you get good service, then there is no excuse!!!!!!! none! except maybe you don’t understand math. and, just to let it be known, minimum wage for most waiters and waitresses is just 2.13, maybe a dollar more in some places. and if you think it is easy, mindless work, i personally invite you to go into work for me tomorrow night and try to carry my 7 tables on your own…i’ll laugh while you get weeded out!!!

OH!!! and anon20914….a nurse is a medical professional!!! not a service professional…it was a nice thought though, but you fail!


November 8, 2008

this is my take on tipping, unless my service extraordinary (above the expected) i generally do not tip. this may sound cheap, but i pay for my meal. their is no requirement that says i have to leave a tip. if you’ve taken a job that only pays you 2 dollars an hour, that’s something that you need to be aware of. in cases where the waiter was extremely nice, i will tip. i don’t follow some kind of percentage rule. i usually around 10 bucks depending on the situation. i’m sure i’ll get some people that will call me something other than a saint and complain about making 2.00/hr and paying bills and all that. That’s not my problem. i come into a restaurant to eat the food. i don’t care if the owner of the restaurant brings my food out to me. if he’s only paying you 2 bucks an hour he’s telling you that’s what he thinks your worth to him. i’m here for the food.


November 8, 2008

I took a buy-out from an automotive company so I could finish school. I work very hard, am an A student for over 2 years, and also a mother of 2 and a server. My paychecks are no more $20 every 2 weeks. I am taxed on 15% no matter how much I earn and I am required to tip out the bartender 10% of my sales. I provide excellent service and when I get a 10-15% tip, I am insulted. I struggle every day and I kiss up to rude, cheap people. some are rude and some are just plain ignorant (their parents never taught them how to properly tip for great service). Please tip 20% or more for good service. even when I get slammed and try my hardest, some people just look for the slightest error so they have an excuse to be cheap. I treat all people with respect as a server and I would like the same in return.


November 7, 2008

As far as anyone bad-mouthing the people who work as servers, take a better look at them! We aren’t just some dumb kids that need a job and don’t want to go to school!! I work full time at a restaurant and go to grad school full time in addition to raising a family! Don’t for one minute start to look down your nose at us because you might think you’re better! Yes we are there trying to make ends meat because there is not much of a choice for us going through school! So please, feel free to put me down and make me feel worthless… now can I get you another drink or two?! Don’t mess with the people who serve your food. We’re there for a job. I’m sure you don’t want to spend late hours and all weekend at yours and never see your family!!! You’re ignorant if you think we’re less than you are because we might not be able to take a friday night off and go out to eat – because someone has to be there to feed you!


November 7, 2008

I am a server. I feel an obligation to educate anyone out there who doesn’t know what it’s like to serve and doesn’t know how to tip!

There are SO many people out there flooding the restaurants w/o any knowledge of how to tip. Here is a short guide for the general public to follow. Feel free to print out and store in your wallet and/or purse. 🙂

Servers do not get paychecks they make 2.13 an hour and that is all taken by taxes…


If you have children, DO NOT let them, open and dump anything on the table (ie; salt, sugar, etc). IF YOU DO, you must leave an extra $5 for the server to clean up YOUR CHILD’S mess & to restock the now unusable wasted items. We are neither their babysitter nor their parent. The least you can do is pay us for the extra work. Also make sure you control your kids and don’t let them scream or run around the restaurant. It’s very distracting not to mention dangerous if they get ran over by a server with hot food in their hands.


If you feel the necessity to stay for longer than 15 minutes after you pay, its an extra $3 every 30 minutes. We make our money from the tables. If you are in one and we can’t seat it, we don’t make money.


Telling a server they are the best server they’ve ever had is not a tip. If we are good, let us know by leaving us more money. We can’t pay our bills on compliments. Its not that we don’t appreciate the praise, its just that if you say that and then leave 10% it’s an insult.


Prayer cards and any other religious pamphlet is NOT a tip. It is insulting that you assume we are w/o religion and must save us. Again, like ..3, we can’t pay bills w/prayer cards. We’d go to church on Sundays if it wasn’t mandatory to work on Sundays because EVERYONE who goes to church follows it by eating out.


It is not 1960. Cost of living has gone up dramatically since then. 18% is the MINIMUM amount of what you should be tipping your servers. Just look at the tax line and multiply by 2-3, this gives you your minimum tip amount. Remember, our companies pay us minimum wage (minimum wage for servers is $2.38 and it is all taken out in taxes. we are taxed on 10 percent of your meal automatically anyway. So if your meal is $100 and you leave $10 and we tip out $4-5 to the busser, bartender, and whoever else then we pay tax on 10 dollars the state assumes we are atleast making and we actually make $5. It seems small but it adds up. How many times do you eat out per week and do this?


If you get a discount because of your food was prepared wrong or something, do not take it out of our tip. We didn’t cook it. The cooks get paid hourly regardless if the food sucks. However, we only make what you give us.


If you happen to get anything for free and you did not have a problem with your dining experience, most of the time it is because the server thinks you will realize that they are giving it to you for free. There should be extra tip thanking the server for the free item. They could get in a lot of trouble giving away free stuff. You should give them hazard pay for it.


If you come into the restaurant 10 mins before closing or any time near closing hurry up and order your food and get out. Closed means closed, not social hour. It is so rude to sit there and take your sweet time. We can’t leave until you leave because we have to do sidework and clean the table you are sitting at. We don’t want to stand there waiting for you for an extra hour just because you don’t want to go home. We recommend 24 hour establishments such as Dennys if you wish to sit into the wee hours of the night.


If you only come in for coffee or a dessert, to do paper work, or to have a meeting, don’t sit there taking up our booths for hours. We are not Starbucks or a hotel restaurant. If you want to sit for hours, go there or else you better leave a good tip for us and camping fee included.


When we come up to the table to greet you and we ask how you are doing please let us know. We honestly want to know how you are doing. If you are in a bad mood we want to know that from the beginning. A confused stare or complete silence does not suffice as a reply to “How are you doing?”. Also most of us are REQUIRED to say certain things during the greeting, so please don’t interrupt our greeting and say “I want coffee”, “Can we get some bread?”, or “What are the soups?”


Don’t ever talk on your cell phone in a restaurant. This is probably the rudest thing to do. If you must be on your cell, at least keep your voice down in respect for other customers. If you are on your cell phone when we walk up to greet your table we will walk away and not return until you get off your phone. Just show some respect and give us your attention for a couple of minutes.


Always remember to tip the take-out order servers! They work just as hard as a server, and hardly ever get tips for it! WE DESERVE TO BE TIPPED TOO!

13. DO NOT TELL ME YOU ARE BROKE WHEN YOU ARE LEAVING: If you cannot afford to tip properly then do not go out to eat. If I as a server bring you back $8.00 in change lets say from a $70.00 bill and only leave me $2.00 and tell me you are broke you should be castrated for being such an ignorant asshole!! Do not waste your time or mine it really pisses us off.

14. High School Kids: Learn how to tip!! Just because you do not have a job and mommy and daddy pays for everything you have including the meal that you are eating do not think that it is OK to not tip. Leave a tip people b/c I remember every face that does not tip.



November 7, 2008

YES this writer has never worked in the business.

I just got in from working a 6 hr shift with just barely enough in my pocket, and you think 10% is acceptable.

I work in a family oriented restaurant where we do anything and everything to make every guest happy.

I run from the moment i get there to the moment i leave, The whole point of going out is to not DO the usual, preparing, setting, cooking, cleaning and so on… SO WHY NOT TIP FOR THAT?

Ask any parent what its worth when a great server manages to get your drinks timely, with a smile, tend to the kids and leave them happy so you can take time and enjoy a HOT meal after a long day?

Bottom Line, walk a day, heck just walk a few hours in a servers shoes and then we will talk.

Trust me, you tip well, we know you! You and you are treated so. And we are grateful, and yes we do fight over who gets to serve you.

Tip poor, and yes, we do know it. We can see you coming from a mile away.

Yes i get the business is a crap shoot, but it is us who need to teach the kids who tip poorly what to do, If i ever catch my kids tipping less than 15% on a lousy visit, there better be something seriously wrong.


November 7, 2008

After reading this article and all or most of the comments I’m pretty infuriated. I am a server myself and I make a good living. I’ve went to college so I’m not some idiot that has no brains. Just because someone is a food server or bartender doesn’t mean you are better than them. If the truth be known a lot of servers and bartenders make more money than you. But let me tell you that you work for your money. Not just any moron can wait tables and do it well. And for those of you that think it’s okay to sit at a counter in a restaurant and leave a poor tip just because your sitting at the counter is just plain stupid. You get the same service at the counter or at a table. Sometimes, even better service because everything is at close hand. The rule of thumb is 15 to 20 percent is acceptable. Anything less is a slap in the face to the server. I bet nobody takes into consideration how many people the server tips out. For example I myself tip out up to three hosts and two busboys in one given day. So the first 80.00 I make goes to someone else. On top of that we generally don’t get a paycheck. I’m happy if I clear 20.00. Plus we are taxed on 15% of our sales,…which means if you don’t tip properly, it comes out of my pocket. Now I ask you, is that fair? You don’t know how to tip or don’t want to tip STAY HOME, or go to Jack in the Box where you don’t have to tip. Trust me if your one of the ones who are poor tippers, the servers know who you are, and no one wants to wait on you anyway. Your the laughing stock of the whole restaurant. We even have nick names for you,…Just keep that in mind the next time you want to “stiff” your server.


November 7, 2008

As a server and a cook at a family dining restaurant there are a few other things to think about. I make 2.65 an hour, plus tips. I usually have 4 tables and can usually make 10-15 an hour. What i cannot understand is how people treat each other. Mistakes happen and the are often not your servers fault. If you come to my table and sit for three hours catching up with a friend and i serve you and then bring you 100 coffee refils, and you leave me five bucks i am losing money. In three hours i could have gotten $5/table 3 or 4 times with fast diners. Also when you come out with your kids and i have to spend extra time cleaning up the mess(one time including dirty diapers left on the table)you should tip for that extra mess.

The craziest part about tipping is that i would rather make 10% on every table and have polite guests than make 30% on the rude ones.


November 7, 2008

Do not use the double tax method!! Alcohol is not taxed in most states. The restaurant pays the tax, but the server still pays 3%-6% of their gross sales back to the restaurant. What does this mean? I have seen it before where someone who doesn’t believe in tipping on wine has cost the server $120. By that I mean that he came into work and had to pay the restaurant $120 to work that night. And as for the wise guy who thinks waiters are disposable and don’t have any skills…you probably have spend many years mastering your skill and so have I. When my friends finished college or grad school they made about as much or less than I did; the only problem they were debt a $100,000 and I had income producing assets. Chalk one for the “idoit” waiters.


November 7, 2008

Here’s how I tip, and I’ll bet it’s how most people tip: I never tip more than 15%, no matter how great the service. I justify this because I always tip 15%, no matter how lousy the service. I don’t discount, so I don’t pay the premium. So if you are a great server, you’d better pay attention to what your coworkers are doing, and recognize that if they are slacking, it’s affecting your pay, and you’d better take it upon yourself to inform the manager, the owner, whoever, to get that person off your shifts or out of that establishment (or leave, yourself. or lower your effort to the lowest common denominator.) This is why service at high-end restaurants is always outstanding. Also, restaurants are increasingly setting mandatory tip percentages, usually 18%, I have seen for parties as small as five, counting children, and in most national chains, in California, they charge sales tax ON THAT TIP. In very rare cases I will tip nothing when the service (and the food) is unacceptable. I understand at that point that I will never return. I tip much differently and higher at a bar or nightclub, because I know I won’t get my second drink, or it will have no booze.


