Tipping Guide for Good and Bad Service from an Ex-Waitress

by Jamie Simmerman · 1,879 comments

how much to tip

When we go out to eat, my husband always asks, “How much should I tip?” It seems as though this flexible figure stymies many patrons, especially when the service is above average or far less than stellar.

As a former waitress and hostess, I can honestly say that dealing with the hungry public can be challenging and exhausting, and that servers deserve far more than the reduced minimum wage plus tips the government says they’re worth. With more and more people seeking second jobs or temp work to boost their incomes, this issue is more important now than in previous years.

How do you determine how much to tip?

Here are a few basic guidelines to help you out:


Tipping Guide for Good and Bad Service

  •  The general rule of thumb (for me) is to round the bill up to the nearest $10, and leave 20%. This is easy to calculate, and it rewards servers for good service. I know many people claim 15% is adequate, but keep in mind that your server is making just over $2 an hour without tips to run him- or herself ragged. Go ahead and splurge for the 20%. You’ll make your server feel good, and you’ll get great service when you return to the restaurant.
  •  If you receive poor service, don’t leave without providing a tip. Believe me, a $1 tip will be noticed much more than no tip, since your server may think you just forgot. Before you leave a lower tip, however, try to take into consideration the staffing and patron level in the restaurant, and remember that your server may just be having a bad day. Leaving a pleasant note of encouragement, or a decent tip, may be enough to turn their day around.
  • Include a kind word and a smile with every tip and try to clean up after yourself as much as possible. If my kids leave food on the floor or sticky messes on the table, I ask for a dustpan or a wet cloth to return the table to its condition prior to our arrival. You never know if your server will turn out to be your next door neighbor, a single mom, a volunteer firefighter, or your child’s teacher, so treating them with kindness and respect is a required part of every tip.
  • If you receive truly awful service, talk to your server. If the service doesn’t improve after communicating your needs and failed expectations, then ask to speak to a manager. Never go straight to the boss with your complaints when there’s a possibility of rectifying the situation one-on-one.
  • Don’t skimp on tips in order to save money! If you can’t afford to tip adequately, choose someplace less expensive or opt for an establishment where you’ll serve yourself.
  • If your server only brings your drinks, or the food is served buffet-style, it’s appropriate to leave a lesser tip, but 10-15% still applies.
  • If your chosen establishment includes a bartender, hostess, bus boy, or other additional serving staff, keep in mind that your server will probably have to share tips with these other members of the wait staff, as well. In this case, it’s best not to tip solely on the performance of one staff member.

While it’s important to live frugally and pinch pennies when possible, tipping is not an area in which you should be trimming your budget. If you’re going to eat out, an adequate tip is a standard part of the bill.

Do you agree? How do you determine what to tip for good or bad service? You may also want to hear other people’s opinions on tipping, as we’ve discussed this topic before both here and here.

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • andrew says:

    I worked as a server while going to school. I made more money doing that than I did in my first few years as a teacher.

    Serving tables is not hard, and I do not understand why we pay so much…

    • Greg says:


      Teaching is unfortunately an underpaid profession. It doesn’t follow that all professions should be underpaid. Some professions are underpaid, some overpaid.

      Perhaps the most overpaid profession in America today is CEO. Bringing CEO pay down to sensible levels would benefit society more than stiffing waiters.

  • jolly says:

    I like the advice about a $1 tip. Having worked front and back of the house Wait staff have got it pretty easy. If they screw up an order it is blamed on the cook/chef, so the waiter can save face and get the tip. Waiters NEVER show any gratitude when you save them from getting stiffed. Something as small as a ‘thanks for saving me from myself’ goes a long way, especially from the incompetent waiters.

    • Greg says:


      Sounds like you’re working in the wrong restaurant. In the restaurants I worked, servers were generally very appreciative in a situation like that, and tipped the kitchen extra, though it was rare for experienced servers to make such a mistake.

  • Greg says:

    @Alexis Faith:

    The idea that you should only have to tip if you feel like it, so that your servers’ ability to pay their rent and bills depends more on your mood and generosity than on their performance, is an important reason why tipping should be abolished and menu prices raised to pay servers a market rate.

    • Alexis Faith says:

      You misunderstand. I tip regularly. The issue I have is when I’m told my tip isn’t good enough because it doesn’t meet some hidden number I don’t know about that changes depending on where I go. There was no cause for anyone to confront me because my tip was one dollar short of anything because, being a tip and all, I didn’t have to give it. A tip is a gesture of appreciation for the time and effort someone spends on a customer to treat them as an individual. When that gesture is handwaved because it’s “not enough”, that is insulting to the customer and makes it pretty clear that the server doesn’t care about anything but getting more money, in which case they shouldn’t be servers. Or in any customer service position.

      • Greg says:

        Alexis Faith:

        If tips were just, as you say, a “courtesy” and a “gesture of appreciation” and something “extra that you choose to give” from “the goodness of your heart” that you “don’t owe” and “don’t have to give” and have “no obligation to pay”, then most customers, most of the time, would tip little or nothing. After all, most customers don’t tip most employees working most job types at most places of most kinds of business.

        If most customers, most of the time, tipped little or nothing, then servers would look for better paying jobs, and the hardest, smartest workers would eventually find them. Those who couldn’t find better jobs, along with whoever the restaurants were able to find to replace those who found better jobs, would not work as hard nor as well. Recall the worst service you’ve ever received at restaurants, and imagine getting that level of service at most restaurants most of the time. That’s what it would be like if most customers had the attitude toward tips you describe.

        I’ve worked retail, and I’ve been a restaurant waiter and manager. Waiting tables is many, many times harder and more stressful than retail work. If waiting tables paid no more than retail, few would choose waiting tables and stay with it for long.

        Today I’m a software developer, and I make a lot more than I made in restaurants. But even if I could make as much waiting tables, I wouldn’t dream of going back. Even if I could make twice as much waiting tables, I wouldn’t go back. Five or ten times as much, I’d have to give it some good hard thought. Though software development is hard work, it’s relaxing compared to waiting tables. Though it’s stressful work, the stress is a tiny fraction of the stress of waiting tables. Part of it may be that my temperament is much better suited to software development than waiting tables, but that doesn’t explain it all. I recall one study years ago that found that waiting tables was about as stressful as a doctor doing surgery. Of course, software development is also much more interesting and enjoyable work. Not many people choose waiting tables because they think it’s interesting and enjoyable. It’s just hard work that pays fairly well — because most people tip right.

        That said, the server you mentioned was out of line. Bad and mediocre tips happen to all servers. Mediocre tips happen every day to even the best servers. Some people tip very well, others not, and over time it averages out. A good server maintains a professional attitude toward ALL customers, no matter how badly they tip. In about 6 years of waiting tables, I’m pretty sure no customer ever saw even the slightest disappointment about their tip in my behavior.

        • Teri says:

          Greg, I agree that the server who complained about a subpar tip was out of line. It was the same way when I was delivering pizza – I never let my disappointment show if I got a bad tip. I always smiled and thanked the customer, no matter how good or bad the tip. But if I got stiffed I’d get back to my car and grumble to myself.

      • Teri says:

        @Alexis Faith:

        Some “hidden number”? What hidden number? The standard rate is 20%, everywhere in the U.S. As for doing math, it’s not at all complicated. Just figure 10% by taking off a zero from your total (e.g., $79.00 = $7.90) and double it. If it’s too hard to double $7.90, round it up, then double it. $7.90 = $8 = $16 tip. People working as servers would not take the job if it weren’t for tips. The tips are not some big windfall – they’re part of the pay (and have to be shared with the other workers).

        When cheapskates like you fail to tip properly, not only does it hurt the server, but if everyone did it, there wouldn’t BE any servers, or at least not good ones. Maybe someone who was terribly hard up for money would work for less than minimum wage with no tips, but not for long. Just give people the common courtesy and human dignity they deserve. Everyone knows how the system works. Just do it and don’t make silly complaints about “hidden numbers” that “change everywhere you go.”

        • Alexis Faith says:

          Oooh, name calling. That hurts. That really hurts. And shows just how little you know.

          General tipping is different depending on where you go. Most restaurants have 15% as the norm. Cafes have tip jars where 5-10% is the norm. Buffets normally don’t need tips except for $1-3 for person who refills your drinks, unless it’s a casino or hotel buffet which could be anywhere between a couple dollars to the expected 15%. Pizza delivery has a couple dollars as its norm. And that’s not even getting into pre vs post tax.

          Expectation of tips has also been noted as being at 15% in Texas while 18% in California. Waiters are expecting 25% in Manhattan, and lately it’s been stated that 30% is the expectation of a number of places in New York. And now you’re telling me the norm is 20% everywhere and we’re cheapskates for not paying it. Yes, we are clearly horrible people for not adhering to the individual expectations in specific places without notice or indication as to what those numbers should be.

          I stand by my statements. I nor anyone else HAVE to pay tips. We CHOOSE to do so. SHOULD we do so? Most definitely. But why exactly should we be so inclined to do so when we’re badgered for it? By you and by other servers who make it clear that what extra we part with isn’t good enough? I’ve tipped. Every time I’ve gone out I’ve left a tip. And as it turns out, a number of the places I’ve tipped at actually gave their servers basic wages so they WEREN’T reliant on tips for survival. That was just extra bonus for them. And yet you still called me a cheapskate because that apparently proves your point somehow. Good for you. Maybe I should stop tipping altogether so I can stop worrying about offending the precious sensibilities of yourself and the servers who think like you.

  • Alexis Faith says:

    As a customer, I am obligated to pay the amount of the food. I tip as a COURTESY. I do not OWE anyone extra money on top of what I am already required to pay, and for anyone to express that what extra I do choose to give them isn’t enough is at best ignorant and at worst insulting. Maybe that makes me stingy, but why should I be limited in where I can go out to eat just because of a hidden number? I don’t go out to a restaurant to do math to figure out this invisible number about what extra I am apparently now “required” (read: DEMANDED) to pay, I go out to EAT. I’m sorry that the amount I choose to tip out of the goodness of my heart and appreciation of service that is honestly mediocre isn’t good enough for you. If people are going to complain no matter what I do, I might as well not leave a tip at all. And having these servers rant saying what I do give them isn’t enough doesn’t make me want to go to the effort to give them more. Or even anything at all.

    The other day, I had a server confront me because I apparently didn’t leave a big enough tip. I had simply rounded the price up to the nearest ten and told them to keep the rest as a tip, much to my confusion at her wide eyed and incredulous look. She came back and questioned my tip as it “wasn’t even 15%”. The huge, enormous, unforgivable difference between what I paid and what they were “owed”? A DOLLAR. One dollar was the difference that made my tip not good enough.

    So go ahead and call me stingy. Say I “don’t understand”. Wax on about how poor and overworked the servers are. But when the difference of ONE FREAKING DOLLAR is all it takes to lead to a confrontation, I feel little sympathy for the “poor” and “overworked” server who had plenty of time in her supposedly busy schedule to complain that I’m not paying her enough for something I actually have no obligation to pay.

    I pay a tip because it’s good etiquette. I pay a tip as a thank you to the server for doing what is essentially their job that they were already hired to do and supposed to do anyway. I pay extra to those who go above and beyond their call of duty to interact with me as a person instead of acting like a robot or treating me like just another number on their list. Servers who react to poor tips or lack of tips that they are not required to be given, those who will confront customers because their tip wasn’t good enough or take it to the media with a story of mistreatment that may not even be real shouldn’t be servers.

  • kevin says:

    why should the tip be a percentage of the bill? Are you telling me it takes more effort to carry a $22 plate than a $11 dollar plate? Tipping should be what you feel is a good amount to leave.

  • James says:

    Terrible service deserves a terrible tip. The kind of day the server is having is something she/he needs to work out on their time, not mine. I worked in the hospitality business for seven years. I know it is a high stress and sometimes high drama career. Often, the people that work at restaurants have the same kind of stress and drama outside of work as well. But in the end, it is YOUR JOB. You are there to serve your customers, not beg for their sympathy or empathy. You make your money off the quality of your service. Act accordingly.

    I would say average to good deserves a 20% tip. Service above and beyond that deserves more than 20%.

    Fair service, and yes buffet style warrants a 10 to 15% tip.

    Poor service? Well I leave a 5% tip.

    If you are not interested enough in doing your job, I’ll be damned if I am going to pay you for it.

    If you leave a 0% tip? There’s no hope for you anyway. 🙂

  • The Traditionalist says:

    The posts by some of these self-identified waiters and waitresses are truly hateful and ugly. Don’t like the job? Find something different. Stocking supermarket shelves, cashiering, walking dogs, whatever. ?inimum wage, but that’s what you get (BY LAW) as a waiter/waitress.

    Could it be these nasty people are staying in jobs they hate waiting on people they despise because they’re making far more than minimum wage? Maybe they’re upset it’s not the 6 figures their self-esteem dictates they’re worth.

    And maybe they’re stuck in a dead-end serving job and don’t get the humongous tips to which they feel entitled because the chip on their shoulder gives them a rotten disposition. Nobody likes that — employers or customers. The only possible exception is other waiters and waitresses — who are just as rotten.

    • James says:

      you hit the nail on the head with this one. Life’s tough. There are people out there who have no clue or a care of how to tip their server properly. To carry that on into the initial relations with the rest of your customers makes you bad at your job, bottom line, and will most likely result in more bad tips.

      And who’s problem is that? The customers or the server?

  • ohiomark says:

    This 20% Normal tip talk is anything but normal, sorry. 15% is for average service, higher for better service, lower for worse service. Yeah, the whole industry that is paid on tips, or used to work for tips are always trying to talk the rest of us into tipping more and more. The sad thing is that their true employers do not pay them anything, and try to find more and more creative ways of taking the servers’ tip money and spreading out to all the workers at the establishment, giving the servers a smaller share of it. The employers dictate how the tips are to be distributed, and it varies from place to place. I would rather the restaurant owners would pay their staff living wages; if menu prices go up, and I would expect them to, our total meal price would not be adversely affected, since we would no longer be tipping 20%, maybe a small token if service was really good. Overseas in many countries tips are not expected, service is good or great, and servers are paid a living wage. Waiters and restaurant owners do not want to go to this kind of system, each for their own reasons. I suspect that servers know or fear they would not make as much if they were paid a true living wage from the restaurant. Here in the USA, if servers made a flat amount, they would not work as hard either, as they are so accustomed to working for their tips (well, some do not really work that hard, but still feel they are ‘entitled’ to get 20% or more). Personally, I would not take tipping advice from anyone who works in the industry; they just try to guilt us into tipping more and more, regardless of the service level. Also, as long as people overtip for adequate or poor service, this just adds to the entitlement thinking that some of them (not all) have.

    No one really knows what servers make; we all ‘chip in’, and many of their cash tips might be going unreported. I have seen other web sites where servers in very good restaurants can make in excess of $100K a year for a 25-30 hour work week. I also know there are many servers who make a bare minimum. The system. Servers, when working on their setup or prep work, should be at least be paid a living wage for those hours by the restaurant. Some states do pay servers a true minimum wage; other states have a very low hourly rate for tipped employees, but I believe they must make up the difference if the tips they report do not get them up to the full minimum wage.

  • Horst Schneider says:

    I did not expect so many hints on my comment. Thanks a lot I am impressed!
    First of all, I did not know that you have to pay tax on tip, sounds strange to me. In that case I will tip from now on in cash and not through my credit card. Sorry for missing that in my calculation. How high is the tax rate on tipping?
    Brian, I am living in Europe and I did never work as a waiter so I cannot relate to that. Anyhow I don’t understand why I should pay the waiter for the time I am not in the restaurant?
    Greg, I don’t need to give any of my salary further to any coworker. But if my bridge where your grandmother dies will fail I will be fired and get not another chance at a new company. It will be stated in my records.
    Can you all tell me who should paid me when I took loans while studying to be an engineer? It took me 5 years without any salary to get me the education I have today. Who is paying for that time?
    But back to my experience yesterday that I had and why I made me part of this conversation. I was at the Restaurant and got the Card after about 10 minutes. I could order my Food after another 20 minutes and got my soup!!! After another 25 minutes. Should I give any tip on that bill????
    This question is serious and I would really appreciate an honest answer how a real American would do.

    • Brian says:

      Horst, in your reply to me, you pointed out you don’t feel like you should have to pay for prep time. True enough. I simply wanted to point out, when working at a restaurant, that while the server might be making $60/hour at peak business, that rate is typically not sustained thru out the shift. Again, working as a restaurant server is rarely a lucrative career.
      It is an imperfect system we have here in the US. The idea is similar to a commission sales person. The waiter is incented to do the best job possible, and then can expect to be rewarded. It is certainly not guaranteed. But until the system changes, it is what we have.
      Having waited tables myself, I tend to be an overly generous tipper, looking for any excuse to tip well.
      In the scenario you described, with poor service, I would still tip, minimally, but I would have also have talked to the manager before the meal was complete. I recently had a similar experience, where our meal took forever. I did speak to the manager, and demanded, and recieved a large reduction on my bill. I then tipped the waitress 15% of what the bill would have been. Normally I tip 20%.

      • Horst Schneider says:

        Hello Brian, Thanks for your advice. Next time I know how to act better.

        • James says:

          you only have to report a percentage of your tips for tax purposes. It’s done automatically through payroll. I don’t know a single soul in working at restaurants for seven years that went out of their way to keep tabs on their entire amount of tips for the year and pay taxes on it on ALL of it.

          You are not required to, so why would you? But any current or former person who plays the “I have to pay taxes on my tips” card is really reaching on that one.

          • Greg says:


            I worked at a restaurant where one year all of us servers were audited. Yes, the restaurant automatically claims credit card tips, but some tips are cash and those are not automatically claimed.

            I had been faithfully claiming all my tips, both credit card and cash, and some of my fellow servers thought I was a chump to do so. The only tips I didn’t claim were my tipouts to bussers, kitchen, and hosts.

            Well, the IRS auditor did the following for each server:
            — For all credit card transactions which included a tip, they calculated the average percentage of the tip.
            — They applied that average percentage to credit card sales which did not include a tip, assuming that we had been tipped in cash for those.
            — They also applied that average percentage to all other payment types (check, cash, etc.), assuming we had been tipped the same percentage for those too.

            For those servers who had been there many years and had been paying taxes only on what the restaurant automatically claimed for them, it must have been a serious financial hardship. They had to pay all the back taxes plus a big fine.

            For me, I had to pay all the back taxes for those tipouts. They told me that to be able to exclude tipouts from my tip income, I had to keep a daily log of exactly who my tipouts went to. That’s a lot of people to keep track of — typically 2 bussers, 2 to 4 hosts, and several kitchen staff, including dishwashers. I also had to pay a fine for not having paid taxes on those tipouts. I had only been at that restaurant for a year before moving up to a better restaurant, but my total fine was a little over $600. That was about 25 years ago, equivalent to about $1,100 today.

            One reason I left that restaurant was because they were only busy in the summer. If the same had happened at the busier restaurant I went to, I’d expect the fine to be more than double. And again, that was only for tax on tipouts. For those who were only claiming what the restaurant automatically claimed for them, I’d expect their damage to be double or triple or more, $4,000 to $6,000 or more per year worked, in 2014 dollars.

            For those who had been doing it 10 – 20 years or more before being audited, it must have been very difficult. I had already left by the time the audit completed, so I wasn’t there to hear from any of them directly.

          • ohiomark says:

            Actually, tipped employees are supposed to declare all of their tips as income, ask any tax expert. I am sure there are few tipped employees who do report all of it. The problem is with cash tips, it is impossible for employers to know exactly what their employees are bringing in. The IRS has tried to implement certain things to catch some of these cash tips, but that is hard to do. Any tipped employee who does not report all of their actual tipped income is not paying their true share of taxes, which is tax evasion, and if caught, is a crime. Many tipped employees, especially servers, believe if they are not tipped, the person who as not tipped them is stealing from them, yet these same servers will easily justify not declaring all their tipped income, which is a form of stealing also. They always try to justify it one way or another.

      • Paul says:

        In the scenario described… you would reward poor service? How munted is that thinking?

    • ohiomark says:

      They are supposed to pay income taxes on their tips, since it is income, the same as any other person in the USA does on their income. I would not worry about them having to pay income taxes on their tips, they are supposed to. Paying in cash just encourages some of them to illegally under-report their income. Also, if they do not report those cash tips, other workers at the restaurant who are supposed to get a share of those cash tips lose out completely; the server who gets the cash tip, if the server does not report it accurately, others will not get their share. I tip on my card every time, to ensure the tips are reported as income, and the other workers who are supposed to get a share, will actually get it.

  • Horst Schneider says:

    If I get bad Service in the US I don’t want to pay. The salary of a waiter might be small but lets say you have 10 guests per hour and each eating for 30USD that would make 60 USD tips. That’s a lot more than I get as educated engineer. And from my salary I have to pay tax…

    • Brian says:

      You sound like you don’t have a clue, that, or you never waited tables while you were in college.
      While your math is somewhat correct, for a nice restaurant, that would describe peak time, and would not represent the typical hourly wage for the entire shift. Waiters need to show up early to prep, and the tables they are assigned may turn over only two, maybe three times. The mistake you make is to assume that the table turn over once an hour for 8 hours.
      So typical for the evening would be $100 to maybe $150 total in tips.
      So ponder this. if waiters really made more, per annum then engineers, wouldn’t there be more engineers leaving that job to become waiters?
      ps they have to pay taxes on the tips too. Most customers leave their tips on their credit card, which is recorded…
      So really, the point is not that their salary is small, it’ that their annual income is small, for a job that requires them to run around like crazy.
      So don’t be a cheapskate, tip large.

    • Greg says:

      Horst Schneider:

      “That’s a lot more than I get as educated engineer.”

      How much of your engineer’s salary are you required to give to your coworkers — while you have to pay the tax on the amount you are required to hand over to those coworkers?

      Also, for what percentage of your work hours are you required to work for minimum wage (with no tips)?

      If you don’t understand the point of those questions, why do you think you know enough about servers’ work and income to be an intelligent participant in this conversation?

      “And from my salary I have to pay tax…”

      Servers have to pay tax too. Those who don’t eventually get audited and pay a stiff fine. Most tips are recorded on credit card statements these days and the IRS has access to that data and uses it.

      When I was audited as a server in the 1990s, the IRS found that I’d paid all my tax on my share of the tips, but not on the amount tipped out to coworkers as required. The IRS fined me for not having paid tax on those required tipouts.

      “If I get bad Service in the US I don’t want to pay.”

      If you make a mistake on an engineering project, do you not get paid for that project? I’ll bet you get paid exactly the same no matter how many mistakes you make. That bridge that collapsed after just a few years, killing my grandmother — the engineer who designed that bridge got paid just as much as an engineer who designed a bridge that never failed.

      Where’s the incentive for an engineer to design a good bridge that won’t collapse? Maybe engineers should be tipped too — if and only if their projects don’t turn out to be badly engineered as too many are. And, maybe engineers should be required to generously tip out their coworkers in the office so the firm can save money by paying those coworkers only minimum wage. Then maybe engineers won’t come here and make ignorant comments about servers.

      • Teri says:

        Brilliant rebuttal, Greg.

        As an overeducated (art major, BFA) pizza deliverer, I can say you hit all the salient points perfectly. I too have to tip out my coworkers in the kitchen, and pay tax on not just my minimum-wage salary but also my tips, and when I’m not delivering pizza, I have to wash mountains of pots and pans or clean toilets or whatever needs to be done. As the newest hire, I’m the first one cut loose when orders slow down around 7 p.m., so I often make only about $40 a night in tips. Let me tell you that if I were an engineer making $80k or $100k or more, plus benefits, like you, I’d gladly tip my pizza driver 20% with a $5 minimum, knowing they drive their own cars and are responsible for their own gas and maintenance, and they are only part-time so don’t qualify for any benefits like you do. Plus they have to tip out the kitchen. It’s people like you who need to wake up to the caste system in this country and do what you can to equalize the inequality that is all around us.

