Lunchtime Poll

Lunchtime Poll: Tipping Time

I had an interesting conversation with an acquaintance the other day, during which she told me that she never tips more than 10% when she goes out to eat. Gotta be honest, I lost a little respect for her, since I’m a steadfast 20% or more tipper.

I tip relatively well for a few reasons: 1) I work in a service industry and I know how hard the waitstaff is busting their ass; 2) I’m fully aware that in my state, the minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.13/hour, so a crappy tip means that the server likely isn’t even making enough to cover their transportation into work; and 3) as nice as it would be if our restaurant culture didn’t rely on tipping so that servers made a minimum wage, the fact remains that it does, and being a jerk and not leaving a tip because I disagree with the system sure as hell isn’t going to change that system.

Those of you who are in the U.S., where tipping is part of the restaurant culture, how much do you leave? Those of you who are from other places, do you tip at all? Do you do it when you visit the U.S.?

15 replies on “Lunchtime Poll: Tipping Time”

I always tip 20% and round up to the nearest dollar. It’s easier to do the math in my head. I more often than not throw in an extra couple of bucks anyway. Also, I used to be a part of the dreaded after church crowd on Sundays and would always over tip to try and make up for some people being assholes.

I was a bit nervous about tipping when visiting the States. In The Netherlands you tip when the food was (really) good, the service was attentive, kind and helpful and you didn’t wait forever. The bigger the group, the bigger the tip but yeah ..I usually go for around 10%, more or less.

$2 per hour? Holy frack.

I waited tables and tended bar through college, I’m a tipper. I’ve slipped in extra tips to make up for cheap-ass friends before. I don’t go out to eat very often, but I’ll always tip. My baseline is 18-20%, but I’ll go way up when servers are spectacular.

Being a good server is so much harder than it looks from the outside. I’ve said forever that everyone should have to wait tables and substitute teach for six months each before they get an Adulting Card.

Our normal tip is 20% and leave more if we’re hogging at table for a while with wine or coffee to chat. If there are issues, it depends on what’s going on. If it’s clear the waitstaff is hauling ass but there isn’t enough help, I won’t tip less for “terrible” service– but I will make sure to talk to the manager. The waitstaff is responsible for your order being correct and that you have what you need. If they are running around like lunatics or if the kitchen is delaying orders, they can’t really be held responsible. But if someone is texting in the alcove for 20 minutes while we’ve been trying to get his/her attention, then we go just below the standard 15%– enough to make a point, not too much to really screw with their livelihood. (I hope).

I’m from “other places” and don’t tip. And as alway, when these things come up, I just find it sort of bizarre. Here, the minimum wage applies to everyone. We did once encounter a service charge at a restaurant, with the space left blank, and so we added £5, I think to what was around a £40 meal. Other than that, I have on occassion told taxi drivers to keep the change but otherwise, no, I don’t tip and think I’d be quite lost in the US!

Me too :) I’d usually tip 10-15% in a restaurant, though, more for great food or service. I usually round up taxi fares, unless it’s a short distance.

I remember being so confused in the US because you also have to tip bar staff… I wasn’t used to that at all!

Mr. Dormouse and I make it a point to tip well unless the service is absolutely horrendous–and then we still tip, but only what is expected. And honestly, it takes a LOT to get to that point. We’ve both worked in the service industry and even though we don’t get tips now, we still are at the bottom rung of the work totem pole. It seems only right to be as kind to others who work crappy jobs for minimal thanks.

I have a math-lazy brain, and I tend to tip to the nearest $5 or $10 total and usually $5 in whole dollars as a minimum (depending on the amount). Like, if I get a $14 total meal, I’ll pay $20, if it’s $19 I pay $30, etc, fancy coffee for $3.75 gets $5.75 or $6. Basically, anywhere they are putting significant effort into my meal, bring it to me, and/or I pay at the end of the meal, I’ll tip. I only go light on the tip (like, closer to a 15% minimum if I can math that in my brain) if the service is truly horrible, like it’s messy or they bring me the wrong thing AND the server isn’t customer service oriented at all. I won’t refuse to tip, because I know that everyone has crappy days, and I’d hate for my crappy work day to be worse because I only get paid $15 for an eight-hour shift.

I am curious, though — do y’all tip at places where they make your food in front of you, like Subway/Moe’s/Starbucks? I’ll tip in family-owned places like that, but not in chains (unless I’m getting something that involves more than the average amount of work).

Yeah, I’m the same. I’m usually pretty low-key when it comes to Starbucks and Quizno’s and the like (usually black coffee and a simple toasted turkey sandwich on wheat, respectively), so I don’t think that it’s necessary to tip someone for what is essentially the basics of their job. But at family-owned places, I like to leave at least a dollar or so if I have it on me.

Places like Starbucks where I know they’re making an actual living wage and not the server minimum wage, I’ll drop my change in the jar if there is one, but I don’t sweat it too much, and people I know who’ve worked there have said it’s nice but by no means expected.

I try to tip at least 20%, as well. I always feel bad leaving anything less, unless the server is a total ass. And even then, sometimes I’m like, “Well, maybe they’re having a bad day.” If I can, I leave cash, too, but that’s mainly because a shitty restaurant I worked at for about a year would take half of the percentage paid to credit card companies out of my tips on credit cards.

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