November 7, 2008

Since the new standard has seem to have shifted to 20%, I just use 20 for great service, 15 for poor and something in between for good. It is ironic that waiters who are so eager to complain about their tips, become tight fisted when tipping the bussers and hostesses. I worked as a busboy in a restaurant for 4 years, and just like you know you’re poor tipping customers, they know the poor tipping waiters, and seat and bus your sections accordingly.


November 7, 2008

This is a reply to #11814. What state do you live in? I don’t know of any restaurant that has to make up the difference on a servers check from what that restaurant pays and the minimum wage. My daughter makes 3.16 an hour. If she gets no tips, she makes 3.16 an hour. That’s it. The restaurant pays her taxes (state, federal, ss etc) off 3.16. Since she is honest, and reports her tip income, she pays the whole tax on what she is tipped. That means she pays double what most people pay, since her employer does not. My daughter is very bright, has a college degree and loves working in her restaurant. (I didn’t say she was practicle!) She pays her bills–rent, utilities, food etc–from what she makes in tips. Since she began working in the restaurant, I ALWAYS tip at least 20% as I know how much that kind of tip means to her.


November 7, 2008

The math here worked in 1985, but please modernize. 15% should be the MINIMUM tipped except in cases of notably bad service.

As for people complaining about having to tip at all and stating that restaurants make enough money off the markup on menu items, rethink your position. In addition to guessing what items on your plate cost, please also add the following:

1) Cost of liquor license;

2) Cost of health care and benefits for our full-time employees;

3) Cost of linens (you cannot begin to imagine how many thousands of dollars even a tiny restaurant has to pay per month just to have table cloths–ask a manager and you will be enlightened by the answer);

4) Cost of insurance, liability, and workers’ comp;


6) Common Area Maintenance fees from landlords;

7) Sales tax that has to be paid at least quarterly;

8) Advertising (if it can be afforded at all);

9) Dishwashing chemicals;

10) Electricity and utilities for a place that likely has more heat and refrigeration needs than a dozen houses combined;

11) Upgrades to meet new laws passed for fire codes, zoning ordinances, ADA requirements, etc.;

12) Replacement of broken glasses, plates, refrigerators, ovens, fryers, coffee machines, etc.;

13) Finally–even if at minimum wage, the cost of a kitchen staff that shows up hours before doors ever open, dishwashers, bartenders, a manager, wait staff, etc.

There’s more. But please stop thinking (anon20409!) that the restaurant is necessarily making a profit by charging you $3 for 50 cents worth of pasta. The restaurant industry sees “out of business” signs more than any other.

In the midst of this, servers need to be tipped fairly. If you can’t afford it, stop going out to eat.

–The world would change if everyone had to be a server for just one month of their lives.


November 7, 2008

I think the one thing left out of the comments is how much of a challenge dealing with the staff behind the big swinging doors can be. People who think wait staff don’t face hazards in the work place need to think again. I manage a fine dining seasonal restaurant. My chef is the god of the kitchen. When a complaint about food is made, the chef takes it as a personal assault. Profanities, plates, knives and threats fly at my wait staff. The line cook is bi-polar so that is always a crap shoot.

I tip 25 to 40 percent depending on the type of dining. I once had a bartender come back to my table to return my “over payment” I’m in the business. I get it.

If you can’t afford to tip stay home and make Hamburger Helper. Tipping is part of dining.


November 7, 2008

I work in a restaurant, I have two jobs, I work shifts as a server, and shifts as a cashier (because I will not rely on how busy we are or what kind of moods our guests will be in to support my family) As a server I make $3.33/hr. I average 6-8 hours per shift, at anywhere from $7 my worst night, to $51 my best night. I am not the best at what I do, not by far in my own restaurant. I do not get paid extra to make my minimum wage, and if I want to complain about it, I must not be taking good enough care of the customers and am removed from that post. To my knowledge there are only five states that allow servers to be paid less than minimum wage, you heard me, seems most of the posters are from TEN PERCENT OF THE COUNTRY, I find that funny. I would like to say to anon19850, those men and women posted abroad as military personnel ARE RISKING THEIR LIVES FOR YOU, with their intensive training, and knowledge, having gone in with pretty much similar requirements for being a server, have you ever thought of tipping them? Don’t complain that they make too much money to be tipped, why don’t you join? If a table leaves me little or no tip, I usually know why, either I did something wrong(was in the back smoking when they wanted the bill/dessert/or even a refill(which takes me a minute and a half to get btw), or just because poor folks like me deserve to go out to eat too, and can’t always afford the tip on top of the high price of food.) I do not tip rude, obnoxious, or lazy servers when I eat out, but I also inform management so they can be warned/retrained/or let go somewhere else. In fact I’ve been known to tip a few buffet servers better than sit down restaurant servers, simply because they were more personable and attentive. I have RARELY heard a server warn another about a poor tipper, I have been warned, but received a nice tip myself, I must have been more to the customers liking. I love the thrill of wondering what kind of tip I will be left. I do not get terribly upset by being stiffed however, because some nice customer always leaves 20%, helping my average tip stay between 10% and 15% for the whole night. I don’t lie when reporting my tips, and as I only expect to be tipped for service above and beyond (which I always strive to offer) I only tip for the same, because OUR bus boys and cooks know their jobs, know their pay is 3 times what we make and understand that often times to cut operating costs we end up doing their jobs for our pay, all they ask for is to be treated kindly and with respect.


November 7, 2008

Tipping is ridiculous. If you can’t afford to work without the tip, get another job. Unless the restaurant has a built-in tip for large parties, I feel no obligation to leave one.

I almost always do, but it won’t go higher than 20% unless the service is outstanding. The notion of tipping someone who has ignored me, been slow, not refilled my glass, made me ask for something repeatedly is insane. How much extra money do you people have that you’re willing to pay someone just for showing up?

When was the last time you went to your job, put forth minimal effort and got a bonus?


November 7, 2008

I just want to say that you should leave 20%, and if you can’t afford 20% you shouldn’t be going out to eat in the first place. As a waitress we make $2.65 an hour, so without tips were making nothing once taxes are taking out. Don’t listen to his guy if the bill is 42.80 you should leave 20% which is (move the decimal point over 2) 4.20 + 4.20 = $8.40. That is an excellent tip.


November 7, 2008

I was a server for over 7 years and let me tell you, we get paid by our tips, that’s it. Oh, unless you consider our 80% taxed paycheck of a little over $4 an hour… And someone on here said s/he doesn’t tip? Do you think servers work as servers because it’s their life long dream to serve you food? Mmm… guess again. It isn’t like the restaurant shares its profits with the workers… that would be the day! If you can’t afford to tip, stay home and make your own food. Besides, never, and I mean NEVER return to a restaurant if you didn’t tip your server. If you don’t know why, watch the movie “Waiting.” It is absolutely right on the money! We remember who you are and we remember your face so just think about it 😉


November 7, 2008

I am not a waitress, but I do have some knowledge of tipping. The word tips stands for TO INSURE PROPER SERVICE. That makes sense. For the idiot complaining about tipping, stay HOME!!! The hard working servers don’t want you there!!! If restaurants stopped using the tipping method, the food would cost more and the service would suck. The servers would have no incentive to bring you your food immediately or get you a new drink or whatever it is you may need. The whole point in dining out is to get waited on and take the hassle out of eating. If you cannot afford to dine out then stay home. I ALWAYS tip 20% unless the server was terrible. In that case I leave 15%. The only time that I leave 10% is when I get take-out and even then I usually end up leaving more. With take-out, I feel like I am serving myself so the tip should not be a full 20%. I get so frustrated with these cheap people that do not want to tip. You deserve to get served cold food and bad service.


November 7, 2008

Just as the article says, 15% is standard. (The 10-12% is for people who sit at the counter and do not receive the service usually received when sitting at a table).

However, I disagree with the person commenting who says never tip less than 15%. If the service is lousy, and the server has no excuse for not doing better, then that server should receive a lower tip (or if very poor service is rendered, no tip at all). I’m not talking about a server running a little behind refilling drinks or bringing food because the restaurant is very busy. In fact, if it is very busy and the server is able to keep glasses refilled and makes themselves reasonably available during the meal, a slightly larger tip may even be in order. Likewise, if the service is excellent, a tip of 18-20% is not out of order (although no server should feel they are entitled to a tip that large – it is for exceptional service).


November 7, 2008

why should restaurants be the ones who pay their employees. we pay for the food and service? the restaurants should be responsible for their employees pay. not customers. they make all the profit and have more than enough money to spare. tipping is an option!


November 7, 2008

I have stopped tipping, except for when I receive exceptional service. I just don’t do it anymore, and I have stopped feeling guilty about it. Sometimes I just like to enjoy a night out, and I can’t think of any other way my meal will make it from the kitchen to my table without a waiter/waitress. You are not providing a service, you are doing your job. It’s not my problem that yor employer is not paying you a proper hourly wage. I work hard for my money and don’t make much more than minimum wage myself. I don’t get a tip for my job. I’m a bank teller, would be mighty nice if you tipped me 10% for the service I provide for cashing your checks!


November 7, 2008

believe me – i completely agree with those who are posting comments about this. i work as a hair stylist in a commission only salon. hair stylists as well as servers and bartenders, life off of tips. once you have worked for tips you will better understand. yes we all might receive checks but its barely anything sometimes so we rely on tips we are given. when i got out to eat, i tip my server AT LEAST 20% due to the fact that i know what its like to work hard for the money in the business. if i do a $100 service on a client, im usually getting tips from $5 – $25, $30, sometimes there’s no tip at all. so again, those who tip better will be more appreciated and treated with the upmost.


November 7, 2008

If you do not have enough money to tip your server, then do not go out to eat! Servers in Ohio make $3.50 an hour plus tips, but keep in mind that at the end of the night, the server has to tip the bartender, the hostess, and the bus boy. So hopefully you cheapskates eat at Mcdonalds instead of a restaurant. We know your type (cheapness) and you may want to be a little nicer, because we do serve your food 😉 Whoops, is that a big loogie on your steak?!?!? How did that get there?


November 7, 2008

I have to agree that whomever wrote this article clearly has NOT worked in the food industry and does not understand that, in most cases, servers depend on tips as their primary source of income. And comparing serving and brain surgery is like comparing apples to oranges, in my opinion: they’re both valid and important occupations that take a lot of work and deserve respect. I just had to post a comment because I just got home from working my restaurant job with $30 in my pocket after 6 hours of being on my feet, smiling, giving total strangers my undivided attention and knowledge of my restaurant’s extensive menus. Do the math? That’s $5 an hour, plus my measly and heavily taxed hourly pay. And the reason why is in part due to people tipping me 10-12% of the bill total, which, according to this ridiculous article, is appropriate. Maybe I should call upon you when my rent is due next month, because if people listen to your advice, I certainly won’t be able to cover it!


November 7, 2008

i’m always worried about how much to tip. i usually try to double the tip since i live in ca, but sometimes, i think that a meal for you that costs around $45, should be tipped $5.00. this comes up to roughly 11% which is not that great compared to this rule of thumb i’m supposed to be using. however, i think it’s pretty good, it’s just two people you know.


November 7, 2008

anyone who tips less than 20% is not going to get good service the next time you return. if you just double the tax, you might not be tipping on wine or alcohol. you need to just tip 20% and be done with it.


