This is a pretty general question... when you're at a restaurant, what do you base your tip on?

- waitress/waiter?
- food?
- service?
- restaurant interior?
- restaurant class?

5%, 10%, 15%, 20% ????

Do you tip more because you are in the food service industry?

Tags: bill, pay, restaurant, tip

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As much as I hate the concept of tipping- it does seem to force the servers to be more aware of their service. I usually tip more than 15% because I'm in the industry and I've been a server. I don't base it on the food unless the server gives attitude about food complaints. As someone else mentioned, food can be replaced. If it's done promptly and with grace- 20% is reasonable. I usually just double the first number of the total: $31.30 is a $6.00 tip. It's usually between 15-20% that way and it's easy to add up.
When I first came from France, for sure i did not know about tipping on top of the total check. First something should be done on information to foreigners who visit the US.
Now, my base is 20% whatever is the cost of the dinner, even with an expensive bottle of wine. After all, the sommelier is paid most likely from the wine sales. Then if there is no sommelier and the service was great, why not tipping on the entire check. However, wherever restaurant I may have dinner at, if the service is NOT at the level of expectation, I will tip down probably to 15% bur rarely below 10% but still from the total check - Some will tip from the total before tax, which is appropriate when you ask for adding the tips (Micro and other systems are adding tips from the total before tax) but I found much easier to add from the total after tax, which at the end is better for the server.
Anyway, the hospitality industry in the US does not allow adding the tips so the Front of the House staff is paid by the tips left by the guests. There is no reason to penalize a server by not leaving tips or being by less than 10% on tipping, everyone must make a living.
Well, you know, I've worked in the restaurant industry for over 10 years, so I want to tip well. And some times I tip very well. I pretty much start at 15% and go up or down from there. My number one criterion is how a server performs after I order my beverage--usually water with tons of lemon. An astute server will cut a lemon into 6 or 7 wedges and bring that to me with my water. I did ask for tons of lemon, afterall. If a server brings back a water with no lemon, a single slice of lemon on the rim of the glass, or one piece of lemon just dropped in the water in the glass he or she is off to a bad start.

Other than that, I'm very easy to please. Just bring my hot food hot, my cold food cold, in a reasonable time period and try to be personable and suggestively sell me something by describing the food or drink or dessert item somewhat creatively. Show that you care about my dining EXPERIENCE. If a server just asks me if I want dessert, it's a yes or no question and shows the server doesn't care at all.

If a server cares, is personable, is upbeat, is fun, and can get past my lemon test, my tips are usually 25% or higher depending on what I've spent. I will always overtip attentive breakfast servers. Just because the check is cheaper doesn't mean awesome service should be undervalued.

However, if a server is in a bad mood, makes excuses for other staff or ever blames the kitchen or a manager for anything, or treats me like I'm an inconvenience, the server will be lucky to get by with a 10% tip. And, as much as I want to reward great service, if a server just p***** me off --and there are servers out there unfortunately that do treat customers horribly to the discredit of great restaurants, managers, and established corporate brands, I'll tip less or nothing at all. Fortunately, extremes like that are rare. LIke most people, when I dine out, I want to enjoy my meal and the people I'm with. A server that doesn't understand that and works to the detriment of the dining experience probably won't be all that successful as a server.
Do you tip more because you are in the food service industry? YES . Too many years and too many friends in the business not too. BUT I have my limits.

Plus I often go out of my way to compliment or educate when a server has done an exceptional job or fails miserably.

As a members of the industry, we must help others to raise the bar - Tell the server he/she has done a great job, sincerely or provide one tip or idea to make your next visit a better one... If the service was horrible, and you are someone who loves to re-tell the evenings dining disaster 10-15 times, stop. It ultimately hurts our entire industry, instead tell the manager to use this experience as a learning process for the staff. Use some of your knowledge to help a fellow chef do a little better job, or a server make more money the next time. I often teach "up selling" and other simple changes a server can use on the fly to increase check averages and other tips (pun intended) that leave a lasting impression of customers. There truly is a polite way of doing this!

Granted , this request lives in my little fantasy world - because we love to re-tell the stories of how bad the service was as THAT place last night... I can dream...

In the long run we all benefit.
Being in the Food Business I tend to also tip more than normal, I having been a waiter and bus boy growing up I know that it is not the easiest job out there , and sometimes you have to take alot of BS based on just the moods of the customer ....

So Cheers to all you Good Food servers !!!!
Wrap On............
yes, all ..to a degree...

I go more with attitude..if the server is generally showing concern and trying to provide best service, I'll tip 20% or more, interior and restaurant class don't really factor for me. A "cheaper" restaurant based on decor and class...will be a lower bill, but the % overall is the same. I won't leave a rediculously low tip, even if bill is small. (i.e. a $6.00 check would get a $2 or $3 tip).

Yes, I think anyone in food service tips better, we know how it all works and how much hard work it is!
My friends and I play a game with tipping. We start out with a base tip of 20%, then whenever the service staff does something good, we add a point. Whenever the service staff does something bad, they lose a point. I've gotten to both extremes, I've tipped over 50% before and I've had an experience when the server deserved -8%, but we still left 10% (the lowest I've ever tipped).

But I believe that the tip should be based on the service experience, including bussers, servers, food runners and any other people that you interact with during your meal.
Interesting that you mention the service of food runners...I am always dismayed when a food runner arrives at the table and conducts "a food auction" - why can' they get with the seat numbering system? Perhaps the wait staff don't split the tips well enough with them??? It is one of my pet peeves.
In Russia and especially in Moscow, first restaurants are really expensive and there is no included TIP as in France where I come from! Then, there is a minimum common 10% TIP left for all bills. Of course, if the bill is huge, the bill will be calculated on a reasonable basis... All what is given over the 10% for me is depending on the quality/attention/dedication of the waiter. If the waiter helps you really to have a great experience, yes, there is a reason to reward it. If not, nothing to be given in addition to the 10%. If bad, no Tip... The tip is to congratulate the waiter but it must no depend on all the other attributes of a restaurant...
I can easily say that I tip more because I'm in the industry. I still, do take a moral highroad when it comes to tipping truly bad service. I have on one occassion left no tip at all. The ones that reap the benefits are the servers that make me want to come back just to see them. It's that freindly personality (I've even gotten a wink) that says, "yes I want you to come back and see me," because you're not just a guest, your my friend (I know they aren't really.) It's being attentive without reaching that 'stalking' stage. It's having a great relationship with someone for the meal, and wanting to have that relationship again, and again. When I get that, I'm going to tip like crazy.
I absolutely tip more because of my food background.
I do base tips on service alone - if the food is a problem, I only hold the server responsible for how they recover from the issue. I leave tips based on how good or poor I felt the service was. I NEVER STIFF anyone - it's easy to think I
merely forgot to leave a tip. If I have the urge to stiff because the whole event was god-awful, I would rather leave
a dime or two to make a stronger point. 90% of the time if I have had an exceptional experience (good or bad) I will talk with a manager. Managers do not get enough good feedback from guests and they need as much constructive feedback as they can get!
I tip based on the service, usually between 15 to 25% because as so many others, I am in the same industry.

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