Waiter: Parents Of Bratty Kids Should Tip More At Restaurants

Taking young children out to eat at a restaurant is an expensive — and sometimes messy — prospect for parents. One waiter also claims it’s actually a costly experience for the restaurant’s staff — and that the parents should be willing to dish out bigger tips to make up for it.

Writing for SeattlePI.com, one restaurant server explains that four youngsters ordering off the kids’ menu is obviously going to be a smaller tab than four adults. This translates into a smaller tip for the staff, even though they are doing at least as much work as they would when serving a table of grown-ups.

“For the effort of serving children, the monetary return just isn’t there,” he writes.

And then there’s the fact that kids are sometimes messy:

“But of course they are!” you say, but toys strewn about are a different story than marinara sauce. Like most restaurants, mine offers a children’s menu that doubles with intellectual mysteries to keep their attention. Unfortunately, 10 minutes into dining, its bleached white surface has turned into the foundation for Mount “I should be eating this food for nutrients and sustenance, but instead I’m going to pile it high, stabilizing the creation with Crayolas every inch.”

The server sums it up by saying that, if you’re going to bring messy brats to his restaurant, you should be willing to help foot the bill for the mess.

“Dining out with children is a luxury, but what diners must understand is that the buck (being cleanup) is being passed onto the staff, you the parent being fully aware of what that cleansing will take,” he writes. “Reward it.”

Restaurant server: I’m never happy about serving a child [SeattlePI.com]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Geosama says:

    the thing is, no one would really think their kids are bratty

    • TheRedSeven says:


      The parents of bratty kids certainly don’t want people to think their ‘precious snowflakes’ are, in reality, ‘brats.’ So they remain oblivious or in denial or whatever. Asking parents of bratty kids to pony up for a bigger tip means that 1) they have to realize their kids are brats, 2) they have to not be selfish jerks who tip 10% anyway, and 3) they have to actually give a crap about the impact their kids have on your day. Good luck with that.

      • FuzzyWillow says:

        I don’t get your usage of the word “Snowflake.”


        Is this what you are referring to? If so, why do you assume these children are more bratty than other, or even yourself for that matter.

        • MaytagRepairman says:

          Sounds like a reference to “Fight Club”.

          “You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone else, and we are all part of the same compost pile.”

        • PunditGuy says:

          Please tell me you’re kidding.

        • weshigh says:

          each one is special and unique like a snowflake.

        • DerangedKitsune says:

          It’s a popular form of internet slag, commonly seen on news aggregator fark.com. It’s meant to refer to the fact that all children are viewed as unique and beautiful (hence the designation “snowflake”) in the eyes of their parents.

          It’s given a sarcastic slant to indicate that society at large disagrees with that designation about the given child.

      • human_shield says:

        Most kids I’ve seen are restaurants are more quiet and well behaved than the obnoxious drunks at the bar.

    • sven.kirk says:


    • Larraque eats babies says:

      My parents did. Said things to me when I was five like “This is why we can’t go nice places”. We literally never ate out after I was three years old as they gave me the impression that I embarrassed them while they were out in public. I cried a LOT when I was really young.

    • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

      Close, but to be more precise, parents who allow their kids to seriously impose on other peoples’ time/space/quiet in public are probably selfish twits who don’t care or even notice what others think anyway. (And as TheRedSeven said, those people are bound to be lousy tippers anyway.)

      • SG-Cleve says:

        I had to put up with your brats, now you have to put up with mine. It’s only fair.

        • tbax929 says:

          That’s only fair if you assume everyone has kids. Those of us who choose to be childless would just as soon not put up with any bratty kids.

        • coren says:

          Considering how many members of waitstaff are so young as to not have kids, or not have kids of an age to have been bratty to you, I’m pretty sure that philosophy doesn’t work.

          • JennQPublic says:

            Most of the servers I know are single parents, and they are quite young. They had kids at a young age, which is part of why their career options are so limited. :-(

      • Geosama says:

        haha i should’ve been more specific

    • Abradax says:

      I most certianly know my kids can be brats.
      When I take them to a restaraunt if they act up we remove them from the restaraunt. Either my wife or myself will go sit in the car with the misbehavor while the other spouse and kid can enjoy their meal. If the other one calms down we go back in, otherwise we get our meal in boxes to take home.

      Within reason we also clean up the messes our children make. I do tip servers extra if they take the time to treat my children as people instead of obsticles to their day.

      • dangerp says:

        Hello rule, I would like you to meet exception.

      • Happy13178 says:

        Regardless if you think your kid is a brat or not, people will have different opinions. My kid is 2, and behaves like a 2 year old. We’ve brought him out to eat twice in 2 years, total. Both times to family friendly restaurants (I wouldn’t be caught dead bringing a kid that young to a nice restaurant), both times my wife and I cleaned up after him. Our server gets tipped on what he/she does in regards to service. Tossing a pack of crayons at my kid isn’t going to yield you a bigger tip, nor does whining about how much “extra work” goes into serving them. It’s a simple balance. If our server goes to extra trouble and does it with a smile, he gets a big tip. If he goes to extra trouble, but is extra douchey about it, he gets less. If he goes to no extra trouble, he gets the same. If he thinks he’s getting more solely because the dishes cost less, how about I not eat there at all and he can watch his shifts and cash supply dwindle?

      • JennQPublic says:

        This, exactly. Your children will be exactly as bratty as you ALLOW them to be. Some people seem to forget they are the parents, they are bigger, and they are in charge. If your child is acting up, and you give me a look like there’s just nothing you can do about it, I want to smack you.

        My mother and I make it a point to stop and compliment well-behaved children in restuarants.

  2. HB says:

    Wow — so you had four kids you had to serve last night and you thought your life was unfair.

    Welcome to the workforce.

    • common_sense84 says:

      Worse yet, the waiters and waitresses who get the tip do not pay the busers who do the actual clean up.

      The real thing to realize is people should not tip based on food price at all. And accept that tips are options for above and beyond service, not normal service. And rarely does anyone get above and beyond service at any restaurant. Since taking an order, bringing the food, and refilling drinks is normal service.

      • Mighty914 says:

        Not true. Usually waitstaff will give a certain (often set) percentage of tips to bussers. So, a higher tip to the waiter can produce a higher tip to the busboy.

      • richcreamerybutter says:

        Oh don’t you worry, plenty of waitstaff are doing their own cleaning. I can recall a few incidents in which the table resembled a vomitorium after their dining experience. The parents would offer a weak smile and a shrug, but rarely issue an apology in the form of an increased tip. They were vile people.

    • "I Like Potatoes" says:

      “Welcome to my life” is how I interpret that. I serve four kids every darn day and they NEVER tip me! Ingrates.

      • crashfrog says:

        They don’t, but they’re also your genetic immortality. Your waiter’s? Not so much. Grow the fuck up, stop mommyjacking, and tip your servers.

        • "I Like Potatoes" says:

          Ummm…wow. Take a joke much?

        • jake.valentine says:

          “Grow the fuck up, stop mommyjacking, and tip your servers.”

          Perhaps you should grow up and get a career job. Of course, for somebody who obviously lacks enough discipline to refrain from getting hostile with somebody who disagrees with you, well….you probably will not be able to hold onto a career job. Servers just don’t seem to understand that you’ll take what the customer decides to tip and there isn’t a darn thing you can do about it but complain on the internet.

        • pastthemission says:

          sheeeeesh someone has mommy issues….

        • DEVO says:

          your a big whiney dick crashfrog. Mommyjerking? Your so cool.

    • Twonkey says:

      My job occasionally requires that I deal with assholes, but I don’t expect additional compensation for it. As annoying as it might be when it happens, it’s a reality of the job that I understood and accepted when I took it. If it gets to be too much for me then I’m free to terminate my employment, but I’d be laughed out of the building for it if I dared ask for even a penny more just because my job isn’t always sunshine and lollipops. That’s where this guy stands.

      He had to know going in to the job that he’d have to wait on children from time to time, and that tips tend to rely more often on the total on the bill than they do the amount of work involved in waiting on a given table. It seems to me that it would be more prudent of him to find another line of work rather than demand additional compensation because he’s not cool with it. That’s not to say that I don’t understand this guy’s frustration, but even so, I can’t help but think that this demand is ridiculous even if it’s objectively not unreasonable.

      • Tokarev_Makarov says:

        I don’t think there’s anything all that unreasonable about what this person is saying.
        I’m interpreting this as a “hey, you might not know it, but noisy, messy kids are creating a less pleasant situation that’s possibly affecting not only my table and possibly others’ as well.”
        Think of it this way: the server is doing more than simply serving food and taking empty plates away. That’s what they’re paid and tipped for.
        However, undisciplined kids are now creating ancillary work which the parents would normally do at home.
        If Mom and Dad want a complete break from the household dinner routine, they should rein in their kids’ messy behavior a bit, expect to give a bit of a nicer than usual tip, or *gasp* do a bit of cleanup work themselves.
        I rarely view these sort of posts as whining and complaining. People just do their thing, not fully aware of how it impacts other folks. Yes, dear readers, sometimes our behaviors cross the line from patronizing various services and expecting good treatment, to doing things that genuinely annoy, discomfit and financially penalize the people that serve us.
        Is it really such a bad thing to be reminded of this every now and then? To follow the Golden Rule to treat others as we’d wish to be treated?

  3. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I hear there is job growth the IT and accounting industries. Those usually don’t deal with children.

    • T Daniels says:

      There are IT jobs in third world countries, I think if I was willing to move to one, I could probably keep my job.

    • friendlynerd says:

      Oh we deal with children all the time, they just wear adult clothes.

      • Liam Kinkaid says:

        Dunno if you’re talking about IT, but from an accounting perspective, we sure do. It’s all about egos and making sure to say just the right thing to people so they don’t get bent out of shape, but so they will change their behaviors. :(

        • Bsamm09 says:

          I’ve never dealt with kids as an accountant. How do you interact with them?

        • Bsurvive says:

          Oh man. I almost flipped out on someone because they asked me if I speak English. I got so upset. Not that egos are a part of that. Idk I just felt so retarded sometimes. I guess I really let people just get to me.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      Until you work tech support or some other job in a computer lab and have to deal with parents who call in or come in and complain that their children are looking at porn or that another child showed them how to look at porn online.

    • Cicadymn says:

      Had to beat 200 people for my 30k a year job in IT. Literally 200 people. In an area where unemployment isn’t that high.

      Don’t go into IT.

      Also, adults are often more child-like than children. And not in the good way.

      • blanddragon says:

        Not true. I work in IT and have for over 25 years. All my users are brats from the 5th grade school yard. Now you know what we really think of you. Oh and Mr CEO that history list in your browser let’s me look at everything you have done on the Internet so…

    • kpsi355 says:

      Oh, yes they do.

    • blanddragon says:

      Not true. I work in IT and have for over 25 years. All my users are brats for the 5th grade school yard. Now you know what we really think of you. Oh and Mr CEO that history list in your browser let’s me look at everything you have done on the Internet so…

  4. danmac says:

    As a former waiter, I agree with his sentiment. As the article states, people who bring in children create the following waiter-related issued:

    1. Smaller tab for kiddie plates leads to smaller tip.
    2. The waiter often has to clean his own section. This is not only extra work, but it can compromise the level of service at other tables (picking up debris around a child’s table can be time-consuming.
    3. Loud children can cause other customers to not want to sit in a waiter’s section, leading to a potential loss of tips. Also, loud children can annoy customers in the immediate vicinity, potentially reducing a tip.

    Some people will disagree, but some people on this site don’t believe in tipping at all, so I’ll get over it.

    • Nogard13 says:

      Do you want some cheese with that whine?

      I can call you a Whaaaaaaambulance, if you’d like.

    • seamer says:

      It’s not just “this site”, it’s the entire world outside America who think tips are earned and not expected.

      • kingmanic says:

        Most people with that sort of opinion are people who don’t tip and like to rationalize it. Unfortunately in north America the pay scale for servers assume gratuity is normal and expected. so while you are free to feel tips aren’t an entitlement the system is built assuming it is so you are shafting your servers.

    • sagodjur says:

      1. If the kids weren’t there at all, it leads to a smaller tip anyway.
      2. This isn’t “extra work” as if the waiter wouldn’t normally be expected to clean up (if they are expected to clean up normally), it’s just more than is normally necessary to get the table and area clean. Different customers create different levels of messes. Kids are still customers.
      3. In many restaurants, you can’t seat yourself or the restaurant is so busy you don’t have much of a choice where to sit.

