Is It Ever Acceptable Not To Tip At A Restaurant?

Society has determined that service at a restaurant is worth between 15%-20% of the final bill, but is it ever acceptable not to tip?

Science tells us there is almost no correlation between tips and good service, but surveys show that Americans relish the power to tip because we falsely believe it provides an incentive to provide good service.

Let’s consider a situation: you go out to one of your regular dinner spots for a snack with friends. The place isn’t too busy, and you’re not too hungry, so you only order a salad and a side dish. Your friends don’t get their food for almost 40 minutes. You get nothing. After repeatedly flagging down the waitstaff, you still can’t get your salad. Another 30 minutes goes by before your food finally arrives, around the time your friends are finishing their meal.

Obviously, it’s not the end of the world and there are far more disturbing stories littering the internet. Before asking what kind of tip this service merits, let’s travel with the New York Times to San Diego to visit a small restaurant called the Linkery. The Linkery’s waitstaff doesn’t accept tips. Instead, they levy an 18% service charge on all sit-down meals, which is split 3-1 between the waitstaff and the kitchen. If customers want to tip more, they are invited to donate to the restaurant’s charity of the month.

…every so often diners at the Linkery take offense. “I’ll go over to the table and ask if there is a problem with the service,” McGuan, the general manager, says. “If there is, then I offer to remove the service charge. Almost always, the customers’ issue isn’t about the service but about not being able to handle their loss of control.”

In some instances, this restaurant with a uniform charge completely removes the service fee, resulting in no tip.

Keeping that in mind:

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Why Tip? [The New York Times]
(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. IphtashuFitz says:

    At a previous job where I worked there was a restaurant/pub located in the lobby of a hotel next door that we would have lunch at on a semi-regular basis. (They had a great buffalo chicken sandwich). Once, after not having been there in a month or so we decided to have lunch there with a former coworker who had come to visit with her infant son. The place was virtually empty but they rather rudely told us we couldn’t bring the baby into the pub because he was under 21. (Like we were going to order a beer for an 8 month old.) OK, not a huge deal and I can understand their wanting to make sure only people of legal drinking age are in the pub. Since there were about 7 of us we asked if they could seat us in the main restaurant in two side-by-side booths so we could all see & talk to each other. The waiter gave us grief over that as well because only a small section of the empty restaurant was “open” despite all the tables being fully prepared with silverware, etc. and we being literally the only party there. Throughout the course of the meal the waiter was rather flippant and not very polite. When it was about time to go he brought us the bill and said “I’ve added on a 20% tip because of the size of your group”. Before we’d even gotten the bill we had discussed and decided to leave him a very small tip. Because of the arrogance of adding a 20% tip to the bill (and there was NO posted policy anywhere about tips being added for larger groups) we not only decided to not leave a tip but we also informed the manager of the way we were treated and our decision to not leave a tip.

    I don’t think any of us ever returned to that place after that.

    • @IphtashuFitz: Sounds like you were problem customers from the start.

      • tenio says:


        how? they were just wanted to have lunch and the restaurant didn’t seem to want to allow them to do so.

      • Difdi says:

        @TracyHamandEggs!: How exactly were they bad customers? They were unaware they could not bring a little baby with them into the pub, and asked if they could be seated in the restaurant instead. Neither side was bad, since the restaurant cited a law and the customers agreed. A bad customer would have just walked into the pub with the baby anyway, thus jeopardizing the restaurant’s liquor license.

        Once in the restaurant section, they saw all the little tables and asked to be seated as a group, since they came in as a group. The waiter didn’t want to have to clean up a table intended for the dinner rush, but which was the only size of table adequate for the party that had walked in. It’s not being a bad customer to want to sit with the rest of your lunch party. Being a bad customer would entail verbally abusing the waiter at this point, which they did not do.

        Throughout their dining experience, the waiter was rude to them. This is not good service and should not be rewarded. Bad customers might be rude back, but if they were, IphtashuFitz didn’t make note of that; Absent such a note, we have to assume the rudeness was one-way. Not bad customers.

        Finally, the waiter simply took a tip, a voluntary gratuity, simply because he wanted to, and presented it as a fait accompli to the customers. After giving them bad service, taking more than the average tip isn’t ok. Doing so without giving them the choice to refuse is even less ok. If it were me, after getting bad service and the runaround like they did, I’d have refused to pay the bill as presented until the 20% was removed. That they left a small tip on the table simply proves they were not only not bad customers, but good ones.

        Overall, it’s clear that it was the waiter that was bad; Adding to the bill without a customer’s consent is fraud at best, and outright theft at worst.

        • smackswell says:

          @Difdi: They had a party of 7. Most restaurants charge an automatic gratuity on parties of 6 or more.

          The server doesn’t seem to have done anything wrong. Sounds like he was trying to follow restaurant policy, and the guests had a problem with that. He probably should have just passed them off to the manager to deal with.

          • lihtox says:

            @smackswell: note the part about “and there was NO posted policy anywhere about tips being added for larger groups“. They could have missed it, of course; I normally see those notices printed in small type on the menus, not on signs.

          • alexawesome says:

            @smackswell: Except it’s common that if such a policy is in place, a note of it is made somewhere on the menu. You’ll see it noted in a fairly eye-catching place that parties of # or more will have an automatic gratuity of (usually) 12-18% added to their bill. 20% is unusual and high – especially for lousy service. Likewise, if the waiter was disinclined to seat everyone as a group, I find it hilarious that he still expected a group gratuity. Since there was no notice of the automatic gratuity, these customers are well within their rights to dispute it, regardless of the caliber of service provided.

          • junip says:

            @smackswell: If it doesn’t mention that there will be a tip added to the bill for parties of x number of people or more, then it is deceptive. Usually it will say it on the bottom of the menu, so you can see it before you order. Also, most restaurants would never go to 20%, because that is what people usually give for really good service. Just about every mention of tip being added to a bill I’ve seen has been 18%.

          • @smackswell: Usually it’s 8 or more.

            • smackswell says:

              @West Coast Secessionist: It’s usually six or more. If they add gratuity to parties of a certain amount, it’s posted. Every restaurant does this. It may be in itty bitty print on the menu, or a two inch by two inch sign just above the host’s right foot.

              @EyeintheLAsky: You are all kinds of wrong. And you clearly don’t know what a racket yelp is.

    • SOhp101 says:

      @TracyHamandEggs!: Perhaps they were, but the way I see it is that if you’re willing to never go back to that place again then feel free to not leave tip.

    • postretro says:

      @IphtashuFitz: It sounds more like a liqueur licensing issue than the restaurant being dicks.

    • GreatCaesarsGhost says:


      I’m sick of this closed section crap at restaurants. There’s an open booth, I prefer a booth to a table, let me sit there. If I don’t express a preference, you can put me wherever. I understand that different servers have their own sections, but this is an internal restaurant deal and I really don’t need to hear about it. Someone else can serve me, or the original waiter can walk into the other guys section. It’s not like we’re talking north and south korea.

    • PDX909 says:


      You did leave a tip.. and it was 20% If the service is that bad you get up and walk away. Sure, pay for drinks or whatever, but if the experience is genuinely that miserable then walk away from it…. We’re grown-ups, we’re allowed to do that now.

    • @IphtashuFitz:

      IMHO, that’s total crap – AND against the law in some states (i have no idea where you’re from).

      In California (the land of nuts and flakes), if a bar serves food – you DON’T have to be 21 to enter. Once the kitchen closes (usually around 9-10Pm), THEN the youngin’s are kicked out.
      Besides, i believe breast-feeding is still legal in this country (though, i have NO idea if an 8-month old would be breast-feeding).

      As to the other issue of the “20%” tip, i’d be asking the manager to see the policy in writing AND be asking for the address/number of the owner of the establishment to inform them of my concern of “who determines the ‘size’ of a group before tacking on a gratuity?” if there is NO notice fully given in plain sight.

      a ‘tip’ is for service above normally doing one’s job.
      If you’re a wait person, it’s you JOB to bring my order to my table. I don’t see where i should pay you to do your job…that’s your EMPLOYERs area.

      I’ve told more than a couple of places where i’ve received bad service that although they MAY have gotten my money in a bad service transaction…Enjoy it…for it’ll be the LAST time they receive ANY money from MY pocket or (if i can help it), ANY of my friends and associates.
      Now, with the internet and websites like


      it’s easy to let others know of good and bad places to spend your time, money and friends with.

      • JustThatGuy3 says:


        Some states (Washington, if I remember correctly) do have a “must be 21 to be in a bar, even if it serves food” rule.

        • alexawesome says:

          @JustThatGuy3: Regardless, the impression I got was that they were informed of the policy in a fairly outrageous manner. Likewise, the place was empty – they probably preferred tables anyway. The waitstaff turned a non-issue into a very big one.

  2. taking_this_easy says:

    i’m with killing the tip and imposing service charges or raising the cost of the food…

  3. jenniferrose76 says:

    i think it’s a tricky judgement to make. personally unless the service was completely inexcusable, i always leave a tip. if i am not treated well, or my food is a disaster or whatever, i will consider going below 15%, but i usually leave something.
    if service is absolutely foul, i generally send in a complaint, but having worked in restaurants i feel like not tipping is never the way to go about it. if you don’t tip they may just think you forgot, where if you leave a small tip your displeasure is made clear.

    • NYGal81 says:

      @jenniferrose76: I’ve tried the formal complaint route, and that has NEVER worked out for me. And I don’t mean I’ve never been sent a gift card, etc. I’ve never gotten a response, period.

      My brother, who is kind of an asshole sometimes, will leave tips of $0.02 and a “note” to the server on the merchant copy–his “two cents.” I’ve never done that before, but I’ve definitely left well under 10% before for ridiculously bad service.

    • @jenniferrose76: Well they get taxed on 8% so that is generally the minimum bit if I sit for 30 min I just leave. I don’t wait around. But adding on 18% is disgusting. A tip should not be guaranteed. You tip and tip a certain amount in gratitude.

      I am sick of a tip jar being at the coffee shop, sandwich shop, everywhere. Its corporate welfare. We are subsidizing the wages of their employees.

    • muddgirl says:

      @jenniferrose76: I tend to concur. So often, waiters and waitresses are punished for what is essentially a problem with the cook staff or with the management.

      If a waiter or waitress was just plain bad at their job and unapologetic about it, I would talk to the manager in person at the restaurant, and consider leaving after paying for what I had consumed.

      • hebrewhammer770 says:

        @muddgirl: the waiter would have to assault me or a companion for me not to tip. although in most kosher restaurants (where i eat) the tip is included. is that because….

        …nahh. couldn’t be.

        but if i’m at a classier place i’ll tip between 25 and 40 % depending on how good the service was and how much i want to impress the person i’m with. it works, if it’s subtle.

  4. ReadLine says:

    I’ve eaten at the Linkery, and while I don’t have a problem with the set service charge, the first time I visited, I did have a problem with the way they explain it. They basically tell you there’s no tipping, which isn’t true. It’s just a set tip. But we thought that the 18% they were talking about was factored into the price of the food, since they kept saying “no tipping.” It wasn’t an issue because it’s a great place, but the “no tipping” thing is absolutely improperly phrased.

  5. mythago says:

    “Leave change” is about the dumbest idea ever. If you don’t tip because the service was horrendous, your waiter (who failed to provide service, remember?) is not going to assume you were an absent-minded sillyhead; they know you didn’t tip.

    That said, unless you have the kind of service that makes you go complain to a manager, you should tip.

    I like the Linkery’s approach. Service charges and tips are just a way to charge some of the labor costs directly, instead of burying it in the markup costs of the meal.

    • Luckie says:

      @mythago: I don’t think that’s necessarily true… there’s been nights (especially if I’ve been drinking) where I have honestly forgotten. Of course, if that is the case, I go back the next day to give my profuse apologies and a bigger tip than I would have left the night before. When I waited tables, that happened a couple of times to me as well. It also happened a couple of times that I would wait on a family with an older grandfather type figure and he would tip me maybe 10%. Often, one of the grown children would come back either at the end of the meal or the next day to apologize for the father “not getting it” and give me a reasonable tip.

    • Decaye says:

      @mythago: Yeah, but leaving change is an extra “ha ha” to a bad waiter. That’s what I’ve done on the rare ocassion that I receive awful service. Average service I typically leave 10% because I know how much they make. I rarely go out to eat though, and when I do I’m usually very satisfied with the service and leave 20-25%. I know how much it sucks to get a bad tip, but the system is in place for a reason.

      • mythago says:

        @Decaye: It’s not an extra “ha ha”. It’s a way of saying “I’m willing to pay you for the privilege of saying how bad the service was.” If the service was that bad, I don’t want the waitperson to get ANY MONEY AT ALL from me, and I’ll be complaining to management.

    • RayDelMundo says:

      You can bet your ass that a penny left as a tip gets attention from everyone working at a restaurant.

    • stopNgoBeau says:

      @mythago: I disagree. I feel like the few pennies lost is the insult tax you have to pay to send in your non-verbal disappointment. The few times I did it, it was because the watier/waitress NEVER returned, and I had to voice my problem with the management, and not with the person who caused the problem.

      Since I couldn’t confront them, I left my visual disappointment, and it was worth the two pennies left behind.

    • lincolnparadox says:

      @mythago: I think you’re onto something. If the service was so bad that you’re thinking about NOT leaving a tip, then you should probably have a chat with the manager.

      Here’s something I learned to do, if you really want to change things: when you have bad service, most managers will offer to comp your meal, or at least offer coupons or a gift cert. Refuse that offer. Let the manager know that you’re not looking for a handout, but you were seriously disappointed with the quality of their customer service. I tried this trick at a place we go for Sunday brunch when I got terrible CS. When I returned again, the customer service was impeccable (even on a Sunday morning).

      Managers understand that most of them time, bad service is an isolated incident. If they just give you free stuff, you’re going to come back, and they can just chew out their wait-staff. If, however, you aren’t interested in free stuff, it means that they’ve lost business.

  6. Osi says:

    Whatever, waiters and such already get paid. THERE IS NO REASON TO TIP. If one of them give you snobby service because you do not tip, complain. They are not doing their job then.

    • sean.thor says:

      @Jinx: Most wait staff get paid far below minnimum wage because they are tip based. When I bussed tables I made abot 3 bucks an hour. The rest of my pay was my cut from the wait-staff’s tips.

      • @sean.thor: Ignore the troll. Someone says the same thing every time tipping is discussed. No one can be THAT ignorant of societal norms.

      • Osi says:


        I know, I used to be one. Depending on the state, it is illegal to pay anybody (no matter what job they held), under minimum wage.

        • stre says:

          @Jinx: you’re right, the law says that everyone must earn minimum wage. however, many states do not require the employer to supply the full minimum wage if a certain percentage of the employee’s income is from tips (usually around 70% i believe). therefore, the restaurant is only required to pay a small amount ($2.33 in wisconsin for example). you’re half right on that technicality and all wrong on your thoughts for tipping. and yes, you can get a paycheck for $0. it’s called paying taxes on the tips, which generally erases all of the measly $75 you made in hourly pay from the restaurant.

          if in fact everyone agreed with you and thought that tipping should not be the status quo, restaurants would be legally required to make up the pay to get people to minimum wage and you’d be stuck paying more for your food. as is, you’re essentially mooching off of the sensibility of everyone else that keeps the average income of a waiter above minimum wage. you’re a leach on the restaurant system in america, refusing to pay the same for the food and service that everyone else does.

      • humphrmi says:

        @sean.thor: Actually, most states require waitstaff to declare their tips, and if they actually end up making under minimum wage, the employer is required to make up the difference. If your employer didn’t, they were probably skirting the law.

        The minimum wage still applies to everyone, including waitstaff. The law simply allows employers to deduct some wage to offset for tips. If you don’t make enough in tips, they still have to pay you minimum wage.

        • stre says:

          @humphrmi: if sean.thor made enough to erase his pay in taxes, he’s likely still earning at least minimum wage. getting a $0 paycheck does not automatically mean you are make less than minimum. in fact, getting much on your paycheck at all is a likelier indicator that you’re not making minimum wage, since you obviously aren’t getting enough in tips to have anything substantial to deduct from your normal paycheck.

    • maneki neko says:

      @Jinx: Most wait staff get paid below minimum wage ( usually around 2,3 bucks an hour where I’m from) because they’re expected to make up the rest in tips. So yes, there is a reason to tip, and if you don’t want to tip don’t go to a place that has waitstaff.

    • Roclawzi says:

      @Jinx: I’m going to cut your state free of Canada and shove you over to Russia.

    • @Jinx: <—- Cheapskate.

      Honestly, the only people who make this argument are just CHEAP. Period.

    • lmo says:


      No, we don’t get paid already. We get 0 dollar paychecks and always owe thousands in taxes come april. We live off of tips. However- I believe that shitty service does not deserve a tip. Servers who want a tip will give good service.

    • jamar0303 says:

      @Jinx: That’s the thing I love about China. Someone from on high declared that all service workers should be paid the same, so no tips. My meal will often come out to less than US$5. It almost makes me dread eating out when I return to America because I know I’ll screw up somehow or other.

    • elmuchachos says:

      @Jinx: youre an idiot. servers in Texas get 2.13 an hour.

    • NightElfMohawk says:

      @Jinx: $2.30 an hour in Texas. That is the required minimum. And that is what most restaurants pay. Add on top of that a tip-out required of waitstaff of usually around 5% of their bill totals over their shift back TO the restaurant to cover the fact that the restaurants don’t pay the bussers or the hosts or the bartenders minimum wage either, and it ends up being that if a table tips you poorly or not at all, the the WAITER is PAYING to SERVE THE TABLE, not the other way around. It’s shit, and it sucks that some people are in situations where they need that job. My minimum is 20% for decent service because of a year spent waiting. If you give crap service, I’ll give between 7-10% to cover whatever tip out that restaurant may have. If I get great service, then I usually go between 25 and 30%.

      Everyone should be required to wait tables at least a year of their life. That way they realize how royally screwed over those folks are, ESPECIALLY by chain restaurants, and therefore have a little better idea what all goes into their service.

      • god_forbids says:

        @humphrmi: Exactly, the fact that some businesses treat their employees like shit has nothing to do with me. The businesses and employees choose each other, and I can’t help if someone wants to choose what is well known to be a thankless occupation. If waiting tables is that unprofitable than I guess kids are gonna have to start working in retail.

        As an economist, I also am against the idea of wage floors. They reduce employment and harm the least capable in our society. So really, let them get $2 an hour (if the company stiffs them on the minimum wage matching). It is their choice to work for the pittance, and not my responsibility to make up for the restaurant’s cheapness. There is no excuse, in a country where workers have the right to strike and organize, for me to take the burden of both the employees to improve their lives and the restaurant to keep them placated.

    • dakotad555 says:

      @Jinx: Seriously you are a moron. If you ever came to the restaurant and complained to me that my server said something to you about not tipping, I would explain to that you were never welcome to come to my restaurant again. Then I would ask you to leave. If you came again, I would give the Dick Fuld treatment.

    • Namrepus says:


      And we’ve had a post from Mr. Pink it looks like….

    • @Jinx: I hate to be the one to inform you of this, Jinx, but servers are in the majority only paid 2.13 an hour and are forced to rely on tips. That 2.13 an hour, even if we were to claim nothing in tips, wouldn’t end up being a paycheck worth a tank of gas.

      Your leaving this comment does however intrigue me a little, it makes me wonder what type of upbringing you’ve had to make a statement so asinine, or if you’re just someone who feels discriminated against when they eat out.

      As anyone who has read my site knows, I’m not going to just stiff someone. I know there are far too many variables to place all the blame on the server.

      • HFC says:

        @The Raging Server: “As anyone who has read my site knows, I’m not going to just stiff someone. I know there are far too many variables to place all the blame on the server.”

        Because there are so many variables which could have affected the bad service and because tips are split among those many variables, it’s all the more reason to give a low (change) or zero tip. Required tipping is one paradigm we need to get out of. Reward good service, punish bad service.

        Going out to eat is a special occasion for some of us, not an everyday event. I don’t need to pay the server for their bad attitude or mistakes with my order. I usually start at 15% and go up and down throughout the meal, depending on how those many variables work out.

        • @HFC: That’s how many people are, and I respect your logic.

          When there’s a mistake with the order, I’m not going to blame the server if the food was delivered by a support person. Based on experience, most of the support staff doesn’t tend to read the ticket properly and as such, delivers food that isn’t correct or is missing something ordered. If the server that took the order is also the one who delivers the food to the table and it’s wrong, then my tip will go down as they should have caught the mistake before leaving the kitchen with it.

          Support staff make an actual pay rate and aren’t depending on tips, and where I work many of them speak little to no English and read even less. I blame management for putting them into positions dealing with guests food.

        • stre says:

          @HFC: you don’t get it. tips aren’t shared among everyone the way you think. as a server you don’t finish the night, count your tips and then take 3% and give it to the bus boys, etc. Instead, the restaurant calculates your total sales, and takes 3% from that for everyone behind the scenes. so in fact, all you do if you stiff the waiter for something he/she couldn’t control is screw the waiter and make them pay the support staff out of their own pocket, since they have to pay out 3% of what you purchased no matter what the tip is.

    • silentluciditi says:

      @Jinx: Have you ever worked for $2.50 an hour before? I have. I tried to provide exemplary service because I didn’t just want a tip, I needed those tips. If service is bad, then tip less, if it’s horrendous, don’t tip at all, but don’t assume that you shouldn’t tip because the waitstaff ‘already get paid’.

  7. seandavid010 says:

    My wife and I both worked in foodservice while in college (she was a waitress and I was a cook) and so we both know how it works. We know how hard it is to make it as a server, and what assholes the patrons can be. My wife actually served a table once where at the beginning of the meal, the guy took out 10 one dollar bills and told her that each time she made a mistake he would take a dollar out of her potential tip. He was so nit-picky that by the end of the meal there were only two dollars left. When he tried to give it to her, she just handed it back and said, “You know, it looks like you need this more than I do, pal. Keep it.”

    We take a lot of things into account when leaving a tip, like looking at how busy our server is, how many tables they’re covering, etc. It has to be really bad for us to leave no tip, and I think we’ve only done it one or two times. Usually, though, we try to leave at least 20%.

    • richcreamerybutter says:

      @seandavid010: I cannot fathom why anyone would fuck with someone who has direct access to your food.

      In my experience, cooks/chefs were also very protective of waitstaff, and if they heard a customer was being abusive, you never knew what would happen to the order upon leaving the kitchen.

      • Difdi says:


        I cannot fathom why anyone would fuck with someone who has direct access to your food.

        Possibly due to the fact that if they delay your food, they guarantee a lack of tip. They may add a little surprise to the food, but adding anything other than food to the food is a felony, so I can’t imagine a cook doing that to protect the wait staff — The consequences of being caught doing it are just too horrific.

      • ugly says:

        @richcreamerybutter: If you have ever known for a fact that this happened, and you let the food be served, then you and everyone else in that restaurant who knew of this deserves to be fired, if not thrown in prison.

        This whole argument keeps coming up and there are always a bunch of people that make a comment about this. You people are morally far far worse than those that advocate leaving no tip.

        • richcreamerybutter says:

          @ugly: @Difdi: These incidents may or may not have happened long ago, and I don’t know for sure what was involved (I had no proof, just rumors). Regardless, people can be incredibly abusive for no reason at all. If a server has an army of bitches on a given day, that can take a toll. I don’t advocate playing with food, but I understand the anger involved.

          They may add a little surprise to the food, but adding anything other than food to the food is a felony, so I can’t imagine a cook doing that to protect the wait staff

          You have never seen a cook at a 3rd rate salad bar/steakhouse, have you? :)

          It might be a felony, but why take the risk abusing waitstaff?

          • mattarse says:

            @richcreamerybutter: As someone who worked as a chef for almost a decade and only stopped 2 years ago…. Those stories may individually be true or false, but they happened to someone, and I never knew anyone who was caught and punished in any way.

            Although in truth if someone came in acting like an ass – and putting a preordained tip on the table would qualify – the server would normally just count that table off, and let us kno in the kitchen that they are a low priority. Wouldn’t make a difference to the customer on a slow night, but on a busy night it’s the server who ask for a table to pushed out quickly, and if there is already a 30-40 minute ticket time the ass would get shoved to the back of the line repeatedly and turn into a 2 hour wait until they walked out.

            Oh and richcreamybutter – I worked in fine dining restaurants for the most part, so it’s not tied to third rate salad bars ;)

        • richcreamerybutter says:

          @dale3h: Do you write a column for The Onion?

        • straddy says:

          @ugly: You are right, which is why I don’t do it. That doesn’t mean that others don’t do it. A lot of people that work in restaurants are college students trying to pay bills. The others are juvi delinquents with no qualms at all. I don’t advocate, I’m just letting people know that it happens. And it only happens when you are really horrible to your waiter, like on purpose.

    • chemicalpink says:

      @seandavid010: “My wife actually served a table once where at the beginning of the meal, the guy took out 10 one dollar bills and told her that each time she made a mistake he would take a dollar out of her potential tip. He was so nit-picky that by the end of the meal there were only two dollars left.”

      That was in an episode of Seinfeld once, George’s dad did that.

    • FLEB says:

      @seandavid010: Never worked waitstaff, but I’d be tempted to say “Keep it. I could use an easy table. Your order will be up… when I get to it.”

    • Difdi says:


      My wife actually served a table once where at the beginning of the meal, the guy took out 10 one dollar bills and told her that each time she made a mistake he would take a dollar out of her potential tip.

      The proper response to that is “Sir/Ma’am, I don’t need your tip so much that I’ll tolerate rudeness. Every time you take a dollar away, I’ll move slower by 10%”

    • SableHemlock says:

      @seandavid010: This happened in an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun. Dick didn’t understand the concept of leaving a tip and when Mary tried to explain it to him this is what he did. Funny in the show, pretty much not funny in real life.

  8. rpm773 says:

    I chose the 10% minimum answer, but that’s for a restaurant with actual “service”. I usually just blow off the tip jar at places like Dunkin Donuts, or at most just chuck my change into it. It’s getting a little ridiculous.

    • @rpm773: Yeah, screw the tip jar, unless they really blow my mind with service. “Tip Jar” places pay their employees normally, not the $2 per hour “server” wages, so the tip is just an extra for them (which is rarely merited).

    • humphrmi says:

      @rpm773: Places with tip jars don’t get any from me either. That said, at my favorite hot dog stand, we walk up to the counter, order our food, and then go find a seat for our three kids to keep them from running amok. About the time we get them settled down, our food is ready and the guy behind the counter invariably brings it to our table. Mind you, this is a hot dog stand – you’re supposed to order & pick up at the counter. So we leave a tip on the table every time, even though it’s not technically a “table service” restaurant.

      Service = Tip, plain & simple.

      • crashfrog says:

        @humphrmi: I’m with you on the tip jars, but you know, it’s the weirdest thing. I worked at a coffeehouse, and we were all like “tip jar? no way” because we all thought it was stupid (and apportioning the tips was likely to be a big headache.)

        But then customers started complaining about it! They demanded a tip jar. So we set a tip jar out. At the end of the day, it was a huge hassle to determine who was going to get what portion of the tips (equal share based on total hours worked that day? Or tip portion proportional to the busy-ness of your shift?)

        Come to think of it, I never did get my share of any of the tip jar. I think it all went into the owners pocket. Asshole.

        • junip says:

          @crashfrog: When i worked at Starbucks (I know, eww.) we split the tip jar proceeds every 2 weeks so you would get your tip money one friday and your paycheck the next friday. It was all based on how many hours you worked, and that was all. Supervisors and managers were not allowed to get tips. There was even a class action lawsuit against Starbucks for some of the stores that were giving tips to managers.

    • Luckie says:

      @rpm773: I agree. Except at Cold Stone Creamery, where they will sing for you if you give them a tip.

    • rpm773 says:

      @rpm773: I’ll add one thing. I’ve been a little more partial in the past toward pitching into the tip jar at local, non-chain stands that hire high school and college kids.

      If some poor 16 year-old wrestles with the hard ice cream and mixer when mixing my frappe, I’ll throw in a little tip for him.

    • Triterion says:

      @rpm773: What I hate is that Bars expect you to tip for pouring a freggin beer but in a Coffee shop they don’t bat an eyelash if you don’t tip. Making a non-fat no-whip mocha-latte deserves a lot better tip than a dixie-cup sized $7 beer!!!

  9. Geminijinx07 says:

    I’m usually a generous tipper – I have too many friends in the industry to be anything other than a generous tipper. I know how hard they work.

    That said, there have been 2 occasions where I didn’t tip AT ALL. One where I ordered a vegetarian dish and was served one with ham. When I complained, there was no apology at all – the server simply took the meal back and came back 20 minutes later with a new dish. The manager acted as though it was my fault and refused to apologise at all. So no tip plus a letter to management

    The other situation had the server yell at our party for being to rude as to ask for the cocktails to arrive before the meal and not 15 minutes afterwards. She went off at us for about 10 minutes when we were being polite about it. We didn’t finish our meals – just paid and left no tip.

    Otherwise, it takes a lot for me not to tip at all.

    • sleze69 says:

      @Geminijinx07: I’m with you. Generous tipper generally. Non-tipper VERY rarely.

      And if I am out on a fancy date and my date has a boobalicious outfit on AND the male server doesn’t flirt with her or ogle her goodies…BIG TIME tip.

    • proskills says:

      @Geminijinx07: I completely agree with you on this one. I travel a lot for work, and even if the service is bad I will still usually leave a tip of over 10%. Once I had great service in Atlanta, and I left a $12 tip on a $35 lunch. The last thing I want to be is a cheap ass non-tipper.

  10. catskyfire says:

    The worst tip I ever left was 5 cents and a note. The note described how to get a decent tip. We were at a local Italian buffet. The waiters prime job was to clear plates, give new ones, and refill drinks. Instead, he seemed to go out of his way to avoid us. At one point, we waved to get his attention, he waved back and went to the kitchen for awhile. The manager was nowhere to be found. I ended up writing a letter to corporate, because the service stunk that much.

    That said, I start at 15% and round from there. (Note: This is Nebraska, and we tend to be conservative on things like that.) I usually round up, sometimes up to 20%. Sometimes I round down (I’m not a fan of service with a snarl).

    I would have no issues with higher prices and no tipping required. BUT…there would need to be an easy way to handle problems. Like it or not, a lot of us don’t want to have the confrontation of talking to management. While I can accept problems with the kitchen, I do have issues when then server in a half-empty restaurant can’t keep my drink filled.

    • lincolnparadox says:

      @catskyfire: My system starts at 20%, standard, and then I drop down to 10% if the service is bad. It’s based more on easy math, rather than ethics.

