HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


Should I Tip on bill amount without tax or total inclusive of tax?


A friend of mine only tips on the full amount for food and beverages. He says the "tip" is for services rendered and should not cover what goes to Uncle Sam. Still, several times when leaving a restaurant, I've noticed the nasty looks by the wait staff. I think the tip should be on the full amount inclusive of tax. We both give a 15% to 18% tip; depending on the quality of service. What's is proper?

  1. it's pretty much a matter of preference, but i personally like to tip on the total, after tax. then again, i'm a generous tipper - unless the service is really bad i generally leave 20%. [in cases when someone else is paying, i've been known to sneak a few extra dollars onto the table when i think my dining companion has shortchanged the server.]

    if i do it pre-tax i almost feel like i'm nickel-and-diming the server, because unless the bill is obscenely large, the difference isn't all that much. for example, if the bill is $100, and tax rate is 8.25%, the difference is $8.25 on the total bill. 20% of that is $1.65. as i see it, if i can afford to pay $100 [or $108.25] for a meal, i can afford an additional $1.65 in the tip...and the server probably needs it more than i do.

    3 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      I agree. I tip on the total after taxes, and always tip 20%, if not more, in recognition of extraordinary service.

      1. re: dolores

        I also agree.

        I've actually never thought about it, until I saw this thread.

        While I can see the rationale on tipping only the food/bev amount...is it really that big of a deal? Unless it's an expensive meal ($500+) is a couple a bucks going to make or break you? If so, maybe you should stay home and eat.

        I certainly don't think it deserves a nasty look from anyone on the waitstaff, though.

        To each his own, I guess.

        1. re: byeCalihelloBahamas

          >>If so, maybe you should stay home and eat.

          True. I look forward to my meals out and to the food as well as to my interaction with the servers. If they treat me as I would treat them, I am more than happy to tip them on the entire bill. Why nickel and dime them, since theirs is one of the hardest jobs around.

    2. Every time somebody brings up tipping (use your search engine), a real fracas ensues. It's amazing to me the length people will go to justify cheaping out -- with or without tax, with or without liquor, "the waitstaff should get a higher salary," etc..

      Whether you tip with the tax included or not is only a couple of bucks on even a fairly large bill. Is it worth that much to you? There's your answer. As for me, I tip a minimal 20% of the entire check; maybe more. Somewhat less if the service is poor (and it's the service, not a kitchen screwup or some such).

      The floodgates are now open!

      4 Replies
      1. re: Muskrat

        Before tax. To me it's the principle. Whether I'm tipping 10% or 35%.
        What special skill, labor, expertise, and experience went into the server's serving me up this tax?
        Here in Oregon we have no sales tax (but high income & property tax). Why should I tip our servers automatically less because they have the misfortune to be working in Oregon instead of Washington?
        Result: Wherever I am, they get equal treatment!

        1. re: Leonardo

          I feel strongly about tipping on the tax. I apologize for repeating myself, but once again, here is my rationale for doing so using a simplistic example:

          Let's say I have a similar dining experience in two different cities, generate a $100 (pre-tax) tab in both, and want to leave a 20% tip.

          In Oregon, as you've cited, there's no question that I would leave $20, since there's no tax.

          But here in Washington, D.C., there's a 10% tax. So my $100 tab winds up being $110 and I'll tip $22.

          Why do I leave more? Because when my waiter in Washington wants to take his family out to eat at McDonald's and runs up a tab of $20, it winds up being $22, while my waiter in Portland only spends $20. After providing the same level of service as my waiter in Portland, why should my waiter in Washington need to reach into his pocket for an extra $2 on top of what I've given him?

          Putting other tax and geographic cost differential considerations aside, what's wrong with wanting to give a tip that provides equal buying power to both servers? To me, that's truly "equal treatment."

          1. re: tubman

            Tubman I've hear your argument before and it's completely baseless. The server in Oregon is paying higher property and income tax in lieu of sales tax, his $2 goes towards those taxes. We all get taxed, just in different forms.

