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Tip calculator at the bottom of the bill...?

bolivianita Sep 11, 2007 09:05 AM

Has anyone else seen this. At two recent dinners out our bill had a tip calculator at the bottom with the correct amount for 15%, 20% and 25%. I thought it was really tacky. The one restaurant was a casual upscale place and the second was a Chinese restaurant.
Any thoughts?

  1. Rmis32 Nov 11, 2009 11:31 AM

    I'm not offended by it, but I wonder how the chef would feel if I offered suggestions on how to cook my food order.

    1. waitress Nov 10, 2009 02:03 PM

      Tipping is such a topic that gets everyone excited. The other day at a restaurant there was a calculator in the leather binder with the check. That is great for the mathmatically challenged! And for the record I am a 20% tipper unless the server totally has their head up their ass. Can you say ass on CHOWHOUND?

      1. Bill Hunt Nov 9, 2009 07:47 PM

        Just encountered this at a couple of restaurants on Maui. I have seen it few times, but almost every higher-end spot on Maui has gone to this. Now, I am a liberal tipper, and also pretty good at math (civil engineer), so I do not need this. I rather resent it, but that is just me. IIRC, the increments were: 15%, 18% and 20%, but could have missed the 25%. Since I usually tip on wines, for good wine service, I'm normally around the 20% mark for the full bill, including tax. My wife, the Wharton business grad, is not quite so liberal.


        6 Replies
        1. re: Bill Hunt
          Scargod Nov 10, 2009 04:44 AM

          I'm a little resentful of it; I can do math. I guess it's good for those that can't.
          It does presume that they deserve a normal, or above, tip.
          I just hope that receipts don't get like the grocery store, where they're three feet long and full of all sorts of extraneous information and advertising.

          1. re: Scargod
            invinotheresverde Nov 10, 2009 07:44 AM

            Gentlemen, to be frank, you're not the clientele those tip reminders are there for...

            1. re: invinotheresverde
              Scargod Nov 10, 2009 10:09 AM

              Aw shucks! You called us gentlemen... You didn't read where I wore a cap into a restaurant and don't always open doors for females?

              1. re: Scargod
                jfood Nov 10, 2009 10:12 AM

                Nah...that just makes you a professional athlete.

                1. re: jfood
                  invinotheresverde Nov 10, 2009 10:34 AM

                  Retraction of gentlemen, amended to dudeskis.

            2. re: Scargod
              scubadoo97 Nov 10, 2009 04:57 PM

              You ever try to get change from someone who had to do it in their head? Bill is 13.78 and you give them 20.03. Screws with their head like nothing else. Math skills are pretty pathetic these days.

          2. danhole Jun 17, 2009 12:14 PM

            Both my husband and I have little cards that we picked up in restaurants that give you the tipping amount for 15%, 20% and 25%. My husband uses his, but I'm pretty good at math so I know what to tip w/o the card.

            Now the only time we have gotten a bill with the "suggested" tip calculation at the bottom, it didn't seem correct to me. It was an expensive steakhouse and a very lovely place. I asked the manager why did the tip seem to be lower than what I calculated it to be. He told me that the tip was based on the cost pre-tax. He told me that you really shouldn't tip on the after tax amount. I still do, and I did that night, but found it interesting that the manager would tell me that. Oh, and our tax rate is 8.25%, so it could be a significant difference in certain situations.

            1. psb Jun 17, 2009 11:06 AM

              between the iphone's accelerometer, compass, gps, NMR, tricorder, chemical sniffer, high precision clock, and voice analyzer it's only a matter of time before we have an iphone app that tells you what to tip down to the penny based on quality of service.

              2 Replies
              1. re: psb
                Scargod Nov 2, 2009 01:07 AM

                There are quite a few phone apps. http://wareseeker.com/publisher/tejas-shah/506764/
                I found just one with a "quality of service" quotient, http://iphone.wareseeker.com/tip-tip-calculator.app/42dee05aff Some have a slider for the tip percentage.

                Most have you enter a percentage.. This one talks to you and can save entries... http://iphone.wareseeker.com/talking-...

                1. re: Scargod
                  jeanmarieok Nov 11, 2009 11:51 AM

                  Even my crappy 5 year old cell phone has a tip calculator built in.

              2. im_nomad Jun 16, 2009 05:12 PM

                i'm chiming in on a thread that I haven't read all the way through (because It won't expand properly), but I just wanted to chime in and say that I do like the newer debit machines at restaurants and other places that ask you if you want to tip a $$ amount or a % . I think the range of the percentages is between 5-25. I find it helpful and also private.

                1. j
                  jujuthomas Jun 16, 2009 05:28 AM

                  I really like this - I am math-challenged! I do however use it as a guide, not as a rule. :)

                  1. Bill Hunt Jun 15, 2009 08:15 PM

                    I have not seen this. Maybe it's my old engineering background, but I can round up, and then multiply by 20%, and factor in better, or lessor service. In general, I have never needed it, but do not really think that I'd have much of an opinion either way.

                    Now, there have been two times, IIRC, that I could have used it, after a couple of bottles of wine, where my "math" went South, and I over-tipped by a good amount. Other than those, I would not bother to use the calculator.

                    BTW, how close were they on the 15%, 20% and 25%? I can just imagine a "calculator," where 20% of $400 is listed as $105 - just to see if one is paying attention.


                    1. scubadoo97 Jun 15, 2009 05:40 PM

                      At a recent meal in Coral Gables, Fl the bill came with a tip calculator at the bottom

                      "for good service" 10%....$
                      "for excellent service" 15%....$
                      "for exceptional service" 20%.....$

                      I that this was humble and welcomed.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: scubadoo97
                        invinotheresverde Jun 16, 2009 08:00 AM

                        If I gave someone "good service" and received 10%, I'd be pissed.

                        1. re: invinotheresverde
                          scubadoo97 Jun 16, 2009 10:16 AM

                          Yeah I don't tip 10%. Usually 20 to a low of 18% unless service was really lacking and then maybe 15%. It would have to be really awful to drop below that. I just thought the establisment took the high road with that calculator and did not make you feel like a cheapscape for tipping 15-20%.

                      2. x
                        xanadude Jun 15, 2009 03:33 PM

                        I don't think it's tacky in any way--it's a convenience and saves people from making mistakes.

                        1. j
                          jsonnier Jun 15, 2009 11:21 AM

                          I would just like to say that I am a waitress at an upscale restaurant. We have customers that come in and have NO CLUE what to tip. A gratuity on a $200 bill should be about $40 minimum. We have people leaving $10...that will actually stop you, tell you that you did a wonderful job and hand you the tip the $10as if we should be grateful. What people are not understanding is that we do not even make $3 an hour. Your tips are our livelihood. When I have a $200 check, I have to claim to Uncle Sam that I received $40 from that check. So I am paying taxes on $40 when, in reality, I only made $10. Our restaurant does not have a tp calculaor on the check, which is very upsetting to most of the staff.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: jsonnier
                            DanaB Jun 15, 2009 12:18 PM

                            Having to claim 20% for tips is not the typical IRS practice. You should check out the IRS website for more information.

                            1. re: DanaB
                              hotoynoodle Jun 16, 2009 10:32 AM

                              you're also not claiming individual tables, but total income. with most people paying by debit or credit card these days, the paper trail is easy to prove, should irs push come to shove.

                            2. re: jsonnier
                              trask Jun 16, 2009 02:15 AM

                              If you get $10 on $200 you still have to tip out on the $200 which usually would be about $6 to $8 so you would walk with around $3 for your trouble. People wonder why waiters are bitter. I dont understand why people need tip calculators. How hard is it to just double the first number of a double digit tab and double the first 2 numbers of a 3 digit tab, ie $55.00 is $10 $164 would be $32 etc...

                            3. sebetti Oct 3, 2007 03:09 PM

                              Perhaps the tip calculators work best as a gentle reminder to those still living in 1972 that the present is a little different and a little more expensive.

                              I wish I could change my username for this post to 'person who slips money under plate after parents have left table'

                              1. l
                                lexpatti Sep 25, 2007 07:54 AM

                                I like it, not everyone is good at math. I have a friend that carries that little tip card in her wallet to help figure it out. I would rather see cust. get it right for the servers then get it wrong because they can't figure it out correctly on their own.