      Still, if I see a reason to drop to 10%, I always speak with the manager as I leave.

  11. ScarletsWalk says:

    While I do feel badly that servers have to share out tips and make so little money, I have not tipped when the service was atrocious. (Usually I do 15-20%, but I will go higher if warranted).

    My meal is cooked poorly or wrong? Not necessarily the server’s fault and it won’t always reflect in their tip. Ordering a burger and fries and asking for ketchup (why isn’t it just brought with a burger? Think ahead!) and not getting it for 15 minutes? That’s poor service. Getting attitude about it? Not getting refills/napkins/silverware? Seriously, that is your job!

    If I see my server is swamped with a horrible party being demanding of his/her time, I’ll be fair and not be adding to his/her bad day. But blatantly ignoring me to go gossip with co-workers? Tough.

    My expectations are very low in a restaurant and it never ceases to amaze me how often they can’t be met. All I want is my food and drink and the bill when I’m done.

  12. deadspork says:

    I always leave a tip, even if it’s a small one for poor service. This is because I’ve been a waitress, and I was absolutely terrible at the job, so I feel sympathetic (I didn’t do it for very long, thankfully). For normal service I tip 20%, for exceptional service I might tip 20% + a buck or two, depending on the size of the bill.
    If you can’t afford to tip, eat at a fast food restaurant instead.

    • Geminijinx07 says:

      @deadspork: I agree with the idea if you can’t afford to tip, eat at a fast food restaurant. It’s not as though it’s a surprise that a tip is expected. Budget for meal + taxes + tip before you go out.

  13. Wubbytoes says:

    I worked at plenty of restaurants when I was younger, and if I get shit service I don’t leave a tip. I know it can be hard work, but if a server is rude or they are terrible at their job they don’t deserve a tip. I see tipping as a reward for good work.

  14. yourbffjill says:

    I’ve only refused to tip one time, and the service was absolutely terrible. Terrible as in our waitress took 25 minutes to even take our order, and then literally left the restaurant, only to appear again just as we were paying. Normally I’d leave something knowing that the hostesses are probably taking a cut, but when we asked the hostesses to help us (refills, a take-home box, the check) they would agree to find us some help and then go back to the podium and stand around. I had to walk back to the kitchen to get my own box and we had to go to the register to get someone to print out our check.

    Otherwise I tip about 10% if the service is appalling. 20% if it’s normal, more if it’s exceptional. And yeah, I wish I didn’t have to tip at all but I know those servers are making less than the already low minimum wage.

    • hexychick says:

      @yourbffjill: That’s definitely how I tip as well and there have only been two instances where I did not leave one. I think the most I’ve tipped is 40%

  15. Anonymous says:

    When I get bad service, I don’t just “not tip,” I complain to a manager with specifics. “I have been waiting 40 minutes for my meal. This has never happened to me before, and I brought friends here because this is one of my favorite places. This is unacceptable.”

    Usually I get at least a free dessert and an apology.

    If I leave a smaller tip because of a problem with the service, the server will be sure to hear exactly why from the boss.

    • trujunglist says:


      I agree with you that you should say something, but there is no way in hell I would ever do something like that until I’ve A) received all food and drinks that I will be wanting from the place and B) decide to never go there again.
      I am far too afraid of some waiter or manager, whether my comment is malicious or not, doing something unseemly with my food. People all too often put on the friendly face on the outside but are wishing you murdered on the inside. I would be scared to death of your free dessert.

      • @Jinx: “only mature people do not tip.” The statement itself is one of immaturity, Jinx. A very high majority of mature people do in fact tip because it’s a social norm. They also don’t want to be remembered on their next visit, the fear of food tampering in their minds (most of us stay away from other servers who do such things).

        Those that don’t tip with the mentality that “servers already get paid” are generally the ones who treat servers like they are lesser people, complain about imagined slights, and act like children despite their age.

    • comicgeek77 says:


      having worked as a server i can tell you this….

      1. servers work for tips and nothing else. even in a fancy joint they are getting paid less then minimum wage and (at least in most states) have taxes taken out of that meager check based on how much the place earns. meaning no tip actually just cost them money to serve you.

      2. most of the time that your order is late/cooked wrong/etc is because the kitchen staff screwed up and not the server. cooks always get a better wage and in most places health insurance and don’t really care if a diner gets mad and chews out/tattles on/stiffs a server. kitchen staff often do this to servers to cost them tips for personal reasons. sometimes your meals an hour late because your cute waitress refused to sleep with one of the cooks and the cook is getting back at her.

      3. when a server at a decent place comps you a round of drinks or dessert they are either paying for it out of their own pocket or risking their jobs by doing it covertly. and in many places when a manager comps you like this they are actually docking the servers meager check to do so. meaning even if you leave a decent tip the server might only break even.

      4. the management really don’t care when you complain. servers who show up on time and sober every day and can take the publics abuse are hard to find. they may take the price of dessert out of the servers check but they aren’t going to fire them or watch what the server does to your food (that comped dessert or round of drinks included) on the way to the table.

      5. getting stiffed by a customer is emotianally painful. especial when its not the servers fault. servers will take any and all chances to get revenge in the future. a server never forgets a customer who stiffed them.

      6. servers will do anything to drive away cheapskates/lousy tippers and management will let them get away with it. if you don’t leave a tip don’t be shocked if all of the service you get at the place from then on is awful (also don’t be surprised if rodent feces finds its way into your food). a semi regular customer is a lot more expendable then a reliable server.

  16. jpdanzig says:

    Years ago I once witnessed a waiter in a deli treating a customer with incredible rudeness. I don’t remember the issue; I just remember my companion and I both noted the way the waiter treated his customer. When the customer left, he left a nickel tip, which the waiter proceeded to throw on the floor, cursing out the departing customer. We felt compelled to remark to the manager on the way out that the waiter had been way out of line and that this was a rare instance where the serving staff deserved no tip.

  17. dale3h says:

    I always leave 15% to 22% for less-than-superb service. For superb service, I will leave about 30%. If it’s shitty service (this has been only a few cases, that’s how shitty I’m talking), I will leave anywhere up to 10%. I know this is wrong, but I once had service so bad that I left a negative tip and wrote a note telling her to make up the difference by providing better service to the next table she has.

    If my server is pregnant, and the service is superb, I will leave up to 100%. However, if I find out you’re wearing a fake belly, you’ll get nothing whatsoever.

    My most important feat is keeping my water full. If you’re not busy and I have to let you know that I need water, you just deducted a small amount off of your service quality. The reason this is extremely important to me is because when I am eating, I always have to have fluid to wash my food down completely before taking the next bite. This is even more-so true for clumpy foods such as rice, bread, fries, etc. However, if you POLITELY bring me a pitcher of water, that adds a bit to your quality of service. If you bring it because you’re lazy and don’t want to fill it up every 5 minutes, then f@%k you and your tip.

  18. DaynaRT says:

    I don’t tip. Ever.

    • kenboy says:

      @DaynaRT: As long as you don’t dine out, that’s fine.

    • straddy says:

      @DaynaRT: Then you’ve probably got venereal diseases from the amount of bodily crap in your food. And I am so NOT joking, you cheapskate.

      • Counterpoint says:

        @Jen: Then everyone would be in the same situation, right? The cooks don’t know that you didn’t tip until after you’ve eaten…

      • Trick says:


        What an incentive! Tip or have the food you did pay for tampered with. What’s next, tip the waiter before you even order so they can determine how much they will tamper with your food?

        That aside, those who don’t tip vs. those who are bitter and actually remember someone who didn’t tip and then tampering with their food are quite slim. Both are on the extremes of both sides.

        That said, the few times I haven’t tipped also meant I haven’t returned to the restaurant. There are plenty of others who do deserve my patronizing so I don’t think twice about it.

        Still, if a food server tampers with the food because he or she didn’t get a tip… they probably suck anyway and should go back to acting…

      • Osi says:


        Sbhmns shld b bnnd frm cmmntng .. dn’t lt th dr ht y n th wy t f .. lf.

    • toxbrux says:

      @DaynaRT: Yay already-included tips! Love that VAT thing we have in Europe. That counts as the tip in my book.

      If it’s excellent service, then I leave a small tip, maybe around 10%. If service is terrible, I leave no tip and never feel guilty about it.

      • Benny Gesserit says:

        @toxbrux: VAT is “Value Added Tax”; it’s a sales tax and the staff don’t see a penny of it.

        Now, European restaurants sometimes clearly identify themselves as “Service Included”, meaning a standard service charge will be added. There, and only there in my opinion, is a zero tip acceptable for poor service. If the service is good, we usually tip 10%. Euro readers, did I get that right?

      • jamar0303 says:

        @toxbrux: Same here in China. I love the whole “not tipping” thing. And the fact that I can get myself a nice dinner for less than US$10 here.

    • "I Like Potatoes" says:

      Well – generally you don’t have to tip when your mom cooks all your meals.

    • elmuchachos says:

      @DaynaRT: Then dont ever come out. Tell me where you work and Ill come to your store and figure out a way for you to not make money.

    • @DaynaRT:

      Your mommy pays for all your meals?

      Have you ever frequented a restaurant for a second or third visit?

      Do you pack any personal protection? ’cause one day a waiter is going to take your arse out if know what I mean.

    • Jester6641 says:

      @DaynaRT: I very much feel like you’re trying to make a Reservoir Dogs reference and no one else is getting it.

      That, or you are a jerk.

    • resonanteye says:


      You are not someone I would like to sit down to a meal with. Ever.

  19. GeoffinAround says:

    I’m a former waiter. I tip 20% for solid service, 10-15% if it was not so good. I have no qualms with leaving no tip if the service was exceptionally bad… maybe happens only a couple times a year.

    That said, in the example given I would probably leave loose change, at most $0.50. The service clearly did not go out of their way to -serve- you, so they were just as clearly not doing anything to earn their money.

    & on the whole “gratuity or not” issue, we need a much, much higher minimum wage if we’re trying to eliminate tips. Australia minimum wage is AU$26, I believe, to name just one example. Let’s not make people have to work two full-time gigs to get by, hm? Even if it is a “low-skill” job.

    • seamer says:

      @GeoffinAround: Dunno where you got $26 from, but thats extraordinarily high, probably a mining/building industry wage. $20/hour is more like it, and the level of service is still noteworthy.

  20. WhitlawOdysseus says:

    I frequent a “foodie” board in a major city with lots of hugely expensive world-class restaurants (or at least they THINK they’re world-class).

    I don’t have that kind of money (I’m more an ‘immigrant-owned hole-in-the-wall place’ guy) but DAILY I see posts like this:

    ‘I spent $250 on dinner for two, and the food arrived frozen in the middle [I swear this is real] and our entrees arrived an hour after our salads and the server spilled a full glass of wine and didn’t apologize or replace the wine … do you think I should have said something to the manager? Maybe I will when we go back again.’ WTF?????

    On the other hand, I also frequent a board where working folks vent their frustrations, and there are daily horror stories about ill-tempered, condescending, ‘entitled’ customers who wouldn’t be satisfied with anything. I never see any waiter’s blog without equal tales of nastiness.

    So there are two sides to consider in this issue.

    Since I spend such a modest amount at my accustomed haunts (and, BTW, the REAL ‘world-class’ meals are served in such places for very little money) I tip generously (20% to 25%) and I’m repaid with a warm greeting when I return, excellent service, and some tips about ‘off-the-menu’ specialties I should try.

    I’ve had awful service and tipped little, once or twice I’ve tipped nothing, but in those cases it was clearly the fault of bad waitstaff, not the kitchen’s fault.

  21. komodork says:

    Back in the days, people gave tips for a beyond the world service. these days its common for people to give tip even for okay service. I only give 10% and some odd cents. I remember 1 time I never left a tip, well only like 56 cents or so and the lady started yelling!

  22. drkkgt says:

    I always give a small tip even if the service is lousy and a good tip if it is good. However, if it is really bad, I always ask for the manager and comment and I do the same if the service is really good too. It’s kind of funny to see manager’s get a little nervous around me (I am 6’5″ and ex military) only to have me tell them how great the service was. Some manager’s will greet me by name now.

  23. HPCommando says:

    Long ago, MAD Magazine had a bit on restaurant waiters, and one cartoon has come in useful over the years.

    The table is a disaster and a note is taped to one clean plate that reads: I looked for you the whole meal; now you look for the tip.

    I’ve worked floor

  24. uberbucket says:

    I’ve had a waiter follow me outside to inform me that I had forgotten the tip. It was the single worst dining experience of my life and the idea of rewarding such a horrible experience,(wrong orders, cold food, ridiculous wait time, indignant waiter), was insult to injury.

    I believe that was the only time I had never left a tip.

    • sprocket79 says:

      @uberbucket: Ok, I’m curious. What did you say to him in response?

    • Jupichan says:


      Yeah, I’ve had a manager follow me and my party outside before. Saying “My employee says you hardly left a tip – was there something wrong with your service?”

      Meanwhile, the service was great, and we left what we thought was a tip reflecting such. I think we left about $30 on a $100-ish bill.

      And that wasn’t good enough for her. Kinda ticked us off a bit.

      • Jupichan says:


        Ah, crap. I forgot something. Not only did we have the manager follow us out, our sever eventually came out with the tip that we did leave her. She handed it back to us saying that we “obviously needed it more than she did.”

        That’s what ticked us off. Heh. The manager coming out just confused us.

  25. Groovymarlin says:

    I live in Northern Virginia, and have found that we get pretty bad service as a rule around here (compared with the Midwest, where I used to live, and the service was almost always very good). I guess that “tipping is not a motivation for good service” thing is true, at least here. But what I’ve noticed is, when I’m in Las Vegas, I always get STELLAR service everywhere I go, from a Starbucks to a food court stand to a four-star steakhouse. Not to mention, I’ve always gotten over-the-top helpful service from everyone else in Las Vegas too, not just wait staff. And I honestly think it’s because Las Vegas has such a tipping culture – you tip EVERYONE for EVERYTHING there. Could it be that in LV, the tip-as-reward system works, where in other places it doesn’t?

    Or are my experiences just bizarre?

    • ThePhantomBantam says:

      @Groovymarlin: Nope, the Washington area just has terrible service. I work and live in the District and trust me, it is much better in NoVA, and that isn’t saying much.

    • darkstarX says:

      @Groovymarlin: Wow, that is so strangely true! I grew up in McLean, and the terrible service at some of the Tysons Corner places was simply epic. I have moved to central Virginia since then, and there really is a big difference in service and treatment of customers. I think it might be related to the general stressful, competitive atmosphere of NoVa, that and the freakin traffic.

  26. ToddC says:

    Unless it’s a large group, I don’t think a tip should be automatic. Why doesn’t that restaurant instead just raise its prices by 18% and tell the customers that tip is included in the meal?

    • Difdi says:

      @ToddC: Even in a large group, tips shouldn’t be automatic. If a waiter is rude to one person and gets no tip, why should they be able to get a tip for being rude to 20 people?

      • bonzombiekitty says:

        @Difdi: They add a automatic gratuity because a large party takes up a disproportional amount of a server’s time and they don’t want the server to be stiffed by them. Let’s say there’s 8 people. It’s not a big deal of those 8 people are seated at 4 separate tables, it’s not as big a deal if one table doesn’t tip. But if they’re all at one table, it is a big deal if that one table doesn’t tip, or tips way too little.

        If your server for a large party is sub-par and you don’t think he/she deserves the tip, usually you can get the manager to remove it.

  27. nagumi says:

    So here in Israel, 10% is standard (as opposed to 15-20% in the US). 15% is “GREAT service”, 20% is “I have a mental defect”.

    Maybe this is how y’all got into so much debt?

    Anyhoo, I tip 10% rounded up.

  28. CyrusOpeth says:

    “Just add an 18% service charge to the posted price and call it a day.” How is this any different than what Ticketmaster does? (See previous article.)

    What this idea continues is the idea that businesses can post one price to get you in, then not let you have the product in any way for that price. That’s crap, and must stop. Now. It should be absolutely illegal under any circumstances to advertise one price but charge another price. That would stop Ticketmaster, restaurants, and anyone else from pulling shenanigans. The price you pay is the price they post–period. And if everyone has to do it, that levels the playing field. Most importantly, it gives us, the CONSUMER, a TRUE indication of the purchase price of the product. By the way, this should also include rebate situations–no more “IT’S ONLY TEN DOLLARS (after instant rebate of $10 and mail in rebate of $30)” crap. The advertised price must reflect the amount of money I must pull out of my pocket in order to acquire the product. Period.

    • fever says:


      Because buying tickets isn’t associated with extra fees. Going to a restaurant and being waited on IS associated with extra fees, or should be. If you aren’t prepared to tip, then you shouldn’t eat out at a restaurant where you are served. It’s simple. Also, they aren’t advertising one price and charging another, as I’m sure there’s a disclaimer on the menu, door, somewhere that says an 18% service charge will be levied, just like those restaurants that automatically add a similar-percentage gratuity for large parties.

      • FLEB says:

        @fever: If it’s a mandatory charge, it should be advertised as part of the price, because… well… it is part of the price. They could just as easily asterisk prices with “While we welcome additional tips for exceptional service, compensation for wait- and kitchen- staff is part of the listed price of your meal.”

        The fact that custom and courtesy would dictate a similar charge has no bearing– the restaurant is taking that decision away from “custom and courtesy” and making it into “line-item nickel-diming”, just like Ticketmaster and the phone company.

        • lihtox says:

          @CyrusOpeth, @FLEB: I mostly agree with you, but I can’t help but think of a counterexample: the hospital. I went to the hospital one time for a banged up knee, and when I got the bill (which I ended up paying for, thanks to crappy insurance) it listed, among other things, “Gauze: $20”. Did the gauze really cost them $20, or were they just charging $20 because they needed extra money to pay for the underinsured, or whatever? I would have happily paid the bit extra to help the poor, but I felt like a fool, paying $20 for gauze, like I was buying a meal at the airport. To my mind, it would have been better if they had sold me the gauze at retail, and added an x% fee as a separate item, specifying what that money was for. (Of course, maybe they were just ripping me off: “Where else are ya gonna get gauze? Hobble to the nearest pharmacy? Hahaha!”)

          I’m not sure that carries over into other fields, though: I’m rather torn on the subject.

          • @lihtox: I think I would have refused to pay for the gauze upon checking out of there, walked over to the ubiquitous hospital-area-pharmacy, grabbed a big package of gauze for $4, gone back and handed it to the billing department. “Here’s your gauze back, assholes.”

      • TechnoDestructo says:


        You’ve never been to a non-tipping country, have you?

      • CarnageSIS says:

        @fever: So if I have enough money to cover the cost of my meal, but not to leave a tip then I do not deserve to go out and have a nice meal prepared for me? That’s bull, yea it sucks for the waite staff, but the resturant is better for having my business if I leave the waiter $3 or not.

    • @CyrusOpeth: More importantly, whereas Ticketmaster sells via a nearly automated process and receives a portion of the actual ticket sales, extra fees notwithstanding, when you go to a restaurant, someone is actually waiting on you hand and foot.

      This is an actual service akin to getting a massage, or a pedicure, or any other action on your behalf requiring physical labor by another human being. I believe those of us that choose to take on the masses in this way should be rewarded accordingly, especially since fees relative to the goods and services you receive are low (unless you’re at an overpriced restaurant in which case we all know money isn’t a factor to you anyway.)

      By contrast, you don’t tip some other service-oriented industries because the fees they charge are commensurate with what the business allegedly deserves for providing whatever it is it provides.

      Ticketmaster is a whole different story. They rape you for absolutely no reason, doing little otherwise in the process, while laughing all the way to the bank. That, my friend, is absolutely unacceptable.

    • ugly says:

      @CyrusOpeth: I’m complete with you in principle, however what about situations where the complete price is unknown? Take ticketmaster for instance. Those portions that are known to be required could absolutely be included, but what about delivery charge? What about state taxes that might be 0 depending on location?

      Perhaps they should have an option that is available for $0 additional fees excluding tax, and all other “upgrades” would be predicated on that price, so you could actually decide if it’s worth it to you.

      But then do you legislate how hard it is to take advantage of that price? What about restrictions?

    • TheFuzz53 says:


      Tipping is BS. Why should I have to be the one that has to pay a company’s employees. Maybe the company should actually pay these people instead of the customer.

      • innout3x3 says:

        @TheFuzz53: Agreed. Almost every other occupation in the US does not receive tips. Why should we tip waiters and waitresses? Sorry your company doesn’t pay you enough. Just make food cost more and pay your employees what they deserve.

        • magstheaxe says:

          @innout3x3: Actually, most people in the service industries receive tips. Hairstylists and barbers, doormen, delivery people, taxi drivers, and more.

          • Powerlurker says:


            The worst one is bathroom attendants. I hate it when a restaurant has them. I can get my own soap and I’d like to be able to take a piss without feeling guilted into tipping for a service I have absolutely no interest in.

    • Triterion says:

      @CyrusOpeth: Even before you sit down at the Linkery they tell you about the 18% so you have the option to walk away!

  29. eskimo81 says:

    My wife and I have a sliding scale. If we bad service, we leave little to no tip, but we put what we would normally have tipped in a pot.

    When we get good service again, the lucky waiter/waitress gets the pot on top of their regular tip.

    It’s rare that we get lousy service more than once in a row, but I remember it happened one tip where our tip was almost as much as the bill.

  30. Minn says:

    Its a myth that wait staff get paid less than minimum wage. Their base pay is indeed lower because they are expected to get tips. HOWEVER, if they don’t receive enough tips to bring them up to minimum wage, their employer is required to pay the rest. That means that they are ALWAYS making at least minimum wage. So the question comes down to this: Is the job deserving of making more than min wage? My personal answer is no.

  31. mlradio says:

    Of *course* it’s reasonable to leave no tip…but only for no service. Tips are not mandatory – if they were, they would not be called ‘tips’.

    There have only been a handful of times when I have left no tip – it requires exceptionally bad service, though – to the point of talking to the manager and/or never returning to the establishment ever again. And the few times I’ve left no tip, I feel it is important to also leave some sort of note explaining why.

  32. 628 says:

    I was eating at a Japanese place that I always go to, and although they have *decent* service, I find myself going back because of their low prices.

    I somewhat caused a scene one time because of the wait time of having my order taken, and how long the food took to get to my group. Fortunately though, the manager came over and apologized. Since then, every time I stepped foot into the restaurant he would greet me and during my meal, he would come up and ask if I was finding everything alright.

    Totally beside the point though. So I was there maybe about 3 weeks ago with 2 of my buddies…one guy ordered his usual, I ordered my usual, and the other guy who we don’t bring their often (and is REALLY picky about his food..) ordered his dish without vegetables and no soup, and asked to have his vegetables substituted with another order of rice (and the waiter look totally sure as to what he just ordered).

    So our food comes (and it was served by someone else), and my and the other guy’s food is fine, but my picky friend’s food is wrong. He’s never brave enough to speak up for himself, so I mentioned the mistake for him. So I tell the guy who served us (not the original waiter…who’s nowhere to be found) what my friend requested. He told us “you didn’t ask for that.” We were like “yeah…we did.” And back and fourth a couple of times, he asks “so did you want it like that or not?” (with an attitude).

    At that point we were like “never mind…forget it.”

    Although not so much a big deal, my friend can pick his vegetables out, just not drink the soup, and…deal with having half the rice he wanted, but we all agreed to leave a very very small tip. Something like 3 percent.

    So we put our money down, we’re heading out to the parking lot…and…he chases us on the way out.

    “I think you forgot the tip!”

    I just kept walking, but my friend who can’t stand up for himself gave him like $5..

    Never going back.

  33. PsychicPsycho3 says:

    I wish I lived in New Zealand where tipping is considered RUDE. Why is it up to the customers to shoulder the burden of properly paying a company’s employees?

    • Decaye says:

      @PsychicPsycho3: You do realize that if they paid waitstaff roughly the amount that they make including tips, the costs would be reflected in the food, right? It’s not like they budget $8/hour for waitstaff, pay them 2.50, and then pocket the rest. Restaurants are extremely difficulty to make profitable.

      • jusooho says:

        @Decaye: Thank you for your input. As a customer, I now recognize that I am truly responsible for the profitablity of a restaurant, and will try harder to do my part to contribute to the owner’s financial well-being. I am truly sorry that restaurants are difficult to “make profitable.”

        • crazylady says:

          @jusooho: Having been in the foodservice-related small before, I know many, many businesses are barely profitable and even less so now with rising food costs. Sorry it’s a *business* and nobody wants to run a business that can’t at least break even. Restaurants aren’t publicly funded entities operating for your benefit.

          Plus don’t be silly. If minimum wage for waitstaff that are tipped were raised to living wage standards, owners have no choice but to pass that on to the consumers. You can expect a huge jump in prices at restaurants if that happens.

          • jusooho says:

            @crazylady: No one asks these businesses to operate for my benefit. But even my stockbroker and my dentist don’t operate on a “tipping” basis, what makes a restaurant so special that normal business rules don’t apply to them? Tradition? If so, why should I let tradition reach into my wallet?

            • crazylady says:

              @jusooho: I don’t disagree that the wage is crazy. The lowest-paid person I hired I paid them $15/hr plus tips and extras for special occasions. I think the minimum wage for these people is fairly outrageous and impossible (I live in LA).

              I’m just saying, owners want to make SOME money from the business. To raise this minimum wage means they will pass on the cost to the consumer. I don’t know if people will be very happy with that. I would like to see it change, but I’m more worried about the public backlash from people who suddenly see their food easily double in cost to accommodate for such a change.

              • jusooho says:

                @crazylady: Basically, we’re stuck. Though I am of the mind, if we are eating out, we can afford to be tipping, I don’t like the idea. Yet, it is there, so I tip.

                In Korea, tipping seems like a silly idea. If you’re to leave money on the table, a waitress is likely to come running with it to bring it to you out the door.

                But here, we’re stuck. oh well. We can’t change a whole world, so let’s tip.

                • crazylady says:

                  @jusooho: Heh, it’s been a while so I just looked up the info on minimum wage for california and the general minimum wage applies even to waitstaff, so I suppose this $2/hour nonsense depends on where one lives.

                  And oh yes, I know what you mean (I’m korean, hah). The korean restaurants even in LA are like that..and the service you get too…I remember I had a birthday dinner at a korean restaurant once and the waitress just completely ruined it – ignored our small group, had to be asked multiple times for everything except the check, was a bitch about accepting the credit card (tax evasion anyone?), didn’t want to refill our drinks, didn’t even want to get the alcohol we wanted…it was just a train wreck. I think I left like $5, which was like less than 5% of the bill. In comparison, other birthday dinners I’ve had that went well I’ve tipped as much as 50% on top of any extra the restaurant added for big groups. Jeeeeezus.

            • FLEB says:

              @jusooho: While I understand where you’re coming from, in that you shouldn’t be forced to do that which you are not required to do, when living in a place with the entrenched custom and tipping level it becomes a known quantity, and something to plan for. Basically, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”.

              While moving to a non-tip/higher-price culture would work if every business did it at the same time, any business owner who does so in the nearly ubiquitous tip-based culture leaves themselves as the odd man out. (Although, if they spin it right and inform their clientele correctly, it could end up being a positive feature– a simpler, more straightforward dining experience.)

              Personally, I agree that tipping is a pain, mostly because it’s dictated by social mores and unspoken agreement. This makes it a problem, especially when using a new or unfamiliar service, whether a tip is a ripoff or requirement. I know to tip for table service, but a “tip jar” is usually a ripoff. On the other hand, I’ve never paid for the services of a taxi or a bellhop, so I’d be completely lost in those situation.

              Then you have, as PP3 mentioned, places where tipping is rude– to which I would have to say that anyone offended by an overabundance of gratitude, and free money to boot, really needs to chill. While you could legitimately take offense at being accidentally cold-shouldered or stiffed by an unknowing foreigner, being offended by a common cultural misunderstanding in your favor suggests someone who seeks offense for the sake of being offended.

      • magstheaxe says:

        @Decaye: Quite frankly, I have no problem with that! I would LOVE to have the waitstaff’s wages included in the price.

    • richcreamerybutter says:

      @crazylady: How do establishments in non-tipping countries stay profitable? I don’t notice an extreme markup when dining internationally. Perhaps US restaurants could use them as a guide?

      I’d be curious to hear Gordon Ramsay’s thoughts on US vs other countries’ restaurant business models.

      • MoreFunThanToast says:

        @richcreamerybutter: Yes. People don’t tip in China, but it doesn’t cost one an atrocious amount of money to dine out either.

        And I would also like to add that, although something like 70% of restaurants fail within the first year, those that make it through actually make a lot of money. My mother works at a fairly established restaurant and they make something like 20,000 a night on weekdays.

  34. Pylon83 says:

    For good service, I tip ~20%. For neutral service, I’ll do 15%. For poor/mediocre service, closer to 10%. If it’s really bad, I’ll just round up plus a dollar or so. There have been a couple of occasions where I did not tip at all, but the service has to be pretty atrocious to get to that point.
    That said, I despise tipping. I think it’s an arcane practice and used by restaurants to avoid paying their employees a proper wage. I think it’s past time to dispense with the “server” exception to the minimum wage laws and force companies to pay their waitstaff properly. I would rather see an increase in the actual cost of the food than to always have to assume that my dinner will cost 30% (tax and tip) more than the menu price. I generally despise added fees and charges, and believe they should just be rolled into the face charge for the service.

  35. TexasBelle says:

    I tip 20% for good, 15% for average, and 10% or less for sub-par. I’ve been known to go 30% for exceptional service. What bothers me a lot about the pay scale for wait staff is the stupidly low minimum wage most states allow restaurateurs to get away with paying. $2 an hour?? That obligates me to leave a tip or else imagine the guy’s kids going hungry, which I resent. But even worse, it’s grossly unfair to wait staff in lower-end restaurants. When your customers are well-heeled and the average check runs $50 or more per person, waiting tables can be a great living. But what if you wait tables at Applebee’s, or – worse – a buffet place? Same minimum wage, but vastly smaller tips, and often no tips at all. Wait staff at those places sometimes don’t even make it all the way up to the real minimum wage. No wonder they have high turnover.

    • @TexasBelle: I worked at a mid-level Italian place, average price per person (food and drink) about $20, and would do $1200-$2000 in a night in total billing (better on weekends).

      I had a friend working for a local diner, average person spent about $8, but could bill $1400-2400 a shift. People tend to turn over tables at the crappier places quicker, they stay busy during the down hours (3-6, closing) and with fewer “steps of service” they work far more tables at once.. Of course they work harder, but see a whole lot more customers, and can do just as well. Places like Fridays/Applebees are somewhere in the middle, since they can run 4-5 tables well, have a low tip out, and alcohol can inflate a bill quick.