        • Hawkeye249 says:


          Regardless of the persuasiveness of the arguments, it is unlikely that many opinions are changed by reading this thread. Mine is likely one of the few. I used to tip 20% if service was good, but NOT in high end restaurants where the individual tab for a meal is $50 or more.

          After reading numerous posts from servers justifying higher tips using all sorts of points, I now tip 15%. So, this blog has reduced the amount I tip,
          except when extraordinary service is provided.

          Compensation for jobs is based primarily on three things:
          1. Level of education required. E.G., what degree and/or certification
          was required to even be considered for employment.
          2. Individual skill level.
          3. Environment. E.G., power line and oil field workers receive
          part of their compensation based on their dangerous
          working conditions and exposure to weather extremes.

          Servers are often quite skilled.

          But that is only one of the three elements.

          As many have posted before me, if you want higher compensation you need higher education in a field that needs more workers and/or take a position that entails higher risk. There are Many good paying jobs available in North Dakota.

          But don’t think I’m interested in the costs of your chosen field.
          I had to purchase suits, ties and dress shoes in my field.
          And the suits and some dress shirts had to be dry cleaned regularly.
          And sometimes I had to commute to the work location and remain away from family for extended periods.
          And work on weekends with no additional compensation
          because I was salaried.

          There are a few Servers who posted they go to work with a smile
          knowing their customers appreciate their efforts regardless of how
          much the customers tipped. I WILL tip those Servers at 20% or more.

          One drawback of working in a field where taxable earnings are lower hits when one reaches Social Security age. The benefit amount is based on reported earnings for the highest 35 years.

          Those serving to pay for college have it right. Those making Serving their careers and not working in high end restaurants or investing wisely (Roth IRA!) will be Very Disappointed when they find out the amount of their Social Security monthly payments.

          You CAN obtain an estimate of your benefits at:

          I recommend that instead of flaming me, look at your estimated benefit and take steps accordingly if it is less than you want.

          • Teri says:

            @ Hawkeye249,

            Flaming you? Not sure what you’re talking about. I was agreeing with Greg, who was responding to Horst Schneider. Also, being a pizza driver is not my “chosen field,” nor is it for most people doing it. It’s just a transitional job, to tide me over for now. I don’t expect to make as much as an engineer, but it would be nice to make a living wage. If no one tipped pizza drivers (or other types of service workers), there wouldn’t BE any people doing that type of work. Then you’d have to get in your car, in the dark and the rain, and drive to the restaurant to get it yourself. Problem is, there wouldn’t BE any restaurant. We’re all part of the system, and the point of this thread is to show cheap skinflints that they should tip fairly, to keep everything flowing smoothly. That’s just how it works.

          • Paul says:


            re: @ Hawkeye249… Really? Nobody would do it if they didn’t get tips? Gosh, better tell that to all the delivery drivers of Pizza Hut, Dominoes etc. in New Zealand then. Coz they do… but then they get paid “real” wages by their employers.

  • Folwart says:

    I won’t reward somebody that is terrible at their job, period. If I was terrible at my job, I’d be fired. I wouldn’t have the luxury of being paid 80%, 50% or some variation for being shitty, I’d get 0% and be looking for a new job. Do the job, get your 15%, be happy. If you do something spectacular, I’m feeling particularly generous or I see how hard you’re working I might leave you a 100% tip. It’s my call, and I’m NEVER unfair. However, nobody is going to become entitled to my generosity or guilt me into tipping someone an amount I don’t think they deserve. 15% is plenty, this percentage keeps trying to go up. Funny story, as the restaurants prices rise (as they do often) so does your tip amount. That’s why it’s a percentage. The standard percentage doesn’t need to increase beyond 10-20%. At the end of the day I know there’s not point in you mentioning being paid less than minimum wage, because that isn’t true. If you truly had a week that was shitty enough to land below minimum wage with your tips your employer has to make up the difference. Let’s be real here, if that happens often there’s nobody to blame but yourself. There’s a reason these types keep going back or never leave the service industry. The money can be very decent. If it wasn’t they’d have tried something else, yet they come back. Why? Because they make more doing this. Be happy there are enough generous people to make that the case, stop trying to guilt trip people into paying more. There is no argument here.

  • dave says:

    Forgot to comment about cleaning up after yourself.

    The author of the article can S M D if she thinks I paid to go out to eat, and intend to clean everything up afterwards.

    • Brian says:

      The point she makes is that she cleans up after her extra sloppy kids. You would be a jerk to lets your kids make a giant mess, and just leave it. Because what kind of parent would want to do that? That would be embarassing for normal people.

      She is not saying a normal adult that spills a few crumbs need to clean up.

  • dave says:

    The suggestion of rewarding terrible service with a good tip, in hopes that it brightens the servers day is the most laughable part of it.

    Give me good service 15%-20% (before tax and not rounded up to the nearest 10)
    bad service 5%-10%
    Buffet your getting $3 – $5 I don’t care what the buffet costs.

    • Brian says:

      Sounds like you never waited tables. You probably can’t afford to tip more than you do.

      I tip 20% of total total, but I don’t round up. Oh. I don’t eat at buffets. I’m a regular, I get recognized and treated well.

  • Greg says:


    My dad’s a surgeon (semi-retired now) and I was born when he was only 22, so I’ve heard and seen a lot over the decades of how indeed it is a lot of work. But significantly, the reason you’re willing to work so hard for so little pay now as a resident is because you’ll be making so much later. Your hard work for little pay now is part of your investment in becoming a doctor. Once you make full partner somewhere, you’ll be making far more than most waiters.

    It’s totally different for servers. Their hard work today is not an investment toward a future career as a highly paid and highly respected doctor. Waiting tables is not in itself an investment toward anything better, so not enough people would be willing to work that hard for so little, when easier non-tipped minimum wage jobs are available.

    If medical resident was a destination job, not a stepping-stone to something much better, they would have to be paid much more to find enough people willing to do it.

    BTW good luck in your medical career!

    • Brian says:

      Nicely put. Karla sounds a little cranky, probably because whe is not getting a lot of sleep.
      I hope , when she is making a lot of money, she remembers what it feels like to work hard for small rewards.

  • Kayla says:

    Seriously? Most of my bartender and waitress friends make more in tips in one night than I do on call in the hospital. Think your life is rough? Try working 40 hours straight as a medical resident making the equivalent of $3.17/hr to keep people alive while the staff goes home. Can you imagine the tips we would require if that were allowed? I understand hard work, probably better than most, but if the food is cold, the service is poor and the place isn’t busy, there is no way I’m going to tip well. If at all. I don’t work for tips – if I did, people would die. So do your job to the best of your abilities.

  • Natalie says:

    Servers make minimum wage in my state. I’m pretty tired of everyone perpetuating the myth that servers make $2/hr. in EVERY state. Articles like this would be WAY more credible if they listed the minimum wage servers ACTUALLY made in every state. Or at least provided a link to that information.

    In California, servers are paid over $8/hr. plus tips.

    • Paul says:

      In New Zealand minimum wage is $NZ 14.25 per hour. In straight dollar terms that equates to $US 12.24. And tipping is very rare except from patrons from the US or Asia. Even then it is mostly refused except in the tourist traps.

    • Brian says:

      Does not matter. If you go to a sit down restaurant in the U. S. you are p;articipating in the social contract that says you have agreed to pay 15 to 20 % for service. That is how the food prices are set.

  • Kit says:

    I left a 10% tip today, I usually leave 20%+.
    My food was served by someone other than my server…server never came back to check on us ( my food was only served lukewarm ). When I told her about it she wanted to bring more, too late, already ate half of it, didn’t want more. Only gave a half-assed apology. Thought when we got the bill thought she would take it off, or at the very least send the manager over. No, nothing….also, forgot to ask if I wanted a drink refill. Wanted to leave nothing but left 10%. Justified?

  • Gary says:

    I had an experience tonight in a relatively underpopulated pizza place that is usually busy on Friday night. The waitress took seemingly for ever to serve my second beer. I still left her a proper tip mainly because she apologized for being late with my beverage. If she had not done that, the one dollar tip would have been left. I am not one who will ever drink more than two beers in a night ever, so I feel I had a right to be grumpy.

    • Brian says:

      Yes, you were right. Went to a busy pizza place once and waitress disappeared for an hour. Bad is bad. I look for every excuse to be a good tipper, because I waited tables in college, but sometimes, you have to just bail. Sounds like you were more than generous

  • Greg says:


    Exactly! I’ve been doing that for years — not leaving any tip. I have to keep looking for new restaurants, though, because for some strange reason service quality goes downhill once I start regularly patronizing a restaurant.

    The first few times I go, great service. Then, after I’ve been there a few times and they start to recognize me, I often seem to get one of the newest servers, which is usually okay but not great. So I start requesting the servers I know are better.

    Then, over time, I don’t see those great servers anymore, and the new ones that replace them aren’t as good. Some of those get better but soon leave, and are replaced by still more new servers.

    Eventually all the servers who are any good at all are gone, and all the remaining servers are perfectly awful — rude, slow, and getting things wrong every time.

    Eventually I can’t stand the terrible service anymore, so I find another restaurant and the cycle starts over. I’ve seen seven restaurants go downhill ths way. I wonder what the problem is?

    • Paul says:

      @Greg… you wonder what the problem is? Well whoop de doo… easy peasy. Good servers go to another job that pays better (whether waiting or another job) new staff come and aren’t trained properly so customers (such as yourself) get p*ssed off with it and go elsewhere.

      There’s an old saying, it takes a long time to earn your reputation, but just a moment for it to be destroyed. So, if employers paid their staff living wages so that they don’t have to rely on tips this sort of thing would at least decrease. And! Some managers/owners are total tossers when it comes to managing a business.

      • Greg says:


        Paul, you crack me up! I was joking. I was pretending to be like “lol” to show the absurdity of his position. Go get a sense of humor.

        • Paul says:

          Sorry Greg, it didn’t come across as humour/sarcasm. It did in fact come across as arrogance… but, I take your word for it that you were taking the p*ss out of the other writer.

          One of the joys of commenting on the internet huh? No voice inflections, looks on faces to give different meanings.

  • lol says:

    You don’t have to tip people. It’s not mandatory. Those servers get paid to serve. If they’re only making $3 an hour then that’s their fault that they chose that job in the first place. Get some other job that pays more, duh! I pay for my damn food, not for you to have a conversation with you that inclines me to tip you.

    • Brian says:

      I assume you are not serious, but in case you are: you really need ot get your food at a grocery store, or a take out joint. In the U. S. the is a specific social contract that says if you go to a sit down restaurant, to be waited on, you agree to pay a tip of 15 to 20 %. If, here in the United States, all restaurants wanted to change their model, and say that tipping is no longer required, they would simply, together, raise their prices by, 15 to 20 %. Then, you would not need to tip, and you would trust that the waiters, no longer incented by your whims would still hustle to serve your food.

      • Paul says:

        Social contracts aren’t worth the paper they aren’t written on.

        That’s like saying “Donald Trump tips $500 per dish so you have to as well” which is of course a nonsense.

  • Kyra D says:

    I have only ever not tipped twice. And both those times, it was because the waitress was BLATANTLY and outright rude to me. Like… Shockingly rude. So rude I never went back to the establishment. And I don’t mean rolled their eyes at outrageous requests… I mean, the pasta I ordered was frozen somehow, and I politely asked if it could be heated for me… And she snatched the plate away from me and said “Really?”, poked it with her fingers and put it back on the table and said it was fine. When I insisted I would like it heated, begrudgingly did so, and then brought it back with a snarky”Is this up to your standards?”

    I don’t care how much you make, I’m not giving you more of my money to be treated like crap. The tip is just that – a tip. You get them for going above and beyond – for giving good service. I don’t mind the whole tip system; I don’t mind tipping at all! But I refuse to hand over my hard-earned money to someone who can’t even pretend to be polite for a reasonable request. So, no. It should NOT be MANDATORY to give a tip, regardless of service quality.

    • James says:

      I would have got up slapped that woman with a glove and challenged her to a dual! Haha. That’s just crazy!

    • Teri says:

      If a server poked her finger into my food right in front of me like that, I would immediately get up and leave, without paying. If the manager came running after me saying wait you didn’t pay, I’d tell him or her the snot-nosed server had put her finger in my food and I’m sure as hell not eating it, paying for it, or ever setting foot in their establishment ever again. Not to mention I’d be Yelping about it as soon as I got home, and telling all my friends. Any restaurant with someone as awful as that working there deserves to be put out of business.

  • Greg says:


    As a former waiter, nothing makes me more uncomfortable than whether and how much to tip for takeout. The standard on take-out is no tip if you go into the restaurant and get it, unless the order is unusually complicated. But if you drive up and they take it out to you in your car, 10%.

    But if you as a take-out customer at a “fancy place” are really pampered by a server when you go in, and it looks like the server really went to a lot of effort for you by takeout standards, then I’m not sure.

    If it was the kitchen staff and or host that boxed everything, then normally a tip is not expected because unlike servers they’re (supposedly) paid a market wage. But as a customer you likely can’t tell what class of employee boxed it up, and you shouldn’t have to be concerned with that anyway. I’d be interested in hearing from people who patronize such places frequently, and from people who work there. I worked fine dining but at places where takeout requests were rare.

  • scc says:

    To go orders at a fancy place? Should I tip?

    • Paul says:

      Should you tip anywhere? My answer is NO! Employees should be paid a living wage by the employer. If that means upping the prices then so be it. Why should the customer be responsible for deciding whether, and if so, how much to tip.

      If staff are really slack (not just run off their feet) then you tell the manager and face disciplinary action or dismissal.

  • Yes says:

    I’ve had enough of these stupid stringer articles about tipping etiquette.

    15% on pretax total is the norm.
    Less if bad service.
    More if good service.

    The customer is not responsible for all the irrational s**t the waitstaff posters are putting on them. The customer is not your employer. Your employer owes you a living wage. Do not place this responsibility on the customers.

    We know the drill: 15% if norm; less if bad; more if good. Anybody is his own expert on bad service and good service. It is naturally biased, and it should be. It is pure folly for you to get on a soap box and demand that we see it your way. Why would we ever give up our personal style and confidence in our own sense of fairness and generosity? Maybe if I am your customer, and you really get to know me, I’d begin to see things your way. But sign into a website to anonymously scold me? Are you serious?

    Besides, it all averages out. Perv thinks you gave good service because he likes the way you look and tips 20%. Square thinks you are a harlot so service was bad, and he tips 10%. Rich guy wants to show you he’s rich, so he tips 25%. Poor guy didn’t pay attention to a menu that nickel-ed and dime-ed him, so he tips 5%. All-in-all, you are getting 15%, plus, the thing you want most of all — you get to sign into a website to anonymously ream out any person who ever tipped less than you wanted them to tip.

    Any waiter who is tracking “good tippers” and “bad tippers” has problems. Wrong business. Wrong society. Just plain wrong. And if you are one of those, please keep it to yourself. We know that you are the type of waiter who says really nasty things about customers to your coworkers, family, and turn us into punchlines of jokes to your friends. What a disgrace! Why don’t you say 10 hail marys and vow to stop being so mean and greedy.

    • Paul says:

      That’s insane! So, if you spend $200 on food (that’s you and say 3 other people, not unreasonable) then you are saying you are gonna give them $30! No wonder the rest of the world thinks the Yanks (note: Not Yankees) are collectively Loonies.

      • Brian says:

        Loony as it seems, that is the social norm in the U. S. It does not matter that you spent $200. the service is not built in to the price. If you can’t afford $240 dollars for the food you are ordering, you can’t afford it.
        If you only have $200 in your pocket and you want to go to a sit down restaurant, that means you can only order $165 or so of food.
        The difference would be if the system changed. Then, for $200, you would get less food, but the service would be included

  • cate says:

    blah blah blah i love how people act as if fair wages are going to change the whoooole fabric of the system- it’s important to fight for fair wages and decent working conditions. I have a friend from Michigan who delivers pizza for $1.50 an hour!! That just seems absolutely disgusting to me coming from a country as affluent as the U.S.!

    Here in Canada we don’t have to go up to get our food and us servers get paid 5 times as much (still not decent but I would kill myself if I was working for $2 an hour) and people tip 15-20% usually. Everything’s fine, we still have good restaurants and it’s not like we’re paying $25 an entree at regular places, it just means HQ has a little less to line their pockets with.

  • josh says:

    all I know is that I’m not going to pay them more than minimum wage for an entry level job that requires no education. plus, even with making $3 an hour, if they get 3 tips of $3 in one hour then they are doing pretty good at 9 dollars an hour, and that is with saying it is a very slow day. also, if they don’t make enough in tips to equal minimum wage in an hour of work then the company is suppose to compensate them to minimum wage so they are still.at least making some money

  • Ivan Daskleiben says:

    To the cunt that had her hair in my soup whilst carrying the tray on her shoulder, that is the exact reason I didn’t leave a tip, you useless scalawag whore….

    • Christine Lund says:

      Well Ivan, you must have just looked like you needed some hair in your soup as you have the filthiest, most disgusting way of expressing yourself. I hope you enjoyed the rest of your meal too. May I suggest you go to truck stops where you won’t be exposed to this behavior? The next hair you get may be attached to someone big and hairy and not as nice as the lady (who was not trained properly) but knows how to deal with people like you.

    • Christine Lund says:

      Well Ivan, you could have pointed it out to the server and I’m sure reparations would have been offered. Do you seriously think it was on purpose? I personally would have said Thank you and left. I hope the next time you go to a restaurant, you pick a full service restaurant where the trays are brought to the table by the assistant, manager, runner or busser and then served by the server properly without all the hefting, twisting and carrying trays when they should be in their station (and has their hair sprayed or secured properly). Quality service costs a bit more. That extra person who preps that tray and carries it out is automatically paid a percentage of the servers’ sales even if you don’t tip her at all. Same for the bussers and bartender. If you sat and pouted, not allowing anyone to assist you properly, than you deserve what you get. You don’t seriously think that it was done on purpose. You could have changed that persons’ life instead of allowing her to continue doing it. Maybe some child or elderly person gets sick because you didn’t have the time to help her see her mistake. By the way, you have the filthiest, most disgusting way of expressing yourself. I’ll bet you don’t eat at the same place twice without inciting someone to sabotage your food. May I suggest you go to truck stops where you won’t be exposed to this behavior? The next hair you get may be attached to someone big and hairy and not as nice as the lady (who was not trained properly) but knows how to deal with people like you.

  • Bob says:

    Tip 15 to 20% but don’t tip the taxes. Why is that always left out.

    • fubeca says:

      reply @Bob

      Because in most states tax is 7-13% and you are only tipping an additional 20% of that tax which is really negligible. So most people aren’t cheapskates that worry about a couple of bucks.

      $50 check + 10% gross receipts = $55

      If you tip 20% of $50 that’s $10. If you tip 20% of $55 that’s $11. Extrapolate that to $100, $200, etc, and really the fact that you make a big deal of it seems petty.

  • Sebastian Dangerfield says:

    I am an entrepreneur and have a great business doing economic development consulting. When one of my clients asked if I’d be interested in bartending at his new restaurant, even though I had no experience, I thought it’d be fun. Well, I never got particularly good at it, but gave maximum effort, had a good attitude and treated customers with the same reverence I expect from anyone in all dealings, no matter which side of a counter/table one is on. What I learned about the service industry was staggering. Most of the waitresses received little training, but – with few exceptions – worked very hard. Many of them were single moms (and dads), students or young adults just starting out. Most customers were fair and tipped 20% (which, I feel, is more than reasonable, considering the hours, stress, and reliance on other employees’ efforts and abilities [read: chef, hostess, owner, etc.]). In this industry, like many lower-salaried situations, other negative stimuli are often present, such as drugs, theft and at-home violence. With our economy the way it is, and has been for the last decade, it is difficult for the younger generation to advance and up-skill. To those that say, “If you don’t like it, get another job,” I feel this is naïve and hurtful. What really bothers me is that those with this attitude don’t give credit (in tips or kindness) to such persons. Our society has, unfortunately, been one of handout-first and work-for-it-second that many non-deserving citizens ride the welfare system and further deplete our economy. I commend anyone that can keep a positive attitude and work hard as a waiter or waitress. And as such, I tip 25% for good service and 20% regularly. If I receive poor service and, after considering all potential reasons, and determine that the waiter or waitress is lazy, disrespectful or aloof, I address the situation appropriately and quietly, either with the waiter/waitress or their supervisor; just as I would with any employee at any job that deals face-to-face with the public.

    • Teri says:

      Sebastian Dangerfield, you are so right about these non-deserving citizens who ride the welfare system and further deplete our economy. These corporate “citizens” with their corporate welfare are bleeding our country dry with their bailouts, tax loopholes, and deregulation. Their greed and disregard for their fellow human beings are disgusting.

      • Paul says:

        Epic Teri, Epic.

        Those evil corporate bankers who f*cked the economy and were “too big to fail” so got handsomely bailed out and **still** they got (non)performance bonuses et al.

    • Brian says:

      Nice note. I feel the same way. I tip 20%. after after, for the same reasons. I waited in school. Sounds like you can afford a little more…

  • Greg says:


    “serving is different than most jobs in terms of performance evaluation. I do well, i get a raise, or a promotion. A server does well, they get paid as much as the “Greg” one table over who does not give a flip about this job.”

    What exactly makes that different for restaurant servers than for other kinds of workers, such as retail store employees?

    I go to Target, and ask store employee “safado” where to find something, and he carelessly points me in the wrong direction. After wandering around looking for it for a while, I ask another store employee. That employee cheerfully walks me over to the item I’m looking for, and then asks me if there is anything else he can help me find.

    Neither “safado”, nor the good employee, nor any other Target employee get tips. Target doesn’t reward the good employee for being so helpful to me, nor does it punish “safado” for carelessly wasting my time. In fact, to the contrary, the good employee may get punished for being less productive due to taking time to help the customer (can you tell I’ve also worked retail)?

    Is that socialism? If not, why not, if a standard service charge at a restaurant is?

    Another example: When my wife and I were trying to figure out what we were going to do about health insurance with all the changes in the law for this year, she called in to our insurer and had a long, long conversation with a very, very helpful person. Later I called in with some followup questions and got the complete opposite — a person so unhelpful I felt I could have been her first customer and they forgot to train her.

    But neither of those employees are tipped. Again, is that socialism? If not, why not, if a standard service charge at a restaurant is socialism?

    • safado says:


      Your Target (retail) example is fair. But ive worked in restaurants (as you worked in retail) and I guarantee it’s not the same.

      I was great at what I did, and I worked that job for a very specific reason. Pay my rent, pay my tuition, and have flexible work hours. I wasn’t interested in a career, i wasnt interested in minimum wage, i wasnt interested in a wage. I wanted to work 5-7 hrs (a standard shift) and make as much money as possible. That 7 hours was he||. You never get off your feet. You never get a break. You dont eat. You get yelled at, snapped at, whistled at, patronized, looked down on, mocked, scolded, and it is mandated that you keep a smile on your face. And senor Greg, i absolutely loved it. My knees were on fire after every shift, i smelled like sh1zz, my feet hurt, I was sweaty, and when it was all over I reveled in my bounty. Only in America. Only with Capitalism. Only with the best being rewarded instantaneous. If I wasnt the best, I didnt get tipped, and if I didnt get tipped it wouldn’t be worth it. You pay me a wage, and there’s no way I do that job. Am I unsympathetic to any other manual labor job? Absolutely not, but the service industry is very unique. You homogenize it, and service will falter. This isnt Europe, or Australia, or Asia. Cultures that foster respect, and where people take pride in what they do. Here the dollar speaks, and it only knows one language. You do something well you get paid. You dont, you dont.