      • slappysquirrel says:

        For one thing, it might be a smaller tip, but it would be a lot less work and the table would turn over faster. (Time it takes two adults to eat

      • MsEllenT says:

        I ask to be moved when I see we’re about to be seated next to a table consisting of high chairs. I’ve even asked before being led to a table (and having time to survey the tables from the entrance) to be seated away from the big birthday party/table of 12 three-year-olds. It’s never been an issue; of *course* you have a choice in where you sit.

    • Mom says:

      Totally agree. The worst thing that ever happened at the restaurant I worked at in college was the day that a local paper proclaimed it the “best place to take kids.” We didn’t have tipping, so that wasn’t an issue, but every table with kids was always a huge mess when the family left. We’d practically have to bring in a hazmat crew to clean the area around the table.

      We were all very grateful when we lost out the next year to some other place.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I love how because it’s a smaller plate and thus costs less that that must mean you get a BIGGER tip.

      Over 65 portions are smaller and cost less, should the elderly give you a bigger tip simply because they are old?

      • danmac says:

        Your and Hoss’s posts are why it’s so difficult to talk about this issue. On the one hand, people like you don’t think a tip should increase by percentage if the food is inexpensive. On the other, people like Hoss believe that tip percentage should decrease when food is expensive. So which is it?

        To me, it sounds like some people would like to pay a percentage when the bill is small (which benefits them) and a fixed amount when the bill gets pricey (which also benefits them)…so basically they just don’t want to tip very much.

        • drizzt380 says:

          Maybe its this waiter that needs to pick a specific system. This waiter wants everything to benefit them.

          If its a cheap meal, they want to be tipped more than a normal percentage because it is still a lot work they have to do. But I bet they would never be fine with the percentage being less if the meal cost twice as much but they did the exact same amount of work.

          I agree that tipping is horribly imperfect. If servers want to start introducing ideas around tipping on how much work they had to actually do and how much the customers think that is worth, then they will also have to be fine with getting tipped less on high checks.

          Or, servers can just be fine with our current system and take their 15-25%.

        • chocotanya says:

          For me, the problem with tips is their relation to other services. I have a lot of difficulty leaving a tip that approaches the hourly wage of a nurse, for example, even if it *is* an expensive dinner. It just doesn’t seem to me like five trips to my table (taking order; bringing drinks; bringing plates, checking if everything is ok; bringing bill) should earn the same amount of money that a nurse makes in an hour of dealing with medications, gross things, stressed family members, etc. etc.

          Moreover, the server’s tip-wage is much, much higher because they haven’t spent an hour with me; they may have spent, say, 10 or 15 minutes. So that $20 tip really equals $80/hr which is several times more than nurses, teachers, EMT’s, paramedics, firemen, police, etc., etc., who also “serve” the public, make.

          I don’t have any answers for this dilemma, though.

    • Hoss says:

      That’s fine, but a special diner for two with my wife which might cost over $200 shoudn’t generate $40 for the same service we get with a $50 meal. The whole system is wacked

      • danmac says:

        A couple of things in response to your comment:

        1. To an extent, I agree with your assertion that the system isn’t perfect. This is why if I eat alone at Denny’s and my bill is $8.75, I will still tip $5 if the service is good.

        2. You say that your tipping should scale down if you eat at a fancy restaurant, but I disagree with you for several reasons.

        First, there are usually fewer tables per waiter at an expensive restaurant, which leads to fewer customers served in an evening.

        Also, people take much longer to eat at nice places, so while a waiter at Chili’s may see 5 or six groups at each of his tables in a given night, a waiter at Chez Panisse will only see 2 groups in the same amount of time.

        Finally, there’s a reason why someone working at a five-star restaurant earns a larger tip than someone working at a diner – it’s the same reason someone with 10 years’ experience is likely to earn more income than a journeyman in any profession. They’re better trained, more eloquent, and fit in better with a five-star experience than Flo might.

        3. Just throwing this out there, but if you can’t afford to tip at a $100/plate restaurant, perhaps you should choose to go somewhere less expensive.

        • Bye says:

          I love you. I haven’t been a waiter or bartender in about 20 years now but everything I learned from that experience follows me into every situation I’m in where I find myself being served.

          I still think that people shouldn’t be allowed to go out for drinks or dinner until they have spent at least 3 months serving people on the job.

          The I-can-justify-my-cheapass-tipping-I-really-can! population still sets me off. It’s like a low-level PTSD.

          • FatLynn says:

            I noticed this the other night…I generally drink just water with dinner, but it takes the server just as much effort as if I were drinking soda. It’s only fair that I consider that when tipping.

          • danmac says:

            The I-can-justify-my-cheapass-tipping-I-really-can! population still sets me off. It’s like a low-level PTSD.

            Do they sounds like chicks to you? *cheep* *cheep* *cheep* *cheep*

      • poco says:

        If you’re getting the same quality of service at a $100 a plate restaurant that you’d get at a $25 a plate place you’re going to the wrong restaurants.

        • magnetic says:

          How good does service really get? I’m kind of a waitstaff are to be seen and not heard type of diner, so I don’t get excited about service.

    • nonsane says:

      Then there’s the business’s wants. The business gives cheaper/free meals to kids in order to draw the parents in. and Parents want value for their money, which doesn’t necessarily mean greater tips.

    • outis says:

      Something else I love – and you can probably tell what industry I’m in here :) – is when people think “Well the service was bad but the food was good, so let’s leave a good tip.”
      Though even if you leave “something for the cooks,” yeah, that’s going in the same pocket.

      • danmac says:

        That’s why cooks get paid the big bucks…what…why are you glaring at me? Is…is that your chef’s knife in your hand…ack…get away!

        • outis says:

          Nope, that’s why cooks hate servers. Three times the money for one third the work :)
          But professional rivalry aside, it alarms me how many people seem to think the server’s job is to take abuse. The server is there so the cooks can focus on what they do, and trust me, they’re there to keep us from being inflicted on you. Hell’s locker room indeed.

          • Big Mama Pain says:

            Trust me, after years of experience, other than bartenders, servers and cooks wages pretty much even out at the end. On days where there are no customers, cooks are still getting paid; when it’s busy as hell, cooks get paid the same and the servers increased tips make up for the lull times. A lot of corporate restaurants basically have the server shift schedule engineered so that tip wages are basically the same every week. And I don’t begrudge bartenders for making out like bandits because their job is basically like line cooking and serving thrown together, plus you can’t get away from your customers who are sometimes rude, loud and drunk.

            • outis says:

              I won’t argue how well it balances, but there is a trade off in servers whining when it’s slow and cooks whining when it’s busy. I’ve often gloated about making the same to the former and ground my teeth at my pittance during the latter.
              And that’s a huge chunk of why cooks tend to be nicer to the bartenders than the servers; their job is similar enough to ours for recognition AND they deal with customers, which is something most cooks and chefs I know dread . And also, because they have the booze :)
              Gotta say, though, that most of the rivalry between cooks and servers is of the sibling variety. IE. “No one picks on my little brother but me.”

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      My kids are grown now, but both when they were young, and with the grandkids (2 yr and 5 yr) now, they’re not allowed to be loud. When they’re very young and don’t know better we leave if they get loud. But they’re still messier than adults, and their meals are cheaper, so I always tip really, really great when we eat out with them. Like 40% or more. I also TRY to clean up some of the extra mess they create before we leave.

    • coren says:

      Well the flip of that is, if they don’t bring the kids at all (get a sitter) not only do the kids’ stuff not get on your tip, but the parents might also be inclined to eat something less spendy as they’re paying for the sitter and the kids’ food athome

      • danmac says:

        Which is fine…waiters understand that there are a number of less costly items on the menu…it’s the low cost of the kids’ meals, coupled with the increased time and effort of cleaning a nuked table area and dealing with other patrons who are annoyed by the children, that drives them up the wall.

  5. Its_Miller_Time says:

    I have to agree here. And to go with what Geosama said, my daughter is not “bratty” (she’s only 17 months old) but is definitely messy and I also tip an extra $2 – $3 depending on how much of a mess she makes. I guess though it depends on the person doing the tipping.

  6. Madman says:

    work at a restaurant where kids aren’t served

    parents – make your kids behave as though they are guests

    • dpung says:

      Easier said than done, my friend. Sometimes it takes more effort on the part of the parents, sometimes it simply takes more maturity on the part of the child.

    • sqlrob says:

      Which restaurant would that be?

      I’ve been in $60/plate places with kids running around.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        In that case, I’d vote with my wallet and a conversation with the manager or owner. We all pay to eat at good restaurants; I don’t begrudge a restaurant for allowing children or being child-friendly, but when children misbehave and the restaurant turns a blind eye, I want to let the restaurant know that it’s hindering my experience and probably that of other patrons. I don’t expect managers to react by banning kids, but if they were aware that it bothered other people, maybe they would step in and talk to the parents about their misbehaving children. They can lose my money or their money, and as I’m childless, I think I have more of it to spend eating out.

    • dpung says:

      Easier said than done, amigo. Sometimes it takes more effort on the part of the parents, sometimes it simply takes more maturity on the part of the child.

      • dpung says:

        oh… doublepost. sorry, I got an error message

      • FuzzyWillow says:

        Exactly, there was a time during my childrens life where we simply didn’t take them to restaurants.

        When they are real you – you keep the, in the car seat with a pacifier in their mouth.

        When they are older – you practice eating out. You sit at the table at home and show them how to behave when at a restaurant. This can be a fun game including things like placing their napkin on their lap etc.

        In between – I just stayed at home; or ordered takeout.

        • PencilSharp says:

          My two cents (now worth one; thanks, Mr. Bernanke!)

          There is no reason… NONE why a child under the age of 8 should be within 100 yards of any sit-down restaurant, no matter how well-behaved you think your precious little snowflake is.

          Young kids have the idea: “The world revolves around me” and when parents spoil the kid, it just gets worse. Once they’ve been exposed to other kids with the same worldview, they begin to understand that there just might be something to this whole civility thing.

          The Beloved Wife and I made do with drive-thrus until our kids were mature enough to behave themselves not with bribery or threats, but because they wanted to.

          And, yes, that was when the youngest was 8.

          • AnthonyC says:

            There are, of course, restaurants that specifically cater to families with kids. Friendly’s, Denny’s, etc.

            Also, the appropriate age is clearly going to vary, child by child. But you’re absolutely right- some parents are clearly incapable of making any judgment that their kids are less smart or mature than anyone else.

          • Michaela says:

            I agree that young children have no place at a sit-down joint, but I am more liberal when considering age. By 5, my grandmother (a very strict, Southern woman) had taught both my sister and I that one wrong move in the church sanctuary, a proper dinner, or a movie theater meant being removed from the situation and facing her wrath. I can’t recall any situations where I was removed and punished because that is just how well it worked (even as an adult, getting on her bad side scares the crud out of me).

            Therefore, I think that a child can sit decently still by about 6 (5 under the best conditions and never under the worst).

          • JennQPublic says:

            I disagree. Plenty of twelve year olds won’t ‘want’ to behave properly in a restaurant. The point is to teach them that they WILL, whether they want to or not. I think it’s important to teach kids form a young age that they need to control themselves at times.

            With that said though, if you don’t have enough control over your six year old to keep them quiet during a restuarant meal, for the love of god, don’t inflict them on the general public.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Kids under 4 act the same way as guests as they do at home. Doesn’t work.

      • JennQPublic says:


        One year, my mother got too sick to go with my father to his work Christmas party. He had already RSVPed for two, so he decided to take me as his ‘date’. I got all dressed up, and conducted myself as a perfect lady, complete with impeccable table manners. I was four. I still have the dress.

        My father was so proud, and his coworkers were very impressed. And I was, overall, an exceptionally bratty child. But I knew how to conduct myself in public, in a nice restuarant, because my parents had taken the time to TEACH me. And those early lessons were backed up by the knowledge that my actions had consequences, some of which could make sitting very uncomfortable. So by the time it really mattered, my father could be confident that I could and would handle myself as a lady.

        It’s all in how you raise them.

  7. Larraque eats babies says:

    What restaurant does he serve in?

    Enquiring minds want to know so that I can never accidentally be a patron at their restaurant.

  8. rambo76098 says:


  9. seamer says:

    I like that it’s tip the waiters and not raise the price of a coke by 50 cents.

    This guy is only thinking about himself instead of the overall business. He’s had his 5 minutes of fame.

  10. The cake is a lie! says:

    bah… Having to wait on difficult customers is no reason to expect a larger tip. Now if those difficult customers make more of a mess than they should, then yeah… But just because they were obnoxious then no. With that logic I would expect many other areas to start asking for tips. Like in airports and in general customer service.

