23 Comments

  1. 7/14/2010
    Reply

    Such a great post. People don’t realize how little servers make when tips aren’t factored in. Also, people really don’t realize how difficult being a server can be. Just doing the job is hard enough, but giving good service is an art on top of that. Way to educate the public!

  2. 7/14/2010
    Reply

    What a great post. I used to wait tables and although I loved it and was good at it, I was often baffled by the people who would receive stellar service but then not leave a tip or leave something minimal. It is very disheartening sometimes!

  3. 7/14/2010
    Reply

    “If you can’t afford to tip, you can’t afford to eat out.” – so so true and people should really think about that before going out to dinner and spending lots of money on the food and then neglecting to leave a tip!! I have such a problem when I go out to eat in groups and my fellow eaters don’t want to leave a 18% + tip and it drives me nuts!!

    You are such a service guru – it just rocks my world!

  4. My kids and I just went to dinner tonight at Sauce on Hampton (in Venice, CA), where, with the check, diners get a card explaining why the restaurant automatically includes a 15% service charge with the bill. I like their reasoning: It lets the staff work as a team and ensures that everyone is fairly and equally compensated for providing diners with an excellent experience.

    Sauce makes it clear that they do not expect diners to leave anything additional, but I always do – a few dollars, just so the servers know that we really appreciated their efforts. This is how we’ve always handled tipping in European “service compris” restaurants, too. Is this what the staff expects? Or are we overdoing it? Interested in the opinions of those here.

  5. You tell ‘em lady. I am seriously baffled that there’s still a discussion going on out there about whether or not to tip. I think you hint at the underlying problem here, which is that for some reason the population assumes that customer service is the domain of the uneducated or the lazy, as opposed to the intelligent creative people it is. Service is noble. And unless these people want to argue for a service charge, they need to pony up and tip.

  6. Brooke, I so enjoy your honesty & integrity. Yes, tipping our servers is part of the deal when we dine out——always. The 5% that leave a “penny to leave a point.” What kind of point is that? That is a disgruntled act based out of anger and unkindness. Thanks for bringing this issue to our attention. xo

  7. 7/15/2010
    Reply

    I admire your courage, sheer bravery to approach this subject of SLAVE LABOR… perhaps I add a tinsel of dramatic, but I really don’t think so. Here in Massachusetts, the “Labor Department” (huh?) pays waiters (drum roll—) $2.63 an hour! O and that’s a flat rate—no overtime on the Fourth, New Years, or any holiday for that matter. I think all the waiters and bartenders should migrate to Montreaux, underground railroad style.

  8. 7/17/2010
    Reply

    Enlightening post. We’ve always used the 15% rule of thumb, but it’s always up for debate whether that’s 15% on the “total bill” or the “total bill before tax”. Where do people fall on that one? Also, is 15% a reasonable tip for bad service? What do you tip (or at all) for really horrible food and/or treatment by the waitstaff/management? (And, yes, not all food service “professionals” have the patrons’ interests in mind or are hard-working honest folk, though most are.)

  9. Jivonne
    7/17/2010
    Reply

    Perhaps it is those w/o any experience in serving/bartending that don’t get it…completely agree that tipping isn’t optional. If service is really bad enough to feel a tip isn’t worthy (or the I’m-gonna-make-a-statement penny) I think a conversation with the manager is worth a few minutes time.

  10. Food Woolf
    7/18/2010
    Reply

    @Jeremy, Great question. The point I was looking to make about the “total bill” was about including all items. Some diners like to omit liquor or wine purchases from their bill and then tip on that new total. I’ve never understood that practice and was trying to quietly imply that tipping is something that should be done on the whole bill. Most people tip on the pre-tax amount. I tip on the total amount.

  11. Mia
    7/20/2010
    Reply

    That is an appalling minimum wage. And I thought servers in Alberta had it bad. They usually make minimum wage ($8.40) plus tips. I can’t believe there’s anywhere with a minimum wage that low. It makes me feel slightly ill.

  12. Lau@Corridor Kitchen
    2/7/2011
    Reply

    @Jeremy in the U.S. for bad service, you still should tip 12-15%, so I would say tip 12% if you feel ripped off by the server. The reason for this is that if you go into work one day and do a less-than-excellent job, you still get paid, and waitstaff are no different.
    If the food is terrible, there is no point taking it out on the waitstaff. Take it up with management. In fact if the food is terrible I’d be sending it back.
    It’s too complicated. Obviosuly, what should happen is that service should be included within the price of meals, so that it’s impossible to weasel out of paying waitstaff.

  13. Herman
    2/28/2012
    Reply

    Waiters and waitresses seem to forget that tipping is the free will of the diner. Do waiters and waitresses tip for every service they get, when they’re the customers? (in a supermarket, at the gas station, at the bank, at the post office) Certainly not.

    If someone is not payed enough, then they should talk with their employee and not expect that the customer should add their share to their wage. If you’re not paid enough, then just quit your job.

    • 2/29/2012
      Reply

      Herman,
      If only “speaking to your employer” was that easy. In America, restaurants are built on the idea that customers help support the wait staff’s hourly wage through tips rather than charging a higher per/dish cost. Banks, gas stations, supermarkets charge high fees to customers through built in service fees in order to pay their staff. Restaurants minimize fees and are more transparent about where the money goes in order to minimize up front costs to customers.

      There are a small percentage of restaurants in America that have staff fees (fixed gratuity) included in the cost of dining there, but often those restaurants are regarded poorly because many diners state they want the “option” to tip. It will not be until the American people come together to agree that restaurants should charge more so they can pay their staff a liveable wage that we will see the end of tipping. Until then, it is up to the customer to realize that they are called upon to be mindful of the fact that though tipping isn’t mandatory, it is a requirement.

  14. […] their concern to the management or leave less tip for their waiter. As I mentioned recently about a recent poll on CNN’s food blog, Eatocracy.com, 49 percent of the people polled said they have left nothing for waiters, while another 34 percent […]

  15. Philip Pirrip
    2/16/2013
    Reply

    Tipping is completely optional. At the end of the pay period, the establishment is legally required to ensure that every employee goes home making minimum wage. Why is it expected that I should pay the employees? That is the job of the owner, not the customer.

    It is similar to buying a ticket to a concert: The ticket is $50… and there’s a transaction fee of $5…. and a service fee of $5….. and a convenience fee of $5…. Just charge me $65 and cut out all the games.

  16. Alex
    6/12/2014
    Reply

    A European perspective …..
    I tip a member of staff because they have gone over and above the expected level of service, they appear to enjoy their job, rather than clearly pretending to give two flying monkeys about your dinning experience.
    IF you tip everyone for simply turning up for work, then the level of service is poor. IT also allows employers off the their responsibility to pay a living wage to their staff. You have minimum wage in the US and yet an employer can factor in the tips and still pay next to nothing. This culture helps no one but the owners of these places, and harms the hard working staff. And the joke is that if I don’t tip you enough it’s my fault your wages are poor, not the owner *shakes head*
    Over here? Tips are not guaranteed and the staff earn a living wage and any gratuity they get is split between the servers and the kitchen staff, and it’s a bonus rather than a top up to a minimum wage.

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