                                1. hotoynoodle Sep 23, 2007 12:50 PM

                                  even though i work in the industry, until i joined here i never realized what a hot-button issue tipping is for so many diners. sheesh.

                                  when was the last time you had a cashier who could calculate your change in his or head? people get more and more math-dumb, so i only see the tip calculator as a help. the expectation on both sides, server and patron, is that a tip will be left at the end of the meal. why take personal affront to somebody doing the math for you? if something went terribly awry, and you're leaving an awful tip, those numbers on the bottom of the bill should be the least of your concerns, since you should be speaking with management.

                                  i've watched countless tables take more time to figure out the check than it took to eat dinner. maybe the restaurants should also add a "split" calculator: if 4 of you split the bill, if 6 of you split... ;)

                                  13 Replies
                                  1. re: hotoynoodle
                                    ccbweb Sep 23, 2007 05:46 PM

                                    Now that's a heck of an idea! I like it.

                                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                                      dave_c Sep 24, 2007 10:28 AM

                                      I'm probably one of those tables that takes a long time... actually my wife and I are pretty quick at this math stuff and quite generous. My m-inlaw and sis-inlaw are terrible and argue amonst themselves. The irony is my sis-inlaw is a waitress and I would think she'd know better. My wife and I would eject from the situation, but we know they'd end up shorting the tip so we end up covering for them too.

                                      I would like a split calculator. even though I think it is tacky. On a computerized order system, I don't understand why servers are so resistant to break out a bill two or three-ways.

                                      Maybe servers are fearful that their tip is reduced in the end? By not splitting it out, our servers general end up with a standard tip (15%). By splitting it out the bill, you're guaranteed a very good tip on a portion (my wife and I) and at least 15% on the other (the crazy inlaw's) portion of the tab so in the long run it's a better tip.

                                      1. re: dave_c
                                        hotoynoodle Sep 24, 2007 10:42 AM

                                        my post was a joke really, lol.

                                        split checks typically get a smaller average gratuity.

                                        not all pos systems allow for easy splitting of a check either. if you rang in 2 steaks, rather than 1 steak and 1 steak you can't always divide them. splitting a check can be very time-consuming too, so is a pita for a busy server who's in the crunch.

                                        1. re: hotoynoodle
                                          dolores Sep 25, 2007 02:28 AM

                                          I'm still not clear. Does everyone really tip at a rate that my father tipped in the 1960s to ALL service people? If someone lives in Manhattan and has a doorman and a garage valet, do they still think 20% is out of line?

                                          I'm amazed at how inequitable it seems to dicker about 5% to a server. I wonder, isn't food served to you in a restaurant the same as buying an overpriced good from a store? Should you dicker about the price in a retail store? Would they let you?

                                          So yup, I still maintain that if a person can afford to eat out, they should think of the person on the other end (hopefully) of that smile and tip generously.

                                          1. re: dolores
                                            psb Sep 25, 2007 02:44 AM

                                            >Should you dicker about the price in a retail store? Would they let you?
                                            guess what, in america, you cant do this in a retail store, but you are
                                            expected to tip. that is the social norm. in other countries, it may be fine
                                            to dicker over the price of an eggplant or a shirt, but there is no expectation
                                            to tip.

                                            as far as i know any resto in america can switch to the "retail store model"
                                            and fixed prices and fixed service charges sho the customer's discretion is
                                            removed. this might lead them ot be percieved as over priced and their
                                            business may fail, but that applies to a retail store as well. notice the large
                                            scale failure of many bookstore that charged full price and didnt provide any
                                            "service" worth paying for.

                                            should somebody who can afford an Mercedes just pay MSRP?
                                            is it ok to dicker if you can only afford a honda, but not an MBZ?

                                            how about we start berating better paid waitstaff for their stingy tip outs
                                            to the bussers and such. surely they guys getting 20% off the gross bill
                                            can afford to kick a little bit more to the bussers and really ought to donate
                                            something to the dishwashers. if i'm going to be leaving 5% more each
                                            time i go out, i am ok with that, but my inner "rawlsian" would like to see it
                                            go to the less well compensated staff.

                                            i do agree with the obessing over pre-tax/post-tax is pretty silly.
                                            and while i dont like the aggresive upsell, i dont see hidden insults
                                            in pre computed tip recommendations, in daily specials where the
                                            price isnt mentioned until asked etc. [some of that may refer to other

                                            1. re: psb
                                              nc213 Sep 25, 2007 05:58 AM

                                              "how about we start berating better paid waitstaff for their stingy tip outs
                                              to the bussers and such. surely they guys getting 20% off the gross bill
                                              can afford to kick a little bit more to the bussers and really ought to donate
                                              something to the dishwashers. if i'm going to be leaving 5% more each
                                              time i go out, i am ok with that, but my inner "rawlsian" would like to see it
                                              go to the less well compensated staff."

                                              or instead of berating, you could ask if support staff is compensated in that way. In many restaurants (most of those that I worked in), the tip out was determined by tips, not sales. So if I grossed $200 in an evening, I'd owe the bartender $10, the foodrunner $30, the bussers $20, and the sommelier $5. If I had grossed more, everyone would be tipped out more. Also, good servers know how much their support staff can make or break their night and will often give extra to those who do a great job--many, many nights I gave bussers, foodrunners, etc more than the required tip outs.

                                              I find it beyond unacceptable for servers to undertip their support staff (and of course some do); they know better than anyone how hard it is to work for tips, especially how hard it is to work for secondhand tips, and how hard support staff works.

                                              1. re: nc213
                                                dolores Sep 25, 2007 06:17 AM

                                                What an eyeopener this thread has been. So not only do restaurants get away with underpaying their servers, the servers have to share their tips with those not waiting on tables. I would imagine that those who don't wait on tables are -- is this possible? -- paid even less than the servers.

                                                Makes me even happier that I don't pay a gazillion dollars to restaurants who pile a small amount of food on a plate prettily.

                                                1. re: dolores
                                                  nc213 Sep 25, 2007 07:16 AM

                                                  actually, I think that bussers and runners make a little more--usually $3 and change, but that just may have been the case in a couple of places where I worked. They may just have the same minimum as servers ($2.63 nationally, but sometimes higher by state or city law).

                                                2. re: nc213
                                                  food_eater79 Oct 14, 2007 09:18 PM

                                                  As far as support staff: I've been both a busser and barback, and waiter and bartender. Bussing tables pays well in some restaurants. In most corporate restaurants they get tipped out on a percentage of sales for the service, period. So of course you want to bust your ass to get the tables turned as quickly as possible.

                                                  Barbacking is hard too. But where I worked the bartenders tipped out 20% of their tips. So you'd theoretically make less, but having more than 2 or 3 bars to take care of can make you more money than a single bartender. And if you worked more on one bar they would often tip you out more money. All around, I'd say support staff have the harder work, but the servers/bartenders have to deal with customers, cash, and checkouts instead of taking out trash and carrying around ice buckets all night.

                                                3. re: psb
                                                  hotoynoodle Sep 25, 2007 09:01 PM

                                                  to psb: even you might be shocked to know i HAVE had guests try to dicker with me about wine. "well, gee, this bottle is on the list for *x*, but i really only want to pay *y*."

                                                  i cannot fathom the gall.

                                                  secondly, why do you assume everybody cheats their support staff? it's short-term thinking at best. good servers know better than to short a few bucks, when a busser can make or break their night.

                                                  i continue to be astonished at the cynicism displayed on here about waitstaff and restaurants. how do you people enjoy eating out?

                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                    psb Sep 25, 2007 10:24 PM

                                                    you know you make a lot of generalizations and accusations yourself.

                                                    nobody is defending dining and dashing, stealing silverware.
                                                    everybody understands most waitstaff dont spit in your food
                                                    if they dont like you, they dont try to bait and switch your with
                                                    the daily special, or try to sucker you into buying multiple $8
                                                    fizzy water bottles. i'm sympahthetic to tip-dependent waitstaff's
                                                    plight in areas where there are a lot of seniors or foreigners
                                                    who dont understand tipping [or so i am told. of course if they
                                                    are playing stupid, that is reprehensible]. on the other hand,
                                                    i'm not quite with the blithe assertion "of course basic tips are
                                                    now 20% ... trust me, i'm a professional".

