Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tipping for beginners.

As far as I'm concerned you're all beginners.

Tipping is definitely an awkward arrangement. I'm just running around doing my job, and you, a complete stranger has direct control over how much money I make. I know a lot of people who frequently over-tip because they just feel weird about the whole situation. I've come to discover that the vast majority of people don't feel this way. So, the question is, where do we start?

Fifteen fucking percent. That's where we start.

Barring near complete and inexcusable failure to meet your standards(I'll elaborate later) 15% is where you should be starting, no matter what.

Consider the fact that most restaurants require their servers to tip out anywhere from 3-4.5 percent of their sales (Not tips) and you'll realize that a 15% tip is actually more like an 11% tip. In a very ideal situation a server is running about 100 bucks in sales an hour. That means if everyone tips 15% (they don't) and we're running enough tables(we typically aren't) we're making about eleven bucks an hour before Uncle Sam hits us up for his share.

Now, before I go into why you absolutely have to give us more money, I'll point out some circumstances in which it's absolutely ok to lower your tip:

Uncorrected mistakes of any sort.
Unexcused inattentiveness: Meaning that they sucked at handling you for no reason at all.
Attitude issues: Do not read this as "they weren't friendly". This is reserved for servers who are going out of their way to be rude for no obvious reason. Servers often don't have time to be overly friendly, especially towards a stranger(we have no idea how you define friendly) I'll break this down in a later post... I promise...

Back to the issue at hand. I try not to be greedy, ever. I understand that times are tough, though eating out is a luxury that should be immediately cut if you're budgeting. All of that aside, I get that people can't just drop 30% because they think I'm awesome. If I do my job, without much more, all I want is 15%. If I feel like I took care of you without you ever having to ask for anything out of the ordinary I'm hoping for 20%. If you tell me that I'm great, and I restored your faith in my generation, I'd love 25%.

The problem is, it's never that simple. So all I ask is that you try and take everything into consideration. Look at these two scenarios:

Table A's order: 2 waters, small app, split entree. Tab: $14.50
Table B's order: 2 bar drinks, large app, 2 premium entrees. Tab: $47.00

Now I've done almost an identical amount of work on both these tables, but the tip is gonna be vastly different. So the lesson is this: Consider how much work you're giving the server. If Table A leaves me 15%, I'm gonna be disappointed. Table B leaves me 15%? Completely understandable. Keep this in mind especially when you use coupons, it's especially annoying when people get free entrees and assume that the service is paid for too. I assure you, it isn't.


  1. We don't tip in my country!

  2. I hate to see greedy people who never tip, its just so unpolite.

  3. I always tip, and most phones with calculators should have a gratuity option for tipping, so there is no excuse not to tip.

  4. Never thought about the 15% rule that way. I always do 15%, then round up to the nearest dollar. Might do more now.

  5. This is something i've always wanted to know about man, thanks!!

  6. interesting well tipping is fine +followed

  7. I do 20. If the server screws up and correct it (even multiple times), it's 20. If the server anticipates every need before it's spoken, 25-30 (depending on gender and hotness). If the server obviously doesn't give a f*ck, 10-15.

  8. i stick to 20% if im just gettin a burger or something at a reg restaurant. you should do a post on tipping for drinks at bars

  9. Here's how I tip:

    Every waiter starts off at 15%. Then, every time they make a mistake that affects me negatively, their tip goes down 1%. If the food sucks, the tip does down 1%-5%.

    However, if the waiter goes out of their way to do something for me, or I like them a lot, the tip goes up a few %. If the food is exceptional, it goes up a few more %.

    In the end I usually tip in around 10%, because waiters suck at their jobs. However, every once in awhile a waiter earns 20%, and I give them what they deserve.

  10. my friend gets tip 50, i tip 10-20

  11. Thank you for the advice on tipping, but I'm not going to lie: I hate the custom of tipping. I believe it's archaic, messy, and just creates awkward experiences. But, unfortunately, we live in a country that has absolutely established the expectation of tipping. So, I tip appropriately out of customary courtesy. I just think the whole tipping system is messed up though. People are confused on how much to tip and servers feel disrespected by patrons. I just wish restaurants and what ever other services would just pay their servers way better and the whole country just ABOLISH the whole tipping bullshit.

    At least a country that has tipping as the norm is better than a country that has bribing as the norm.

  12. Understand the points about but people have a different attitude to tipping in the UK - it's just not seen as important as in the US. I think it should be supported and encouraged more - at least it's some way to allow a customer to express their gratitude if they feel they have received good service. Nothing to feel awkward about.

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  14. Yeah, I'd have to agree with Kamchatka. If you don't feel you're getting paid your service's worth, take it out on your boss. He's the one paying you hourly. And if the system was really just about feedback and service critique, leave some damn comment cards. But great posts man, you're got some very good points there. Followed!

  15. Good stuff man, do you have to tip out to S.As and hostess?