            1. re: Rick

              While what you say may be true about taxes in Oregon, I don't consider it the diner's responsibility to do a full assessment of each state's tax structure (some have income tax as high as Oregon's PLUS high sales taxes), and the server's personal situation so far as being a property owner (paying property taxes) or a renter (not paying property taxes) in determining what to tip.

              That's why I specifically said "putting other tax and geographic cost differential considerations aside" in my post. I believe I'm the only one so far on this thread to give any real rationale for why I believe tipping post-tax is the right thing to do.

              The reason I single out sales tax is that it's a fairly universal concept most of us face in the U.S., and there's no analysis on my part involved in figuring out what to tip, just to look at the figure at the very bottom on the check on which to tip. (It's also often a good deal of work to find the pre-tax total on some computerized checks that break out food and alcohol, or make subtotals at different stages of the meal.)

              The OP asked what others do, I answered, and provided some insight that may very well cause others to adopt the same tactic. If others consider it a waste of an extra dollar on a $50 tab, so be it.

      2. i never tip on the tax. why not just on food and beverage? the tax has nothing to do with the service. and i'm not cheap, either -- before some accusations fly.

        spend your money as you wish.

        1. I tip on the tax, but only because it's easier to figure out and I'm lazy. Also, unless you're spending thousands on dinner, it doesn't really matter.

          1. jfood tips on the number that is written in larger font. bill arrives, check to see if number of courses are there, look for the large font number, calculate

            jfood couldn;t care less about the pre/post tax. 15-20% of 6% tax does not even buy a small coffee at starbucks PP.

            1. I never tip on the tax, why should I? That is not part of the deal.

              1. I am not one to tell others what to do, I wil just post what I do.

                I tip 20%+ on the total after tax.

                1. IMO it should be pre-tax, but I almost always do post-tax (in that I will do somewhere between 15-20% post-tax and figure that the tax helps cushion me if I end up rounding down). I've always been told that pre-tax is the appropriate format though.

                  The dirty looks are probably due to the self-entitled generation now assuming they have a right to post-tax tipping as well these days.

                  1. I always do pre-tax. The tax has nothing to do with the service of the wait staff, runners or kitchen. And it varies from county to county and state to state. In SF it's 8.5%. In other states there is no tax on restaurant meals. To equalize I just ignore the tax and tip on the subtotal. (Although one helpful thing about the tax amount in California is to figure out a tip in California I generally double the tax amount, which takes me to about 16 or 17%, as my guideline, and adjust upwards from there depending on the experience.)

                    It's my opinion (and I'll probably get flamed) that wait staff should be educated by management as to this difference of opinions among diners, and not feel they were stiffed if one diner does not tip on the tax another diner does.

                    23 Replies
                    1. re: farmersdaughter

                      I'm in SF, and that's what I do, too. And it's a practice I learned growing up in Mass, where the tax is 5%. Tip was always figured by muliplying the tax by 3 or 4, to get 15% or 20%.

                      I was also a waitress too, and I never expected my tip to based on the post-tax amount.

                      1. re: manraysky

                        That's funny, I tip pre-tax based on a similar experience growing up...tax was 8.5%, and everyone knew that the appropriate tip was "double the tax." (I think it's also 8.5% where I live now, but I just do 20%, pre-tax).

                        1. re: Nicole

                          Yes, also in my household, Nicole. Since pre-tax shorts the servers, I now do 20% on the entire bill, sometimes 25% and sometimes 30%.

                          1. re: dolores

                            How does pre-tax short the servers?

                            1. re: SuzyInChains

                              By whatever dollar amount is less than the after-tax amount.

                              I want to give the servers as much as possible. And do.

                              1. re: SuzyInChains

                                By definition it doesn't. If there's a server or Chowhound out there who can criticize a customer who routinely tips 30%, but is adament about calculating his tips on a pre-tax basis, please come forward.