      Meanwhile I worked at a much higher end French place (for a small town) when I was in college, entrees in the mid 20s and usually included lots of alcohol. My average bill was in the $100s, but people tended to sit forever, and because the service was so high-maintenance and the busy hours were so limited I may only have gotten 10 tables a night.

    • Decaye says:

      @TexasBelle: TracyHamandEggs! pretty much nailed it. I was at Capital Grille the other night, the check came to about $300, and the waiter was excellent, so he took away $70 or so, but we were there for 3 hours, and he only had 2 other tables, and they’re only open from 5-10 or so, so maybe 5-6 tables all night.

      You aren’t obligated to leave a tip just because he is underpaid. You are encouraged to leave a tip if he does his job properly, that’s the point. Don’t feel bad about leaving no tip if he did a terrible job, he got what he deserved.

      • TexasBelle says:

        @Decaye: Hey, thanks to you both for setting me straight. I’ve never waited tables and was going strictly on what I thought was reliable hearsay. As with many things, it’s more complicated than it first seems. I’ll try not to feel obligated!

  36. bananaballs says:

    There are two standards to service with me: Capability and affability. Meaning, if you are both capable and affable, you get the best tip. If you are friendly, yet less than stellar at your job, or vice versa, you get a pass. If you are neither, you get some change and a frowny-face on the bill.

    I worked service, so I am more forgiving about certain things, and less on others. It’s simple.

    • mmmsoap says:

      @bananaballs: I worked service, so I am more forgiving about certain things, and less on others. It’s simple.

      I’m with you. It’s frequently not the waiter’s fault that the kitchen is slow, and I try to not punish him for it. But it is his responsibility to communicate with us about it. When someone is cheerful and apologetic about mistakes, the mistakes are far easier to forgive.

  37. Maglet says:

    I’m not rewarding terrible service, for whatever reason. There are issues each time I go out to eat it seems. Messed up order, very slow service, inattentive waitstaff, foreign objects in my food, lukewarm food, etc. If I left a tip for that, it’d be like tipping them (the establishment) for annoying me! No thanks to that!

    I’m a tipper. I always tip when my service was timely and I had a good experience. Always. But if I got bad service (and I’m not talking about someone in customer service not being “nice” to me, because well, that’s stupid. They don’t have to be nice to me, they just have to be polite, accurate, and timely for me to care…), then I’m not giving you any more of our hard-earned money after the bill is settled.

    I don’t know why anyone would expect different.

  38. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    I think it’s perfectly acceptable to refuse to leave a tip for truly horrible service. By this, I mean cases where the waitstaff was rude, arrogant, or just didn’t seem to care.

    Sometimes poor service is not the waitstaff’s fault…being understaffed or having a tour bus pull up when there are only two people on the floor is a different situation entirely. In this case, I’ll still leave an average tip.

  39. IrvCrapper says:

    1) Waiters and waitresses should be paid a living wage BEFORE the tip is given, that way I’m not blackmailed into tipping.

    2) Everyone has experienced such bad service that they’ve not tipped. Likewise, everyone has experienced such outstanding service that they’d absurdly over-tipped.

    If both of these are not the case with you, they will be.

    • Decaye says:

      @IrvCrapper: You realize that if they have to pay every waiter or waitress four times as much then they are going to have to raise prices just as significantly, right? Pay attention, money doesn’t grow on trees.

      • Jackasimov says:

        @Decaye: Yes, but it should easily be offset by how many people are paying right? I say raise the prices. It couldn’t be that much. Hell, I’m already paying 20% over the bill.

      • ROCKYLIFE says:


        So what if restaurant food costs more to cover wages? EVERYTHING ELSE in the world has the cost of employee wages built into the price, why does restaurant food need to work differently for some reason? Is it a right of some kind to be offered prepared food at some special discount price?

        Most employed people can afford to buy and prepare their own food. If you have the extra money to purchase the services of someone else, then do so. If you cannot, continue to prepare your own food. Simple.

        The specific cost of restaurant prepared food is not something that needs to be regulated so everyone can participate in the purchase of same.

        PAY a decent wage for the job, and PRICE your food accordingly to compensate for said wages. What is so complicated about that? Obviously if the food is ALREADY priced at a profitable level, and the restaurant is not supported by the funding from tips (as it goes to the waitstaff) then simple mathematics tell you that raising your food prices by the same percentage that tips are adding on average to a transaction will take in EXACTLY THE SAME AMOUNT OF MONEY – which can then be distributed to wages.

        Of course, if you’re talking about UNREPORTED CASH INCOME on which no Income tax is paid, it’s a different story … but no waitstaff would ever do that, would they? ;)

  40. dumanue says:

    You guys have no clue how I think tips are retarded, so very much retarded, tips are there so that service owners, aka, restaurants/valet/massage/etc will be exempt from paying their people slightly higher prices.

    And I can tell you with 100% certainty, that people DO NOT like to tip, unless you’re one of those people who likes to show off in front of your friends/family.

    I work as a valet, and I usually make $5 in tips in a days work, thats pathetic, I have older people, rich people that don’t tip at all, I go far beyond the call of duty to assist them, help them out and in to their car, get their strollers or whatever those walking assistant things called, and still at the end of the night I just get my service charge money with no tip, that’s pathetic.

    In a society where tips are encouraged, there should be an etiquette rule saying, if you make more than a certain amount, lets say $60k a year, you MUST tip.

    On the flip coin, I’d rather eliminate all forms of tipping in our society, and get the owners pay more for their servers.

    • Decaye says:

      @dumanue: Waitstaff aren’t paid slightly less. They are basically paid enough to cover their federal taxes. It’s completely different, and you are probably an idiot.

    • mmmsoap says:

      @dumanue: Not that I am usually in a situation where I would have the opportunity to use valet service, but:

      (1) I’m not sure that most people are aware that they are “supposed” to tip valets. Our (the masses) contact with servers is so ubiquitous, and almost everyone has either been one or is close to someone who has, so we know the industry. Not the same with valet parking, or bellhops, etc.

      (2) I imagine it’s probably a lot harder as cash is disappearing from people’s wallets. I almost never carry cash anymore. It’s easy to take on $15 to a bill via my credit card. Unless you carry a card swiper — and if you did, that would be weird — it’s going to be harder to get a tip from me.

  41. DeeHaney says:

    Having done retail for awhile, there is only once I remember not leaving a tip. But I’m not sure that counts since there wasn’t any bill either. It was kinda bad service to the extreme. Walked in, and though many walked by, and there were no other customers waiting, we weren’t acknowledged for about 15 minutes. Then some guy just said, “oh sit anywhere” as he walked by. So we sat, then after about ten more minutes, were told we couldn’t sit there and were asked to move. The final straw for me was when we were finally able to order drinks. This was a restaurant with a full bar, and someone asked for a Corona. She was told they did not have Corona. So everyone ordered what they did have, but after the server left, it finally hit me, “get out, it’s not going to get any better”. So we go up to leave, and on our way out, another server stopped us to say, “Yes, of course we have Corona, I can get you one.” We thanked her, but left anyway.

    The other extreme was the restaurant we went to after leaving that place. Everything is always so great, we left a note expressing this to our server and the rest of the staff. Next time we came back many visited with us to thank us for the gesture.

  42. Roclawzi says:

    I worked in restaurants long enough that I have significant expectations of what is appropriate service and when I get someone who is just “showing up for the tip”, they don’t get much of one. But solid service gets 20% and exceptional service gets 30-35%. However, I generally know within 15 seconds whether or not the server is just there for the tip or is there to provide good service, so if I feel like they are just going to do the bare minimum for the tip, I’m not as good a customer because my expectations are shot.

    Only time I ever completely stiffed the waiter is when he came back from being MIA for 30 minutes (coworker brought out the food and refilled the drinks) and smelled pretty heavily of pot, and was acting stoned. So I tipped the person who brought out the food, and then had another server get the cook for me, and I tipped him too because the food was excellent, and then I tipped the hostess on the way out. I wonder if the waiter got the message?

  43. sleze69 says:

    I am guessing that those who dispise people leaving no tip for bad service are also the people in favor of rewarding the banking industry for bad investments…

    You should reap what you sow.

  44. Kia says:

    I don’t eat out a lot, and when I do I usually happen to have some spare cash around. If it’s even good service, not exceptional, I usually tip around 30%, and I’ve had dates where me and my partner match each other’s tip to go as high as 50%.

    I just think it’s nice to pass on a little extra!

  45. Thorgryn says:

    I typically tip generously. That said, there was one occasion where I left my waitress a nickel. Me and a friend went out for breakfast on the way to somewhere else. They weren’t too busy inside so it wasn’t load related as to why the service was so poor. We are seated, order drinks and tell the waitress that it would be separate checks. She replied “Isn’t it a bit late for that?” in a very hostile sounding voice (we had been seated for a grand total of about 3 minutes at that point) Warning bells went off in my head at that point. After a very long time our food arrives it was covered in grease, and the waitress promptly disappeared for over half an hour. We eventually had to have someone else print the ticket, which was not split and we pay. There was no manager on duty, she got $.15 tip and we never went back there. 2 Months later I drove by that area again and saw that the place was closed down.

    At least my friend and I can laugh over the experience.

  46. Tijil says:

    My first real job as an adult was in a restaurant, and I believe that has affected how I view tips.

    The waitstaff can’t control kitchen quality, and if they come down hard on the kitchen staff, you can guess what happens to the food quality and timing for that wait person’s customers…

    What the waitstaff can and does control is their interaction with the customer, and even though just about anyone can have a bad day, making someone else’s day miserable with poor service isn’t the way to go.

    For good service I tip 15%, for outstanding service I will tip considerably more. I will also hunt down the manager and let them know how much nicer the person waiting on me made my day.

    For grumpy but adequate service I might leave 10%, for poor service I will leave less or even nothing.

    If the service is bad enough for me to leave less than 10%, I’ll again hunt down the manager and let them know they have a problem.

    Most places that have the “how did we do” cards to fill out, I will actually take the time to fill one out and critique the service and food.

    Lastly, there have been times where the kitchen staff has done such an unexpectedly exemplary job that I will make sure to communicate to THEM and the manager how much that is appreciated, and will even try to ensure that THEY get a tip.

    Last time I did that was in Hamilton, Montana where the kitchen at a local restaurant was so consistently excellent during our week in Hamilton that we personally thanked not only the waitstaff but the kitchen staff, and pinned down the manager to tell him what a fantastic crew he had. (And yes, everyone got tips to show that we really did mean it. That cost us extra on that trip that we probably shouldn’t have spent, but outstanding service deserves to be recognized.)

    The biggest tip I believe I leave, though, is my return business and recommendations to others.

    • FLEB says:

      @booboolee: My instinct would be “no”, or at least “only if it’s convenient” (if you have disposable cash on hand). While this may seem unfair to the waitstaff, it’s not up to me to compensate– it’s up to the staff and the owners to realize that if they want tipping, they need to retool their system to allow it.

    • pdxguy says:

      @Tijil: Dunno what it is about Montana and customer service but I hope they don’t quit. On a trip to Missoula I found genuinely nice, polite, great customer service everywhere. From local diners and cafes to McDonalds of all places. The McD’s was when we were getting ready to leave town and we went thru the drive-thru. The woman at the food window (not cash window) thanked us so much for stopping there and asked if there was anything else she could do to help us that morning. Wife and I were just about dumb-struck with that kind of customer service. The norm is usually having it thrust into our faces with some half-English muttering.

  47. greggdetroit does not like the American South says:

    I’ve been making my living off tips for at least 2 years now, and lived off my mother’s tip money for 18 years prior. Of course you should not tip sometimes! There are enough bad servers in the world that only stay in the business because people throw money at them. I say stiff the bad server and make sure you speak to management. It’s like a peer-review process.

  48. Cameraman says:

    My favorite resturaunt recently added a 15% “service charge”. Service at this place went straight to hell.

    My wife and I walk in almost an hour before closing time- no reservations, but we could see they were almost empty. We each order a salad, an entree, and a drink.

    My wife gets her salad. Five minutes later, I get my salad and my entree. A minute later we get my salad and both entrees.

    I should mention the table does NOT have enough room for 2 salads and two entrees at the same time.

    10 minutes alter, the waitress asks us if we want dessert. I ask for our drinks, which takes another 5 minutes to come.

    Then the waitress starts hovering.

    Fine. Maybe we showed up too near to closing time. Whatever. But we come back another two times, and both times we get rushed, surly, incompotant service.

    Now, I was taught to tip, and as I work in the service industry myself I understand the value of a tip. But come on. Taking away my choice of wether to tip or not takes away my ability to punish the waitress for doing a poor job.

    Oh, and to add insult to injury, on the bottom of the check it asks if we’d like to add a tip. I’ve taken to writing “LOL”. Yes, we still eat there, because the food is great. We just order the appetizer, and then ask for the menus back and order the entrees.

    I never not tip. I tip my barber, I tip the gas station guy, I put an extra $2 under my plate in a resturaunt for the busboy. I’d tip my Congressman if I knew how. But poor service deserves a lousy tip. A mandatory service charge is a sneaky way fo giving the employees higher wages. Just raise your prices and instittue a no tipping policy.

  49. booboolee says:

    I have a question for y’all. There is an excellent new noodle wok shop that I go to, but the pay system confuses me a little. You pay at the door when you order your food, and then you sit and are served your food. You carry your own drink and placecard. Its a trendy looking place, with excellent food, and the food is between $9-13. The service has been excellent, but when you pay before you receive your service, are you expected to tip then? I don’t carry cash so I can’t leave a tip on the table after my meal. On the receipt there is a blank line before the total, but it doesn’t have tip written to indicate that is what that line is for. So the past two times I was there I didn’t tip at all, even though I was very attentively served, drink refilled. What should I do the next time I go? Do you think they don’t expect their servers to be tipped? Is it somehow included in my bill??

    • Difdi says:

      @booboolee: If you like the service, next time you go, stop at an ATM machine and withdraw a few dollars so you’ll be able to leave a tip on the table.

      I have the opposite issue with a local buffet I like: The hostesses never leave the front desk, you never see a waiter (everything is self-serve and they only clear plates when you’re not in sight of the table) and only the hostess’s name appears on the receipt. I typically tip 5% for promptness, 5% for attentiveness and 5% for politeness; Since I never see a waiter, I usually only tip 5% there.

    • J.Heck says:

      @booboolee: Our local Mongolian BBQ place does this too. We asked, and found that the waitstaff makes more than minimum wage ($8.50 starting, actually, which is way above minimum wage here). In other words, at least at our place designed this way, they are not working for tips. You can leave one, but you won’t be remembered as “that guy” if you don’t. I would ask management, personally.

  50. WEGGLES90 says:

    I hate the idea that you have to tip since the waitresses make so little. As though they didn’t know that going in to the job. I’ve only not tipped 3 times, but I’ll not tip again if I get bad service. (And I mean bad, not average BAD service). The big thing that’ll stop me from tipping is timeliness. If they screw up the meal (No pickle on burger and there is one) I’ll still tip. But if I wait 45 mins for my bill despite asking 6 times for it, and end up late for class. No tip.

    • FLEB says:

      @johnarlington: Although I would hesitate when saddled with kids or a large group, I’d even consider not paying the bill and walking out before the food came out in that situation.

      I’d almost done that once, although the food arrived in just the nick of time, we were in a hurry, and I was with others who would complicate the matter. I explicitly asked beforehand “I have to be somewhere in 20 minutes. Can you get me fed and out in that amount of time?” and got an affirmative answer. Well, the food ended up coming just in the nick of time, as we were all about to give up on it, which meant paying for it, getting it wrapped up, then choking it down in the car on the way to the destination– which pretty much nullified the advantage of ordering good food over fast food.

      I don’t have any problem with the “good food, not fast food” idea, but if you can’t deliver, don’t promise.

  51. dirithmir says:

    they’d have to do something pretty awful to me for me not to tip 15%.

  52. oneliketadow says:

    Why do Gawker polls always fail for me?

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  53. Luckie says:

    I generally tip in the area of 18-20% (I like to round it to the nearest dollar) and even if the service isn’t great but it seems like they’re really trying, I still tip that much. I only deduct for obvious ignoring and rude behavior. So I had to ask you twice to refill my drink? If it’s obvious you’re busy and you seem sorry when I bring it to your attention, I forgive that.

  54. kc2idf says:

    I almost always tip 20% for sit-down, 10% for buffet, 0% for fast food, and then adjust for level of service. I have tipped as high as 50% when treated really well.

    In the event, though, of truly wretched service, I will typically leave a few pennies on the table. It is a reminder to the waitstaff that a tip might have been possible, if only the service didn’t suck. It has to be really, really rotten service to get that treatment, though.

  55. qwerty017 says:

    I used to bus tables and I don’t understand the reasoning behind tips. Why should the customer pay my wage? It is the job of the employer to do that. I’ve walked out of places that place a minimum tip. If a person does their job then they shouldn’t get a tip. A tip is for when somebody goes beyond the call of duty.

  56. sven.kirk says:

    Poor service and great food, tip the cook directly.
    Otherwise, I would leave a note on the bill.

    Most places do not give tips to the cooks (that I know of / worked at). Even though they do not make that much more that the servers.

    I do NOT eat at any place that automatically puts a tip or service charge on the bill, large party on not, if I can help it.

  57. Outrun1986 says:

    I don’t go out to eat regularly but when I do go out I tip %15-20 unless the service is horrendous or the food is a complete disaster. Its only happened once that I can remember, and a complaint was filed with the manager the next day. I am not picky so if it tastes good I am going to eat it, an example of horrendous would be if the food is so bad you cannot stomach to eat it or if it takes 2-3 hours to get your meal. It would have to be something very out of the ordinary in order to get no tip at all.

  58. Sanveann says:

    I was a waitress (briefly), and it was GRUELING. I always leave a tip of at least 10-15 percent, unless the service was so atrociously horrible that I’d be compelled to discuss it with a manager.

  59. JosephFinn says:

    Also, lobby your state legislature to abolish the tip wage. Its a stupid idea that penalizes certain people based on the industry they work in and should be abandoned in favor of workers receiving the same minimum wage as everyone else.

  60. newyorkmcgee says:

    There was a group of maybe 6 of us heading back from philly from a show. We stopped at a TGIF in cherry hill new jersey. We were seated and everything was fine. Our server was cool and we were ready for a nice meal. Another server grabbed our server and began to bitch her out on the floor, not in the back room, not off to the side, just like 10 feet from our table. Accused her of stealing his table, and just running her down in general. It sucked.

    We all looked at each other and just nodded. He came over and took our orders. We asked every question imaginable, asked for every substitution possible, needed endless refills that we timed around the table so he couldnt possibly get two at a time, basically we made him work his ass off.

    When the check came, we paid in EXACT change, including nickels and pennies.

    While driving home we called the restaurant and talked to the manager. We told him to make sure “jason” knew that he should treat his co-workers better. The manager laughed out loud and thanked us.

    • KG says:

      did you end up leaving him a good tip? I mean I understand your intentions to teach him a lesson but there’s a few things I’m wondering about:
      1. Was the fact that your table was so high maintenance reducing the level of service his other tables were getting?
      2. Given your demanding requests, did he still give good service? If so, that’s commendable. I mean, if you’re being assholes and he STILL delivers that merits a very good tip.
      3. Did you consider the possibility that the other waitress is known for stealing tables and he just got fed up.

    • KG says:


      how good of a tip did you end up leaving? I mean I understand your intentions to teach him a lesson but there’s a few things I’m asking myself:
      1. Was the fact that your table was so high maintenance reducing the level of service his other tables were getting?
      2. Given your demanding requests, did he still give good service? If so, that’s commendable. I mean, if you’re being assholes and he STILL delivers then that merits a very good tip.
      3. Did you consider the possibility that the other waitress is known for stealing tables and he just got fed up with her. It happens.

  61. Heck yeah they get no tip if my service is terrible (or a reduced tip if it was poor). I tip extra when it is great, though. I’m not too concerned with any details behind it. If anything, it makes my meal cheaper in exchange for dealing with bad service.

  62. My girlfriend was a waitress for years, so I leave it up to her to make the call. And when the service is shit, and I go to the wallet she’ll tell me to put it away.

  63. LoganAtalanta says:

    Not an issue of bad vs good service, but you need to remember not to tip the proprietor if he or she is serving you.

    There was a Japanese restaurant that I went to from time to time where the hostess and sushi chef were clearly the owners, with the restaurant named after the chef and a caricature of his face on their business cards. Also, most of the time, they were the only ones working in the restaurant outside of the kitchen. One time, I ate in at the sushi bar, and knowing all this, I didn’t put anything in the tip jar for the owner serving me (I believe that they did sometimes have others working at the sushi bar and I would have tipped them). After I pay, the wife notices that I didn’t tip, so I apologetically noted that I didn’t think to do it since he’s the owner. She didn’t deny that he was the owner but still insisted on a tip, so, wanting to avoid a confrontation, I put my change in the tip jar and that seemed to satisfy her.

    Of course, it’s all made more ironic by the fact that in Japan, tipping is frowned upon.

  64. wildhalcyon says:

    First off, I’ve been a waiter. It wasn’t a pleasant experience, and the customers were the least of my problems. It was a shit restaurant, plain and simple.

    Perhaps surprisingly, based on my employment experience, I’m against tips in principle. There’s no correlation between tip and level of service – especially as a % of the overall bill. Eating at a $10/plate Red Robin and eating at a $20/plate Outback routinely gets me a better dining experience at Red Robin than Outback. Why tip $3.00 for exceptional service at Red Robin, but only $4 for mediocre service from Outback when the amount of work being put forth by the servers is the same? In principle, it seems like an unfair system, and I’d like us as a society to change that.

    Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works. I tip 20% unless I get poor or excellent service. Excellent service gets 25% (30% consistently at the one restaurant where I am a noted regular), poor service gets 0-15%, depending on the level of “poor”. It takes a lot to get down to 0 – I’ve only done it once, but it was absolutely warranted.

  65. I have only not left a tip once. 2 hours to get food and 3 restless children. It was that Mexican restaurant at the end of the Santa Monica Pier. I asked for the manager and apparently dude was the manager. His response to my complaint was, ‘If you don’t like the service then don’t tip’. Done

  66. mewyn dyner says:

    Honestly, true tipping does not exist in the US food service industry, except in those tip jars at coffee houses and the like.

    The “tip” at a restaurant is not so much a tip as it is you paying for your service in a discretionary manner. Refusing to tip outright just makes you a thief in a sense, you’re taking the service for free without paying for it. So all of you who refuse to ever tip on any grounds, you are no better in my book who swindle from hotel minibars, or try to do other various forms of quasi-legal theft. (Now, before pouncing on me for using the word theft, it’s not so much theft as it is not paying for a service, like getting your car serviced and only paying for parts and not labor, but that is essentially what it breaks down to here.)

    As for which system works out the best… I don’t know. I don’t think any of the systems either encourage or discourage good or bad service, it just feels with our current system the customer has some control over the situation. What I’d honestly like to see is the service fee for eating at a restaurant, but at the same time, if the service was appropriately bad you could petition the manager to reduce or eliminate the fee. But all the systems that are proposed, from what I’ve seen, rely on a lot of discretion. *shrug*

    • jenniferrose76 says:

      @mewyn dyner:

      if i went to the mechanic and they were supposed to fix my muffler, but instead drilled holes in it, do you think the garage owner would expect me to pay for the labor used to ruin my muffler?

      most people on here have stated that it has to be a remarkably bad experience (usually involving an utter lack of service) for them not to leave a tip. it is NOT theft of any kind to not reward someone for not doing their job.

      the people who say “well, the cook messed up my food, so no tip for the waitstaff” or “they were really busy and the wait was too long-no tip for the waitstaff” are probably not too high a caliber person to begin with (i’m sorry, but having unreasonable expectations for how you should be treated, yet no regard for how you treat others is a pretty good indicator of your basic decency). but to label not leaving a tip for being utterly disregarded and disrespected in a dining experience as theft? that’s just madness.

      • mewyn dyner says:


        I honestly was aggrandizing and using hyperbole in my response. It wasn’t intended to chastise the occasional non-tipper on p***-poor service, more for the jack-holes who never tip because they don’t think it appropriate. I’ve met a few, and I never go out to eat with them.

        I can’t say that I’ve never given a zero tip, but I’ve had some bad service in my day and probably should zero-tipped on one or two occasions. I will say, though, the tip was very low compared to what I usually tip.

        But, again, yah, a little while after I hit that magic submit button I realized I left some stuff out. :) But, as I said, it’s all discretionary, and I think it has to be. It’s just the way the beast is.

  67. ivanthemute says:

    I usually start at 15% and work up/down from there. If you do a stellar job, impress me with your work (even if the food is crap) you’ll get 25-100% (depending on the type of resturant.) If your service is complete ass, $.02 is all you’ll get. The one thing that I do regardless of the quality of service, I always give a large tip to a new waiter/waitress (so long as it’s obvious that they’re trying.) It makes ’em feel good, and encourages them to do a good job.

  68. Jbondkicks says:

    I’ve worked all areas in a restaurant and tip 20% the vast majority of the time. I usually only go down if the service is terrible.

    One thing to remember: Sometimes problems aren’t the server’s fault. When the restaurant is slammed and your food takes a long time, the kitchen is probably backed up, or maybe your ticket came up right after a fifteen top. Still, in my experiences, the server would usually make the mistake, and tell the customer it was the kitchen’s fault. I was always upfront with the customers about the errors that I made.

    To customers: Sometimes bad service is a result of your history at the restaurant. Do you come in every week and always tip poorly? If getting twenty percent from you is harder than getting blood from a stone, servers will notice, discuss it and often give you service worthy of your dismal tip.

    Also: verbal tips don’t count. I had a gentleman tell me how excellent my service was and proceed to leave me 10%. It seems that people often feel that the more the dining experience costs, the less percentage they have to tip (if you run up a $100 tab, 20% is $20, you can’t leave $10 and feel like you gave a big tip).

    Here’s my tip to getting great service: Don’t be afraid to request the server who did a great job last time. He/She will probably be flattered and will then do their best to give even better service. You also avoid the risk of running into a “dud” server. We had a server in his mid forties who worked at a certain chain for several years. When he came to work for us, many of his customers followed him. He had a great personality, never wrote anything down (even with tables of 20-30 people) and rarely made mistakes). He became as much as a commodity to his patrons as the food was.

  69. The price on the menu should be the full cost of the item, including the cost to provide the service staff and the profit margin the owner has established. A “tip” is intended to reward good service, not subsidize the cost of the service. If that were the case, then I should have the option of going back into the kitchen and picking up my own order, clearing my table, etc.

    • KG says:

      now that would just be unsanitary, not to mention a huge hassle if everyone started doing that
      actually, why don’t you just order in if that’s what you’re gonna do? oh wait, delivery drivers get tips too…

  70. WolfeTaurus says:

    Unless you have worked as a server then you don’t know how much that little 10%-20% means to you and how little it means to the customer. You may actually have a really good server having a really bad day or you really could have an awful server. It’s insulting to get change as a tip. A coworker had “times are hard” in the tip line of a credit card slip of a $52 check. In that instance, you have no business eating out.

    However I do agree that if the service is awful then you have every right to speak to a manager.

  71. badgeman46 says:

    Basic economics here. You are only perpetuating bad service or bad quality by tipping without regard. Treat service like you would tangible goods. For example, if you had furniture that resembled a kindergarten art project, you probably wouldnt want to pay top dollar for it. Otherwise you are rewarding someone to disregard quality. Same goes for waiters and waitresses. If you want high quality, reward them for high quality.

  72. RedmondDesomma says:

    The worst restaurant experience I had was when the food had been improperly prepared (for the second time) at a sushi house. The rice was so undercooked that it crunched. (I know that part is a kitchen issue.) When I spoke to the waitress about the issue she pointed out that dry uncooked rice was not toxic so it wouldn’t hurt to eat it. She offered no apology.

    I’d been a regular there for 5+ years, but the restaurant was under relatively new management. I left an average tip and never went back. I also told the story to everyone I knew and eventually they lost almost all the old regulars.

  73. stanner says:

    For some reason I keep hearing the Fountains of Wayne song “Halley’s Waitress”

    And when she finally appears
    It’s like she’s been away for years

  74. ptkdude says:

    I caught up with a friend at an Italian restaurant once and I was completely ignored while my friend received good service. I was not greeted, the server did not ask for my drink order, did not ask for my food order, never acknowledged me. My friend had to do all the ordering for me. As a result, when I filled out the tip amount on my credit card, I wrote “ZERO” in the tip field, and mentioned to the manager why I did so.

    Yes, it is acceptable not to tip sometimes, but it is exceptionally rare.

  75. kittenfoo says:

    We usually leave 20%. Our unspoken rule is, “leave at least 15% unless they insult your mama.” I have only ever not tipped once, and believe me, the service was so abysmally bad that even an easygoing person like me couldn’t ignore it.

  76. Bryan Price says:

    And if you’re overseas (for an American), tipping becomes a real WTF. In Switzerland, it’s typical to tip 10%, 15% is considered extravagant, (then again, they get paid very well compared to the US), and in some parts, the tip was automatically zeroed for me on my credit card slip.

    South Africa is similar (although I don’t think they get paid like the Swiss), and there, the tip is marked on the bill when you pay (cash or credit card, and it’s your discretion), and they then give you the change back (in cash) and the total is on the credit card transaction.

    My last disaster was when it took forever to get a waitress to take our orders, it took forever to get the salad and salad bar plate, and then before I can even touch the salad bar, the dinner hit the table. I left one dollar (and only because I didn’t have enough change to make it smaller) for the tip. That’s not usual for me, but that was extremely poor service.

  77. donovanr says:

    I only tip if the service was above and beyond. Which is basically never. After years of tipping, I don’t think I have left a tip more than twice in the last 100 or so restaurant visits (with an average bill of over 100 dollars).
    I am sick of this expectation for tips. What is this, the third world and we want a culture of corruption and bribes?
    If anything the drones at a fast food place work 10 times as hard as the lazy shmucks found in your average restaurant.

    • DrGirlfriend says:

      @donovanr: Oh my God, this post actually made me cringe.

    • straddy says:

      @donovanr: What the hell? Why wouldn’t they expect a tip? They get paid THREE DOLLARS AN HOUR! They pay their bills with the money they make. You, sir, are a crappy person, and I’m pretty sure your life reflects that.

      • Jbondkicks says:


        So, it’s your contention that if they make $3, they are rightfully making $6,240 a year to work forty hours a week for 52 weeks in a row? Let me point out that these men and women also rarely get vacation time or benefits.

