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Oct 8, 2007 10:18 PM

verbal praise a subsitute for proper tip?

i write this b/c of all the blogs that have a reply of what the proper tipping percentage is. I am a server at a restaurant and I am just wondering what do you think is the proper tip for standard/good service: 10%, 15%, 20%? What kind of service do you need in order to leave a tip of 20%? Also, does a verbal praise of how good service is warrant the diner to tip less? Our restaurant also has comment cards to hand out with the bill and it was a steady trend that if I received positive feedback on my service my tip for that table was not as high as I would had hoped. I stopped giving out the comment cards and my tips on tables i feel i gave excellent service to were as high as i had hoped. what are your two cents?

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  1. there are lots of threads here about tipping. although the search function is not great, you'll still gets lots.

    imho, a verbal tip is near equivalent to a slap in the face. those who proclaim their generosity, "we'll take good care of you," or "thankyouthankyouthankyouthankoubestmealeverbestmealever," will not do the *right thing*. no matter how good the service.

    sorry. just my experience. i suspect yours as well, which explains your post.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      I agree with the other Posters. A Server appreciates your praise, but it doesn't pay the bills. If the service is superior, I make sure to tell the waitsstaff during the meal service, not just after. When/if the Mgr stops by our table, I make a point of telling him/her who and what we like about our service and if possible I do it in front of the wait staff. If the Mgr doesn't stop by during the meal, I'll make a point of stopping at the Mgr's podium to relay positive comments. It's a win/win... The Server invariably asks us to ask for him/her on our next visit. We have done so, and are always rewarded by continued excellent service and we are able to make sure a great Server has an appreciative and generous table.

    2. As a server, I don't ever think a verbal tip is a good substitute for a monetary tip. I mean, we work for tips. The times that I've really really gone out of my way to ensure my table had a great experience (i.e. begging the chef to make special requests or happily taking back an entree someone just didn't like because they ordered it wrong, etc.) and got the verbal tip plus a 10% or less tip... it was always insulting. I know some people don't believe in tipping... but it's just how things are done here. Like it or not, as my mom has always said: if you can't afford to tip, you can't afford to eat out.

      Someone going out of their way to fill out a comment card or telling the manager you did a great job is nice... but at most restaurants I'm aware of, people make minimum wage without raises. So, maybe if your restaurant uses these comments to give you a better section, it wont be doing anything to make you more money or to make up for the crappy tip. In addition to an appopriate tip, comments are nice... but as a substitute it's just rude. What I've come to realize is that when you give your best service and get a lousy tip... it isn't about you. These people weren't going to tip you well no matter what you did. Always doing your best is the only way to go. That way, if you get stiffed, you know it wasn't your fault and you can't feel bad.

      1. The US standard tip is 15-20% pretax for full service meals (towards the higher end of that in most (but not all) fine dining-oriented areas, towards the lower end of that most of elsewhere); 10% for buffet service.

        Older folks in some areas may still be used to 10% as the normal baseline, and they think they are giving a good tip with that understanding.

        Tourists often come from places with different or no tipping customs, and don't necessarily know local practice.

        So there's lot of room for misunderstanding. Bottom line: your understanding of the meaning of the tip and the patrons' understanding can be quite different. The patrons' understanding is, unfortunately, the one that counts.

        Verbal praise should be in addition to, rather than instead of, monetary gratuity.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Karl S

          I agree with all of the points Karl has made. One of my biggest annoyances is the tourist thing. It actually hasn't happened to me. But, as a traveler isn't it YOUR responsiblity to learn the local customs and practices? I can't imagine travelling to a foreign land and not doing a little research. EEK.

          1. re: Azizeh Barjesteh

            You and I might agree, and many tourists do, but others have other priorities. And this is phenomenon that crosses regional, national, ethnic and class boundaries - there are simply people who try and people who don't (at least very much).

            Part of it has to do with the intent of travelling. For some of us, it is to immerse ourselves in a place that is not our home. For others, it is to forget the daily stress of life. There is overlap between those circles, but there are a lot of people in the second circle who find worrying about local custom a stressor that violates the point of travelling.

            1. re: Karl S

              There are a lot of people who travel on a budget and think that it's ok to skimp on the tip. Plenty of visitors still think that the tip is a voluntary gesture and don't realize that it is an integral part of their servers' income.

              1. re: hrhboo

                This falls under what I was saying. I've heard that in certain countries it is an insult to tip the waiters. I also read that in Iran the cab drivers will refuse your money. It's a whole ritual they go through. Why? I don't remmeber. It's your job to know that you are to "insist" he take it, otherwise he doesn't get paid, which of course isn't his goal. He's just going through the traditional song and dance. I guess I'd just pick up a "China for dummies" book before I went there. Or those Lonely Planet guides, etc. At the very least it makes for interesting reading on the plane.

                1. re: Azizeh Barjesteh

                  In Iran tips are not accepted because according to Islamic law people are not to accept money that they have not earned (with the exception of charity/gifts/donations, tips fall into none of these categories). For example, interest is not paid by Islamic banks etc. Conversely, in Egypt which is also somewhat Islamic you can't get a single thing done without tipping everyone who helps you along the way.

                  I am now in the habit of tipping, so while in the UK I usually leave a little extra with the check in restaurants. Severs sometimes look at me as if I'm mad and one chased after me thinking I had overpaid by accident. Of course, many are pleased too!

                  I agree with you that it is the responsibility of travelers to familiarize themselves with local customs.

                  1. re: hrhboo

                    I don't know if the situation you describe in Egypt is considered "tipping". It's more like payoffs as in many cases you are giving the money in advance of the service being completed. Experienced that many times myself throughout Latin America, trying to get most anything done on time. We actually had a line item for it on our budgets when I was working out of Mexico City - a hard expense to explain to the conservative corp officers back in the Netherlands.

          2. re: Karl S

            You make a valid point. My boyfriend and I are both from the UK and have British accents. We have lived in one of the most touristy parts of LA for years and are always generous tippers. Amusingly, in certain restaurants we usually get a little card with our check explaining tipping etiquette in the US and a guide on proper tip percentages. This has never happened to my American friends in the same restaurants, so I suppose the restaurant staff assume we are tourists who might not know how to tip.

          3. I love tipping threads, and the discussion that ensues

            I am a lifelong Chicagoan who worked in restaurants for years before I got sick of the crappy pay and hours, so I know how hard the work is, and how hard 99% of the people in the industry work for their money.

            So when I dine out 2 - 3 times a week, my standard tip is 20% of the total bill, tax included. I have been known to tip 30% if the meal, and service was top notch. At the bar I tip a dollar a beer or shot, or 20% whichever is more. But I also like many people get more generous tipwise after a couple of "pops", & if my drink is never empty, or if I am bought a round.

            Regarding verbal praise, thats not something I do much of, and do not feel it should be used in place of a tip by others.

            1. --What do you think is the proper tip for standard/good service: 10%, 15%, 20%?

              20% for good service.

              --What kind of service do you need in order to leave a tip of 20%?

              I always leave 20% unless confronted with my 'deal breakers', i.e., being rushed, being rudely treated, and in general, that's about it.

              --Also, does a verbal praise of how good service is warrant the diner to tip less?

              No, never.

              I would never make the correlation between verbal praise and tipping less. To do so just sounds like a way for cheapskates to leave less tip.

              1 Reply
              1. re: dolores

                A server can't buy groceries with "verbs." I always tip 20 to 25%.