HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


How much more do you tip if you're a regular?

  • r

There are a few places that we frequent and I tip more than usual just because the service is damn friendly and we see them often. Both places are $5-7pp type places but I usually end up tipping $4. Does everyone do this, or is anyone still a regular that gets good service and just tips a buck or two?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I tip more at regular places, but one place in particular comps us a lot of stuff (drinks, appetizers) and we tip waaayyy above average there. I see tipping (especially at regular places) as an investment.

    I also tip well over 20% at Mexican restaurants because the prices are so inexpensive and food and service are consistently terrific.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Janet from Richmond

      Ditto on Janet's first comment re: tipping more at those places I'm a regular at. Part of being a regular is getting help getting a seat at the bar, being told by the bartender(s) that the lobster appetizer is almost out and do we want one of the remaining two orders, etc. The occasional comped drinks or apps also warrant tipping more, IMO.

      1. re: LindaWhit

        Depending on what happens at the place, I will tip between 20 and 40 percent. In other words, good service and no comps will warrent 20 to 25 percent. Comped food and bev will get 30 to 40 percent.

      2. re: Janet from Richmond

        I usually tip 50% at good greasy spoons and diners where the meal is less than $20. Particularly if the waitress is harried or looks older than my grandmother.

      3. I second the idea that tipping a bit more as a regular is an investment. Creates a good relationship between the server and patron, especially when comps are involved. One hand washes the other, so to speak. Frequenting a place and always leaving a bad tip or never improving on a normal tip when granted special treatment for being a regular might, to some, appear ungrateful.

        1. Major question is do you consider yourself a rugular or does the resto consider you a regular. You can be a regular at McD's, so what, but at a resto you want extra attention, they are your customer on that one.

          Tipping larger at a resto that both sides think of as a regular relationship is absolutely expected. You want "regular" status, they want more money. There is one resto that gives me some special treatment, yet no comps at all, while others, will receive a comped dessert every now and then. It depends.

          Quid pro quo.

          1. I too tip more at restaurants where I am a regular - meaning a place that always gives me a last minute reservation, tells me if I am making a mistake in ordering, and where, as they saying goes "they know my name." I don't expect comps but when I get them, I usually tip more. Other places I look the price if its inexpensive I tip a larger percentage, if its expensive I evaluate the service,. I try to never blame the wait staff for the kitchens mistakes. I waitressed in college - it's hard work. I use the same policy when tipping in almost any service situation - valet, hairdresser, etc. If you live in a city, good relationships with valets can really come in handy.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ptrefler

              You and I see this very much the same way. I also tip my hairdresser very well and it's come back to me tenfold.

            2. We do tip more if we are someplace where we are "regulars" or visit more frequently. There are some places we love to go, we appreciate being treated nicely and we wish to show how pleased we are. We don't do that to "get more" out of anyone or any place, but we have recently been disappointed in places that had staff we didn't seem to care that we are generous tippers and "regulars". Rude service is going to be rude service, regardless of how appreciative you'd like to be.

              1. There is only place I think of being a regular - just like the fact that we are greeted with recognition so to speak.

                Never have gotten anything extra, always go before the crowds.

                Just the extra hello, how are you is just fine by me. Always tip very well, just because they treat us and everyone well.

                We don't have reservations most of the time, so would not expect them to know the name if doing so.

                1. I absolutely tip more when I'm a regular -- my tip is usually 20% anyway, but it tends to be more like 25-30% when I'm a regular (or more, depending on how cheap the place is -- then, a few more dollars on the table makes the percentage a lot higher). Funny story about that: I went with my mom to a place that I go a lot, and she got our wine at the bar when we were waiting for our table. When I came over to get the second round, my mom noticed that the pour was a lot bigger (and the bartender was one that knows me).

                  1. I saw this on The Onion and immediately thought of all the recent debates about tipping on CH:



                    1. It appears that everyone who has responded is a big or huge tipper. I'm not; I only tip in the 15% to 18% range. I am a regular at several restaurants and they always seem especially glad to see me. I'm regularly given freebies like glasses of wine, bottles of wine, desserts, whole meals, etc. The owners invited me to a customer-appreciation, complementary buffet and wine tasting next month at one of my favorite Italian restaurants. I like the people where I go regularly and I try to be friendly and nice. Warm owners and staff along with good food and service are what make me a regular. I've found attitude more persuasive than money.

                      1. It's true that people will be nice to you if you are nice. We have several regulars that tip a regular amount. But I always overtip especially if we are given something for free that we ordered. At the very least you should calculate your 15 to 18 percent based on what the total would have been, I think.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Missmoo

                          I absolutely agree and that's what I do.

                        2. I am very happy to see that most of my fellow foodies are such great tippers. Since I do work in the service end, myself and my hardworking co-workers do appreciate all of the positivity. Being nice is paramount, I do agree with Missmoo and BN1. Please realize though, that servers get paid way less than minimum wage (usually around $3. an hour) and tips are the only real income. 20% is pretty standard at a nice restaurant. We don't "expect" it for sure, but we certainly do appreciate it.

                          1. What about buffets where you serve yourself and the servers' service to you is to basically fill your water glass? (I have been at some restaurants where at the buffet, the server simply places a large container of water on each table, and then comes back only to leave a bill.) From what I have seen, most people do not leave any tips, while some leave a 10% tip.

                            I would rather have the restaurant simply raise the cost of the buffet per person and not leave the question of leaving a tip be up to the patrons. I'd rather have that extra cost be something reliable that all the servers can count on vs. being subject to the whim or discretion of the patrons.

                            Tipping at buffets to me is a different situation than being more formally serviced at a non-buffet setting.

                            While one can act in a way he feels is appropriate, the social setting may dictate what is appropriate, in other words, if most patrons do not tip at a buffet setting, is it still expected and appropriate for you to tip?

                            Sometimes I feel more compelled to leave a tip if I go to a lunch buffet and the restaurant is not very busy. I feel like the place needs more income to cover their expenses for that day, vs. on other days where there is little doubt that they are breaking even.

                            1. Now this is fascinating.

                              It seems to depend on the kind of internet board you're on.
                              This board, I've noted someone tipping at 50%, and generally under 20% is a minority here.

                              But if you go to one of those "How much to tip" sites such as this one on Yahoo - ttp://sg.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20060831154807AAgrBAj
                              you'll find that 15-18% is the norm and it doesn't matter if you're a regular or not.


                              1. Yes, but I think that is the difference between an average diner and people who consider themselves "chowhounds". There is a difference between an educated diner and someone who just goes out to eat. (That is not meant to sound arrogant)

                                1. My stepdad was a notorious lousy tipper, when I was old enough to treat him to a meal, we'd bicker over the tip. I tip well, no matter where I am, no matter what the setup (take out, dine in, delivery). Sure I get the occasional courtesy at places I frequent but good tipping is just good karma. TIP!