        I’m glad we have you around to help out all of the single mom’s that are trying to support their kids by making money.

        I suppose the only justice lies in the fact that you’ve had your food desecrated so many times in so many ways over the years.

        I’m sorry you don’t like the way the system has evolved, but that does not mean you need punish the men and woman that are trying to make a living.

        • Heresy Of Truth says:


          Not every state has such low wages. In WA they get minimum wage which is about $8+ an hour. The last place I cooked, the waitstaff made the same basic wage as I did, and still didn’t tip out the cooks. It really depends on where you live.

        • god_forbids says:

          @Jbondkicks: Hey man, your guilt trip is bullshit. Ooooh, poor poor employees never getting vacation and benefits, boo hoo hoo. Three words: NOT – MY – PROBLEM. They chose the job. If they can read English, they signed a contract and HR told them what the job entailed. Life is short, and I have enough trouble keeping my own head above water. This doesn’t mean I don’t tip, but don’t emotionally blackmail people with sad-sack stories of single moms on welfare.

          I knew women in that situation with kids who went back to school, became nurses and dentists in 12-24 months, and were soon providing richly for their families. Acting like waiting tables is the last hope of the poor is so bullshit. I guess I should tip the strippers and pole dancers at the club really well next time I go, to show them how sorry I am for their bad choices in life? Come on.

          • Jbondkicks says:


            In some circumstances, they’re trying to put themselves through school so they can better their lives (not sure if they are going to become dentist in 12 months though). Having a husband with a good job that abandons you with two kids and no education past high school is a situation of circumstance not necessarily a “bad choice.” If they get laid off tomorrow and have to find a quick temporary job, that’s not a “bad choice.”

            Hey man, you can’t compartmentalize people like you are doing. Sure, some of them have better options and made bad choices, but some of them actually had some bad luck and are trying to better themselves. You can’t tell the difference when you walk into The Olive Garden, so don’t pretend you can or that you know their situations.

            Either way, if I have the money to, yeah, I’ll tip really well to help them out. It’s called looking out for your fellow man. You might be more of a “only look out for A number one” kinda person, but I try to have a more of an other-centered philosophy.

            And, so you know, when my father abandoned us, my mom took an 11 month course to become an LPN so she could provide for us. And guess what? While she was in that course, she still had to buy us food and put a roof over our heads.

          • crashfrog says:

            @god_forbids: If they can read English, they signed a contract and HR told them what the job entailed.

            I doubt they signed anything.

            And for that matter, if you can read English and you live in the US, then you understand that service restaurants are a tipping occasion – that’s the rule – and when you agreed to eat there, you agreed to provide a voluntary gratuity.

            That’s the rule. If you don’t like it, change it from the top down. Have a law passed or something. Start a movement. But trying to change it from the bottom up, starting and ending with basically just yourself, is a prick move and an attempt to get something for free.

            Nobody’s twisting your arm and forcing you to eat out. If you go to a served restaurant, leave a tip. It’s the rule that everybody agreed to when they walked in. Otherwise, stay home or eat at McDonalds.

  78. kaylabear says:

    On the one hand, I empathize with the waitstaff – their job is low-paying and comes with even less respect. On the other, there are just too many instances, that I’ve experienced, where the waitstaff almost disappears – when the basic, minimum service isn’t even fulfilled, I’ve actually refrained from tipping. I mean, they’re there for a reason; if the restaurant were ‘self-serve’, you should have told me as I would be more than willing and happy to get my own extra napkins, etc. But since someone hired them for a specific position, they should at least show a little effort.

    Although, I’ve always thought leaving change was worse than leaving no tip because I always thought it made the diner look hesitant, like the tip was an afterthought. If there’s no tip, who knows? Maybe the diner ‘forgot’ – it’s happened. Unless the diner was exceptionally explicit about their dissatisfaction, the omission of anything is up for speculation.

    I actually left a very small tip once for a snippy waiter at this seaside restaurant just up the coast here in the Bay. He was pretty short with us, and didn’t explain at all why our entrees were late or that they would be. We paid for our meal with a debit card as we didn’t have any cash on us and I guess we forgot to add the tip part so I sifted through my wallet for something and pulled out a dollar (I know – not a lot but the charge already went through and we had to go). When the waiter came by, pretty quickly I might add (a lot faster than when we were actually dining), he looked at the dollar and said outloud “Huh! A dollar!” and shook his head, like I’d spat on the grave of a veteran of war or something. For ignoring us the entire evening and then basically running up to our table the second he saw cash, I was starting to think A) this guy isn’t even worth a dollar and B) that there’s probably a good reason why a grizzled and snaggle-toothed guy like him can find work only as a waiter: people probably can’t stand him.

    So, I guess I’m for not giving a tip, and I’m pretty tolerant of a lot of stuff, but when your job is to ‘tend’ to customers (I don’t want to say ‘wait’ on them because I know that sounds condescending), ignoring them isn’t a sign of a job well done on your part, and I don’t see why I should reward you for that.

    • Jbondkicks says:


      Here’s the problem: Terrible servers usually don’t realize they are terrible. Leave a quarter or a dollar and they will think that YOU are the ass. If they’re bad enough, talk to the manager, it’s the only way they’ll get the picture.

  79. HawkWolf says:

    I’m sure this has been said multiple times, but I will explain my voting for #1. If you’re going to add an 18% service charge to everyone, why not raise the cost 18% and pay all the waitstaff more money off the bat instead of making it an ‘opt out’ tip?

  80. misteral says:

    I usually leave a good tip. One time I had absolutely horendous service. I can usually understand “slow” service if the kitchen is busy, but with a table full of ankle biters, and an inability to actually find our waitress, she eventually told us that “Your food is taking longer because we try and make sure everything is brought out together, and you have a big group”. I would have bought that argument if the food wasn’t brought out COLD.

    She got no tip. First and only time I did that. The next morning we went out for breakfast and had excellent service – she got the tip the waitress the night before lost.

    TIPS stands for To Insure Prompt SERVICE. If you can’t at least stop by every few minutes and offer to refill drinks then as far as I’m concerned, you are not working.

  81. ojzitro says:

    How cheap are you people?

    If one waiter or waitress is poor, tip them and don’t go back. If you must go back because you can’t stay away, and that server gets you again, ask to see the manager and request a different server.

    This ruffles the feathers of the server, and posthumously alerts the manager to the problem. Not tipping when someone, no matter how bad service was, that is making less than 3 dollars an hour is unacceptable.

    Dinner has to be a real clusterfuck for me to call a manager over. Even then I never ask for a freebie.

    • jusooho says:

      @ojzitro: I agree with you. I am personally responsible for everyone I meet who makes less money than is “acceptable.” Even if I get horrendous service, I will pay the person who “served me” lots of money, because it is not their fault, it’s mine.

    • Thorgryn says:

      @ojzitro: By not rewarding poor service, you are causing them to earn less money, and in a way directing them towards a different job where their horrible customer service skills would be more acceptable.

      If all you see of your waiter/waitress is them showing up to take your order, toss your food on the table then show up a half hour or more to toss the bill on the table without making sure everything was right, topping off drinks or making sure there were no other problems, what exactly have they earned? And if they have earned nothing, then why pay them extra for providing less than the minimum?

      The best customer service I have had anywhere was when I was over in Japan, attentive staff, went the extra mile, and there was no tipping accepted/expected.

      The worst tip I have ever left was $0.15 and that was basically after the person was rude, couldn’t fufill even the most basic customer service skills, and disappeared for the entire meal.

  82. 108Reliant says:

    When it takes over an hour to get your large pizza and it is so cold that you can pick up the whole thing with your fork without anything falling off, then yes I would call it poor service and would not tip.

    • Difdi says:

      @108Reliant: Agreed. I usually tip the pizza delivery guy 10%, but not if it’s enormously late, cold, etc. I live right across the street from the pizza place I usually order from though, so usually tipping is not an issue; I just walk across and pick it up, after phoning in the order.

  83. agtwork says:

    From what I understand, Tipping was first started in old western days. It’s actually an acronymn, meaning “To Insure Promptness”, and would be given BEFORE services were rendered. This is still in practice today with bartenders, doormen, valets, etc. Personally, I don’t feel it should be any different when working with food waitstaff.

    I understand that it isn’t customary to do so in the US, so to insure my promptness, I let the dinner host know that I’d like to be seated “With a waiter/waitress that will work hard for an excellent tip”

    You’d be amazed at the number of waitresses that overhear me say that to the host and immediate run up and volunteer to serve us. The service DOES indeed become exemplary, and I leave a good tip (25-30%) if I get what I feel is above and beyond. I’ve never been disappointed since I started this several years ago.

  84. sonneillon says:

    I have had a few times where I tipped poorly, I think change is the best because it’s more of a slap in the face.

    One time I walked out of the restaurant before the food got there because I had been waiting 45 minutes.

  85. Jacquilynne says:

    In my mind, not leaving a tip is acceptable only if you also registered a vocal complain about your service issues to your waiter and it wasn’t solved, and along with your no-tip, you’re planning on complaining to the manager about the lack of service.

    Just stiffing them on the tip at the end of the meal is inappropriate, especially if it’s a series of minor annoyances that led you there, but if the service is truly terrible, such that you need to register a complaint about it, then no tip is required.

    • Difdi says:


      In my mind, not leaving a tip is acceptable only if you also registered a vocal complain about your service issues to your waiter and it wasn’t solved

      How about if you got bad service and never saw your waiter long enough to complain?

      • Jacquilynne says:

        @Difdi: Then you should be complaining to the manager. Generally, you should try to resolve an issue with the waiter before you get the manager involved, but if you really can’t (as in, not ‘don’t want to’ but ‘can’t, as a symptom of the problem in the first place’) then going straight to the manager is the right thing to do.

  86. ShyamasriCebriones says:

    i cant speak for other states, but in DE if the wait staff doesn’t meet state min wage with there admittedly weak hourly rate and there reported tips, the restaurant has to make the difference. so if i tip or not they will still make min wage. i hate the fact that social norms force me to act as payroll. if they don’t like minimum wage,….get a new job.
    sorry if that’s harsh. but they chose a job that can only minimum wage. i look at waiter as lucky devils. i work all day loading peoples cars and unloading semis. ive spent 45 mins before taking apart a floor model patio set then another30 trying to get the big bulky pieces of the thing to fit inside a little hatch back the customer has. my reward for the hour+ of work? 7.25$ before taxes and a dislocated shoulder. being inside a 100+ degree truck for two hours unloading it in the summer? 14.50$ so when i go to a restraint and am told by society that if i don’t make it so my waiter gets 8 bucks an hour I’M the bad guy? that’s messed up

  87. DrGirlfriend says:

    Only once have I not left a tip. My husband and I were in a restaurant that was largely empty. Our server seemed distracted while taking our order and almost an hour later there was no sign of her or our food or drinks. When she finally came back with about half of our order and we questioned her, she said something about the back room being filled with people (which was untrue). It was pretty clear that this was not a kitchen issue, nor that there were too many customers, but quite simply an issue with our server. And being told a blatant and easily-debunked lie kind of sealed the deal, so no tip.

    Fortunately, it’s very rare that I have a problem with service, at least not so bad that I consider leaving anything less than 15% (20% is usually my standard). When I consider leaving a reduced tip it’s because it seems that the issue is with the server and not with the kitchen, or that the person seems new, or something else out of his or her control.

  88. euleria says:

    We always tip well (20 – 30%), both from knowing how servers’ salaries are done (relying on tips to make minimum wage), but also b/c we’re inevitably the worst customers in the place — parents with young rambunctious kids.

    Arguably, we should tip other customers too, but we do try to go to “kid friendly” places.

    Biggest tip we’ve ever left: $50 tip on a $40 meal, but that was b/c our 2 year old vomited all over the table, during a very busy lunch hour.

  89. jenjen says:

    I think it’s appropriate to not leave a tip – or to leave an insultingly small one – if the service was flat-out rude. I cut wait staff a lot of slack in a busy place, and I don’t consider slow service to necessarily be bad service – it’s often not under their control. I cut them slack when someone in my party is being difficult with special requests – I eat out with a lot of fussbudgets – half-this, half-that, this on the side, none of this, none of that, is this organic, is that sustainably raised…. Ayayay – I get embarrassed sometimes! But rudeness is something else. If I want to send back a dirty fork or a drink with stuff floating in it and I get attitude back, that’s not acceptable.

  90. quail says:

    Tipping is such a cultural thing. On the whole, the U.S. would be better without it. It doesn’t punish or reward service. And with such low cost eateries, waiting tables is not a career.

  91. azntg says:

    In the United States, where I understand that employers take a “cheap way out” by lowering the wages of their tip-earning employees to compensate for tips, I do try to leave a tip in cash.

    Exceptional service, I leave 20% or more. Any other service, I leave 10 to 15% depending on how much money I have at the moment and my mood.

    You’ll really have to screw up badly, insult me and/or whoever’s with me before I walk out without leaving a tip (and likely refusing to pay the bill as well).

    I like to think that I’m pretty good with getting people to go to different restaurants as well and avoiding the problematics one (so, you’d be losing my friends and a big academic group as customers I suppose).

  92. straddy says:

    It is perfectly acceptable not to tip, or leave a bad tip, in certain circumstances. If your service was really, really bad, see a manager and explain what happened, and hopefully they will be empathetic and and help you. If the manager is also a douchebag, leave and don’t come back. Taking away your business will hurt them enough. If your server gives you average service, always, always tip 20 percent. Always. I don’t care if you don’t wanna because you didn’t factor it in, yadda yadda, if you can’t afford to go above 20 percent of your bill….guess what? You can’t afford to go out to eat. You can’t. You cannot spend a hundred dollars on dinner and then not spend an extra 20 for service. These people get paid 2-3.77 per hour. Thats it. Usually 3 percent of their sales each night go towards other staff. So about 20 bucks of their tips comes out of their pocket. What ever is left is how electric is paid.
    I waited on 18 people today, at the same table. Thats 18 drinks to get, 18 entrees, 18 refills, 18 side of this and that and can you get me some lemons and can you take this. 6 appetizers and 18 people asking you for straws as you are passing out 18 drinks. Sometimes there is your bratty-ass kids tugging on my arm and screaming for more lemonade, and you giggling nervously because you know your kid is a shithead and you’re a bad parent. Sometimes you’re allergic to something and I make sure that gluten does not make its way into your food. If I can do all that and keep my patience, I deserve 20 percent or MORE.

    I also want to say that those of you who regularly tip shitty, watch the fuck out. I have never contaminated food before, but I know people who have. I had a friend who was Hispanic serving with me one time, his table treated him disrespectfully and muttered some racial slur under his breath, so him and a coupe of guys in the back filled his drink with the slime that is under the drink machine. I’ve seen teabagging and pubic hair and food on the floor….all make it into your mouth because you were a douchebag. And I don’t mean you were kind of impatient, we’re not that horrible. But if you are an awful, impatient, stuck up person, who treats your servers with no respect, expect to get sick.

    Its horrible, I know that. But our jobs are horrible. These people are handling your food and drink, dumbass.

    Bad service: always talk to a manager. Bad manager: don’t ever go back. Good service: always tip 20 percent. These servers will remember you and your niceness, and you will get awesome service. The people that tip me and are regulars get amazing, amazing service. Free drinks and sides, the whole thing. I remember if you tipped me 10 percent. 4 on 40 is not okay, so the next time you come in, your food will take a long time, your drinks will be empty. Why should I work hard for you? Why? whats the point? For FOUR dollars? Yeah, right. I’ll work on giving better service to my 4 other tables who will tip me more than you.
    I recommend that everyone work at least one month in the service industry. Seriously. Do it on the weekends, one day a week. It will change your life, I swear to God. And because I’m a server, if you give me average/good service, you get 30 percent and a really, patient understanding customer. If you are AWESOME I will give you 40-50 percent. But I hardly ever go out to eat unless I’m flush and I can throw money down on the table like I’m P. Diddy, because that, my friends, is DINING.

    • brokeincollege says:

      @straddy: I’m sorry, but if I get sick at your restaurant, the next time you’ll hear from me is from a Court Summons with your name on it.

  93. Robobot says:

    If the service is atrocious at the fault of the server, not at the fault of a lousy kitchen or understaffing, I leave a small tip and never return.

    I’ve worked food, so I’m understanding to a degree. It is so easy to fall in to the weeds due to things beyond the server’s control, even if they’re working super hard. I really feel for them when that happens and tip accordingly. But after working my butt off in the service industry I take a lot of offense if I see my server sitting down and talking with friends instead of working. That’s just a slap in the face.

    • straddy says:

      @Quietly: Totally agree. Instead of sitting down when I’ve only got one table, I’ll instead stand against a wall and scan the dining room, and I can usually tell when someone needs me. Theres a balance between checking too much and not checking enough.

  94. nicolbw says:

    I definitely think there are times when leaving no tip is acceptable. A week ago we sat down at a restaurant and my husband ordered a dish and asked for no shrimp and stated he was allergic to it. When the food was brought out it had shrimp in it. Ok, mistakes happen. So we told the waiter and he told us to just pick it out. I then stated that if my husband ate any of it we would immediately have to go to the hospital. The waiter took the food back and when he brought it back out it was obvious that they just picked out the shrimp and brought it back out. We left without tipping or paying the bill after I talked to the manager.

    Another time we waited for an hour just to put our order in. Another hour passed and we found out that the waitress gave our food to another table. Once our food did arrive she took our plates away while we were still eating. She didn’t even ask if we were done. In fact I still had my fork in my hand. We also left there without tipping or paying after talking to the manager.

  95. razremytuxbuddy says:

    Last week for the first time I can ever remember, I left no tip and a note on the back of the receipt saying the food was cold, and we waited too long to get it. The restaurant was not busy, there were plenty of waiters, and I was mad at being ignored by the waitress who then apparently expected us to eat a cold overpriced meal. I always tip at least 20%, and round the amount up from there if it’s easier than doing the exact math. I despise tipping, but it did give me a way to punish really bad service.

  96. Valhawk says:

    I use it my nuclear option in case of bad service.

    I’ve worked as a server so I know what its like, that’s why my tipping scale is all over the map, for really good service I have gone past 35% but for absolutely awful service I have left 0. I’ve only had to do it once, but that asshole didn’t deserve a dime.

    • Valhawk says:

      @Valhawk: Also just to clarify, since I did work as a server I don’t penalize or reward servers for something that is outside of their control such as food quality(I make an exception for temperature). I tip on service not food.

      • razremytuxbuddy says:

        @Valhawk: I agree, and generally assume:
        Burnt or undercooked food=cook’s responsibility
        Cold food=waiter’s responsibility

        One time I ordered a BLT, and it arrived without the tomato. How hard is it to fix a sandwich whose ingredients are in the name, lol? Anyway, not the waiter’s fault; tipped as usual.

  97. Ilovemygeek says:

    The only time I ever didn’t tip was when my food arrived burnt beyond recognition and non-edible. When the server came to check on our food, I explained that it was burnt and he shrugged and brought us the check. I left my food untouched, paid the bill and left no tip. We never went back to that place again.

    • straddy says:

      @Ilovemygeek: Get a manager to buy tour food or remake it. always. Not fair for you to sit there and not eat.

    • Difdi says:

      @Ilovemygeek: If the food was so badly burned as to be literally inedible, you shouldn’t have to pay for it. Call a manager, point out the problem. If he doesn’t fix it, and still demands to be paid, do this: Call the non-emergency line to the police (don’t use 911 for this), explain the situation, and that the manager is implying a threat of a dine & dash charge for services that were not provided. And keep the burned food handy as proof to the officer. Odds are, once you’re on the phone to the police department, the manager will back down; If he doesn’t, and the police officer agrees, you won’t be on the hook for a criminal charge for walking out without paying.

  98. goodywitch says:

    Normally, I just double the tax for adequate service. Even if the person had to be reminded to re-fill the cup. They’re human, and it’s custom. If I was especially difficult (read I questioned them extensively about the food because I’m vegetarian), then I leave around 30% tip. If it was below par service, then around 10%. I once had a waitress forget about us “you still didn’t get your food”??? It’s your job to take care of me!!! I left no tip, and she knows why. No need to talk to the manger, she wasn’t rude, but she didn’t do her job.

  99. Ness says:

    I have a family member who was eating at a local Stake ‘n Shake in Florida. There was a waiter there, who was by a table arguing with his girlfriend who was holding a baby. Apparently the girl needed money for diapers and milk, and the guy was explaining that he was having a bad night, and no one was tipping him.

    Apparently they make about $2-3/hour, because their tips are expected to inflate their paycheck. I felt bad in this situation, but I still think crappy service should not go unnoticed.

    I know waiters/waitresses can be having bad nights, but when it isn’t busy, there’s no excuse. If they make no effort to take care of me, a customer, why should I pamper them with a tip? Granted I’ll only leave them a few bucks .. I think I have not left a tip only once.

    • J.Heck says:

      @Ness: If I were witness to that, and that guy was my waiter, I would have gone over to them and given money directly to her, and probably would have left a note reminding him of what he is working for.

  100. scottboone says:

    Why do we tip on the tax? I’ve never gotten that…I mean, that’s the Guvnah’s surcharge, and I really don’t feel like commenting (or “tipping”) on that and the restaurant has no influence on that.

    I usually go 20% of the pre-tax total, a $1or2 a drink when drinking, and down from there. What irks me is waitstaff in “better” restaurants who, seemingly on purpose, reduce their level of service because they EXPECT better tips (more expensive tab)…they’ll get 15%.

    Otherwise, many of the complaints of why folks tip less come down to poor waiting, and mainly poor communication.
    * If a waiter is busy and they tell me that ahead of time, I’m cool. If the service sucks and they’re off jerking around with pals at other tables or staffers, then they get less.
    * I feel that the preparation of the food-although the purview of the kitchen-is ultimately to be enforced by my wait staff surrogate. Many waiter staffers don’t get that, or refuse to take responsibility for that. When a plate comes out with a burger/meal that looks like it was puked out by a dog, I can’t help but think the staffer wants no more tip than I’d give at McD’s ($0.00).
    * Wait staffers shouldn’t EVER disappear after they deliver a meal. Nothing pisses me off more than a wait staffer who drops a plate, asks me how things look, and then “poof!” disappear. Because it takes about ten bites to realize that the steak is tougher than shoe leather, the potatoes have hair in them, or ALL the fries are soggy. If I don’t get a early-post-delivery-check-in, they’ll get less. Usually its naturally good time for a drink order anyhow.
    * Corollary: wait staffers who hover. I want to eat, not be researched.

    And finally, I reject out of hand the argument that I –have– to tip thanks to these poor folks making such low base pay. I’m a capitalist, and that means that the labor force must be responsible for maximizing its compensation. It typically isn’t difficult to find the places that pay better: they have better wait staff. Amazing, huh. Fire crappy waiters, pay more for excellence.

    • Difdi says:

      @scottboone: I agree. I calculate my tip (0% to 30%, depending on service, with criteria similar to yours) based on the before-tax subtotal.

    • @scottboone: “Why do we tip on the tax?”

      Agree 100%, though I don’t really act on it, unfortunately.

      What’s even worse are the places that bundle additional services with the dining experience. I’m specifically thinking of the “movie theater restaurant” type of places. Dinner is usually, although not always, overpriced to begin with, but they also add the price of the movie tickets in the bill. I wonder what the people working at those kind of places think about what’s an appropriate tip.

      Another example of a similar situation are most comedy clubs that serve dinners. Overpriced food, overpriced drinks, and even if the show itself is great, are you really supposed to tip the customary amount when all prices are inflated to cover the costs of putting up the show?

    • @scottboone: I don’t know anyone who tips on tax.

      Although tax can make a faster, more convenient way of figuring tip — restaurant tax here is 9 3/4%; doubling tax and rounding up gives me about 20% (on the original total).

  101. BStu says:

    I tip 20% as a rule. I don’t buy into the notion that 20% is expected or mandatory, mind you, and it bothers me when servers act pissy about deserve 20+%. As far as I’m concerned, 15% is still the standard and 20% is being quite nice, especially for a party of two that leaves promptly.

    If service notably fails to meet my expectations, I still leave 15% giving the server the benefit of the doubt insofar as I won’t abandon my culturally mandated responsibility to cover that portion of their salary. Service has to be genuinely rude and negligent for me to tip less, but I still don’t think I’ve got below 10% and even sub 15% is a two-three times a decade phenomenon. I could imagine bad enough service to just leave change, but I’ve thankfully only had that happen once, almost 15 years ago but I still rounded up to around 5%.

    One thing to remember, if you had a problem with your meal and the restaurant comped that portion generously or if you use a coupon, never tip off the final bill. Tip off what the bill would have been. I understand problems can happen, and if the waiter made sure I was comped for food that didn’t meet expectations (either late or underwhelming) I’ll appreciate that effort. I’ve gone as far as to pay for it anyway as the tip if I felt the effort was good enough.

    • straddy says:

      @BStu: Amen! Final bill tipping can suck! Oh, you have 3 5 dollar coupons, which brings your bill to….7.48. thanks for tipping me 2 dollars, you jerk. I would love to wait on you in a restaurant. You are like the perfect customer.

  102. moto211 says:

    I went out to dinner at Joe’s Crabshack a while back. There was 6 of us (myself, my fiance, our son, my friend, her boyfriend, and their daughter). We went during peak dinner hours and the place was pretty packed. We were seated pretty fast and our waiter was very quick getting our drinks, taking our orders, and making sure that we were generally taken care of. After we had placed our orders our server came to our table to inform us that he was going off shift and introduced us to the girl that would be taking over our table. The level of service we received from the new server was horrible. The food came up reasonably fast but that wasn’t because of her (the kitchen was already working on that when she took over). We got no drink refills because she was nowhere to found after she brought us our food. When we were done eating, we sat for 20 minutes with crying, irritated children while waited for her to come ask if we were ready for the check. At that point the restaurant had mellowed out and there were only a few groups there. I had to go to the hostess and ask her to send our server over with our check.

    Before the change of servers we were receiving service that I would have tipped 20-25% for. After the change the service that we received did not warrant a tip at all…all she did for us was carry our food from the kitchen window to our table and then she disappeared. No drink refills, no offer of dessert, and she couldn’t even bring us our check when we were obviously done eating. I ended up leaving a tip of 12% only because I didn’t feel that our original server should get completely shafted because of the poor service of his coworker.

  103. My take on it…

    NICE GUY EDDIE: Okay, everybody cough up green for the little lady.

    NICE GUY EDDIE: C’mon, throw in a buck.

    MR. PINK: Uh-uh. I don’t tip.

    NICE GUY EDDIE: Whaddaya mean you don’t tip?

    MR. PINK: I don’t believe in it.

    NICE GUY EDDIE: You don’t believe in tipping?

    MR. WHITE: I love this kid, he’s a madman, this guy.

    MR. BLONDE: Do you have any idea what these ladies make? They make shit.

    MR. PINK: Don’t give me that. She don’t make enough money, she can quit.

    NICE GUY EDDIE: I don’t even know a Jew who’d have the balls to say that. So let’s get this straight. You never ever tip?

    MR. PINK: I don’t tip because society says I gotta. I tip when somebody deserves a tip. When somebody really puts forth an effort, they deserve a little something extra. But this tipping automatically, that shit’s for the birds. As far as I’m concerned, they’re just doin their job.

    MR. BLUE: Our girl was nice.

    MR. PINK: Our girl was okay. She didn’t do anything special.

    MR. BLONDE: What’s something special, take ya in the kitchen and suck your dick?

    NICE GUY EDDIE: I’d go over twelve percent for that.

    MR. PINK: Look, I ordered coffee. Now we’ve been here a long fuckin time, and she’s only filled my cup three times. When I order coffee, I want it filled six times.

    MR. BLONDE: 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. White, but the last thing you need is another cup of coffee.

    MR. PINK: These ladies aren’t starvin to death. They make minimum wage. When I worked for minimum wage, I wasn’t lucky enough to have a job that society deemed tipworthy.

    NICE GUY EDDIE: Ahh, now we’re getting down to it. It’s not just that he’s a cheap bastard–

    MR. ORANGE: –It is that too–

    NICE GUY EDDIE: –It is that too. But it’s also he couldn’t get a waiter job. You talk like a pissed off dishwasher: “Fuck those cunts and their fucking tips.”

    MR. BLONDE: So you don’t care that they’re counting on your tip to live?

    MR. PINK: Do you know what this is? It’s the world’s smallest violin, playing just for the waitresses.

    MR. BLONDE: You don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. These people bust their ass. This is a hard job.

    MR. PINK: So’s working at McDonald’s, but you don’t feel the need to tip them. They’re servin ya food, you should tip em. But no, society says tip these guys over here, but not those guys over there. That’s bullshit.

    MR. ORANGE: They work harder than the kids at McDonald’s.

    MR. PINK: Oh yeah, I don’t see them cleaning fryers.

    MR. BROWN: These people are taxed on the tips they make. When you stiff ’em, you cost them money.

    MR. BLONDE: Waitressing is the number one occupation for female non-college graduates in this country. It’s the one jab basically any woman can get, and make a living on. The reason is because of tips.

    MR. PINK: Fuck all that. Hey, I’m very sorry that the government taxes their tips. That’s fucked up. But that ain’t my fault. it would appear that waitresses are just one of the many groups the government fucks in the ass on a regular basis. You show me a paper 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 bullshit you’re telling me, I got two words for that: “Learn to fuckin type.” Cause if you’re expecting me to help out with the rent, you’re in for a big fuckin surprise.

    MR. ORANGE: He’s convinced me. Give me my dollar back.

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

    MR. ORANGE: Mr. White.

    JOE: Mr. White? 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 fuckin dealin with infants.

  104. Snakeophelia says:

    I tip generously and often for all bartenders, because, by definition, all their customers are buzzed, and usually worse. Not only do they appreciate tips, but if you want to become a regular and/or get drinks gratis from time to time, generosity is necessary.

    For waiters, I start with 20% and go down from there. I do pay attention to what’s going on in the rest of the place; a waitress who’s harried and gets our food to us out late because she’s slammed with tables isn’t going to get a reduced tip, but one with a bad attitude certainly will be.

    NYC waiters in fancy restaurants are the best. They’re all actor/singer/dancer wannabes, and generally, if you’re dressed professionally and nice to them, they treat you like Steven Spielberg. They emote, they gush, they serve you with great precision and flourish. I love those waiters.

  105. There’s a Denny’s near me that I take my Grandmother for dinner. There is one waiter (couldn’t remember his name; I’m better with faces than names, and his name tag was missing.) who always gives great service. He is very polite, takes our order immediately, and gets our food at the table hot and fast, even when he is the only waiter in a half full Denny’s. As a bonus, whenever we order the side salad and soup, he gives us the big portions at the same price as the tiny portions. Last time he served us, we gave him a $6 tip on a $24 check. He earned it!