                                Let's assume that the average restaurant sales tax nationally is 8% and most of us intend to tip an average of 18%, and the average restaurant check is $50.

                                The pre-tax tippers will leave a $9 tip. The post-tax tippers will leave a $9.72 tip.

                                The pre-tax side will view the $9.72 left by the post-taxers as being a 19.4% tip. The post-tax side will view the $9 left by the pre-taxers as being 16.7%. The tipper will view his $9 or $9.72 tip as 18% regardless of what side he's on.

                                Regardless of whether you're on the pre- or post-tax side of the fence, the various interpretations mean that the average guy who leaves 18% has left either 16.7%, 18% or 19.4%, accounting for every possible opinion of correct tip methodology.

                                Where I come from, 16.7%, 18% and 19.4% all fall within the reasonable and customary range (15% minimum). If you're in the reasonable and customary range by any possible measurement--and I think most of us are--I'm really not sure why it should matter HOW you got there.

                                'Nuff said.

                                1. re: tubman

                                  I think the issue is whether people are entitled to feel aggrieved if they receive a tip of $7.50 (15% of the $50 example you provide above) as opposed to $8.10 (15% of the post-tax amount). In many (probably most) parts of the US, the answer is no. There are some places (which we need not rehash here when it has been amply hashed out in other threads) where the appropriate range would be up to $10 (20%) as a baseline.

                                  This is really intended to help servers who aren't aware of the variations to understand what is and is not necessarily being communicated in the tip. If the servers assume that the $7.50 is cheap or indicates poor service, in many/most places they'd be a victim of their own misunderstanding.

                                  1. re: tubman

                                    Do people really leave a $9.72 tip or other 'odd' amount? Not criticizing, just asking. Typically I take the total bill, figure 20% of that and round up accordingly. On a $50 bill, I'd leave $10, on a bill of $52.67, I'd leave $12.

                                    1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                      Jfood's with you JFR.

                                      jfood receives the tab, looks at the largest fonted number, calculates a percentage in his head, rounds up to the next dollar and adds to the CC slip. Rounding up/down so the total equals a whole dollar or leaving EXACTLY 15 or 20% of the pre or post tax amount is just too much work after a meal and who has the patience.

                                      The added benefits is that the servers have ample opportunity to figure whether jfood left 19.8433556% pre tax or 21.4366764% post tax. Hopefully they also have better things to do with their time as well.

                                      The saying is "don't sweat the small stuff" applies to both customer and server in this case.

                                      1. re: jfood

                                        i have a a friend and he leaves weird amounts like that. its not he calculates the exact percentages but rather that he likes his credit card receipts to be in whol dollars so he'll leave weird change to make the total be a whole nuimber of dollars.

                                        1. re: jes

                                          That's exactly what I do.

                                          Figure out what 18-20% is on the pretax amount, then round up so that it becomes a nice whole number.

                                          I'm not going to tip on tax, what if the tax rate was 20%? 50%?

                                          1. re: eatfood

                                            In the City of Richmond (VA) tax on restaurant sales is 11.5%. Everyone has to do what feels right to them. We tax on the full bill...tax, wine, etc. Last night our tab was $76. Service was great..we left $20 tip.

                                            1. re: eatfood

                                              Not sure where the tax rate is 20-50%.

                                              Assuming average tip of 18-20% and average sales tax in the U.S. of perhaps 6%, tipping on top of the tax pretty much adds only about 1% to the total cost of your meal.

                                              And it's kind of ironic, so does rounding up the change by perhaps 49¢ on your $49.51 (after you've calculated your pre-tax tip) meal to make it come out nice and even to $50 :-)

                                              Let's peel another layer off the onion...

                                              1. re: tubman

                                                I'm just saying that the principle of tipping on the tax is not really well thought. Just because the tax rate is 10% (hypothetical) now, it doesn't mean that taxes won't rise in the future (or fall).

