Should I still tip 15%?

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by XeF4, Apr 19, 2010.

  1. XeF4

    XeF4 Senior member

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    You still tip at your normal percentage. If you're spending $150 on a meal everything about it should be much better than the $20 meal at Waffle House, and this includes the service. At Waffle House you tell the person what you want, and they grab it and plop it down on your table. At a nicer restaurant, one would expect that the server know more about the food, be more attentive to your needs, suggest wine pairings, etc. Basically, 20% quality service at a nice restaurant is better than 20% service at Waffle House, thus it costs more in real dollars.
    But at those places, the waitress is busting her ass trying to manage a ton of tables and make sure everybodys coffee is full. So you are going to tip her 20% on your $3.99 grand slam. That isn't even a dollar. She would have to be juggling at least 10 tables of two people to break even with a guy working at a fine establishment waiting on one table. One person is running around busting her ass and another looks down his nose at people who don't go with his wine recommendation.
     
  2. kwilkinson

    kwilkinson Having a Ball

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    But at those places, the waitress is busting her ass trying to manage a ton of tables and make sure everybodys coffee is full. So you are going to tip her 20% on your $3.99 grand slam. That isn't even a dollar. She would have to be juggling at least 10 tables of two people to break even with a guy working at a fine establishment waiting on one table. One person is running around busting her ass and another looks down his nose at people who don't go with his wine recommendation.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. mordecai

    mordecai Immoderator

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    I tip 20% no matter what--people live off of tips, so unless they're terrible I'll give them that percentage no matter what. Same goes for cabs, my friends always wonder why I tip NYC cab drivers so much.

    same here. ill arbitrarily add a couple of dollars for really good service, because while it's only a couple of dollars to me, it can be the difference between a tip and a great tip to the server.
     
  4. MrG

    MrG Senior member

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    But at those places, the waitress is busting her ass trying to manage a ton of tables and make sure everybodys coffee is full. So you are going to tip her 20% on your $3.99 grand slam. That isn't even a dollar. She would have to be juggling at least 10 tables of two people to break even with a guy working at a fine establishment waiting on one table. One person is running around busting her ass and another looks down his nose at people who don't go with his wine recommendation.

    I agree that's it's not a bad idea to go above 20% at a place where the food is extremely cheap, and that's my general practice. However, I don't agree that I should penalize the guy at the nice restaurant, nor do I agree that his service is somehow inferior. Just like any job, a better job is going to pay at a higher rate, but it's also going to require special skills that aren't possessed by those in the lower-paying jobs. People who hang sheet rock make less than I do, but I work less physically. On the other hand, I have skills that are more valuable, even if they save me some labor. It's the same with waiting tables. The server at Waffle House really only does the physical part of the job, but the server at a nice restaurant does all of that for me, plus he provides specialized knowledge.

    Basically, I have a baseline of around 20%. As long as the service is good I don't go below that, but in cases like Waffle House, where the tab is extremely low, I may go above it because the tab/percentage math wouldn't yield much of anything.
     
  5. Douglas

    Douglas Stupid ass member

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    I tend to take the total bill, including drinks and tax, do a quick 20% calc in my head on that number, and round up. It's probably too much, but whatevs. The difference, even on a $200 bill, between a 20% tip and an 18% tip is $4, and it's likely those $4 are less important to me than to the guy who's waiting on me.

    Do others tip on the pre-tax amount? I've also heard of taking the liquor out of the bill, particularly if you went in for a huge bottle of wine. But I don't really know, and I rarely order big-timer bottles that would really distort the picture too much, e.g. the most I ever spend on a bottle of wine in a restaurant is probably $60 or so. Not like I'm ordering a $100 dinner and a $400 bottle of wine.
     