    • straddy says:

      @FuryOfFirestorm: Wow, you big spender, you. 5 dollars is 20 percent on 25, and you gave him an extra 2 dollars for awesome, regular service. This cracks me up. When someone takes care of you, you take care of them. That is not a whole dollar more, that is more like 10 dollars on 24. He will remember you FOREVER. I have a set of regulars that tipped me 27 on 86 last time they were in. They take care of me, I take care of them.

  106. Raiders757 says:

    I voted for no tip at all, but I always leave a little something. If the place combines the tips between the kitchen and servers, it’s not fair for those that did their job.

    Bad service, and even not so good service, should never be rewarded. The thing is, I hate not leaving anything at all, as it effects those that were actually doing their job, and depend on others to get their share. Slack bastards deserve nothing, and all service should be “solid” as one said above me. 20%!!? No, oh hell no. Five bucks is enough for anyone, if i’m out of the place in under an hour with great service. If sevice is good, and i’m around a little longer, the tip goes up. I don’t do the % thing. I do the pay by the hour/time is money thing. ($5 for every $50 unless you really do a great job)

    If you cut into my time, you get less. If I cut into yours, i’ll make up for it, as long as the service was good the entire time.

    • KG says:

      where I’m from we lose 8% of our sales in taxes, so if you leave me a “good” 5 bucks on a 100 dollar bill, and the government is taking 8 bucks off my paycheck, I’m basically PAYING to serve you. So, really, do the % thing. Don’t try to be special, you’re not helping anyone but yourself.

    • KG says:

      @RunawayJim: @KatherineDadinator:

      I don’t even know what to say that, that’s probably the rudest and most obnoxious thing I’ve heard today. No, quite possibly in my entire life.

  107. ChandlerJaguar says:

    Table A orders two burgers, $15 total*0.20=$3 tip
    Table B orders two steaks, $40 total*0.20=$8 tip

    Assuming they did the same amount of work, why should the waitress from table B get a higher tip than table A?

    In other words, why is the tip a function of the food/drink cost and not the service?

  108. Jackasimov says:

    Trying hard to not sound trollish…but what is the big deal if I get super crap service, or even below fair service, and I feel ripped off and I don’t want to tip? (Oddly enough, for the first time in my life, I did not leave a tip just yesterday. I hate the restaurant’s food, atmosphere, and service. They also only take cash – cheap bastards…pay the fee already – and keep an ATM outside that charges $2.50 per transaction)

    Here’s my simplistic feeling, feel free to tel me if I’m wrong. Wait staff make below minimum wage, right? They also usually wait more that one table an hour, no? If so, one wee table with a transient sipping soda should subsequently send said server over the minimum wage mark. As long as they left a minimal tip. Mo’ tables, mo ‘money. Mo’ money, less problems.

    So, I say, if I get lousy service, I can fight back with the only tool at my disposal, my money. It seems fair. Maybe subjective, but fair. Like I said, I’ve only done it once and only then as my final goodbye to a place I kept going to when I knew I should have stopped along time ago but kind of kept forgetting just how unhappy it made me. Now, I have a happy memory to consult whenever I think, “hey, let’s go to Pauline’s. It’s pretty good, right?”. No I think, “Oh crap, I owe them money, they’ll probably spit in my food. Nevermind.”

    In closing, I think tipping is good. Harder and harder to justify the 20%+ extravagance in the weakened economy, but good, and I usually enjoy doing it.

    Now, if I could just deduct away money from every place that treated me poorly (looking at you The Home Depot) then I’d finally be happy.

    • straddy says:

      @Jackasimov: Okay, so if you tip your server a dollar, and they make 3 dollars an hour, you think its okay for them to make 3.77 plus your dollar tip? I totally agree that you should not tip 20 percent for bad service. Not at all. But I’m cracking up at this concept that servers make minimum wage, so fuck ’em. for what? They bust their ass. I’ve worked at McDonalds, too, at 5.15 an hour 5 years ago. I worked harder at McDonalds than I did at serving, and I didn’t get tipped.

      • Jackasimov says:

        @Jen: C’mon, Jen, you act like you own the service industry. (I mean, you don’t, do you?) Yes, yes, I do think it’s ok for them to make 3.77 – I guess – I don’t know who ever offered that concept up but yeah, sure, that attitude floating around my table while I’m “DINING” will get you about that.

        I think I said something about serving multiple tables meaning multiple tips meaning hopefully putting you over the minimum wage mark. What are you reading in here that I didn’t intend? If you can’t clear that and one prick at one table is enough to throw your life into a tailspin (or cause you to piss in someone’s salad or something) then I’d find a new place to work at or a job that maybe isn’t as risky, tip dependent, and maybe doesn’t require working with the public as much.

        I’ve worked fast food. I got paid shit. I know what it’s like too, and I never said fuck ’em. And some do bust their ass, and some don’t and should not be in that profession.

  109. corinthos says:

    Depends I will leave nothing if the part of service by the waiter was bad. Especially on my lunches from work. I am on a time limit. I order my food and they get it wrong with less than 15 minutes before I have to be at work. No tip from me or the others at my table.

    If they are just really understaffed I sometimes will leave something especially if they inform me of the problem.

  110. RunawayJim says:

    I used to work in a restaurant as a bus boy. I got a portion (supposedly 5% split with the other bus people) of the waitstaff’s tips. I tip well when I go out, but I never reward bad service. I know that it’s not always the waitstaff’s fault. The kitchen did not get a portion of their tips, just the bus boys, the host(ess), and the bartenders. Personally, I think tips should be done away with completely and the waitstaff should get regular wages. Tips should be extra and not assumed. It is quite arrogant to assume you’ll get a decent tip.

    I try to avoid restaurants that force a service charge on you. They are not under contract with me and generally did not tell me ahead of time that they will charge me the extra service charge. I have, on occasion, crossed off the service charge from the bill and given them a tip more in line with the service I received. As I said before, not having a written policy or a contract that is prominently displayed makes it possible for me to do that. I paid for the food according to their posted prices. That’s what I’m paying for. If I didn’t do that, I’d be stealing. I am not stealing by not paying a service charge they arbitrarily tacked onto my bill.

  111. LiC says:

    I tip 10% for bad service, 15% for okay service, and 20-25% for good service.

    That being said, if you leave a shitty tip (Like all those dumb prom kids who think it’s cute to leave a nickel under a glass of water) don’t forget your car keys.

  112. MeanPeopleSuck says:

    I have an aunt that’s big on etiquette and according to her, the proper way to tip on bad service is to leave a penny on the table. It sends a pretty clear signal that the customer didn’t forget to tip (as opposed to leaving nothing at all).

    And if your service was REALLY bad? Put the penny face down.

    • straddy says:

      @MeanPeopleSuck: Leaving a penny on the table is not the way to signal the service was bad, thats a stuck up way of being extremely, extremely rude. Thats interesting that that is a rule of etiquette, I’ve never heard that before.

      • MoreFunThanToast says:

        @straddy: But I think it would be perfectly appropriate if the waiter was extremely, extremely rude. Such as going out for a smoke instead of taking the order.

  113. coloradogray says:

    I recall a time I was staying at a hotel in Quebec. We went into the hotel restraunt for breakfast, whichw as a typical buffet. The only member of the waitstaff in the restraunt was leaning on the bar, scribbling in a notebook, and watching TV. We were the only other people there. After about a minute of waiting at the ‘wait to be seated’ sign he finaly looked up and And indicated where the buffet (drinks were on the buffet as well) was before returning to his notebook. We ate and then walked over to request our check.

    Sure enough, 18% tip added for a guy who walked a total of 3 feet while we were there.

    Needless to say we didn’t eat there again the rest of our stay. If you want a tip do something.

  114. Difdi says:

    A waiter’s job is customer service, though, and if they are bad at it, I reduce the tip. I usually tip 0%-30%, in 5% increments, depending on the quality of service. The criteria I judge service by are:

    1) Was service prompt? I understand a busy place with all the tables packed will have slower service than a place that’s all but empty, and make allowances. Someone should at least show up and say “Hi, it’s crazy tonight, I’ll be with you in a bit” within 5 minutes of sitting down, no matter how packed it is; On the other hand, there is NO excuse for a waiter not showing up to take orders within 5 minutes of sitting down if the place is all but empty (and 2 minutes is better). This sort of service is worth 5% to me; I’ll tip above that 5% for extremely fast service, and below it for very slow service. If I don’t see a waiter for 10 minutes after sitting down in an empty restaurant, no tip on this criteria — If nothing else, if the sole waiter was on a break, the hostess or manager should have stepped up. I’ll go as high as 10% for really good service in this area.

    2) Attentiveness. Does the waiter show up in a timely manner to refill a drink? Again, like #1, I’ll make allowances for crowds. This is worth 5% to me. But if a place that offers free refills effectively negates that offer because the waiter never gives one…no tip for that water. I’ll go as high as 10% for truly exceptional service in this area.

    3) Politeness and/or friendliness. I prefer a friendly waiter. But I’ll settle for a polite one. Given the nature of the job, service customers, there is NO excuse for rudeness. If you can’t do your job politely, take a break, go home for the night, whatever…but DO NOT attempt to serve customers if you can’t reign in a bad mood. A little backtalk is ok, if the customer starts it. But a waiter that is being rude is a waiter that is not doing their job to the minimum standards. This category is worth 5% to me. I’ll go as high as 10% for genuine friendliness.

    If someone truly botches all three categories, I leave no tip. For mediocre but acceptable service, I leave 15%. For truly exceptional service, I’ve been known to go as high as 30%. But a gratuity is a gift added to reward good service; A waiter is not entitled to it. If the tip gets split with other restaurant staff, and I didn’t leave one, that’s too bad; Maybe peer pressure can encourage the waiter to do their job next time.

  115. mehtajr says:

    Simple solution: Whenever you receive service that is so poor, refuse to leave a tip and ask to speak to the manager before leaving. That said, it’s only happened a handful of times that I’ve been so upset with the service that I won’t leave a tip.

  116. ThomasLagma says:

    I only tip if warranted and am sick of the culture of “mandatory” tippers out there. Why, with over-priced food items, must I pay for crappy service as well. I always tip for good service but will not be held hostage by a notion that “I have to tip.” This problem is increased by the fact that credit card receipts have now mostly ALL gained that little tip line so someone at the coffee shop looks at you incredulously when you don’t tack on an extra dollar to that $4 cup of coffee, rediculous! Long live service-proportionate tipping, otherwise I will just pay for the meal and let you sort out the low-wages you signed on for. (Sorry but I used to work in a restaurant and if I provided crappy service, I did not expect good things in return!)

  117. In the last 10 years I’ve left a restaurant only once without leaving a tip. Actually, that’s not quite true. I left a one cent tip.

    Not only was the service extremely slow, but the waiter delivered our main course to the table next to us, and their main course to our table and the dessert we ordered never arrived, so at the end of the meal I had the pleasure of having to correct the bill.

    There was another incident I was tempted to do the same. The waiter gave us the bill for the wrong table three times with a considerable delay between each bill to get it fixed. Since the service was otherwise impeccable and the food was really delicious, I still gave a good tip though.

  118. GreatCaesarsGhost says:

    I’ve never worked as a waiter, so maybe someone who has can help me out here. For good service I’m supposed to leave 20%. So lets say I’m at an Olive Garden with my SO. A modest total on the bill is maybe $17/per person. I’m there for an hour at most. A modest number of new tables per hour per server is 6. That would mean in the hour I’m there, the server is averaging 10 minutes serving my table. So the server works 6 average tables (lets say 2 people per table), gets 6 average tips and nets: .20 x $17 x 6 tables x 2 people = $25.20/hour. I must be getting one of these assuptions wrong, because the server at Olive Garden should not be getting $25/hour. Please tell me where I’m wrong here. (not being a smartass, I’m honestly curious. And please don’t say “not everyone leaves 20%. I’m talking about in a perfect world where waiters get the 20% they feel is deserved for good service.)

    • straddy says:

      @GreatCaesarsGhost: Great question. Why not? For one hour, or two hours, making an averaged 25 dollars per hour is completely normal for waitstaff. I would like to point out that most servers are expected to wait on about 4 tables, not 6. If I go to work at 4pm, I may get a table at 4:15. 5-7 dollars for two people. 20minutes later, another table. 3 minutes later, another table, 10 minutes later, another table. First table leaves and then another is sat. Working 4 tables. But only are you making 25 dollars per hour for about 2 hours. So at the beginning of the shift you may only get 2 tables. 5 bucks, for example, and maybe 6 bucks or 7. Thats about 13 bucks. Plus 3.77/hr, minus 3 percent of sales, which is about 100 dollars, so thats 3 dollars. So we’re at 16 dollars per hour. At the end of the night, less tables, less business. I walk out with a hundred bucks. Don’t think that the average of 25 bucks per hour holds true for all 40 hours worked in a week. A lot of the hours a server is at work they are cleaning and maintaining the kitchen, prepping food, expoing it, stocking the kitchen, etc. Its like those job ads you see, “OMFG, pays $30/hr!” Fine print: for 4 hours a week, dog walking. whoop whoop.

    • straddy says:

      @GreatCaesarsGhost: I’d also like to point out that the idea of walking out with a hundred bucks sounds like a lot of money, but compare to that to a person who makes 48k per year. Thats 1000 dollars a week, and if you stretch that out to ‘serving’ hours, that would be like making 200-250 a day. Most servers make less than 20k per year, and people who make more than that are usually high end cocktail waitresses.

    • @GreatCaesarsGhost: Well… The average table bill at a place like OG is probably closer to $12-15. Those 6 tables may average over an hour sitting, they may have kids (low cost, high stress).

      Also, you aren’t factoring all the time you aren’t seeing when they arent that busy. When I waited tables I could make $120-$150 (sometimes much more) a weekend night for an 8 hour shift (I was, not to be immodest, the best waiter with a big group of regulars who tipped well). This was working 4 tables (which is usually what you see at non-diner places)

      This is how that money broke down.

      3-4PM $0 (Few or no tables, no one paid during)
      4-5PM $5 (maybe one table turn, business would start picking up)
      5-6PM $15 (One turn of all my tables maybe, usually younger people or folks with kids)
      6pm-7pm $25 (this is when I would get slammed. Turn out the early tables and start getting real customers who order full meal and drinks)
      7pm-9pm $80 (Busy time. Dates, parties, folks heading to the movies)
      9-11PM $25 (Campers, people who linger over their meals before heading home, wait list is gone so the place is less crowded..)

      So, some hours I was really making $40, but others I was only making a couple bucks.

    • Hobz says:

      @TracyHamandEggs!: So then you make $18.75/hr in just tips? Not including a lunch break either.

      If we use the current minimum wage $7.25/hr we are looking at $26/hr? for a 24 hour week you make $32,000 a year?

      I see a problem with this, you are making more in tips than your actually getting paid. Aren’t tips just supposed to subsidies your salary not the other way around?

      Also, lets say at one restaurant the meals range from $10 to $15 dollars and at another it’s closer to $20. By tipping 20% across the board aren’t you actually shafting the waiter/waitress at the lower cost restaurant? Is there service really any different?

      • @Hobz:
        1. Waiters dont make the federal Min, except in a couple states.
        2. Lunch break? Waiters don’t get “breaks” during a shift, unless they work a “double”, both lunch and dinner, and they you are talking an 11-12 hour day.

        3. Its all averages. I could make $60 over my prime hours each night, but only pennies over other hours. factor in lunches, slow nights, ect. and the best I ever did was about $1200 a week for a 50-60 hour work week. And that was as head waiter for a nice restaurant. I opted to go back to school a decade ago because I didnt think I could handle the hours/time on my feet for the rest of my life, or I would be doing better then that probably.

        4. No, diners/low end restaurants don’t provide the same level of service. You have, usually, no “steps of service”, no complicated process with greetings, bread presentation, wine list, wine service, explanations of the features, ect. When you go to a diner/Fridays you expect one level of attention, when you go to a higher end place you expect another.

        And yes, you shaft the waiters at the lower end places using your logic. But for those who choose to make waiting tables a career (and there are many) you work your way up like in any other career. You start at that diner/Fridays/OG, then move on to nicer places if you are among the better servers.

        • Hobz says:


          1. Thanks for the clarification. That’s what I thought. Here is a better break down of earnings for those in the food service industry.


          2. My example was using the information provided in the response before mine which was an 8 hour day. For most states, if you work more than 5 hours in a given shift, by law you are granted a 30 minute break.

          3. Using your example that’s still $20 an hour for that week on top of the non tip wage you received. The funny thing is that the BLS (Bureau of Labor and Statistics) puts the median salary of a server at $7.14 with the highest 10% at$12.46/hr (Including tips). So truthfully, what percentage of your tips did you claim?

          4. I live in PA, we have a few fine dinning restaurants in the area I live in. I will agree, their service is second to none. I expect to may more and tip higher for places like that. Hence the reason I don’t go there that often. But then those aren’t the kinds of places people are talking about.

          In all honesty, I feel that I get better service from the local diner than I would at say an Olive Garden or Macaroni Grill or something in that range. Most of the diners in our area are family owned and operated.

  119. KatherineDadinator says:

    Well, what do we expect? I mean, these are people who aren’t smart enough to actually get a real job. No one wil any self-respect or the ability to actually better themselves would condescend to work in a restaurant. These are menial labourers- wastes of skin and parasites on society. It’s a well-known fact that people who wait tables are people in name only. They’re on the bottom of the social hierarchy and should be treated as such. If they want to improve their lives, they should get different jobs. I will treat these people how they deserve to be treated- as vending machines they are.

  120. J.Heck says:

    20% is the median. Higher for exceptional service, lower (all the way to zero) for subpar service.

    I was a pizza delivery person for years. I often get the whole “but you made minimum wage, you’re not on the same level as waitstaff” BS, but let me tell you, when you’ve got to pay for the upkeep of your car to keep your job, and with gas as high as it is, yes, pizza delivery is on the same level as waitstaff. And let me add, that “delivery fee” that’s often tacked on for the delivery service? Very rarely meets the pockets of the delivery drivers. I think the most I was ever compensated outside of my minimum wage and tips was .40 per delivery, and that was working at a place that charged a $2.00 “delivery fee”.


    I would love to see waitstaff and the like be compensated what they deserve through the employer instead of feeling like they are a slave to their customers. It’s hard to stay happy when you’re silently praying you make enough in one week to cover the bills. Less stress = happier waitstaff = better service, I find. Let the tipping be for above and beyond service instead of being what makes up for lack of wages.

    • @citnos: “And let me add, that “delivery fee” that’s often tacked on for the delivery service? Very rarely meets the pockets of the delivery drivers.”

      This really irritates me. There SHOULD be a gas surcharge on the bill and it SHOULD be going to the driver, because regardless of whether people tip, you are paying for a considerable amount of gas and wear on your car.

      But when they start tacking on “delivery fee” and shit like that, it makes you psychologically less inclined to tip, or wanting to tip less. Which isn’t fair to the driver, and maddening when you know that fee is just going to the restaurant for no particular reason remotely related to delivery costs.

  121. krunk4ever says:

    Why even bother levying a 18% service charge and not include it into the price of the food and just note to the customers that tipping is purely optional. I recall there was a sandwich restaurant in NY that did something similar.

  122. TemporaryAphasia says:

    I tip based on the service of the wait staff. They’re not cooking the food, so if it takes a while to be prepared or isn’t prepared properly is not their fault, nor is the place being crowded, someone’s baby crying, or anything like that. If they’re friendly, and attentive but not too hovery, they’ll get a nice tip – no less than $5 for a cheap meal, or a decent percentage (around 15-25) for a more expensive one. If they only do the bare minimum, they might only get a couple bucks, if that.

    It drives me nuts when I’m out with people and they blame the wait staff for things clearly beyond their control. I’ve even pulled a waiter/waitress aside after a meal that someone else paid for, thanked them for their service, apologized for the behavior of others in my group, and offered them a larger tip.

  123. lvixen says:

    I always start with 20%. My mother was a waitress for many years so I know that the income paycheck is small, that waitstaff do rely on tips. If the service is above and beyond, I have no issues giving a larger tip, same goes the other way. I detest the minimum 20% on large parties. We were a group of 10 the only others in restaurant were a table of 2. We had deplorable service and I had to leave a 20% tip? Not if it were my call. I know the service industry can suck, but it’s also relies a little on the waitstaff too, if they do their job the best they can, I can tip the best I can. If I see it’s an insane night (yes, I do pay attention)I can understand and will adjust accordingly. I have rarely if ever not left anything.

  124. elmuchachos says:

    Having been in the service industry from the time I was 16 to now 25 (2 classes left til I graduate college), I have seen everything. I have worked jeans and t-shirt waiting jobs, relaxed fine dining jobs(kahkis, polo shirt) and fine dining.
    One thing that people need to understand is just because a server did bad on one table doesnt mean they suck or dont care. It’s all about timing, sometimes things go perfect and sometimes you get hit with 10 requests at once. I have made 100 on 100 before and i have received 10 on 100. Just because something goes wrong with your table, doesnt mean its automatically the server’s fault. The kitchen messes orders up, they lose tickets, other servers mess up and it pushes the kitchen back, restaurants didnt prep enough of a special and are having to prep it as its ordered. On busy nights, the bar gets slammed and I can tell you from experience that no matter how fast i go i dont get out of the weeds til the rush is over. There are tons of reasons why things go wrong that the server can not control.

    As far as bad attitudes go, that’s something I dont excuse. If a server has a bad attitude and messes something up then they will get a 10%tip. If they have a positive attitude and things are slow then I wont hold that against a server. The worst I leave is 10%, because even though you may be mad at them, that’s is their income.

    In Texas, servers make 2.13 an hour and after taxes we see maybe $10 of that per paycheck so tips are all we have. If servers went to being paid hourly without tips, then I would quit on the spot. We put up with too much $hit from customers every single day of our lives. And its not just a few, people forget that servers are humans too and not their slaves. I am there to serve you but not jerk off your every need.

    And customers its back at you, if youre in a bad mood, then stay home. Dont bring your bad attitude to me, be short when I ask you a question and then leave a lousy tip just because youre being an a-hole.

    And one of my pet peeves is when a table tells me the whole time how great i was to leave 7 on 50. 7 on 50 means I did a lousy job. It’s called verbal tipping and we hate it.

    While servers do make mistakes and sometimes get pissed off with tables, we are still there trying to correct it even if we think you are the rudest piece of shit ever so show some love with that tip. If you treat us nice, then we will come to remember you and take even more care of you the next time. I cant tell you how many regulars that have followed me from job to job because of how I treat them. The food may be good at some place but people come back for the service.

  125. I’m not a hard person to please, not by any means, but I don’t think you should just tip automatically to someone who brings you the food and a drink. A tip should be for service that goes above and beyond the standard fare. I believe that service that goes above and beyond the standard fare does deserve a tip and I will give a 25% tip for outstanding service, 20% tip for excellent service, 15% for standard service, 10% for poor service, and NO tip for *no* service. Bringing you your plate of food and something to drink does *not* mean they should get a tip. Do you tip your mailman for bringing you a package? Or your plumber for fixing your pipes? Do you tip the fast food restaurant employee who hands you your food? No. So if all they are going to do is bring what I ordered and offer no service past that, then they will get no tip. If they come and offer a drink refill or ask if there is anything else I need, I’d automatically give them 15%. If they offer multiple drink refills, don’t try to rush me out of the establishment to get more people seated, and are courteous, then they will easily get 25%.

  126. mmmsoap says:

    I try very hard to find a reason to tip my waitstaff, and I try very hard to talk my dinner companions out of blowing off a tip entirely, when teh occasion arises.

    That being said, if I utterly fail to do my job, I’m getting suspended/fired/docked pay, so the same should apply to my waitress.

    There are times when waitstaff is just generally cranky. They ignore us (or, even better, they ignore some of us sitting at the table…this happened to me the other night. My friend’s husband was the only one who could get any attention, and ended up having to order for the table.) They get the order wrong, they have attitude about it, they’re hard to find, we get no water/bread/refills, etc.

    Here’s the dilemma: waitstaff have a lot of control over my food and a lot of contact with it where I can’t see them. I don’t want to risk my pepsi getting spat in because I wanted dressing on the side and didn’t get it.

    So? What to do in this situation? I try to speak with my tip, but I’m afraid that the waiter will think I’m a douche, rather than he delivered bad service. I hate to lose a place to eat because I fear food-borne-retribution. I hate to be a doormat and just take it. What to do?

    • straddy says:

      @mmmsoap: There are a lot of bad servers out there. When you find a server at a rest. you like, remember the name of the server and ask for them next time. The next time you get them, let them know you asked for them because they did a great job last time, and they’ll be like, “Really? Did I? Awesome! People that won’t be mean to me, and even if they are slightly needy, they asked for me and I’m so flattered!” And they will give you the best service out of all the tables they have. They will focus on you completely because they think you will tip them at least 20 percent, and if they do do what I said they will do, they deserve it. All servers are like peacocks, they like praise, but they also like praise to coincide with money. It sucks, but verbal tipping doesn’t pay the bills, no matter how nice the thought is behind it. This will ensure a good experience everytime, I promise you.

      Or, if you don’t have a good server, ask the hostess who a good server is, and ask them to be sat with them. If theres a 5 minute wait, its worth it.

  127. __Ken__ says:

    If my glass goes dry
    Your tip goes goodbye

    I’ve been known to give a $20 tip for a mug of cocoa just because the server was friendly.

  128. WTRickman says:

    Russell Johnson at the Arkansas Roadside Travelogue provides this viewpoint:



    I always tip fifteen percent in a real restaurant where the waiter actually does something, even though I object to the practice.

    In America we profess our disapproval of elitism, exploitation, racketeering, extortion, panhandling and bribery. Tipping encourages all six.

    Because it is assumed that waiters make part of their livings from tips, it is legal to pay them less than minimum wage. That’s exploitation.

    Tipping increases the cost of your meal without adding value. That’s racketeering.

    You are led to believe that if you don’t tip you’ll get poor service or visine in your coffee. That’s extortion.

    The flip side of extortion is bribery. Rather than paying to deflect the threat of something bad happening, the customer pays to deflect the threat of nothing good happening. If the customer wants good service he has to feed the birds.

    Tipping turns waiters into beggars and hustlers sometimes with sob stories, flattery and other tactics to work the customer into buying the most expensive wine or the most expensive meal in order to get a bigger tip. That’s panhandling.

    Elitism. Class warfare. The practice of tipping puts the customer and waiter in conflict. The customer dangles the promise of a tip like a herring in front of a performing seal. It deprives the waiter of his self-respect. You don’t tip a carpenter. You expect him to do his job well because he’s a professional and he’s respected in our society.

    I find it objectionable that we make exceptions to minimum wage laws that require certain occupations to beg. I also think I’d enjoy my meal more and the waiter would enjoy his job more without the gamesmanship going on.
    Not that I agree or disagree – but the issue is well-framed.

    • straddy says:

      @WTRickman: I’ve thought about the idea that servers could be paid like 7 bucks an hour. But the job is hard, and warrants more money than that. Its hard and requires some skill. Good servers are intelligent multi-taskers. But, then, you can blame the owners of the restaurant. by paying their servers 2 bucks an hour, they’re allowing the servers to make their own money and not having to eke out more money in labor and its easier to profit with a bunch of unskilled workers making 2 bucks an hour, who will open/close the restaurant and do most of the work of running the restaurant.

  129. BlondeGrlz says:

    I am a guilty tipper. I feel bad about asking for service, making special requests, only ordering a meal and a water (no appetizer, no dessert, no alcohol), and taking too long talking over the meal. I usually end up tipping way more than 20% because of my guilt. I even tip at places like Dunkin Donuts when all I order is a hot chocolate. I should probably just stop eating out.

    I was at Ruby Tuesdays one night and the group next to us was huge – 12 or more people. They had 4 or 5 kids running around, spilling things, and throwing food. Our waitress appologized profusely and made sure the service at our table was extra good. The poor girl serving their table was doing her best but 12 people is a lot. At the end of the meal he asked for the manager and requested he remove the manadatory 16% service fee for groups of 6 or more. The manager agreed but asked why, and the guy said “well it’s just the principle of the thing”. After they left our waitress told us he had tipped $9 on a $150+ bill. I felt so bad for her we left another $10 on that table. See what I mean by guilty tipper?

    On the other hand, I don’t really believe anyone remembers my tips. I go to too many different restaurants and turnover is too high at major chains, I rarely see the same server twice, so all my guilty tipping goes to waste.

    • jacques says:

      That’s horrible. Goes to support my theory that a test should be required before people are allowed to procreate.

      I’m all about the guilty tipping too, I figure that if I’m taking up a table in a busy restaurant, I should be penalising the wait staff. That is, provided I don’t get snarky behaviour for taking said table up.

    • straddy says:

      @BlondeGrlz: That was really nice of you to do that. One person expects a 12 top to be easy, its not. You’re a sweetie. Your server knew what you did, too. Ask for a server and your tips will be remembered.

  130. NightingaleJen says:

    I can only think of two times I have not left a tip, and both times service was execrable. It wasn’t the fault of the kitchen staff; we’re talking horrendous waitstaffing and lackidaisical management.

    There was one other time when poor (not execrable) service resulted in my leaving a small a tip (one that said “Um, you did a really rotten job”) and the friend I was dining with did the coins in the upside-down-glass-of-water trick.

    Generally, even for poor service I’ll leave a tip, though maybe I shouldn’t. For hideous service, though…Hey. I work really hard for my money too.

    That said, superb service always, ALWAYS gains a healthy tip and compliments to the management. Heck, great service at McDonald’s means management hears from me, because a good job deserves recognition.

  131. Trick says:

    I actually left a note of great service on the check for the very first time just recently… at a Denny’s!

    The waitress was very nice, on top of our food order the whole time and the clincher for me was before we were getting ready to leave, asked if I wanted a refill on my Coke. I said no-thanks, we’re outa here and she said “would you like it in a to go cup?”

    She was already at 25% for the tip but after that she got some kind words for the manager to see…

  132. SooratSage says:

    I’d argue that you should only leave a tip if the service is truly exceptional. Waitstaff make very little money, but so does anyone else paid at the minimum wage. You don’t tip the girl working the drive-through at McDonald’s or the camp counsellors that look after your children for a week every summer, so any argument that waitstaff are somehow entitled to a tip simply by accepting to work in a restaurant at starvation wages is fallacious. Not only that, but every time there is a public debate surrounding the minimum wage, it’s the waitstaff who are quoted on the 6:00 news saying they make most of their money from tips, reducing the odds of a living wage for the rest of us. Far better that they should organize, demand better wages from their employer, and have the little bit extra that we would pay for the food as a result be taxed for the public benefit.