                                                    however, just like there are asshole customers, there are
                                                    asshole servers. but yes, that is the realm of anecdote, not
                                                    analysis. as they say "hard cases make bad law".

                                                    however, when discussing interesting things like "uncapped
                                                    linear tips on expensive wine" or "is 15% a reasonable fee for
                                                    service", or the relative wages of different members of the
                                                    resto staff [yes, the primary server has reason to keep the bussers
                                                    and bar/wine staff happy, but how about the dishwasher?] there's
                                                    a lot of defensivess and plenty of bogus arguments and sactimonious
                                                    "have you been in the business" type attitude... and unfortnately
                                                    people on both sides of a debate often assume people hold positions
                                                    they dont hold [uncapped linear tips on wine bother me inspite my
                                                    not ordering wine at a level where that is an issue. on the
                                                    other hand precomputed tip suggestions that are post tax dont really
                                                    bother me, i minorly dislike "do you want change" but i dont consider
                                                    that to be deserving of a giant tip penalty, i think the person complaining
                                                    about the 11cent credit card change is crazy to get into a conniption
                                                    over that etc].

                                                    frankly i think the "elephant in the room/thread" is very different
                                                    perceptions of how hard/skilled a job being a resto waiter is.
                                                    everybody i've met talks about what a difficult job it is ...
                                                    and i certainly can image a job where you may deal with 50
                                                    people is a night with a 10% rate of jerks would be a tough job.
                                                    on the other hand, it's plenty of people complain about how
                                                    hard the first year of law school is ... and they've never had to
                                                    do 100hr labs or 20hr problem sets ... so different people are
                                                    callibrated to different levels. obviously i realize there is a difference
                                                    in skill/pay/perqs etc between the person working a diner counter, a
                                                    michelin starred resto, and the Heathrow - Mumbai flight.

                                                    some of you might find this an interesting picture:

                                                    the banners say "down with tips" and "We stand for respect for the
                                                    waiters as human beings." [from waiters' protest in petrograd 1917
                                                    during the russian revolution].

                                                4. re: dolores
                                                  jfood Sep 25, 2007 06:14 AM


                                                  Let's do some basic sanlyses. If the price of the entree has increased at the same rate as the the desired increase in personal income then keeping the percentage the same from 1950, 1960, 1995, will allow the server to earn the same "buying power" dollars as the server who served your father.

                                                  If you increase the percentage while maintaing the same increase in the inflation-factored meal, then the server of today has a higher "buying power" salary than the server of yesteryear.

                                                  The average pirce of an entree is probably higher in NY than Rural City and the xx% paid to the server in NY reflects the higher cost of living in NY versus xx% paid on the lower entree price point in Rural City. Sorta like water finds its normal equilibrium point.

                                                  jfood does not think 20% is "out of line" in the same analysis that jfood does not thin 15% is "out of line." But the "standard" across many economic strata is 15% with potential outliers plus/minus.

                                                  But let's take your retail "overpriced" example. Let's assume you walk into a store and the price tag states "you can buy this sweater for $15 or you can buy for $20." You feel , as the consumer that the sweater is worth $15 and march up to the cashier and pay $15. That is the same analysis that everyone goes through at the end of the meal. Was the service worth 15% or 20%. Its not dickering it is using your brain to perform an analysis on the value received and payment thereon.

                                                  And to your last point, why stop at 20%, drive up in a Kia, 10%, Buick 15%, Saab, 20%, BMW 25%, etc. Good news for the server is that the custo can afford to eat out. It would be a heck of an negative economic downturn if noone could eat out. Not a lot of tip income in no custos.

                                                  1. re: jfood
                                                    kubasd Jun 15, 2009 04:08 PM

                                                    actually, i had to tip out the dishwasher as well as the barbacks and hostess and bartenders....

                                          2. NYchowcook Sep 23, 2007 07:59 AM

                                            So the consensus is you tip on the post-tax total? I always tip on the pre-tax.

                                            If you calculate the tip based on the tax (such as doubling the tax to get approx 15%, you're actually tipping on the pre-tax amount!)

                                            Would your tipping amount vary at all if a large amount of the bill is wine? I know, I know to tip on the wine, but recently after a good meal I felt fine tipping 20% on the total pre-tax. Was I then not indicating I appreciated the good service?

                                            I would not be offended to get a bill w/ tip calculator because frankly after drinking wine, my math skills ain't so hot!

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: NYchowcook
                                              MMRuth Sep 23, 2007 08:17 AM

                                              I don't know what the consensus is, but I always tip on the pre-tax total - no idea in my mind why one should tip on the post tax amount. I think of the tip as a percentage of the amount charged by the restaurant for my meal, which I don't think includes the amount I have to pay to the state for that meal.

                                              1. re: NYchowcook
                                                jfood Sep 23, 2007 10:21 AM

                                                jfood does not know what the consensus is either, he normally looks for the easiest number to read. by that point he is totally relaxed and in a good mood after eating with friends and loved ones and for the extra couple of pennies from pre- to past tax results he just doesn't care.

                                                life's to short to worry about a net 1.2% delta in the dollars left on a dinner. if jfood cared about $1.20 on a $100 tab, mrs jfood would give him "that look". :-)))

                                              2. melloski Sep 23, 2007 07:31 AM

                                                I agree with you 100% tacky for any "service" type business, especially eating out. If you are too cheap to eat out and pay for someone to bring a nice prepared meal for you is insane. Eating out should be fun and enjoyable not a major financial transaction. The wait staff at a restaurant depends on tips for their income, they have to eat too and maintain a quality life for themselves. If the service is bad, don't tip standard 10%. I like to tip well at my favorite places to eat out, I tip everybody. I guess it is a human/people thing for me to take in consideration having fun in life for all. Just my 2 cents...

                                                17 Replies
                                                1. re: melloski
                                                  invinotheresverde Sep 23, 2007 08:24 AM

                                                  "Don't tip standard 10%"?

                                                  1. re: invinotheresverde
                                                    MMRuth Sep 23, 2007 08:37 AM

                                                    10% is standard in some parts of the world.

                                                    1. re: MMRuth
                                                      invinotheresverde Sep 23, 2007 08:40 AM

                                                      Melloski lives in the US.

                                                      1. re: invinotheresverde
                                                        jfood Sep 23, 2007 10:19 AM

                                                        jfood would guess melloski lives in the US because the standard for a take out tip, if one is deserved at all, is 10%.

                                                        are you saying that it should be higher for bagging food and handing it tothe custo?

                                                        1. re: jfood
                                                          invinotheresverde Sep 23, 2007 10:25 AM

                                                          Was melloski talking about take out? If so, I missed that.

                                                          1. re: invinotheresverde
                                                            jfood Sep 23, 2007 12:25 PM

                                                            hope so, hard to believe anyone has a 10 as the standard for in-resto tipping.

                                                            1. re: jfood
                                                              susancinsf Sep 23, 2007 01:06 PM

                                                              I think what he or she was trying to say is that if the service is poor don't tip the standard, rather tip 10% . as in 'if the service is bad, don't tip standard, tip 10%'.

                                                              1. re: susancinsf
                                                                melloski Sep 25, 2007 07:19 PM

                                                                Finally, thank you for understanding! Love Ya, and I am a male.

                                                              2. re: jfood
                                                                Karl S Jun 15, 2009 04:00 PM

                                                                Well, it is for buffet service.

                                                                And I think the generation that last saw 10% as the norm for full service in the US is slowly dying off.

                                                                1. re: Karl S
                                                                  jfood Jun 15, 2009 07:08 PM

                                                                  jfood does not do buffets.

                                                              3. re: invinotheresverde
                                                                melloski Sep 25, 2007 07:17 PM

                                                                Eating out is not "take out" or "delivery"

                                                              4. re: jfood
                                                                melloski Sep 25, 2007 07:16 PM

                                                                Bagging? At a restaurant? We are talking people and life folks!