    When I take my kids to a family restaraunt, it is assumed that the waiter is going to be picking up maccaroni off the floor. Duh. Now if my kid has a tantrum and throws it all over the place, then I’ll tip a little more because I know someone is going to have to work a little harder to clean it up. But it typically isn’t the waiter cleaning it up, so unless I know they pool their tips, forget it. I’ll just hang out and slip the bus boy a couple bucks when I see him at our table. Seriously I do. I think you should if you created a huge mess. But just having obnoxious kids isn’t a reason to have to tip more unless they have created significantly more work than should be considered ‘normal’ for the type of restaurant you are in.

    • common_sense84 says:

      >I’ll tip a little more because I know someone is going to have to work a little harder to clean it up.

      God I hope not. The person cleaning the table and the floors doesn’t work for tips. The server is the only one who is tipped when you leave a tip. Never tip due to good food or a left behind mess.

      Tipping is if the server goes beyond and above taking your order, bringing the food, and refilling drinks. Since tipping should not be expected for normal service. It is optional.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        I didn’t realize things changed. When I was a busboy (25 years ago), we received a flat percentage of tips. The majority of the time, we were the ones who were collecting the cash left behind tables when we were cleaning up.

      • danmac says:

        You’re completely wrong…speaking from previous experience in the industry, most waiters are in charge of keeping their own sections clean (which frequently includes bussing and cleaning the floor), and when there are bussers, they are usually tipped by the waiter at the end of the shift.

        • Intheknow says:

          Yep, that’s what I remember. Working in a big company-owned chain restaurant – a couple dollars an hour and out of that I had to “tip” the bussers and bartenders! I was a great waitress and STILL went home exhausted, smelly from food, and with only $20 or $30 to show for an 8- or 10-hour shift. Thankless job most of the time.

      • Athena says:

        If you think tipping is optional in this country, then you are dead wrong. If you walk into a sit-down restaurant and do not tip, you are literally making the waiter pay to serve you. Regardless of whether they actually receive money from you, they are required to fork over a percentage of their sales, in most cases, to the bartender, busser, and sometimes the host. After taxes, servers don’t receive a paycheck, for the most part.

    • rachaelnicole says:

      I’d recomment not allowing your child to have a tantrum and throw macaroni all over the place to begin with.

      Servers are servers, not servants.

    • lehrdude says:

      I agree. When my kids make a mess, I usually slip the busboy/girl a few dollars because I know they are the ones who have to deal with it. Besides, some waiters seem to “forget” we are in their section if they happen to catch a glimpse of an errant french fry on the floor…

      If waiters treat tables with kids differently because they feel they will have to work harder, then that is a good way NOT to get little something extra. Don’t assume that just because I have children with me that I will not make it up to you after the meal.

    • Intheknow says:

      Do you allow your kid to have a tantrum of throw food on the floor at home? Probably not because YOU don’t want to clean it up. Why not just teach the kids how to behave. Sure, it takes a little time in the beginning, but boy is it nice when you go anywhere and your children are welcome because they have manners! And yes, I have three daughters myself. Even very small children can be taught that acting up in public at a restaurant or grocery store is NOT ALLOWED. You just simply don’t allow them to do it at home either. I don’t buy the whole “kids will be kids” line. Teach your kids respect from the time they’re old enough to be in public.

  11. sagodjur says:

    It’s nice in theory to say, “tip more because you have kids,” but how many parents have kids they can’t afford? They’re already splurging just by going to a restaurant instead of McDonalds, so they’re probably not likely to want to splurge even more on a tip. I’m not saying this is a justification or an excuse, just an observation that makes the suggestion of tipping more a little shortsighted. Better, albeit impractical and inevitably unheeded, advice would be, “don’t have kids you can’t afford.”

    • Doubts42 says:

      or realize that in America, whether you agree with it or not, the tip is part of the price of going out to eat. If you can’t afford the tip you can’t afford the restaurant

      • sagodjur says:

        It’s not actually a part of the price. The price is the whole of the price and the tip is optional…unless it’s not, in which it’s not a tip. Custom is not law.

        I’d actually prefer if gratuity were built into the price though. No more worrying over whether the tip was enough or feeling bad about leaving less of a tip even if the wait service was terrible.

    • Jason says:

      If you can’t afford to tip don’t go out and eat. Better yet don’t have kids if you can’t afford them.

      • drizzt380 says:

        Hey, if you can’t afford to tip, then you’re probably not going out to a restaurant very much.

        That means you’ll never have to go back to the place that knows you don’t tip!!!

        Sounds like the perfect plan to me.

  12. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I don’t think having kids at the restaurant should translate to higher tips. I mean, if a person orders an appetizer instead of a full meal, that also translates to a smaller check, right? Should that person have to compensate for that? It seems like what the waiter is really griping aobut is messy and misbehaving children. That’s a problem with the parenting, and children and parents should be encouraged to modify their behavior because it affects the other people in the restaurant too. The waiter might desire compensation for putting up with the messy kids, but what about other people who are eating there? Do we get compensation for a misbehaving child? The best course of action is for the restaurant to help out everyone by encouraging parents and children to modify their behavior. Stop giving out crayons if you don’t want your table cloth scribbled on, or for them to get ground into the carpet.

    • Ilovegnomes says:


      We take the kids out to restaurants that are really good with our kids. The one we like the most brings out soup crackers for our kids before we even order because smaller kids don’t have the ability to stay calm when their blood sugar is too low. And guess what… just having those crackers keeps our kids in check, happy and not messy. They also are considerate and bring out drinks in a to-go cup with a lid and a straw to reduce the chance of spills. So instead of a waiter whining about the after the fact mess, it seems like they could be a little more proactive to help a parent out to EARN their extra large tip. You better believe that we leave awesome tips for servers who go above and beyond to make our dining experience easier on everyone.

      • kingmanic says:

        Yes, do keep to restaurants that cater to you. But lose the entitled attitude. You’re kids make a huge mess and someone had to clean it up. Normally it’s you. When you impose on others be a considerate person and pay a bit more for it. I tend to find people with attitudes such as yours to be both demanding and horrible tippers. I groan each time they walk in. I don’t do that work because i need the money; I am a well paid professional and only wait tables to help out my inlaws on weekends. But knowing that people are so selfish as to impose on my time and then not feel the need to bestow upon me a gratuity it just irks me. Like if a guest came over left a huge mess and didn’t volunteer to help clean it. It’s the principle not the money for me.

        • Ilovegnomes says:

          You are missing the point. My kids don’t make a mess because the server took the time (and not much of it) to be proactive. They see a kid coming, they come to the table with crackers and a menu at the same time. It diffuses a situation that could have turned bad, messy or disruptive. I’m not sure about where you work but the restaurants that I frequent leave the crackers near the menu so maybe it only takes them one or two more seconds of their time to be accommodating. Then instead of bringing a cup that is easily spilled (well we usually ask for this) bring a to-go cup with a lid and straw so there is less chance of a mess. How much extra effort is that? As a parent, if I have someone take those few extra steps for me not to battle a mess in the first place and have settled kids, I leave a huge tip. And if my kids should make a mess (which I won’t lie.. it has happened), I clean it up as best as I can. I also avoid ordering messy dishes. Grilled cheese, fruit, chicken nuggets, waffles, etc are much easier to maintain when a kid is eating than spaghetti is.

          I love this part… “But knowing that people are so selfish as to impose on my time…” Don’t you get it?! I’m not coming to your house. When I come to a business I am paying for food and the service to get food to my table. If you are a server, your job is to be there. It is not YOUR time. You are being paid by your employer to do a job. If you don’t like that job, get a different one.

          • kingmanic says:

            the fact is most servers base pay is min-wage in north america but the work is one of the more demanding. much more than retail. The idea is tips make up the difference and for many it does. The ones that get shafted however is a lot of the waiters at family restaurants who often do not get tipped well and have to deal with other peoples children.

            The pay rate assumes the customer tips. Imposing more work on the waiter in a just world (which it is not) would imply you compensate them because the business owner assumes you will. People who have an entitled attitude about it tend to also be people who do not tip or tip very meagerly but it wrong given that the pay rate assumes you will tip. If they raised prices and paid decent wages then it would be less of an issue but it’s a case of bad assumption on your part (tips = optional for exceptional service). The pay structure is based on the idea you will tip.

            In the actual world, parents with small kids often less. Much more work for less.

            As for me; I don’t need either the money or the job but work as a waiter as a familial duty. I go because my in-laws need the help. I do a good job and while it annoys me when you go out of the way for people and they do not tip or tip very little it’s not the money. I make more in my day job then the vast majority of my customers. It’s the lack of respect or perspective. If I have to spend 20 minutes picking up spaghetti off the carpet I’d like to know someone appreciates the extra effort. The extra dollar or two do not make a difference to my budget but do brighten my day while the $0 tip from of family with 8 children who leave a huge mess eats at me.

        • drizzt380 says:

          Ilovegnomes: These waiters are great and we like to tip them bunches.

          kingmanic: You’re entitled and I hate waiting on people like you.

          That is what The Duke just read. The Duke not understand!!!

      • Mom says:

        Have you ever looked under the table after your kids have been eating all of those crackers? It ain’t pretty…

    • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

      Damn, I was going to make the same point using surf & turf vs. pasta. Pasta eaters should tip more, because the poor whiny waiter won’t make as big a tip!

      He came across as a tremendously snotty jerk with a huge sense of entitlement, and I’d probably be unhappy with him as my waiter whether I had a child with me or not.

      • crashfrog says:

        Never mind, of course, the sense of entitlement inherent in the idea that you should get the same high quality of service as better tippers without paying the same amount for it.

        • drizzt380 says:

          In order to keep my patronage, I expect the same amount of service no matter how much I tip(which is usually 20%).

          Then again, I’m a spiteful bastard

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      “I mean, if a person orders an appetizer instead of a full meal, that also translates to a smaller check, right? Should that person have to compensate for that?”

      I think there are many scenarios where a tip isn’t based on the total on the check. If my wife and I go out for happy hour and there’s a half priced appetizer or some other kind of special, we always tip based on the full price of the meal.

      If I’m just killing time at a diner and take up a table for two hours, while just drinking coffee, I’ll leave a bigger tip since 15% of a $1.50 cup of coffee isn’t commensurate with the half dozen refills the waitress brought out.

      It’s the same thing when we take our kids out. Meals typically take a very long time and we tie up bigger tables and occasionally leave a mess. I have no problem leaving a much bigger tip that proportionate with the mess.

      • jesirose says:

        Agreed – in fact just recently my BF and I decided we wanted to sit outside on a restaurant’s patio – in Virginia, at Christmas time. I asked if we could sit outside, and they said ok, even though they looked at us like we were nuts. The waiter was very polite and fun with us. Poor kid only had a short sleeved shirt on. When we left I gave him a 75% tip, because we weren’t just eating there the “normal” way.

    • Mom says:

      As someone who orders appetizers to keep the bill down, I agree in principle. However, as someone who once waited tables in a “family friendly” restaurant, I know that I don’t dump my appetizer on the floor while I’m eating. When I served families with small children, I knew that I was practically going to have to bring a cleaning crew to clean up after the family left. Even the best behaved kids were uncoordinated enough that their food would end up all over the place. And no, we didn’t have crayons.

    • ahecht says:

      Actually, I do think that people who order just appetizers should, out of courtesy, tip a higher percentage. My rule of thumb is that although I normally tip at 15%, the tip should never come out to less than $2/person. Therefore, if my girlfriend and I split a $7 appetizer and a $13 entree, I’ll still tip $4 since the waiter had to do just as much work as if we had ordered two entrees and had a $26 check.

      • drizzt380 says:

        Well theres your problem

        You’re behind the times!!!

        Waiters think 20% is the baseline nowadays.

        15% is like a slap in the face!!!

        $20 at 20% and bam, thats your $4.

        Well, thats at least what the waitress on yahoo answers says. But maybe shes just part of a conspiracy to inflate tip amounts!!!

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        What happens though when you order appetizers, have every intention of tipping well, but the waiter treats you like shit b/c he thinks he’s going to get stiffed on an appetizer? Even if I only spend $10, my wait person is going to get a $5.00 tip if they give me decent service. But, if they give me crappy service b/c they think I’m going to short them, they are getting a $2.40 tip. Waiters sometimes make assumptions about people and give them a low quality experience based on that assumption. Then, when they get a small tip as a result of poor service, they feel like they were right about getting shafted. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    • Noadi says:

      “I don’t think having kids at the restaurant should translate to higher tips. I mean, if a person orders an appetizer instead of a full meal, that also translates to a smaller check, right? Should that person have to compensate for that?”