    • Greg says:


      It sounds like you’re only motivated by tips. In that case, I’m glad you work for tips, it sounds like a win/win for you and your customers.

      But if, as you say, a waiter like you is only motivated by tips, and would not be motivated by a wage, why would you suddenly be motivated by a wage (or salary) at any other kind of work?

      If it’s true as you say that tips are the only way to motivate, then that would leave all waged and salaried workers unmotivated. That would include all employees of, for example, Microsoft and Apple. How do those companies do so well with such unmotivated employees?

      • Safado says:

        Reply @Greg

        Greggie come on dude. Don’t be self-serving, I already mentioned above I am waged in a great career that was made possible by serving tables as a college student. The service experience was unlike any OJT that my current career could provide for hard work and motivation. You can’t teach “fire in your belly” it’s learned by doing. I have a great respect for all my fellow employees but the truth is mommy and daddy’s credit cards put some people through college and I served tables to get through college. Not to self aggrandize but a self made man is easily identifiable in the workforce. He works his a33 off.

        I did only care about tips when in college and it worked beautifully for me, my customers and my employer. Now I care about raises, promotions, my kids future, and my quality of work. And I thank my time as a server for some invaluable life perspective.

        Respect your server, that may be your boss someday.

        • Greg says:


          “Greggie come on dude. Don’t be self-serving”

          Safado-ee come on dude. What on earth did you imagine was self-serving about anything I said?

          You’re conflating random issues. Tips vs. wage, self-motivated (“fire in the belly”) vs. not, self-supporting vs. not, self-made vs. not; did I miss any?

          I hope your exciting new career doesn’t require much in the way of logical thinking. It apparently doesn’t require much in the way of good writing.

          • safado says:


            This is a forum about tip etiquette. You chose to make comments based on me being a tipped employee. You chose to ignore that I said “i used to serve.” But that’s okay. You then chose to compare my motivation for tips (at the time) as “good for me”. You then proceeded down some slippery slope logic, that since i only care about tips I wouldnt be motivated by a wage.

            So i proceeded to state, very logically, that tips were a means to an end at the time, and taught me some life perspective. About (insert list of good life traits) it taught me how to do well in my current job. It was an inference to the theme in this forum that servers are lazy, entitled, and shouldnt be rewarded for bringing food to a table (not necessarily your words but a theme in this forum). I have mentioned previously that serving is more than that, and that servers represent a demographic that should be categorized as hard working and great people. Not people that “cant get other jobs” or “cant survive outside the tip jar.”

            The issues arent random, they are causally linked, and they point to the lack of perspective that i was referencing. People think of servers as some group of uneducated, blah blah that cant get “real jobs”. Im sorry if my logic was too deep for you to follow but it was very direct, and very appropriate.

            Greg, Im sure you an intelligent person that is very well educated and understands that servers can be just as intelligent as you and your ilk. In fact, your retail story tells me you have something of a “self made” upbringing too. This convo originally started on tip vs wage, and motivation vs lack of.

            To reiterate the first point, if you make servers work for a wage, the industry is such that it will decrease employee motivation. Servers dont work for Apple and Microsoft where hard work pays off, they work in a high turnover “job” (not career) that is best rewarded by money in their pocket instantaneously.

          • Greg says:


            “Greg, Im sure you an intelligent person that is very well educated and understands that servers can be just as intelligent as you and your ilk.”

            Who is my “ilk”? As I’ve said many times here, I was a restaurant waiter and manager for about 6 years.

            You started out by saying that restaurant servers need to be rewarded by tips else they would have no motivation. I asked you to explain why that is different for restaurant servers than for various other kinds of work, and you’ve been running away from that logic ever since.

            People are motivated by a wide range of things. Tips can certainly be one of them. But anyone, waiter or otherwise, can be a highly motivated and do very good work, on a wage or salary. Your view of what motivates waiters is absurdly narrow.

          • safado says:


            Fair enough. So then you know exactly what I am talking about and we have been talking in circles for a week.

            So you posted the article about the restuarant owners who are trying to start non-tipping movements. Im intrigued, but not convinced.

            My view is not narrow. Me saying i wouldnt serve if it was for a wage is 100% true. And i wont try to quantify it, but i would argue over aLot% of servers agree. It’s incredibly hard work that would be tough to get up for if I was only making a set amount. It’s the thrill of the $300-$500 day that motivated me. Mix in the $0 days, and I understand the logic of a wage. However, i had a different circumstance than perhaps a career server. So the boom was more important to me, and that’s a fair perspective.

            You are right that waged servers can be very good, but I argue a tip was more motivation than ANY wage i would make as a server. My opinion, and I think others would agree.

            You disagreeing is fair too, but I think you might be smoking unicorn leaves if you think a server isnt MORE motivated by tips than wage.

          • dendu_va says:

            Yeah, I was just using the socialism vs. capitalism thing as an illustration of flat-rate, group invariant reward vs. competition-driven achievement. But I’m glad it spurred such a soul-searching exchange between y’all!

            And for the record: guys at Target get at least $8 an hour, and normally upwards of $10. Waiters get $2.

          • DonJaramillo says:


            The claim that “Waiters get $2” is misleading.

            The _federal_ minimum wage for waitstaff may be $2.13/hour, but law dictates that tips are used as a credit against the employer’s obligation to pay minimum wage:

            “Employers electing to use the tip credit provision must be able to show that tipped employees receive at least the minimum wage when direct (or cash) wages and the tip credit amount are combined. If an employee’s tips combined with the employer’s direct (or cash) wages of at least $2.13 per hour do not equal the minimum hourly wage of $7.25 per hour, the employer must make up the difference. ” (Dept. of Labor)

            Also, many states dictate a higher minimum. Some states dictate a _much_ higher minimum.

            For instance, in California (my state) the minimum wage for tipped employees is $8.00 per hour, the same as non-tipped employees.

          • Greg says:


            “I was just using the socialism vs. capitalism thing as an illustration of flat-rate, group invariant reward vs. competition-driven achievement.”

            How exactly is a standard service charge “group invariant”?? One server serves two tables; another server serves one. If both tables order about the same per person, the first server makes about twice as much as the second. That isn’t “group invariant”.

            “Group invariant” would be if all tips are shared among all servers regardless of how many customers they served and how much they served them.

            By your logic, anytime someone is paid an agreed-upon amount for their work, that’s socialism, and the only payment method that is not socialism is for every customer to pay whatever they feel like paying after the work is performed. I can’t think of any job other than restaurant server where the worker routinely accepts such a payment scheme. I’d like to see the reaction of your doctor, or auto mechanic, or roofer, when you tell them that’s how you want to pay them to avoid being socialist.

            Maybe you should look up socialism in a dictionary, and then in an encyclopedia, to get the general idea of what it really means.

  • Greg says:


    Whether a standard service charge is a good thing or a bad thing, how do you figure that it’s socialism?

    Socialism is defined different ways, but at a bare minimum it means worker ownership of and management of the means of production. So in this case, at a minimum socialism would be employee ownership of and management of the restaurant, regardless of how tipping was handled. But even then it wouldn’t really be socialism as long as there were plenty of other restaurants available to eat and and to work at that were not run that way.

    More interesting though is that you seem to be saying that traditional tipping is capitalism while the lack of traditional tipping is socialism. Since most jobs are not tipped, that would mean that most jobs are socialist. Are you serious?

    • safado says:

      Greg, you are missing a fundamental flaw in your argument. The previous poster implies that homogenizing everything smells of socialism. You counter that “thus every job” is like socialism. However, serving is different than most jobs in terms of performance evaluation. I do well, i get a raise, or a promotion. A server does well, they get paid as much as the “Greg” one table over who does not give a flip about this job.

      Tipping is not a perfect system, but I would much rather be able to reward my server for an outstanding job while suffering through a couple of the “Gregs” of the world (on their bad days).

  • Greg says:

    What happened when a restaurant owner in San Diego replaced tips with standard 18% service charge for all customers:


    • dendu_va says:

      OK, thanks. Then if the article describes waitstaffs generally, that means good service is not driven by external reward, but by internal motivation. Instituting a flat gratuity allows you to get rid of bad waiters. This increases the GENERAL quality of the waitstaff. It also eliminates any likelihood that an exceptional waitress will be rewarded for being head and shoulders above a mediocre waitstaff.

      So, it’s the same old socialism vs. capitalism question: do you sanction a system that guarantees above average service but eliminates the opportunity for monetary recognition of extra skill/effort, or a system that does not guarantee good service but can maximize the rewards for truly exceptional servers? As a patron, I take the guaranteed above average way any day of the week. If I was a good server, even one who’s internally motivated, I think I’d prefer the capitalism approach.

  • dendu_va says:

    Hmm. Interesting. There’s an easy solution to this. Mandate that restaurants institute a flat gratuity across the board, regardless of the size of the bill or the party. Makes sense, right?

    I’d be interested to see what servers have to say about this suggestion.

  • Greg says:


    “If you rely on tips to make a living, perhaps you should find another job.”

    So all restaurant servers should find another job? That makes a lot of sense.

    But wait, what happens then when we go to restaurants? Do we serve ourselves?

  • Sleestak says:

    If you rely on tips to make a living, perhaps you should find another job.

  • Greg says:


    That’s what it meant long, long ago. Word meanings change over time; see for example:


    Today, at least in some areas including the US, the tip is most of the payment for a waiter’s job. At most other kinds of businesses, if you complain about unsatisfactory service and don’t pay, the employee is still paid; the business takes the loss. The employee only risks being fired if it happens too much. The equivalent at a restaurant would be demanding that the manager reduce the bill, and tipping the same as you would for normal service. Have you ever done that? Thought not. Why treat restaurant employees so differently than employees of other kinds of businesses?

  • Patrick says:

    T.I.P.S. : To Insure Prompt Service. “Prompt: done without delay; immediate. Do your job and the tip is there. If I do your job, I’ll tip myself.

  • Greg says:


    “Then WHY have I seen it happen at Hard Rock Cafe and the server I requested that I had didn’t get fired, huh?”

    Of course, anything you ever see once at a restaurant must be standard practice at all restaurants. And if a person who worked at 4 restaurants over many years has a different observation, he’s obviously lying.

    “Any good manager would know that making people wait too long will only make them not want to come back. You want repeat customers.”

    So do you make them wait too long standing around in the lobby? Or make them wait too long sitting comfortably at a table? Customers get angry standing in the lobby when they can see empty tables.

    “Handling it in the right order is the only way to be fair. That means if they have 5 tables one seated after the other, I would just tell the 5th table they may be waiting a good while.”

    That 5th table will probably complain to the manager, either that night or later in a letter or phone call. Keep it up and you’ll be fired. Your job as a server is to do the best you can for all the customers that are seated in your section.

    • Springs1 says:

      “And if a person who worked at 4 restaurants over many years has a different observation, he’s obviously lying.”

      No, I didn’t say that, I said it’s not *ALL* restaurants that have this policy.

      “So do you make them wait too long standing around in the lobby? Or make them wait too long sitting comfortably at a table? Customers get angry standing in the lobby when they can see empty tables.”

      Yes, but if you make them wait once they get seated you are making the service they are ****PAYING***** suck. I’d rather wait in the waiting area if I won’t be attended to. Once I am seated just like most people, I *EXPECT* at the most 2-3 minutes of wait greet time at the VERY MOST, NOT more than that. If you have 5 tables, there’s NO WAY in this world you can do that even if each table only has 2 people. What if one of the tables is ready to order their entrées? We have ordered when greeted. We just did that yesterday even.

      You say customers get angry at empty tables, but customers are MUCH MORE ANGRIER when they are SEATED WAITING TO GET DRINKS. Big deal you greet me, but I wait for my drink 10-15 minutes. When I get seated, I want my damn drink. I don’t want to wait 5 or more minutes for it.

      So yeah, customers in the waiting area are better, because that’s why they are there in the first place because the servers aren’t ready for them yet.

      “That 5th table will probably complain to the manager, either that night or later in a letter or phone call. ”

      I have written a complaint letter about a time me and my husband were triple sat being the 1st table out of 3 that had 2 people at each table. The bitch waitress decided to greet one table after another delaying first my margarita from getting made since I had ordered a margarita that she didn’t go STRAIGHT to the computer to put in and I also ordered instead of a water with it I ordered an iced tea, so did my husband. She fixed 4 other iced teas and even gave the 3rd table theirs first, then the 2nd table theirs, then ours. YES I reported that. You just don’t get that people will be PISSED at waiting a long time if they were the *FIRST* table.

      The only way you can win is to do as I said either ask the manager about it OR GO IN ORDER. You really honestly think people won’t complain if they are the people waiting the LONGEST? The first table IS waiting the longest by doing things the way you seem to be conveying.

      Here’s a server that agrees with me:


      Stef319 said to MT:

      “Your system of never taking another tables drink order before turning in a ticket would back you up terribly, not to mention the humongous quantity of time you’d waste checking plates and menu prices. It would take you forever to get anything done.”

      In my opinion, MT, once an order is taken, it should be put into the computer IMMEDIATELY. Once my guests place their order with me, the clock begins to tick. They should be getting their apps 5-10 minutes after they PLACE their order, and their entrees should take between 20-30 minutes (where I work). You really should not start off a new table with an appetizer or dinner order on hold. The guests who just placed their order (who are hungry) are watching you approach another table. You then have to build your rapport, go over the specials, and possibly answer questions. This can potentially be very time consuming and your guests are not going to appreciate the delay in your service. There are other times when it is acceptable to work all your tables together, but when you have a food order you shouldn’t be doing this. The correct way to handle this is to approach the table (with the other tables’ menus in hand) and acknowledge their presence, and tell them YOU WILL BE RIGHT BACK. Then you ring in the order, go back to the table, and then you can do your greeting, go over specials, answer questions, etc. Now you can take your time with the new table cause you know that your other tables’ food is getting worked on by the kitchen. I know that this can be time-consuming but it really is worth it. Waste no time getting food orders in. August 5, 2011 at 12:05 PM ”

      The best you can do so your customers don’t have long waits for their drinks and food is to GO IN ORDER. Going out of order means COMPLAINTS.

      As I said before, I had complained at Applebee’s about this. If we were first WHY did she even get 4 other drinks or even bother to do more than just say “I’ll be right with you all”, she shouldn’t have gotten both those 2 table’s drink orders. She should have gone to the 2nd table to tell them “I’ll be right with you all” then go to the computer to put my margarita order in that SHE DELAYED, NOT the bartender, then gone to get our drinks came back. Then if we were ready to order, ordered, then gone to the computer put in the food order, THEN go to see if the margarita was ready, if so deliver it. By then 2nd table may be ready to fully order, get their drinks and food orders from them. Go to the computer to preceed to put their food and any bar drink orders into the computer. Then go to the 3rd table to say you’d be right with them and an apology about how long they waited and why. Then get their drinks for 2nd table. Then do the same for the 3rd table as for the previous tables.

      While yes the 3rd table waited a VERY LONG TIME, SO DID WE LONGER for our drinks, BAR drink, and our FOOD, all because she waited to put into the computer all the food orders and drink orders in at after getting each. Why I made the complaint, she put in my husband’s order COMPLETELY WRONG because she tried to do to much at once into the computer. She put int ribs, but my husband ordered a burger. I even remember him saying “medium well” when he ordered even and she even wrote it down. So that’s why the original complaint, but the thing is, I put all the other stuff about how UNFAIR the waitress was. She got completely stiffed. She DESERVED IT. She didn’t ask for a comp for our inconvenience. She was just UNFAIR throughout time. Why should the 3rd table get their drinks first off the tray even much less get their drinks fixed? That’s SOOOO FREAKING UNFAIR and then you want a good tip for that, WTF??

      The best you can do is to GO IN ORDER IF YOU EXPECT A GOOD TIP!

      The FIRST TABLE WILL COMPLAIN. So you will have either have the 3rd table out of the 3 tables complain or the 1st table. I’d rather have the 3rd, because they are THIRD. The first table should be FIRST, PERIOD, they were FIRST. The first table doesn’t deserve to wait the longest.

      You think that people won’t complain, you are wrong. If the server has 4 tables, then you will have to just go to each table for a brief 5 seconds or so to tell them for example if this was the 3rd table “I have been quadruple sat and going in order in which every party came in, but you are 3rd in the this, so please be patient, I am very sorry about your wait time.”

      That’s what I would do. Treat everyone like one table, you will piss off the 1st table most of all and even the 2nd table. The longer you wait to get my stuff, the LONGER I am there. Get me gone as quickly as you can to turn and burn tables is the IDEA of it all. Make me not be able to order, not get my drinks in a timely fashion once I have ordered, make me not be able to get my food in as timely of a manner as I could have, you are making YOURSELF not have as much money not only pissing off the customers that are waiting longer for their stuff, but you aren’t getting sat any other parties either to make more money more quickly.

      • A Chef says:

        The procedure of taking more than one table’s order before entering it is called ‘table hopping’ and it is something that will PISS OFF a kitchen faster than anything. If a server does it as a habit, I will be certain that ALL of their orders that they rang in together, will be ready together, and that means cold food going out to their customers, or at the very least food that has been sitting under a heat lamp, getting old. The best practice from a customer stand-point and from a kitchen stand-point is to take an order and enter it, then get the next table.

  • Greg says:


    “You can ask them not to do that (seat 3 tables in a row) and you can also talk to the manager.”

    At every restaurant I worked at, a server would be fired for doing that. Servers are expected to handle whatever is thrown at them.

    On rare occasions I had as many as 5 tables seated in a row. It’s impossible to give the same timely service in that circumstance as when they are seated, say, 15 minutes apart.

    • Springs1 says:

      “At every restaurant I worked at, a server would be fired for doing that.”

      Then WHY have I seen it happen at Hard Rock Cafe and the server I requested that I had didn’t get fired, huh? If that were true, why did I see he said “I’m in the weeds” to the HOSTESS, YES, IN FRONT OF US. He didn’t get fired.

      “Servers are expected to handle whatever is thrown at them.”

      Any good manager would know that making people wait too long will only make them not want to come back. You want repeat customers.

      Handling it in the right order is the only way to be fair. That means if they have 5 tables one seated after the other, I would just tell the 5th table they may be waiting a good while.

  • mr moore says:

    lol it was lik 6 in the morning and my math is all screwed up. I’ve got weird math… rambling on “On a $50 bill, these servers think that I need to give them $18 minimum under the “current guide”(20% tip on post tax total of $56.50)
    $18 tip on a $50 bill! That is equivalent to a 35-36% tip pre-tax. This is what they demand. it just blows me away. and if I can’t pay that, I should not eat out. My meager pre tax 15% tip, which is $7.50 is not nearly enough to them.”

    this part was wrong obviously because at this point I forgot to subtract the tax from the 18 dollars! my bad!!! no sleep will do this to ya.

  • mr moore says:

    I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Earlier this year, I have noticed blogs and threads about the new standard of tipping in Toronto and it blew me away. These blogs, and servers who are replying to posts argue that since the food prices have gone up, Torontonians should shell out 20-25 percent of the bill at least, POST-tax for adequate service. (tax is 13% here) My meager 15% pre tax is not good enough anymore. FYI Canadian servers’ minimum hourly wage is 4 times that of American servers.

    Some people have some strange math going on in their heads…. Since the food prices have gone up over the years, the tip amount has gone up with it – because you tip a PERCENTAGE of your bill. The tip RATE should stay the same. It was 10% when I was a server 13 years ago and we still made more than enough for an unskilled, uneducated employees our age. I made a lot more money than my friends who worked in grocery stores, clothing stores, etc. I worked hard and didn’t chase after things I couldn’t afford. I bring that up because I see servers in my neighborhood leaving their work with their fancy handbags and brand new iphones. wow I should have never left my serving job.

    Back to the point, lets do the math. I got paid $10 in tips on $100 bill, 13 years ago, which was perfectly adequate. And yes, I tipped out the dishwasher and the bus boy back then just like the servers these days do. it was just the right thing to do. Now it is 2013 and the same food costs $200. At tip rate of the SAME 10 %, tip is now $20. Voila, the tip AMOUNT is more now, adjusted automatically for price increases of consumer goods and what not over the years. Make sense?

    Demanding a tip RATE increase to 20-25 percent because of inflation is therefore ridiculous. You just want more and more. Just say that, I can accept that reasoning but blaming inflation for wanting a doubled tip rate is insulting my intelligence, and I’m not even smart. If 20 percent of the POST-tax amount(in ontario, its 13% tax) is what you rightfully deserve, That is crazy. Here is why:

    On a $50 bill, these servers think that I need to give them $18 minimum under the “current guide”(20% tip on post tax total of $56.50)
    $18 tip on a $50 bill! That is equivalent to a 35-36% tip pre-tax. This is what they demand. it just blows me away. and if I can’t pay that, I should not eat out. My meager pre tax 15% tip, which is $7.50 is not nearly enough to them.

    For me to give you a 36% ($50*0.36=$18) tip that you demand, you better have washed, chopped, and cooked that food yourself and serve it to me too. at these mysterious tip rate increases, soon, 30% post tax will be the norm. You gotta draw the line somewhere. If you want to make more money, how about a change in careers?

    Now, I tip more in the US, because their minimum wage for servers is like 2 dollars, that’s less than 1/4 of what Canadian servers make as an hourly wage, like I said earlier. That’s just a different subject altogether.

    I’ve got nothing against people who tip 30-100 percent, they are extremely generous, rich, and or have big egos that they need to show. I find that in big cities, it is the ego most of the time. Either way, it’s none of my business and people should spend their money however they like it.

    I eat out less and less now, My husband and I get take out food if we want restaurant food unless we are traveling. You got it, we are staying home because we are not giving in to greed and this new “guide”, and we are not the only ones that are staying in. My friends and I have rotating dinner parties instead of going out to eat as a group. Silly principle I know, but hey, I lost weight since I quit eating out 6 times a week, consume a lot less salt, and discovered the joy of cooking (I learned to shuck an oyster last week, *gasp*)!! More money in my pocket to spend on vacations and donations is nice too!

  • Jay says:

    I used to own a bar and would constantly hear the complaints from both sides… customers who weren’t happy and servers who couldn’t please anyone. When getting a crappy tip after good service, they’d sometimes get great tips for average service. The Universe has a way of balancing it all out. I’ve had days where I’ve tended bar and walked away with enough to get a meal, then there’s been days when I’ve gotten a $100 tip on a $5 drink. Treat everyone with kindness and respect. You never know who you are serving… it could be the regional vice president of a brand of beer from Ireland who’s impressed that you can chug a pint in 3.9 seconds as his wife times you and then sends you a hockey jersey with March 17 on the back. (if you’re reading this, thank you)

  • Common Sense says:

    There are a lot of comments going back and forth here, some valid some just ignorant. I’ve been in the restaurant industry for 20 years and I’m very good at my job and make a decent living. I average between 25% and 30% of my sales because I care, work hard and have always waited on people the way that I like to be treated. I am lucky to work in a small community where most people know each other, I wonder how many of the people on this thread would have the nerve to not tip or tip poorly if they knew that they would likely run into their server at the grocery store or gas station on an weekly basis. The bottom line is if restaurants paid more hourly your menu prices would increase dramatically. We have all had bad experiences in restaurants and obviously tipping is an individuals choice and should be done on a case to case basis but for those of you that don’t tip or think the easy solution is to pay more be careful what you wish for. I worked for a high end chain in Boston where I made $2.33 an hour and they had a restaurant in San Diego where the minimum wage was $7.50 at the time. The Alaskan King Crab legs that customers paid $100 for in Boston cost customers $150 in San Diego despite a much less expensive shipping fee. If they raise wages you will pay more for everything from your soda to your steak. Treat people with respect and they will do the same, tip accordingly and you will receive proper service. The people that are saying they don’t tip or tip very little I’m sure you have bigger problems and are a fairly miserable person in general. Lucky for those of us in this industry cheapskates are few and far between and in my experience bad service is as well.