                                                                1. re: melloski
                                                                  jfood Sep 26, 2007 01:50 PM

                                                                  jfood is a little confused by the response. are you saying that tipping for take-out is more or less than 10%? just curious.


                                                                  1. re: jfood
                                                                    melloski Oct 2, 2007 08:53 PM

                                                                    Delivery from a pizza chain or a delivery service (for any prepared food) is the minimum 10%, if they are good 15% to 20%. People making a living...

                                                                    1. re: melloski
                                                                      jfood Oct 2, 2007 08:56 PM

                                                                      not sure why all of your responses are directed at me but i always tip for delivery and if the take-out is from a resto, i always leave at least 10. If it's basically a take-out resto then probably not a tip on take-out.


                                                            2. re: MMRuth
                                                              melloski Sep 25, 2007 07:17 PM


                                                            3. re: invinotheresverde
                                                              melloski Sep 25, 2007 07:13 PM

                                                              Service is service, pay based performance. Not customary, don't bring your bad day to work to reflect on your job and your attitude.

                                                          2. m
                                                            MrsT Sep 21, 2007 07:25 AM

                                                            I think I saw something like this once or twice and remembering how handy it was. One great feature of my husband's cell phone is that it has a "tip calculator" feature.

                                                            1. eatfood Sep 20, 2007 02:10 PM

                                                              I think it's helpful and convenient. HOWEVER, the tip amounts are almost always based on the after tax amount, and are therefore slightly higher than normal.

                                                              1. dave_c Sep 19, 2007 01:26 PM

                                                                Is tipping an American thing?

                                                                The reason I ask... I have an aunt who works at a restaurant near a hotel popular with Europeans, especially families. She's always complaining how they don't leave tips.

                                                                I don't know if tipping is common elsewhere in the world.

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                1. re: dave_c
                                                                  food_eater79 Sep 19, 2007 10:15 PM

                                                                  Yes, it is considered rude to not tip at least 15% in most US restaurants (full service not fast food). Many international customers don't or maybe pretend not to know this, and that's why your aunt is complaining about that. Elsewhere in the world it depends. You'd have to check (google or wikipedia is great) how to tip in other areas of the globe.

                                                                  1. re: food_eater79
                                                                    LNG212 Sep 20, 2007 09:02 AM

                                                                    in many places (all?) in europe, gratuity is already added onto the bill. so in paying the "bottom line", a european customer believes s/he has indeed paid a gratuity. i don't know about "pretending" not to know this but i know when my family comes here to visit, i always remind them about this (gently of course) because they genuinely just do not think about it. you know, pay the check and that's that. i'm not sure it's about avoiding paying a tip, so much as it is about assuming that one has *already* in fact paid it (included in the bill).

                                                                    1. re: LNG212
                                                                      drgreg Sep 22, 2007 03:26 PM

                                                                      The best way I've found to handle this is let the visitor pay the check and I (the local) pick up the tip. Saves the visitor feeling uncomfortable about dealing with the "foreign" system of tipping.

                                                                      1. re: LNG212
                                                                        tubman Sep 23, 2007 06:31 AM

                                                                        On a recent trip to Miami Beach (South Beach), a 15% gratuity was actually added (as a computerized line item) to *every* restaurant check we received at all ends of the price spectrum--an obvious reaction to the influx of foreign tourists.

                                                                        1. re: tubman
                                                                          jfood Sep 23, 2007 06:37 AM

                                                                          that and the general inability of the patrons to caculate 15-20% after imbiding in the SB drinking mentality.

                                                                          1. re: tubman
                                                                            ccbweb Sep 23, 2007 09:59 AM

                                                                            So long as it's clearly state up front that that's the case, I actually have no problem with that. It's less than what I'd normally tip for good service but since they included it, I'd have no problem speaking up if things were subpar.

                                                                    2. f
                                                                      food_eater79 Sep 19, 2007 11:40 AM

                                                                      I used to be a waiter, and hated when people pulled out the ol tip calculator card. That meant they were going to leave exactly 15%. I think (and most waitstaff probably do too) that about 20% is for standard/good service. 25% and up is generally my standard because I know how much work serving really is. And I don't necessarily count it to the penny and leave it at that. If the service is horrible I will still give 10% and let a manager know what went wrong. If you can't afford to tip you can't afford to eat out.

                                                                      One more thing, if something is comped off the bill, or you used a coupon still tip on the original amount of the check.

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: food_eater79
                                                                        Leonardo Sep 19, 2007 01:27 PM

                                                                        Etiquette guides from 50 years ago said 10% was standard for decent service.
                                                                        20 years ago it was 15%.
                                                                        Now it seems as if 20% is expected in many areas.
                                                                        With rising menu prices combined with this seeming tipflation, waiters' income seems to have increased over the past 50 years far beyond that of other non-degreed occupations.

                                                                        1. re: food_eater79
                                                                          jfood Sep 19, 2007 01:59 PM

                                                                          sorry f-eater, jfood does agree that 20% is standard. 15% is still standard. the price increase has increased significantly and if you have both a high price increase in the food and go from 15 to 20% you are double dipping in the increase.

                                                                          1. re: food_eater79
                                                                            dolores Sep 23, 2007 04:13 PM

                                                                            I agree, food_eater79. I'm curious why all the middling about the extra 5% when there doesn't appear to be the same outrage about pretty food in tiny portions piled high on a plate for a lot of money. That money doesn't go to the server, so why not cough up the extra 5% if the same person can afford to eat in a fancy schmanzy restaurant to begin with?

                                                                            Same goes for the local red sauce joint. The folks serving there aren't getting big bucks per hour, it seems. Why not stay home and whip up a pound of spaghetti if 5% more isn't reasonable?

                                                                            1. re: dolores
                                                                              jfood Sep 23, 2007 05:09 PM

                                                                              Well as long as you do not mind middling (sic) with the 5% let's make the standard 10% instead of 15% or 20%. works for jfood as a custo and given what jfood spends a year at restos this converts to a car payment, thanks.

                                                                              Why is it that people feel that $5 to a waiter is more important than $5 in the custo pocket. and then the most infuriating statement is "if they can afford..." sheesh, maybe the hostess should look at the custo car and decide how much the custo can afford and send a note to the server. better yet, how about everyone needs to bring in their pay stub so the server can say Oh you make enough to pay me 28%.

                                                                              It is noone's freakin' business how much any custo earns and vice-versa. Should the last custi get a break if the server has made 24% for the evening already? Should Bill Gates leave $1,000 when he gets a burger and fries? If jfood had a bad day in the market is 5% OK that night?

                                                                              and if you want to leave 50% at the local joint, no biggie from jfood. every does with their disposable income as they see fit, but please don;t criricize those who are maintaining SOP.

                                                                          2. n
                                                                            noblejay Sep 18, 2007 06:26 PM

                                                                            Tacky is when the 15 or 18 or 20% is based on the food amount PLUS the tax, as it was at KINKO's a Manhattan restaurant I like a lot. I always say, I never tip the government.

                                                                            1. m
                                                                              mdibiaso Sep 17, 2007 09:10 AM

                                                                              Haven't seen that. But I have always wondered if some in the wait staff helps you figure out the tip, for example by lending you a calculator, are you supposed to tip them separately for the tip service?

                                                                              1. JayVaBeach Sep 16, 2007 11:08 AM

                                                                                I think that it's a super concept particularly for the traveling patron who might be very unaware of different city food taxes, etc. The general public is very aloof when it comes to tipping I have found in my travels ( locally or not ), so we needn't take offense or deem this tool as tacky. Many servers earn only tips. Recently I attended a community committee lunch meeting & I was amazed with the level of ignorance from the folks I dined with regarding gratuity. I loitered a bit after everyone left & requested that the manager run my debit card for an extra $20 ( gratuity only ) to add to what our server should have received. The service wasn't extraordinary; however, she performed her job well & without any mistakes & deserved a better a tip. Before stepping into an establishment, one should have the 20% expectation already factored in! When I receive poor service, I resume with my usual 20% server tip, but I physically write down the names of the server &/or manager before leaving - holding management accountable & then follow-up with an e-mail or phone call later. It's usually not the server's blunder, but rather the management's.