      Adults who order off the appetizer menu rarely throw food all over the place and otherwise make a mess. Since kids both have less expensive meals AND are messy, parents should tip more. I like kids but the fact is young children have a unique combination of not knowing table manners PLUS not having great motor control yet and if parents are going to have someone else clean up after them they should dish out a few more bucks for it.

      • thezone says:

        Every restaurant is responsible for pricing their food to include things like labor. If you believe children take more labor because of additional cleaning then increase the price of the meal. I worked in food service throughout college. There were parents that tipped well and parents who didn’t. Funny thing was there wasn’t a good correlation between the tips and the behavior of the children. There were plenty of well behaved children with cheap parents as well as bad children with parents who tipped well. Since I tip over 20% I’m not going to add extra money because my kid may spill something on the table. Spills happen ALL of the time in a restaurant. Get over it.

  13. sagodjur says:

    It’s nice in theory to say, “tip more because you have kids,” but how many parents have kids they can’t afford? They’re already splurging just by going to a restaurant instead of McDonalds, so they’re probably not likely to want to splurge even more on a tip. I’m not saying this is a justification or an excuse, just an observation that makes the suggestion of tipping more a little shortsighted. Better, albeit impractical and inevitably unheeded, advice would be, “don’t have kids you can’t afford.”

    • damageddude says:

      Then they are probably at an Applebees, diner or some other family friendly restaurant where the server should expect many kids and all that goes with it.

  14. Nogard13 says:

    Parents should clean up after their kids and make sure they behave. My parents always did this with me and all my friends with kids ALWAYS pick up after them at restaurants and don’t leave a mess for the waiter.

    That being said, if the waiter doesn’t want to deal with kids (a hazard of the job, AFAIC), he can go wait tables at a restaurant that isn’t frequented by kids. Instead of working at Red Robin or Chucky Cheese, maybe he should go work at a steakhouse or a bar that also serves food.

    • Doubts42 says:

      Not always applicable. I have served at 4 and 5 star restaurants. While we did not encourage children, and had no kids menu we still got kids in from time to time. Almost every time the rug rat cost me $$. No one who is paying $100+ per person for their meal wants to be pelted with drool covered cheerios, or listen to high pitched screams. So they either leave or move to the other side of the dining room.
      1 kid who is not even a customer can cost a high end server anywhere from $25.00 to $125.00.

      That being said it was also just part of the job. Sure on Tuesday that kid ruined my night. but on Wednesday the high roller sat in my section and put down a 30% tip on a $600.00 meal. $180.00 isn’t bad for 2 hours of work.

      I will say that as unfair as it might be there are types who tip more and folks who tip less. And that is not just, or even primarily skin color. Black people do not all tip poorly, though quite a few do. Bible thumpers are the worst hands down. If i hear the word Jesus at a table i just write it off and do the least i can to get them out the door. The best i can hope for from that table is 10% and there is a better than average chance that my tip will be a Jesus pamphlet that is too stiff and scratchy to even wipe with.

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        I will give you that. I don’t take my kid to any restaurant beyond a $20.00 a person casual steak place even though she is 8 and pretty well behaved. This is b/c I do not want to go to a nicer place and have to deal with kids. The worst is going somewhere very quiet and candle lit and having a table with 3 kids–all being loud. Do the parents just not see that it is candle lit and full of couples wanting a romantic evening? Do the parents just not care that the restaurant isn’t kid friendly? Some people are so clueless. Id on’t tip less when their are annoying kids, but it does piss me off. I will admit that when my husband and I go out for something nice we tend to hit places that we don’t usually see kids at. Even one bad experience with kids keeps us away.

    • teke367 says:

      While I agree, when I served, I didn’t like getting tables with small kids, but it didn’t have too much to do with the price of kids meals.

      Kids drink a lot of soda, in some cases, children are more work than adults. Even though in the restaurants, a kids meal in theory warranted less work (no salads, generally speaking, there was also less plate prepping too), an average adult would get 2 refills tops on their soda, while kids would get about 5.

      But the biggest problem was that when kids weren’t reigned in by their parents, they ruined other people’s time. Other guests would get in a bad mood, and it would reflect in their tips.

      The mess I could deal with, heck, sometimes it was welcome when I was too busy because it gave me an extra few minutes before new guests sat down, but it was unruly children I dreaded.

      However, while I agree that its “nice” for a table to pad the tip when they realize they are causing an extra hassle, I think saying they “should tip” is a little strong, and perhaps expecting too much.

      Its been said before in the comments here too, but the price argument is silly. I was never about to return some of the tip because a table ordered lobster which may have cost $30 per guest because it was the same work as the guy who ordered catfish, which was probably only $10.

  15. TC50327 says:

    If the kids are well behaved, it’s like having additional adults.

    If the kids are little ba$tards, then not only should the parents have to pay extra, but buy the meals of any other patrons in earshot.

    You chose to have/keep kids, don’t inflict your bad choices and bad parenting on the rest of us.

    • Hungry Dog says:

      Dude a little extreme. I just prefer to give uncomfortable glares at them and fart when I walk past.

      • H.Ry says:

        If parents won’t make the decision to take ill-behaved children out of the restaurant, they should be asked to leave. I know, the company wants every paying customer–but think of all the sales you lose when you tolerate it! An adult making the same kind of mess and noise would definitely be encouraged to leave–how “bad” does a kid have to behave before you tell their parents to take care of it?

    • massageon says:

      That is a ridiculous suggestion, and obviously not well thought through

  16. outis says:

    Let me just point out that industry advice posts like these are for the benefit of those who DON’T want to be an ass to working people. I see many comm enters want to make it clear they feel it’s their right and duty to behave otherwise.

  17. Judah says:

    Brats are part of your job. If you want an extra tip, why not try and be friendly instead of acting like breathing the same air as other people’s kids is something you should be paid extra for. I hate snobby waiters like you…. and guess what? I tip you less.

    • botulismo says:

      You came off snobbier than he sounded.

      Not everyone thinks your perfect little angels are perfect little angels. If your kids have manners, your kids will be treated well.

  18. Hungry Dog says:

    Frankly uncontrollable crotchfruit ruin the dining experience for everyone there. Servers and customers alike.

  19. lettucefactory says:

    I do generally tip a little extra if I take my kids out. I know they are sometimes messy and agree that the staff deserves extra for the trouble.

    But the math here is funny. If my husband and I go without the kids, the check is smaller than if we bring them. We don’t grab two random adults to take the place of our children, we just go alone.

    • jesirose says:

      Great point.

    • danmac says:

      But the math here is funny. If my husband and I go without the kids, the check is smaller than if we bring them. We don’t grab two random adults to take the place of our children, we just go alone.

      I agree with you in principle, but keep in mind that if you and a spouse go out alone, you are seated at a table that seats two, whereas if you take three kids with you, you are probably utilizing a table that seats six. I’m not saying this obligates you to cover the “tip difference”; I’m just pointing out that there can be an effect on the waiter’s bottom line.

      • slappysquirrel says:

        Also, if you and your husband go out alone, you’re probably eating for a shorter period of time than you would with a whole family. Kids need their food cut, sometimes they won’t eat and take forever to decide, etc. If a waiter serves three familes with kids instead of four or five groups of adults, that’s going to cost money, too.

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        But, should a diners mane concern be on how the waiter might fare if we take up a bigger table, etc…? The establishment is for customers to eat at. It does not serve the purpose of keeping you rolling in cash. As a customer, I refuse to sit an analyze crap like that. I think that as long as people are tipping fairly (15% for shitty, 20% for acceptable, more for excellent, and maybe a bit extra for sloppy kids), keeping control of our kids, and not letting them run the waiter to death that is all that we need to think about. I’m not going to make a meal really complicated for myself by thinking about our family of 3 taking up a table for four and how much money the server might lose as a result. I’m also not going to consider that my child’s meal costs less so I should tip more. I’ there to eat. I am willing to pay for the meal, be a fair tipper, and keep my kid under control. Anything more complicated is the server’s problem.

  20. cmdr.sass says:

    Do waiters do anything other than complain about the size of their tips?

    • DWMILLER says:

      No. They are all a bunch of whiny little bitches.

    • Intheknow says:

      Ever worked as a waitperson? Most make considerably less than minimum wage (yes, that’s legal) – sometimes only a couple of dollars an hour (even in big chain restaurants). They LIVE on tips. Try working (and I MEAN working) for 8 or 10 hours and going home with $16 dollars in wages and maybe $20 or $30 in tips.

      • nonsane says:

        if it’s not worth it, don’t do the job…

        Seems like tipping has created an environment for wait staff to get pissed off at customers.

  21. common_sense84 says:

    So they want everyone to tip as if they bought a 30 dollar steak no matter what they ordered?

    This nonsense is exactly why you should not tip at all. Why should any tip be based on an arbitrary food price that has nothing to do with the work performed?

    Not tipping is the only way for waiters and waitresses not to feel ripped off. They need to learn to work for the pay they are paid, not be begging customers for ends like a crack feind.

    • JJ! says:

      Learning to work for approximately $3.00 an hour is easy. You quit and never come back.

      Yes, the restaurant is supposed to make it up if you don’t get that in tips. Except that prices will rise for customers, and there’s enough stories of restaurant owners stealing gratuity from servers as is. I bet there would be a legal battle to get that money back, one which is not so easy to fight as their check is for a substantially small amount of money compared to what it’s supposed to be for.

      That’s not every restaurant, but I would hardly pretend that it would be uncommon.

    • kpsi355 says:

      That’s such a great idea, I think you should be a waiter.

    • BocaMan says:

      Yeah, that’s right, don’t tip, and the restaurant has two choices: raise the prices, or end up paying min. wage. No one of quality would work those jobs for 7.25/hour, so you would have fast-food quality waiters everywhere.

  22. DarthCoven says:

    Here we go again. Hold on tight!

    • runswithscissors says:

      I love this story because it crashes together commenters’ hatred for tipping vs their hatred for children!

      Which hate will win? How exciting!

  23. Theodore says:

    I have a better angle: Children who bring parents to restaurants should leave smaller tips because the meals cost more but the waiter puts in the same effort.

  24. VOIDMunashii says:

    I don’t know if they should necessarily have to tip more, but they should certainly have to pay a portion of the tabs for the tables around them who had to tolerate their little breedlings… er, darlings running around, screeching, and throwing things during the meal.

    I never got to behave that way in public. I would be removed from the restaurant by my mother if I even edged towards that territory.I either behaved like something resembling a civilized human or I did not eat in public.

    • slappysquirrel says:

      Annoyed people tip less. So, in effect, the nearby annoyed people are getting a discount at the waiter’s expense. The question is whether the parents should make it up to the waiter.

  25. SG-Cleve says:

    We should tip more because their meal costs less??? Maybe they should receive a salary instead of tips.

    This brings up a very good point. I have a friend who leaves the same tip regardless of the bill amount. He says they do the same amount of work, why should they earn more or less depending on what the restaurant charges for the food?

    • BocaMan says:

      That’s kind of dumb, tipping the same amount for each meal. I think a restaurant that offers $30 entrees and cloth napkins has a larger staff; those places you’re meant to get better service, with the waiters getting less covers than a $14-a-plate place. Your friend should come to South Beach, all the restaurants put the 15%-18% “service charge” right on the bill.

  26. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    If I tip this guy more, will he take some writing lessons so that I never again have to try to parse something like that excerpted paragraph?

  27. Gorbachev says:

    You know…kids are messy without being bratty at all.

    If this waiter was waiting on me and my children, I would tip him rather poorly.

  28. PsiCop says:

    First of all, ill behaved children should never be brought into restaurants. Yes, that is the rule I had to live by while I was growing up … and if it was good enough for me, it’s good enough for pthers.

    Second, the point about kids menu items being discounted, resulting in a lower tip, is valid. And it goes for just about any discount situation; the tip should be on the fair value of what you order.

    • Doubts42 says:

      as a waiter no.

      the kids meal is not the same as a coupon. The child is eating a priced menu item.
      Now with your groupon, or a kids eat free situation you absolutely should tip on the pre-discount price.

      • PsiCop says:

        A lot of places price kids’ meals artificially low, as a “loss leader.” I don’t think the wait staff should have to incur that loss too.

        • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

          Where are these places? I pay absurd prices for kid’s meals. They give you $.25 worth of pasta and $.10 worth of apple sauce and charge $5.95 for it.

