How much do you tip?
15% is the standard, but I'm wondering if you have different personal rules about tipping depending on the quality of the service.
Also, when you go to places like Empress Pavillion, where you are served by many different people, how do you tip there?
Yes, I'd say 15% is about right, even if it's a dim sum place where you don't get the 1 waiter per table deal.
I also sometimes tip up 25% if the service is exeptionally good, and the food isn't too expensive (I imagine it would be paintful to dish out a US$100 tip).
However, I've probably been to maybe 2 dozen or so restaurants that deserve 25%. Perhaps 20% is more common.
On the other spectrum, I've probably been to only 3 or 4 restaurants where I've given a penny tip. In such instances, not only is service poor, it's also an offensive occasion where almost everything goes wrong, and the waiter is bieng a delibrate jerk. One such place, is the infamous "House of Hunan" in San Francisco, where the waitress was even cursing at me in Cantonese (she didn't know I could understand the language).
Mediocre service from places in LA, like 'Soot Bull Jeep' and 'Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles' (in N. Hollywood), get 5% from me. Lousy service shouldn't get reinforced. If I did tip them 10% or more, it would encouragwe them to serve others incompetently as well, which IMO would be unfair to other consumers.
My boyfriend is an adamant 15%er, but as a former waitress my standard - and empathy - is closer to 20%.
Here's another question - when ordering a semi-expensive bottle of wine, do you include that in the % you're tipping? Say your meal is $50 and you buy a $100 bottle (or more)...if service was fine would you tip 15% or 20% on that $150? Or on less?
I rarely drink wine that lives in that price range (sniff, sniff) but this situation arose recently and I wasn't sure of the proper protocol.
What if you have your meal and order something else to go? Would you pay your tip on the whole amount (since it's on the same check), or if not, how would you adjust? I find myself very uncomfortable in that situation since I don't find it necessary to tip when I'm only picking up food to go.
I usually just look for the tax amount, double that and add a dollar. If there is no separate tax shown I usally figure 20% and subtract a dollar. Even for take out I usally leave a dollar or two. When things go wrong I try and figure out who is really at fault. One night, when the waiter was terrible and I was leaving a dollar tip on a $45 tab, I made sure to hunt down our bus boy, (who was great), as we were leaving, and give him $5, telling him I didn't want him to suffer for the waiters lousy service and bad humor. My wife is constantly telling me I'm a softy when it comes to tipping.
I tip about fifteen per cent on the food as a rule, but I take into account the quality of service and any extra effort by the server. If my niece (the sloppy eater)has been with me or if the server has been extra helpful then I tend to tip a bit higher. I also tip a premium if the server has shown exceptional knowledge of the menu and/or wine list.
I also generally tip in cash even when I pay the bill with a credit card, because that way I know the server actually gets the tip. I know of places where the managers do not give servers the full amount of the tip, or where they average the credit card tips so that the servers do not get the individual reward.
If the service is actually so bad as to warrant a one penny tip, I generally follow up with a note to the management. The unfortunate thing about leaving a one-cent tip is that anyone who has given such bad service as to deserve it will probably not be deterred by it... They'll shrug it off and give the same bad service to somebody else who tips by reflex. If the management doesn't know they have a bad employee, they can't do anything about a server who is alienating their customers.