  6. DrZRM

    DrZRM Senior member

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    By all means round up the percentage if the food is cheap, folks counting change to tip 15% on happy hour drinks killed me when I was bartending. High end restaurant waiters do make better money than someone working a diner, but like any high paying job, and they are based on experience. Those servers are also tipping out from that money to the bartender and/or the service bartender, their runners, often the hostess and sometimes the floor manager (though I'm pretty sure the last one on illegal, right?). They are often getting taxed on those tips whether you are leaving them or not (most service staff pay tax on an estimated shift including tips, not just the base pay). There is no paid vacation, no health care, and folks like you are posting on the internet that they think waiters are getting paid too much. If someone fucks up your meal (and remember, it doesn't help to punish the waiter for the kitchen's error, if your food is screwed up, talk to the manager and have it removed from the bill) by all means take it out of their tip, but if they do their job, they are earning that 18-20%.
    But at those places, the waitress is busting her ass trying to manage a ton of tables and make sure everybodys coffee is full. So you are going to tip her 20% on your $3.99 grand slam. That isn't even a dollar. She would have to be juggling at least 10 tables of two people to break even with a guy working at a fine establishment waiting on one table. One person is running around busting her ass and another looks down his nose at people who don't go with his wine recommendation.
     
  7. kevinbrownshakedown

    kevinbrownshakedown Well-Known Member

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    It's pretty standard practice to not tip for alcohol at a restaurant. So if your $150 meal was including a $60 bottle of wine, tip for $90.
     
  8. MetroStyles

    MetroStyles Senior member

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    It's pretty standard practice to not tip for alcohol at a restaurant. So if your $150 meal was including a $60 bottle of wine, tip for $90.

    Really?
     
  9. gdl203

    gdl203 Affiliate Vendor Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    It's pretty standard practice to not tip for alcohol at a restaurant. So if your $150 meal was including a $60 bottle of wine, tip for $90.

    I never exclude alcohol. I tip about 20% on drinks at a bar so why would I not tip on alcohol at a restaurant?
     
  10. cptjeff

    cptjeff Senior member

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    I never exclude alcohol. I tip about 20% on drinks at a bar so why would I not tip on alcohol at a restaurant?

    The idea being that there's no difference in service between a $20 bottle of wine and a $150 bottle of wine, so you would tip the same on either.
     
  11. gdl203

    gdl203 Affiliate Vendor Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    The idea being that there's no difference in service between a $20 bottle of wine and a $150 bottle of wine, so you would tip the same on either.

    This is very much aligned with the OP's statement on food.
     
  12. Cary Grant

    Cary Grant Senior member

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    Unless something has changed, you should include the price of the wine. Why? Taxes - for the wait staff.

    It used to be (I think it still is?) that the restaurant reports a percentage of the total tab as the employee's earnings. So let's say it's 10%. If you have a $100 tab for food and $200 for wine, they are being reported in their taxable earnings on 10% of $300, not just the food.
     
  13. Cary Grant

    Cary Grant Senior member

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    And by the way, I usually just did the math in my head but I switched to an iPhone a few months ago and downloaded this great little tip calculator.

    Seeing the numbers did give me pause about tips on smaller tabs ala Waffle House.... it just doesn't feel right leaving a tip for good service totalling $1.29 [​IMG]
     
  14. Douglas

    Douglas Stupid ass member

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    Unless something has changed, you should include the price of the wine. Why? Taxes - for the wait staff.

    It used to be (I think it still is?) that the restaurant reports a percentage of the total tab as the employee's earnings. So let's say it's 10%. If you have a $100 tab for food and $200 for wine, they are being reported in their taxable earnings on 10% of $300, not just the food.


    When I waited tables this was never the case. In fact, I'm not sure how it could even possibly be the case. Your earnings, as far as the restaurant can declare, are what they cut you a check for. They cannot arbitrarily report some random amount and deduct payroll taxes from it.
     
  15. milosz

    milosz Senior member

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    I tend to take the total bill, including drinks and tax, do a quick 20% calc in my head on that number, and round up. It's probably too much, but whatevs. The difference, even on a $200 bill, between a 20% tip and an 18% tip is $4, and it's likely those $4 are less important to me than to the guy who's waiting on me.

    I was a waiter for years, and a bartender after that (though never as my only gig) - an extra few bucks on the tip is meaningless to me as a diner, but can make a server's night.

    There are other benefits as well - one girlfriend maintained that she fell for me because on one of our first dates I tipped 100% to a waitress who was on the verge of tears. Not as a showy gesture, but just because I was flush at the time and it seemed like a good idea.
     

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