    • Springs1 says:

      ” tip accordingly and you will receive proper service. ”

      I don’t agree at all and that’s just not true. There are restaurants me and my husband go to that we are a regular at that they know if they do an awesome job they will receive 25%-30% and upwards, but not every server is a hard worker so sometimes I have gotten such bad service I have stiffed other times mediocre service 12%-15%, other times 8%-10%.

      Also, we have requested the same server that we gave 25% to that sucked the last time we had him recently that we gave 10% to. Sometimes servers aren’t on their game. I don’t mean accidental mistakes either. I mean things that they didn’t do that now they are doing such as that waiter never rushed us all the times we had him before, but this last time he was so rude to ask us if we wanted dessert when I wasn’t finished yet just my husband. I mean, HOW are we supposed to know if we want dessert when not everyone at the table is finished yet when most people eat courses together in general? The server should just ask if anyone needs anything else, NOT dessert. Don’t make me feel rushed, that pisses me off. If you want to be rushed, YOU ask for your check when you order your entrées, don’t make others suffer.

      He forgot my entire side dish. He did apologize, but an entire side dish, come on now, seriously, did he even VERIFY the order BEFORE leaving the kitchen. I can see more forgetting a side of ranch since that’s small than an entire side dish(big bowl of potato salad).

      Then when I asked for a box, he was running off before I had a chance to ask for EVERYTHING I wanted. That wasn’t his style the other times we had him.

      My point is, you won’t see the proper service all the time just because you tip well the first time or the other times you had this person.

      Proper service should have been at the very least to stay put so you can get *ALL* the things that I want in ONE TRIP. Proper service is not rushing people while they are still eating.

      So I beg to differ from what you are saying. While you may have someone make a mistake once in while(no one is perfect), but the mistake he made wasn’t just something small, it was an entire side dish. That really shows he didn’t verify the plate with the written order.

      Also, he seemed to be repeating his name each time we had him, but didn’t remember us even though we remembered him having him at least 3 times or so.

      Giving a huge tip once isn’t going to make the server work hard for you the next time around in some cases, it’s just not. Sometimes it will, but not all the time it won’t.

  • Sherrie says:

    Went to a moderately expensive pub one night because after a particularly arduous day, I really wanted a good prime steak. This place fancies itself a “gastro-pub” and sometimes unnecessarily gussies up stuff. The only steak on the menu came with bearnaise sause on it, per the menu. I requested that I get the steak very rare (the way I like them) and with NO SAUCE. Waitress took the order, but in this place someone else brings out the food (why?). It came slathered with sauce. I told the “delivery boy” (can’t think of what else he would be) who said “I’ll get your waitress” She came back after a couple of minutes (my dinner companion was watching his food cool, politely not eating until I could begin, despite my urging). She took the plate away, and after five minutes, brought back the plate WITH THE SAUCE RINSED OFF AND THE STEAK REHEATED, which ruined it into tough, dry leather. I flagged down the waitress, and told her that it was dry and overdone. She tried to tell me it was a new steak, at which point I said forget it, I have lost my appetite. She grudgingly finally took the thing away, and brought me a fresh, rare steak, no sauce. This completely ruined the night for me, and to top it off, did not reduce the bill a penny! Tipped ten percent, haven’t been back since. Oh, they said the manager “was off that night”.

  • 10percent says:

    I am taking back the 20% “standard” and lowering it back to 10%. Service just sucks now.

  • Alaric says:

    I will tip what I want to. If I can’t afford to tip well I’m going to eat there anyway because it’s my life. If a server wants a bigger tip then he needs to earn it just like everyone else.

  • lefty says:

    I’ll leave a 15% tip (pre-tax) for adequate service and increase it for exceptional service. By the same token the tip is reduced for poor service. I do understand that people have off days, but anything that impacts the customer should result in a lower tip. I’ll also tip at buffets, but rarely at 10%-15%. I do think that it is basic courtesy to do a minimum cleanup after yourself (maybe wiping down stuff you spilled or picking up silverware) before leaving. This article advocates for an increase in the standard tip size to 20% with minimal exceptions for bad service. The sentiment is understandable but is as realistic as a ski resort in the Sahara dessert.

  • Sylus says:

    Here’s an unfortunate truth.

    Servers: A great deal of you seem to think there is a minimum amount to leave you for your efforts. The actual minimum number required is $0.00. We get from the flock of you that came out to comment that you don’t agree. Too bad. No one gets everything they feel they are entitled to, and you are not excluded from this rule because your job is hard. Lots of jobs are hard. For those of you that come to work and put pride and effort into your job and are not fairly compensated by your customers, that sucks and I wish that wouldn’t happen to you. There are however, a fair amount of you who vanish for 20 minutes and come back smelling like cigarette smoke. Some of you just can’t get an order right. Some of you are rude, some of you are incompetent. In short some of you are crappy servers and what you are entitled to for being a crappy server, dear friends is nothing.

  • John says:

    What a bunch of garbage, and servers these days are a bunch of babies. That being said the public does need to understand what we as a society are supposed to do.

    If you’re not making tips reinvent yourself and find better ways to get them. You want the customers money they know you want their money go and earn it. Yes there is a percentage of crappy tippers, there always will be and yes if you are going to a restaurant you should expect that part of the money spent is going to be that tip. Don’t be cheap. There is however, NO need to clean up after yourself. That is laughable. That is the whole point of going out so that you do not have to any of the work. That is the job of the server and busser. If you do that’s great more power to you and I respect that, I do it myself but to say that is part of the tip is stupid. That was always my bread and butter, pre-bus and make sure the guest did nothing but enjoy themselves. The less work they did especially while their kids were their the more money I made. I always insisted they let me sweep up. They always felt thankful and left more money. I have no idea why servers now feel entitled to money for making their guest clean up after themselves or for little notes saying hope things are better. Only I had the power to make my day better and if it was a crappy day NEVER did any guest ever know it. My job was to serve the guest not have them be my therapist. I worked as a server for over thirteen years put myself through college and put a down payment on a house based on my tips. I speak from experience as a server and a patron.

    • ohiomark says:

      Totally agree with the comment above. It is refreshing to hear of a server with the right attitude, and with that kind of attitude and work ethic, I am sure he does well on the tips. Maybe not every tip, but on average. Too many servers who have commented on here appear to get all hung up with all the excuses, and feel that a ‘happy face’ and signing their name on the check entitles them to a great tip. Sorry….it is all about the service, and good personality and attitude is an adder.

      • mr moore says:

        I hate that crap. leaving a “i hope you enjoyed your meal” and and a smile face garbage on the bill. that just annoys me. say it to my face with a grain of sincerity and it means something. I go in to be served food by a professional server who is efficient and respectful. I ask every question politely, I say please and thank you, I expect the same treatment in return. They are like machines around here. They bring me my food, drink, and check up on me once, not caring whether or not we are in the middle of a conversation while doing so. no refill, no extra work. flash a fake smile, shove the bill in my face with a stupid line with a smile face on it. I give 15 per cent pre tax for this service. I think it’s adequate for this kind of service. and apparently I’m too cheap according to Canadian servers. go figure. they make 9 dollars an hour plus tips and they want double this amount and more now. wtf.

        on a side note, every visit I’ve made to the States, I’ve had the most wonderful service. your servers are mostly fantastic compared to ours. You people are lucky. I had the most wonderful dining experiences in Vegas. I treat them with respect and sincerity and they treat me like a real person, not like another moron they need to gouge money from. it’s an amazing concept, isn’t it. they managed to make 30 percent tip from me.

  • Lo says:

    It sounds like in your equally long reply to me that you did not understand what I wrote. I did not say that a customer should never undertip a server. Yes, the server is the primary person customers are interacting with, but you are missing my point, which is servers cannot control every aspect of our customer’s experience. When mistakes happen, whoever made them, we do our best to keep customer’s informed and as satisfied as we possibly can. But because there are many elements out of our control, as I outlined in my post, it is the perceptive (and appreciated) customer who does not undertip simply because food was late, or a side of veggies didn’t come out with an entree, or it took several minutes for a drink order to arrive for customers in a section where a server just got triple sat. Even if ALL of these things occurred, if your server explained why, and was apologetic, don’t undertip. It’s not your server’s fault, and they are doing everything in their power to help you have a good experience despite shit hitting the fan in the kitchen and host stand. In other words, we ARE giving our “A game”, even when food is slow, or items were missing from the tray, etc. etc. because we can’t control the kitchen or host stand (aka the manner in which we are ready for and seated with customers).

    And if you honestly believe that reminding the public to remember that your server is a human being with feelings is playing the “sympathy card” then you clearly have 1. never been a server and 2. are forgetting your own human empathy abilities.

    • ohiomark says:

      Oh, I do not under-tip…I tip based on the level of service I receive. Good service…good tip. Everyone likes to receive value for what they buy, and people do not like to overpay for something of lesser value..it is the same in the service industry.

      Personally, I believe restaurants should be paying its help a living wage, and not make servers rely on tips for that living wage. I never see servers rant about how little the restaurant pays them. Servers in other countries are paid a living wage and give very good service, without having to rely on tips to be the major portion of their wages.

      Oh, and I was once a server in my early days, when I was making money so I could eventually attend college. It was a good experience overall, but I knew I did not want to make it my life’s vocation.

    • Springs1 says:

      “customer who does not undertip simply because food was late”

      Food was late usually is a server issue in general most of the time, here’s why:

      Ask yourself these questions as a server:

      1. WHEN do you put in my order? Do you wait or do you go put it in immediately after taking it? If you are double sat or triple sat, you can still go put in each order into the computer after taking each table’s order. By not doing that can result in a much longer wait and that would be YOUR FAULT.

      2. FORGETTING to put in an order. My husband and I have experienced this for REAL that servers ADMITTED to our faces they have FORGOTTEN TO PUT ORDERS IN. All of them were appetizers, bar drinks, and a cup of soup.

      3. Did you put in the order CORRECTLY into the computer? Have had many times servers ADMITTED to our faces they did not do that correctly. Have had wrong entrées before due to our server putting in the order wrong. Have had wrong bar drinks too due to the server putting in the order wrong.

      4. Did you FORGET ANYTHING I ORDERED such as a SIDE DISH? We have had this happen a number of times as well.

      5. Did you DROP anything I ordered? Luckily, we have not had this happen, but I have seen a server once drop some fries from a plate before and I did have a waiter spill some margarita martini when pouring into a martini glass. In other words, it is possible, not likely, but very possible.

      6. Did you remember to GET my food? We have had a server do that before. Also, we have had a number of servers forget bar drinks.

      7. Did you bring out my food obviously correctly if you bring my food out? Do you realize how many times OUR OWN SERVER brings out DUH mistakes like the side dish is wrong, the entrée is wrong, something obvious is not correct bacon that isn’t covered up isn’t extra, extra crispy when you can clearly notice that it isn’t without touching anything, etc.? Every DUH mistake you bring out is YOUR FAULT I am waiting for what I did order by you wasting my time bringing me the wrong item or wrongly prepared item or forgot something. While we all make mistakes, I would have to say a good 90% of the time, servers NEVER COMPARE THE WRITTEN ORDERS TO THE FOOD, because they are TOO LAZY and DON’T CARE!!

      8. Course you said: Servers DO wait to put in entrée orders when appetizers, side salads, or cups of soup are ordered. THAT *IS* THE GOD’S TRUTH! Sometimes it’s TOO LONG THEY WAIT! If it’s another server, it still doesn’t make it the kitchen staff’s fault I have the wrong side dish for example since that is something that’s obvious. It’s either my server that didn’t put in my order correctly or this other server that didn’t compare the ticket to the food or that this other server did compare the ticket to the food, but just missed it(HIGHLY UNLIKELY, but possible).

      9. WHEN do you come to GET MY ORDER? That part is covered in #2 below.

      10. WHEN do you DECIDE to LET ME ORDER? That part is covered in #4.

      11. WHEN do you decide to DELIVER MY FOOD? That part is covered in #1.

      12. Do you, because they are out of something, decide to assume everyone wants the closest thing so you do the ordering for me? That part is covered in #3.

      1. Once, we had a Red Lobster waitress had our 2 entrées on the tray as well as 2 side salads that were for a couple that wasn’t even there when we ordered. Anyway, instead of bypassing their table to hand us ours first since WE DID ORDER FIRST(common sense would tell you that it takes more time to cook food than it does to fix a side salad anyways even if it wasn’t our server that delivered our food, but it was our waitress that delivered our food), she decided to hand them theirs first off the tray. THAT IS SOMETHING THAT IS IN THE SERVER’S CONTROL TO HAND OUT THINGS OFF THE SAME TRAY IN THE ORDER IN WHICH IT WAS ORDERED IN!!

      2. Once, we had a waitress that greeted us which we ordered an appetizer as well as our drinks when greeted. I saw she tucking in chairs at empty tables and pretty much doing everything but coming back to get our entrée order. Well, I found out what happened. She brought out our appetizer and when I asked she said that she wanted to wait to put in our entrée orders. The thing is, that delayed us more by not at least coming to GET our orders. That way, when the appetizer was ready, we wouldn’t have gotten delayed eating our appetizer since we then had to give our entrée orders when we could have given our entrée orders WELL BEFORE THAT and we would have gotten our entrées faster due to that she could have just left to put our entrée orders into the computer after delivering our appetizer instead of taking time to order when our appetizer was sitting in front of us. The point is, SHE delayed our entrées as well as to be able to start eating our appetizer because she could have at least TAKEN our entrée orders and then when our appetizer would have been brought out, could have immediately gone to the computer to put our entrée orders in.What she did was make us wait while our hot appetizer was sitting in front of us, we couldn’t touch it, because we had to order our entrées and could have done that wayyy before that. She also delayed our entrées because we had to spend extra time AFTER our appetizer arrived to give her our entrée orders when we could have done that wayyyy before that.

      3. Once, we had a waitress that assumed that because they were out of raspberry topping for a cheesecake slice when we had ordered dessert that she’d bring us strawberry. Turns out, she knew when she put in the order that the computer had it the manager told us. So she did it on PURPOSE to be so lazy and uncaring as to not come to ask if we wanted the next closest thing. We didn’t, we sent it back, so she had MORE WORK. Also, she didn’t even think about what if someone is allergic to strawberries. I just honestly can’t believe someone would do that. If they are out of something, common sense would be to come to see if the next closest thing is ok. Not everyone wants the next closest thing. So it wasn’t like it was just getting the order wrong by accident or by not verifying the written order with what she was bringing or putting in the order wrong by accident, this was on PURPOSE to be LAZY and to ASSUME. I didn’t know at first that she did that. I thought at first she just was that stupid(or truly just messed up(highly doubt it)) to bring us strawberries on top of a cheesecake when we ordered raspberries.

      4. Your server delays coming to get your order or delays you ordering due to personal conversation. We have had that before as well. Once, we had a waiter that we didn’t know after waiting 15 mins. for a table on Mardi Gras day ask us BEFORE we ORDERED ANYTHING “How’s y’all’s Mardi Gras” “Go to any parades.” See, I don’t mind chit chat with a stranger, but be considerate to do it AFTER we have our orders into the computer so you don’t take up our time.

      We have also had servers not come to get our order due to playing around. Sometimes taking a long time or a longer time has A LOT to do with the server:My husband and I have had 3 TIMES where servers FORGOT to put food orders into the computer. We also have 4 times servers forget to get bar drinks from the bar. Once a waitress forgot to put in a bar drink into the computer. Two of the 3 times it was an appetizer and the servers ADMITTED doing so. The third time was a cup of bisque which is normally served before a meal just like a side salad is. My husband and I also have had delays due to that the servers delayed putting orders into the computer when they COULD have such as deciding to buss a table first or decide instead of a mini-greet(I’ll be right with you all), one waiter I saw decided to take a party of 6 people’s drink/appetizer orders instead of putting in our food orders into the computer. I can understand if they call you over, but if they don’t, you should be putting that order into the computer not delaying our food. The longer you wait to put in orders, the LONGER WE WAIT!! So truly think about that MOST of the time when you wait a LONG TIME for your food or bar drinks even, it could be the server’s fault. 9 times out of 10, your server had *SOMETHING* to do with the delay in most cases! That’s the GOD’S TRUTH!

      “or a side of veggies didn’t come out with an entree,”

      That’s a 100% server issue if they put in the order wrong or brought out your food. Even if another server brings out the food and the order was put in correctly, that’s STILL NOT a kitchen issue, that’s on the person that ran the food that either didn’t compare the ticket or computer screen order to the food or just missed it. You act like servers are BLIND OR ILLITERATE.

      “or it took several minutes for a drink order to arrive for customers in a section where a server just got triple sat.”

      If the server is triple sat, they should NOT be getting all 3 tables orders. They should be going in ORDER in which people came in. 1st table should NOT have to wait for you to get for example as me and my husband were in SEVEN other drinks on a tray. You should be getting our 2 cokes coming back to see if we are ready to order, if we are not, THEN going to the next table. You should ALWAYS do a mini-greet of “I’ll be right with you all” to acknowledge your next table, but to make people wait 10 minutes or more for 2 cokes is UTTERLY RIDICULOUS and NOT good service.

      WHY should you CUT in front of my turn those other 7 people that arrived AFTER I did? It’s not fair.

      If the server is triple sat, you should really be talking to the hostess not to do that. I have seen a waiter do that at Hard Rock Cafe and she didn’t seat anybody. He said he was in the weeds. Let’s say your manager makes the hostess or host seat people to where the server is triple sat, you still should go in order and just let all the other 2 tables know that it will be a while, but that you will get to them as soon as you can trying to do everything in as fair of a manner as you can.

      “Even if ALL of these things occurred, if your server explained why, and was apologetic, don’t undertip. It’s not your server’s fault, ”

      What the HELL you are talking about. ALL of them are the server’s fault. ARE YOU STUPID? Seriously, of COURSE you undertip. Especially if I don’t get a side dish, you aren’t freaking BLIND or ILLITERATE are you?

      STOP LYING TO THE PUBLIC! Start taking ******SELF-RESPONSIBILITY************* for your LAZY and UNCARING ACTIONS!

      “they are doing everything in their power to help you have a good experience”

      If you were, you’d compare the written order or ticket to the food for obvious errors like missing side dishes, you’d go in the order in which people’s TURNS were in, you’d take credit when food was late that you didn’t go put in the order right when you could have or forgot to put in an order, etc.

      I HATE people, DESPISE servers like you. You want to blame everyone else for something YOU HAVE 100% FULL CONTROL OVER!

      People have turns. I am pretty sure you’d tell me “I am in the middle of taking someone’s order, but I will be with you after their turn” if I went up to you while you were taking someone’s order, right? You wouldn’t tell them “Sorry, but I have to get this person’s refill, I will be right back” to interrupt their ordering, would you? Of course not, so EVERYONE HAS TURNS, that’s right, *******TURNS**********! We waited for a table in TURNS and EVERYWHERE ELSE is turns except for ER because it has to do with saving lives, but otherwise, everyone goes by TURNS.

      So the third table should wait the longest to get their drinks. Honestly, as I said before, I would tell the hostess or host to not triple seat me or even double seat me. There’s no reason to make someone sit at a table thinking they’d get served, but have to sit for 5-10 minutes before they can even get fully greeted. If the server is not ready for them, WHY seat them?

      Also, the time I am talking about that me and my husband were in a triple sat situation, we happened to be the first out the group. It took our waiter 3 minutes already to greet us. It took 11 minutes altogether from the time we were seated to get 2 cokes because the asshole waiter decided to get all 4 drinks from the 2nd table and 2 drinks from the 3rd table all on one tray, then had the FREAKING GALL to hand a lady at the 2nd table her’s FIRST, I was SOO FUMING when I saw that shit. You have CONTROL over giving people drinks off the tray in the right order and you have FULL CONTROL over fixing those drinks. He should have just went to get our 2 cokes and told the 2nd table “I’ll be right with you all in a few minutes, I am triple sat, so I will be a few minutes, sorry.” Instead, NO, WE got the raw end of the deal waiting the longest even though we were first.

      You have LOTS of control. You have NO CLUE of WTH you are talking about.

      It sure is the server’s fault for all of those things you mentioned in most cases and in all cases the side dish if they bring out your food or they put in the order wrong even if another server brings out your food.

      “But because there are many elements out of our control, ”

      NONE of those you mentioned are except for when the kitchen staff has done something like made the wrong item even if you put in the order correctly, but if you bring it out anyways, that part of you bringing it out wrong is on *YOU*! If they dropped the food that’s not your fault. If it’s not an obvious error that you’d have to touch the food to notice the mistake, then that’s not in your control.

      There’s much more elements in your control than not in your control.

      ” even when food is slow, or items were missing from the tray, etc. etc. because we can’t control the kitchen ”

      You can control things MISSING from a PLATE MORON!


      You can control food that is slow by deciding to not to get the next table’s food order and GO to that COMPUTER to put my damn order in. You can control putting it in correctly into the computer. You can control BRINGING out things obviously correct. You can control condiments no matter WHO brings out my food. You can control not forgetting to put in my order. You can control if you drop my food. You can control A LOT of things.

      ” are forgetting your own human empathy abilities.”

      I only have empathy for people that *TRY* their best. You don’t want to take responsibility for what you do and serve.


      See this lady’s plate. I can see LOTS of things that if I were a server if let’s say the person didn’t order sour cream, I would take *SELF-RESPONSIBILITY* to try to remember that by comparing my written order to the food notice DUH there’s sour cream to get the kitchen staff to CORRECT THAT ************BEFORE*************** I would “SERVE” it.

      Your job as a server is to “SERVE” the items as ******CORRECTLY******* as you POSSIBLY CAN CONTROL. THAT IS IN YOUR CONTROL TO TELL THE KITCHEN STAFF TO CORRECT THAT.

      If I ordered a side of fries and rice, but clearly you see beans and rice, DUH, that’s not correct.

      STOP LYING and being so GOD DAMN LAZY as well as VERY UNCARING and wanting to BLAME OTHERS FOR ********YOUR ACTIONS**********!

      You have most of the time, FULL CONTROL over these things in general. I didn’t say always, because I mentioned what you didn’t have control over. I am saying in MOST cases you do.

    • Springs1 says:

      “We bring your food out as fast as humanly possible. ”

      You know that’s not true in most cases. I have seen servers wait to put in orders because they bussed a table or as I said in my other post they forgot to put in my order or they put in my order wrong or they can drop your food or they forget to bring something to your table, going out of order off the tray so you hand me my mine last even though I ordered first, etc.

      • Springs1 says:

        “At the restaurants I worked at, a customer as unreasonable, angry, and insane as Springs1 would be asked to leave.”

        Nothing is unreasonable about ONE THING I have said. You are unreasonable to think that you can be lazy on the job.

        NOTHING is insane I have said, NOTHING and you know it. It’s just the GOD’S TRUTH and you know it LAZY WORKER YOU ARE!

  • Lo says:

    There are clearly many on this thread who have never served before. Here’s a few pointers for you to keep in mind the next time you dine out:

    – Your server wants you to have a good experience. We really do. But there are many things out of our control. Like what happens in the kitchen. The kitchen gets backed up. A lot. Your food will come out slowly when this happens. This is not your server’s fault. We want you to eat right away so you leave happy. Also, sometimes when you’re missing items, it’s not because the server forgot. It’s because the kitchen, or the food runner, forgot to put it on the tray. This is not your server’s fault. Sometimes the host seats us 3 tables in a row, with an otherwise already full section. This puts your server in what is called “the weeds”. AKA it is humanly impossible to give good service when this happens. This is not your server’s fault. We’re doing the best we can under very stressful circumstances.