November 7, 2008

Grow up and get over it. I understand that you think you work hard, as everyone in america does. The sad truth in the matter is you need a job and choose this industry. I do not feel you are entitled to anything. I tip anywhere from 0 to over 200%. But the catch is I only tip based on service. If you gave average service I give gen. about 15%. I know that sounds a bit cheap but I feel average service should not be a goal. So If you are average and I made you mad–good, get out of the industry. No one wants an average experience. I have been in the business for a while and I wish everyone would tip based on service. If the waiter is rude give them nothing and let the boss know why. How ever if the waiter made your night then I feel you should make theirs as well. I have had waiters that were upbeat, entertaining and went well above and beyond to make our night enjoyable. I have tipped them often more than the meal cost, because it was that good of an experience. However for all of you guys giving average service and complaining thinking that you are entitled to 20%, please just shut up and leave you are giving us all a bad name. So please people, reward good service, and only good service. If people wanted average they would eat fast food.

Ps. Why don’t we tip other service professionals? Just wondering I know lots of nurses that make less than 30,000 a year and no-one ever gives them tips for cleaning up you love ones. Most people don’t even say thank you. I noticed that on my visit to the hospital this afternoon. After calling the poor nurse for my loved ones 5th ice refill in 1 hour I started think man she is responsible for a lot yet she kept smiling and never complained. She had 6 other patients and had to give their meds, explain their care. Assist them all with their needs, serve the food, get drinks, clean them up when they have accidents on themselves. And here we are saying we work hard. We were pretty needful I wonder if we should tip her?


November 7, 2008

I’ve worked in restaurants as a server and bartender for about 15 years. I can certainly understand not wanting to pay for service. Sometimes I, too, don’t wish to pay for service. On those occasions, I stay home. The fact is that the structure of dining in our country is that the guest pays for the service. To ask for service and then not pay for it or pay an inadequate sum is nothing short of stealing. No one would ever go to a department store and say, “You know, I really didn’t appreciate the way the clerk sold me this sweater; so I’m just going to pay half.” If you ask for service, pay for it. Oh, and BTW, the difference between a good tip and a lousy tip or a good tip and a great tip is often as little as $1-3. Pony up, people; skimping on tipping is wrong.


November 7, 2008

It’s good advice concerning regular restaurants where you order your food and drinks, but what about buffets? Do you leave a tip for the person that clears the table, plus the person that walks around and refills your beverage? If so, how much is acceptable and how do you know the money will go to the appropriate server??


November 7, 2008

I wonder, after reading some of these comments, if people really view me as a substandard person because of my choice of employment while I finish my Bachelors degree! As a full time student I need a flexible job that pays my rent.

I feel it necessary to educate the public who HASN’T served:

I work as a server in a popular corporate chain. For $3.50/hr and whatever tips I get in my 4 hours a day job. Don’t forget this: we have to tip out to hosts, to bartenders, to bussers. So if my sales for the evening are $500, i have to tip out $15. So if I only get 10% tips all night (which would equal $50), then I tip out (that would be the $15), I walk with $35 for the night. At that rate, if I’m lucky enough to get 5 nights, I only make $175 a week? That is good enough for WHO to live off of?

When you pay $15 for a bowl of pasta the cost breaks down to this:

Establishment costs s/a electric, gas, toilet paper, continuous training, etc.

Staff costs s/a sous chef salaries, management salaries, etc.

Product costs s/a the 50 cent portion of pasta….that the prep cook during the day made by hand.

When you give a tip to the server, which in my mind should never be less than 15%, it is the end result of the ambiance, the quality of food (which of course, the server has no direct connection with), the extra efforts and assistance that we offer to you, our guests. If you can’t afford a $15 dollar bowl of pasta, $5 salad and a $10 glass of vino along with a $5-6 dollar tip (which would be about 18-20% tip), then don’t go there. If you have a hard time dealing with tipping someone for doing the job for you: making the food, bringing it to the table, refreshing your drinks, and cleaning up your mess then JUST DON’T GO OUT TO EAT!!!!!!!

There is always fast food chains where its cheap, tip free and will satisfy immediate gratification!


November 7, 2008

I think it is a bit rude for people to be so intolerant of server pay. It is really simple business. All employees must make minimum wage. Restaurants are not required to meet that amount. If all servers are paid minimum wage or more to reflect the job performance, then you, as a customer will pay much more for a sit down service restaurant. I know I appreciate good service whether at Meijer, the mall or at a restaurant. At least now you can choose how to reward service. If this is such a thorn in your side, go to Taco Bell or Arbies.


November 7, 2008

In the state of Illinois, gratuity, has of 5 years ago, went up to 18%. Just to let all you 15% tippers know.


November 7, 2008

I have always presented a tip of at least 10% no matter where I eat. That is even if I was not “thrilled” with the service. The tip I normally leave is at least 15%. Notice I said “at least”. However, I am not afraid to walk out of a restaurant without leaving a tip if the service is horrible. I agree that people should NEVER base the tip on the quality of the food. The tip to the server is for the “service”. Leave those complaints with the management. You have the right to never eat there again if the food is bad. I think a tip of 20% is adequate for really good service in a restaurant. It is up to you if you want to leave more. If you as a server have the right to “expect” more, your customers have the right to “expect” exceptional service. Pay the people what they are worth. Take your “average” tip amount as a “clue”. I think those who apply them self’s are regularly rewarded well. Those who do not apply them self’s are rewarded appropriately. To the person that said they are lucky not to live in this country, trust me, “you” are not the lucky one.LOL I have lived and visited all over this world. I have had poor experiences here and great one’s abroad. I have also had great experiences here and poor ones abroad. We have our problems in this country but I will still take this country over any other country in the world. A big part of the reason that we have such a huge national debt is that we “are” the world bank. If you think that we are bad because we can buy our friends in this world you need to realize that you are worse for being able to be bought. Enjoy your meal.


November 7, 2008

Both sides have very valid points.

At no point should a person feel “obligated” to increase the cost of an already established bill. The management created the cost and the employees working within the establishment are well informed prior what they will make via management.

Also….to any server(s) complaining that tips should be expected due to the “service tendered” (and I must say some of the examples seem pretty common and understandable), well this is the industry you chose for better or worse. I can guarantee you most packing your groceries and asking “paper or plastic” aren’t ecstatic at their wage either, nor what is all entailed in the job (as it seems to continually increase) and yet they don’t have the potential tip to help make the efforts seem worthwhile.

The only time a tip should be EXPECTED is when its incorporated in a bill (such as gratuity or delivery charge) and no tip beyond that should be expected.

with that said…..We the patron (even servers/waitresses when dining and not working) know the tipping system is not a requirement but an understanding that the service will be evaluated by the amount given as a tip. We can all agree servers really depend on tips considering the industry has tailored the cost of the food to lure you in while keeping the wages of the personnel down to make it financially profitable. This understanding is that the discount they give will allow you to pay the difference in wage to the server based solely on your discretion (or your evaluation if you prefer).

I can’t say a person is a bad person for leaving a bad tip or a great person for leaving a great tip. I mean should a person leave a tip at all if a server is having a really bad day and is being a total jerk? I wouldnt leave a penny myself. Some may have sympathy and tip anyhow (and possibly more) but some won’t. If someone is doing a great job but you have already planned out your budget to dine out at an exact cost,….are you wrong for not tipping more? Some would say yes. I disagree.

What about those with tons of kids but clearly its an event for them to be dining…should mom be expected to tip as much as the corporate group 3 tables over who’s bill is very comparable? I mean these are all hypothetical situations but the outcome could be different to each person.

I am a firm believer in 15% across the board. Im sorry if servers don’t like it. I look at it like this…….if its a busy restaurant and you are working as hard as some claim,…then quantity of the 15% tippers will easily satisfy an expected wage. I mean a server certainly should not make more annually then a position requiring extensive experience, at least in my opinion.

Point is,…if 15% tip isn’t adequate from a party (whether 1 or 10 people) then perhaps you should look for a more successful restaurant or at least one with a higher cost menu (as it would immediately raise your tip rate). That’s my .02


November 7, 2008

That is a perfectly valid question, but that is a post not an article. I was referring to the article above all the posts.


November 7, 2008

American restaurant practice and tipping is not the world practice. In France, a fixed tip is included in your bill. In China a tip is not expected and is even ridiculed by some. Why is it assumed that the American situation is so ‘normal’? Because it suits the American restaurant owner so nicely. Pay the servers less and less. Argue over and over again that your wait-staff are good and deserve high tips. This scam that has gone on for so long in the US on the part of restaurant owners does not need further support. How about a call for change?


November 7, 2008

I have been a waitress/bartender/manager for 11 years and I have only gotten 1 raise to make my hourly wage 2.63. Yes I could get a better paying job but I do like to work my schedule around my children since their father works full time and can not take of work to go the the parties, field trips etc. at our childrens school. We believe that at least 1 parent should be available at a short notice for our kids. I have been yelled at by rude people, not tipped at all, barely tipped, people with rude kids, very messy rude kids(and you could pick up the food all over the floor from them at least) all sorts of things and I still smile and try to make the customer happy. You as a consumer should at least tip us or hey take your 2 hour we only need coffee meeting to I don’t know?? YOUR office. If you can’t afford to tip eat at home and save me from runnin my butt off for nothing!


November 7, 2008

To the person who said that if the restaurant pays complete wages and the customers do not have to tip, the waiters have no incentive to provide good service….

None of us who work office jobs, etc. get tips. Does that mean we do crappy work? no. because there is such a thing as being “Fired”

My tipping scale is normally 20% unless the service is bad. then the rate goes down.


November 7, 2008

I am a server, and I have found this whole discussion both enlightening and disgusting. To the people who said things along the lines of, “if you don’t like to tip, go to McDonald’s!”, huge kudos to you, because I say that at least once a shift at work every day!! The other comment that really stuck me was the long dissertation on how servers should not be tipped and be paid even less because we don’t want to encourage anyone to become a server. Excuse me, but wtf?!?! Does this guy never eat out, because if he wants to do away with serving as a profession, he better plan on living at fast food and buffet places, because with that logic, all sit-down casual and fine dining restaurants would cease to exist!

I’m not a perfect person, and therefore, not a perfect server either, but I bust my butt for every table that is seated in my section, whether I think that they are going to tip me well or not, because that is my job. I try my best not to complain about the money I make, and to be honest, most times, I have nothing to complain about, but it irritates me to death when I see a subpar server ranting about their lack of tips. So I understand the feelings of some that they don’t want to tip 15% or better for bad service, I don’t blame them, and I wouldn’t and don’t tip that well if I don’t think the server deserves it! However, after a few tables in a row leave me 10% or less when they had nothing to complain about, my service level goes down for the rest of the day, I’m human and don’t react well to be treated poorly, and I don’t see how anyone couldn’t understand that!


November 7, 2008

I also work in a restaurant, and I think that the whole problem here is government taxing tips. When you go to a hair stylist and you tip them, they don’t pay taxes on it. When you go get your shoes shined, they don’t pay taxes on it. What about the person who delivers your newspaper? Guess what? They don’t pay taxes on their tips either. Why is the restaurant business and servers being singled out to pay taxes on tips? As a server, I would like to think the tip is for good service, Then I know I did my job correctly and that customer will come back and hopefully ask for me to serve them! The whole problem here is the taxing of tips, and the restaurant owners taking advantage of this! If tips are going to be taxed, don’t single out one industry! Ours! As a server I don’t think any of us would complain, if tips werent taxed!1 Our paychecks? Yes! That’s fair, but not our tips. Its funny no complains about 500% profit on clothes they buy, or 7505 profit on jewelry, yet they complain about tipping someone who spends their time catering to them? Welcome to America.


