Thursday, December 06, 2012

How much to tip? TWENTY percent.

Many people build their careers in the restaurant industry and they're in it for life. They pay their medical bills, rent, mortgage, children's college, etc. with the money they make from bussing tables, serving tables, tending bar, etc. The majority of their income is the money you leave as a tip. That's right. You might disagree with that arrangement and think it shouldn't be on you to keep restaurant workers at a living wage, but that's the reality in the United States. In this country, servers receive below minimum wage from their employers and they need YOU to make up the difference.

The standard tip today is twenty percent (20%), before any discounts, Groupons or freebies are subtracted from the total cost of everything you ate and drank. No matter what you're getting for free, your server/bartender/busser still had to work in order for you to get it. Please pay them for their services. Gone are the days when you could get away with a ten or fifteen percent tip without looking cheap.

Please tip fairly. Those tips are what servers, bussers, bartenders and other service providers actually LIVE ON. And to those of you who already tip 20% as a base and leave even more for superlative service, THANK YOU! You are fair and wonderful.


Mick said...

It isn't 2nd nature to us British to tip large amounts as servers do earn a reasonable wage over here.
We do tip lesser amounts based on quality of service.
I'll add I'm aware how your system works so do tip when in the States.

Just a couple of points.
1. Why 20% or any percentage ?
If a meal/drinks for two say comes to $100 then the tip would be $20.
However if a couple on a budget went for cheaper options (or cheaper restaurant) and spent $50 the tip would be $10.
These incidences the server will have done the same amount of work so surely a set amount (say $15) would make more sense.

2. On recent visits to the States I've noticed quite a few restaurants are adding a service charge on the bill, why is this ?
It catches some people out who dont realise and tip on top.

Regina Rodriguez-Martin said...


1. It's true that servers in different restaurants earn different amounts depending on how expensive the menu is. That's why it's best to work in fine dining, although the quick turnover rate of tables in a busy diner can also pay decently.

2. You have to read things carefully in an American restaurant. Sometimes the gratuity (tip) is included in the bill if the party is a certain size. I think that's to keep people from skimping on the tip when they see 20% of their bill is going to be a sizeable chunk of change.