  133. synergy says:

    I think there shouldn’t be a tip, but a customer should have to give a rating for their waiter. The ratings should be added, say, every month, and if anyone has less than an X number rating, they get the boot.

    • elmuchachos says:

      @synergy: then there wouldnt be servers. The only attraction to serving is quick in a short amount of time. And when youre in college like myself and cant work all the time due to school, you need a job where you can make money quick. The job is way too stressing to put up with people’s attitudes all day long. If a mistake is made, believe it or not servers do feel bad. I have never intentionally messed up an order. But when you lose your fucking mind and decided im a miserable human being because i forgot dressing on the side or no onions or any other request, we no longer feel the need to go above and beyond. Some of my best tips have come from making a mistake and then going above and beyond to take care of that person because they didnt freak out over the mistake.

  134. I directly base my tipping amount on the quality of the service. If the server was friendly, kept our drinks full w/o me / us having to ask, made frequent stops to see if we needed anything else, and had an all around professional and polite attitude, that server is getting 20 – 25%. If the service was adequate – they didn’t go out of their way, but they did their job, I tip 15%. If my / our drinks stayed empty a little too long, and the food was a little slow making it to my table, but they weren’t outright RUDE or anything like that, 10%. If the service is downright terrible – I mean, waiting a half an hr to have your order taken only to wait another half an hr to receive your drinks, which never get refilled, topped off with the server disappearing for 15 min when you hand them your credit card to pay, that person gets no tip.

    Keep in mind, in all the situations I mentioned, I’m assuming a moderate to low number of other customers. I understand that things are going to go wrong if it’s busy, and I keep that in mind when tipping. It basically boils down to the fact that I’m paying part of the server’s wage. If they’re not doing their job, I’m not paying them. If they’re doing an exceptional job, I’m paying them a little more than normal.

  135. jonworld says:

    Not tip at all? Geez..I was raised not to tip below 10% under (almost) any circumstances. I’ll usually tip 30% to even 60% if the bill is pretty cheap (under $20).

    One tip I’ll never forget: My brother and I were taking a cab in NYC and my brother was making an enraged phone call to someone. He was dropping F-bombs at the rate of 30 minute, it seemed. A gave the cabbie a $5 tip on a $7 cab ride because he was so friendly and nice despite all the shit coming out of my brother’s mouth that he had to put up with for the 5 minute drive to the hotel.

  136. Johann says:

    I think I’ve only done it a couple times, but, if I get really terrible service, I leave no tip. And then I never go back to that restaurant again.

  137. says:

    in ALL of my business classes, every one of my teachers state that if you’re going out to lunch, you pick up the bill, you’d better leave 20% (unless the service was awful.)

    NOTHING makes you look more like a smarmy scum bag if you yourself are in the business of making money, yet you have no problem ripping other people off.

    • JohnnyP says: I completely agree with you. I think that if its so bad that the person your with says something about how bad it is then lowering the tip would be OK but its still kinda case by case I guess.

  138. JohnnyP says:

    I think that if your food takes a long time its not always the fault of the waitstaff and I understand that. However if your food takes forever and is cold when you get it sounds like it probably was the waitstaff.

    I was at a restaurant and our waitress took our drinks orders. Somebody else brought them. She took our food order. Somebody different brought it. She asked if we needed refills and didn’t came back. So we asked the next employee that went by for refills she was very polite and got use refills (all 6 of us at that point had drink everything liquid in front of us) The waitress came and asked how we were. We asked for boxes and she never came back. Then that same lady that brought our refills went by and we asked for for the manager. She informed us that she was the manager so we told her about the entire experience including that we had asked for boxes 20 minutes ago and we can see the stack of them across the room from our table but have no clue where she went.. She was very apologetic and asked if we would be will to wait until the manager that was on duty to leave in a few and she would then be the MOD and she would then be more then happy to discount our meals and she did she knocked a nice chuck of our bill off and we gave her a tip (she provided more service the the waitress did) and left a napkin with “Tip” written on it and on the other side said “Drive safely” next to 1 penny.

    I feel that if you are going to be a waiter/waitress that the tip you get from me is a direct result of the service that you provide. I understand that places get busy but the place we were at only had a few other people in it.
    Please don’t think that I’m hard on the waitstaff either I will be the first person to leave 20 even 25% when the service is great I have even left a 50% when I felt that my bill was to small to leave just 20%. When I got out with others and that have agreed on a tipo that I feel should be a little more I will be the last person the get up and leave more.

  139. AuntieMaim says:

    I wonder how the servers at the Linkery feel about the flat 18% service charge, with anything extra going to charity? On the one hand, maybe it’s nice to be sort of guaranteed 13.5% for the waitstaff, 4.5% for the kitchen on every table.

    But then, they’re not really guaranteed that — tables can complain and have the service charge removed, so staff must average 18% or less per table. And the possibility of getting a juicy tip from a particularly happy or generous diner is precluded, since diners who want to leave more are asked to donate instead.

    So, I wonder if they’re happy to have more stability in the tips, or if they end up making less overall? And, it sounds like with this system, all tips are reported through the restaurant, so probably taxed with the paychecks rather than at tax filing time.

  140. JohnnyP says:

    Also if a restaurant is imposing a flat charge as a tip I simply do not eat there again. Tips are the only way to guarantee that you are going to get service worth anything. I don’t want to have to wait for a manager to come over to my table who Im sure that the employee made you out to be a jackass already just to have the 18% removed. I have not left a tip once (see previous comment of mine)

  141. seamer says:

    AS an immigant into the USA coming from a country where tipping is not expected, demanded or treated as a consititutional right, tipping has gotten out of control (ever been to Hawaii?).

    People say tipping is to supplement the poor wages of the servers et al, but the rest of the world knows management should be paying the wait staff a whole lot more than minimum in the first place.

    • elmuchachos says:

      @seamer: Management would never do that because they would have to pay so much that they would probably start losing business and they would just jack the meals way up costing the consumer more.

      in Texas, 2.13 is what a server makes per hour. I make about $20/hour during the week and $40/hour on the weekends seeing how its busier. That doesnt include the 2.13 as that disappears on the paycheck and we get “this is not a check” paychecks and have to pay taxes almost every year.

      If management paid the 18 or 38 dollar difference per hour, avg staff of 15 then thats 270 and 570, respectively and that rise in labor just means 3-4 dollars more per plate. On a family of four that about 15 dollars more, either way you are still spending more.

      • seamer says:

        @elmuchachos: Mate, you defended the practise of tipping by saying that without tips and paying the servers more, then it would cost the consumer more.

        That’s pretty outrageous when you figure in that a server can manage several tables at once and is almost guaranteed a tip of 10-20% per table, plus a forced gratuity if you happen to be with a group of people.

        Either way, the consumer is forced to pay more and the current system is a mere cover for systematic slave wages that would be considered illegal in the rest of the civilised world.

  142. I have NOT tipped… exactly twice in my life.

    And management knew exactly why I refused as well.

    In the one instance the waitress was sitting on the sidewalk crying her eyes out, I assume waiting for a ride home. Whether she had been sent home for the day or fired I do not know.

    In the other instance the manager (in front of me) told the waiter to “go home”. Whether he was fired or just suspended I do not know.

    Yes, if the level of service is THAT bad, if the infractions are that severe, then you have no obligation to tip.

    Kitchen screwups? An entire different story. I always assume the waitress is not at fault (he/she might be due to wrong ordering or whatever, but I assume otherwise) and will tip as I normally would.

  143. ninjatoddler says:

    I’m all for leaving no tip at all for poor service but my conscience always gets the better of me and I end up leaving behind a buck.

    At a Thai restaurant recently (with shoddy service), the waiter decided to stand by me as I was calculating the tip. I told her I’d take the bill to the cashier up front to ward her off. Very annoying. Worse. I still left a buck.

    Sorry I know it’s a hard job when you’re left with minimum wages but some waiters just push all my buttons.

  144. Eilonwynn says:

    I have utterly no problem with leaving no tip. I’ve done so several times, sometimes at restaurants I’m at weekly. I’m also not afraid to tip very, very well in the case of good service. But I go one level more.

    If the service is good, I ask to speak to the manager. I tell the highest representative I can get ahold of that the service was excellent, why it was excellent, and why I’d be happy to return again simply due to that experience. (The cool this is that every once in awhile on a slow night they give us a dessert in a takeaway or a gift card or something – the TRUE mark of a kickass manager)

    • elmuchachos says:

      @Eilonwynn: on behalf of servers thanks. the only way we get recognized is when customers compliment to the manager on the service. Thats part of the problem with restaurants is the only time people talk to a manager is when things are bad, never when they are good or even outstanding, they usually leave it in the form of a tip which is nice but a good tip and compliment is always great.

  145. mannymix03 says:

    Being in the industry before I would NEVER ever under any circumstances leave no tip. Its just ridiculous, even if the service was shitty leave a 10% tip, why? Because you don’t know all the circumstances, the restaurant could be short staffed and he/she is waiting more tables than usual or they are overworked or whatever. The industry sucks because the restaurants are screwing waiters out of hourly wage because they get tips, give something at least, if it was terrible service then give 10%, if they are a terrible server they won’t be working there much longer, but they might be having a tough break or are overworked.

  146. RenwickAmarynceus says:

    This whole tipping debate frustrates me to no end. A few points.

    1. Waiters, please don’t try to win me over with arguments that begin with “You don’t understand how hard a job it is”. All jobs are hard, and frankly, being a “server” doesn’t compare to the crappy jobs most of your customers have.

    2. Please don’t bemoan your low wages. Unless I missed something you picked your profession, thereby picking one with an abysmally low wage. When you chose being a waiter, you chose to essentially gamble on your total take home pay, by picking a job where the majority of your compensation is variable, and not static like most jobs. Just because your gamble doesn’t always work doesn’t make it my or any of your other customers fault. If you’re unsatisfied with a low wage, go get a minimum wage job where you are guaranteed to make a set hourly wage.

    3. Our tipping culture makes no sense. Who decided who gets tipped and why?

    4. Enough with the whole, “If your so unhappy with your service that you don’t tip, then you should talk to the manager” crap. Why should I have to talk to the manager in order to exercise the ability they are expressly granting me by asking for a tip? Why do I need to perpetuate my awful dining experience by waiting even longer for a manager, who may or may not be able to solve my problem, to come out and talk to me? Odds are that if my dining experience is bad enough that I’m not leaving a tip, I’m probably not planning on coming back, and if I’m not planning on coming back, what is the manager really going to do for me?

    I didn’t leave a tip the other night for our waiter who left us sitting at our table for nearly 20 minutes before taking our order, and then made a scene by really rudely quizzing my dining companion before allowing her to send back her obviously overcooked meal. Felt no qualms about it. When I don’t do my job well my clients don’t pay either. Do a better job next time, or find a different line of work.

  147. ClankBoomSteam says:

    Pure and simple: if I don’t get the service commensurate with a given restaurant’s prices, I do not tip. Period.

    As far as the theory that leaving a smaller-than usual tip (loose change, 10%, whatever) “sends a message” to the waitstaff — no. I’m decidedly uninterested in handing over any extra money to an establishment that has failed to deliver something as simple as basic service. If I receive bad service, I don’t respond in kind by leaving a bad tip — that defeats the purpose; I leave no tip at all.

    When it comes to the idea that one should leave a tip unless they’re so dissatisfied that they take their problems to the manager, I again say no. I have eaten in one too many restaurants where there was a problem of some kind, and when consulted, the management saw fit to offer a similar level of service to that of their waitstaff: rudeness, shiftlessness, passing the buck, and so on. If I feel — for whatever reason — that I am not going to be properly attended to by the management, I am under no obligation to even bother with them, let alone tip.

    Now, I am NOT a difficult fellow to please. My needs at a restaurant are simple:

    Greet me politely.

    Seat me and take my order as promptly as is possible.

    Check on me a few times during my meal, and make sure there’s nothing I need or want.

    Don’t screw up my order — and if you DO screw it up and I have to wait for a fix, make it up to me by comping me something on the bill.

    That’s all. I can forgive a couple of these at a time, too — but I get pretty disgusted with the idea that someone whose services you’ve just contracted for all of the above can effectively demand that they be given more money than agreed to, simply by virtue of the fact that they have supplied you with said service.

    A fast, polite, accurate server will definitely get a tip from me, but I reserve the right to weigh all other situations on a case-by-case basis. I don’t see any logic in any other position, frankly.

    • elmuchachos says:

      @ClankBoomSteam: i disagree with comping something on your bill just because of a minor mess up….something major i understand but usually a comp is only applied if its major or the customer is a jackass about the whole thing.

  148. bcsus83 says:

    I feel that it’s never ok to go out to eat unless you can afford to leave a GOOD tip–as in 20-30% minimum for outstanding service (I’m not above leaving a 50% tip if I have my children with me and the waitstaff goes above and beyond to accommodate them). If you can’t afford to leave a very good tip, you can’t afford to eat out, period.

    I usually start the tip in my head at about 20%. At the end of the meal I quickly rethink the service…did I have to wait forever for cold food? Did my drink empty without being offered a refill right away? Were we brought extras (napkins, straws, silverware, etc.) we requested in a timely manner, or at all? Then I’ll decide whether they did a decent job. If they were average, I’ll give them the 20%….if they went above and beyond, I’ll give more. If they were crappy, I’ll give far less.

    Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t times I feel that tipping nothing is appropriate. However, if I ever leave less than 15%, I speak to a manager and let them know why I’m tipping so little, or nothing. I figure if they aren’t aware of the situation, they can’t do anything about it, and someone else will have the same bad service from that waiter.

    • Thorgryn says:

      @bcsus83: It’s not about not having the money to leave a good tip, its about not rewarding crap service with extra money. If all I see of you is when you take my order, drop the food on the table, and dropping the bill on the table when my glass has been empty for 20 minutes, you better believe you aren’t getting a good tip.

  149. NinoRattlesnake says:

    I eat out 3-4 times a week and I can honestly say that I’ve only strayed from ~18%-20% tip 3 times.

    Incident #1: At a friendlies where there was only one waitress on duty. She ignored our table for most of the night and made mistakes on our order. Since I was out with friends, we collectively decided to tip her 1 penny inside a water glass placed on top of the bill

    Incident #2: Fancy French restaurant. Waited 1 hour to be seated in a table that was completely unacceptable. Besides having to dodge plates all night (seriously), our waiter did not read us our specials, did not serve us bread, and did not ask us if our meal was ok. after it was served (the dish was room temperature). We couldn’t flag him down as he was always on the other side of the room. Result Tip: ~7% (To make the bill round up to the nearest number divisible by ten)

    #3: Busy Italian restaurant. Ignored all night by waiter, we waited 1 hour for our dinner to be served. When we got tired of waiting, we flagged water boy and asked for our check. Check came back with our meals on it (although we were never served). When I asked for meals to be removed “management” suddenly remembered us and we received a warm apology (Kitchen dropped a plate and it had to be recooked). Why wasn’t this brought to our attention sooner? Why weren’t we comped for drinks, bread, anything?? I was still going to leave the waiter 15% tip (Didn’t want to shoot the messenger), when I looked at my bill and realized that the beer I’ve been drinking all night, was not the type I ordered. Not sure why but I still left 10% tip (although in retrospect, I should have given less)

  150. LouisaTrigeminus says:

    I currently live overseas where there is no tipping, and wait service is many orders of magnitude better than in the states. In my opinion tipping is unnecessary and does nothing to promote good service. I really don’t understand why working people find it so hard to be polite, prompt, and professional in America. It’s really not that hard to put on a smile, refill the water, and respect the customer.

  151. P_Smith says:

    The options under “Is It Ever Acceptable To Leave No Tip?” are an EPIC FAIL.

    You left out the fact that many who do not tip believe restaurants should charge more and pay the staff more. If they need that extra $2 and don’t say it on the menu, they’re not going to get it from me. Put the real price on, and I’ll pay.

    • elmuchachos says:

      @P_Smith: well they dont pay more so just because you think they should doesnt put money in my pocket. if you go out somewhere, consider that most places with a bar pay tipout to bar, host, busboys. The avg is 3-4% of sales. So on 100, if you leave me 5 then after 4% tipout i made a buck. If you dont tip at all then I have to still tipout and actually lose money on a table. I HAVE TO PAY TO WAIT ON YOUR SORRY ASS.

  152. jwissick says:

    When restaurants automatically add in 15% for groups, we never tip beyond that, even if the service is stellar. Why? A gratuity is a GIFT. You can not REQUIRE a gift for service.

    • elmuchachos says:

      @jwissick: understand the fact that the server isnt in charge of that…in fact most servers hate it because we know that a lot of times we did far better than 15% but due to the restaurant, we wont get anything extra. And if we are really busy and cant get to everyone at once, we will take care of the tables that dont already have a grat put on them because like you said most people are gonna leave me any extra. Its a bad rule for both the customer and the server.

  153. simplekismet says:

    I have actually read just about every comment here and several people have pointed out that servers are making zip because you’re expected to tip (and you’re expected to tip because servers are making zip).

    But what about in CA where minimum wage is enforced and the server is making $8/hr? Do they still deserve the mandatory 20%?

    I’m not trying to be bitchy, just wondering.. if the rationale is that it’s to make up for the low wage then why do we still do it when they’re getting paid okay?

    • MeanPeopleSuck says:

      @simplekismet: I’m in California, and when I tip, I do so based on the service I get. The better the service, the higher the tip. I personally see it as a reward for good service and not something that’s mandatory (though I don’t think I’ve ever tipped less than 15% for even bad service). Making minimum wage sucks and getting tips is a way to boost that income.

  154. Vegconsumer says:

    I’m a server and I actually chose “yes”. However, it’s really rare that that should ever occur!

    I can only think of not leaving a tip if someone is intentionally snotty and horrible. (Hasn’t happened yet).

    And personally? Change is insulting. Leaving less than a dollar (coins) is pretty much just a “fuck you”.

  155. CSUSam says:

    A tip should not be an inevitability. If you do your job, you get your tip. If you do something exemplary, you get more. But if you fail, you get nothing. That is more than fair. There are a lot of people that expect way too much, just like in retail, and they suck. All you have to do to get your 15-20% from me is keep my pop filled and the food be timely. If it isn’t and you are very busy, I understand and it won’t affect the tip. I hate people that are cheap skates with tips, but I think over-tipping is just as ridiculous.

    I have worked as a bar tender and at many retail establishments, and my view has not changed through any of the jobs.

  156. KesCaesar says:

    I wish they would just pay waiters minimum wage, so I could really consider tipping.

    The onus should be on the restaurant to pay their employees, not me.

    • elmuchachos says:

      @KesCaesar: if servers got minimum wage then all establishments would be feed yourself and you would never have a server. I certainly wouldnt put up with peoples crap everyday for minimum wage.

  157. banmojo says:

    If the service is bad then I’m going to ask to talk with the manager, and I am never going back again (don’t want no food that’s been spit in, or worse!)

    actually, if I’m in a hurry (as I usually am) I’m not leaving a tip, not speaking to anyone, and not coming back every again.

    this having been said, there are restaurants I go to where I just love the food, and put up with poor service to get the goodies my gut desires. in this case, I do my best, as a regular, to schmooze the wait staff, perhaps even OVERtip a few times, so that they start to remember me, in which case they almost always start to treat me much much better.

    if I know a waiter (from prior schmoozing) I will request them when I arrive.

    if I’ve been ignored by a waiter several times in a row, then I will do my best to avoid them at future visits. often, these kind of restaurants will also serve you at the bar, and bartenders are almost always nicer than bitchy waitresses, so I’ll eat there if alone.

    that’s only if I really like the place (read: food) though; otherwise I’ll leave 2 pennies as an insult and never come back again.

    I worked as a waiter for 4 years going through college and yes, one can have bad days but then one APOLOGIZES profusely and if the customer is reasonable they’ll understand.

    btw, if I ever DO own a restaurant, consistently poor service will be perceived quickly, dealt with thoroughly. Most waiters/waitresses can be trained if given the right motivation and monitoring. also, asshole customers who come in with the intention of abusing the staff (oh yes, this happens at EVERY restaurant, mark my words!) will be asked to leave and never come back. the customer is NOT always right, not at Chez Monkey!!

    • elmuchachos says:

      @banmojo: and servers and managers know those customers that come in looking for free food…they are easy to spot after about 5 minutes of them being at the table.

  158. all_hail_me says:

    I was once told that if you leave your tip on the credit card slip that the waitstaff is taxed on it, but if you leave them cash they aren’t. Does anyone know if this is true or not?

    • elmuchachos says:

      @all_hail_me: 100% true…the govt doesnt know about cash earnings, only those on CC. we have to report every penny the govt can see. where as if you pay cash, we can report it all, report part or most likely report none of it.

  159. doodaddy says:

    No one is pointing out the obvious socialist aspect to having a tip included in the price of food. Each member of the wait staff learns that he gets the tip even if he sucks. The management learns that his staff gets tipped even if he is understaffed. And on down the drain it goes.

    Of course, I’ve been to places that have good service even though you don’t tip. It has something to do with finding and training the right kind of people.

  160. MelanieHyena says:

    I used to work at a resturant, as a host, I only got tips on to-go orders, but I think that if you don’t leave a tip because of bad service, you should tell the management. Its the only way to send a clear message.

  161. TorrentFreak says:

    To all the people who don’t leave tips…You are cheap bastards. Fuck you.

    To the businesses that pay their employees 2.15/hr. and force the tip systems…. fuck you twice.

    Stop being cheapskates and pay people their damn wages. Stop LOOKING for reasons NOT to tip and start looking for reasons to tip. Waitstaff busts their asses just to fill up your drinks and bring food to stuff your fat faces, the least you can do is make sure they can pay the rent.

    It is NEVER ok to leave 0 tip.

    Also, I’ve been waiter before…. no matter what you say about me this is the god honest truth:

    Groups of women don’t tip as well as groups of men and women take up tables longer. So, they get less service.

    Minority patrons tip the worst. They get less service.

    Foreigners don’t tip at all. You get really bad service.

    • elmuchachos says:

      @TorrentFreak: haha i didnt say that in my rant but since you said it, yes 100%.

      although asians seem to tip really well for some reason.

      old people are lousy tippers.
      hispanics are terrible as well.

    • ninjatoddler says:

      @TorrentFreak: Ever heard of the phrase “a self fulfilling prophesy?” It’s no big secret that servers have a tendency to prejudge their patrons and they end up getting rewarded likewise.

      Not saying minorities don’t tip well but if you can make a claim for 15-20% tip just because you’re paid inferior wages, take into consideration that your patron might be making far less.

      Also, I’m sick of hearing the complaints about low wages. My roommate back in college 8 years ago consistently made between 50-100 bucks every night from tips during his 4 hour shifts. I knew plenty of people who worked harder but made less.

      • brokeincollege says:

        I know people that have PhDs and hold professional jobs where they have to actually dress up nice, deal with whiny bitchy students during their lunchtimes, teach night classes, and bring their work home and work at home until midnight and still get paid less. Oh, btw, the starting pay for an ASSOCIATE professor at even an expensive university like NYU is $35k before taxes. What did they do? They unionized. A graduate student who serves as a TA makes $18k starting. They ALSO unionized. I don’t care what you say, tips are discretionary. If the establishment you work for is paying you that little, there are plenty of other jobs that pay much better. Even babysitting pays $10 an hour, CASH.

        Do the same thing.

  162. sam-i-am says:

    You should always tip if it is at an establishment where the person serving you is making a waiter’s wage. So if they’re making like $2 an hour and depending on tips, then I will usually tip 30% or more no matter how good the service is. If the service is really good I will tip 100% because it’s really not that much extra to make someone’s day.

    A lot of places try to make it look like they’re working for tips but are actually getting an hourly wage. These places usually make you do most of the work (you order up front/get your food) and then they will just bring you your drink orders. I may leave a small tip of a dollar or two, but usually as a rule I don’t.

  163. sam-i-am says:

    All that said, I usually prefer non-tipping restaurants to tipping ones because even cheapo food gets expensive when you have to tip, and you prefer to tip really well like me.

  164. bobcatred says:

    The problem isn’t so much the people that don’t tip waiters that obviously aren’t doing the job, but the people that think that power over the waitstaff’s wages is an excuse to be a complete dick over the stupidest things. Yes, it’s justifiable to stiff the waiter if you waited for 40 minutes to get your water refilled and you’re the only person in the restaurant. It’s okay to stiff them if the waiter gets snarky and personally insults you.

    It’s NOT fair to punish the waitstaff if 1)the kitchen screwed up, ex: getting a rare steak when you ordered medium 2)the management is at fault ex: The restaurant is packed and they have 2 waiters for 40 tables. ex: The management didn’t order enough food, and your side-dish of choice ran out. Seriously, you’re not punishing the right person there, and it’s not going to make that waiter go “Oh, I should have given better service” it’s going to make them go “Oh, that guy’s a dick.” If you were making $2 an hour, would you want to be punished for things that weren’t within your control?

    People need to be a little less control-freak and a little bit more realistic about what’s reasonable to expect out of a single person, as well as just what they have under their power to change.

    • bonzombiekitty says:

      @bobcatred: I totally agree. I’ve seen too many people get upset at waiters over things that the waiter has absolutely no control over.

      But some of them get kinda iffy. For example, a server is quick with greeting you, bringing drinks, and taking your order, but it takes forever for the order to come. Now, it may be the kitchen’s fault for the order taking so long to prepare, but it’s also in part the server’s fault for not keeping track of what has come out of the kitchen, or at least not telling you that the food is going to take a while.

  165. lunarcore says:

    Thanks to taxes and tip share, not tipping is just wrong. It would have to be amazingly bad service for me to charge somebody to wait on me. Even if they fail to keep me happy, it is messed up for them to have to pay to serve my table. If things are that bad, you should be talking to management.

  166. ClarkCrispin says:

    I am rather surprised at the poll results here. As a pretty regular reader of both this web site’s articles and many of the responses to them, I see a disconnect here that is very indicative of the disconnect across the board for people dining out.

    I am a server and have been most of my working life (I am 24 years old). I have worked in a variety of different priced environments, in different locales throughout the country. I wouldn’t characterize myself the typical server, nor representative of them.

    I do notice, however, that people tend to be quick to judge others and yet resistant to looking upon themselves as a source of change. Most everywhere in the country servers make far less than minimum wage, by default. In reality, yes, servers do legally end up making at the very least minimum wage. Do remember that most servers do have to stay educated on an ever expanding and ever changing menu in a world with more and more people with “possibly fatal” allergies to more things than ever before. Do also remember that they are balancing the needs and wants of many customers, managers, co workers, and themselves all at once.

    The best way to encourage service-based industry environment employees to work hard is to prove that such hard work will be rewarded, not by spending your time and energy punishing those who you don’t feel worked hard enough. Without having first hand experience in the po not sition you are being so critical of you have no perspective from which to accurately judge the true energy and passion someone has put into working for you. I do burden my guests at my tables with all the details of what went into ensuring they order food suited to them, recieved it in a timely fashion, and have everything they need to enjoy it. That’s why they pay me. If it took a short while longer than 15 minutes, I do not tell them that it’s because i had to argue with management, or a cook, or another server to ensure it got remade to their exact specifications rather than sub-par, i just apologize and do my best to reduce the problem. I should not be penalized for that which i cannot control; if it’s a consistant issue in a specific location-do not return. That is only fair.

    It is unfortunate that people seem to be so afraid to put themselves in someone else shoes and believe that given the opportunity people will do what’s right. Personal accountability is lacking today, I will agree. However, “personal” accountability is just that, personal. It is not ensuring someone else’s accountability for them while you ignore you’re own part of the legwork needed to ensure the goal is met.

    All of us need to be vigilant in our effort to be aware of each other and the challenges we face. It is the only way we can stop this plague of selfishness and greed that threatens to destroy anything we might accomplish.

    Remember, if I had a choice to make sure you could make either half your wage, and get a cheaper product, or all your wage, and pay more but know that you’re behind it, I’d be sure you’d make you’re complete wage, regardless of how good i think you are at it. I know nothing of most every job out there other than the one’s I’ve done.

    Tip-It’s paying it forward and that’s the only way you ever get paid back.

  167. textilesdiva says:

    I used to wait tables.
    So I definitely leave a nickel and a penny in a very prominent spot, if the service sucked. Sometimes, if I think it’ll do any good, I’ll write them a note explaining the problem.
    To leave nothing is to pass up a chance to make a point.

    Of course, if service is good, I’ll tip to the other extreme.

  168. Red_Eye says:

    I consider this a customer based pay raise system. Since waitstaff in a lot of places follow a revolving door, this is likely the only change in pay they will see. This weekend we went to Williamson Brothers BBQ and the waitress was more interested in shooting the sh## with her co workers, showed up to refill drinks only after my wife and daughter were done eating etc. Its not like we were in a remote area either, she had to walk by us for every table she had. When she came by to fill the drinks and my wife briskly asked for the check she didnt ask what was wrong, when she brought the check and my wife asked if we paid her or at the cash register up front quite tersely the woman also didn’t ask what was wrong.

    I am a computer programmer, I get paid on salary, if I don’t do a good job it shows in my reviews and I don’t get paid as well (raises etc). If I was a commercial developer working for a private company who sold the solutions I coded then if I didn’t do a bad job I would be fired and/or the company wouldn’t make as many sales.

    Do you think this wait persons service since she did not perform her job adequately warranted the $4.50 tip the cost of the meal and 18% gratuity would have granted? HECK NO. She spent a whopping total of maybe 3.5 mins waiting on my family and maybe 45 second to enter our order into their computer and did no prep on our meals (it was shredded beef on a bun ffs). So yes there is a proper time to not leave a tip. I wanted to leave her a penny however my wife asked our 6 year old if she should leave a tip and after consideration she said “yeah, only a dollar since she didn’t do anything though”… From the mouths of babes……..

  169. Hobz says:

    For some reason I have always had a problem with tips. Why is it the responsibility of the patron to PAY the employee? I realize that the work is hard, I used to wait, work the kitchen and even deliver pizzas. I never expected a tip and was always grateful to get one. Of course this was 20 years ago and I guess times have changed. Now it’s OK for a restaurant owner to pay employees below minimum wage and expect the customer to make up the rest so that they can keep their margins high.

    I think the industry as a whole needs to change. These people deserve to be paid more and not forced to suffer when the restaurant can’t keep the seats filled.

  170. Erwos says:

    By law, those waiters need to make at least minimum wage. So, if no one tips, they’re still getting paid. It might be crap pay for a day, but then again, a lot of commission-based jobs have the same problem.