November 7, 2008

So do the servers from restaurants tip the hairdresser or the person who washes their hair? What about the newspaper boy who delivers rain or shine? He doesn’t get tips or at the most $5 for Christmas! 15% is fine to get especially when some servers do nothing!


November 7, 2008

I think it’s down right hilarious that people think servers shouldn’t get tipped. I’ll tell you a little secret… never ever tick off the person that handles your food, because you never know what happens to it before it comes to your table. I have seen many servers angry at customers, or remember how rude someone was to them and do some horrible things to customer’s food. Just be mindful, because even if you don’t think what I said is true, just think about it before you upset your next server 🙂


November 7, 2008

to put in better terms for everyone out there who doesn’t work in the restaurant business who doesn’t know how to tip right or doesn’t tip at all think of the ten second rule cause us as servers and bartenders remember your faces and know who you are we will remember you the next time you come in and word will get around to other servers…. you guys complain about having to tip servers who run around all day or all night just to get you guys what you guys need are pay checks are crap we live off of our tips you don’t have enough money to pay the bill and tip properly then there’s this thing called Mcdonalds use it since you don’t want to tip don’t waste that servers time serving you if your not going to tip right plain and simple. so if you want to be complaining about tipping servers then use drive-through where you don’t have to tip or better yet stay at home in your trailer park and drink your store brand light beer and eat your microwave dinners plain and simple


November 7, 2008

The people who regularly leave bad tips will always get poor service. What you may not know is we all know who you are. When you walk in we draw straws to see who has to take you. We talk to our friends at other restaurants. The people who leave 20% will get taken care of much better than someone who does not.


November 7, 2008

Most restaurant patrons seem to be unaware of this, but waiters do not get to keep all of their tips. They are required to give a substantial portion of their tips to the hostess, the bus boy, the bar tender and the expo (kitchen) server. When I waited tables I was required to give 5% of my SALES to these other employees. I was then taxed on the “expected” amount of tips calculated by my employer and the IRS. On one occasion, a wedding party of 40, which I spent 5 hours serving and cleaning up after, told the manager they didn’t want to pay an 18% gratuity. The service was excellent, they said. They just didn’t believe in tipping that much. By the time I paid off all the support staff, and had taxes withheld for the 18% I didn’t receive, I LOST money working that shift. I literally walked out of the restaurant with less money than I came in with. Sure there are days when servers make a lot of money, but those are usually holidays when you would rather be home with your family. When business is slow you may not even make minimum wage. You receive no benefits. You work every Mother’s Day, every Christmas. As a female server I endured a great deal of sexual harassment from male managers. And just like a retail job, verbal abuse from the clientele is part and parcel of the job.


November 7, 2008

With the new administrations socialist idea of “redistributing the wealth” I have decided to practice that when distributing my tips. I will simply divide my tip of usually 10% in half giving my server 5% and the other 5% to the hostess, because I want to be fair and equitable.


November 7, 2008

It is oh-so-painfully obvious that one can read these posts, and discover in this audience those of you that have ever held a job in the restaurant industry, and those of you who haven’t. What was once held as a badge of excellence in a craft, unfortunately (to your wallet, sad to say), really has become obligatory in today’s world.

To say that servers get paid entirely too much in these times, quite frankly, is rather laughable. Keep in mind, that, while servers at a fine/causal dining establishment, on the average, make anywhere from $16.00 to $25.00 per hour (wages + tip, and these figures can greatly vary from state to state), they are typically only working 20-25 hours a week. And to say that kids entering a restaurant atmosphere will more than likely stay there is a disservice to human achievement; most servers in the industry now are also enrolled in colleges, using their job to make a living while doing so.

And, while 15% was considered the norm for a long time, it is almost considered now to be in the lower echelon. Keep in mind, since tips are now MONITORED and TAXED, in accordance with state and federal laws, that stack of cash you leave for a server comes out of their checks at the end of a pay period. Likewise, many restaurants utilize a “tip share”, which pulls money out of the server’s tips to pay towards host/hostess, busser, and bartender pay. The restaurant I worked in, for example, pulled 2.25% of my total sales for such services. By that standard, if I were to have received an aggregate of 15% tips, that would really leave me with 12.75% to walk with. Nowadays, and especially in financially straining times, servers are very pleased with a 17-20% tip.

You may not agree with it, and you may not like it, but keep in mind that servers never forget a bad tipper. If you are a regular who performs such practices, yet find that your service is a little slower than what it seems for everyone else, it may be the result of your own shortcomings, not the servers. Bear in mind that you are not the only table in the world, especially if that server is taking care of 4-5 other tables, excluding your own. He or she is doing their best to make sure your experience is a good one.

Ultimately, if those principles are something you don’t agree with, I am going to make the following suggestions:

– Hop down from your pedestal and pick up a job as a waiter at a popular restaurant, so you can really, truly, wholly appreciate what the job entails (and trust me, it’s a heck of a lot more difficult at some places than you think).

– Exert a little patience and understand that the person assigned to where you are sitting is doing everything they can to make sure you are taken care of.

– Don’t go out to eat. Quite frankly, if most servers could pinpoint who was going to tip well, and who wasn’t, they’d gladly turn the latter away, just so they could serve the former. And, honestly, if you’re in the business long enough, you can smell a bad tipper from a mile away. Likewise, if money’s that tight that you’re going to short change a server, it might be in your best interest to prepare something from home, and keep that obviously much-needed change in your wallet.


November 7, 2008

this is for anon2364. clearly you have never worked in a restaurant before. at certain establishments serving takes very little skill at all, but others require skilled servers, and skilled servers are not easy to come by. keeping 5 different tables with multiple people organized is no easy task. lets break down what one table may require:

-greeting and specials breakdown and drink order

-putting in the drink order

-serving the drinks and appetizer order

-putting in the appetizer order

-serving appetizer and food order

-ordering salads

-timing the ordering of food (if someone orders a well steak the order has to go in a certain time before salads are cleared, or maybe before they are even served, a pasta dish for example can be put in later so it is hot off the line)

-more drinks, sometimes 10000 sodas

– desert order, put in order (most places I’ve worked you prepare the dessert yourself)

-serve dessert

-clearing plates, glasses, silverware in between all this

-more bread please….

-presenting the bill, running the bill

-clear and set up the table for the next group

-special request can be a nightmare

and that’s only one table.

timing and good service is a skill.

id say for the most part 15% is fine, 20% at nicer places, don’t eat out if you can’t afford to tip, there are cheaper ways to eat.

and oh yeah, im a sr college student getting my degree in civil engineering, maybe if you made better career choices you could afford to tip and not complain so much.


November 7, 2008

I was a server for 6 years while I was in high school and college and it absolutely infuriates me that people even consider tipping anything less than 15%. Many people do not understand (unless they were servers) how rude people are! Not only when they run you back and forth instead of asking for everything at once, but especially how they talk to you. Where did people learn how to speak to people?! When you ask your server for something act like your asking your mother for something, be polite! Because yes we do keep track of who you are and next time you come in when you want your refill, and then you want ketchup, and then you want a glass of ice, and then oh yeah you need another napkin, well guess what your server is doing, they went outside to smoke, or they’re sitting in the back relaxing because guess what? I’m not running around like a crazy person for you to leave me a crappy tip, no thanks. Being a server is really hard work, so if your lucky enough to actually get a good server, then you should tip them well. I’ve not only been served by horrible servers but I’ve also had to work with them. Most people are just not bright enough to do the job, which means they probably won’t have the job for much longer. I am not saying all customers are horrible people, I still remain friends with some of my previous customers, even though I am no longer a server. I just think that some people do not understand not only how rude they are, but also how cheap they are being. Its already been said but “If you can’t afford to tip 20%, then you can’t afford to go out to eat”. And if you disagree, then tell me how you feel about working your butt off for free.


November 7, 2008

I can’t believe some people are actually blaming the legislature to justify not leaving a tip. The person who said “it’s not my job to support you and your family” Well, yes, it is. If you are sitting in my section, I get paid by you. Not the restaurant. This money supports me and my family.


November 7, 2008

This discussion is absolutely absurd. I am always amazed that everyone feels entitled to tell restaurateurs how they should be running their business. As a restaurant professional I would never presume to tell anyone in another field how they should do their job or run their business.

The fact is that this is how the laws allow restaurant owners to pay their staff so they do. It is a privilege to dine in a culture that values service and allows the guest to decide how much to tip. If the restaurant paid flat wages not only would your service most likely be terrible but your bill would automatically be 20% higher (where else do you think they would get the money to pay the higher wages?). Plain and simple, if you don’t want to tip 20% for standard service do not go to a full service restaurant! And, this idea that one should figure tip before tax is also absurd. The IRS figures a server’s taxable wages as a percentage of their total sales, including tax, not the subtotal after tax. Please, just enjoy being waited on and tip accordingly.


November 7, 2008

I’m sorry but YES I DO. I’ve been a server and bartender for 3 years and I love what I do, and I provide the BEST service I can. I think it’s a completely valid question and I’d like to hear what drives people away. What’s your problem with this question??


November 7, 2008

and furthermore as far as all of you ridiculous buffoons that make SUCH a big deal about waiting 10 minutes for a table at a “mere” dining establishment saying things like “but we had a reservation!” or “we have been waiting for 20 minutes to sit down (which is usually NOT the case more like 10 minutes)” RELAX… the reason you aren’t sitting down is because we are not ready for you yet… our BAD, but i can’t even count on my fingers and toes how many times i have been to a dentist a doctor’s or a lawyer’s office when i’ve had a confirmed appointment that if i don’t show up on time i have to pay my copay anyway and i sit there with a pile of magazines for over 30 min. you don’t see folks running up to the receptionist saying “umm i had an appointment,” or “i have been waiting here for 30 min.” so don’t do it when you go out to eat. btw tip your host or hostess too.


November 7, 2008

I work in a restaurant as a server. In today’s economy the tips are getting lower, people just can’t always afford the extra in tips. Especially on our large parties. And many times if they order bar drinks, the percentage they leave is less than we owe the bartenders for making those drinks. We also take care of the busboys at the end of each shift. I’ve had nights where in a sense, I pay for that couple to eat and drink at this establishment. I give great service, receive many compliments from customers, and it’s not just something that happens to me. My coworkers are experiencing the very same thing. Agreed, if you receive poor service, the tip should reflect that, and hopefully the server takes note of it and changes their ways of service. On another note, it is disheartening to meet and exceed a customers satisfaction and receive nothing for it, $2.15 and hour is not worth it.


November 7, 2008

Whomever wrote this article has never worked in a restaurant.


November 7, 2008

EVERYONE: I have a question. If you have a favorite restaurant/bar that you choose on a fairly frequent basis, is it mainly because of the food/drink or the service, or both? If the service diminished significantly, would you go back (examples, can’t get a drink, can’t get a re-fill, table doesn’t get cleaned off, etc.) Which matters most, service or substance? I am REALLY curious about this one. And what would cause you to never return??