    • ohhhh says:

      Are you implying that the kids meals are sold at a loss? typically they are also smaller servings sizes so tipping on the fair value of the kids item would be, well the price on the menu, not some arbitrary amount deserving a higher tip.

  29. Quake 'n' Shake says:

    We don’t go out often with our son anymore. Not because he’s messy. He’s not yet two and not full-blow brat yet, but I’m sure he’ll get there. But because it’s an all-around pain in the ass to go to a restaurant with a toddler. I do agree with the waiter’s sentiment. Both my wife and I having worked in the business, we understand completely.
    That being said, I can’t help but feel, “F–K you you f–king food jockey with your unasked for opinion. We already know what’s expected of us.”
    Irrational? Yes.

  30. Alvis says:

    Seriously – F you, waiters.

    We should tip extra because a kid’s meal costs less but takes the same amount of work?

    Right as soon as you start advising customers not to over-tip on expensive meals. After all, a plate of lobster is no more work for you to serve than a plate of mashed potatoes.

    • kingmanic says:

      I think the point was the majority of children are a great deal more work and often disgusting work. The cost of the kids meal is meaningless.

    • Doubts42 says:

      ummm… lobster is ton more work for the waiter than mashed potatoes. I have to take the huge cover off of the tank, grab the exact lobster you want, transport a disgusting over sized aquatic cockroach to the kitchen. I have to bring and clear extra plates and utensils. I have to go back to the lobby and clean up all the water that dripped on the tile floor, etc.

    • slappysquirrel says:

      How long does it take you to eat a lobster and leave? Like, an hour or so, I’d say and that’s if you’re not the type of person to seriously linger over a fancy meal.

      How long does it take you to eat a plate of mashed potatoes and leave? Half an hour tops.

      At least two tables of mashed-potato eaters can be seated and tip in the amount of time that one lobster-eater does.

      • Alvis says:

        Way to cling tenaciously to my choice of an example.

        Let me dumb it down: $$$ food not harder to serve than $ food.

        • slappysquirrel says:

          OK, I will dumb down my point for you: people linger over $$$ food, people eat $ food fast and let someone else take the table.

  31. pitawg says:

    If a business or it’s employees yell about income, they need to yell at management. None of these customers set the pricing for the business. ball out your boss, not your customer!

    i did not set your “below minimum wage”. Tips that are begged for are not tips, and you will get less from me for trying!!!

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      I kind of feel like if people want perfect working conditions and an over the top salary, then maybe they need to develop the skills to get those jobs. Lower-skilled workers have to work harder for less money. It’s the way the ball bounces. That is why my high school dropout ass marched my butt up to the community college and worked my way to a four-year university and got a degree. Then, I marched myself into grad school, all on my own dime. And, this is why I have a job making $35 an hour with great conditions and hours. It’s because I have a special skill I offer and am damned good at my job.

      I get sick of people with no skills whining about the pay and conditions but doing nothing to change their circumstances. I tried waiting tables and hated it. Instead of getting mad at the customers because I was miserable, I lifted myself up by my bootstraps and did what I needed to do to make a better life for me. And, like I said, I paid my own way doing it.

  32. Khalten says:

    If the waiter really believes parents of messy brats “should be willing to help foot the bill for the mess” then it is the bill that should have the “messy brat” surcharge, not his tip. It doesn’t cost the wait staff any more to clean up a mess.

    • Snullbug says:

      It certainly does cost wait staff something to clean up a mess. If my waiter is delayed from attending to my table because he has to clean a war zone around Dennis the Menace’s table, he 1) may get a reduced tip from me if I don’t see the war zone and perceive the delay as poor service and 2) increases turn over time at his other tables by being delayed by your larva’s mess.

  33. shadowhh says:

    I always thought the tip went to the waiter/Waitress, not the busboy.

    What I am hearing here is that we should tip the waiter more because the busboy has to work harder.

    • richcreamerybutter says:

      If the establishment has a busperson, they usually receive a higher shift pay and some form of tip-out from the server.

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        Having waited tables for a whopping two weeks, I happen to know that the waiters pay a pittance of a tip-out to the bus people. They lie about their tips and pay as little as possible.

  34. MB17 says:

    FYI Mr. Waiter…

    Diners leave good tips when you provide excellent service. I understand that kids are unpleasant to deal with, but if you want more money, do something to earn it.

  35. ajaxd says:

    So by this logic if the dining party is adult only and everybody orders expensive items then they should tip less? I bet this guy doesn’t think so.

  36. anarkie says:

    My kid misbehaves, I’ll take them out for a drive while the rest of my party eats. Some of us are a little more respectful of others. That said, I leave a standard tip every time. I also keep my dining party in check. You’re welcome.
    As for the OP, he sounds like he feels entitled to more. Not the case. You don’t expect much from people that aren’t respectful. Period. Stop whining about it. Crap is a part of every job. It’s how you deal with it that makes the difference.

  37. Chimpotle says:

    If my kid decides to be a jerk, I may tip extra if I’m not able to clean it up myself, which most of the time I am. What I have been experiencing lately is a level of crappy service from the get go that I relate to the server noting that we have a child. I’m usually a generous tipper, but this continuing to happen has me of the mind that I need to start lowering my tip. Some of these servers need to get over themselves.

  38. eturowski says:

    The title of the linked article should read: “Restaurant server: I’m never happy.”

  39. valthun says:

    But a family of six yields a bigger bill than a couple keeping the kids home and going on a date. So therefore the tip for a family of six will be larger than 2 adults.

    Yes the kids can be messy and unruly, I truly believe there are restaurants that absolutely should be no kids allowed.

    But, what do you want, that family to stay home and not come out, thus no ti, or the tip you will receive for that family coming to eat at your table? Which again will be a higher bill than a table for 2.

  40. Burrrr says:

    In my wood side business, I get $20 for delivery. When I deliver and 4 people are there to help and we unload inside of their garage it’s $20. It’s the same $20 if I have to walk every arm-full around the side of their house and stack it by myself.

    This is the same thing. You take the good with the bad.

  41. mot says:

    Why don’t waiters complain when people order expensive items on the menu which results in a bigger tip?

    Two people dine out together. Person A orders a 10 dollar burger. Person B orders a 30 dollar steak. Assuming a generous 20% tip, person A will tip 2 dollars. Person B will tip 6 dollars. The waiter didn’t do any extra work to earn an additional 4 dollars from Person B. All the waiter did was bring two plates to the table. I have always felt that a tip should not be based on a “percentage” of the cost of the bill. I feel there should be a flat tip per person regardless of the cost of the meal.

  42. Get A Amberlance says:

    Tell me about it! Absolutely parents of trolls should tip more, at the very least. We were forced to forfeit smoking in all public places because it was such a “nuisance” to other patrons. Meanwhile obnoxious behavior abounds everywhere!! And it’s not just young children these days (sadly). My sons are nearly grown and rather well behaved, as I was always a stickler for respect and dignity. My ex and I once took them to a fine dining establishment accidentally–we were referred there and told it was a terrific “family” restaurant. It turned out that our sons had practically been the youngest patrons ever to dine there (they were 7 and 2). I made them behave properly, and although there were initial gasps at the sight of them, other patrons actually commended us on their way out for the boys’ outstanding manners. The boys also enjoyed it because they frequently watched chefs on TV and they knew what Bananas Foster was (and how to make it) and Shirley Temples were a true treat!

    My husband and I recently had season tickets to our Minor League Baseball team. We stopped going to the games because of the adult misbehavior that prevailed throughout the games. The drunken hecklers were unbearable, as was the litter strewn all over the stadium. The smoking section had been severely degraded to one rickety picnic bench in the farthest corner.

    So you can all bark about your smoking woes–I will take that any day over big-mouthed pigs. Don’t even get me started on the condition of retail stores!! Unacceptable!

    • Karita says:

      You know, when I waitressed at a family restaurant, there were groups of adults that made just as big a mess as groups that also included kids. I always wondered how such people treated their own homes, considering the messes they left for me to clean up. It was just as bad in retail, and I’m still reminded, when I go into places such as public restrooms or clothing stores, that people in general just suck when it comes to caring for others.

      We had a kid menu at the restaurant I worked at, and despite all my complaints about the job, it never crossed my mind that I was losing out on tips when children ordered from that.

  43. dcarrington01 says:

    Ok am tired of all the whining waitstaff people on here bitching about not getting enough tips. A tip is a gratuity (actually acronym To Insure Proper Service). Granted there are people out there that don’t tip accordingly to the service, but enough with the “poor me” BS. Enough with the entitlement already. If you don’t like your job, or it doesn’t pay enough, find something else, quit bitching, OR work harder to increase your customer satisfaction.

    • BenChatt says:

      I agree with the sentiment, but I’m fairly sure that that’s not the etymology of “tip”.

      • Rebecca K-S says:

        But the internets told me so! Or maybe it was “To Insure Performance,” or perhaps “promptness,” and there’s no way I could ever possibly do any research or critical thinking on my own to find out that it’s not true!

  44. BenChatt says:

    You know, the ironclad rule of tipping is still, and will ever be:

    The nicer you are, the faster the food gets to us, and the more you anticipate our needs, the better your tip will be.

    Whether we have kids or not. I’ve got a little one, and if he’s a real serious pain, sure, that makes your aplomb that much more commendable (and rewardable). But if you’re indifferent or inattentive, you’re still getting a crap tip. It’s just the nature of the beast.

  45. kingmanic says:

    I help my in-laws at their restaurant and indeed kids of a certain age will almost always create giant messes. Parents with young kids for some reason also seem to tip less or not at all. It might be a quirk of my area but it’s always a pain having to clean the table and carpets after family brings a young child and doesn’t tip at all.

    The worst is a family of 10 (mom and dad and 8 kids) who have never tipped but leave an 30 min worth of clean up when they’re done. When I heard the mom and dad split up and the divorce put them into poverty… I was perversely and inappropriately glad not to see them again. I may burn for that; Good thing I’m an atheist.

  46. kingmanic says:

    I help my in-laws at their restaurant and indeed kids of a certain age will almost always create giant messes. Parents with young kids for some reason also seem to tip less or not at all. It might be a quirk of my area but it’s always a pain having to clean the table and carpets after family brings a young child and doesn’t tip at all.

    The worst is a family of 10 (mom and dad and 8 kids) who have never tipped but leave an 30 min worth of clean up when they’re done. When I heard the mom and dad split up and the divorce put them into poverty… I was perversely and inappropriately glad not to see them again. I may burn for that; Good thing I’m an atheist.

  47. MisterE says:

    Personally, I don’t like seeing kids in restaurants and avoid them whenever possible. I even instruct the greeter to find us a seat away from the little terrors. There used to be a time when people hired baby-sitters but thanks to Applebees, parents bring in their kids to drink.

    • human_shield says:

      I don’t like seeing loud drunk adults in restaurants spoiling my nice meal either, but they keep coming. Once they started installing those obnoxious TVs playing sports in many casual restaurants, the loud brats started coming in.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        One of the restaurants in my area has separate dining areas. The TVs are with the bar and that’s split from the dining room, which is a heck of a lot quieter and much more suited for having a conversation.

        As a rule, I try to avoid family restaurants at all costs and when I see that there are kids at a restaurant, I try to be seated away from them. Unfortunately, sound carries and terrible kids will be terrible, but at least I won’t have to deal with it right next to me. At the very least, since I’m far away, I can complain and the parents probably wouldn’t see me.

  48. Tim says:

    So ask your superiors to either raise the prices on the kids’ menu or get rid of the kids’ menu. It makes up for the cost of serving them and gives you a better tip. Or, better yet, families with children will just stop going!

    Oh yeah, then you lose business. Whoops!

  49. kingmanic says:

    vomitoriums aren’t what you think they are.


    • richcreamerybutter says:

      You can’t appreciate humorous popular vernacular? How about pointing out to the “Godwin’s Rule of TIPS” people that this too isn’t what they think?


      • kingmanic says:

        If there weren’t pedants like me then the growth of myths and misconceptions would grow unchecked. Sometimes we do very important work like when i go out of my way to discredit anti-vaccine people. That will eventually save lives and prevent illness from myths and misconceptions. Pointing out vomitariums were just a word for entrances is a small bit in a bigger fight to keep the stupid down. I’ll note the mis-directed etymology of tips down for future reference.

        • richcreamerybutter says:

          Discrediting anti-vaccine folks is important work, but sometimes you have to overlook “the stupid” in a lighthearted exchange. Case in point: certain very religious followers have intercourse through a hole in the sheet. False? Yes. Always funny? YES.