                                                                                14 Replies
                                                                                1. re: JayVaBeach
                                                                                  dolores Sep 16, 2007 11:14 AM

                                                                                  'Many servers earn only tips.'

                                                                                  Exactly. So why not start at 20% and go up or down based on service?


                                                                                  1. re: dolores
                                                                                    queencru Sep 16, 2007 11:52 AM

                                                                                    20% still isn't the norm in a lot of areas. In my area it's still on the higher end of the scale. People here still expect 15%.

                                                                                    1. re: dolores
                                                                                      jfood Sep 16, 2007 12:38 PM

                                                                                      So why not start at 5% or 10% or 15% or 25%?

                                                                                      Because the standard is still 15% for reasonable good service and canincrease if deserved.

                                                                                      1. re: dolores
                                                                                        psb Sep 18, 2007 06:20 PM

                                                                                        >The general public is very aloof when it comes to tipping I have found
                                                                                        >in my travels ( locally or not ) ... Many servers earn only tips.
                                                                                        do you have an example of where "servers earn only tips" in the united states?
                                                                                        for example what state did you observe this?

                                                                                        --a member of the general public

                                                                                        1. re: psb
                                                                                          hotoynoodle Sep 23, 2007 12:40 PM

                                                                                          in my state, servers are paid $2.63 an hour. invariably their paycheck reads, "this is not a check," because their hourly doesn't total enough to cover all the taxes and deductions.

                                                                                          1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                            psb Sep 23, 2007 04:12 PM

                                                                                            maybe i am missing something, but it seems to me that would be like my
                                                                                            saying "i dont get paid in january because all of my jan salary goes to
                                                                                            pay my taxes".

                                                                                            1. re: psb
                                                                                              hotoynoodle Sep 24, 2007 09:22 AM

                                                                                              their hourly pay works out to about $100 a week. that is not sufficient to pay all the deductions out of their income -- fed tax, state tax, fica, etc. so their check is zero. they really do live on tips, see?

                                                                                              most servers who make a decent income pay quarterly taxes out of pocket to the government, so as not to get walloped in april.

                                                                                              1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                                psb Sep 24, 2007 04:59 PM

                                                                                                money is fungible. by your accounting, your salary income is taxed 100%
                                                                                                while your tip income is tax free. it's more productive to look at average and
                                                                                                marginal tax rates.

                                                                                                1. re: psb
                                                                                                  hotoynoodle Sep 24, 2007 05:41 PM

                                                                                                  you're really not getting this. tip income is reported. so their deductions are based on an income of say, $1000 per week, whereas the paycheck is issued only for $100. that $100 is insufficient to defray the deductions.

                                                                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                                    jfood Sep 24, 2007 05:57 PM

                                                                                                    let's see if jfood can help

                                                                                                    Assume (all in weekly numbers):
                                                                                                    - gross sales of the server of $20,000
                                                                                                    - Restaurant required to assume an average tip of 20% of gross sales
                                                                                                    - Withholding rate at 25% of anticipated taxable income of the server
                                                                                                    - Hourly wage paid bythe resto to the server is $4 and the server works 50 hours per week.

                                                                                                    - Assume taxable income of the server is 20% of 20,000 = $4,000
                                                                                                    - At a withholding rate of 25%, the resto should withhold a total of $1,000
                                                                                                    - But the hourly wage paid by the resto is only $200 (this is the max they can withhold)
                                                                                                    - Therefore the entire $200 "paycheck" is withheld since it is lower than the estimated tax that should be withheld under the formulae above.

                                                                                                    At the end of the year, the server files his 1040 with the actual tips he earned, not the estimated. He probably needs to also pay qurterly estimates or he may be subject to a penalty for underhithheld tax estimates.

                                                                                                    Hope this helps.

                                                                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                                      psb Sep 24, 2007 07:10 PM

                                                                                                      >you're really not getting this.
                                                                                                      uh no. salary and tips are both income. yes there are effects on cash flow,
                                                                                                      but in terms of aggregate tax rate and marginal tax rates, they are the same.
                                                                                                      [i leave off duration/npv analysis, which is of measure zero for the dollar
                                                                                                      figures we are dealing with]

                                                                                                      it is ONLY fair to say "i have to turn over all my salary income to the govt"
                                                                                                      if we can correspondingly say "tip income is un/under taxed" ... or can i
                                                                                                      complain "i have to turn over all my january and feb and march income
                                                                                                      to the govt ... so my employer makes me work for a couple of months for
                                                                                                      NO PAY".

                                                                                                      it makes no more sense to think of a dollar "tagged" as a salary dollar
                                                                                                      rather than a tip-dollar than it does to think of it as a heavily taxed january
                                                                                                      dollar rather than a tax free december dollar.

                                                                                                      now in the case of those hedge fund fellows, a capital gains dollar really
                                                                                                      is not a salary-income dollar, so in their case they *are* treated differently.
                                                                                                      in your case they are not. i suspect if you have cash flow issues, things
                                                                                                      like quarterlies matter, but cash flow is different from aggregate analysis.

                                                                                                      [i dont know much about tax law, but i assure you i'm quite familar
                                                                                                      with sums and statistics].

                                                                                                      p.s. mr food: $20k/sales over a 50hr week is $400 in sales per hour.
                                                                                                      that means the server is making +$60hr. so while it may be true that
                                                                                                      the 95% of the servers income would be from tips, the take away message
                                                                                                      in that scenario is hardly "oh the poor server, eeking out an income
                                                                                                      a plate at a time".

                                                                                                      i suppose there were two ways to interpret the original statement
                                                                                                      "many servers wrk only for tips". the first is the literal ... "some employers
                                                                                                      do not pay their servers a salary at all". while it is possible that happens,
                                                                                                      i believe that is cleary illegal, so it's in the same category as "my employer
                                                                                                      takes money out of my tips" or "my employer charges me for credit card
                                                                                                      fees" etc. you cannot expect the customer to make that his problem.
                                                                                                      now if what the OP really meant was "in effect, it works out that the vast
                                                                                                      composition of the income of a good server will come from tips" ok fine,
                                                                                                      but say what you mean. is it harsh to drive a hard bargain on a new car/house
                                                                                                      because some salesmen may earn "only commissions".

                                                                                                      1. re: psb
                                                                                                        jfood Sep 25, 2007 05:58 AM

                                                                                                        Absolutely agree that both revenue items are included in the taxable income of the server for both marginal and average tax rate calculations and yes these dollars from a taxable income perspective, are fungible. But, when one says that they work for the government until March 1 and then the rest of the year for themself, that person is merely taking the percentage of absolute taxes he pays as a percentage of gross income and then front-loading that percentage over a 12-month calendar. It’s not that he receives zero salary until March 1 (assuming his average tax rate is 16.7%) and then pays no taxes thereafter.

                                                                                                        Likewise in jfood’s example, he used the tool most economists use and started with “let’s assume”. It was not a real life example nor commentary on the standard sales volume or salaries earned by a server. It is similar to “Assume Company A sells 3 million widgets…”. Anyone you know ever bought a widget?

                                                                                                        But Hotoy’s point is that the server has two sources of cash flow. The first is the salary the resto pays and the second is the tips received by the custo. Since the server receives a check that reads $0.00 in the “amount paid” box from the resto, it is not a quantum leap to make the statement that “waiters only work for tips.” Jfood would characterize the situation as follows, servers are paid in tips and the amount that the resto owes the server is paid to the government as an offset to the tax liability that the server will eventual owe to the government.

                                                                                                      2. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                                        dave_c Sep 25, 2007 09:24 AM

                                                                                                        I doubt that servers report 100% of their tip income they've earned for the year. I believe it's quite common for servers to under-report their tips, or report the minimum required by law.

                                                                                                        1. re: dave_c
                                                                                                          dolores Sep 25, 2007 09:35 AM

                                                                                                          At less than $3.00 an hour, well they should.

                                                                                        2. dave_c Sep 13, 2007 01:45 PM

                                                                                          My vote is for "Not Tacky".