    – Sometimes you think you asked for something, but I assure you, you didn’t. I can’t tell you how many times a customer is convinced they ordered that side of gravy, or side of fries, or whatever, but they never did, and now, they blame me for it. Yes! I know! Sometimes it IS the server’s mistake, and we really did forget. But you get mistaken, too. Do not undertip your server simply because an item was missing. Like mentioned above, it may be the mistake of the kitchen or food runner, it may be your own mistake, or it may be the mistake of the server. None of these is a reason to undertip.

    – Your ass in that chair is money. If you sit, for hours, without ordering anything else, you are taking up space for customers who would be ordering items, paying, and tipping. If you plan on sitting and talking well beyond the time you are done with ordering items, the proper thing to do is INCREASE your tip. You look like a huge asshole if you don’t.

    – Finally, above all, remember this: your server is a human being. With feelings. And a family. The next time you gripe about slow or bad service at a restaurant, I want you to spend the next 6-8 hours on your feet, without eating anything the whole time, running back and forth, up and down stairs, carrying heavy trays, taking very few, very rushed sips of water, if any at all, carrying large urns of iced tea, water, and coolers of ice up and down stairs, wiping down tables, keeping track of the countless requests for extra mayo, napkins, more coke, diet coke, root beer, etc., etc., cleaning up after other people’s messes, and above all, trying to keep a smile on your face and keep your customer’s happy. It is not an easy job. And we are humans. We forget things. We drop things. We make mistakes. We go home and cry after a bad night. But we’re trying to make a living, trying to get ahead, just like you are. Try to have a little patience, a little presence of mind, and a little sympathy. You will feel like a better person, because, you know what, you are.

    • ohiomark says:

      So, it sounds like what you are saying in your long comment…is that customers should never under tip the server, since they rarely make mistakes, and if there are mistakes, it usually is the kitchen, a food runner or the customer. If the server does make a mistake, they are human, but you should still tip them a full tip (whatever that percentage is….it is different for every customer).

      If a server is in the weeds, as you say, and you can not give every table your top service level, you should expect lower tip percentages due to the lower service level you are providing, but you should more than make it up with the volume of business. If this is a continuing problem, maybe the server should discuss it with management, and let management handle the issue.

      The server is the primary person that the customer interacts with, and if there truly are issues with the kitchen being backed up, the server should keeps his or her tables aware of the situation in a professional manner, preferably as soon as possible, and do whatever possible to keep them happy if the wait is going to be long. And yes, I have had servers forget things, and sometimes, their tip might be adversely affected, depending on the situation. Customers are tipping based on the level of service actually received, and their normal tipping range. The server is basically responsible for ensuring the proper items go out to the table, and if things are not right, to find ways to make it right.

      Yes, some customers can be unreasonable with their demands, and my sympathy goes out to servers who must deal with them. Customers, when they are done with their meal, should leave the table so other customers who are waiting can be seated and served.

      However, servers should not play the sympathy card to get customers to tip more; they must consistently bring their “A” game to work, and if they do, they should make out all right in the long term. However, if a person can not handle the busy work of a server, perhaps they should look into other ways to make a living; not everyone is suited to be a server.

      • mr moore says:

        in line with what you are saying, I can’t stand it when a server blames the kitchen for everything. I know she forgot to put in my order for a fact, but she blames the kitchen when I’m sitting there waiting still when everyone else at my table is half through their meal. Also, if my dining experience was bad because of bad food service, my tip will reflect it. You are a team. A restaurant’s cooks, waitresses, hosts, bus boys, dishwashers are a TEAM. you all provide me with the dining service that I came to enjoy at a restaurant you all work as a TEAM. you can’t constantly blame everyone else for things gone wrong and still expect a fat tip. I hate this “don’t blame your server by lowering your tip if your meal is taking 40 minutes to come” attitude. One of the servers’ argument is that they have to tip out all these other workers at their work, so they need a tip rate increase and yet they pass the blame to other workers whenever things go wrong so that their tips won’t be affected. this is retarded. In the real world I live in, I don’t get to choose the best of both worlds like that. pick one or the other, you can’t take advantage of both sides whenever it is convenient for you.

        Granted, everyone has off days, I know, so do I. But it is the job. It is a career you chose whether you wanted to or not. At my work, when my co worker screws up on a project, we are a team, we all have to accept the responsibilities and the consequences together. It’s the same for him when I screw up. It’s the job I chose. Welcome to the world of grown ups.

        • Springs1 says:

          mr moore
          ” I can’t stand it when a server blames the kitchen for everything. I know she forgot to put in my order for a fact, but she blames the kitchen when I’m sitting there waiting still when everyone else at my table is half through their meal. Also, if my dining experience was bad because of bad food service, my tip will reflect it. ”

          I 100 BILLION PERCENT AGREE. I am so tired of servers not taking the blame for overcharged wrong prices. They can read and if we can notice it, so can they. Their job is to get another team member(which this situation would be a manager) to get them to either fix the price in the computer OR take it off of the amount at the end which most of the time that’s what they do that the managers can’t even change the prices, but they can discount the bill at the end. They should be doing this BEFORE they give us our check, NOT after. It’s not my job as the customer to notice I have been priced wrong. I am not charging anybody, my SERVER IS though billing me by handing me my check.

          “You are a team.”

          I don’t agree to an extent. They aren’t a team in that it’s their job to get obvious errors get them corrected by the kitchen staff so they can get the food correctly to the table if they bring out the food. It’s not really a team, it’s mostly THEM that is making their tip.

          A team is more like when another server or food runner is running the food since that person isn’t making the tip off the customer, therefore THAT PERSON should be working as a team to make sure the correct food is on the plate and anything obvious that is wrong to get it corrected by the kitchen staff before they serve it to you. Even if the food runner gets tipped out, it’s usually out of SALES NOT actual tip that the customer gave.

          ” One of the servers’ argument is that they have to tip out all these other workers at their work, so they need a tip rate increase and yet they pass the blame to other workers whenever things go wrong so that their tips won’t be affected. ”

          It shouldn’t matter what they have to tip out to us. Their arguments are stupid. WE TIP OUR SERVERS. We don’t give 2 CENTS CARE if you have to tip out the other team members. I don’t care! I tip based on MY SERVICE.

    • Springs1 says:

      “Do not undertip your server simply because an item was missing. Like mentioned above, it may be the mistake of the kitchen or food runner, it may be your own mistake, or it may be the mistake of the server. None of these is a reason to undertip.”

      The reason to undertip would be if my server forgot whatever. If I forgot to order something, WHY in the world would I undertip for something “I” did, huh?

      If the food runner missed an item, YES you should undertip. Why aren’t you paying them out of the tip(not out of sales, but out of the TIP if you want them to help your tip out to compare the ticket to the food?”

      Also, condiments can be brought out ahead of time, so it doesn’t matter if the food runner forgot my ranch, YOU forgot my ranch, NOT the food runner. That’s YOUR TIP, YOUR JOB to get that ranch to me. I don’t need to wait 10-35 minutes to get a side of ranch, do I? I can get that within a minute or two at most. I don’t need to wait until my food arrives.

      “, keeping track of the countless requests for extra mayo, napkins, more coke, diet coke, root beer, etc., etc.”

      There’s an easy way to keep track of that stuff, you *********WRITE THEM DOWN ON A *LIST*, WOW, what a concept and for bar drinks, you have to write an asterisk to go back to that item.

      ” We’re doing the best we can under very stressful circumstances. ”

      Not true. Sorry, but it’s not true. Do you compare the written orders to the food and bar drinks BEFORE you deliver them? Do you compare the menu prices to the check prices BEFORE giving the customer their checks? We have had a NUMBER of wrong price overcharges over the years.

      You sure aren’t trying your best blaming a MISSING ITEM on the kitchen staff. It’s not EVER a kitchen staff member’s fault for forgetting something unless a member of the kitchen staff brought my food out with the order that was put in correctly into the computer.

      When you leave a room with an apple, but meant to grab an orange too, you blame the person that handed the item to you? If you do, you are stupid and have ZERO SELF-RESPONSIBILITY for your actions. You aren’t supposed to trust everyone for your tip for things you don’t have to. You trust yourself only. It’s your tip on the line, you decide what your tip will or will not be by working A LOT HARDER for it. You don’t work hard. A hard worker would NEVER blame the kitchen staff for a missing item.

      • Springs1 says:

        “Also, sometimes when you’re missing items, it’s not because the server forgot. It’s because the kitchen, or the food runner, forgot to put it on the tray”

        If the food runner brings out the food, then if my order was put in WRONG by my server, that’s my server’s fault, NOT the food runner’s fault.

        If the order was put in correctly, but a food runner brought out my food with things missing, if it’s condiments or if someone ordered extra sides of onions or pickles for example, that’s my server’s fault since that stuff can be brought out ahead of time, if it’s side dishes and entrées, then that’s the food runner’s fault, but the tip should still be altered since that’s part of my service. That person was at my table, therefore, that person is part of my “SERVICE.” You want them to do a better job, *******PAY THEM************* not out of automatic sales, out of your *******TIP******* You get maybe a buck or two for helping you out. You want them to help “YOUR TIP”, you have to help yourself.

    • Springs1 says:

      “Also, sometimes when you’re missing items, it’s not because the server forgot. It’s because the kitchen, or the food runner, forgot to put it on the tray.”

      NO, you still forgot to bring it from the kitchen to our table DUMBASS IDIOT! YOU ARE FUCKING STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!

    • Springs1 says:

      “Sometimes the host seats us 3 tables in a row, with an otherwise already full section. This puts your server in what is called “the weeds”. AKA it is humanly impossible to give good service when this happens. This is not your server’s fault. We’re doing the best we can under very stressful circumstances. ”

      As I said it is. You can ask them not to do that and you can also talk to the manager. You also don’t have to make the 1st table wait because you have 3 tables. The 3rd table will get their turn THIRD as it SHOULD be.

      You want people to treat you like a human, you should do the same to the customers.


      If you leave a room with a pen because your friend gave you a pen when you asked for a pen and a pencil, but meant to bring a pencil too, you are going to blame your friend for going into the next room without it?


      “We forget things. We drop things. We make mistakes. ”

      That’s right, you forget things and drop things, but you aren’t making mistakes when it comes to missing items if you aren’t *TRYING* to make sure you aren’t missing anything. A mistake is not intentional. It is VERY INTENTIONAL not to check over things BEFORE you leave the kitchen for obvious missing items.

      If you forgot something YOU forgot it. Don’t blame others for YOU forgetting to grab it.

  • Libby says:

    And my budget: All my spare gold was now reserved for the
    killers-for-hire who I sought out in every corner of the mouth.
    As it is made from diatomaceous rock which is a lot more
    gas than anything [indiscernible] Jeff Heppermann It’s as one but
    the actual structure.

  • Greg says:


    “I even get free health for family”

    A restaurant wait job that provides free health coverage for you and your family?? That’s amazing. I’ve never heard of that, nor anything close. None of the restaurants I worked at offered any health coverage at all.

    Come to think of it, there was one exception. A busser was badly cut by glass, and the manager drove him to a clinic. Didn’t pay for it, but did drive him there. That’s the closest thing to health coverage I ever saw in a restaurant.

  • jeremy says:

    I love the rest. business. I can raise my children during the day, hand off to the wife, and work 30 hours a week to make six figures. I understand that not every job is great, but if you work hard, you can find a killer Bar/Restaurant job. Hell, I even get free health for family. Another added bonus is I feel younger then my years because my job is so active! I am 40 years old and loving my profession.

  • Jackie says:

    I think tipping has gotten way out of hand! I understand that waiters/waitresses make less than the normal minimum wage and I know they work hard, but this constant upward creeping of tips has gotten ridiculous.

    I think 15% is more than adequate for basic service in a reasonably priced family restaurant, with a little extra thrown in if the server does something extra special like serve birthday cake or bring pre-meal snacks to keep the little ones happy. I actually tip less in more expensive restaurants because I don’t think the server deserves to make more just because my meal cost $75 instead of $20. Serving me was no extra work for them, and in fact, was probably less work since more expensive restaurants tend to not have free drink refills and typically don’t include extras like salad and dessert with the meal (I’m too cheap to order them if they are not included in the entrée price).

    I tip a nickel if the service was bad just to make a point (I don’t want them to think I just forgot). By “bad service” I mean rude or incompetent. I won’t hold it against the server if the food is slow to come because that is not their fault. I also won’t hold it against them if they are doing their best but have too many tables to handle because that is not their fault either. I find two to three dollars (per table) to be adequate in a self-service or buffet where only drinks are served by a wait staff.

  • Walt says:

    First, the idea that a good tip will ensure good service the next time is wrong. Unless the restaurant is very small or unless you frequent it repeatedly you will not be remembered. I tip well (usually at least 20%) and the only places that have recognized me are the one or two places where I have been repeatedly (usually at least once every 1-2 weeks totaling at least 10-12 times). If the staff wants a guarantee they should convince the owner to automatically add 18% to the tab (as they usually do in Europe) and then do a good job. The tip is for the level of service which is what the server is “selling”, just as the kitchen is selling the food. If the food is so-so but the service is excellent, the tip is good; vice versa and tip is low. If you want good tips every night, then bring your A-game every night. If you have an “off night” fine, but don’t expect to get rewarded as much. In most lines of work (including mine) if you don’t bring your A-game you first get complaints to the bosses, then your position is at risk. There’s no free pass, at least for most of the working world.

  • Teri says:

    With nearly 1500 comments (so far) on this post, I hope its author Jamie Simmerman is getting paid for the ads that are running on this page! Lots of ad impressions to be had here, for sure. A good way for a server to supplement her or his income.

  • Gerry says:

    This thread cracks me up. Let me simplify a few things:
    First, for those of you who say “Tipping is optional, I don’t tip. It’s not the server’s food, it’s the restaurant’s'” There is a word that describes you, and that word is “asshole”. Tipping should NOT be considered optional. It is part of American dining culture. The tip is what you pay for being served. If you don’t want to pay that, you don’t deserve to be served. Get carry out and serve yourself at home. Furthermore, to the arrogant pricks who say “Well, if they don’t like living on 2 bucks an hour, they should get another job”. Guess what, jerk? NOBODY who isn’t in prison or still in grade school could work for only $2 an hour, so by your logic every server in the country should quit. Who would deliver your meals to your pompous ass then? Hmm? (Having said that, if a server is truly horrible then they aren’t holding up their end of the deal, and should be tipped (or not tipped) accordingly.
    Second: The 20% minimum is, I’m pretty sure, something servers came up with recently. I usually tip at least 20%, but I’ve never heard a sever bitch about getting 15%. 15-20% for acceptable service is just fine.
    BTW…what’s with this “round up/down to the nearest $10” when calculating the tip? I’ve never heard of this, and think it’s ridiculous. This rule was probably invented by someone who has trouble figuring out the complex mathematical equations on their check.
    One last thing: Some of you (men in particular) might be offended to hear that servers are being friendly for better tips; after all, they MUST think you are the coolest person ever, and delivering your happy hour half price jalapeno poppers and $3 domestic beer was an amazing experience that made his/her lowly life worthwhile. If that describes your attitude, I have some swamp land you might be interested in buying.

    • Lo says:

      Dude. I love you. I wish there was more of you out there. Thank you.

    • Springs1 says:

      “Tipping should NOT be considered optional.”

      Tipping should be optional according to the service. If the service is really horrible, you should be able to stiff the server. If tipping wasn’t optional, good luck in getting your 5th refill, they wouldn’t have *****ONE IOTA**** of INCENTIVE to get you a 5th refill for 20% as someone else that only wants ONE refill. Tipping is to change the behavior for the better by increasing the tip if the service is good and decreasing it if it’s bad. Positive and negative reinforcement. If you make known that they can’t pay their bills unless they do “such-n-such” and everyone would tip in that manner, guess what? The servers would CHANGE their ways or CHANGE JOBS.

      Tipping should be optional to the service. Tipping should be fair though and no cheapskates allowed meaning if you don’t want to tip at least 15% for at least decent service don’t go out to eat then. That’s how it should be that the cheapskates can go to McDonald’s if they don’t want to tip.

  • the dave says:

    Leave big tips. As big as you can. I’m not a waiter/waitress. Wouldn’t want to be. I don’t have much money – but I always leave 20 – 30%. Its an extra dollar or two – and it means so much more to the waiter (I’m told) than it does in your pocket.

  • Sue says:

    Tis the American restaurant experience. I eat out a lot (because I don’t know how to cook!) and being on a very healthy diet for the most part and having lots of business meetings in restaurants, I tend to find myself in the more expensive establishments around town. When I go to a restaurant, it is the full experience I assess when I tip and not usually on the server alone because I feel like I interact with more than just the person who takes my order (and sometimes, it isn’t the server that brings my food). Having read the article here which I find slightly absurd but enlightening, it makes me think how restaurant owners are cheating their servers they’re paid only over $2/hour. Some restaurants charge a whole lot for dishes with low food cost (say $28 for a plate of pasta with meat sauce or $25 for a veggie-only salad) and it is ridiculous that my server doesn’t get a bigger cut than $2/hour of it but I, as the customer, am expected to make up his pay. I loved my last culinary trip around China — no tax, no tip — because the waiters and waitresses are paid a living salary. And they’re not working for the tip and to read here that servers’ customer service level varies much on how much one’s tipping history is in an establishment is not what I expected to see. I know some customers are just “cheap” but I think if you work in customer service, you’ve got to reign back the attitude or at least your boss needs to tell you to. I had one REALLY awful experience in Pasadena, CA once. I know we did nothing to the waitress but she acted like we kicked her dog. What made it worse was she was awfully friendly to all the other tables. This restaurant was one of my favorite places to eat — the food is delicious and the price is fair, but even though my friend who was treating us insisted on not leaving anything more than $1 on a $95 bill, I couldn’t bring myself to eat in again. And the manager couldn’t care less about our complaint (the waitress literally tossed the leather check-holder onto our table likes she was flipping a frisby at the end of our meal — before we complained about ANYTHING). Were we on candid camera?!

  • Vox Humana says:

    I often clean BEFORE I sit down. I live in a university town, and some people are just slobs. Eateries are usually so packed, I can’t get a clean table and have to grab one that hasn’t been properly bused. When the server arrives, and usually starts clearing the table, the last thing to get done usually gets passed over, and that is WIPING the table. It’s totally gross to be served over someone else’s salad dressing spills, basalmic vinegar mishaps and coffee stains. So I tip accordingly. When I get good service, I also tip accordingly. In most countries in Europe, you simply round up to the nearest dollar or two when tipping. And the service is exemplary, with no one pushing you to free up the table and clear out. We could learn a thing or two. We should pay our wait staffers more and expect more.

  • Mary says:

    I don’t agree with anything said in this article. I think that if you go out to dinner to a nice restaurant. Generally speaking it’s about $150 for four people. Now if we calculate 20% that’s $30. Typical dinner lasts two hours and bear in mind that waiters don’t just have one table, they may have as many as four tables at a time. That’s why it takes so long to fill simple requests like a drink refill. So calculating that standard that is $120. So that comes out to about $60 an hour. I am sorry but I don’t feel bad for waiters. That is as much as a person with an advanced degree would make per hour if they are lucky. Then on top of all that, according to this writer diners should also clean up after themselves to help the wait staff. I suppose they should cook the food and bus their plates as well. Might as well stay home.

    • Shahein says:

      If that standard was indeed standard, waiting tables would be a far more lucrative and sought-after profession than it is. From personal experience, I average 20% with tips, but I’ve never made $60/hour. You’d be lucky to get 4 tables of 4 that spend at least $150 at one time, forget about the fact that a shift typically lasts about 6 hours or so and maybe has 2 hours of busy time on a good night. Servers are happy to make $120 in one night. Sure, $20/hour is great, but if it were “standard” it wouldn’t make servers ecstatic, because it would be the norm. So, $60/hour is an outrageously large number. You shouldn’t feel “bad” for your waiter, no one wants your pity, but you also shouldn’t use faulty logic and overly simplistic math to justify being a cheap bastard.

      • Chuck says:

        Thank you, Shahein. Thank you.

      • ohiomark says:

        It is amazing that while people (servers) will call customers ‘cheap bastards’ for not wanting to pay out a 20% tip, these same people are amazingly quiet concerning the ‘cheap bastards’ (restaurant owners) who pay out minimum wage (in some states $2.13 per hour) to its staff, and also dictate to the servers how their tips are to be shared amongst other restaurant employees so the owners can also call those employees ‘tipped employees’ and pay them minimal amounts as well. The expected tip percentage in America has risen from 10% to 15% and now they have been pushing for 20%, a percentage higher than almost any other country in the world. Some countries do not even have tipping as part of its culture, yet they make a living wage, and give good service. Tips should not be the major portion of a server’s income; it should be paid for by its employer.

        • Shahein says:

          You’re absolutely right in your premise, and I can only speak for myself when I say I’m not terribly quiet with my employer about the way they treat staff. I do, however, understand how it works, and what would happen to prices should they pay servers a decent wage. Then again, its not that different from working for commission, except in that case, your money is included in the cost. That’s an idea I have heard floated around before, but I’ve yet to see a restaurant owner willing to take that risk. A lot of this is tied to this country’s desperate attempt to be as capitalistic as possible. Truly, I live in a right-to-work state (GA), and that allows your employer to fire you for anything they might please. Trust me, bring up the servers’ union they have in Las Vegas (where they make about $9/hour + tips), and you’re likely to be looking for a new gig soon in GA (they have no problem firing even their best server, because its so easy to replace a server, another hint that we don’t make anywhere near the kind of money Mary seems to think). I think restaurants should pay their employees more, absolutely, but it is a lot easier to deal with one “cheap bastard” than trying to change a massively successful (business-wise) system that spans most of the country.

          • John says:

            “I do, however, understand how it works, and what would happen to prices should they pay servers a decent wage.”

            What would happen is the employers would have to include what you earn as a tip in the price of the product. And what is so bad about that? The only burden would be on the employer and those “cheap bastards who never tip” would choose to stay home and not eat out as many of the pro-tip contributers to this tread suggest anyway.

            “Then again, its not that different from working for commission, except in that case, your money is included in the cost.”

            Whether the money is included in a tip (which is a bribe and can even be construed as blackmale) or in the cost of the product (which it should be) the customer would still have to part with the same amount of money.

            Customers should not have to directly subsidize workers’ wages and likewise workers should not have to beg for those wages by making the customer feel compelled to pity them which is exactly what tipping is.

            I grew up in the US and lived there for 35 years before moving to Europe (have been here for 15) and I assure you that getting rid of the tipping culture as it exists in the US would be a good thing. The only problem with the whole issue is that it’s a chicken-or-the-egg type of problem. People who are earning those tips fear that if the practice were banned, that they would earn less because they know that their employers are cheap. And those cheap employers fear that they would end up having to actually pay their employees more than $10 a shift which would mean that they would have to increase the prices that they directly charge customers. For customers it would more or less be a wash, because the increased prices that they would pay would be no different than what they are currently spending in tips.

  • Bigv says:

    What a shock an ex server would make every excuse in the book. 20% standard? B.s.. Good tip comes after good service. We all have bad days and need to be professional anyway. If everybody suffers when a poor server gets bad tips ,peer pressure should help him or her to modify behavior,not my paying for poor effort.
    Waiters are whiny

    • Mary says:

      Agree completely. So, basically you eat your dinner pay the bill and then spend some quality time discussing with the waiter the quality of their service. Yes, I am really looking forward to that conversation. Talk directly to the manager so that the manager will have that lovely conversation. Believe me I have gone to some restaurants that are very expensive and the service is lousy. So, we are not talking about Sizzler here.

