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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I think a lot of things need to be taken into consideration when deciding on a tip.
First of all - I am a server, and my opinion will show it. Second of all, I make $2.63 an hour. If I am not tipped by my customers, I will not get paid for the night. I know this, so I do everything possible to make sure my customers are happy.
However, there are situations I cannot control. Food coming out late, burned, cold, whatever. I do what I can to offer subs while a new meal is being prepared, and I always apologize and try to make the situation bearable, but sometimes my customers just want someone to blame, and it's my face they see.
And, what happens with that party who has been in my table all night. Their bill is $30. Should they leave me only $6? They took up one of my four tables for hours. I could have turned it at least three times and made $30. Or what about the table who made me run back and forth so many times that I was unable to give excellent service to the others? Or the table that leaves a mess that will take me 15 minutes to clean up?
People frequently look at tipping as their own personal time to be the JUDGE. What other profession would allow a perfect stranger decide what you are worth and how much you should get paid?

Hmmm - Just my humble opinion.
I have on occasion gone back to a table and leave more of a tip....I will also go to a manger to let them know if my server was awesome..
Dear Beth, It certainly sounds as if you have considerable experience and a great understanding of the many issues involved with tipping - not the least of which is the issue of tips needed to 'make a living'. I always overtip (above 20%) on low cost meals (breakfast/lunch) if the service was adequate because of this issue. I also overtip when I occupy a table for a very lengthy period of time - it is only fair. Sometimes when I have sat over breakfast talking with a friend for 3 hours, I have tipped as much or more than the cost of the food. Almost like 'table rent', but I hope to make-up for the lack of table turns.
Keep up your good work and I wish you generous and fair tips for the hard work you do - servers are a significant part of the food service reputation!
Hi Beth..
What you describe is fairly routine and goes with the territory. If you've been in the biz for some time then you know that over a week it all washes and the $2.63 an hours is really diminished (mind you not excusable) but none the less it carries less financial impact. As far as other professions that allow the customer to be the JUDGE: any job that relies on comissions only would fall into the same category as we Professional Waiters (and they don't get the $3.63). Tracking your income table to table will drive you crazy and cause unecessary grief. Roll with those short times and celebrate when they throw crazy tips at you for no apparant reason. Again, week to week it all washes. If it didn't we would have left the industry long ago for those jobs our parents wished we were working (you know... those comission jobs!) :-)
I think one of the hardest things I had to overcome as a server is my attitude going up and down with every table and every tip. Best way I could come up with to get past it was just record my tips, at the end of the month divide my earnings by hours worked......and how could I feel bad. I have always felt like for as many ungrateful, cheap people, there really are more overly generous customers. I also never used an autograt on big parties. I think for the most part I've been lucky to have the opportunity to let my customers decide what I am worth to them, overall. Better them than some big corporation that dosn't even know me.

Some look at the glass as half empty, some look at it as half full. I look at the glass and think I better get some damn water over there soon!
Love your perspective and approach to the craft!
30% always even if it's bad. I'm sure it's because I'm in the industry. If I receive bad service I give them feedback then take the higher road. When I'm in a position to and a few time's that the server has demonstrated awesomeness I totally hook them up just to "wow" them.
I usually start at 20%.
Give me attitude and it drops steep and fast.
Yes... I will stiff you; because I do the same job you do and expect, minimally, a positive reception to me as your customer.
Make me feel welcomed even if you're out of product, your cook is holding your food hostage, or your bartender is jerking you around for laughs by stalling drinks. All those (real) issues ARE NOT YOUR CUSTOMERS' FAULT so don’t take it out on them!
Your work in our industry is a choice, not a sentence.
You earn your tips by plying the craft with skill, precision, and hospitality.
Being a minimum wage employee does not make you a victim.
Being the bulk of our income comes from tips does not mean it’s an entitlement.
Today’s downturn economy and glut of dining choices put the consumers in the driver’s seat of who gets to stay in the game and who wins the financial prize.
Paul Paz –
The word tip is short for To Insure Proper Service, so your tip should be based on the service aspect of your dining experience. If you like the decor tell the manager or owner, they will appreciate it. The proper amount to tip is 15%- 20% for regular service.

To answer your second point, yes, I do tip more because I am in the industry. Support the troops!
15% is a good tip in Canada. Since my friends and I are restaurant people, we often fill out our CC chit for the 15% and toss in $10 each in bills. We put the bills under the salt & pepper shaker at the beginning of the meal. Rarely encounter poor service. In my favourite places the servers know our group and we receive brilliant service.
Very appropriate strategy paying "table-rent".
Hi Debra...

Having "walk in those shoes" for over 27 years and still walking, I do not understand why so many consumers, especially those of us in the biz, think nothing of inflated tips for less than acceptable service.

I wonder if it is a reflection of the notable number of restaurant executives of late who are rewarded with huge bonuses, perks and in some cases even rehired as consultants by those same companies for which that same executive led the company down a path of failure.

Why do we look the other way when it comes to expecting elevated basic service standards and prefer to reward handsome gratuities for poor performance. Because a consumer chooses, my restaurant is not an entitlement to gratuities. It has to be earned.

Certainly there are circumstances that are beyond the control of the waiters and consumers can that those into consideration when determining gratuities.







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