                                                                                          I've seen the tip calculator print-up only when you pay with credit card. However, I would like to see it on the bill, especially the computer generated bills, so it helps me from figuring out the numbers.

                                                                                          Also, what's the accected value to tip on?
                                                                                          Food only?
                                                                                          Before Tax Total?
                                                                                          Total Tab?
                                                                                          What is the tip calculator values based upon?

                                                                                          I generally tip on total tab 15 to 20% depending upon the overall experience.

                                                                                          1. The Engineer Sep 12, 2007 10:25 AM

                                                                                            25% that's a hot one. They ought to put 10% and 5% too, just in case the service sucks.

                                                                                            I've only seen this once or twice...I think it was in Las Vegas.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: The Engineer
                                                                                              ricepad Sep 12, 2007 10:27 AM

                                                                                              If the service REALLY sucks, it's pretty easy to calculate 0%!

                                                                                              1. re: ricepad
                                                                                                The Engineer Sep 12, 2007 10:30 AM

                                                                                                Or 1%! I think a 1% tip gets the point across better than 0. It says "No, I didn't forget to leave a tip."

                                                                                                1. re: The Engineer
                                                                                                  dave_c Sep 13, 2007 01:48 PM

                                                                                                  I thought that's why people left only a shiny penny ($0.01) on the table after a bad experience.

                                                                                            2. jfood Sep 12, 2007 06:36 AM

                                                                                              jfood missed the nuance of the post and he is glad others have pointed out.

                                                                                              There are two questions here:

                                                                                              1 - have/not have a quick reference tip guide at the bottom of the bill
                                                                                              2 - the percentages included in that tip guide

                                                                                              For the mathematically challenged and for those in the over-imbiding category, the tip guide is a good thing, and even jfood, who is neither thinks the quick guide is a good proxy (and he couldn;t care less if it pre- or post-sales tax).

                                                                                              To the other point, a resto that expects, as a reasonable recommendation a tip scale that includes a 25% level, is over-reaching and borders on obnoxious. It is rare that the level of service approaches that level of tip, in jfood's mind, and for the resto to place that on each and every bill is embarassing to the custo and the server. If the server believes that s/he is deserving of a tip on a regular basis, s/he works in a marvelous establishment or is delusional. So on the second question, jfood would opine that the scale should range from 15-20% because that statistically includes 95% of the tips left in a normal resto.


                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: jfood
                                                                                                dmleo Sep 12, 2007 10:20 AM

                                                                                                I recently saw the tip calculator for the first time at Dinosaur BBQ in Harlem and I think it's a great idea.

                                                                                              2. c
                                                                                                crippstom Sep 11, 2007 08:48 PM

                                                                                                When I go out I like to have fun. Part of that is greasin' the machine. And that's a 2 way street. Servers are in show business. So give me a show. Otherwise when I want to avoid service personnel I cook at home. But I go out to spend money and if I enjoy the experience I keep coming back. My tips are usually over and above the 20% anyway. I respect hard work.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: crippstom
                                                                                                  nummanumma Sep 12, 2007 05:48 AM

                                                                                                  I'm usually quite quick with math, but every now and then, post meal (especially where conspicuous imbibing has occured all around) I get the niggling, "did I figure that correctly?" feeling. So I guess the tip calculator would be handy then.

                                                                                                2. b
                                                                                                  Beau711 Sep 11, 2007 07:45 PM

                                                                                                  I got one with the tip calculator just this afternoon with the percentages being 15-18 & 20%
                                                                                                  I don't believe it's tacky or particularly classy but it can be helpful to people from other countries where the tip/service is included in the bill and they are unaware that tipping is separate in the States.

                                                                                                  Here in New York Ciity, we have lots of travelers and tourists so this is a good tool - especially if they're dealing in euros. It just spells out what the U.S. tip would be in dollars.

                                                                                                  1. ElsieDee Sep 11, 2007 01:39 PM

                                                                                                    Doesn't bug me in general - I've no problem determining the correct tip on my own, anyway, and usually disregard the "suggestions".

                                                                                                    It's been a while since I've noticed a tip calculator and I've a question: are the percentages based on the whole bill amount (including alcohol and tax) or minus the tax or ... ?

                                                                                                    FWIW, I tip on the tax and alcohol.

                                                                                                    16 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: ElsieDee
                                                                                                      Leonardo Sep 11, 2007 02:15 PM

                                                                                                      The suggestions are based on the final total including tax. I'm in Oregon, a state with no sales tax. I never tip on tax. What skills, trouble, hard work, time, and experience went into the waiter serving me this tax? Why should waiters in sales tax states automatically make more? I'm certainly not going to pay what amounts to a tax on the tax. I don't care how small a difference it is. It's the principle.

                                                                                                      1. re: Leonardo
                                                                                                        tubman Sep 11, 2007 05:38 PM

                                                                                                        "Why should waiters in sales tax states automatically make more?"

                                                                                                        IMHO: Because when a waiter in a sales tax state wants to take his family out to eat, buy a car, or rent a movie from Blockbuster, he has to pay more for the privilege than your waiter in Oregon does.

                                                                                                        Simple example: Let's say you run up a $100 tab at a chain restaurant in Oregon, where there's no sales tax. And you run up a $100 pre-tax tab at another branch of the same restaurant here in Maryland, where there's a 5% tax, equating to a $105 post-tax tab.

                                                                                                        The service you received at both locations was identical and decent, worthy of a 20% tip. There's obviously no question that the amount to leave in Oregon is $20, which (putting aside tipping out) is just enough for the waiter to take his family to McDonald's.

                                                                                                        But giving the waiter in Maryland the same $20 (instead of $21) means that Junior isn't getting his double cheeseburger, while his counterpart in Oregon gets his.

                                                                                                        If you think that's fair, feel free to continue to tip on the pre-tax amount when you visit other states. In the end, it's all voluntary and nobody (except you) will know that you're standing on principle by tipping a dollar less.

                                                                                                        1. re: tubman
                                                                                                          Rick Sep 11, 2007 05:51 PM

                                                                                                          Wow, give me a break, you have to be kidding on your reasoning for tipping on tax! Should you give higher tips when you visit a place that has high property taxes because the waiter has to pay his property taxes? Every state has their way of getting your money, whether it be sales tax, property tax, income tax etc., they all just choose to take it in different ways. If Oregon isn't getting that 5% in sales tax, they're making it up on your waiter somewhere else so you really should have tipped him $21 too.

                                                                                                          1. re: Rick
                                                                                                            hummingbird Sep 11, 2007 06:23 PM

                                                                                                            I saw it for the first time this week-end. I didn't see it in the restaurant as it was too dark.

                                                                                                            I was in a summer tourist area so thought that might be the reason. However, they based the calculations on the total bill including tax.

                                                                                                            1. re: Rick
                                                                                                              queencru Sep 11, 2007 07:12 PM

                                                                                                              Exactly. Most people have no clue how the tax system works in states when they visit and it's really not our job to even out the playing field. Florida has very low taxes generally aside from the sales tax and no state income tax, while other states with no sales tax have a high sales tax and high income taxes, while still others have no sales tax and high income/property taxes.

                                                                                                            2. re: tubman
                                                                                                              Leonardo Sep 11, 2007 08:23 PM

                                                                                                              Tubman, your logic has left me dizzy. You think there's an actual correlation between states that have sales tax and that waiter's cost of living and how much he deserves as a tip????!!! (FYI: Oregon makes up for it with high property/income taxes!) Whenever you dine in a new locale do you perform scholarly research into the local economy & tax structure to determine how it compares to your home area, and then tip accordingly?
                                                                                                              By your reasoning I should leave the waiter more of a tip if he's supporting a family of ten compared to a waiter of equal quality with zero dependants.
                                                                                                              That issue is irrelevant to me anyway. I tip based upon the quality of service. Tips are a reward for good service nothing more nothing less, and no one's wishful thinking will change my mind. They are not charity, based upon need, an automatic given, or an entitlement. I wouldn't have it any other way. And having witnessed service abroad (aside from Japan) at other than ultra high-end places, our system results in superior service!