  50. duncfair says:

    We have a 9 and a 12 and often bring a friend of each out to eat. They are not messy, not even close to as messy as a typical table of teenagers. Since we so often take extra kids I think my assessment is fair and accurate and that these waiters may be painting all children with a 5-and- under brush.

    What they are – often – is loud. Knowing that we do not take them to quiet places out of consideration. The other thing they sometimes are is picky so when the wait-staff is patient and good at explaining and/or good at getting the kids variations of what’s on the menu, they do get better (over 20%) tips.

  51. Reading_Comprehension says:

    not all tables are created equal, just ask the busboys

  52. Venus Blue says:

    I know my kids are sometimes loud and bratty. They mostly behave in public, though my daughter does say random things that cause stares. I usually clean up after them and leave a larger tip than I would if they weren’t there.

    That said, I don’t take them to sit down places too often. If we go out to eat, and we don’t much, I usually take them somewhere they actually want to go, where they can play, like Chuck E Cheese or the pirate type place we have here in Utah.

  53. El Matarife says:

    Jesus Christ. IF YOU WANT TO MAKE MORE MONEY GET A DIFFERENT JOB. How many times do we have to hear waiters whine about the tips they make?

  54. wbeem says:

    Have you ever heard a waiter come up with a reason why you shouldn’t tip more?

  55. GregoryMoose says:

    So the tip should be made on perceived effort by the wait staff? Well, the waiter at a diner where the bill comes to $20 is probably going to do a comparable amount of work as the waiter at a more high scale establishment so I should probably tip both those waiters the same.

    See, the whole notion of tipping based as a percentage of the bill doesn’t jive with this claim that since the waiter has to work harder when there are kids, he should get more. The waiter bringing me a $50 steak is doing the same job that the waiter bringing me a $10 burger is doing – so why should they be paid differently?

    Precisely the reason that tips should be abolished in restaurants and servers should be paid a livable wage. (Of course, servers love tips because they under-report their income and have to pay less tax than the suckers who don’t get cash tips.)

  56. Outrun1986 says:

    Ok I understand accidents happen, but if a kid is throwing a wild tantrum and food is everywhere, including disturbing other patrons then yes, they should give an extra tip. Lets hope the parent has enough common sense to take the kid to the car if its really that bad. Lets also hope that society expects that a child behave in a reasonable manner (not throwing food at other patrons and running everywhere) while at a restaurant.

    A few things fallen on the floor isn’t bad and should be considered standard cleanup but if your kids are going above and beyond to make a mess then the parents should go above and beyond for the tip as well.

    Regardless if you are tipping extra or not if your kids make a really big mess at a restaurant then you should at least issue an apology to the waiter or waitress, not doing so and shrugging it off is incredibly rude.

    Restaurants should also provide adequate napkins and towelettes for parties with children, providing one napkin to each kid is never enough. Most parents will use extra napkins and towelettes if they are given to them.

  57. human_shield says:

    Hey waiters, my kid is well behaved in restaurants, but IS messy (as in food will inevitably end up on the table and under it), so I tip around 20-25%. I figure it makes up for the extra 30 seconds of work for the busboy (waiters don’t clean the tables, guys).

    And I disagree totally that kids are not profitable. That $5 box of mac and cheese off the menu is a big profit item, as is the microwaved chicken nuggets.

    • kingmanic says:

      Waiters will clean tables. It really depends on the restaurant. High end restaurants will have busboys who clean and often get a % of the tips. In many mom and pop restaurants the waiters clean and sometimes also cook and do the books as well as all other janitorial work.

      So while it may be true that the 60$/plate place the waiters don’t clean the place; in the places where parents often take their kids the waiters often have to clean up the mess when you’re gone.

  58. Sparty999 says:

    If my kids make an extra mess, sure I will tip extra. I start at 20% and go from there. If you don’t want kids in your restaurants, then open a restaurant that doesn’t have a kids menu.

    Wait staff likes me… I am a good customer, but give me attitude because I have kids, and your restaurant will be on this site as soon as I get home. Although, you’ll still get a 20% tip, because that’s how I roll.

  59. RanChan03 says:

    You know in japan, tipping is frowned upon.

    Friend of mine tried to tip, the waiter ran out and returned the money.

  60. ArmitageID says:

    So you want a bigger tip because you had to work harder. Boo Hoo! Get a career and then try telling your boss you should be given more money because you had to work late. Then proceed to be appalled when he shows you the door.

    I don’t understand where people get off. You are complaining because you get less money because kid items are less expensive so you are no longer getting $15-$25 dollar a head worth of tab. If anything, you don’t have to worry about more adults asking for xyz. They are usually worse than the kids. My kids are well behaved when we go out and don’t throw crap to see if it sticks on the walls.

    I tip for the overall level of service. If I was wowed and thought you did a kick ass job then I’ll pay you that. However, if you are rude and “can’t be bothered with me since I have kids” then enjoy your crappy tip.

    I just think in general the whole tipping thing is a bunch of BS (even when it comes to tax laws). Pay people a fair wage and screw the tips. However, I’m starting to feel if they didn’t get their tips they would just treat everyone like crap. No tips means no reason to do a good job I suppose in your eyes. Again…see reference to career job above. If you don’t perform…you get shown the door.

    • kingmanic says:

      I think Western Europe/Japan has it right. People get paid decently and tips are not expected and often not accepted. The cost of paying the servers fairly is built into the cost of the food.

      In Canada/US it’s not. fortunately here at least the number of people who give average tips for average service and good tips for good service outnumber the people who think any tip require extra ordinary service and when they encounter extra ordinary service they tip below average.

    • JJ! says:

      Thing is, the only way the position is comparable to a career is if you give similar hours and compensation. With your career you have incentive to stay after, you have the possibility for advancement, a raise, etc. As a waiter, you generally don’t have far to advance, working late is often for little benefit (time and a half on $3.00 is still crap money), you only care for your tips.

      That being said, I agree with you about paying a decent wage. Pay a decent wage, treat the position with some modicum of respect from both a management and customer perspective, and you will have a service employee who is likely to do well by the customer and the business. Pay them poorly, expect the customer to make up the rest, which in many people encourages resentment, and treat them poorly, and you get your basic minimum wage employee who is upset with his or her job.

  61. ArmitageID says:

    So you want a bigger tip because you had to work harder. Boo Hoo! Get a career and then try telling your boss you should be given more money because you had to work late. Then proceed to be appalled when he shows you the door.

    I don’t understand where people get off. You are complaining because you get less money because kid items are less expensive so you are no longer getting $15-$25 dollar a head worth of tab. If anything, you don’t have to worry about more adults asking for xyz. They are usually worse than the kids. My kids are well behaved when we go out and don’t throw crap to see if it sticks on the walls.

    I tip for the overall level of service. If I was wowed and thought you did a kick ass job then I’ll pay you that. However, if you are rude and “can’t be bothered with me since I have kids” then enjoy your crappy tip.

    I just think in general the whole tipping thing is a bunch of BS (even when it comes to tax laws). Pay people a fair wage and screw the tips. However, I’m starting to feel if they didn’t get their tips they would just treat everyone like crap. No tips means no reason to do a good job I suppose in your eyes. Again…see reference to career job above. If you don’t perform…you get shown the door.

    • ArmitageID says:

      Darn double post! GRR. The webpage said it failed to submit the comment and took me back a page. Whatever….

  62. richcreamerybutter says:

    I was once working at a “downtown” restaurant, which is significant in that adults are the target demographic, and you know you’re not going to lose your job over petty complaints. Knowing this beforehand allows you to be more comfortable in your position, and you actually enjoy making the kids’ experience fun. One time, a mom and her young daughter ate an extended lunch, and ordered several of the more adventurous dishes on the menu. Afterward, the mom said, “my daughter has something to say,” and the daughter proceeded to tell me about how she wanted to be a restaurant critic, and how much she enjoyed the food she’d eaten. She was going to give the restaurant an A+! That was awesome.

    Another time, a large family came in with another very sweet young girl. They ordered a dish, and the grandpa then attempted to slightly (but very audibly) berate me because the kitchen had forgotten to include the baby corn, and how his “devastated” granddaughter’s day was ruined. I humored him and feigned a concerned expression. Really, it was a simple matter for the kitchen to quickly reheat the entree with the missing ingredient, but Granddad’s theatrics were completely unnecessary.

    The reason I did work well with kids (and all my customers) was knowing I wasn’t going to be fired for some ridiculous detail. Confidence rather than fear encourages the best service.

  63. PercyChuggs Was Found At JFK Airport says:

    Reason #4677 to not have children: situations like these.

  64. sykl0ps says:

    I hate it when places have a kids menu to try and bring in families.

  65. Outrun1986 says:

    Another thing, you guys should see the cafeteria of a local college here, those students are HORRIBLY messy, and I guarantee you they are even more messy than the likes of a couple 2 and 3 year olds at a restaurant. There is food and money all over the floor, they have absolutely no respect and they leave garbage on the tables for the staff to clean up instead of actually getting up and dumping it in one of the many cans themselves. Seeing the mess these people make makes me want to step in and help the staff clean up because the mess is so bad and the students so uncaring. These are SUPPOSED to be adults, however well, they act worse than 2 and 3 year olds when eating. Kids aren’t the only messy eaters around…

    If I had to clean that mess I would much rather wait on tables with children… The staff has clean the same mess every day since none of the students care :(

  66. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    I tip 20-25% when my kids make a mess. We don’t let them run around, and correct them when they’re noisy. I’m sure we annoy some people with noise, but it’s usually controlled and doesn’t persist.

    • BocaMan says:

      And I like to think most people are like you. Unfortunately, the 10-20% clueless folks out there will never get it, and their kids will probably be the same way when they become adults!

  67. dourdan says:

    um, no. poor baby, you have to clean up after the fact.

    i am a preschool teacher i know what it feel like to have to clean up LOTS of discarded food.

    I am willing to tip IF the waiter offered help at the tme i am there: spilled a soda? he or she brings be another in a timely manner. spilled a plate of spegetti? – he or she brings me extra napkins right then and there. that deserves a tip.

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      I’d wager that as a preschool teacher, you get a lot of perks the waiter doesn’t despite having to clean up after kids, too.

  68. ZakiSea horse says:

    My kid isn’t especially bratty but as a two year old he is especially messy. I do tip a little extra whenever as much of his meal winds up on the floor as in his mouth.

  69. yellowshirt says:

    We have 2 kids under 3 and sometimes despite our best efforts, messes get made. I don’t tip extra just because we have kids, but if they make a mess, I always try to leave a little extra to compensate for the extra work.

  70. GoBobbyGo says:

    I don’t get it. We have small children. We eat out with them sometimes. One of the big reasons for eating out is that someone else will clean up. We always leave ridiculously big tips when then the kids make messes. All the other parents I know do the same thing. We know our kids can be obnoxious sometimes, and we know they’re messy eaters pretty much all the time. We tip accordingly. Are there really people who don’t do this?

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      Yes, there are. There are people who go out because someone else cleans up and tell their kids not to worry because “someone else will get it.” While not a sit-down place, I’ve worked in restaurants where people don’t even say anything if their kids spills a drink. They just leave it for you to find when they’ve gone so now it’s sticky and drying.

  71. Redred says:

    I definitely agree here. My son is 15 months old, and while he’s generally not loud, he certainly makes a mess because, you know, he’s 15 months old. Food ends up all over the table and the high chair and the floor. We try to not leave a disaster, but we always tip well.

    It’s worth remembering that one reason to tip well when you are dining with young kids is that the amount of work they require from the waitstaff is disproportionate to their share of the bill. That is, eating out with my toddler only increases our total bill by about 15% over what it would be if it was just me and my husband. But the amount of work required by the waitstaff is a good 25-50% more, depending on how much of a mess we make, do they fill his sippy cup, etc.

    • AlphaLackey says:

      “It’s worth remembering that one reason to tip well when you are dining with young kids is that the amount of work they require from the waitstaff is disproportionate to their share of the bill.”

      So, do you tip less when the amount of work required from the waitstaff is disproportionate to the bill in the other direction?

  72. pjstevens77 says:

    and in other breaking news the sky is blue…

  73. rev_matt_y says:

    As a parent with kids I entirely agree. Our kids are generally very well behaved at restaurants, but sometimes kid make messes. We tip accordingly because that’s extra work for the server.