    I generally tip pretty heavily (~20%) at a restaurant I go to frequently, although this might change once we have kids. On the plus side, I think the service I get is definitely better than what the average customer gets, and people are pretty snappy about sitting us down.

    That tip definitely goes down if they screw up the order, though – one waiter in particular doesn’t seem to understand that stuffed peppers and stuffed cabbage are not the same things, at all.

    • Etoiles says:

      @Erwos: By law, those waiters need to make at least minimum wage. So, if no one tips, they’re still getting paid.

      In the US, Federal law sets a different minimum wage for professions where tipping is customary. Currently if you receive tips, your Federally mandated minimum wage (although yes, it does vary drastically from state to state) is $2.13 per hour.


  171. bonzombiekitty says:

    I normally tip between 15 and 20% for standard service. I’ve only once never left a tip, which was for extraordinarily bad service. There was one other time where I really wanted to not leave a tip because the server was literally ignoring us (we waited 45 minutes for service that never came), so I complained to management and they sent a different server. I was still angry at the original server, and didn’t want to leave a tip, but I knew it wasn’t the new server’s fault and tipped even though our meal was comp’d.

    The way I look at is this:

    Restaurants don’t pay for the waiters to serve you. They simply pay for their presence and to do odd jobs around the restaurant (i.e. cleaning up). They leave the job of paying for service to you. YOU get to determine how much you value that service.

    Frankly, I’d rather determine the value of the service myself rather than the restaurant owner. I don’t want the restaurant owner adding 20% onto the cost of the meal to have the service built into the price when I think the service was sub par and only worth 10%.

  172. EightIsEnough says:

    Never tip sorry service.

    15% Max on tips for good service.

    WHO determined the going tip rates anyway?

  173. platoreborn says:

    There is a restaurant in town that has 50% for students on sundays and they include a 15% tip on the non-discounted price of the meal; service is usually terrible and they don’t tell you ahead of time that tip is included, so most people double tip on accident.

  174. Indecent says:

    I was (and still occasionally am) a waitress/bartender at a local pub when I need the money (not to mention my fair share of waitressing gigs throughout high school and college).

    I busted my ass to make those tips. True, that for some people, excellent service still means a 10% tip. But there is no denying that I got a better tip from people who were surprised by the amount of attention and work their table got.

    Thus, I’m a “change-tipper” when I get bad service. Unless I see a reason (new person, busy night, bad kitchen staff) to tip kindly, I do tip based on the service. If its fantastic, I tip 25%. Doesnt happen often, but it does definitely happen. “Normal” no-problem services get 18-20%. Problematic service gets 15%. But I dont do less than that, unless its serious. When its serious, I dig out the change.

    But here’s my catch: If its bad enough they get change, I usually ask to talk to a manager also. Most of the time, they have a genuine concern about improving their employees. For those that don’t…eh, fuck ’em. They can have their quarters.

  175. EBounding says:

    I hate tipping. Raise the price of the food and pay your employees more.

    “But service will be poor if there’s no tipping.”

    Really? Then I will just go to one of the other 50 restaurants in the area. It’s a very competitive business. I would rather the owner be ensuring the workers’ productivity rather than the customer. If you try saying to your server “I’m not going to tip you well unless you’re a good waiter”, I’m pretty sure you’ll find a special “bonus” in your food. I’d rather the owner have this responsibility, not me.

    That said though, I usually tip around 20%. :P

  176. aerick79 says:

    I have seen if you don’t cross out that line for a tip, they will give themselfs a huge tip. So always cross that tip line just in case! Oh I really dont tip. They should earn their tip.

  177. Jubes says:

    One night my boyfriend and our friends went out to a sports bar/restaurant that we have been patronizing off and on for years. The guys ordered a pitcher and then we all decided on an appetizer and our meals. All the food came at the same time (appetizer and meals), most of it was wrong but the waitress didn’t care. She couldn’t be bothered to fix it (nor am I one to make a huge deal, that just helps determine her tip), I think I got a refill on my pop once by asking multiple times, and my friend who wanted to order another pitcher was flat out ignored. We all agreed we would finish up, pay and leave. Obviously this girl doesn’t care about her job. I said I was not tipping because this girl was so unpleasant to our table, yet fine and attentive to other smaller tables. I’ve worked in the industry, five people really isn’t that hard to manage. Everyone but one person agreed not to tip saying the waitress’ live off our tips blah blah. Here in Ontario they make .95 cents less than minimum wage, which is being increased for everyone for the next two years. I also live in a University town where most of the attendees are pretty well off. Now I’m not saying that she could have money and she was forced into getting a job but she really did look like daddy just cut the purse strings. I work hard for my money, so when I am going to go out and spend it, I would appreciate having the same level of service that I provided to people when I was working in the food industry. I don’t need a new best friend when dining, but when a waitress can’t be bothered to be pleasant and have a smile on their face, why should I reward them for essentially ruining my night out? If you can’t do basic customer service, get another job. My boyfriends sister has been waitressing for 10 years on and off and even when their father passed away 2 years ago she still went to work and put a smile on.

    Everyone has their own opinion on tipping. It is a rare occasion when I don’t tip but I do choose wisely about the percentage and try not to leave under 10% most times. I don’t normally tip at Starbucks because now to them being a barista means pushing a button and letting the machine do the work instead of the employee.

  178. Brunette Bookworm says:

    If the service is so horrible you feel you shouldn’t leave a tip, you should make sure you complain to the management, otherwise, they may just think you are rude.

    I’ve never not left a tip but I have left a low tip when the service was bad. The times where the waiter/waitress never comes to your table unless you stop them walking by or they just disappear and never come back.

    In the case of the example of Linkery’s, I think the added charge is fine as it says on sit-down service, implying to me that they have carry-out and don’t charge it on that.

  179. pgaulrapp says:

    There is a restaurant my wife and I like to go to, that has a tip line on the receipt when you pay with a credit card.

    Trouble is, it’s not even a sit-down-and-order type restaurant. You order at the counter, then they call your name when your food is ready. I’m not tipping for that.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @pgaulrapp: That’s not a reflection of the business itself wanting you to tip (even if they do), it’s just how the cash register prints out receipts to sign. Baskin Robbins receipts have that tip line (and they have the tip jar next to the register).

  180. Etoiles says:

    I usually like to tip fairly high. When I’ve taken up a table by ordering cheap food, I’ll sometimes even tip 30%. But there have been occasions — I can think of three offhand, in my life — where we’ve tipped under $1 or not at all because the service was just that bad. (And I don’t mean “making a few mistakes” bad, because that happens to everyone and one wrong order isn’t the end of the world; I mean tons of mistakes, while being rude and inattentive and without a single apology or word.) And in those cases where the service has been that bad, we’ve also lodged complaints with the management (usually via website or phone the next day) so that hopefully things can change.

    99 times in 100, though, if you’re polite and nice the wait staff will be, at worst, decent to you.

  181. mmstk101 says:

    I remember only one occasion when I tipped extremely poorly (2 dollars).

    We were at a bar, and the waiter first spilled a pint on the table, then spilled another pint on one of the people I was with. He refused to bring us any towels until we said “please” and then forgot to bring our food. Not impressed.

  182. LynnGalopagus says:

    You know, this whole obsession with tipping really is nothing more than wanting to have control. In most other service industries people get paid wages. They don’t accept gifts/tips if you like their service. It may infuriating when a postal worker is slow, or when a Kinko’s employee doesn’t know how to fix the copier that they’re *supposed* to know how to operate but you don’t hear people talking about how they shouldn’t get paid because you were pissed off.

    Not wanting to pay people for work they do, even if you don’t like the quality of their service, is ugly and yes, assholish. If you don’t like the service, do what you do everywhere else – write a letter to management and don’t patronize them any more.

  183. NikkiSweet says:

    Don’t forget the Sonic carhops! Everyone always forgets to tip those poor girls, and after working 2 summers at one in High School, I can assure you that it is every bit as hard as waitressing in a “real” restaurant, but no one seems to tip.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @NikkiSweet: Yeah, especially wearing the roller skates when it’s 20 degrees outside and possibly icy! And a lot of them were fellow college students.

  184. kimberley504 says:

    The only time I can remember leaving no tip (or almost nothing) was when I walked into a small restaurant with my family and ordered something off their “Specials” board for about $8. This was still early afternoon, but during my meal one of the staff went over and erased what must have been the lunch prices and entered dinner prices. When I got the check it had the dinner price listed – $10 – instead of the price from when I ordered. I brought it to her attention, but she refused to change it. So I took the amount I would have tipped her and subtracted the $2 difference and left that as the tip.

  185. CarnageSIS says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but I think the additional choices in the poll for letting the waiter know you remembered are just silly. Really, you think the waiter/ress ever assumes you forgot to tip them?

    I seriously doubt they look at a table and think, “Hmm guess they forgot, oh well.”

    Most likely they’ll either think you are cheap or are already aware that they were too busy to properly take care of your table and accept the knock in tips.

    I would assume that if I left a small tip the waiter would just assume I was cheap.

    Honestly, considering that most people are not very critical of themselves I doubt at any time that you do or do not leave a tip does the waiter/ess try to figure out what they did wrong. They just assume something about the customers and move on with their day.

    If you want to send a message that you had bad service, freaking tell them or the manager or one of those comment cards that you had bad service. That is really the ONLY way the message is going to get through. Other than that I doubt the waiter/ress is going to sit around trying to decipher the deep psychological meaning behind your tip. They’re just going to collect it or process it and move onto the next table.

    Most likely the only person who thinks you sent a message or were smart/clever in leaving that penny behind is you.

    I do not feel that we should be forced to pay a predetermined tip as it should be our choice to leave one or not. I am fine with just bumping up the cost of the food to pay the staff more and let the tip be what it should be a bonus for great or good service and not an expected reward for doing nothing more than the standard or worse than standard.

  186. LatimerFantazmical says:

    I agree that bad service should still get a tip but a reduced one at best. Now let me ask you something that is similar in some ways and see what opinions others have.

    A few years ago I was in Chicago on business trip and was staying in a business class hotel which had food delivery service setup with several restaurants. If you order from some places that would bill it to the room and charge 20% service charge and the delivery person would deliver food to front desk which would send someone to deliver it to the room. One restaurant that I ordered from had a different policy – they had a delivery man waiting for me downstairs in the lobby of the hotel, charged me 20% service charge and then the delivery guy expected a tip on top of that. I had to pay the restaurant directly bypassing the hotel’s front desk.

    So my question is in cases where there is a required service charge for a service rendedered (in this case delivery) do you tip extra or is the service charge covers that?

    I always tip delivery men that offer free delivery, I dont tip UPS guy since I am paying for the shipping charges and therefore technically I shouldnt tip someone when I am paying for a service charge. There is a restaurant here in NYC that has a delivery surcharge of $2 for every order which is not that bad so I tip the person on top of that. $2 combined with the tip I give comes out to 20% or so which is fine but when you order $100 of food (few people) and pay $20 surcharge and then a delivery guy wants a 20% tip then your meal comes out to $140.

    Please share your opinions.

    • brokeincollege says:

      I honestly tip delivery guys less than at a sitdown restaurant. Somewhere along the lines of upper single digits. You just take the food, dump it in my hand, and have me sign the slip. You don’t bring water refills, clean up after me, or anything else.

  187. Mysterry says:

    I went to a restaurant called the Bull Dog. I was hungry for some meatloaf and that’s what I ordered. On the menu, it described it as “two thick slices of home made meatloaf” and in fact, when I got my food (about 20 minutes after my friends got theirs), it was two small, thin hamburger patties that had been sauted (or looked like it was sauted).

    Another 15 minutes passed before the waiter came over again. By this time, the only thing I ate was the mashed potatoes and gravy. I told her that the menu said two thick slices of meat loaf, and that I’m OK with paying for the meal because I did eat the mashed potatoes and gravy, but if they’re going to serve me two hamburger patties, maybe they should change the description of the item on the menu. Mind you, I wasn’t rude about…

    At the end of the night, she comped me for my meal and she got a decent tip. Of course, I handed it to her personally and thanked her.

    Although this may make me sound like an ass, but if she wouldn’t of had done that, I think I would of tipped her only a buck or two.

  188. reimero says:

    If you are going to leave a small tip or no tip because the service was bad, it’s important that you let a manager know. I know people don’t like getting other people in trouble, but if you want to send a message, it needs to be clear that the message was “this service was lousy” rather than “I’m cheap.”

  189. qcgallus says:

    I must admit that I’ve been guilty of leaving change. Not because they forgot, but to send a message that I was unhappy, though I did it only once. I had waited 45 minutes for a meal that takes 15 minutes to make (on previous occasions, albeit), never got a drink refill, and saw the waitress twice in 2 hours. The restaurant was empty, too, except for the 3 of us. The keystone to the arch was that the waitress acted like waiting on me was a hassle to her work free day. Really pissed me off.

    You can remove service charges too, some places. I did that once at a wing restaurant. The service was a step below abysmal, and there were 2 of us. Hardly enough for a mandatory service charge. I like to think that having to call the manager out and have him remove it made him talk to the waitress, but I’m sure it’s just wishful thinking.

  190. EricLecarde says:

    I voted yes on this due to the fact that a few of the resturants around here split the tip among the chef, the waitress and the bartender. As I’ve have had some poor service before, but excellent food and a well made coke and rum, I find that its only fair to tip fully.

  191. S-the-K says:

    The only times that I have not tipped on purpose was due to appallingly bad service. Even if it was mediocre, I’ll tip at least 15%. I normally tip 20% — easier to calculate in my head and add to the credit card slip.

    However, when I go out to breakfast I usually round up. As Tom Snyder explained, he always tips extra at breakfast because the staff had to get up in the morning before he did.

  192. Ninjanice says:

    Bad attitude= no tip. However, I also realize (having many friends and family members in food service) that poor service is not always the server’s fault. If the server is nasty, or inattentive when you can see that they aren’t busy or gets the order wrong and doesn’t take th eproper steps to fix it, then you should not tip or at least not tip as much. But, I think that some people don’t realize that cold food, missing items and incorrect items can be (and often are) the result of the cooks or runner getting something wrong. So, even though the cook and the runner are making minimum wage at least, the server (who makes $3/hour) gets stiffed because they are the one that the customer interacts with. I usually go to the manager first before I stiff someoneon a tip, too. If you explain your case, they’ll probably give you a discount, free meal or gift card for the next time you come in to make up for the poor service. Plus the manager then knows that there is a problem somewhere in their operation and can address it.

  193. ZacharyCachimba says:

    I made my living off tips for years. As such, I feel obligated to tip according to the quality of service. I tended bar, and had the belief (and still do) that if you can’t get tips because of your service, then you don’t deserve them. I worked with people who would pad tabs, actually ask people for tips, etc. Espousing this belief almost landed me in a fistfight once or twice.

    Change won’t make a server think anything but that you’re an asshole. Enough tipless transactions and maybe they’ll change their service.

    Though maybe not. A lot of servers have a real sense of entitlement, to tips and a lot of other things as well. This may well be due to a deeper societal failure.

  194. darkryd says:

    One penny, face down on the table.

    Worst insult you could possibly give a terrible waitress or waiter.

  195. gotgot says:

    As a former server and someone who eats out ~2 times a week, I’m “Fair but Firm”. My base is 20% and can go to 30, 35% in many circumstances. It can go down to ~12%. After that, if I feel the service is worth less than 12%, I inform the manager on-shift about my experience (in a non-threatening, matter-of-fact description, no flailing arms or raised voice) and leave no tip, I also follow up with a letter to the restaurant and if part of a chain, to the corporate office. Its rare when that happens and I am always extremely clear as to what the problem was.

    Sometimes the server is excellent but the experience is poor due to other reasons, normal tipping methods apply and I skip the comment to the manager that night (usually that person is the one who is failing to run the show properly) and I follow up with letter to the restaurant and to the corporation if applicable. No need to verbally abuse a server, ever. If they don’t get it, they wont after a reminder of what proper service is.

    My one recollection of my years serving is that some servers get good tips and others bad. Discount the “sweet rack” factor of course :) After a while, the bad tippers either blame the customer base (which when I am pulling in 300 a shift and you 170 for the same number of tables/bank maybe it isn’t the customers you doofus) or wise up and become better servers. The third option is to wash out which also happens quite often.

  196. Ubik2501 says:

    I always expect to tip at least 15%, and usually tip somewhere around 20%. However, I think it’s acceptable to leave a smaller tip, or even no tip at all, if service is egregiously bad. This has happened so rarely to me, though, that I’ve only felt the urge to exercise it a handful of times. And if the service is that bad, the manager should also be contacted.

  197. mwahaha says:

    Maybe things are different in British Columbia. Over here the standard rule is that the server tips out something like 5% of the total bill. The tip out goes to the rest of the non serving staff (bussers, host, kitchen). So if you don’t tip anything on a $100 order, the server actually has to pay $5.00 out of pocket to the house.

    Personally, I’d always tip atleast 5%-10% if it’s simply that I’m unsatisfied with the food. If it’s the service that is brutal, then you i’d tip nothing because they will definately make notice, but it’s not always their fault if the foods cold for example

  198. ThickSkinned says:

    Leaving nothing isn’t the best way to deal with this. The server may think you just forgot. If service is abysmal, I’ll leave a dollar and a note explaining why the tip was not better. Of course, this also means I can’t go back to the restaurant for a while, because service people do remember who doesn’t tip well. And bad tippers can have ‘questionable things’ happen to their food.

  199. bleigh says:

    The other night I went out to dinner and the service was the worst. The waitress didn’t refill drinks, ask us how anything was, ANYTHING. she gave us our first cup, gave us food and WITH THE DINNER gave us the bill. didn’t ask for dessert or any other drinks…anything! i left her a 10% tip.

  200. Gamby says:

    Complaining to the manager is usually best as its not always the servers fault.

    I think the best method is to take a page out of an episode of 3rd rock from the sun. When trying to find out how much to tip Dick starts out with a set amount of money on the table and takes away a dollar or puts a dollar on the tip pile depending on service.

  201. Phantom_Photon says:

    Has the human race gone absolutely mad?

    A Tip is a Gratuity. They are synonyms.

    n. pl. gra·tu·i·ties
    A favor or gift, usually in the form of money, given in return for service.

    It is a FAVOR or GIFT, given in return for good service. It cannot, and should never be, required or expected. Social custom dictates that one is being rude if not tipping for good service. However, it is completely unreasonable to expect that one would tip if service is poor.

    The problem here is that restaurant have offloaded the wages of their workers on to their patrons. And local governments have aided this by allowing them to pay substandard wages. Pay your servers a living wage, and don’t expect the patrons to subsidize your payroll, regardless of service.

    To re-iterate:

    A tip is a gratuity. It is NEVER required, though good service should be rewarded.

  202. ShizaMinelli says:

    The “technical” term for a tip is a “gratuity”. If they give you nothing to be “gracious” about, they didn’t earn their tip. There ARE situations where a restaurant is incredibly busy and you can tell the server is doing everything they can to serve everybody fairly, in which case I think it is unacceptable to not tip. When they are busy, and they manage to notice you need a refill, plus stop and do the “chat” thing when they get a chance, they get an amazing tip.
    However, when a restaurant is empty, you’re glass hasn’t been full since you sat down, and the server doesn’t stop once to ask how everything is going, need a refill?, etc., they haven’t earned their tip and I’m not going to leave it. When a waiter is rude or flippant and demonstrates to you that they really don’t give a crap about your business, or you see them standing in plain view of the floor on the phone/texting (ZERO tolerance for me, put the phone away you’re at your JOB), they get no tip and I speak to the manager. I am generally a good tipper, but crappy service earns a crappy tip.

  203. SimonMaia says:

    Frankly, the whole business of tipping has morphed completely out of bounds of what it started as: A extra payment directly for exceptional service and/or for someone going above and beyond the job requirements.

    I’ve waited tables, and I have a clear conscience when it comes to my viewpoint.

    1) Why do I have to pay more for the exact same amount of work? If I order a $10.00 burger, or a $100 steak, it’s taking the same amount of time to deliver it. Why am I expected to pay that much more in tips? It’s not as if the wait staff or the cooks have to pay for those materials or time.

    2) If I’m paying someone’s wages (which should be included in the price of the meal), why am I sharing that person with everyone else in the room? If that person collects 10% of ten meals at $100 dollars a meal in one hour, that’s $100 dollars an hour. I understand that servers do not always work 40 hours a week, and meals generally are less than this.

    As I said, my belief is the price in labour should be included in the bill directly. If I’m paying your wages directly, I’m paying for your time, and you’d better be doing your job, which is to service my table.

    3) I should not have to tip. Period. I firmly believe in the original definition of tipping, and if you tell me that you WILL be adding additional charges, I will tell you I WILL be spending at another establishment.

    4) The vast majority of other business models builds in the cost of labor right in with the final product. It works fine for them. How would you feel if EVERYTHING required tipping, and you are directly paying for labor up front for everything from the gas attendant where you pump it yourself to your phone book delivery service?

    5) I’ve heard it argued that this is the way it is, as if that lends some legitimacy to the procedure. Things change: Slavery was abolished, Smoking in public is on the decline in North America. Bigger things than tipping are changing.

    I tip, when applicable and when desirable. I leave a $20 for someone who’s bill to me is $10 if service was excellent.
    I’ve recommended good servers and establishments to many a people.

    Tipping is NOT mandatory. Period.

    • Parting says:

      @SimonMaia: Still, you know that the system is flawed, but not tipping is punishing the server for that. Not very nice of you.

      (A law bringing wage to level would be great. So start writing a letter to your representative NOW. Or stop complaining and leave a tip.)

  204. LucianaCaesar says:

    Generally I’m a generous tipper. I will use a sliding scale for poor, average or fantastic service. Only on one occassion did I ever not leave a tip – and I did so on my credit card receipt like this: Tip: 0!!!! This woman was so unforgivably rude that she deserved the exclamation points after the zero. It takes extremely bad service to warrant not leaving a tip – a long wait it often not the fault of the server. It really should only be a rude behavior from the server

  205. mormonunderpants says:

    I’ve been serving for a little while now at a small popular resturant with a lot of regulars. I do my best to spread out the wait times for my tables so that I provide uniform service to all tables at any given time. That said, the best way for me to increase my tips at tables has been to make notorious non-tippers (their are quite a few) wait longer so I can focus on tables that might tip me. If people don’t tip, tip very little, or are generous, then I usually assume it is less a reflection of my service and more a reflection of their financial situation. If you really want to let a server know he has don’t a great or not so great job, inform them or their manager, or leave a note.

  206. Euvy says:

    It’s a hard call, as some issues that LOOK like waitstaff problems are actually kitchen issues–cold food, waiting on dishes.

    If the server is explicitly rude, then do not tip. Otherwise, find out what the problems are and make an informed decision based on that.

  207. itmustbeken says:

    Almost always, the customers’ issue isn’t about the service but about not being able to handle their loss of control.

    This REALLY bugs me.
    I hold no delusions that I am in control when I enter a restaurant. I am paying money for the staff to serve me food and drink for the costs they charge. If the food takes 40 minutes to arrive, prepared badly or served with a sneer, that’s not a control issue. That’s a service issue and to use psudo-psychology to place that back on the customer is awful.

    A gratuity is “A favor or gift, usually in the form of money, given in return for service”. It is not the waiters (or the other staffs) right to receive it.

  208. Demonbird says:

    We have a local sushi place which I just adore, but about 3 months ago I took my girlfriend there. My sushi would fall to pieces at the slightest provocation, and the portions were smaller than they had ever been before. It also took nearly 40 minutes to get our food with only two other customers in the place. We had been eating regularly there for a few years and I was not pleased. I didn’t tip that day.

    Every time we have gone back since I get the impression the staff is trying to shun or punish me, so I just quit going. Don’t respond to a loyal customer not tipping you for terrible service, with terrible service.

  209. DarkKnightShyamalan says:

    One of the very few times I can ever remember leaving no tip is at Fraiche in Culver City (LA). The service was terrible and inattentive, our food took forever, and he was horribly condescending whenever we asked what was going on. (i.e., “We make all our food fresh, so it takes longer.” Oh, I see. And here we thought you guys just microwaved everything.) If that idiot thought he was getting a tip by the end of the meal, he must have been absolutely delusional.

    We complained to the manager, who offered absolutely no explanation or even a sincere apology. Then we paid the bill in cash, no tip, and took off. That’s about the level of experience it takes for me to stiff a server. Anything less and I’d at least have left something.

  210. xkevin108x says:

    Tips are how you rate your level of service (or how much of an asshole you are, depending on the situation). If I’m in a bar being ignored, I tip poorly if at all. If it’s insanely busy and the girl is working her ass off, I’ll still take care of her.

    A separate issue: tips are fine but they should not be taxed as income!

  211. Triterion says:

    I’ve been to the Linkery and the service was great. I had no qualms because of that, but if it were any other restaurant I’d take offense. Becides, most of the time when service is good I leave 20% so I consider it a 2% discount!

  212. When I have “good” service, I aim for about 18%. If I have crappy service I don’t tip and I explain that to the server. If I have spectacular service (this probably happens once every 10 or 15 times out, I will leave a very large 40%+. I think that this is fair. If I perform well at work, at the end of the year I get a bonus. If I perform really well, I get a big bonus. If I perform poorly, I get no bonus. There is no difference between that and tipping.

  213. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    On one hand, I get that some kinds of poor service (meals taking a long time, being cold, etc.) is not necessarily the fault of the waiter, but it doesn’t really excuse being treated poorly. If I get cold food, and I say something about it to the waiter, the waiter’s attitude toward the situation (and to me) is an indication of how he or she treats people, and that is one thing that gets factored into the tipping. The cold food isn’t their fault, but how they handle the complaint as a result of cold food could get them a great tip or a little one, or nothing at all.

    I was at California Pizza Kitchen once and some nasty punk teens had left a nickel at the table (I was a teen about 8 years ago, I was never that rude!) and the waiter chased after them and yelled at them. I remember thinking, “please please please let us get someone else” but we got the same waiter, and he was still fuming when he came to our table. But instead of just being grumpy (rightfully, I’d say) for a new set of customers and treating them poorly as a result of his bad on-job experience, he put on a smile and treated us extremely professionally. He got a big tip from us, I recall. Another time, a woman was being treated extremely poorly by another table which had twice the amount of people, and they were making demands left and right and complaining about everything. We felt so bad for her because she had to deal with their table that we left her a big tip. It wasn’t a guilty tip – I never feel guilty for not tipping, because it’s never that I forget or I don’t have the money. It’s always intentional if I don’t tip (I rarely don’t though).

  214. wonkable says:

    @ Phantom_Photon,

    Just curious- don’t you think there is a distinction between service and _good_ service? Just because the level of service that was provided didn’t meet your expectations doesn’t necessarily mean that no service was provided.

    Having said that, I have once not left a tip due to lack of service. A literal lack of service, i.e. we had to bus our own table to get someplace to sit, then ambush a server at the ‘ticket entry booth’ to place an order and get our check, among other things.

  215. rychdom says:

    As a server (read: waiter), I can sympathize with the “Always tip 15%-20%. Do you realize how little the waitstaff makes?” vote. Our hourly wages, at least in TX and AZ (the two states I have lived in), cover our income taxes. I honestly can’t remember the last time I got a paycheck that wasn’t zeroed out; we live off our tips.

    I can’t say I agree with the “10%, minimum. It shows that you remembered and chose to send a message” vote. When I get a 10% tip, it either means I pissed them off, or they just don’t know how to tip, usually the latter. More often than not, 10% tips come from old people or teenagers, neither of which really have too much of a disposable income, so who am I do be upset about that? I don’t need to take their money.

    Now, to the “Terrible service should not be rewarded” vote:
    1) Getting “terrible” service doesn’t automatically mean the server sucks or is stupid. Things happen. As far as your food taking a long time, the servers don’t cook, the cooks cook. Now, having said that, if a manager doesn’t come by, ask for one. I personally hammer the manager until he/she goes by the table, because I don’t want to be blamed for that shit. Now, on the other hand, if I screw up I admit it, usually in a pretty entertaining way. The point is, not everything is our fault.

    2) We have duties behind the scenes that could keep us from returning right away. More than likely, if you are wondering where we are, we are cleaning or re-stocking. Waiting tables isn’t quite as easy as it seems (although it is pretty easy).

    3) I’m just going to come out with it: If I give you terrible service, I chose to. You were rude, annoying, clueless, impatient, or just plain ridiculous, and I don’t want to deal with you. Let’s get this clear: I am more than willing to sacrifice a tip to make a point. If you don’t get the point, it’s not my problem.

    The only thing that will really send a message is the “Leave Change. That way they know you didn’t forget” vote. That could quite possibly be the best way to send a message that you didn’t like me/my service. My reaction is usually, “Really?!”

    Of course, 30 seconds later I’m over it and on to the next thing.

  216. MoreFunThanToast says:

    I’m not saying that one should never tip.

    But there are certain times when the service is so appalling that it would be insane to tip.

    There has been a total of two times when we did not tip and once we left a penny for their crappy service.

    However, I don’t think tipping necessarily = great service. I’ve experienced exquisite services in other countries where tipping is not necessary nor accepted.

  217. If the service is that bad, let the manager know.

  218. rodmckenziejr says:

    I was at a “**illi’s” restaurant one time for my birthday with my wife and the waiter got everything on our order wrong. When I asked for a manager, she came out and yelled at me for complaining. The other customers could not believe what she was doing. I came back the next day and talked to the GM and told how she treated my wife and I and they gave us a token gift card.

    There are definitely times not to tip, even in Utah where the servers only earn $2.?? an hour and have to rely on tips for their income. Tips are given because of service and should not be expected.

    That said, I am an overly generous tipper, typically 20% – 25%, which even ticks my wife off sometimes. :)

  219. meisenberg says:

    Bad service = NO TIP…period.

    Having extensive food service experience (bus boy, waiter, bartender, cook, manager), the tip is a portion of the bill that one must EARN based on the level of service to the customer.

    The idea that a TIP is now an expectation and normal charge incurred by eating in a restaurant is ridiculous, which is probably why customer service is a lost (or quickly disappearing) art or skill set.

    Good Service = 15% tip
    Superb Service can be => 20%
    Average Service = 10%
    Crap Service = nothing

    I loose no sleep…you picked the food service industry because of the potential for great $$ provided you provide exceptional service. If you don’t make money waiting tables, you need to look in the mirror as well as critically examine the place you work at.

