HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
What have you made lately?

Coupons and Gratuity

Ando Feb 19, 2007 06:25 AM

Have a general question about tipping. Should a diner tip based on the discounted price of a meal or the regular price of their meal? I have a nephew who is a server and I often hear the complaint that when there is a special... 1/2 price drinks or apps etc... he doesn't make his regular tips. Would love some feedback.

  1. tablewines Feb 19, 2007 06:31 AM

    Always tip on what the full amount of the bill would have been, and then adjust it according to the quality of the service (not the food).

    1. s
      sandramrma Feb 19, 2007 06:48 AM

      Always tip on the full amount of the bil before discount. The server should not be punished for the discount.

      1. Suzie Feb 19, 2007 06:50 AM

        I too always tip on the bill before the discount is applied.

        1. nummanumma Feb 19, 2007 06:55 AM


          1. l
            Lucia Feb 19, 2007 07:07 AM

            Full amount.

            1. troutpoint Feb 19, 2007 07:13 AM

              There was a thread about tipping on credit cards versus cash and the IRS (or being audited for us Canadians) and that is one of the problems of discounts. It isn't taken off your total sales, so, if you are audited, they will apply the percentage that they have come up with to your yearly total sales, not the discounted amount. If it is a place that runs a lot of promotions, it could greatly affect the amount of income tax paid out.

              1. l
                Leonardo Feb 19, 2007 08:03 AM

                Always tip on the full amount. Server gave you the identical service had you not had a coupon. Why penalize him?
                On the second point, I always charge the tip unless it's a small business. I don't understand why so many are so eager to help servers evade taxes by tipping cash.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Leonardo
                  troutpoint Feb 19, 2007 08:09 AM

                  I wasn't saying that you should tip in cash. I am in the business and tip on credit card everytime.
                  And just because a server or bartender gets a cash tip it does not mean that they aren't going to pay taxes on it. (Sorry-I am sensitive to this idea, it assumes that all people in the food industry are somehow shady...What about the carpenter, plumber or electrician who doesn't scharge tax if you pay in cash??)

                2. Karl S Feb 19, 2007 02:44 PM

                  The US convention is to tip on the full pre-tax amount, gross of the coupon.

                  That said, many people are ignorant of this convention. I would love restaurateurs to mention it on coupons....

                  1. RShea78 Feb 19, 2007 03:38 PM


                    I never base tips on food costs as a waiter/server has no control there. So I base the tips on the effort applied, quality of service, or my overall treatment.

                    One of my best examples is this one day that I was slightly under the weather and really was after some Sprite. The young server was observant enough to suggest a bowl of fresh Chicken Noodle soup after getting me a refill. Just what the Dr ordered and she got a Dr's tip. Back then the Dr visit ran about $80...


                    2 Replies
                    1. re: RShea78
                      jfood Feb 20, 2007 06:43 PM

                      can you give some further color on how you tip?

                      1. re: RShea78
                        tom porc Mar 26, 2007 01:41 AM

                        My sentiments exactly, RShea78

                      2. MeffaBabe Feb 22, 2007 04:13 AM

                        You always tip on the ORIGINAL price of the dinner. If without the coupon the bill was 12.00 and you used a 1/2 price coupon the tip is on the 12 not the 6.

                        1. t
                          TruDiner Mar 25, 2007 02:36 PM

                          The best thing to do is to consider the coupons, gift card, gift certificates as cash payment, tipping on the sub total. If you're getting a happy hour special or a special prix-fixe dinner, that is something else entirely. I think the high end of the tip scale should apply at those times, 20% and up...but that is up to the individual. When you go and get a $25 dollar 3-course meal at an early dinner promotion, you wouldn't be expected to tip on the $40 price tag of those same items if they were ordered a la carte. The establishment offering you discounted drinks and apps at certain times/days, is not the same thing as using a coupon or g.c.....servers can grumble <I sometimes do> that 15% gratuity on a discounted meal is cheap, but that is just our opinion.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: TruDiner
                            tom porc Mar 26, 2007 01:44 AM

                            Well written.

                            Early-birds are usu offerred during days and times when the place is slow to increase traffic. If the promo fills a normally empty table both resto and server win. Prix-fix meals are a great incentive for ppl to try new places they may pass on. They know the cost and possibly the menu upfront to prevent surprises later.

                          2. v
                            vsoy Mar 28, 2007 10:11 AM

                            I've always tipped based on the regular price.

                            On the flipside, I got a dining club discount card recently and one of the restaurants had a very strange restriction. It was buy one entree, get up to $15 off the second entree but a 20% gratuity was to be automatically added to the bill. So there's no real discount and there's no room to give less gratuity if the service was not good. This is not a cheap restaurant either.

                            Show Hidden Posts