  • David M says:

    The percentage should be a loose guide.

    If I get the $40 main course instead of the $20 main course, does that mean that the server deserves double the tip? That is a ridiculous system. Use your discretion to leave a decent tip. I am a generous tipper, but I will also adjust based on what is sensible.

    The system really is broken.

  • Jimmy says:

    What a stupid article. I AM NOT CLEANING UP AFTER MYSELF when I go out to eat. Should I be expected to change my own tires when I go in for a front end alignment?

  • Chuck says:

    As a server, I basically have one comment for several of the posters on here. Many of you have said, if you don’t like it(the tips, the system, etc) then get another job. Tell that to the millions who are currently unemployed or underemployed. Maybe, just maybe, another job is not really an option at the moment. Ever consider that? Thousands of people graduating every year struggle to find jobs. People who previously had careers are now doing whatever they can(serving tables) to provide food for their family and your arrogant, compassionless response is to just ‘get another job’. You’re an ass.

    p.s. servers generally can tell the type of person you are within the first 30 seconds of greeting your table. We come across so many people every day most of us are pretty keen at picking out you’re personality. I give the same service regardless, but unfortunately I’m rarely surprised in the end.

    • trt says:

      Chuck, you’re right that many people are unemployed or underemployed these days. Many servers have bachelor’s or even master’s degrees but can’t get jobs in their field because of the economy. And many places only hire young, attractive people for server jobs, so not everyone can even get one of those jobs.

      I worked as a server at a diner for one week in high school in the 1970s. Back then the minimum wage was $1.85 an hour, but I only got 50 cents an hour, as my “training wage.” It was supposed to go up to a dollar after that first week, but I’d had enough. I worked from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m., then went to school. The place was full of old men who drank cup after cup of coffee (free refills) but didn’t order any food. I’d fill their cups over and over again, and they’d tip me a dime. One man came in and ordered a full breakfast and left no tip. I wondered what I’d done wrong, but couldn’t think of anything. I’d been prompt and friendly and got his order right, in a timely manner. He came back the next day, and I decided to be extra-friendly and make damn sure I got everything right. Still no tip! He was friendly too. Guess he just thought tipping wasn’t necessary. Wonder what he would have thought had he realized I was a high school kid who barely made enough money at this “job” to pay for the gas to get there. I got my paycheck at the end of the week, having worked 30 hours (two hours a day before school, and several hours after school and on the weekend). My paycheck for 30 hours was $15, and the total tips I made was only about $7 or $8. I would have done better at McDonalds, but my town didn’t have one. Needless to say that experience soured me on ever working as a server again.

      I know servers today who work in fancy restaurants and make a good living, especially since in Washington state they make $9 an hour plus tips. Even so, because of my crappy experience as a server in high school I always leave a good tip.

    • CalMark says:

      Well, Chuck: as you say, the economy is bad. You think servers are the only ones stuck in jobs they hate? I’d venture to guess there’s a whole lot of folks out there clinging to a job they hate because there’s not much out there.

      Having been in that position, my bottom line was always, “…but at least I’m still working.”

      Life is hard. Deal with it.

      • Chuck says:

        I think you confused my comment with complaining. Far from it. I was merely responding to the other commenters who suggest that if a server doesn’t like their job that they should get another one.

        As you say, “there’s a whole lot of folks out the clinging to a job they hate because there’s not much out there.” Exactly. For some, the only job they’re able to get right now is as a server. So, to my point in my earlier post, simply getting another job is not an option. And, since ‘life is hard’, people are doing what they can to make ends meet and ‘dealing with it’, by getting a serving job.

        I’m glad we agree.

    • mr moore says:

      “Many of you have said, if you don’t like it(the tips, the system, etc) then get another job. Tell that to the millions who are currently unemployed or underemployed. Maybe, just maybe, another job is not really an option at the moment. Ever consider that? Thousands of people graduating every year struggle to find jobs. People who previously had careers are now doing whatever they can(serving tables) to provide food for their family and your arrogant, compassionless response is to just ‘get another job’. You’re an ass.”

      Do you think that servers are the only ones stuck at jobs they don’t like? Everyone else lives in the same world you live in. We face the same issues as you do. It’s hard for everybody unless you are rich to begin with in a bad economy, not just for servers. The guy stuck behind a deep fryer making 10 bucks an hour might not want to be at that job either, but he is in the same world as you, he can’t leave his job because he needs to provide for his family too. The difference is, a lot of other people in the same boat as you are not writing posts about how hard life is for them, and to feel sorry for them because they are overworked and under paid and have no other options to choose from – so pay me more in tips!! this sounds awful like begging.

      • Chuck says:

        Where in my comments was I complaining about being overworked and underpaid? Where did I ask people to feel sorry for me? Did you even read my responses? Sure doesn’t seem like it. My point was that people are doing whatever they can do make ends meet, whether it’s serving tables or stuck behind a fryer, so instead of bashing them and telling them to get another job, perhaps just show a little compassion. That is all. I am quite content with where I am in my life. No complaints

  • customer says:

    WA state pays minimum wage to wait staff – over $9.00, highest minimum wage in the nation. Tips are a bonus. Makes a big difference what each state pays wait staff. Many jobs pay minimum wage with no tips.

  • sfreader says:

    When I go to a restaurant, I expect to be waited upon with basic courtesy and competence. I don’t expect to receive the same kind and level of service at the corner diner that I would receive in a fine French restaurant, but I DO expect the server to display a basic level of competence and courtesy.

    I’ve done enough dining out that I have a very good idea of what quality of service it is reasonable to expect at different types of establishments, and if the service is seriously below par, I don’t waste my time talking to the server about it. Why should I? It’s not my job to “train” the server; he/she should already be trained before he/she goes out on the floor. Instead, I demand to see a manager and request a different server, and I tell the manager why I’m displeased with the first server. If the server doesn’t know what his/her job is and how to do it correctly, that’s a matter to be worked out between the server and the management; it’s not my concern and it shouldn’t be my problem.

    As for the nonsense about “remember that your server may just be having a bad day,” sorry, but that’s nonsense. It isn’t my fault that the server has “having a bad day.” What kind of “day” the server is not my concern, nor should it be. I come to the restaurant to have a pleasant dining experience, and if the server’s behavior interferes with that, then I’m being cheated out of what I’m paying for. I’m willing to make allowances for the restaurant being crowded and short-staffed, but I’m not willing to make allowances for just plain bad service.

    Give me just plain bad service, and I’ll ask for a different server. Period. Then the original server won’t get ANY tip from me.

    I’m pleased to say that I have very, VERY rarely run into service that was bad enough to force me to resort to asking for a different server. I treat servers with courtesy and respect, and they appreciate it and respond in kind.

    And that, right there, is a very important part of it all. Restaurant service isn’t just a one-way street; it’s a TWO-way interaction between you and the server. If you treat the server with courtesy and respect, the odds are very good that you will rarely, if ever, receive bad service.

  • CastawayKnight says:

    This whole thread underlines some of the systemic problems with service and pay in the United States. I’m not blaming the servers, it starts with the restaurants, who should pay their staff! If a check is for $100, but you know you’re really paying $120, wouldn’t it be more honest to bill $120 in the first place and pay the staff decent wages? If you didn’t think staff would give good service without the lure of tips, then operate an anonymous comment/rating system whereby additional bonuses are available for great scores. Tipping – particularly on these obscene levels – is an American tradition that we shouldn’t be proud of because it’s masking a real problem of low pay. I travel a lot to Singapore where tipping is frowned on, but poor service in a Singaporean restaurant is a rare thing! Face facts: tipping is a form of begging; it creates a wholly false atmosphere in a restaurant when you know that your server is only “acting” in order to procure a good tip.

  • Fu erica says:

    BTW I’ve been a waitress, a bad one. I’m just slow and not good at carrying a whole bunch of stuff. I was still tipped 25% regularly because I’m nice and polite and NEVER FORGET WHO THE CUSTOMER IS.

  • DCR says:

    My daughter is a P/T waitress. She told me recently of 3 young girls wanting 3 separate bills (of course – not bright enough to figure out who ate what?) and with no problems at all left NO TIP. She casually mentioned to them that tips were NOT included on bills and they said “O really?” and proceeded to walk out.

    Here’s the rub. And I suspect it works this way in MANY restaurants.

    End of night, add up dollar amounts of all tickets. Then the waitresses are assessed 2% for the bartender, 2% for the hostess and 2% for the bus staff. So on these girls $70 tab, my daughter had to PAY OUT of HER OWN pocket the $4.20

    So all you big shots that ‘don’t tip’ – keep in mind it likely will COST your server to SERVE YOU.

    • Fu says:

      Tell your daughter to buck it up! Don’t dwell on $4.20 or give it this much energy or power, so small minded. Tons of things require effort and lead to no payoff and/or costing something. You win some you lose some, it’s life.

    • Customer says:

      Your daughter is whining about the tip that got away. Guess you’re not bringing up the big spenders who leave her a lot of money in hopes of sleeping with her. It all evens out. Tell your daughter to quit being a drama queeen (and part time whore).

  • barbara says:

    I agree with the 20%, however, I don’t include the bar tab or taxes when I tip.

    • ohiomark says:

      Tips are meant to be calculated pre-tax, but if you are not including the bar tab, I am not sure you can say you tip 20%, if you have a bar tab on your bill. As far as I am concerned, you can calculate your tip anyway you want and feel comfortable with, it’s your money and your decision; just realize that your server would not consider you as a ‘20% tipper’ if you had a bar tab as well.

    • Greg says:


      Right on! I don’t tip on the kitchen tab either. But I tip 20%! Once you’ve removed both the kitchen tab and the bar tab, and the tax, it’s pretty easy to leave a 20% tip!

  • Spanky says:

    A tip is a gratuity, not a fee. If wait staff doesn’t like the “flexibility” of the patron to pay what they feel able and comfortable with, they should get another job. As for those that say “if you can’t efford to tip adequately, don’t eat there” I say baloney. I’m there to eat the establishment’s food- not to tip their employees! FYI, I am a 10-25% tipper depending on service and bill size.

  • trt says:

    If service was horrible and I didn’t leave a tip, I damn sure wouldn’t pay with a credit card. Better to pay with cash – no chance of retribution that way. And I’d leave a dime, or two pennies, to send a clear message that it was not that I’d forgotten to tip or was some rube who didn’t know tipping was expected. Of course, service would have to be truly horrible for me to do this. I’ve only done it once. It was during the Super Bowl, which I don’t give a hoot about, but the server couldn’t tear herself away from the TV and her Super Bowl watching friends long enough to do her job. I tipped her a dime. And paid the bill in cash.

  • Shishi says:

    This post is hilarious. As long as you are polite to the server you should base your tip soley on how the service is. Many time I’ve tipped the bus boy, cooks, hostess in addition to the server or in lieu of (if the server was horrible). However I’m hardly concerned if the restaraunt is busy, the waitress is just having a bad day, or the other excuses for giving lousy service here in this post. It is the servers job to be pleasant, efficient, and communicate even when their are delays are mess ups, great service cures all and is rewarded with tips. 15% standard, go up if it’s good and speak directly with the boss if your server is out of control, explain to them why you are not leaving a tip.

  • Mr. White says:

    My approximate real life tip distribution:

    85% @ ~15%
    13% @ 20%+
    2% @ Airball

    I don’t really see any need to tip less than 15% unless it is zero. I feel much better stiffing a bad server than I would leaving them 5-10%. Attitude means much more than performance.

  • FactChecker says:

    Clean-up after themselves? You mean bus the table? Round up and tip 20%? They work hard and deserve more? What a bunch of baloney! Tell that to a farm worker or factory laborer. As for the $2/hr, that is roughly the federal minimum net cash wage. In CA, it’s $8/hr, Nevada$8.25-$7.25, NY about $5/hr. Plus tips. Many servers in better restaurants make a good living as professional servers.

    I would tip 20% in a fine dining restaurant with fine service. I tip 15% for normal service in a dinner house or middle of the road restaurant, maybe 17% for above avg service. I tip 10% for mediocre service. All these articles by “ex=waitresses” are propaganda to increase their pay, even after the inflation in the cost of a meal. They’s like 20% or more to be the norm. They are dreaming.

  • cuthbert twillie says:

    OK, I have good and bad things to say about the article. First, it is self-serving (so to speak) for this former waitperson to suggest that all, or virtually all tips be 20% or more, just because they’re getting a bad deal from the restaurant owners (and I agree that they are). But why is that my problem? Why must I pay 20% for mediocre or poor service? This doesn’t seem right. Moreover, it’s a case of “careful what you wish for.” That’s because if this were fully implemented, I assure you that very, very few people would ever exceed the “suggested” 20%.
    Here are some observations: First, I tip 15% if the service is acceptable, which is to say mediocre, which is to say that someone came by and promptly and reasonably efficiently took my order. Note that I tip 15% on the full and taxed amount; thus, in most states, the server actually gets about 17% of the untaxed price of the meal. And that’s where I usually leave it. For EXCEPTIONAL service, wonderful manners, cheerfulness, helpful suggestions, sommelier-like attention to details, I’ll go to 20% or even higher, because if that waiter/ress replicates that quality with others, they’re going to do very well that day. Now, I’m aware of the research that shows that certain people and groups of people tip more, which may unduly affect how much a waiter/tress makes, and I agree that that can cause problems. There is no question: the fact that historically most people tip to some degree SHOULD NOT IN ANY WAY cause the wait staff to have to make less than the minimum wage. If the minimum wage were restored, you wouldn’t have people writing self-serving articles like the one above. Granted, there might be an initial dip in tips once people knew these folks made a little more (right now they make what can hardly be called a “salary”), but I would expect that to moderate over time, and for tips to return to at or near their former average.
    Some of the points raised in the article are ridiculous, such as the howler where the author suggests you leave a big tip for horrible service, because the waiter/tress was “having a bad day.” Again, I love how that is somehow MY problem.

  • safado says:

    Reply @MrPink

    You forgot the final scene where he MAKES them pay a dollar each.

    Look Mr. Pink may as well be everyone on this thread. You don’t change a system by not tipping. All that does is make things worse. Write your congressman, and dont be an asswipe.

    • Mr. Pink says:

      @ Safado 🙂

      JOE: Okay ramblers, let’s get to rambling. Wait a minute, who didn’t throw in?

      MR. ORANGE: Mr. Pink

      JOE: Mr. Pink? Why?

      MR. ORANGE: He don’t tip.

      JOE: He don’t tip? You don’t tip? Why?

      MR. ORANGE: He don’t believe in it.

      JOE: He don’t believe in it? You don’t believe in it?

      MR. ORANGE: Nope.

      JOE: Shut up! Cough up the buck, ya cheap bastard, I paid for your goddamn breakfast.

      MR. PINK: Because you paid for the breakfast, I’m gonna tip. Normally I wouldn’t.

      JOE: Whatever. Just throw in your dollar, and let’s move. See what I’m dealing with here. Infants. I’m dealin with infants.

  • MK Riewer says:

    I am sick to death of bad service, wrong orders, or just plain inattention by wait-staff. I tip according to the service I receive. It is not my job to train servers, cooks, etc. I am a patron who enters an establishment to be served a meal. Period. I do not choose to be on a first-name basis nor do I give a rat’s ass about the restraunteurs problems. I think it is criminal that wait-staff do not receive at least minimum wage. But, I refuse to make up the difference out of my pocket. When my butt hits the seat, the clock starts. If I do not receive a menu, a beverage offer, or some observation by a server that I have arrived within 3-5 minutes, the tip percentage starts to go down. If a place is truly slammed and the server is sincere in their apology for delay then the percentage starts back up. But I will not be brow-beaten by public opinion into rewarding poor service.

    • CalMark says:

      There was an old New Yorker cartoon showing a guy eating, with a plate in front of him bearing a sign: “Your Tip So Far.” I wish I had the guts to try that.

      Unfortunately, some of the psycho-servers commenting here have practically promised to spit in/otherwise defile my food if I did so.

  • Mr. Pink says:

    Nice Guy Eddie: C’mon, throw in a buck!
    Mr. Pink: Uh-uh, I don’t tip.
    Nice Guy Eddie: You don’t tip?
    Mr. Pink: I don’t believe in it.
    Nice Guy Eddie: You don’t believe in tipping?
    Mr. Blue: You know what these people make? They don’t make anything.
    Mr. Pink: Don’t give me that. She don’t make enough money, she can quit.
    Nice Guy Eddie: I don’t even know anyone who’d have the balls to say that. Let me get this straight: you never ever tip, huh?
    Mr. Pink: I don’t tip because society says I have to. Alright, I tip when somebody really deserves a tip. If they put forth an effort, I’ll give them something extra. But I mean, this tipping automatically, that’s for the birds. As far as I’m concerned they’re just doing their job.
    Mr. Blue: Hey, this girl was nice.
    Mr. Pink: She was okay. But she wasn’t anything special.
    Mr. Blue: What’s special? Take you in the back and let you do whatever you want?
    Nice Guy Eddie: I’d go over twelve percent for that.
    Mr. Pink: Look, I ordered coffee, alright? And we been here a long time and she’s only filled my cup three times. When I order coffee I want it filled six times.
    Mr. Blonde: Six times? Well, what if she’s too busy?
    Mr. Pink: The words “too busy” shouldn’t be in a waitress’s vocabulary.
    Nice Guy Eddie: Excuse me Mr. Pink, but the last thing you need is another cup of coffee.
    Mr. Pink: Jesus Christ man, these ladies aren’t starving to death. They make minimum wage. You know, I used to work minimum wage and when I did I wasn’t lucky enough to have a job the society deemed tipworthy.
    Mr. Blue: You don’t care if they’re counting on your tips to live?
    Mr. Pink: [rubbing his middle finger and thumb together] You know what this is? The world’s smallest violin playing just for the waitresses.
    Mr. White: You don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. These people bust their ass. This is a hard job.
    Mr. Pink: So is working at McDonald’s, but you don’t see anyone tip them, do you? Why not, they’re serving you food. But no, society says don’t tip these guys over here, but tip these guys over here.
    Mr. White: Waitressing is the number one occupation for female non-college graduates in this country. It’s the one job basically any woman can get, and make a living on. The reason is because of tips.
    Mr. Pink: I’m very sorry the government taxes their tips, that’s screwed up. That ain’t my fault. It would seem to me that waitresses are one of the many groups the government screws on a regular basis. Look, if you show me a piece of paper that says the government shouldn’t do that, I’ll sign it, put it to a vote, I’ll vote for it, but what I won’t do is play ball. And this non-college BS you’re givin’ me, I got two words for that: learn to type, ’cause if you’re expecting me to help out with the rent you’re in for a big surprise.
    Mr. Orange: You know what, you just convinced me. Gimmie my dollar back!

  • David says:

    I’ve never been a waiter. My experience as a patron and simply as a human being is too not just treat each other with some respect, but with hopefully with a bit of compassion and kindness. I’ll always ask my server how he or she is doing and make small talk for a few seconds when we first interact, as I’d rather not think of my server as my servant but as another person who is trying to do his or her job. I’m guessing that servers prefer to think of their customers as people whom they are helping to have a pleasant dining experience, rather than people who badger them for drinks, to repeat the salad dressing choices for the 100th time today, etc. and who will ultimately leave some money for the trouble of serving them. At the same time, I do expect a certain level of attention and professionalism (that’s part of the pleasure of eating out), and I’ll leave a smaller tip is the service is poor and a larger one if the service is good. I’ve left tips of 10% or so for mediocre service and 20 – 25% or more for really good, attentive service. As for the small tips: I’m not going to reward someone for doing a poor job of their job (I don’t expect to be unduly rewarded for doing a poor job in my own work), but we can all try to be a bit more patient and genuine in our interactions in dining as well as life in general.

  • Scott says:

    I have been a waiter before and I know it is not an easy job. Especially for someone who is scatterbrained and (at the time) a bit socially awkward. An aweful combination for a server, I know. I usually leave a 20% tip whether the service is good or not. The only exception is when I run into some like myself when I was a server. When I find someone who just isn’t good at their job no matter how hard they try I usually give them a larger tip because I feel bad for them. Everyone is just trying to find their way in life and it makes me feel good to help them out. I suppose I could get in a bad mood, make some snarky comments to whoever I am with if the service is bad, but I enjoy life the good and the bad. My tipping someone differently based on thier service isn’t going to change anyone. Some people actually think they are doing the public a service by rewarding or punishing a server based on performance. Life is all about perspective and you can choose to be angry or choose to be entertained by how aweful a server can be (Yeah, it can be entertaining).

    • ohiomark says:

      What is the real purpose of a tip? Is it a charitable donation when you give a bad waiter a generous tip; would he or she recognizes it as that and try to do better the next time? Is a tip payment for services rendered, as we all know the restaurant certainly is not paying its help for services rendered, so the customer must step up and make a judgement? If this is the case, should we overpay for services rendered. Maybe when you get your car repaired or a house repair, and they do not do a good job, I guess you just pay them, and be ‘entertained’ by the poor service then. Just because a server is bad, and gets a bad tip, does not always mean that the customer chose to be angry and leave a small tip due to the poor performance; it just means he is paying for the level of service he or she received, and moves on. When my wife and I get bad service, we do not get angry about it, we just leave a small tip, and move on. There are too many good restaurants out there, so we just go to other restaurants then. And yes, we many times laugh or be entertained by the poor service of some, and it makes for great stories to share with others.
      The thing is, servers get mixed feedback from varying philosophies of tipping, and we expect them to get better when they do not even get consistent feedback (via the tip) from their customers? If everyone gave poor service a great tip, I do not foresee service getting better from this group of servers; it might even get worse. If people tipped consistently (and fairly), poor servers would either improve their service (and also their tips), of if they did not improve, would eventually realize serving is not for them, and perhaps they would look for another line of work in which they could do better at. Having bad servers remain at a restaurant because they are being tipped over generously for their poor service only hurts that restaurant in the long run when people stop going to it, and then others are affected as well. Just another angle on over tipping poor servers.

  • Jack says:

    Former server here. I never looked at individual tips as “feedback” because you never know if someone just doesn’t tip or is having a bad day or a bad month or just can’t do math. I only looked at my general stats and feedback they gave to the host as they exited at the end of the night to gauge that night’s performance.

    What the author states about trying to resolve the situation with the server and then with the manager is the best strategy. When customers did that, I’d usually be able to make things right via free stuff, but if things went just so horribly wrong that there wasn’t really anything I could do about it, I’d send a manager over there myself to smooth things over. Didn’t happen very often, but customers appreciated the proactive approach–they understood that we were taking their negative experience seriously.

  • Greg says:

    Stop the tipping nonsense! Having servers grouse because I don’t spend enough money at a restaurant isn’t right. In fact, having servers only worry about how much I spend is not right. Indeed, having a server who brings one expensive bottle of wine receive a bigger tip than the great server who keeps my tea glass full is not right. The system is ridiculous and, more important, counterproductive to good service. I’m not blaming servers at all; don’t get me wrong. While I don’t understand why the PERCENTAGE of an acceptable tip has crept from 10% to 20% even while prices have risen, the point that others have made is valid: If you can’t afford to tip, don’t eat at full-service restaurants. So that’s agreed. But let’s do something to bring back professional servers rather than college kids looking to suck up as much money for as little work as possible. And let’s have menu prices reflect the true cost of the meal. If there is bad service, that should be a performance issue that management addresses, just as with any other line of work.

  • T says:

    I tend to tip in the 15% to 20% range but I find one flaw in the wage hasn’t gone up theory so we should tip more. Wages may not of gone up but the price of the meals have. What use to be a $10 meal is now more likely a 18-20 meal which in theory means a bigger tip.