November 7, 2008

I am a waitress in a small cafe. We have a lot of coffee drinkers and people who are locals and do not tip. I make $3.00 an hour. When I wait on someone who takes a lot of my time and then does not tip, it averages out to less that minimum wage and I go home not being able to pay the rent. Marie


November 7, 2008

Just to let everyone know, you can’t always double the tax depending on which state you live in. Texas requires tax to be included in the line item price so tax at the bottom of the ticket will not reflect alcohol drinks, which can be a significant portion of the meal in some case.


November 7, 2008

obviously the person who wrote this has never in their life been a server..let me tell you…my hourly less then minimum…less then a busboy and less then a bartender…I make 4.15 an hour but for years made 2.85 until recently..whatever money i make..I have to give $8 to the person who carries my food out and to the bartender..I give 17% to the busboy and if you buy nice wine…I have to give 7% to the manager for having it on the menu…so 15% is not good..cause I may get 10 % of the these economic hard times…people are not going out to eat and are cheap cause they don’t have money…my check every week for as long as i remember is zero..for taxes…we all have to eat…and pay bills…and as long as we are on the topic…when you make a reservation for 15 20 or 30 and only half show up….we waste a night …we can’t pay our bills..the restaurant brings in additional works to give you the BEST service don’t show and the server is punished because now they have to split a party that was meant for 1 and divide into 2 paychecks


November 7, 2008

I have been a waiter or bartender for about 10 years and i would just like to make a point that i think some people are forgetting: Waiters, bartenders, cooks, and managers are not above retaliation. If you frequent someplace, make sure you tip well because you may think they won’t remember you but they will. Over the years, i have seen some really terrible things happen to people’s food, and I’ve also done some pretty terrible things, but only to people who deserved it. I have seen raw chicken slathered on a guest’s plate EVERY TIME they come in. I have seen someone eat soup that has been urinated in. And i wouldnt even put these two acts in my top ten most terrible. Tip however you want, but remember, payback baby!!!!


November 7, 2008

im a waiter… a VERY good waiter I’ve been doing it for over 18 years. I DO have a Bachelor of Science i HAVE graduated college. I’m not a server because i don’t have other options. I am one because i choose to be one. I find it haughty and shameful for folks to think servers are only kids and college students (how is it like to live inside your little bubble of life). Outside your mini microcosm, people are good at certain things other than 6figure jobs. I could learn to become a doctor. Do i want to? no. Im good at making people happy. It’s called the hospitality industry folks. So yes i DO expect 20% tips because i know i give 20% service. And all you fools that come in after your lawyering and dentistry offices close and want to dump a less than 20% tip on someone who is basically able to put aside the fact they are demeaning themselves to bring you food like a servant and doing a helluva job at it can just stay stay home.


November 7, 2008

I live in upstate new york and the tax is about 8%. I always double that and round up.


November 7, 2008

I am a server in Hawaii that’s going to give you the straight truth. Waiting tables is easy. We can get away with slacking a lot of our shift. We have learned that a corny joke and some sly thinking on our feet pays off. We haven’t worked a hard day in our life. Most of us whine constantly about this and that, while thinking about who’s sleeping with who, who’s dating who, and which bartender will give us a free drink while on shift. I’ve seen servers turn down 3-6 tables a night just to drink. We are immature individuals that haven’t known a hard days work in our lives. We can give the appearance of being busy because we aren’t focused and it’s an illusion. We lie a lot of the time about kitchen this and kitchen that to cover our mistakes. We cheat our restaurant by not ringing in soda’s and booze that we get cash for. We steal food any time we can from the same restaurant. In a typical 6 hour shift we only work for about 2 hours of that shift. We also get management to comp mistakes we’ve already received payment on. I have never worked with a bigger bunch of whiners, racist’s, lazies, complainers, who got it made and have convinced themselves they have it so bad. Tip a sever that is genuine, creative, looks you in the eye, and talks to your children. Don’t worry about us…….we have all sorts of ways to make money, we are the scourge of the world and will grovel in ways we think gets us the biggest amount. You don’t want to hear what we say about Europeans, Minorities, and Elderly. I work 22 hours a week and make minimum $500 in cash a week. I’ve made $370 – $450 in an 8 hour shift at least one night a month in the past and I secretly hate all of you. I cringe when you sit down and I can usually guess within $2 what your tip will be. You are see through.


November 7, 2008

I worked my way through college, over 25 years ago, waiting tables. I worked my tail off to make sure orders were correct and came out on time and in proper course order. I used to force the cooks to re-cook or re-plate wrong or badly presented orders.

You know what the problem is today? Wait staff EXPECTS a 20 % or better tip. Many do not care at all upon how the service is or how the food is delivered. Half the time many have a very poor attitude and act like your putting them out even daring to come into the establishment.

I always tip 20 % for good service. If they screw up and its obviously just an oversight, then its still 20 %. But if they are mad because their lack of care for their job causes my food to be wrong, 10 % is the max your getting out of me… EVER. Been there done it.


November 7, 2008

After reading this article I was completely shocked to hear the ignorance of some people. I think it’s about time to get a few things straight about restaurant etiquette. We can start by talking about the economics behind it all. It is often overlooked that incorporated in the price of ones meal at a particular restaurant is the operating costs. Included are the wages of the employees. Servers make $2.13 an hour. If that wage was raised to say $8/hour the price of any meal will go up as well. In most cases a 15-20% tip after a meal still saves the consumer money in contrast to raising the wages.

Secondly, most servers, like myself, have no intentions of making a career out of it. I am 22 years old and wait tables because it produces the best income for the hours I am able put in due to my school schedule. Another point that I would like to make is it is NOT the servers “job” to only serve your food or be one’s personal slave. The job of a server is to make your stay, your dinner, at a restaurant an enjoyable one… to represent the restaurant, and provide a good enough experience so that that customer will return. For anyone that believes waiting tables is easy…..THINK AGAIN. For anyone who feels servers a nuisance or believe they shouldn’t leave a tip, please for all our sake, STAY HOME. Having servers benefits both parties.

Feel free to respond.


November 7, 2008

Reading this..

a big misconception is doubling the tax hen you tip..

Most states do not tax on alcohol, the restaurant has to pay the taxes on alcohol, therefore if you have alcoholic beverages you should tip on the total of the bill. I would day a good rule of thumb is 15-20 percent, if the service is exceptional..even more.

most servers tip out around 3 percent of the total sales to bartenders, hosts, etc.


November 7, 2008

You people who think you should not tip, or servers should be paid less are out of your minds…. Do it for a week. You’ll quickly change your mind. The definition of tip is to ensure proper service. It is a hard way to make a living. Without servers, no one would be eating out.


November 7, 2008

It is the hospitality industry, that is how it is set up. Unless you would like to pay more for the food and beverages in order to enable to establishment to pay the staff higher, I would not complain about tipping a server. There are many other professions that receive tips and there is not complaining about that. For example, a hair stylist, who for the most part works for themselves renting their area. They charge more for the “service” than needed to pay for the products and space, but then you tip them on top of that!

The way the restaurant industry has been set up to function, “so it is affordable”, is pretty much that the server works only for tips. If you know anything about serving, the servers usually receive a void paycheck from their minimum wage and are ordered by law to distribute a percentage of the poor tip you leave to other staff members. Most restaurants have the servers paying the other staff based on their sales for the night, therefore your poor tip is hurting the person who was personally ensuring your experience is great. I know that on average for every 15% tip that is given to a server, they only take about 10% of that home (and do not receive any hourly from this), and they rest goes to the hostess, bartenders, expo, bussers, etc.

It is like any other job, servers should get paid for how well they perform. If you did poorly at your retail, banking, or other “office” job you are comparing serving to then you could get demoted, stay at your poor paying position, or get fired… but as soon as you perform to standard employee conduct you get a raise in 6 months, or even better if you over perform. This is how these people make their living, and most of them are students who are trying to pay their way through school and simply because you have never been in the industry to understand all that it entails, or are cheap does not mean that they do not earn or work hard to deserve that tip (which again is their ONLY income).

I have had my share of poor and lazy servers, so that is not what I am referring to. More so , the people who are complaining about tipping a server on a perfectly fine night or even excellent service. That is ridiculous. As I stated before, if you really think the restaurant industry needs to change where they pay the servers, you will be receiving poor service everywhere because there is no incentive, along with paying more for the same meal.

I suggest if you haven’t been in the industry to give it a shot and see how when you do, or look a little more into it. Ask your server at your favorite restaurant next time about their job and how much they make, how much they pay other people and how awful especially in the bad economy people are treating them. If you cannot afford to go out to eat or are too cheap to pay someone for taking care of you then do not go out. A server is better off without your business then with your 10-15% tip. All you are doing by tipping poorly is paying the restaurant and leaving the people who keep that restaurant running with nothing!


November 7, 2008

I would like to point out that the word “tip” stands for “to insure promptness”. Unfortunately, because it is now an expected part of the waiters’ salary, it seems that many waiters and waitresses make no attempt to be “prompt” or in other ways provide excellent service, yet still expect to receive the same tip. I do not like to “stiff” the person waiting on my table, as I realize that they receive well below minimum wage from the restaurant. However, I still don’t like the idea of a “tip” being obligatory. As I said, we do tip at restaurants; and we do appreciate knowing what is a fair amount to pay our server; but I agree with whomever said that waiters should not feel “entitled” to a tip; but rather appreciative to what they get.


November 7, 2008

the majority of negative comments here is almost surreal… you as the consumers realize that at the end of the shift in most restaurants you have to tip out the backwaiter, the bartender, runners, food preppers…….need I go on? so this 20% is never pocketed and walked away with scott free………the money we make behind the scenes when the consumer leaves gets divided up into certain percentages as I mentioned above and distributed ‘around’….it’s been like this for a long long time so….hope this sheds some light on how appreciative a waitstaff person can be for that 20% tip……………it would be a beautiful thing if you could make 300-500 walkaway in a 30 hour week but most generally this does not happen…..there’s such a thing as seasonal business…you have your ups and downs throughout the year…so business truly does come in spurts… can’t always rely on the steady money….thxs for letting me vent……..


November 7, 2008



November 7, 2008

Well, frankly I cannot sympathize with anyone. First of all, I can’t sympathize with the diner waitresses who always wanted to treat me like crud just because I was more focused on customer service than drug money. When I worked at a restaurant, the waitresses were some of the nastiest people I have ever had to work with!!!! Most waitresses are a bunch of greedy phonies who probably spit in your food, anyway. They steal tables, don’t clean up after themselves, and don’t understand the first thing about teamwork! On the other hand, most customers are trash too, especially those who have had it handed to them all their lives and never had to lift a finger to get where they are today. This country is full of spoiled, pompous morons who don’t deserve the incomes they collect without effort; look at good old corporate America. Maybe some of you should quit whining and be gosh darn thankful that you grew up in a two parent family, never were abused or molested, always had food and clothing, and had an opportunity to graduate high school and complete college. Also be thankful you weren’t an abused spouse who is now trying to raise three kids, complete college, and worry about where her and her kids are going to live in a few months!! Get over yourselves!


November 7, 2008

If you cannot pay the tip, you cannot pay the bill period. Most of the men and women who serve you are not making a career out of it. They’re doing it so they can make quick cash in their otherwise busy lives. Not tipping is the rudest thing you could do to a server, second only to walking out on the bill. Why should I have to pay to wait on you? That’s absolutely absurd. Why should I lose my job if someone walks out on the check? To those of you who like to make it apparent that you are not tipping your server by writing “0.00” on the tip line, dear god I hope you never come to my restaurant. Moreover, you’re going to ruin the night of an otherwise wonderful waiter or waitress just to save what five, ten, MAYBE twenty dollars? Thank god there are people out there who actually know that 10% is unacceptable, 15-20% is a good tip and anything over 20% at least in my restaurant is considered great. If you don’t want to pay your server who makes $2.33 an hour for the purpose of having it voided in taxes for the government, take your cheap self to McDonalds.