                                                I'm curious at what point would people stop tipping on tax, is it when the tax rate his 20%? 50%? Again, tax rates change. Tipping rates shouldn't change with it.

                                                If people tipped post tax purely because of calculation ease, that's fine. However, no one should argue that the tax amount is subject to tipping.

                                          2. re: jfood

                                            I wentt to lunch with some friends, to a Vietnamese place. The lunches were $6-7.One girl said "I never tip on the tax!" like it was some sort of plot to part her and her money. So I tried to figure out in my head what 15% of 8% of $7 would be but lost interest due to disgust before I figured it out.

                                            1. re: EWSflash

                                              That's kind of my attitude. I love math, and have an engineering degree, but do not get too hung up on the minutiae of calculating the exact amount based on whatever. I also round up, when faced with the possibilities. I even usually tip on the wine, unless I slip the sommelier a $20 or a $50, depending.

                                              Some folk break out the calculator and work over the tipping, like it was a budget that they were defending to the board. I am much more casual, than that. I get paid by the hour, and my dining should be more relaxed, and all fun.


                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                also, i intentionally tip very well at the restaurants that are on my regular rotation.
                                                my rationale is that one of the reasons they are on my regular rotation is that they provide excellent service, therefore, it makes sense that i should provide and excellent tip.

                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                  That is a very good point. I have been known to do the same, and it is seldom missed by the servers. In some places, they are almost like family, and treat me as such.


                                    2. re: dolores

                                      "Shorting" a server implies that you are giving him or her less than he or she has "earned." As evidenced by this thread, reasonable minds can differ as to whether it's appropriate to tip on the pre-tax or the post-tax amount. Therefore, it's not shorting someone to tip on the pre-tax amount. If a server thinks they're being shorted because a customer tips on the pre-tax amount, than the server should be educated as to this point by management. Giving servers as much as possible because you think they are not well paid in comparison with how hard they work is a separate issue.

                                    3. re: Nicole

                                      That's what our buddies in NYC do: double the tax = et voilá, there you have your tip...

                                    4. re: manraysky

                                      I'm in the Bay Area, too, where the tax is 9 1/2%, not the 5% mentioned here. I usually double the tax and throw in a bit more, but to multiply by 3 or 4 with my tax rate would be prohibitive.

                                      1. re: ola

                                        I have little patience for those who scrutinize a restaurant check as if it were a tax return to determine which parts of them can be "deducted" from being part of the "tippable" amount. I remember one person who was adamant about not tipping on the drinks as the wait staff did not actually prepare them. The fact that the wait staff did not actually cook the meal seemed lost on her.

                                        I tend to be generous in my tipping as having worked in the business I know that the memories can be long. Add to that the current use of POS accounting systems that can track credit/debit cards allows establishments to pass on information such as dietary restrictions and personal preferences also allows dissemination of info on particularly good/bad tippers and customers in general...

                                        1. re: ola

                                          The 5% I mentioned is from where I grew up, not where I currently live.

                                    5. Tipping threads are generally dumb, but this takes the cake. It's a couple of bucks. I take the check, figure 20% of the total, tip and go on with my life.

                                      14 Replies
                                      1. re: JonParker

                                        "justify cheaping out"?

                                        How is it cheaping out to pay what's appropriate? I have to imagine those of you who find it cheaping out to tip only on the goods and services purchased also round all prices up to the nearest five dollars and refuse to accept change or singles

                                        Waiters give dirty looks? Because someone didn'ty give them a percentage of what was paid to someone else? They must be miserable people is all I can say.

                                        Do you tip on the cost of dry-cleaning the suit you wear out to dinner, or the cost of gas to drive to the restaurant. They are as much expenses related to the service of your meal as the tax is. If BYOB, do you tip on the restaurant or the actual retail price of the wine you brought? (Don't make the excuse that you bought it on sale; why should the waiter suffer because you have extra money? This is all the more reason to tip on the full MSRP.)