    Like I said I almost always do inbetween 15 and 20. 15% for not so great service and 20 for reall good. Go above and beyond I might too… treat me badly I might do a little less.

  • Tim says:

    And remember that tipping isn’t as much about rewarding the servers as subsidising the restaurant owners.
    I will never understand why we leave it to patrons to pay servers when they are employees of the restaurant. Servers should be paid fair, competitive wages (just like everyone else in the restaurant) by the owners who take responsibility for their employees.
    The owner doesn’t want tipping to go away, because in order to pay the staff, he’d need to raise the prices. The fact is, the prices are already raised ! That dish is not $9.95, folks. It’s $11.95 (round up to the nearest $10 and take 20%). Why do the owners get to pretend the food costs less than it does to serve, and leave the wait staff out there to pretend that they have any control over the service they’re giving.
    If a waiter is really in charge of that tip – the majority of his living – why doesn’t he get to decide anything about how he will serve that food to the customers ? He will work on the floor only after hours of training in every nuance of the management’s expectations. Waiters are not free agents, working for your gratuities, they’re employees of the restaurant, hoping that the management gives them access to as many tips as possible, not to mention a good kitchen that will make the food well and on time.
    I know it’s not going to change, but I hate it. I hated being tipped when I worked in restaurants, and I hate leaving them now. If someone offered me a tip for the services I perform now, I would be insulted. I think waiters should be, too.

    • Mr. C says:

      This line of thought is stupid. Yes, the price of the dishes has gone up…however, the restaurant has to cover its costs…that is, the cost of food has gone up as well. Whereas the restaurants 10 years ago paid 1.50/lb for steak (hypothetical), the cost to buy it has gone way up with inflation. Hence why the price of food has increased. If you want low prices, go somewhere that has low quality food (like applebee’s or mcdonald’s). If you want high quality food, expect it to be more expensive. And as a former server (which payed my way through undergraduate and law school), your theory of servers should be insulted is asinine. That is the job…you provide a service, you get paid for it. Similar to any service…maid, gas pump attendant, etc. These are people you give a little extra to because of how great a job they did. Its a pretty easy concept.

      • john says:

        Excellent reply ohiomark….thats the reason people go out to eat…so they are waited on and here’s this server complaining about “having” to get refills. Thats your job waiter/ess. Don’t like your job? Then get a different one. It’s not the customers job to make up poor earnings because management wont give you all a raise or the hourly rate is too low.

    • Jim says:

      Well…all I can say is, with the current business model (taxes, costs, etc.) it is extremely difficult for a non-chain restaurant to survive. Entrepreneurs aren’t forced in to the business, true enough. But, the really good ones try very hard to provide good food, good service and all. It’s just a very tough business, and success doesn’t always mean the owners make that much. Sometimes I wish my wife was a server instead of the owner. :^)

  • Mike says:

    I am a reasonable tipper. Not a high roller but I take care of my server.
    What ever happened to the LONG established base of 10% on drinks and 15% on food? If I order a $50 bottle of wine I’m not going to tip the same amount as a $50 meal. Also, I think it is mostly people in the service industry or people that used to work in the service industry that write these articles.

  • EntitledWaiters says:

    Customers have no obligation in ensuring waiters meet their satisfied wage expectations. Customers did not sign on the dotted line when waiters chose this line of work. If not for the customer eating out, there would not even be waiters. Stop expecting special treatment.
    If customers get poor service, then they should ask for the manager. If customers are expected to clean up after themselves, then they should also have the option to serve themselves. Let’s just cut out the wait staff. Staff shortage, bad day, not the customer’s problem.
    If $2 an hour is a problem, there is always McDonalds work.

    • Mr.L says:

      I agree; it seems that many waiters hold an odd sense of entitlement. I work at a bar in Austin, and I recently argued this point with an idiot cocktail waitress. I thoroughly understand the perspective and respectability of paying others for their efforts/services, but there’s always an exception to nearly any ‘rule’. Good (and even neutral) service deserves something reasonable in return. Why would bad service (noticeably bad attitudes, negligence, etc.) warrant anything extra..? Because it’s still a ‘service’ and it’s common courtesy ? Excuse my language, but get the f*ck out of here.

      Even when service is bad, it can be easy to tell the difference between someone who’s trying and someone who’s being an ass. The former deserves the benefit of the doubt sometimes.

    • Bella says:

      Thank you!
      Why should I give someone 20% the cost of my meal to say a simple hello, NEVER get my order right no matter how expensive the place is, disappear for half an hour and expect to get a good tip?
      Who the hell do they think they are? You want me to give you a dollar to say hello, a dollar to get my drink, a dollar to get my food a dollar to bring wine, a dollar to FIX my order, a dollar to “check up” and a dollar to go get my check?
      I think not. I have too many people kissing my ass already. I’m not going to pay someone (even if it is just a few dollars) to do it.

      Not to mention, the undertone attitude, that’s enough to anger someone.

      • Chuck says:

        Wow. I’m sorry that you always have such an awful experience when you go out. If my order never came out correctly, I’d be annoyed, as well. I’m not sure of the types of restaurants that you generally frequent, but your description of a standard experience does sound a bit closer to lower end type restaurant. I don’t mean that in jest, I only point that out because the type of service you receive does depend on the type of restaurant.

        I only mention that because in the restaurants that I have worked at, our service goes a great deal beyond simply being an order taker – there is a difference. Making quality recommendations, being able to describe any item on the menu in detail/ knowing the menu so well that we’re able to accommodate any special requests/allergy modifications with confidence, describing the evenings special eloquently, recommending a nice wine that fits your preferences, ensuring that you have everything you need before you need it; quickly, swiftly, and without commotion replenish your water and clear plates. So swiftly that you almost don’t notice we’re even there. This is the type of service that is expected and executed at the various restaurants I have worked at. And we don’t kiss anyones ass. We just treat them respectfully and give them the best service we can in hopes that they fully enjoy their evening and feel like they were treated like family. That’s the philosophy I’ve always held and it has done well for me.

        Again, I’m sorry that hasn’t been your experience because being wined and dined like that is truly a amazing experience. I’m proud to offer that level of service to my guests, it’s rewarding to do so.

        • John says:

          Excellent answer.
          Character is key. So is understanding your business.
          Having a passion to serve in a meaningful way. — I’m talking about owners. The passion to serve by developing good judgment through experience. Also, understanding an motivating people.
          “Houston, we’ve had a problem.” A few years back we had a Nobel prize winner declare running the US economy who declared that Greed is Good and that the only obligation of a business was to make money for share holders. At the time, we believed that. Even made movies about it. The message was to get as much as you can out of your customers. The pursuit of infinite wealth, some called it. But what is money, really?
          Money is simply a means of managing motivation. A waiter doesn’t really take the job to become a millionaire. They choose to do something because they enjoy doing it and want to continue to do it with the same modicum of respect as they show to others. Give and receive respect. Money is there to serve as a token for managing motivation.
          Greed, the acquisition of money for itself, shuts down the whole system.
          A friend recently returned from a visit to a very obscure island in a remote ocean. He brought back with him some very old coins that had been in circulation since the time of King George (1940’s) and said some coins in circulation went back to Victoria. As I held one of those coins, I wondered about all of the things that those coins had accomplished as they circulated over the decades. The transactions they enabled. The wealth they created because of the who they motivated and what they did.
          We, as a nation, are going bankrupt, not because we don’t have money, but because we don’t have wealth. The means of managing it is being lost and money is hoarded in banks, get rich quick schemes, exotic toys, all sorts of stupid stuff — except in our people. Where did Walton wealth come from, for example? Who benefited from the circulation of money through those stores? How much money stayed in circulation in the local community to motivate others and to maintain a viable communities.
          What sort of dispair causes cheerful, playfull kids, to ultimately endup as dispairing drug addicts lining up in clinics. Or as inmates in the most incarcerated country?
          A good tip is part of a solution because it reflects a generous attitude that influences others to do the same. Now if we could just find the leadership to extend that generous spirit upwards to higher and higher levels of society and government. And denounce the notion that is good. Integrity and appreciation are far better. — when practiced at every level.

          • Paul says:

            Quote: A good tip is part of a solution because it reflects a generous attitude that influences others to do the same.

            I’d say a good employer is one who pays liveable wages. My son works at KFC. While the money isn’t great $17 an hour, it is relatively liveable as he works between 30 – 40 hours a week. Yeah, I know, KFC is mainly takeaway (take out in the US) but it does have dine in too.

            Should they pay a tip? No! It’s not like there is any plates etc to clean, just the tables and floors, and the containers get chucked in the waste bin.

            And, tipping is relatively rare in NZ. Because employers HAVE to pay at least minimum wages which currently is $14.25 per hour.

  • Greg says:

    If enough restaurant customers start treating 20% as a standard tip, new editions of the etiquette books will start saying it’s 20% rather than 15%. The real standard is whatever most people believe is the real standard. Just as dictionaries have to change their definitions over time because people use words differently over time (even when the new word usage is due to a misunderstanding), so too do etiquette books have to be updated to reflect changing customs.

    But the problem here is that if servers can succeed in giving themselves a 33% raise for no logically defensible reason, why would they stop there? They’d be crazy to stop at 20%. If they can get customers to go from 15% to 20% for no logically defensible reason, the obvious next step is to get customers to go from 20% to 25% standard tip, again for no logically defensible reason. And then on to 30%. Where will it stop?

    It will only stop when customers stop tipping whatever servers pressure them to tip, and tip what was considered enough for the previous generation of servers.

    Given that servers in most restaurants (though certainly not all) can make more money than most other legal professions given the same education, ability and hard work, I say the 15% that was standard for several decades is still good enough today. Raises come continuously over time through increases in menu prices; all else being equal a 15% tip today is a lot more dollars than a 15% tip a generation or two ago, because menu prices are a lot higher.

    A small argument can be made for restaurants in states where the wage for servers is still just over $2, as that wage amount has effectively gone down with inflation. But solving that with a 33% increase in the tip is like shooting an ant with a cannon. Also, if restaurant owners can keep wages down by expecting customers to tip more, well, see above.

    • ohiomark says:

      Totally agree. As I have said in a past comment, is that both the restaurant owners/managers as well as the wait staff keep pushing for customers to tip more and more, yet the restaurant owners ‘claim’ they can not afford to pay the staff more than minimum wage (each state is different). In many other countries, especially in some Asian countries, tips are not expected (and sometimes not even wanted), and the staff still does stellar service, the restaurant owners pay their staff a living wage, and they make money as well. It seems like over the years, restaurant owners have become more creative in how tips are shared among more and more workers in the restaurants so they do not have to pay them much, and make them rely on customer’s generosity.

  • ohiomark says:

    I agree with these later entries about how customers treat the waitstaff. They are to be treated with respect, the same way customers want to be treated. That is common sense. Treat others as you wish to be treated.

  • safado says:

    “Another one I hated was being poked hard in the side with a finger while talking to another table. Some people have no respect.”

    Another one is snapping. Again, like im a pet. It’s just as easy to talk as it is to snap, or whistle, or poke.

  • Greg says:

    “You whistle at me and you may as well tell me good bye cuz you’ll never see me again.”

    Another one I hated was being poked hard in the side with a finger while talking to another table. Some people have no respect.

    • mr moore says:

      This is mortifying. no touching, no whistling is common sense. I have never seen anyone treat a server like that in my life. and I used to eat out almost every day. where the hell do you people live?

      • Greg says:

        @mr moore:

        I can’t speak for where safado was whistled at, but the poking happened when I was waiting tables at fine dining restaurants in Seattle.

        It was old people, maybe not quite playing with a full deck anymore. They seemed to think they should have a waiter (or three) dedicated to their table.

  • safado says:

    reply @Alex.

    Easily my favorite comment on this thread. “Go home and make Hamburger Helper.” Classic. Ive posted on this thread 6 months ago, and got blasted for being an arrogant former server.

    I 100% agree with this blogger.

    She says round up to the nearest 10 and go 20%. Some people have misconstrued that to mean if your ticket is $20.01 and round up to $30 and leave $6. Clearly, she is talking in generalities and a $20.01 ticket would warrant $4. The average American ticket will always be in the $*4, *5, *6 range. Right??? All she’s saying is be generous and leave $6 for a $20 something ticket, leave $8 for a $30 something ticket, etc. If you do this 4-7 times a month what does that put you out???? $10?? I will gladly pay that if I get good service.

    Some other misconceptions (randomly):
    – servers are arrogant (really we are just jaded from 17 hrs of being treated like sh1t). A warm smile at the beginning, and we will melt. We know who’s nice and who’s not.
    – servers dont deserve to make more than me? (during rush hour a server may average $40 to $50 an hour) So what. A shift is never 3 hrs during rush hour. It’s on average 6-7 hours. Than what about the next shift where a server comes in for 3 hrs, gets cut early, and makes $0. It all averages out. Now your talking $100-120 after tip out and taxees for 10 hours of work. OR, approximatly $10-12 an hour.
    – servers need to get a real job if they arent happy with the system. (there are career servers, and every career server i have met has been an absolute sweetheart. They know their lot in life. However, more often servers are students, or white collar professionals working a second job, or working moms making some extra money. In other words, very very very very very very intelligent people making an honest buck.)
    – How dare a server expect me to clean up after my kids and/or self. it’s their job!!!! (just common sense. Dont be a slob. If your kid drops his spagetti, i get it. If you drop 50 napkins, sugar packets, and silverware? Really??)
    – Dont generalize. If a server is bad a server is bad. If a server is good a server is good. Dont assume one defines the other, and dont blame the system. If your limit is 10% or 15% or 20% so be it. Just dont stiff out of spite for the system OR your previous experiences.
    – focus on the good, dont harp on the bad. This is just human nature, so easier said than done. If your server is a ditz, and forgets everything and you have to ask for everything 30 times I get it. You’ve been inconvenienced in your dining experience. But how were your drinks, your food, the ambiance, your company, etc? You had 75% of the experience you would have normally had if your server had been less ditzy. 75% of your standard — tip appropriately. So 7.5% instead of 10%, ~10% instead of 15%, or 15% instead of 20%. Dont stiff because you didnt have napkins immediately, or your water was missed a couple of times.
    – your server isnt out to get you. Servers have approximately a 30 second window from when they say hello to establish rapport, make themselves likeable, put the customer at ease. If the server doesnt feel a vibe from you they might adjust their approach. Try to be more conservative, try to give you more space, utilize less jokes, etc. If you see them being “friendlier” with other tables, it isnt a slight. Maybe they think you prefer to have your space. Thus they might do the non-verbal walk by, instead of coming up to you and saying ‘is everything going okay.’ If you think you are being slighted, certainly dont assume it’s intentional.
    – And finally, and of utmost and critical importance. DONT EVER EVER EVER whistle at me. A hand wave, a verbal request, stand and approach, whatever you need to get my attention, but whistle at me and you’ve lost me. Im not a dog, and i will not be treated like one. You whistle at me and you may as well tell me good bye cuz you’ll never see me again.

    • ohiomark says:

      “If your server is a ditz, and forgets everything and you have to ask for everything 30 times I get it. You’ve been inconvenienced in your dining experience. But how were your drinks, your food, the ambiance, your company, etc? You had 75% of the experience you would have normally had if your server had been less ditzy. 75% of your standard — tip appropriately. So 7.5% instead of 10%, ~10% instead of 15%, or 15% instead of 20%.”
      The only comment I have on the comment made above is that I am not tipping on the drinks, the food, the ambiance, my company. The tip is on the service part of the equation. But another way to do it is to grade the service portion of the meal. If it was A+ (100% as a grade), give 100% of your top tip percentage that you would give at that type of location. Assuming it to be 20%, give 20%. If it was an “F” or a 50% in your mind, give 10%, which is 50% of 20%. If it was a ‘C’ give 75%, which would equate to around 15%. Obviously everyone has a different range of what they tip; these values were used for ease of calculation. It would also be nice if restaurants had comment cards at the tables also so customers could leave comments regarding their experience, rather than just letting the tip amount be the feedback. Servers do not know why a certain tip amount is left…is the person cheap, or was the service bad, and what were the reasons? If the service is great, I am sure the server would love to see it in the tip amount, as well as some positive comments.

    • Trazier says:

      TIP is an acronym, To Insure Promptitude.

      I’m not tipping because the place has nice atmosphere, or 3 big screen tellys at the bar, or a seperately dressed crisp black pants/white shirt guy acting as doorman/seater who I don’t see unless i’m entering or leaving (Hi Outback!).

      I’m tipping because I want my server to act with some alacrity in taking the order, telling the kitchen, and bringing it out to me.

      • Felicity says:

        You tip to ensure good service? How does that work when you don’t tip until the end of the meal, when the service is done and dusted? To you get psychic servers that are somehow denied to us lesser mortals?

        • CalMark says:

          The way it works, Felicity, is that the server does the job, and the tip is instant feedback.

          But…but…but what about bad tippers? I bust my butt and they don’t leave a big enough tip, and it’s not fair, and I shouldn’t be held hostage, snivel, snivel, snivel.

          That’s the system.
          Don’t like it? Find another job.
          Can’t get another job because you don’t have the skills? Your own fault.
          Can’t leave the job because it’s a bad economy? Well, everyone gets trapped in crummy jobs sometimes — that’s life.

          There. Fixed.

          • Felicity says:

            Ah. So I’m not ensuring good service for the meal just served, as Trazier said. No, as I thought, it’s really a thank you for services rendered – or not as the case may be.

            If the comment about getting another job was directed at me – no need, I’m not a server, I’ve been trapped in crummy jobs and I know the score. Thanks though.

        • Brian says:

          So that when you go back to that restaurant, and they wait on you again.
          One of the best ways to ensure good service is to become a regular at a particular restaurant.

      • Tim says:

        A cute acronym but not etymologically correct. To “tip” is simply earlier English, related to the word “tap,” or to touch lightly.

  • ohiomark says:

    The funny thing about the restaurant business is that both the restaurant owners/managers as well as the wait staff keep pushing for customers to tip more and more, yet the restaurant owners ‘claim’ they can not afford to pay the staff more than minimum wage (each state is different). In many other countries, especially in some Asian countries, tips are not expected (and sometimes not even wanted), and the staff still does stellar service, the restaurant owners pay their staff a living wage, and they make money as well. Also seems like over the years, restaurant owners have become more creative in how tips are shared among more and more workers in the restaurants so they do not have to pay them much, and make them rely on customer’s generosity. Yes, the tipping system is very flawed, and the way our culture is, we have to live with the system. My wife and I do not eat out as much any more ( we tend to cook really good meals at home quite often), but when we do go out to eat, it is to a very nice restaurant (no national chains such as Applebee’s, Olive Garden, and other similar chains). If we do see trends in bad service (or bad food) at a particular restaurant, there are so many others to replace it for our dining out money.

    • Jim says:

      We own a small family restaurant and insist on our team giving good service – and they do. We pay our folks more than the normal minimum wage of $7.50 per hour, additionally ALL tips are shared amongst the staff. This means our profit margin is fairly dismal, but we have a stable team and our customers always know the service will be friendly and timely – so, they come back…again and again.

  • ohiomark says:

    Erica stated:
    “The only reason why servers serve with a smile and suck up to you is for a tip. Take away the tipping system or decrease it, then you can say goodbye to good service.”

    Typical server attitude. I will remember that the next time a server is ‘nice’, that they are really not being sincere, just sucking up for a good tip.

    • Erica says:

      Perhaps I worded that wrong and overgeneralized. It’s definitely not the only reason. I’d like to think of myself as a nice person, but do you really think I’m thrilled to bring you another diet coke? Even when I worked jobs that did not rely on tips, I provided good service with a smile. But, servers do more favors or go slightly overboard for customers to get a good tip. This mostly applies to rude or overly picky customers. I continue to be nice to them and do my best to oblige them, but if I wasn’t depending on a tip, I would not be acting the same way. I’m more than happy to provide good service to friendly and respectful people, even if I wasn’t getting tipped. It’s the people who don’t deserve good service that my previous comment applied to.

      • ohiomark says:

        Erica stated : “…do you really think I’m thrilled to bring you another diet coke?

        Well, maybe restaurants could make the soda fountains easily accessible for the customers to use, like the fast food chains, and then I would not mind getting my own diet coke refill. Leave a pitcher of ice water at the table, and you will not have to come back and fill my water glass either. Put the condiments at the table already, and you will not have to bring them over when I need them. Then all you need to do is to take my order, bring my food, maybe check once to see if everything is ok, and then leave my bill, and let me pay it at the front so you do not have to take care of it. Oh, and then I can also lower my tip to reflect the lower level of service; that way, I will be happy (save some money, able to get my own refills), and and then you will be more ‘thrilled’ not having to get my refills, or other service-related requests.

        • Frotaine says:

          Maybe you should just stick with Burger King.

        • john says:

          Excellent reply ohiomark….thats the reason people go out to eat…so they are waited on and here’s this server complaining about “having” to get refills. Thats your job waiter/ess. Don’t like your job? Then get a different one. It’s not the customers job to make up poor earnings because management wont give you all a raise or the hourly rate is too low.

        • Springs1 says:

          “Put the condiments at the table already, and you will not have to bring them over when I need them. ”

          I feel it would be neat to have a salad bar for condiments, but the thing is, that would *NEVER* happen because of COST. I have a lot of problems asking for 2 sides of mayo FILLED ALL THE WAY UP. I can’t get that even. WHY? It makes no sense at Longhorn that I even said “charge me” and they won’t. They just try to refuse to give it to me at first, then have to complain and then get it. It’s ridiculous. So NO, they won’t have this ever. Condiments cost money and they don’t want people either wasting them which is a huge likely scenario or people taking too much or even taking some to go home with.

          “Well, maybe restaurants could make the soda fountains easily accessible for the customers to use, like the fast food chains, and then I would not mind getting my own diet coke refill. ”

          Again, COST TOO MUCH MONEY. You do realize you have to have CO2 at each soda station and all those syrups that if they had to have them at each table or every so often, your prices would go SKY HIGH.

          They won’t do that.

          Now, I hate it where it takes longer to get a coke at fast food now because people don’t know which flavor of syrup they want in their soda and some places only have one. It sucks. I wish fast food would go back to the regular soda stations. Fast food should mean FAST, but this stupid invention is NOT FAST.

  • Erica says:

    Even as a current server, I would NEVER expect anyone to clean up after themselves. I do get annoyed when people drop bigger things on the floor, like a fork or napkin and don’t pick them up. But a big draw to eating out is not having to clean up after yourself; that’s why people are willing to pay more for food in restaurants than at grocery stores.

    I also think a big reason why the expected percentage has gone up is because the hourly wage hasn’t gone up (don’t attack me if I’m wrong, I don’t know this for sure). One guest told me that she waiting tables in the 70s and was paid $2.00/hour. I currently am paid $2.65/hour. If this is true, it does make sense that one would expect a larger tip since restaurants have not increased the hourly wage in decades. I agree that it’s bullshit for the customer to have to make up for that, but that’s just the way the system works. If you don’t agree with it, then don’t go out to eat. No one is forcing you. While no one is forcing the server to do that job either, don’t be upset if you return to a restaurant and receive poor service because they know you’re not a great tipper. The only reason why servers serve with a smile and suck up to you is for a tip. Take away the tipping system or decrease it, then you can say goodbye to good service.