November 7, 2008

This is in response to anon20553’s diatribe about servers. As a waitress, I’m incredibly offended that he/she assumes I chose my profession only because I am incapable of doing something else (much less brain surgery). I, like most other servers I know, have ‘chosen’ my profession because it affords me a flexible schedule, which is important to me as I do not wish to leave my daughter in daycare for 10 hours a day. I ‘chose’ my profession because I am currently a master’s degree student and need to fit class time in around work. And finally, I ‘chose’ my profession because the job market– put bluntly– blows and I have had no luck getting anything better despite my resume being posted on every thinkable job site for over 8 months.

Clearly, anon20553 has never waited a table in his/her life. Servers are overpaid? That’s cute. My hourly wage is slightly over half of what the minimum wage is. That’s right. The bussers get paid more an hour than I do AND they are tipped out by the entire serving staff every day. And just like the bussers earn their pay, so do most servers. It’s not hard to memorize food and drink, but it is extremely hard to wait on the general public (most of whom are complete imbeciles, frankly) with a smile, and do everything they ask and don’t ask of you as quick as humanly possible. Of course, God forbid they exhibit some patience once in awhile or notice the several other tables also requesting your attention.

The standard for tipping is 15%. I think that should be the bare bones minimum tip left for servers. If he or she did a great job, let them know by leaving more. But people need to realize that their server works long hours on their feet and dealing with the often impossible to please public in addition to memorizing food and drink. Furthermore, that server also has to tip out bussers, bartenders, and quality assurance staff every shift. It would be wonderful if people kept that in mind before they left a 10% or less joke of a tip (with a smile, of course).

Servers make their living off tips. And many work more than one job to provide for their families. I know I do. I also know that getting stiffed or under tipped screws with my livelihood and is not appreciated whatsoever. I’m not incapable or lazy, and I’m certainly not overpaid. I think anyone who thinks servers are overpaid or lazy toward bettering their career should spend just one week working as a waiter.


November 7, 2008

The prices should be built into the charge. Pay the employees more. Charge the customers more. If the service and food is good people will come back, if not, they won’t.


November 7, 2008

“Bad service = 15%?” I don’t think so.

I remember long-ago days working at a greasy spoon for a summer job and being glad for tips, and have no problem tipping. But lousy service doesn’t get 15% and may not get anything, if it is really atrocious. Agree that tipping has gotten out of hand; have even seen a tip jar at a drive-through! Ridiculous.


November 7, 2008

You tip because your waiters make their money off the tips not the paycheck. Most of the time the paychecks are like 20 or 30 bucks. I repeat waiters make their money off your tip not a pay check if you don’t tip then they don’t make any money. It’s not like there making at least minimum wage plus tips. Your tip is their paycheck.


November 7, 2008

Tipping is a scam. It should be seen as a earning for a job well done, not an expectation. I no longer normally tip because it is an expectation. Even at sub shops and self-serv buffets there are tips spaces on the credit card receipts for tips???? I have traveled the world and even in most third world countries – where the service is typically better – a tip is not expected.

If restaurants here want to keep good servers let them pay more I can’t believe they are not making a large profit on that $15 chicken sandwich I am eating. To pass the cost of a server on to the customer stops is stupid and I stopped paying for it long ago. If you don’t like it actually provide exceptional service for your tip or get a job where you don’t depend on them


November 7, 2008

For all of you against tipping, please go visit the old and “civilized” Europe, where the cover charge is included in your bill. Then judge how you were served by a waiter not expecting and not working to earn a tip versus the friendly average American waiter. Most of the time they are kids earning some pocket money and busting their butts to make you happy, with their little contribution to your dinner and who get paid a miserable salary because they must EARN their tips. It’s tip-onomics… Low pay from the restaurant owner and the opportunity to earn the extra by pleasing the guests. Additionally, the tips left American style go to the waiter directly. If there’s a cover charge added o your bill, you pay that no matter how horrible the service is (did I mention “go to Europe” ?) plus it is not sure it goes where you’d like it to go. It is not EARNED, it is simply charged.


November 7, 2008

wow, that’s nuts. You should never tip less than 15 percent that is insane. who came up with this. Servers don’t get minimum wage in most states. Help them out people. 15% minimum should be tipped at all times. If the service is great then 20 or more. In my state the wage for servers is $3.30 an hour. They aren’t usually 18 year olds, they are mothers trying to help out their families or college students trying to fit school and work into their life. Lets help these people out!


November 7, 2008

I wish people would learn that servers do not make the min. wage. In TN at family restaurants we make $2.13 hour. I wish people could live on that much an hour. That is why tipping 15%-20% is great for servers. Places make 5-10 cents for every plate they sell after taxes, shipping, water, product, eating ware and pay for the cooks, managers, and everyone else.


November 7, 2008

If I spend $50 at a regular restaurant and I tip 20%, that’s $10. If my waitperson handles 7 tables, they earn $70 per hour. That darn good wages, even if they have to work for it.

My wife is a piano teacher, with a Master’s degree in music: she charges $50 per hour. If she charged more, she’d have no students. Is there any justice to that?


November 7, 2008

I read about half of these. I saw 1 mention of what the typical wage is. I get paid $2.33/hour. I bring home $75 – $125 /night. But like one person said: why would I care about my service to the customer if I only get paid $2.33. Why would I want that job anyway. It’s pay now or later.


November 2, 2008

Economics of being a server:

Servers are in low demand because there are virtually no barriers to entry. When there are no barriers to entry the supply of sufficiently qualified applicants is astronomical. When the supply of qualified personnel is high, the demand for that position is low. When demand for a position is low, those in the position are at the whim of their employers. Employers have the ability to discard an unproductive or whiny employee easily because the applicant pool is so large. There is no risk that the position will not be filled. In the case of servers, the employers are restaurants and tipping patrons.

In America, servers choose their profession. Instead of entering a profession with substantial barriers to entry (doctor, professor, aerospace engineer, lawyer) they entered a profession with no barrier to entry. Where knowledge of how to properly conduct surgery or how to build a rocket or how to guide a lawsuit are mastered by only a small percentage of the population, the knowledge of food and beverage and ability to smile and be nice to people can be mastered by almost the entire population. Server’s pay checks should indicate that difference in ability by being significantly lower than any of the aforementioned careers.

Not only should servers not be paid more than they currently are, they should be paid less. If Americans decide to pay servers well, the incentive to 17 and 18 year olds will not be to go obtain sufficient education to become a doctor or a engineer, it will be to master the knowledge of food and drink. If the best and brightest 17 and 18 year olds devote their energy to mastering food and drink, advancements in medicine and the law and engineering will slow in favor of advancements in smiling ability and memorizing who got the filet. I do not think it needs to be argued that this is the wrong incentive. Servers are overpaid as it is and should be thrilled that their inadequate skill set is able to pay for gas and rent.


October 30, 2008

I don’t like to tip. It’s never personal. I just think that the service should be included in the cost of the meal. Say you go out for a pasta dinner. What’s it cost the restaurant for a half pound of pasta? About 50 cents? And how much do they charge for 25 cents worth of soda? $2? or more? Tipping just adds even more. It’s ridiculous.


October 20, 2008

Could anyone please tell people who are stationed in foreign countries as armed forces that restaurants on bases are just like states?

They come to the franchise_in_states restaurants to dine, and more than a half of customers tip only less than 10%. One in 10 customers don’t tip at all.

Can’t help but wonder if those people tip average when they go back to stateside, or just take advantage staying in foreign countries…


October 15, 2008

From high school to the very beginning of grad school (basically the mid-late 90s), I was a waiter at chain restaurants, a steakhouse, and an upscale italian restaurant. Everyone agreed the “standard” then was 15%, and I, like everyone else who was a waiter, went into it for the tips. We knew we were making much more money than we could be at any other job teenagers and college students could get. We were very happy. Talking to younger family members still waiting tables, sounds like the tips still are sweet.

Unless the waiter was rude or incompetent, 15% is standard, you shouldn’t tip below that. Period. All the arguments that it’s stupid that restaurants get to pass on the cost of their payroll directly to us, yeah, I agree, but that doesn’t change the fact that the system is what it is right now. You stiffing a kid to make a point isn’t going to start some mass movement to reform restaurant employment practices, it’s just going to stiff that kid.

On the other hand, I am so tired of seeing spoiled waiters with a sense of entitlement insist that now 20% is the minimum. Anyone who uses the idiotic argument that “inflation” justifies an increase in tipping percentage is a greedy moron. Inflation increases the price of most common commodities, including foodstuffs, which requires restaurants to increase their prices. Even if people continue tipping at 15%, since this 15% is a percentage of the menu prices, which keep up with inflation, a waiter’s income will automatically keep up with inflation.

The correct tip is 15% of the bill – no less. no more is required tipping upwards to 20%, even about that, is your choice.


October 3, 2008

I work in a restaurant and I just had to respond to the person who said that working in retail is just as hard as working in a restaurant and that we should just get paid minimum wage and earn tips. The money you pay at a restaurant on the bill is for the food and the drinks, giving the restaurant their profit. The tip is for the service… all of the service. So when you send a waitress back and forth twenty times for little things, you should leave a good tip even if you don’t get everything in under 30 seconds, because you are NOT their only table. In my restaurant, I have up to 7 tables at a time. So unless you want prices to go up in restaurants even more than they already have, I suggest you just leave a tip so the restaurant owners can go on paying servers $2.68 an hour, which due to tips, most servers get void paychecks.


September 25, 2008

oh and to annon2364, most people, i mean normal run of the mill people, do not go out to restaurants that expect you to pay 100$ for a glass of wine and majority of servers do not work at these restaurants. yes as a server you need to know the menu what is popular and what goes well with what but i don’t think the same rules apply to the restaurant you work at and what this article is trying to explain. basically unless you get horrible service you should tip 20% on you total bill. more if the service is better period


September 25, 2008

Tipping in the US has gotten out of hand. Everyone has their hand out and wants an extra treat for simply doing their job. I usually tip at least 18% for my meals out of obligation even though a lot of the time I don’t agree that they have earned that much of a “thank you.” I understand that it is a difficult job which requires hard work, but there are other jobs out there which are just as difficult and they are not rewarded with tips. I worked in retail for several long years for minimum pay and it was just as grueling as waiting tables. Unloading trucks, stocking shelves, waiting on fitting rooms, dealing with rude customers, picking up the messes they made all while keeping a smile on your face is not an easy task. A lot of knowledge about fabric, wear, size, fit, stock and many other things are expected for little gratitude and even smaller pay. I am not saying that people should not be tipped but it is getting ridiculous that people expect 20% or more for almost everything these days. It’s getting to the point that I am getting sick.

While working in retail I did get 3 tips over the course of 6 years. I did try to refuse the money but was grateful when they insisted that I take it. Oddly enough the tippers were actually all from Europe, where they have not gone tipping crazy. Tips are expected there but there is no required amount or percentage. When I tell friends and relatives from overseas how the system is they are shocked. When they go out for drinks they leave a couple of Euros and if the service is good they leave a couple of extras. The service is no better or worse there. You can reward people when they actually do a good job because they get a decent hourly wage and are motivated to make extra money because it is not required.