                                                                                                              1. re: Leonardo
                                                                                                                tubman Sep 13, 2007 12:45 PM

                                                                                                                "...do you perform scholarly research into the local economy & tax structure to determine how it compares to your home area, and then tip accordingly?"

                                                                                                                No, I don't have to, and it doesn't matter how big the waiter's family is, either. Frankly, I don't research anything, even the sales tax, when I go to another locale. The sales tax is conveniently displayed on the bottom line of the check. And I tip on the amount after that so that (given equal service), the waiter in the sales tax state has as much buying power with the tip I've given him as the waiter in the no-tax state. Maybe my logic is bad--so be it, at least I took the trouble to explain it. It's no more right-or-wrong than those who say that the "standard" minimum tip in NYC (versus other places) is now 20% without offering any justification.

                                                                                                                My (after-tax) tipping calculation starts at 15% and generally goes up to 20% unless service has been incredibly exceptional. In most places, this would make the effective amount of my tip 16-21% in the eyes of those who feel that tipping pre-tax is the right thing to do, a 1% difference. BFD.

                                                                                                                One final point: I've always seen the tip calculator utilize the after-tax amount, which those contributing to this thread have backed up. If you're used to tipping 15% (which I think most Hounds will agree is the generally-accepted minimum for adequate service) and decide to base it on the pre-tax amount, you will fall below the restaurant's expectation of what 15% is.

                                                                                                                Stand on principle if you must, but a tip even a few pennies below the restaurant's suggested minimum 15% tip--especially when it's conveniently pre-printed on your receipt--sends a very powerful negative message to your server and restaurant management on the quality of the service you received. Make sure that's the message you want to convey before you dismiss their 15% after-tax calculation.

                                                                                                                1. re: tubman
                                                                                                                  ESNY Sep 17, 2007 11:00 AM

                                                                                                                  I'll go out on a limb and say its not the "restaurant's expectation of what 15% is" and its the feature of the program that not only computes the relevant sales tax on each bill but also computes the tip. Not to mention, who really gives a crap of what the restaurant and management think? I'll tip an appropriate amount based on the service I received. I could care less how the restaurant perceives their service or tip expectations.

                                                                                                                  I don't find the tipping amounts tacky, nor do i use them because I can calculate things very easily in my head. It is useful for those who can't. I also tip pre-tax because I didn't order the tax, only the food and booze. Just like I wouldn't tip a server more if I decide not to get the lobster special or the $100 bottle of wine. You think the server deserves additional tip because his/her state decided to levy a high sales tax? My company doesn't pay me more because I choose to live in NYC thus have to pay a higher income tax that someone that lives outside of Manhattan.

                                                                                                                  1. re: ESNY
                                                                                                                    tubman Sep 18, 2007 08:02 AM

                                                                                                                    "I'll go out on a limb and say its not the "restaurant's expectation of what 15% is" and its the feature of the program."

                                                                                                                    I'll go out on a limb and say that you may be right--but I have no doubt the restaurant could turn off the tip-printing feature entirely if they feel the calculation is inappropriate. By allowing it to print, the restaurant management and your waiter make it their expectation.

                                                                                                                    "Not to mention, who really gives a crap of what the restaurant and management think?"

                                                                                                                    I do--if service was adequate, I plan on returning, and I'd like to be able to look the same waiter in the eye if I get him again.

                                                                                                                    My post was mainly directed to those at the 15% end of the tipping scale. If service was adequate and management is going to spell out the amount of a 15% tip for me, I'm not going to tip a few quarters less than that (and that's likely the amount we're talking about) because I disagree with the calculation. That incorrectly conveys the message that either service was inadequate (in which case, you should be talking to management) or that you're a lousy tipper. Agree, disagree, or agree to disagree, that's just my opinion.

                                                                                                                    Of course, if you're tipping above 15%, then by all means, base your calculation pre-tax, post-tax, whatever floats your boat. There's no chance your tip will be misinterpreted as being below the generally-accepted minimum of 15% printed on your receipt.

                                                                                                                    1. re: tubman
                                                                                                                      dolores Sep 18, 2007 08:15 AM

                                                                                                                      I must be missing something, since I ignore the suggested tipping calculator whenever I see it, unless I need it.

                                                                                                                      I am in the 'I always tip 20%' category unless the server and owner/manager (just one place so far) are obnoxious, so I make my life easy, and hopefully the server is happy with my 20%. Until reading these threads, I never knew servers make so little per hour, so I will continue to tip 20% and never go back to the restuarants that are obnoxious.

                                                                                                                      1. re: tubman
                                                                                                                        Karl S Jun 15, 2009 03:56 PM

                                                                                                                        The "restaurant's expectation" of what the denominator is ... is *utterly* irrelevant.

                                                                                                                2. re: tubman
                                                                                                                  JayVaBeach Sep 16, 2007 11:37 AM

                                                                                                                  What an astute analogy - that's awesome !

                                                                                                                3. re: Leonardo
                                                                                                                  Azizeh Barjesteh Sep 12, 2007 12:23 AM

                                                                                                                  Your server is forced to tip out a certain percentage of his/her total check (tax included) at the end of the night. This is usually in the 5% range and doesn't typically vary if the server is left an awful tip or no tip at all. Meaning, if you leave no tip, they will be paying for the honor of having served you. Of course, a server should still earn his/her tip. So, you can decide if it's fair to tip less than the 15% the restaurant already assumes he'll be making, post-tax amount.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Azizeh Barjesteh
                                                                                                                    hotoynoodle Sep 23, 2007 12:37 PM

                                                                                                                    there are certain fine-dining places where tip-outs approach 40% because of the depth of support staff.

                                                                                                                  2. re: Leonardo
                                                                                                                    JK Grence the Cosmic Jester Sep 20, 2007 02:21 AM

                                                                                                                    A tip is properly calculated before any discounts or taxes are applied. Not that I'm complaining when people tip on the post-tax amount.

                                                                                                                  3. re: ElsieDee
                                                                                                                    cantkick Sep 11, 2007 08:35 PM

                                                                                                                    I agree. I recently saw it for the first time, and the amount was based on the total including tax. Incidentally, when I've had the gratuity automatically added, it has usually been on the pretax amount.

                                                                                                                    I ignored it. I base my tip on the pretax price, and include all beverages. Then I usually round up to an even dollar amount for the total.

                                                                                                                  4. g
                                                                                                                    gloriousfood Sep 11, 2007 01:24 PM

                                                                                                                    Wish more restaurants would do it.

                                                                                                                    1. DanaB Sep 11, 2007 01:17 PM

                                                                                                                      I would find it tacky if they had 15-20-25%. In Los Angeles, many restaurants do this, but it's 15-18-20%. Pushing the upper limit to 25% is intended to guilt people into tipping above what is standard practice, which I find annoying and presumptuous.

                                                                                                                      1. Azizeh Barjesteh Sep 11, 2007 11:42 AM

                                                                                                                        I am a server at a restaurant that prints the "quick tip guide" at the bottom of each guest check. My own impression is that it's a little tacky, but truthfully, a lot of people use it. You can tell by them paying exactly what it says under 15 or 18%, even when it's some obscure amount like $14.47, etc.. Also, some people are such horrendously bad tippers, no matter how good the service is, that even with it clearly printed what 15% is, they still don't get anywhere near it. So, I can only imagine what they would tip WITHOUT the tip guide... maybe $1?

                                                                                                                        1. m
                                                                                                                          maisonbistro Sep 11, 2007 11:38 AM

                                                                                                                          Why in the world would it be tacky?? It's not like your server is walking around with a sign on his forehead saying "tip me a lot please".

                                                                                                                          Being mathematically challenged as I am, having a handy dandy tip "calculator" at the bottom of the bill would make it so much easier.

                                                                                                                          I don't get the tackiness of it.

                                                                                                                          1. r
                                                                                                                            ricepad Sep 11, 2007 11:38 AM

                                                                                                                            Not tacky at all, IMHO. Tacky would be if it started at 20% and went up from there.

                                                                                                                            1. ccbweb Sep 11, 2007 10:28 AM

                                                                                                                              I think this is the perfect example of the truism that there is simply no pleasing all people. I find it very helpful as a check to my basic math.