  74. ellemdee says:

    I don’t agree with tipping more (percentage-wise) just because their meal costs less. If adults are dining and one person’s meal is twice the other person’s meal, both people wouldn’t reasonably be expected to tip equally. However, I do think it’s common courtesy to tip more when the server/staff has to do extra work because of your table, whether it’s because of special requests, unusually messy kids (or adults), or anything else out of the ordinary.

  75. kylere1 says:

    I want the old smoke free areas to be re-designated as children free so that I do not have to put up with the large percentage of bad parents out there.

  76. Rachacha says:

    So do the families with Children make any more of a mess than a young couple that comes in and gets drunk and leaves cigarette butts and bottle caps all over the table and floor, or the middle aged couple that spils their drink on the table and the floor, or the elderly couple that comes in from the snow and rain without “stomping” their feet free of snow or shaking their umbrella free of the rain?

    Are familes with children any louder than a group of 20 somethings laughing and cussing at the table and talking (or yelling) on their cell phones, or the 70 year old couple who are hard of hearing asking their partner over and over again whether they will be having the chicken or the fish?

    Each demographic has the annoying customer and the good customer. Personally, I am a member of a family with children. When they were younger and they made a mess (infant throwing food on the floor) we cleaned up the floor and surounding area as best as we could. Now that they are older, the typical mess consist of a few broken crayons (provided by the restaurant) and their paper menu. We try to make sure that our kids are behaving in a reasonable manner, and if they are too loud or whining or crying, we correct them and if necessary take them outside to minimize the inconvenience that other patrons experience. We do not let the kids run around the restaurant, and if they do need to get up to use the restroom, or to play a video game in the lobby, we inform them not to run (and scold them if they do). That said, I have been to restaurants where parents have let their kids run wild, but this is typically the exception rather than the rule.

    Several weeks ago, my family and I were at a local restaurant (nicer than TGI Friday’s, but not requiring a shirt and tie (there were cloth tableclothes and candles on the table). When we walked in, there were a group of customers in the bar area that were cussing and talking loudly that to me and other patrons was very annoying. Even my kids were complaining that the group was being too loud. Should these patrons be expected to pay more in tips because other patrons had a diminished dining experience?

    • Outrun1986 says:

      This is why I mentioned the condition of the cafeteria at my local college, kids aren’t the only messy eaters.

  77. Mama Mayhem says:

    Boy waiters must really hate/love me and my family then. My husband and I always split a meal since neither of us are big eaters and we always bring a disposable placement for the niblet and pick up after her ourselves. So our kid doesn’t make a mess, but we certainly aren’t ordering a plethora of food to up the bill. Then again, we only go out for lunch or early dinner, so we’re not really taking a lot of valuable real estate during heavy rush times.

  78. energynotsaved says:

    As a basic rule, I over tip. When my kids were young, I never left less than 25%. When I do lunch with my girlfriends and we sit for too long, I figure we should do the 25% tip + some booth rent. I ate at Waffle House on Sunday, by my self. My bill was $8. I tipped $4. I never worked as a server, but I see it as a rough job. If I can’t afford the tip, I eat at home.

  79. stock2mal says:

    What I hate seeing are the asshole parents who let their kids make a fucking mess everywhere, and then the wait staff/bussers have to clean it up. Make a normal mess, fine, that’s expected. Have your kids throwing food everywhere and grinding it into things, not okay.

    The guy hitting kids in the back of the head with keys at Walmart had the right idea, he just needed to focus his energy on douchebag kids with douchebag parents.

  80. dreamking says:

    The entire tone of this otherwise-reasonable message is exactly what’s wrong with the tipping system. OP is absolutely correct in pointing out messy children require extra cleanup. This is a reasonable thing that reasonable people are attuned to. (Bias is at play: you angrily recall the jokers who forget this fact, but one rarely remarks upon the ones that do. But we’ll leave that aside for now.)

    “Dining out with children is a luxury, but what diners must understand is that the buck (being cleanup) is being passed onto the staff, you the parent being fully aware of what that cleansing will take,” he writes. “Reward it.”

    The use of ‘reward’ in this context, however, is the crux of the problem. A big fuck off goes to the institutionalized half-plausible-if-you-accept-the-premise entitlement system that makes such statements acceptable in the minds of the servers (and the restaurant owners who like it when servers are pitted against customers, and not them). I do not find it acceptable. I also do not want to harm servers or their income. I have a great deal of respect for the work required.

    So where do that leave all of us, except mutually annoyed? Anything that is half-reward, half-coercion is in no way conducive to a pleasant dining experience. Having no recourse except to stay home or go to the 6 places in all of America that have a no-tipping policy, I do go out. Sometimes the kids are with us. And I do tip extra when they make a mess. (Or I try to quickly pick up most/the worst of it.) I am, if anything, overly-sensitive to any disturbance or possibility of a perception of a disturbance coming from my kids.

    But if any server tramples on my sense of fair play and mutual respect with a preemptive or open *demand* for a larger gratuity (when 20% already can earn you an eye-roll for otherwise unremarkable service), I will tell them where they can stick it. Enough is enough.

    • dreamking says:

      To clarify – 20% is referring to a no-kid or at least no-messy-loud-kid party.

      Maybe a per-entree, per-appetizer, per-glass served tipping policy could be less egregious.

      Not to get too off-topic, but it seems unfair that unimpressive service for a $30 entree plate nets a higher gratuity as unimpressive service for a $15 entree plate. A 21-25% ‘floor’ leaves little space to express appreciation for exceptional service. Pushing for a higher ‘floor’ for less or similar service levels may be aligned with server interests but not those of the diner who actually pays. It’s the same scam as apartment brokers.

      Honestly, I’d rather pay $24 or $36 for what’s now a $20 or $30 entree, and end the dance that is ‘rewarding’ decent service, and then tip extra for exceptional work. Or have better information, after 1-2 experiences, that a restaurant doesn’t care about service and go elsewhere.

      I really don’t see having restaurants open during quieter hours as a worthy enough trade-off to put up with a system half-based on implicit coercion.

  81. framitz says:

    “Parents Of Bratty Kids Should Tip More At Restaurants”
    Staff with this attitude should find other work.

  82. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    I used to work at a country club in college, and Tuesdays were “Old Ladies Come To Play Mah-Jong” day, so they’d all order off the kids’ menu and bring their own tea bags, so while I’d still have to go to all the trouble to serve them, their bills only ever turned out to be $4.50 or so. 15% tip was auto-added so I wound up with a whopping $0.68 tip.

    My point is, common courtesy is pretty limited. The people who have bratty kids that WILL tip extra understand the courtesy, and are nice tippers in general. The people who have them and don’t tip probably wouldn’t have tipped you nicely even without the kids in tow, so why quibble about the extra money you think you deserve, because you sure as hell wouldn’t have gotten it from them in the first place.

  83. KDO says:

    I’d be a lot more likely to tip extra if the server actually seemed happy to wait on my family – kids included. So many act like its such a burden. If the restaurant you work at has a kid’s menu, expect kids. I always try to pick up after my kids as much as possible, but lets face it- half the pleasure of going out is having someone else clean up! And a lot of servers don’t do nearly as much work as they complain about, and make a lot more money than the people doing the work – bussers, hosts, etc.

  84. madderhatter says:

    Hmm, if I come to your restaurant and order a hot dog and fries for $7.00 or order a big T-bone steak and baked potato for $40, should the tip be different ? In both instances you would have to carry out one plate. Kids are part of life – deal with it. If it’s that big of a deal get a job where kids aren’t allowed.

  85. scratchie says:

    Isn’t this obvious? Any time you do something that creates extra work for the wait staff, you should tip extra. Is there even a question about that?

  86. Flatiron_32 says:

    I have two kids (1 and 3) and would agree. We generally trash the place and leave with food all over the table and floor. We go out so we don’t have to clean up at home. We always leave a healthy tip for the trouble.

  87. Travangelist says:

    Shut up and bring me my BLT.

  88. Binaryslyder says:

    Going to most places that have decent kids menus is not a luxury

  89. SJPadbury says:

    When I go out for dinner with the wife, I tip a flat percentage.
    When I go out for dinner with the wife and the 2 year old and the 4 year old, I look around, under the table, etc. to figure out how much extra to add on the percentage for a “cleanup surcharge”

    But honestly, we only take the kids to places like Friendly’s, and if I get even a hint that you have a problem with my kids, good luck getting much of anything out of me.

  90. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    My wost kid experience was with a kid at the table behind me. Being considerate to those at his table, he stood on his seat, crouched, stuck his bum out, and let fly with a stinky fart just a foot from my head.

  91. Zydia says:

    The tip system is setup to put the restaurant and the customer at an advantage over the waiter. If everyone really wants to make sure waiters get paid properly, then just include the cost in the price of the meal. I am tired of having to weigh out all the factors of the meal/service, etc. and then hash out the appropriate tip, and worry about someone thinking I’m an asshole if I happen to not get it right. This is ridiculous.

  92. timd1969 says:

    I am getting closer and closer to implementing the flat tip per diner. There’s no rational reason to tip based on the cost of the meal if the effort required is how waiters prefer to be tipped as evidenced by this article. Wine service is a perfect example. It takes no additional effort to bring a $50 bottle of wine to the table than a $25 bottle.

    My other pet peeve about waiters is the constant interruption usually timed just after you take a bite of food. Don’t ask me if I need more water; just refill the glass. If something’s not right with the meal, I will get your attention. Please don’t interrupt every five minutes asking if everything is alright. American waiters in general insert themselves into the meal far too much. Whatever happened to the silent code of service. Don’t ask if I am finished until you see my fork and knife parallel at 3 o’clock. The proliferation of “casual dining” has made eating a meal in a restaurant a non-stop string of interruptions which in and of itself often ruins the dining experience. I tip better when a skilled waiter keeps the meal moving smoothly without constantly stopping the table talk.

  93. jayelle says:

    I have waited plenty of tables in my life — at a “family” restaurant — and now I have 2 kids of my own. One of them is on the autism spectrum, and the other is 2, but she’s tall for her age and most people assume she’s closer to 4. I don’t take them to restaurants unless I absolutely have to (e.g., we’re on vacation, our power is out at home, it’s a large family event I’m obligated to attend).

    I do tip a little extra for the extra work the kids cause, but I also get VERY annoyed when people stare and make comments about my kids’ behavior in a restaurant. Like I said, my daughter looks 4 but acts like a typical 2 year old, so yes, she sometimes drops food off her fork and tips over her cup.

    My son has autism and is physically unable to eat most restaurant food, so we have to bring in our own snacks for him. He also does get overwhelmed by the noise and commotion of most restaurants and sometimes will rock, stim, or crawl under the table to try to escape. But he doesn’t *look* disabled — autism is funny like that — so most people assume he’s just “spoiled,” “out of control” and “bratty.”

    Honestly, when we go to a restaurant it’s actually *more* work for *me* than having a meal at home, so it’s a very rare event. Most times I would not be there if I had a choice. So to all the servers out there, please don’t assume that just because a kid is refusing to eat your food and trying to climb under the table, he’s a spoiled brat. Sure, there are wild, bratty kids and inattentive parents out there, but there are also some genuinely good kids and parents who are really trying to do their best, too — and sometimes, the two are indistinguishable to the untrained eye.

  94. bluline says:

    At the same time, if a group of adults orders $15 entrees instead of $25 entrees, that “translates into a smaller tip for the staff, even though they are doing at least as much work as they would when serving a table of” people who order more expensive items. My take on that: so what? Should I tip more because I ordered a less expensive meal? I don’t think so.

  95. baristabrawl says:

    Parents of bratty kids should pay my bill. Shoot.

  96. ganzhimself says:

    How about this… You provide me with great service and you will, at minimum receive a 20% tip from me. If you don’t think that’s enough, well, you can go pound sand. If you don’t think you make enough money wating tables it’s time to find another job you jack wagon.

  97. libwitch says:

    I think the solution is pretty simple: stop offering kids menus. Kids menus are awful anyway (why take your child to a restaurant if they are going to be eating processed chicken fingers and toasted cheese?). Offer half-sized portions of regular menu items.

    Chances are pretty decent that the kids who can’t behave in restaurants won’t want to come in and eat there anyway.

  98. jake.valentine says:

    “Waiter: Parents Of Bratty Kids Should Tip More At Restaurants”

    Customer: Waiter should get a career job if he is unhappy with his pay or working conditions.

  99. klippies says:

    I encourage my kids to mess so that the waitier can work extra for the amount of money I am forced to leave (due to the prevailing custom) as a tip. while I am visiting your restaurant I pay for service. If I feel like messing a bit, so be it.