    As for me, if I make a mistake or feel that I gave less than stellar service for whatever reason, I obviously don’t expect a %20 tip. It only angers me when the kitchen messes up or a guest doesn’t like their meal and takes it out on me. Yes, everyone must work together as a team, but the server should not be punished for others’ mistakes. It also frustrates me when people are extremely inpatient. If you see me standing around chatting or on my phone, you are more than welcome to be upset and take it out on my tip. But when our clueless hosts seat me three tables at once, I won’t be able to get to you as quickly as you’d like. I’ll do my best, but there’s only so much I can do. If you waited 45 minutes for a table, expect to wait a little longer once you are sat. Even if the server is able to get to you right away, they still may have to wait behind other servers to get drinks, ring in your order, etc. I also expect/hope that people will tip more if they are particularly picky. It’s one thing to ask for something with no onions or whatever, but when guests practically make up their own dish, it takes more time and effort on the server and kitchen’s part almost always, so it’s appreciated to make up for it.

    I also think when people refer to a server having a bad day, they don’t necessarily mean personal issues or even rude customers. Everyone has their off days, and it’s nice to give someone the benefit of the doubt. Unless the server did something to personally offend you or is intentionally neglecting you, a decent tip is expected. I understand not tipping %20 if the server was a little off, forgetful, etc. but it is still considerate to give them at least %15. If you have an off day at your job, do you get paid less? No. You may get into trouble with your boss. For that reason, if you really feel there is an issue, tell the manager, don’t take it out on the server’s tip (unless if for the previously stated reasons). By going to the manager but still tipping at least %15, you will likely have at least part of your meal for free, and if you want to eat there again, the wait staff won’t assume you’ll tip them poorly.

    Okay, rant done. That was much longer than expected.

    • ohiomark says:

      While the hourly wage has not gone up, prices at restaurants HAVE gone up, so even if the tip percentage was held the same, the amount of tip goes up since the menu prices have risen. I still stick with 15% for average service, and higher than that for good or exceptional service. I think the % keeps going up because waiters want to earn more and more for the ‘efforts’, and let’s face it…everyone wants more for the same level of work. Many office workers get little to no raises year-to-year. Servers have the opportunity to step up their game and improve the chances of increasing their income.

      If a server has a pile of tables they are working, and can not effectively handle all of them with the usual efficiency expected, they should and can expect lower tip percentages, but they should be able to more than make up for it in volume (having all those tables).

      As a customer, I cannot tell when there is an issue with the kitchen with my order, or else the issue lies with the server, and I do not desire to try to figure it out; I am at the restaurant to enjoy a good meal, with good to excellent service. Even if I asked the server where the fault was, how many servers would even admit they screwed it up; most would blame the kitchen, since the kitchen is out of the way, and no way to check it out, and they do not get paid on tips.

      I do feel sorry for the server who is having an off day, but I do not feel the need to go ahead and pay them more for sub-standard service to ‘make them feel good’. If the service is really bad, yes I will talk to someone in charge, and leave a lower tip to reflect that. Hopefully, the manager will then tell the server why the tip was low so the server does not have to assume why the tip was low. Luckily, bad experiences for me are the exception, and not the norm.

      • Springs1 says:

        “As a customer, I cannot tell when there is an issue with the kitchen with my order, or else the issue lies with the server, and I do not desire to try to figure it out; ”

        Most issues you can tell who is at fault. If an item is forgotten by your own server that ended up bringing out your food, it is their fault. If your server put in the order wrong, at times, it’s wrong on the bill and/or they admit to it.
        Most issues you can tell just by *LOOKING* at the food if it’s wrong or not without touching the food such as let’s say you wanted bbq sauce on the side for your ribs, if your server brings out the ribs with bbq sauce on them, the act of her or him delivering the food OBVIOUSLY WRONG to the EYES is *THEIR FAULT*. If they would have caught it in the kitchen, she or he would have not wasted time bringing out food that was obviously wrong.

        Understand what I am saying? In most cases, you can tell who is at fault because most issues are obvious like missing condiments for example. It doesn’t matter who runs the food as far as condiments go, because your server can bring that out ahead of time no matter who runs the food to you.

        It’s all about common sense.

        Now you can’t know CERTAIN issues like things you’d have to touch the food to notice if it’s wrong unless the server admitted fault or it was wrong on the bill, but most issues are where you can look at the food to tell whether or not it’s right without touching it.

        A steak of course, is hard to tell if it’s cooked correctly or not, but if you have the wrong side dish for example, that’s *EASY* to tell *WHO* left the kitchen with the wrong item? If it was your server, *YOUR SERVER* is at fault for wasting your time bringing you the wrong item.

    • David Hoffman says:

      “I do get annoyed when people drop bigger things on the floor, like a fork or napkin and don’t pick them up.” Sorry, you are incorrect about table etiquette. It is considered bad table manners to duck under the table to retrieve a dropped eating implement or napkin. The appropriate thing to do is to request a new piece of silverware or napkin from the server while explaining that you accidentally dropped the item under the table.

    • Doug S. says:

      As much as I agree with most of what you said, this is not true: “Take away the tipping system or decrease it, then you can say goodbye to good service.” Following Japanese tradition, New York Sushi did exactly this. I haven’t heard anything about bad service or losing business at NY Sushi:

    • Tim says:

      Actually, if the kitchen messes up and the waiter/waitress is patient, usually the manager will comp the blown meal. Then, when the shorter check comes, my wife and I will figure out what the bill SHOULD have been and tip based upon that total. Only a pure jerk would stiff a waitress for the kitchen’s mistakes.

  • Alex says:

    If you cannot afford to leave a decent tip, then you shouldn’t be going out to eat, period. Call it a ‘flawed system’ all you want, but that’s the way things work. I have never waited table before, but there is nothing worse than a rude patron who treats their server like a slave and then leaves a 10% tip, and justifies it by saying ‘they should be lucky to get anything at all!’ Go home and make some Hamburger Helper.

    • Amanda says:

      Everybody has a choice to work for low pay or not. Become an entrepreneur if you don’t like your pay. Do something proactive about it and not complain about an occupation you choose. It is rude not to leave a tip but I believe waitresses should be mad at management/owner for not paying more.

      • Tony says:

        Although you are correct in your assertion that they are free to choose whatever vocation they like, they have chosen to work in an industry that has made the collective business decision to keep prices lower (in part by keeping wages lower) for all consumers…to say that the owners should just pay them more leads to a service industry that costs all patrons more (increased overhead due to the increased wages) and, ultimately, decreases service as there is now less financial motivation for the server to provide exceptional service.

        • Greg says:


          “to say that the owners should just pay them more leads to a service industry that costs all patrons more … and, ultimately, decreases service as there is now less financial motivation for the server to provide exceptional service.”

          Except that there is only about 2% correlation between service quality and tip size.

          If the goal is to provide “financial motivation for the server to provide exceptional service”, tipping is not much more effective than barking at the moon.

          Someday a wise restaurant owner will compensate servers partly on commission and partly on restaurant profit, and encourage customers to ask for their favorite server, leaving less popular servers with fewer commissions to earn. That restaurant owner will soon be laughing all the way to the bank.

          • Rebecca says:

            If you want to help make a difference check out http://rocunited.org/our-work/research-policy/ Restaurant Opportunities Centers United and check out the guide here:


            Help build a just and fair restaurant industry by supporting businesses that reflect your values.

            Learn about the labor practices of your favorite restaurants & join the growing community of eaters that demand sustainability include sustainable labor practices:

            1. Join The Welcome Table here.

            2. Use our 2013 National Diner’s Guide every time to dine out. Get it here*
            *available as an app for iPhone & Android, as well as PDF

            3. Actively grow the ethical eating movement with our Consumer Toolkit.
            – See more at: http://rocunited.org/consumer-action/#sthash.1YwWW8yH.dpuf

          • Teri says:


            In a way a tip *is* a commission. The bigger the order, the higher the tip. So it’s already in a server’s interest to encourage patrons to order as many upgrades/add-ons as possible. The difference would be that a commission is a flat rate, whereas a tip is whatever the customer decides to leave. However, if a server knew he or she would be getting a flat rate commission of say 20%, and not have to worry about getting stiffed because someone’s having a bad day or doesn’t believe in tipping (like Mr. Pink in Reservoir Dogs!), that seems like it would help service.

            If a restaurant upped their prices by 20% and then told patrons their tip was already included in the pricing, I wouldn’t think people would balk, and a lot of people would be happy to not have to do any math after having a nice meal and a few drinks.

            Then again, some people enjoy the “big spender” feeling of “taking care of the minions” who wait on them. Those people might add on a tip in addition to the built-in tip, even though the menu says not to. In which case servers would make even more.

            I don’t think this would take away servers’ incentive to provide good service, because their commissio is still 20% of whatever the bill is, so therefore the bigger the bill (with all the upgrades and add-ons suggested by the excellent salesperson/server), the more money he or she makes.

            It would be very interesting to see how well this worked out. Some customers might get annoyed, the way people get annoyed at fast food joints with all the attempted add-ons: would you like to make that a value meal? Do you want cheese on your burger? Etc. But I’m sure a lot of people would like to just sign the check and not have to figure out a tip (even though it’s pretty easy to figure a 20% tip – just do 10% then double it; way easier than figuring a 15% tip!).

        • Randy says:

          Prices only appear to be lower if one is paying an extra 20% in tips. Owners should increase both prices and employee pay across the board – problem solved. Then the customer can tip any amount they want based on the quality of service.

          • Brian says:


            Nice idea, but, to make it ‘problem solved’, how do you get every restaurant to agree to do it, together, all at once?

            If just one restaurant decides to do it, and raises their prices, say 20%, they are at risk of losing business to competitors, even if they note service fees are included.

      • Shahein says:


        “Everybody has a choice to work for low pay or not. Become an entrepreneur if you don’t like your pay.”

        Really? One, it costs a lot of money to start a business. If I had the startup capital to be an entrepreneur, I wouldn’t be a bartender. Two, small business is the single riskiest investment one can make in this country. Well over half of them fail within the first year or two, and even the successful ones don’t start making money for at least a year.

        Finally, saying we all have a choice to work for low pay or not is blatantly false. I did it the way everyone says it should work. I’ve had a job since I was 17, got good grades, got my Bachelor’s degree in 2011, and more than two years later, I’m still stuck in the restaurant industry. Jobs aren’t that easy to come by. Joblessness is not simply a product of laziness. Its not hopeless, but its not as simple as you seem to think. Sure, I’m being proactive. I’m back in school, pursuing another degree. But that is still going to cost me a lot of money, and I’m now well aware that I’m not guaranteed anything positive from it.

        The main point here is that waiters, waitresses, and bartenders have every right to be pissed at anyone who thinks its ok to leave less than 15% even for subpar service. We don’t get paychecks, and we can be mad at management and owners for not paying more, but we all know that’s a dead end. They won’t pay more, and if they did, they’d almost assuredly pass the new costs on to the guests, and you would end up paying $25 for an entree that would cost you $15 today. Think a little more about cause and effect before you speak on anything. Just a tip.

        • Steve says:

          Hello Shahein … in your comment you mentioned:

          “I’ve had a job since I was 17, got good grades, got my Bachelor’s degree in 2011, and more than two years later, I’m still stuck in the restaurant industry. ”

          I’m curious what you had chosen as your major for you 2011 Bachelor’s degree. One of my kid’s pals got a BA in Philosophy, and is in grad school looking to earn a Master’s in Philosophy … He even has the long beard that extends 6″ – 8″ below his chin!! (Which makes sense of course since when a guy is thinking diligently about a serious subject, he’s gotta be finger-combing a long beard to help the thought process) ….

          And although I realize that it’s none of my business (however that’s never stopped me before and unfortunately is not likely to stop me in the future), I have “warned” him that with the popularity and quality of Google Translate, the WHOLE WORLD can be adequately served with MAYBE ONLY 2 DOZEN PAID PHILOSOPHERS …. And (in my opinion), the blame for the world’s need for so few paid philosophers can be placed in the fact that social media linked with WiFi has become the current mechanism for communication … coupled with the fact that “smartphones” are in the hands of 90% of those living in today’s world society (which of course includes college students – regardless of their major).

          Several people have asked … “Steve … Are you serious?? Or are you just nuts??? How can this be??”

          I told them “Yes I am serious and no I am not nuts (I am maybe just “different”) “! Here’s the deal … give a guy or a girl 2 beers (or 2 glasses of wine …. or just a shot-and-a half of a pure agave tequila) and THEY INSTANTLY BECOME PHILOSOPHERS! So who is going to actually PAY A PROFESSIONAL PHILOSOPHER when every bar (or restaurant that serves alcoholic beverages) is filled with ADVANCED AMATEUR PHILOSOPHERS??? (And as I have mentioned earlier, my guesstimate is ~ 24 employers).

          So Shahein, being “stuck” in the restaurant industry is (in a sense) a matter of choice … and I wish you well in your pursuit of a 2nd Bachelor’s … Some of you (who have had the patience to perseverance to read this far) may ask “what does this have to do with tipping??” Hey, at times I digress!

          • Bella says:

            Thank you Steve. I completely agree with you.

          • dwt says:

            Philosophy majors score better even than English Majors on the Language part of standardized exams for graduate study. And they are also needed in order to train future philosophy scholars. If your measure of success in life is out-of-college paycheck, then Philosophy is indeed not a good idea, and EVERYONE should do Engineering.

        • Teri says:

          “One, it costs a lot of money to start a business. If I had the startup capital to be an entrepreneur, I wouldn’t be a bartender.”

          Well, I’m sure I make a lot less as a pizza delivery driver than you do as a bartender, and yet I am still managing to squirrel away a little at a time for my entrepreneurial business, which will eventually take me out of this life of working hard at drudgery to barely survive. It takes steely resolve to keep plugging away at my biz (selling private-label products on Amazon) while also working my butt off delivering pizza and periodicals (my other side job), but just thinking about it being my ticket out of wage slavery is what keeps me at it.

          While on the subject of pizza delivery drivers, I would just like to say that we should get tipped 20% or more too. We get paid minimum wage but have to drive our own cars, pay for gas and maintenance (pizza delivery is hard on cars, believe me!), and we also have to share tips with the kitchen, and they also work their butts off. We have to hustle like crazy, because pizzas are often dispatched late, and hungry people can get irate. I often have to go hours without going to the bathroom because there just isn’t time – I come in to the shop and my next delivery is ready to go, and already late. Then at the end of the night I have to wash a mountain of pots and pans. Many of my deliveries are so far away that it takes 20 minutes to get there and 20 minutes to get back, so when someone stiffs me or tips $2 I am very disappointed. I never show it, though – always service with a smile. But on the way back to my car I’m thinking what a cheap bastard the person is. For pizza delivery, the minimum tip should be $5, regardless of the cost of the order. And if it’s for anything more than one pizza, the driver should be tipped 20%, or more if the delivery was speedy and everything was correct.

          • ohiomark says:

            What really needs to happen in regards to food delivery is that the restaurant accurately charges the customer a fair amount for the full cost of the delivery, and 100% of that money should go to the delivery person. That never will happen, but it should. It should not be up to the customer to determine what to pay the delivery person. If he wants to tip an additional amount over the charge, that’s great. If not, the delivery person still has made some money to cover his time and cost.

        • Monica says:


          You can be mad at customers for not tipping more, but we all know that’s a dead end. We won’t pay more, and if we did, we’d almost assuredly expect better service, and you would wind up having to spend 30 minutes waiting on a table that would require ten minutes today.

          Think a little more about market forces before you incur the financial and opportunity costs of acquiring a useless degree. Just a tip.

      • Big E says:

        I recently visited several cities in Australia where I ate out every day for two weeks. I found the restaurant experience quite different. Patrons place their order at a counter and pay the cashier. They then receive a pager, and proceed over to the drink counter to buy and receive your drink (different register). You then locate a table for themselves and sit down. Once paged, you go back to the counter and pick up your meal. Nobody comes to check on you during your meal. Drink refills require a trip back to the counter. This method of service was the same at all but one very upscale restaurant in Sydney bay. I should mention that meal prices were quite high relative to the U.S., and Australians do not tip at restaurants. I think that logically, because restaurant workers must be paid a full wage, the owners cannot afford to employ more than one or two counter people, and the kitchen staff. For a spoiled American down under, it was disconcerting, and not very enjoyable.

        • Paul says:

          Actually, not having rude, arrogant, snotty nosed self uppity waiters getting in the way is very enjoyable.

          Give me ONE good reason why waiters should be paid tips when software developers don’t? Or builders… or dentists… or dry cleaners… or plumbers… or… real estate salespeople… or hookers… oh, no wait…

          • Teri says:

            OK, Paul, here’s your ONE good reason, which frankly is pretty obvious: Software developers, builders, dentists, dry cleaners, plumbers, and real estate salespeople are all paid a whole lot better money than servers, who make minimum wage or less. Without tips, there would not BE any servers, unless restaurants were to change their pay policies. If you prefer to eat at places without servers, you should stick to fast food.

          • Greg says:


            Software developers, builders, dentists, etc. are paid a market rate for their work. Waiters are not.

            If everyone stopped tipping on the principle that other job types are not tipped, the best waiters and waitresses would soon find other, better-paying jobs, leaving only the worst to serve your meal. Is that what you want?

            Long term, many restaurants would be unable to find and hire enough people to do a good job at it, and would have to go to a self-service model to avoid angering all their customers with poor service.

      • Judi says:

        I disagree that everybody has a choice to work for low pay or not. I disagree that becoming an entrepreneur will earn you more money. Please don’t make these general statements when you don’t have evidence that they are true. And please develop some compassion for people who have a different life situation than you.

        • CalMark says:

          Oh, I see. People should only say things you agree with. The ultimate way to shut someone up when you disagree with them: “Shut up! You’re mean! You’re hurting my feelings!”

          An agent of the Thought Police, you are.

      • Mike says:

        I work at a college bar staffed by young twenty somethings trying to make rent while in school. It’s not a matter of choosing to work for low pay, serving jobs usually allow for the kind of flexible schedule a student needs to attend full time classes. Become an entrepreneur? It’s not like students choose to work a low paying job, it’s often to only option. On a good weekend, making 15-20% of your sales in tips is usually enough to pay the bills. That said, our establishment will ask you to leave if you are known not to tip. It’s part of the bill. If you can’t afford to tip $6 on a $30 tab then you should have stayed home. Never, ever go out without tipping your server.

        • kram says:

          Sorry, if the service and/or food were really bad you can leave without tipping your server. I am not talking about a little problem here, but something substantial like you find a bandaid in your pasta or the server did not take your order for 20 minutes after you sat down.

          • Lo says:

            You have clearly never worked as a server.

            While disgusting, finding a baind-aid in your meal IS NOT THE FAULT OF THE SERVER. Your server does not have access to nor is able to control what happens in the kitchen during the preparation of the food. The is also why your meal coming out slowly is also not the fault of your server. Kitchens get backed up. Often. The last thing your server wants you to have is a bad experience. We bring your food out as fast as humanly possible. Not tipping your server for reasons like this is outrageous and the sign of someone who has personal issues and takes them out on servers.

          • Some guy says:

            I have a really hard time with all of this.

            I know when I was in college, I worked 3 jobs to make the same as my sister did delivering food 20 hours a week.

            While tipping better than most, surely, considering I think it’s worth a $5 to serve me as a single person having a $10 dinner at a restaurant, if the service is truly lousy, it’s not up to me to determine whose fault it is.

            Knowing that the bussers and cooks are tipped by the waitstaff at the end of the night, and knowing that obvious things should have been caught by them, the decreased tip to me suggests that the person causing the problem will get dinged by the waitstaff.

            And for god sakes, when you see I’m eating at a restaurant by myself, check up on me right after you deliver my food and ask if I want anything else. Because someone eating alone really notices when the check takes a while to deliver. You probably know who I am and what I want anyway.

            But I guess I refuse to feel bad because I tip more than expected, if I feel like a mess up in my food should be punished.

      • Sherrie says:

        “‘everybody’ has a choice to work for low pay or not?” In what alternate universe? I believe Amanda is living in a dream world, and I hope she tips well in that one, as well as in her brief visits to this one.

      • DJack Klingler says:

        It is also rude to expect a tip especially when they just sit there and wait for it and even worse when they have the audacity to actually put out their hand. Not to mention it’s the chef who made the food, the server just brought it from point a to b. So maybe the tip should go to the chef. To the *sshole alex who said if you cannot afford a tip then eat hamburger helper, you are the most ignorant r*tard I have seen in a long time. I would love to actually show you have a slave is treated and then let you compare that to a waiter. You are rude, offensive and ignorant to even use that as a term for a job. No slave would ever consider what they did a job and they would not hesitate to switch with any waiter. But you are a prime example of what is wrong with this country and why we are on a current downtrend. Thanks dick!

      • Therese says:

        Amanda, though I graduated magna cum laude with my B.A. and have taken many sociology classes, I still expect the average person to have a rudimentary understanding about low-wage work, capitalism, the myth of meritocracy, etc. Many people do not “choose” their occupations; they scavenge for jobs that their situation (socioeconomic background and opportunities linked to very basic inherited privileges, e.g., race, speech patterns and vocabulary, enrichment and educational resources provided by parents, etc.) affords for them. I just graduated from college and happen to know that I am very privileged. My parents provided constantly for me. I’ve never had a car payment, have received many scholarships and grants, have been given funds from family members to help pay for everything from my rent to my sorority dues. My fiance happens to be a physician who has just finished residency. Still, I work two low paying jobs – as a nanny and as a CNA to support myself after college. While my situation is temporary, I understand that others are stuck living paycheck-to-paycheck. I have a tremendous amount of empathy for them. It’s the luck of the draw and, in many ways, is decided at birth. Of course, I have so much opportunity, but I have met some who have never received a leg up. While we love to believe in the myth of meritocracy, the United States actually lacks avenues for social mobility.

        Become an entrepreneur? Seriously? Ever heard of start-up costs and the percentages of small businesses that fail? Try it yourself, and let me know how it turns out.

        Try reading Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich (seriously!), taking a social problems class at your local community college, or talking to/working with the rest of the population for some insight.

    • robert says:

      So you are saying that you would be OK with a 20% reduction in your restaurants business if people didn’t tip 20%? That would mean less servers.

    • Tonyu says:

      Alex you are so on point… I tell my young adult children if you can’t afford to tip properly stay at home.

      • Joshua says:

        It’s actually simple to find a job/career/business. I’m 32 and I’m on my 4th business now, worked my way through college, and to this day can’t find people who want to use their mind to find creative ways to make money. We live in the richest nation in the world, and if you’re to apathetic, or lack the mental sagacity to take advantage of the opportunities here, then you have no reason to complain. Life will give you what you accept.

        • Greg says:

          Well Joshua, apparently you’re the smartest person who ever lived. Why don’t you write a book and tell us all how you we can do it as easily as you do it? Since great business success is apparently as easy as falling off a log, it’s a tragedy that so many people are needlessly suffering financially.

          Oh, and be sure to include in your book how successful those first three businesses of yours were.

    • d says:

      I wonder why all the servers are hiding behind a low hourly wage saying i don’t even get paid minimum wage if you don’t tip. Read your poster that is required to be posted on your job site citing the Fair Labor Standards Act. Look under tip credit

      “Employers of “tipped employees” must pay a cash wage of at least $2.13 per hour if
      they claim a tip credit against their minimum wage obligation. If an employee’s tips
      combined with the employer’s cash wage of at least $2.13 per hour do not equal the
      minimum hourly wage, the employer must make up the difference. Certain other
      conditions must also be met.”

      So there is you minimum wage. Now try and earn your TIPS they aren’t required. The other day i ate out and had one of the worst servers i have ever had. I left NO TIP since it was horrible service and tip is not required since she will get paid if she doesn’t earn enough tips. If you are unhappy with minimum wage then put some effort in your job and go the extra mile to earn a better tip or find a different job since you aren’t good at that one since your aren’t getting tipped. Your customers are judging your performance and if you don’t get tipped well you failed. As for talking to the manager and seeing about correcting your performance and still tipping you, I didn’t come out to dine to manage you, I came out to dine to enjoy myself.

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