                                                                                                                              1. nancyhudson Sep 11, 2007 09:48 AM

                                                                                                                                sorry - love the tip calculator.

                                                                                                                                1. popcorn_denver Sep 11, 2007 09:35 AM

                                                                                                                                  I can't imagine what makes this "tacky". You infer that all customers can do the math when, unfortunately, that is not the case.

                                                                                                                                  I read it as a gesture of well-meaning and convenience to the customer. In the end, the amount that you decide to tip is still ultimately up to you.

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: popcorn_denver
                                                                                                                                    ginnyhw Sep 11, 2007 09:46 AM

                                                                                                                                    You be amazed how many people think a five dollar bill is a good tip, when they spend 50 or 100 bucks. I think this sounds like a wake up call for customers who have never done the math and only tip for really good service.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: popcorn_denver
                                                                                                                                      queencru Sep 11, 2007 09:47 AM

                                                                                                                                      I don't think it's tacky at all- it just saves time and still gives the customer the choice of how much to tip. Usually what I've seen is 15-20% in 1% intervals, not the 15/20/25 choices. I think 15% is still the norm in my area for decent service.

                                                                                                                                    2. j
                                                                                                                                      Jaime0428 Sep 11, 2007 09:28 AM

                                                                                                                                      The reason they do this is because most people tip like shit or not at all. It's kind of a reminder that you need to tip!

                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Jaime0428
                                                                                                                                        coney with everything Sep 11, 2007 09:35 AM

                                                                                                                                        Maybe they had Rachael Ray eat there previously!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Jaime0428
                                                                                                                                          rockandroller1 Sep 17, 2007 12:26 PM

                                                                                                                                          I completely agree with this. Especially older people, they all think 10% is still "standard." If it's not even on the tip helper as an option, maybe people will start getting a clue that 10% is not "standard."

                                                                                                                                          1. re: rockandroller1
                                                                                                                                            dolores Sep 26, 2007 03:30 AM

                                                                                                                                            Well, I don't know about that. I've been going on here about 20% for good service being the norm, and have been getting some very strange glares.

                                                                                                                                        2. Gio Sep 11, 2007 09:23 AM

                                                                                                                                          This bit of assistance would have been very helpful indeed to 6 college educated women with several degrees trying to figure out our tip at lunch recently. Talk about senior moments.

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                            boltnut55 Sep 17, 2007 10:48 PM

                                                                                                                                            I can relate to this too when we go out :-)

                                                                                                                                          2. JasmineG Sep 11, 2007 09:17 AM

                                                                                                                                            I've seen it a lot, though I've never seen 25%, I've only seen 15, 18 and 20. I think it's really convenient, I don't understand how it's tacky. It's just helpful for the customer.

                                                                                                                                            1. l
                                                                                                                                              Leonardo Sep 11, 2007 09:14 AM

                                                                                                                                              When it comes to tipping and the entitlement mentality of today's servers, it doesn't take much to offend me. But this doesn't bother me one bit. It's simply a helpful guide. The only time I've been offended by "suggested" tipping was when I was 18, the host brought me back my Visa with the slip to sign, and he pointed out where to place the tip. He actually said in a condescending tone "This is where you add the tip". Now that's offensive!

                                                                                                                                              1. marmite Sep 11, 2007 09:11 AM

                                                                                                                                                I've never seen that before. I'd probably mention to the manager on my way out that it's extremely tacky, and maybe they should just have the servers walk around with their hands out, begging.

                                                                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: marmite
                                                                                                                                                  ccbweb Sep 11, 2007 10:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                  I don't understand the idea that we should ignore the concept of tipping as some kind of social courtesy. We all know that wait staff make most of their money from tips. We know that the accepted social convention is that we'll tip after the meal based on the level of service we feel we received. Further, generally accepted percentages for tips range from 15% to 18% to 20%...clearly in the OP's example, 25% would be on the very generous end of things for most people. Adding this information to the bill doesn't change the social dynamic in any way that I can see and certainly doesn't constitute begging on anyone's part.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ccbweb
                                                                                                                                                    bolivianita Sep 11, 2007 11:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                    It must have been 18% not 25 but I couldn't remember so I just counted up by 5's.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bolivianita
                                                                                                                                                      ccbweb Sep 11, 2007 11:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                      That would track with what I've seen...15%, 17 or 18% and 20%. In several restaurants in San Francisco, I've seen only the 15% and 20% numbers.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: ccbweb
                                                                                                                                                      Bill Hunt Jun 15, 2009 08:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                      Yes. Should the scale be 25%, 35% and 50%, then I'd scratch my head a bit.


                                                                                                                                                    3. re: marmite
                                                                                                                                                      scubadoo97 Sep 11, 2007 02:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                      I assume you plan on tipping so what's the big deal. Tipping is not just for good service. It's expected in restaurants. I'd be all for it no matter what type of restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: marmite
                                                                                                                                                        JayVaBeach Sep 16, 2007 11:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                        You obviously have no concept of how servers are paid; most often, it's the meager tip only. It amazes me how aloof our general public is regarding tipping - it's as if it's a bonus. If one is so gratuity depleted, he has no business splurging on a meal out to begin with.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JayVaBeach
                                                                                                                                                          dolores Sep 16, 2007 11:32 AM


                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JayVaBeach
                                                                                                                                                            bolivianita Sep 16, 2007 05:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                            I have a very good concept of how servers are paid as I have been a busser, a server, a cook, a hostess, a pastry chef etc.
                                                                                                                                                            I was just curious to see what others reactions were to this new tip calculator business.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JayVaBeach
                                                                                                                                                              marmite Sep 17, 2007 08:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                              I used to be a server, and am well aware of how they are paid. Not liking a tip calculator doesn't mean I don't tip generously.

                                                                                                                                                          2. l
                                                                                                                                                            Lucia Sep 11, 2007 09:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                            I've seen this, but not at fancy places. I don't mind at all--makes it marginally easier to calculate tip.

                                                                                                                                                            1. jfood Sep 11, 2007 09:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                              jfood loves it, sorry. The tip paradigm is so complex that anything that helps the numbers-challanged is helping along the custo. If the server deserved any of the tip-points, very easy to figure out and deciding between 15-20% is a lot easier than "gee I wonder what 18% is in dollars and cents."

                                                                                                                                                              Don't understand why it's tacky. Helps the custo and that's a good thing.

                                                                                                                                                              Now tacky is automatically adding a gratuity and then having a second line for an additional gratuity.

                                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jfood
                                                                                                                                                                Cathy Sep 11, 2007 09:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                Agree 100% with jfood.

                                                                                                                                                                I am pretty sure it is the newer cash registers that have this as part of the standard program/printout.

                                                                                                                                                                Not offensive, but amusing, since sales tax is 7.75% for me and so merely having to double it should not take much brain power...

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Cathy
                                                                                                                                                                  paloucsd Sep 20, 2007 03:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  you should be careful about just doubling tip to make for 15% because not everything is always taxed at restaurants. cocktails/beers are some times tax free. notice when you order just a drink from the bar, the total is usually an even number. but say you order dinner from the bartender the bill ends up being some x amount of dollars and change, because of the tax added on, but if you just double tax then your only tipping on the food not the drink.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: paloucsd
                                                                                                                                                                    Cathy Sep 20, 2007 09:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks. I know the markup on alcohol and never buy it in restaurants. Never.

                                                                                                                                                                    I will pay for well prepared food, though. However, when I realize the charges are paying rent, for a view, basically (i.e. the food is not any more outstanding than similar food served elsewhere without a view or fancy neighborhood) I don't go back.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: jfood
                                                                                                                                                                  Cinnabon Jun 16, 2009 05:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  Almost 2 years later, I still agree with this. Last year, our tax rate here in LA county was 8.25, my daughter would double the tax and leave a tip. She did this in HI too. Unfortunately their tax rate was 4. something at the time...

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jfood
                                                                                                                                                                    lgss Jun 17, 2009 02:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    I'm mathematically challenged. I don't eat out alone much but at some point figured out that in places where restaurant food is taxed at 8%, doubling the tax gives one 16% and makes it easy to tweak from there. Oops, just saw that Cathy mentions the same.

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