                                        It is over-tipping to tip on tax. Over-tipping hurts everyone.

                                        1. re: FrankJBN

                                          >>Do you tip on the cost of dry-cleaning the suit you wear out to dinner, or the cost of gas to drive to the restaurant.

                                          Not apples to apples. More apropos to the server in a quick food place that gets the dish from the cook, turns around and puts it on the counter in front of me. I don't tip those folks.

                                          Quite unlike what a server in a full service restaurant goes through, and they deserve every penny that I can afford to give them.

                                          1. re: FrankJBN

                                            I was going to leave this alone, but I can't resist. How does "overtipping" hurt anyone?

                                            1. re: JonParker

                                              it only hurts the people who undertip, makes them look worse.. lol

                                              I tip well over 20% to make up for the people who feel the need to undertip.

                                              1. re: swsidejim

                                                I'm on board with SSjim, Dolores and Meffa Babe.

                                                Cheap people suck.
                                                Cheap verbal tippers suck and are phony.
                                                Cheap people who rationalize their cheapness suck more.
                                                Cheap people who pass judgement on servers without walking a mile in their shoes. They've never been there and they'll never "get it." You can't take it with you, overtip and make someone's day.

                                                1. re: Falcon 64

                                                  What an excellent post, Falcon64. Here's something the cheapskates will like:


                                                  1. re: dolores

                                                    You don't even have to go to Germany to enjoy(?) the automated restaurant experience. Conveyor-belt sushi, anyone?



                                                    1. re: dolores

                                                      The "robot" restaurant, that's awesome! Now all the customers who treat servers like "wind up dolls" with an aversion to tipping have somewhere to congregate. What a great way to get customers to appreciate the human beings who serve them. Thank you for sharing.

                                                      1. re: Falcon 64

                                                        >>What a great way to get customers to appreciate the human beings who serve them.

                                                        I hope so, as I still believe it's one of the hardest jobs in the world. And you're welcome.

                                                        1. re: dolores

                                                          I'm guessing you haven't had many jobs outside of being a "waitperson" (or whatever silly PC term is in use today)

                                                          1. re: dolores

                                                            This thought drives me nuts! Roofer in the middle of summer, commercial fisherman, ER doctors/nurses, armed fores in battle . . . and server!!?!?

                                                            1. re: Rick

                                                              ha, rick. you are so right!

                                                      2. re: Falcon 64

                                                        Slightly OT, but Dave Barry said in a column "The person who is nice to you and rude to the waiter is NOT a nice person." I think you know where this dovetails into the topic.

                                                        1. re: EWSflash

                                                          I have always Mr. Barry's perspective on life, but now I realize that I like him more. One should be nice to everyone, especially one who serves you. I see many in my CC set, who are hateful to the service staff. I try to avoid such people.

                                                          Good one,


                                              2. For the OP: In a perfect world, you should never be getting nasty looks from the wait staff under any circumstances and I think it's generally accepted that 15% is the minimum for adequate service. Leaving that shouldn't draw a look.

                                                But the real mystery to me is how they would even know you were tipping pre- or post-tax in order to give you that nasty look? I promise you that you'll get no nasty look if you decide to tip pre-tax, but decide to tip 30%.

                                                If the nasty look was, in fact, tip-related, here's my guess. You were in a high sales tax area and you were tipping exactly 15% on the pre-tax total.

                                                If the tax is 10% and you leave $15 on a $100 pre-tax tab, the wait staff may be considering that as $15 on a $110 tab (13.6%). Restaurants seem to promote post-tax tipping as standard, and if you don't believe this, check the handy tip calculator occasionally provided on the bottom of your credit card charge slip.

                                                Whether you agree with this calculation or not, the perception that they've gotten less than the generally-accepted minimum leads them to the conclusion that you're either a tightwad, or found serious fault with their service, and gets you the nasty look. In their eyes, the amount you left does the talking, not the methodology you used to get there.