The whole system here needs to change and be adjusted to be more fair to the people working these jobs and the people dining in these establishments. They should be paid a regular hourly wage and get tips when they earn them, not just because. A tip should be a thank you for a job well done, not a fee. If the restaurants need to raise their prices it shouldn’t be a big deal. They are making it work in other countries, why aren’t we trying it here?


August 10, 2008

I’m a waiter at a fine dining restaurant in Arizona. I make about $35 an hour (total), for the total time I am at work.

At the kind of restaurant I work at, myself and my co-workers are trained professionals. We study the food, we study the wines, we are trained and skilled in providing guests with a memorable dining experience.

I don’t consider that I “just” take an order and bring the food. I’m a “Dinner Guide” throughout their meal, explaining the menu, suggesting pairings, and most guests welcome me to teach them about the sensory experiences they are having.

Imho, that’s what the people are paying me for. No matter how much they might know about food, they want to know about _this_ food, “what’s that sweetness in the background?”, that kind of thing.

I’ve been thinking about what would happen if I wasn’t tipped, but paid by the employer only. And honestly, I think the tipping is better. That’s because, in effect, I work for the guest, not the restaurant. Effectively, I’m a subcontractor to the owner…brought in to provide the service end of the dining experience, and paid separately from the check. I don’t care whether or not we have some “sales contest” on this or that, if the item is not the right thing for that guest at that time, I’m not going to push him into it.

Sure, I want to build the check higher, but an attitude that I work for the guest (because _the guest_ is going to pay me) keeps me totally focused on his or her wants, not my employers. That leads to happy guests, returning guests, and a happy employer.

I take a lot of pride in what I do, but I just can’t see me having the same motivation as I do now, if I had a guaranteed fixed income. Also, the immediate feedback of a good (or bad) tip keeps me on my toes much better than a semi-yearly employee review ever could.

As far as the tipping on an expensive bottle of wine, I understand how some people say that it takes no more effort to open an $800 bottle than it does a $40 bottle. Well, yeah, that’s almost true (you need more care on the $800 bottle), but I don’t look at it that way. In _no way_ am I trying to equate what I do with what a doctor does, but in one small way there’s a similarity: my guest is paying for my _knowledge_, not my time.

No, the average guest does _not_ know more about the wine than I do, at least not about this wine list at this restaurant. And actually, it’s the people who _do_ know wine, who are most likely to tip solidly on the wine, because they appreciate the time and study that went into being able to talk to them about the nuances in this or that bottle.

By the way, 20% is an “OK” tip, and yes, the comments on tipping out are correct, I keep about 55% – 60% of what I pick up.


June 30, 2008

tips should follow this:

bad service-15%

average service-20%

good service-btw 20-25%

great service-upwards of 25%


June 24, 2008

If one day we don’t have to tip and the restaurant is responsible for the wage, I am sure the service will be bad. if i am the server, I wouldnt care how mad customers get when their drinks r not filled or food r not good. Who cares? I don’t get tip from it. just know that we all get bad service. I have been to countries like that where servers don’t really take care of their table until customers ask for them to return.


June 3, 2008

This is ridiculous. Why do you only tip at restaurants ? Why don’t tip at supermarkets, or at the bank ?

I’m lucky NOT to live in your country!


April 26, 2008

It’s really easy to lay the blame on a restaurant to pay it’s employee’s fairly.

We live in a very competitive market which has certain price standards for dining. A midrange restaurant wants to remain affordable, yet still cover the expenses of gas, electricity, food costs, payroll, rent, taxes, advertising, and a multitude of other costs that the average consumer doesn’t think about.

Unless you’re dining in a cafeteria setting, where you serve yourself and bus your own table, you have other people taking care of you.

Either the entire system changes, or nothing changes. Everyone wants a cheap meal, so everyone should expect to tip for services rendered. It’s the motivation of said tip that keeps your server attending to your wants and needs. If you come in, tip poorly, and come back another time, the server will know that running all around the restaurant for you is a waste of their time.

So tip well. If you don’t like the way it works, try getting the same level of service for the same price in Europe. Prepare to be disappointed.


April 23, 2008

I’m sympathetic to the fact that a server receiving less than about 8% is theoretically paying to serve the customer, but that’s really not the customer’s problem. The customer is buying goods and services from the restaurant, and the restaurant is employing the waitstaff. If the waitstaff are not being paid appropriately, it’s the fault of the restaurant, not the customer. Even though waitstaff are allowed to be paid an hourly rate less than the minimum wage, the employer is required to make up the difference should tips not be enough to cover it. They should never end up making less than the full minimum wage (gross, of course).

I’m perfectly happy to tip, and to be generous with good service, and in fact have never not tipped at least 15%. But I find that the guilt-trip entries here are better directed to the restaurateur and not the customer


April 15, 2008

A $100 tip. A $1000 bottle of wine. Are you people out of your minds. I am broke. I can’t cook as good as a professional chef, and if I want to I will still take my wife out to a nice dinner on our anniversary. There are jerks on here who will call me cheap and poor, but to hell with them. It is not as if they have made the dinner, or the wine. If anything, the chef or the wine maker should be tipped. Crappy food and great service still make for a poor experience.

I don’t have money to support you and your family. Regardless of the inflated prices at restaurants these days, I have a point at which 20% becomes ridiculous. No matter what, I will never tip $100.


March 31, 2008

To anon9307,

If all the wait staff quit, a new system more to their likely would have to be established in order to entice them to come back to being wait staff. This is how a free market works and why unions are so successful. If the grantor doesn’t like his job, then I would most definitely recommend that he find another job more to his liking. If that means all the janitors find another job, then a janitorial position will suddenly become a high commodity and janitors will find them selves making a higher wadge.

But that brings us to this statement “anyone is looking to hire starting at 300-500 dollars a week for 4 or 5 days (20-35 hours a week) to someone with no degree or specific training, i know a hell of a lot of college students and single mothers who would love to apply.” By your own admission you are stating that making 300-500 dollars for a 20-35 hours a week job, when you have the constraint of a busy schedule and no skills, is a salary no one else is offering, then it would seem wait staff are making the best salary they can despite the cheapskates and hard work they do. This is a good thing not a bad thing. Because if these jobs didn’t exist, then you wouldn’t be making your 300-500 dollars a week. Why complain about it?

Also 5% unemployment is not high unemployment.

Further still your customer is not your boss and is not making your schedule, in fact the person sitting at the table is not your customer at all, it’s your establishment’s customer. Complaining to them or about them or what have you won’t change a thing.


March 31, 2008

“If I wanted to worry about how much you make I’d go into the restaurant business.” ~ anon8097

I loved this line, because it is completely correct. I’m the type of person who over tips and I won’t be changing this practice because of some of the bad and entitlement attitudes expressed by some servers here, because I know not all servers are as unreasonable.

The truth is every single server who takes the job that they do, knows going in that they will be making a dynamic wage and that this wage depends on what their establishment pays them and what a particular customer is willing to give them in a tip. There is no minimum that has to be given in a tip, the guidelines are there so that the good hearted among us can do the right thing on our own, not because we “have to”, but because we “want to”. I hate being told what I have to do, even if under other circumstances I would agree that it is something I would otherwise want to do. The presumption of someone thinking they can tell me what I have to do is a big turn off. As anon8097 very well put it, if a particular server does not like this arrangement then they should take it up with their employer or, I’ll add, get another job. There are things I don’t like about my job, but every one of them I accept as being part of my job and do not complain to others about how unfair they are. When and if they do become too unfair I simply get another job. That’s how life works.

The only other alternative is to enter into an agreement with your customer on how much you want to be paid for your service before the service is rendered, like every other service job in this world. To which they may accept or reject your offer. Otherwise what you are getting is a “tip” for services rendered and a tip can be any ware from 1cent to no maximum limit depending on the person giving the tip and you have no say in it except to provide the best service you wish to give to make the tipper happy.

As to the original article, I think it’s a good one. There is nothing wrong with “recommending” to people what a good tip is so that they know in case they did not, it’s when you tell them what you “expect” that is wrong.


March 20, 2008

If an average server working in an average restaurant in average sized city with an average cost of living index served an average of 10 patrons per hour, who ran up an average bill of $10 per person, and paid an average of 15% tip for an average level of service provided, that average server would collect an average of $15/hour, or the equivalent of $30,000/year if the server were to work 40 hours per week.

Earning $30,000/year (before base pay is added or taxes deducted) for that level of work in that environment seems more than fair to me. As such I have a hard time feeling sympathy for those who complain about receiving a 15% tip for average service.


March 3, 2008

having never been a server, my sympathy is purely out of compassion for my fellow man! my husband did work as a waiter through college, and it was very hard to have him come home with stories of rude customers who didn’t even pay him for the service he provided him. one of the things i notice about people is how they treat servers in restaurants (or anyone providing them a service for that matter). it’s a huge turn off to see a normally nice person turn into a tyrannical, rude person–it’s almost like they’re on a power trip. it’s usually these types who don’t tip either. remember, they’re also getting taxed on their small paychecks ($2.15/hour) for the tips that you’re not giving them. is it fair for them to serve you for free? would you do your job for free? do you expect a fair wage? i’m still a bit old school in believing that 15% is still appropriate for average service…i do however tend to tip on average from 20% to 25%.


March 3, 2008

To the “customer” who may be inclined to tip less and any other cheap-skate, i ask you this, “why do you go out to a restaurant or bar?” If you don’t think you should have to tip the person who just takes your order why not just go to McDonalds’s or Burger King? Your food will come out faster and you won’t have to worry about being ridiculed for your cheapness. And yes, this makes you cheap. And to all of you who say, “why not just get another job?” If anyone is looking to hire starting at 300-500 dollars a week for 4 or 5 days (20-35 hours a week) to someone with no degree or specific training, i know a hell of a lot of college students and single mothers who would love to apply. This is America, with a high unemployment, remember? And also if we were all to quit to get better paying jobs, who would serve you your food? If you hear a janitor complaining about cleaning up your kid’s puke would you tell him/her to just throw down the mop and get another job? Or a teacher who is tired of babysitting your kids all day, not to complain about starting at 24 thousand dollars a year even after they have anywhere from 4 to 8 years (often more) of collegiate education under their belt?

But i digress. Back to the issue at hand and the tipping. Yes, most servers get paid 2.13 an hour. Yes, we expect an 18 to 20 percent tip. But how many of you are the “perfect table”? I’ll make it easy for you. How many of you go out to eat and require 0 refills, no questions about the menu, never change your mind after ordering even after the server gave you time and suggestions prior to ordering, never require multiple trips to the back (to get condiments, sweetener, honey, heating baby bottles, extra glasses of ice, multiple drinks at one time for one person, i.e. “i want a coke and a glass a water”), never complain about the wait time for your meal when it’s obviously not the servers fault, never sit at a table for longer than 10 minutes after the meal is completed, never order a steak well done and complain that it’s dry, burnt, hard, or tough. If any among you dine in an establishment i happen to be employed and i’m lucky enough to wait on you. feel free to tip me 3% because that’s how much i tip out per check and i’ll be happy since i did 0 work i’ll take 0 pay. This may just seem like just a bunch of complaining but think about how often you are looking at the clock and ready to get off after a long day, then imagine you have to sit around an extra 20 minutes, 30 minutes, sometimes 2 hours waiting on someone to finish talking to their wife they’re going home with anyway so you can clean the table and go home and you’re not getting paid for this time.