  100. slappysquirrel says:

    When my grandmother really started to get old, she developed an irrational hatred for waiters. (e.g. Literally screaming at them if they brought her a pot of tea and hadn’t pre-heated her cup)

    I would always claim to need to go to the bathroom, sneak off, find the waiter, slip him/her twenty bucks, explain and offer more “combat pay” after the meal.

    Grandma happy, sort of. Waiter happy. A bargain at twice the price. And the waiter probably got extra tips from other sympathetic patrons.

  101. chocolate1234 says:

    Give me a break. I worked in customer service for a long time, so I understand it sucks, but I’m getting really sick of all of these stupid articles where wait staff complain about how much more they deserve to be tipped. Just stop complaining.

  102. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Man, I used to work in food service and there are plenty of adults out there that are just as messy, or more so, than kids. And what about the idiots who like to mess with the waiter/busboy by doing weird things with their dishes and the condiments? Or who put the tip in change in the bottom of the half-full glass they’ve mixed the dregs of their sodas in?

    While little kids CAN be messy, if people teach their kids manners and take them out when they get out of control, they’re no more a problem than any other diner.

  103. prismatist says:

    I absolutely agree. If I make the server’s job harder through my own fault, I tip higher. Did I ask for extra sauces three times? Another $ on the tip. Did I spill my drink and mess the place up? My bad! I’ll take responsibility for it and increase my tip accordingly.

    Tipping should be proportional to the service delivered. If the server goes out of their way to deliver spectacular service, the tip is higher. If my own actions require a higher level of service, then the tip will reflect that.

  104. NumberSix says:

    I agree to a certain point. I’m not a big fan of tipping in general, however if my kid makes a mess on the floor or otherwise puts more work on the wait and bussing staff, then I tip more.

    I do my best to keep the table clean, going so far as to stack my dishes and napkins as they get used so it’s easier on them. But sometimes, spills and messes beyond my ability to clean do happen in the course of a toddler learning to feed himself and learning table manners for public places. That’s when I have to throw a little extra cash their way.

    The “small bill” argument doesn’t fly with me though. The tip is a percentage and that’s that. You got a problem with me ordering a kids meal for my kid? Take it up with the management and ask them to stop offering kids meals.

  105. Nakko says:

    Waiters at restaurants where bratty kids come in should get better jobs?

  106. AlphaLackey says:

    “Writing for SeattlePI.com, one restaurant server explains that four youngsters ordering off the kids’ menu is obviously going to be a smaller tab than four adults. This translates into a smaller tip for the staff, even though they are doing at least as much work as they would when serving a table of grown-ups.”

    Yet somehow, the opposite doesn’t apply when the waiter brings you a $500 bottle of wine that takes just as much work as bringing a $5 bottle of Perrier, where you’re now expected to tip based on the tab rather than the service. Classic waitstaff hypocrisy.

  107. Brunette Bookworm says:

    You know, it would be nice if people just treated waiters and restaurants with good manners and respect. Just because they are bringing you food doesn’t mean they are beneath you. It doesn’t mean you (or your kids) should be pigs and make a huge mess just because you don’t have to clean it up yourself. Did your kid make a mess, drop sticky stuff or sauce on the floor, throw things, etc.? Do you tolerate that at home? If not, why let them do it when they are out. Would you let them act that way at someone else’s home? Restaurants aren’t a place where you just let all manners go out the window. Besides the staff there are other customers there. I don’t want to sit by a table of kids who are throwing food around. Yes, kids drop things and a certain amount of mess is reasonable but some people let their kids do whatever they want and ignore them to the annoyance of surrounding customers and workers. When your kids takes to fingerpainting ketchup all over the table and you let it dry there, maybe you should tip a little more since it’s going to take a LOT more time to scrap that off the table than it would to clean up after adults.

  108. Jchamberlain says:

    The service industry must remember, they are paid for their service. If they do a good job and not have an attitude about serving me or my precious snowflakes. If they cop that “oh my God I must serve little people” attitude, the will get a tip to match. SERVICE INDUSTRY.

  109. Dollie says:

    I avoid bratty waiters expecting mega-tips for not refilling my tea and forgetting my salad and not bringing me a knife until the dessert course by ordering “to go”. No delivery tip, no waiter tip.

  110. anduin says:

    I swear, every waiter story that comes out on this site with these kinds of “suggestions” makes me tip less and less.

  111. Tevokkia says:

    I always tip a higher percentage when I have to take my toddler to a restaurant (usually around 25% unless she’s being particularly naughty), mostly because she tends to drop things on the floor or dribble her drink or whatever, and the waiters are usually really nice about bringing me a little bowl of croutons or something to keep her busy if I don’t have extra snacks in my bag that day. I know she’s a hassle eating out (that’s why we usually get take-out), and I hate to be a bother to the wait staff without at least a little recompense.

  112. Intheknow says:

    People lose all sense when taking children into restaurants – like waitstaff are supposed to babysit and clean up after them. Some parents just don’t give a damn because they don’t see it as their problem. They feel that if they’re paying for dinner they shouldn’t have to worry about any mess or problems their kids cause. Everyone’s seen it – especially at buffets, where children stick their fingers in food and just generally pig the place up while the parents are totally oblivious. As a former waitress, I remember a lot of evenings spending quite a long time cleaning up booths and tables after a family of kids, only to receive a dollar or two as a tip. I sure could have used that time earning tips on other customers. Hey, if you’re going to have them, do us all a favor and teach them to be human beings!

  113. Clyde Barrow says:

    Good article. But do you tink Mrs. “fake-breast-wannabe-reality-TV-MILF-middle-aged-overtanned-mom” is going to give you an extra tip?

    Do you really think that she thinks her kids are bratty? Why, they are perfect little snowflakes. Just ask the Kardasian’s.


  114. elkhart007 says:

    Do I get paid more when I’m brought poor quality steel to weld at work? No. Do you make more when you serve a large party who has gratuity added to their check and they still tip you well? Yes. STFU and do your job. If you don’t want to serve kids go work at an upscale place or a 21+ bar.

  115. bcsus83 says:

    Whenever I take my kids out to eat, I always tip double the percentage I would when it is just my husband and myself. Unless, of course, the service is horrible….then they get half, because it means I have to put up with my kids being fussy and whiny that their food isn’t here before they finish coloring their menu or or or…. ;) And I talk to the manager.

  116. phallusu says:

    in a “fine” restaurant – no kids – they could care less about atmosphere, etc

  117. dvdchris says:

    People should not take their children out to eat until they can behave properly. I was not taken out to eat until I was 3, by which time I had been trained to sit at the table quietly and eat food with utensils. I had no issues eating soup with a spoon without spilling it.

  118. waicool says:


    • waicool says:

      It is so unfortunate you hate children you were a child once yourself if you do not like your job why dont you change it children are our future join the village and contribute i wonder what you really have to say about customers of varying races your crappy attitude is most likely the reason you have so much time to complain yes my space bar fell off my keyboard so get over it i did

  119. DEVO says:

    All I know is I was in the tip/ restaurant / bar business for around 12 years and there were many days when I would have to step back and think to myself, ” Geez, what a bunch of greedy little bitches we are” . Seriously. I think back to the shit we would talk over the smallest things and how much money I was making for really not doing all that much (especially the 8 years of bartending extortion I was fortunate enough to enjoy). I look back on those days as my spoiled brat days. I was an asshole, and most the people I worked with were too. It was fun.

  120. massageon says:

    I am the parent of a two year old. He is messy and sometimes a brat. I tip VERY WELL when we go out to eat, b/c I used to be a server and I know how much of a pain it is to clean up after him! I completely agree with this server.

  121. GrymOne says:

    Don’t like the wage’s / tips you receive?
    Get another job & stop pissing & moaning.

  122. J Brill says:

    Your additional tip is that it is being calculated off a total including $6 for a small bowl of mac and cheese or a PB&J sandwich.

  123. Anonymously says:

    This is why tipping a flat percentage on the bill is stupid. You should tip on the amount of work the waiter does. $x per plate brought, $x per drink brought.

    Why should I tip more on a lobster tail than a hotdog? The waiter still just carried a plate to my table.

  124. SteveZim1017 says:

    by that logic you should also tip more if someone in your party only orders a hamburger instead of the fillet since the server will get tipped less for the same work.

    oh and if you order an appitizer like buffalo wings or nachos, tip more cause those are messy foods.

    your crap tables balance out with your good tables to make up your average. All us servers had to deal with it, you will too.

  125. outis says:

    “The age of your children is a key factor in how quickly you are served in a restaurant. We once had a waiter in Canada who said, ‘Could I get you your check?’ and we answered, ‘How about the menu first?’”

    Erma Bombeck (1927-1996)

  126. crunchberries says:

    I’m pretty sure that this waiter would consider any child who dared to breathe in his presence a brat.

    How about posting articles by people who aren’t so horribly bitter and biased? Is that too much to ask? I know plenty of servers who don’t act like over-entitled dicks or question the actions of the people who pay part of their salaries.

  127. Anaxamenes says:

    What I’ve noticed, is that some parents, and I stress SOME, feel that they have to parents all the time. Since they are paying for their meals, that this somehow absolves them from having to continue to be parents while dining. This also happens in other retail establishments. I think they actually take perverse pleasure is seeing how the server deals with their unruly children.

    Well I got a spanking if I really misbehaved when I was younger. If you don’t approve of spankings, then you best be parenting your children so other people don’t have too.

  128. Anaxamenes says:

    Ah the blessed restaurant crop dusting!

  129. operator207 says:

    This is how I tip. By the hour. It takes my family and I ~1 hour to eat. if the waiter is good, they get a “mid level” salary. If they are outstanding they get a “executive” salary. If they are piss poor they get a “trench work” salary. There are in-between salaries too. Docking pay for tardiness etc.

    If the waiter is a douche AT ALL, they really have to work to get out of the “trenches”. I am not here for the waiter (even though it seems most act this way), the waiter is here for me.

    An example, I spilt my water on the table, if the waiter runs over with a towel, that is “executive”, if they take their time, and I have to go find them after a minute or two, that is “trench”. I do not care if the waiter is busy. If they are too busy, they need to explain to their boss (like any other profession) that they cannot handle their work load. Or they need to work harder/more efficiently.

    I am not trying to turn anyone to my thinking, this is how I pay. Not by price of food, but by time spent, and quality of time in the restaurant.

  130. tundey says:

    I have just about had it with these restaurant servers. So what if 4 orders from the children’s menu costs less than the regular menu? You don’t see patrons demanding refunds for your watered down soda, overpriced beer and mandatory gratuity on large groups.

  131. Erik Hughes says:

    Whiner! It’s not like he’s not already making at least the minimum wage since he’s in Washington state…

  132. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    He took a job as a server knowing children would be served at the restaurant and yet he is complaining? It’s not our place as parents to balance anything out or make anything up to him. It’s up to him to find a better paying job if the one he has isn’t working out for him.

    And, if my child made a big mess, I might leave a bigger tip, but chances are, it’s the bus people who pick it up. Are they getting paid more to clean that table up if I leave a bigger tip? I am guessing not.

  133. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    What about people like me who leave almost no mess. I wipe gunk up, pile the plates up, pull the silverware into a pile. Should we get to tip LESS b/c you don’t have to do as much to clean up?

    It balances out. Some people are neat, some messy, and some in between. Unless you are willing to take a lower tip from the super neat, you can’t expect more of a tip from the messy.

  134. H.Ry says:

    Just a few ideas for parents: DON’T allow your children to deliberately make messes in public places. It’s easier than you’d think; leaving w/o the meal once or twice (but paying, and tipping as if you’ve had it–you’re trying to set an example here!) is enough to get it through their heads. If you don’t allow them to have toys when you invite guests to your dinner-table, why would you let them bring toys into the restaurant? Seriously? Having them help clean/clear their place at the table; they can carefully stack empty plates and silverware shows that YES someone has to clean this up. Introduce them to their server by name at the start of the meal–have them thank their server at the end. Explain tipping, and why it’s important. Start small–just a trip for something little. We started with hot chocolate. Then we went on to something easy to snack and clean up. I started this with my four kids around the time the eldest was about two, and it made my life so much easier. I know it sounds young, but the expectations were set at the beginning–this was presented as normal behavior–and they accepted it very easily. Servers went from uneasy, unwilling attitudes to wanting to help us as much as possible. My kids got so much positive reinforcement for their good behavior, it was almost ridiculous (how much free dessert CAN they pack in?!) It made us return customers, and welcome wherever we went. And ALWAYS tip much more with children than you would with adults. Even if they are the very best-behaved children, they DO require more attention and service. Parents should know that!