    Automatic service charges slapped on the bill are a crock and I, for one, don’t accept them from the start (unless its a strict policy…i.e., for parties larger than 7 people, yada…yada…yada…)

  220. Omi says:

    I’ve only ever once had service so bad i didn’t want to tip. It was in an Ihop with two of my friends on New Years, the ball actually dropped during the meal. I’m not going to go into all the problems in depth here but in short: the service sucked. I just didn’t want to leave the waitress a tip but my friend insisted since it was New Years, so we put a penny on a napkin, took out a pen and wrote “Tip” on it with an arrow pointing to the penny.

  221. darthzaphod says:

    I ate at a sushi place recently with a group of seven other people. The server was slow and inattentive, but that didn’t bother me so much. Then, after we got done she came out to our table, gave us a piece of paper, pen, and calculator, and asked us to write down our orders, the price listed on the menu, and divvy it up according to who’s paying what. Then, add it all up and “make sure you don’t forget anything, because we usually get jipped on these big tables” (direct quote from the waitress).

    I was absolutely appalled. Not only should she have asked from the get-go if we were paying separately, but since when is it my job to add up my own bill? No wonder they get jipped on big tables–they let the customers add up their own bills! Needless to say, we left about $1.50 in tip between the seven of us.

  222. Razorgirl says:

    I worked as a server in several different classes of restaurant over the better part of a decade, and I have NO problem with not leaving a tip if service is terrible. If service is just not great, I will adjust the amount of my tip accordingly (of course taking in to account whatever else might appear to be a factor in the service we are receiving outside of laziness/surliness). I actually tend to overtip in most situations, and have been known to tip between 50% and 75% for really exceptional service.

    As for adding a “service charge”, that is the fastest possible way to keep me from visiting your establishment. In my experience tips DO make an impact as an indicator of what kind of service your customers feel they are receiving from you. Someone who is a horrible server won’t be able to support themselves at it long, and that is as it should be. Someone who works very hard to provide exceptional service should have the chance to earn accordingly. By levying a “service charge” all businesses are doing is asking yu to pay the wages of their employees, who they are at that point ENCOURAGING to be mediocre. As long as you are good enough to not be worth complaining about, you will keep your job and never have to work to excel. If you have a problem with how little waitstaff are paid by restaurants, do something to change the wage laws, don’t give in to the expectation that the customer should pick up the difference. That does no one any good except the restaurant owners.


  223. svtman says:

    Are you kidding me? Off course it is… I have been to restaurants where I have been treated so badly that I shouldn’t even have to pay my bill! I am in New York so I understand it gets busy sometime. But waiting one hour to receive a menu is just unacceptable. Horrible service gets on my nerves… No tips from my wallet if I am not catered to.

  224. baristabrawl says:

    I will usually tip, but complain. If I don’t get some satisfaction, I don’t go back, it’s that simple.

    When I was a server, the management staff got to leave me hang once. If they didn’t go to the table when I requested and talk to the angry people because of something that the kitchen did, I was shitty. If I did it then I fully expected to not be compensated. Dur.

  225. KG says:

    Just so you know, I work as a waiter in Canda and over here waiters lose 8% of their sales to the government, which means that if I have a 100$ table, the government takes 8$ from my paycheck.
    So if you’re leaving me a 10% tip, that’s 2$ in my pocket, and I’m already getting paid below minimum wage. How’s that fair?
    If you have any decency please leave at least 15-20%.

  226. quixiotic says:

    Living in Germany, I learned that the waitstaff doesn’t appreciate tips as they see it as a sign of arrogance. I understand that principle so I’ll only leave euro if they were exceptional, which is usually the case, and I’ll place it in their hands and let them know why I appreciated their service.

  227. VedaDoe says:

    seems like a lot of the comments are from people who have not worked in restuarants as servers. servers in pa get paid $2.83 an hour and that is taxed and usually used for benefits. servers have to tip out to people in the resturants, such as, bartenders, bus boys, and hosts. therefore, if you dont tip, the server actually pays to wait on you. a lot of these issues are not the servers fault a lot of time. we cannot always control how fast the food is prepared. the kitchen does what it wants a lot of time. so consider next time you go to a restaurant, was this obviously the servers fault? if it was, that is one thing. but to be tipped poorly or not at all for something that you cannot control is ridiculous.

  228. PrescottJagadocious says:

    This probably won’t get read as there are 200 comments before…

    But I think you shouldn’t be afraid to leave a cheap tip if the service was bad. Some people say 15% minimum. Some friend who “have been servers” say they know how it is and never leave less than 20 or 25%.

    Here’s the thing. If you tip well for BAD service, they aren’t getting punished. If they are consistently bad and can’t make a living because their tips suck, they’ll have to get another job. That’s a GOOD THING. Get the crappy servers OUT.

    Same thing goes with the “I have a lot of tables” excuse. Ok, so if you have 6 tables instead of 4, I am going to give you less. Ideally if you CAN handle 6 tables, you’ll make 50% MORE. But if you are overwhelmed and my experience suffers, you need to get paid less. The manager should fix the problem by hiring more people.

  229. IHOR says:

    tipping isn’t manditory. you don’t tip your mechanic, the gas jockey, the cashier at the local produce store. why are we tipping in the fisrt place? because they went above and beyond the norm. also whats with the 15-20% crap thats more than a religious tithe 10% is acceptable and should be the norm. it seems as of late the percentage keeps climbing up soon the standard is 25%. i refuse so let that happen call me cheap but poor service = no tip really bad service means i walk out. amazing service can go above 20% but thats rare as most waitstaff expect a tip and therefore don’t work for it anymore

  230. bobcatred says:

    In the case you mentioned, I would say err on the side of caution and talk to the manager and find out what’s going on. At very least, if the waiter is slacking off, the manager can call them on it then.
    To be honest, I think that if your service was bad enough that you think it warrants depriving a waiter of their livelihood, you need to be talking to the manager anyway. Managers don’t necessarily know you received bad service unless you tell them, and they’re the ones in a position to change things, not your $3 tips.

  231. EllaCrocodile says:

    I don’t believe in giving tips as entitlement or to appease your “attitude”.

    As a restaurant customer I only need 3 things: take my order, serve me the food, and bring me the bill. These should be included in the markup of the menu, like everywhere else in the civilized world — Japan, the far east — and not be as discretionary-but-also-mandatory charges.

    Threatening to tamper with my food or “punish” me with primadonna tactics will not get you one cent of tip, and will stop me from patronising your establishment.

    Get a clue: there are lots of people in the unemployment line and restaurants go out of business every day.

    When customers come into the restaurant, be grateful.

    Oh yeah, I don’t give a damn if you curse me. It’s my freedom to spend my money to maximize the value to myself.

    When I choose to share my wealth that is called Charity.

    • Parting says:

      @EllaCrocodile: Tipping isn’t charity. It’s etiquette. Your excuse is really lame. Especially when I think about professionals you encounter, and pay : lawyers, dentists, mechanics, etc.

      You KNOW you have to tip, and why; not doing so places the blame on YOU. YOU are cheap. The fact that the system is flawed, does not excuse your poor behavior.

  232. EthanRockish says:

    In Iceland it is considered rude to Tip. They feel that you are implying that they don’t do a good job unless they get paid extra.

    That is what i have been told. Personally this squares with me. I don’t tip unless the service is above average. If the hostess or waiter went out of there way to provide extra service that you don’t normally get then i will leave a tip. And a few times i have gone to the manager and told them that the service sucked and i wanted to leave a negative tip. A few managers have agreed and I assume the employee got dinged for the tip amount. other managers have just apologized and said i still had to pay the base bill.

    What really pissed me off once at the outback steak house in stone mountain. The menu said there would be a automatic 15% tip for groups over 6. That was fine but where the bill came we had kept track of what we all ordered so we could all toss the right amount in. The bill had the 15% computed into the base price, then the waiter had written in 15% on the tip line and totaled it for us.
    After we paid one of the guys looked into the numbers more and figured out what he had done. when we called the next day the manager said he couldn’t do anything because the receipts had been sent to corporate already. so we ended up paying 30% tip.

  233. GiuliettaSea lion says:

    Um, they already do this in a lot of countries (the only one I can think of offhand is Trinidad and Tobago). It’s actually the law there to add a service charge to the bill, and it’s actually pretty nice. Then you don’t have to calculate a tip or worry about how much you’re leaving, since it’s always the same for everyone. If the service is bad, then you obviously don’t eat there again.

    • ROCKYLIFE says:

      @GiuliettaSea lion:
      Why is there a need to “add a service charge”. PRICE IT INTO THE COST OF THE MEAL.

      Why is it being added on at the end? If 20% in additional revenue is what it takes (above the food costs and other facility overhead) to be profitable, then just raise your food prices by 20%. The consumer is paying exactly the same amount for their meal, but they know exactly what the cost is up front. Why tack it onto the back of the transaction?

  234. ValterJebberz says:

    It’s funny, because this tipping system is really mainly prominent in the US. Normally in Australia and in HK, most medium-high end restaurants already do what Linkery do – add the 10% to whatever you order.

    They TELL you that in the menu, a little fine print in the display of waiting queue, and is a generally accepted practice.

    There isn’t any pressure to leave a tip at all.

    For the cheaper, street food places, there is no expectation of a tip and no included 10% service fee. Although if you really like the service, often you can leave what you want as tips for them from the change. But there’s really no true expectation.

  235. SurupaRhapsody says:

    As soon as I am sat, the server already has my 20% tip, but it’s up to them if it stays there.

    For the best service in the Multiverse, I’ll tip 35%, along with speaking to/email the manager, owner, etc.

    The lowest I will go is 10%ish if they are terrible. Hopefully they will get the point (But I won’t speak to their supervisor), but all my friends are in the industry, so I know they will just think I’m being cheap. Like I care.

    There isn’t one time I haven’t left a tip, for the simple reason that if the service is that bad, I leave. Part of going out to eat is the service, if the service is so bad it’s making your time miserable, it’s time to go. In these instances, I will speak to the manager and if the buser was also responsible for bringing out water, bread, etc. I’ll tip him personally.

  236. AudreyJebbers says:

    Tipping is a cultural phenomenon. I live in Japan where tips are unheard of, and service is at least as good as back in the states. The waitstaff get paid a wage like any other job , and I don’t have to calculate 15% or think about how good the service was (almost always excellent) When I go back to the states to see family etc., I find tipping to be a pain in the neck.

  237. GeraldineOchu says:

    I still don’t understand the idea of tipping or why tipping is still around. It seems arcane. An economist would probably say something about self-interest and that the way to maximize service is by attaching a financial incentive. But here’s what I don’t understand. Why do I pay inflated prices for dinner? One would probably answer that my dinner price pays for the food, the cooks, overhead, the atmosphere, and overall experience. But isn’t the “waiting” part of the experience? After paying these inflated prices, I am then required by societal rules to leave a tip. Why should I be responsible for paying the establishment’s employees in addition? Service isn’t always great but I would feel guilty if I left a small tip especially with the treatment “waiting” gets in popular media. “Single moms needed to make rent and raise their kids.” Shouldn’t the restaurant owners be responsible for paying their employees instead of the two dollars an hour they do?

  238. GiannaBurdick says:

    I tip the server. If the food is bad, I’ll let the server know — but it doesn’t influence their tip.

    There is one server I have never tipped. Even when my party is the only table she’s serving she’ll take her time to take the drink order, then wait half an hour to take the food order. The check comes half an hour to forty-five minutes later.

    I’ve always complained to the manager and, after the third time I refused to leave her a tip due to poor service, I’ve requested a different server every time since.

    Slow service while a place is busy can be excused. Slow service and a poor attitude several times? Not a chance.

  239. NydiaRablash says:

    I know that most people go out to have a good time and escape from their daily routine. But when was the last time you talked to your server, most of us are using this as a stepping stone to something better. Where I work we have 1 police officer in training, 2 firefighters/paramedics, 3 nurses and several teachers. None of us want to be doing this job forever, so think of it as a deposit on your future. Also I know many of you think that your nice enough people and in normal circumstances I’m sure you are, but when people go out to eat they seem to change. We’re called servers not slaves, we will do everything in our abilities to please you but I’ve come to the realization that some people can’t me pleased. Working in the industry I can tell the difference between a busy worker and someone who neglects their tables. Do they smell of cigarettes? Can you see them helping other guests? Did they ask a manager to come and speak with you if your unhappy, without you having to ask for one? I know in this slow economy people expect more, we talk about it every shift! But think of going out like a dinner party, do you yell at the host because the roast takes to long or the drinks weren’t made the same way you make them at home? If some of these things are to difficult for you to empathize with then save the tip spend $15 on take out $10 for a bottle of wine $2 for a movie and make it a blockbuster night.

  240. NadiaHoi says:

    Being a Brit, we don’t tend to tip in as many situations as is done here in the US; My stance is that I will tip according to the service I get from the wait staff – if there are issues with the food and I feel the wait staff have tried to help me resolve the issues then I will tip 20%. If the wait staff aren’t great it’s anything from 10-15%. However if there was ever an issue with the wait staff I would have no qualms in not tipping. There! I said it! Damn Brits!

  241. J. Gov says:

    If it’s clearly the waitstaff’s fault – like the time a waitress leaned over the table at me and asked if I had a problem after looking baffled at a wrap that was not exactly wrapped, and I had no idea how I was supposed to eat by hand. (Still kinda wish I’d thought to ask for the manager that time…)

    Or if the staff refuses tips, as at Noodles & Co. I wouldn’t mind leaving $1 a person for them to just bring the food and drinks to the table, as I normally do at buffets and the like, but I’m not going to complain when they tell me not to.

  242. Xenon says:

    Here in Europe we don’t seem to have the big tips you get in America, maybe because we have higher minimum wage (£5.52/hour for 21+ in the UK), and now businesses are not allowed to pay less and expect tips. If it’s been good service overall, we’ll pay around 10%, if it’s been excellent, anywhere up to about 25%. Some places have set service charges so that usually covers the tip in my book.

  243. OrianaAlcathous says:

    What people don’t understand is that tips are the servers income. Most restaurants only pay $2-$3 an hour to their servers, so they are relying on tips. Also, you have to understand that there some things that the server can’t control. They put the order in, but it’s the kitchen that cooks the food and puts it out. That is completely out of the servers handsl. There is nothing they can do but put the order in. So slow food does not mean slow service.

  244. SeymourCronus says:

    If you don’t tip you shouldn’t plan on going back to the same place. A pissed off server tells everyone else who works there about it. They remember it.

    It’s not a good idea to anger the people who handle your food.

  245. QuinnHaechler says:

    Almost always I leave a really good tip. There are a lot of things to take into account, such as how busy the place is, how experienced the staff are, what’s going on in the kitchen, etc. I usually leave a good tip. If service is really good, I leave a great tip (I am often told I tip too much at times BUT if the service is great, I don’t mind… I do it because you never know how other people tip the staff… they may be getting shortchanged by people that day. Maybe that extra bit will make their day a bit better.) I will only tip poorly if the service is bad and there is no excuse for it. But even then I usually leave a dollar or two… because you were still served on, and I don’t think that should be free.

  246. cluberti says:

    As a former busboy, waiter and cook, I’m torn – I don’t like that we have laws in place that basically allow a business to pay a food service employee less than minimum wage (most times *FAR* less) just because they’ll receive tips. However, as a waiter I always made very good money in tips, so I can see the flip side.

    Also, I have to agree that 15% is a tip you’ll receive from me for average, 10-5% for poor to horrible, and >20% for good to excellent service. I’ve been known to tip 50% or more if the wait staff was very busy and managed to still be attentive (yes, it is possible). I know they probably had to work longer after their shift to cover restocking, cleaning, etc, because they likely had to choose to put that off during the rush, so I will compensate for that.

  247. VadinWindies says:

    In Japan, it’s OFFENSIVE to tip your waiting staff. They don’t think you should pay more than what the cost is, it’s like a slap in the face to give them an extra 300 yen.

    And everyone in Japan is EXTREMELY deserving of a 20 percent tip, due to their extreme politeness and good service.


  248. shoegazer says:

    tip them in edamame.

  249. resonanteye says:

    Wow, from the results of the poll you guys are punitive and unkind, cheap people.

    I always tip. For poor service I speak with the manager. I know too many people who work in service occupations (and the kind of things they have to deal with from the public) to EVER not tip.

    The restaurant manager should take care of my issues and complaints; I shouldn’t be taking that out on a server. That is one crappy job and the pay is awful.

    If I am out with someone and they do not tip- I don’t spend time with them again. This holds true no matter how the service was.

    If things are messed up or the service is bad, talking to the manager does much more to change that then not tipping. Not tipping reflects badly on ME, instead of “teaching a lesson” it just gives them even more of a bad day to take out on the next customer. Usually I will ask for part of the meal comped to make up for it, if the service is truly abysmal. I’ve never had a manager demur, now that I think about it.

    Basically, knowing the numbers, if I do not tip, they paid to serve me- and I really don’t think anyone should have to do that.

  250. EstelleEggo says:

    As a foreigner, whenever I travel to the USA, I always notice that waiting staff always do the “how is everything?” halfway through all meals, and they always give the indignant look after a tip. I realize the importance of tipping; especially, when waiting staff are not paid very well by the restaurant owners. However, when the service provided is just barely there or just bad, then why tip? I’ve always wondered, for customers who have those platinum credit cards that offer great service and wonderful benefits, how do they get the great service and bonuses when they bring out their credit cards AFTER the meal/purchase/etc? Kind of ridiculous, I think.
    By the way, there is NO TIPPING in the country with the world’s BEST service – Japan. That says a lot.

    • Parting says:

      @EstelleEggo: Wow, you’re cheap. When visiting a country you should follow local etiquette. Otherwise is just plain rude.

      (Oh yeah, a meal in Japan is more expensive than in USA, cheap-ass!)

  251. KG says:

    There is such a thing as a bad waiter and bad service, but there’s also such a thing as a bad patron. I can imagine quite a few people that have posted here would fit into the latter category and would not receive special service from me.

    How is it that the patron sets the standard the server must meet and then pays them based on their own ideologies? In any other industry, we typically submit to a professional being that they know best how to do their job and are trained to be the expert. Why are the rules different for servers? Come on.

  252. Senshi34 says:

    Honestly, I didn’t read ALL the comments so forgive me if this is repetitive.

    1. Most waiters get paid less than minimum wage, here (NJ) it’s $2.13. As long as you get tips or some kind of tip kickback (like host or busboys sometimes get tips from servers) they can pay you less than minimum wage as long as it’s $2.13 or over.

    2. NEVER and I mean NEVER complain to the server about time, food, or anything. Most of them are powerless and really can’t do anything about it. They merely inform their manager. Instead talk to a manager and explain EXACTLY what is wrong. Don’t say the service sucks when your food is taking long. Tell them your food is taking long. And do tell them when your server is being rude or acts in a manner she/he shouldn’t be acting. There is rarely and I mean very rarely ever an excuse for a rude server.

    3. And despite what you heard not every server you see in every restaurant you go to tampers with food. Anyone who does is an immature ***hole that shouldn’t be working there. People like this give other honest servers a bad name. I mean for God sake, we have morals and standards where we see doing such a thing is clearly the wrong approach to get to someone who is mad at you.

    4. Treat people how you want to be treated. That includes host, busboys, servers, and managers (when and if you ever have to talk to them). Don’t expect anyone to be nice to you if you aren’t nice. If you have a problem and still manage to be nice a manager is more inclined to listen to you instead of labeling you as another complaining guest.

    5. My condolences to any server that works in a place where your food is taking long because a cook has something against you. They are being ***holes and shouldn’t be working there. A cook should realize that if the guest are happy they keep coming back. If the guest aren’t happy they don’t come back, which mean less business and eventually the need for less cooks in one restaurants. Their job is at stake.

    6. Servers do have good memories (most of them). They will remember you if you tip good or bad. They will go out of their way to get you anything you need (even though it might not seem like it) if they remember you from a week ago where you left them a nice tip and treated them fairly. On the other hand if you were rude last time or didn’t tip them fairly, they will do the bare minimum of their job which is take your oder and ring it up. They won’t check to see if everything is okay, they won’t get you refills till you ask for it, they probably won’t be friendly, nice (as is required by the job) but not friendly. This is more evident in bartenders.

    7. If you have a good server next time just ask for the same one. You might have to wait a while longer or they might not be there but if you become a server’s regulars they will treat you very nicely and make sure you get everything you need. It also reflects nicely on the server that has many guest requesting them.

    8. When a server says it’s on the house it means they are paying for it or risking his/her job to get it. Be nice and thank them for it.

    9. Never leave a bad tip without a reason and I mean a spoken reason. Servers cannot tell if there is something wrong if you don’t say anything.

    10. If there is something wrong with the food don’t eat it. It makes little sense if you eat the food you didn’t like and complain about it. Everyone will think you are just trying to get a free meal and will treat you accordingly.

    11. Don’t rush your server. Most of the time they are already running around with a few dozen things to do. If you are in a hurry i suggest eating at a better appointed time or somewhere else, where fast food is their business.

    12. There is no excuse for a rude server. (The first mention was for customers. Talk to the manager or request a different sever if the one you have is being rude.) This goes to every server who may read this.

    13. The only time you should leave a bad tip is with a bad server. Don’t blame them if the food is not to your liking, they didn’t cook it. Don’t blame them for the drink, they didn’t make them. If something is wrong talk to a manager.

    14. Don’t come into a restaurant 15 minutes before closing and expect them to have everything. Chances are it ran out or it can no longer be made at that time without sacrificing a large amount of time.

    Now this article is was about whether it’s ever acceptable not to tip. I honestly think there isn’t. If the service is just completely horrendous I would leave the %10 and make sure never to come back to the place or get the same server. And I don’t really understand people who say that tipping should be done away with. Either way, whether you tip, or it’s included in the check, you will still pay about the same thing.

    Simply stated it breaks down as; be nice (for customers), if there is a problem talk to a manager, be nice (for servers) and be reasonable, fair, calm and treat people how you want to be treated. I have worked in a restaurant for more than 3 years as a server, a host, a bartender, a cook and to some degree a manager. I do not and cannot see a way around these points of advice. I sure there is something I left out and I apologize. I also apologize for any grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.

    Have a good day.

  253. Nerys says:

    First let me be clear. I TIP and I tip well usually 15-20% MINIMUM unless I get crap service.

    NOW with that asside

    TIPPING IS NOT MANDATORY and I will WALK OUT of any place that tries to FORCE me to tip (service charge)

    We have 2 problems in this society.

    First DO I have to pay for the GAS to get that food to the restaurant? the PAY for the people who made that food and sent it to the restaurant? The Electricity to run that place? the gas to cook that food?

    OF COURSE NOT to say otherwise would be LUNACY at best. Its the BUSINESSES JOB to build those costs INTO the price of what they offer.

    SO why are business allowed to “tack on” extra fee’s ? why is it they are not required to BUILD that cost into the price of there services like anyone else does?

    Imagine if walmart tacked on a Costs Recovery charge onto your purchases like the phone companies do?

    SO why is it ok to tack a SERVICE charge onto my food bill? why are they not building that into the cost of doing business? easy THEY ARE but by tacking on this charge they increase there profit.

    I have no LEGAL obligation to TIP
    I have no MORAL obligation to TIP

    a tip is a WILLING “GIFT” from me the customer for EXCEPTIONAL service.

    Regular service is the responsibility of the BUSINESS TO PAY YOU.

    Its not my job to pay your damned wages! NOW its not the fault of the WAIT staff. Its the fault of the industry and our crooked government who felt it was OK to let them get LESS THAN MINIMUM WAGE (under $3 an hours sometimes) BECAUSE they get tips!

    WELL I am sorry to be nasty but TO GOD DAMNED BAD. Thats not MY problem. QUIT. Quit enmass and demand PROPER wages.

    THATS what you should do. THATS what the industry should do. SINCE WHEN did it become OK to transfer the responsibility of employee wages to the customer DIRECTLY and still charge full price for food?

    Imagine if you shopped at walmart or radio shack or sears or toys r us and as you walked out the door you were stopped and shown a sign that says you owe 18% of your bill as a TIP to pay our employee’s because we underpay them and force YOU to pay them directly.

    How long do you think that would last?

    SO WHY do we accept that at easting businesses?

    I would tell that person to SHOVE IT as I do any restaurant that tries that crap.



    I TIP because I LIKE to tip. I tip because IT MAKES ME FEEL GOOD. I tip for EXCEPTIONAL above the call service!

    THATS what a tip is for!!! A tip is to say WOW you did a great job here is a gift from me for that WOW.

    WHEN DID WE FORGET THAT IN THIS COUNTRY and YES I am yelling because this topic makes me REALLY angry!

    OH and tipping at any old place? NO effect.

    Tipping at places where you regularly frequent and get the same waiter/waitress YES it does have a positive impact. Little extra veggies little extra dressing little larger salad. No charge for that salad etc.. etc.. Extra Attentive service etc.. etc..

    But tipping as REQUIRED is just a SICK situation.

    It gives business an excuse to SCREW employee’s and make tips into PAY. and YES thats what it is so much so that the IRA “assumes” how much you will be tipped and TAXES you accordingly whether you make that much in tips or not and YOU have to PROVE you got less (how exactly do you PROVE you did not get tips audio record sworn statements from all your customers?)

    Its a frelling load of crap is what it is.


  254. KG says:

    Just because a restaurant is empty doesn’t mean you should expect or are going to get fast service. Odds are, there’s only one or two people in the kitchens, if that (usually it’s just the manager) and they’re busy doing prep for the dinner rush or the next day. So they’ll be a bit slower with your order and your food won’t come out right away. You shouldn’t take that out on the waiter, it’s not his fault the place isn’t staffed or managed properly.

  255. brokeincollege says:

    Call me stingy but I don’t tip for subpar service. For “normal” I tip about 15%. For exceptional I tip more. Couple times I considered filing a chargeback for the whole check and telling the manager to dock the delivery guy’s pay for the same amount because he got mad at me because my cellphone number wasn’t “local”. Well fuck you, I don’t even have to GIVE you a tip in the first place. Tips are discretionary. Get it into your fucking thick heads. I’ve seen some delivery guys in Manhattan that are thick as shit. You take an hour to deliver a cheesesteak and french fries, and give me attitude about my cellphone number, and have the audacity to expect a tip? Should have filed the chargeback and told him to take the food back with a note.

    • johnnya2 says:

      @brokeincollege: Filing a chargeback on an item you received and consumed is theft. If you felt the sandwich, service or speed of delivery was inadequate you should refuse it upon delivery. I would also say delivery guys are rarely the reason it takes time to get an item delivered. They can not be held liable for Manhattan traffic, slow cooks, or other people who take forever and pay in nickels and dimes because they don’t have cash on them.

  256. YancyDampt says:

    Yes. Anywhere else in the world it’s ok not to tip. They don’t expect it because they get paid to do their job and a tip is a bonus for exception service and not an expectation. IN greece I found it funny that some US tourists were not going to tip cause they were unhappy with the salad, funny because the waiter was not expecting a tip anyway. Stupid Americans.

  257. VincentioBanks says:

    I loved living in Australia. The price on the menu was the price paid. No tipping (except in places with lots of American tourists).

    Honestly, who else do we tip? Should I tip the guy at Best Buy or Circuit City who spends REAL time with me and provides a real service? Should I tip my chiropractor?

    As I writer, I get paid by the word. I’ve NEVER received a tip.

    As a consultant, I get paid by the hour. When I invoice a client, I get paid the amount based on my hours. A company never says “Great work, we’ve kicked an extra 15% on your bill.”

  258. savdavid says:

    20 years ago it was 10% of the check to tip. So, for example you pay $10.00 for a meal you paid a buck tip. Now, 20 years later prices have gone up in restaurants like everything else. However, why should tips go up? That same $10.00 meal is now $30.00 so at 10% the waiter gets 3 bucks. Hmmm……so why should I pay a 20% tip? That is 6 bucks. As the price of your food goes up so does the tip. It makes no sense to increase the tip percentage on top of that. The waiters and waitresses are now double dipping.

  259. jcargill says:

    I remember working in restaurants in 1983 and 1984 when waitstaff made minimum wage+tips. Reagan made it possible to exclude waitstaff from the minimum wage law, making it legal for restaurant owners to pay watistaff less than minimum wage (the rationale being that, for instance: 23c+tips=minimum wage or more). Basically, the burden of paying waitstaff was shifted from the restaurant owner to the consumer. Oh, and it is also legal for owners of upscale restaurants (big checks=big tips) to skim double-digit percentages off waitstaff’s total tips. God you gotta love this country!!!

  260. ShreeMarr says:

    I simply don’t understand that thing of service charge at restaurants. Isn’t that supposed to be included with the price of the the food on the menu? And how can I be sure that the said charge really goes to the service and not to the owner?
    When I go to a restaurant and I’m happy with the service and the food I usually leave a generous tip, otherwise, I don’t, and I don’t see anything wrong with it. If the waiters make a pitance for a salary, that is their problem, not mine.

  261. jknode says:

    There was once I can remember leaving no tip, but we did slip something to the very nice and embarrassed bus boy on our way out. I was at a neighborhood Italian place in New York City’s Upper East Side with a good friend, a manager of a fancy restaurant with a history of waitressing. We had brought a nice bottle of wine with us (appx $60) and offered our waitress a taste. She basically laughed in our faces, I guess not believing that two girls in their early 20’s might have anything worth trying. It went downhill from there and she basically ignored us all night even though it was a small restaurant and not busy at all. The bus boy did his best to help with the awful situation, and so we secretly gave the tip to him.

  262. Triene says:

    I miss Japan, where when you sit down at a restaurant and you order a dinner that costs 650 yen, and you pay 650 yen for it. Also, the service is good! I feel like we’ve bred this culture in America where people feel they have to be begged (can’t find the better word) to provide good service, rather than doing it because it’s your job and it’s nice to do. Our society tends to look down on those like service people… waiters, clerks, etc… even though they make our society go round. Thus, no one sees these jobs as desirable, and they aren’t necessarily motivated to do well. Between that and customers treating them like crap, which I’m sure happens on a daily basis… everything just comes together into a big pile of crap that this system is founded on, and it’s just a really bad idea all around.

    Maybe that was a bit convoluted but I hope I sort of got my point across.

  263. morsteen says:

    I never fucking tip a server for doing their godamned job! There are about 5,000 more stressful, more exhausting, more difficult jobs out there that NEVER get tips. Do you ever tip your UPS guy or DHL driver? That job is one of the most time sensitive, fast paced, stressed out and physically demanding jobs out there, yet I’ve never seen any driver get tipped nor did I ever receive a tip when i worked there. Somehow the person who brings us our food deserves these built in tips as a part of doing their job rather than everyone else who just does their job out there? Here, the base pay for a server is min. wage, then these ridiculous tips (many pocketed and not reported) on top of that? Fucking a, i think not.