March 3, 2008

I have just read all of these comments from everyone, both from people in the industry and not in the industry. To the people not in the industry, how dare you say that when you go out to eat you don’t feel you have to tip because it is the restaurant owner responsibility to pay their employees!!!!! Since I have been alive for my 36 years, I have never known that when you go out to eat that you do not leave a tip! Expect to tip when you go out, and expect to pay a 20% tip..that is the usual and customary standard these days. Guess what? If you can’t afford the 20% tip, then you cannot afford to go out to eat! I have been in the industry now for a long time putting myself through college as a single mom. It is not the most glamorous job in the world, but the hours are great and the money is easy, when we get tipped appropriately. So, to all of you that do not tip appropriately, here’s a little secret…we know who you are, you are talked about, and when you come to the restaurant the next time and get crappy service, this is why! We do want to make your experience an enjoyable one and we pride ourselves in giving exceptional service, so please tip 20%…10-15% is literally unacceptable and non-existent nowadays!


February 7, 2008

As a customer, it is not my job to pay the server’s salary. That is the job of the restaurant owner. I really take offense to all of these servers who feel entitled to a minimum of 20% when service in general has declined significantly over the years. To the person who suggests that tip percentages should adjust to inflation, don’t restaurants adjust their prices as costs rise? Isn’t 20% of a $125 meal going to net you more than 20% of the meal when it only cost $100? This sense of entitlement is why service these days is so poor. Why give good service when you expect to get 20% just for taking the order and delivering the food? I always tip a minimum of 20%, but after reading many of these comments I’m actually inclined to tip less, not more. If you want to complain about how much (or how little) you make, complain to the industry, not the customer. If I wanted to worry about how much you make I’d go into the restaurant business.


February 1, 2008

to the person who complains about tipping…if the restaurant started paying a higher wage, and people stopped tipping, then you’ll probably see higher prices in food. it always gets passed along to the customer!!!


January 31, 2008

I cannot believe that tips are expected as a right. A tip is an expression of gratitude from the customer for exceptionally good service!!! It should not be expected as a matter of course. Nothing is more annoying than having service included in a bill and still being expected to tip – for what??? – is it because the establishment does not pay a fair wage? Then that is not my fault.

If nobody tipped then the following would happen:

1 Establishments would have to pay a proper wage

2 People would not be taxed on what they did not earn

3 Customers could still leave a ‘tip’ for exceptionally good service above and beyond the call of duty – and for nothing else!!!


January 14, 2008

What several people fail to take into account when they tip is the amount of time and effort that their server has actually dedicated to their meal. An average shift at a restaurant is between six an ten hours. During this time the server does not just wait tables. They spend a considerable amount of time preparing all the items required for the meal: the silverware, glassware, cleaning the tables, setting up the condiments, plates, napkins, beverages, candles, etc. Think about how long it would take you to prepare the same experience at home. It is not unusual for me to spend several hours preparing a good meal at home. Just because you only see your server for an hour and half during your meal it does not mean that is all the effort they have dedicated to providing you with a good experience. Also realize that in most restaurants today require their servers to turn over as much as 8% of their gross sales (which include tax, discounts, and complimentaries) to the restaurant to be split between the support staff (bussers, server assistants, hosts, bartenders). This means that when you leave a 15% tip the server only gets to keep half that money.

As one the posts mentioned, servers do NOT receive paychecks in most states. They are completely dependent on tips as their source of income. The average tip for good service should be 20% and even poor service should never be under 10%. Just as you expect to be fairly compensated at your job for the work you do, so too should you pay your server for the service they provide you.


December 22, 2007

One of the theories the origin of tipping has it as a way to ease the guilt of the diner toward the person who is doing the serving.

I can only speak for myself — the politics of tipping and the tyranny of the blue collar worker have me staying out of restaurants and picking up my own pizzas. I hope that others will join me. Until then, have fun duking it out.


December 10, 2007

The rule nowadays is 20% is an average, tip, 15% is a horrible tip, and 25%+ is a good tip, no matter where you’re at.

The IRS taxes a server based on how much they sell AND then on how much of their tip income they report. Meaning if you do not tip a server, it just cost them money to serve you (albeit probably less than a dollar) and I don’t know about you, but I really don’t enjoy working for negative money.

About the wine rantings, yes, wine knowledge is good and all, but it in no way means that you should be tipped 20%+ on an expensive bottle of wine. Think about what you REALLY did to sell that bottle of wine? You might have talked about it, matched it up with what they were eating. Great job, now, say you end up selling them a 600 dollar bottle of wine, you just spent MAYBE 5 minutes making 60 dollars if they tip you 10%, which is what would be a reasonable tip on an expensive bottle of wine.

Really, tips need to be done both on a good/bad service rating, and then also on what kind of work was actually done at the table rating. I am a server myself, and when I get tipped 20% by a table which I did absolutely nothing at except got their order and brought it to them, meaning they needed no drink refills, asked for nothing extra, were all in all great people, I consider it to be a really high tip, considering they made me do NO work. If I receive the same 20% tip on a table who ordered the exact same food and drinks, but were constantly needy and were making me run around the entire time they were there, also making me be able to pay less attention to my other tables, I’ll feel like I got a horrible tip.

I’m also saying all of this because really, tipping in America has gotten out of hand. Some people still believe 10% is a good tip, some believe the 10-15-20 crap that has been going around forever, and very few know that nowadays, just like how they get raises due to inflation and cost of living going up, the %’s have to go up again so servers can live, 15-20-25 is better.

NEVER TIP A SERVER NOTHING. It costs them money if you do that. We get taxed from the IRS for approximately 8-10% of your total sales receipts, depending on where you live. This basically means that no matter what we do, we do not get a paycheck. The average server around the country makes 2.13/hr + tips.

Even if you’re the most wonderful customer ever, unless your server is a saint, they aren’t having a good time waiting on you, they’re probably faking it and counting down the seconds until their shift ends. So pay them for their hard work, and if you think serving is an easy job and they don’t deserve it, go get a part time job at a restaurant and see if you can handle it, maybe you’ll respect them a little bit more then.

On a side note that is my theory, you do NOT have the right to talk about tipping in any sense until you’ve actually worked in that job, or talked to the people who have, a lot.


November 10, 2007

Whenever I get horrible service, I go out of my way to make sure the server knows they are getting nothing- I will actually write in “0.00” in the tip portion of the bill


September 5, 2007

Many people don’t know that servers have to tip out 30 percent of the tips that they earn during each shift to the bussers and the bartenders. If the service is good at a nice restaurant, one should tip at least 18 to 20 percent; if excellent then over 20. If a server makes 100 dollars total in tips for a night they will only walk with 69 dollars. they do not make any money per hour because the 3 dollars they make results in void pay checks. Customers need to realize that 30 percent of what they choose to tip is not all going to their server.


September 4, 2007

To the rebuttal about my comments on wine: it just depends on the restaurant in which you work. I totally agree that many patrons know their wine, but it takes a damned savvy customer to beat out somebody who has tried literally every bottle on the list in a great restaurant. A casual drinker, even one who drinks a lot of different things, probably does not bother to taste carefully and of course cannot be expected to know every ingredient in every dish the chef has painstakingly prepared. Matching up flavors is the job of an excellent server.

Take the French Laundry, one of the best restaurants in the USA. This was recently acknowledged as having one of the 10 best wine lists in the world as well. People come prepared to spend big money, and they anticipate that wine will be part of this cost. They also come, no doubt, to feel fancy and pampered even if they don’t know a whole lot about wine. I don’t work at the French Laundry (I’d love to) but I work at a similar establishment that shall remain unnamed. I have definitely “hand-sold” bottles that cost many hundreds of dollars. In our house, this sort of thing is par for the course in a given night. I have been able to come by my knowledge of these wines by invitation from customers to sample, or from damned, blessed fools who leave some in the decanter and take off after the bill is paid. Such samples are split amongst the staff for educational pleasure.

I love my job, but it is not something I do strictly for kicks. I expect to be paid for the services I provide. That means a great tip, and to me a great tip is almost never any less than 20% of the total bill. I am completely content with a $100 tip on any bottle of wine over $1000, plus the tip for my efforts on the food and other aspects of service.


August 15, 2007

To the person talking about “selling” a $100 or even $1,000 bottle of wine and how much knowledge it takes. Most people who order wine that is north of $100 (without restaurant markups) most likely knows much more about wine then the server. To expect a 20% tip on a 300% markup by the restaurant for a bottle of wine is nuts!


August 3, 2007

I found $5 the other day outside some B-B-Q joint in Phoenix, AZ. It took me 5 seconds to bend over, pick it up, and put it in my pocket. So for that 5 seconds of work I made $3,600 per hour.

Anonymous is mistaking a peak earning rate for an average rate. The waitress in the example also works when the restaurant isn’t as busy, when the patrons aren’t in a good mood, and when the tips aren’t as good.


July 29, 2007

A party of 16 at a lets say some B-B-Q joint in Phoenix, Az. will bring a total of about $280.00 to the total bill so at 20% that’s a tip of $56.00 We were there for about 1.5 hours and the waitress has waited on 5 other tables totaling 24 other people who’s bill was about $420.00 for a tip of $85.00 so for that 1.5 hours she will have made about $100 dollars per hour. I’m in the wrong business!!!!


July 9, 2007

What year was this article written. My guess is 1972. Tipping is expected in the modern world, perhaps before I was born there was world where tossing someone who provided a service for you a couple extra dollars was a gracious gesture of appreciation to an hourly paid employee. I have never lived in this world, the world I live in allows servers to be paid often less than min. wage, about $2-$3 dollars per hour because tips are expected as supplemental income. This labor loop hole as been calculated by federal and state governments, providing a formula based on, guess what,- THE SALES of the server. Meaning that each state for income and tax purposes deem a certain percentage of the total bill as the minimum standard and expectation for tipped income. As a server I’m deeply offend that when provided so much as a satisfactory service, that the idea of a tip is not to be expected.

Now that I got that off my chest, I’d just like say that the world is filled with many types of people and as servers we encounter them all, the rude, the impatient, the “we’re in a rush group” and the “don’t rush me group”. And believe me we desperately try to please you all as our livelihood depends on it. I know some people are cheap and that’s the way it goes. But don’t kid yourself that you’re not. For those of you who want the inside scoop 20% is the golden rule, and for those who go above & beyond that, we know who are, and you will always be treated like a god!


July 8, 2007

A $10 bottle of wine? What fine restaurant offers bottles this inexpensively? I work in a very nice restaurant, and our wines average about $50 a bottle.

This article fails to take into account the fact that selling a good bottle of wine often falls to a server rather than a wine steward, even in the classiest establishments – it is often only when a server is poorly prepared to answer questions about wines that they need to call the steward.

It takes a good server literally years to become sufficiently well-acquainted with all the wines a restaurant has to offer. Moreover, servers must often purchase bottles for him or herself to take home in order to gain this knowledge – a luscious requirement, but expensive, too! Yet the right wine recommendation within the price range of the customer, something that goes well with their meals and enhances the dining experience, is part of great service. As such, a server who sells a fine bottle of wine, i.e., $100 or more, deserves to be tipped better than 10-15%.

If a bottle is over $1000, as it can be in many good restaurants, a smaller tip may be appropriate, but this article fails to take into account the fact that most wine is far more expensive than $10, and requires a lot of knowledge and experience to sell successfully. A tip of less than 20% of the entire bill, wine and all, will make an excellent server worry about what he or she did to offend.

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