                                                39 Replies
                                                1. re: tubman

                                                  It seems to me that by your logic, tipping before tax will incite a rude look, no matter which way you look at it. However, by consistently tipping on the total bill, aren't people like you perpetuating these "nasty looks?"

                                                  1. re: miss_bennet

                                                    No, my logic is that you might get a rude look when the recipient interprets your tip as being less than 15%, even though you (as a pre-taxer) feel you've left a 15% tip--it only applies at the bottom of the generally-accepted tipping range. I'll say it again...if you take a pre-tax approach, leave a >15% tip when in a high-sales tax area, and I seriously doubt you'll get a rude look that is truly derived from the amount of your tip.

                                                    Now, let the chorus of "the customer is always right," "I don't care what the server thinks," etc. chime in.

                                                    1. re: tubman

                                                      I guess we'll just have to disagree on this one...

                                                      And working in the customer service industry, I am well aware that the customer is not always right. But the customer is still the customer. That is, until they get ugly glares for leaving a 15% tip before taxes. Then they're history.

                                                      1. re: miss_bennet

                                                        Believe it or not, I absolutely agree with all the pre-taxers in this thread who've made an effort to explain their rationale (as I've done mine)--this is a personal choice, and the arguments on the other side of the fence are just as valid as mine.

                                                        And I never tip more than 20% (post-tax) unless some really extraordinary service has been performed or my kids have trashed the place. If that makes me a 21% or 22% maximum tipper in the pre-taxers' book, I don't think it's way out of the Chowhound ballpark.

                                                        Specifically, for those who tip the bare minimum 15% pre-tax: mojoeater's post backs up the perception risk that results from that tip. Is that the message you want to send to your server? (That's not a rhetorical question.)

                                                        1. re: tubman

                                                          first of all, I did not state the reason for my opinion for the reason of redundancy. I was taught that a tip is rendered for a service rendered. It took no skill or effort on the server's part to add a tax to my bill, therefore no tip on the tax. If indeed I were to tip on the tax, it should go to the cashier and/or accountant who deals with such funds.

                                                          Since you asked directly, I frankly don't care what sort of message I am sending the server. I am the customer. I care what message the server is sending me. If the server cannot understand the personal decision of tipping pre-tax, and thus gives me a nasty look, I am only uncomrftable in that I gave them a decent tip at all. The server should understand, as you do, that there are different opinions out there regarding this particular issue.

                                                          1. re: tubman

                                                            That is the server's problem. The main value in these threads is to wisen up servers that, if they think the universal tipping custom in the US is 20% post-tax, they are incorrect and can save themselves a lot of perception grief if they realize that, in much of the US, the longstanding custom of 15% pre-tax is still what many patrons are working on.

                                                            1. re: Karl S

                                                              If in a contest with the server, I can see your point.

                                                              But since servers have one of the hardest jobs in the world, a job I would not want, I am more than happy to tip 20% post tax, and sometimes more in recognition of and out of appreciation for htem.

                                                              1. re: dolores

                                                                Please, there are thousands upon thousands of jobs that are more grueling.; let's not melodramatize table service - it disserves everyone (pun intended).

                                                                I come at this from the perspective of helping servers manage their expectations. Tipping is a matter of custom. Some servers think the custom has changed to the extent that they set their expectations accordingly. As is said in recovery, expectations are pre-meditated resentments. The person in charge of managing his or her resentment is the server, not the customer.

                                                                1. re: Karl S

                                                                  True, but this is a food board and the subject is servers and tipping. I could not put in the grueling day they do.

                                                                  And happily tip them 20% and more. They deserve it.

                                                                2. re: dolores

                                                                  One of the toughest jobs in the world? Oh please. They aren't mining coal, a manual laboror in China with zero health & safety protections, in a steel mill, or working an oil platform in the North Sea!

                                                                  Schoolteachers are underpaid. Why don't you slip some money in the pockets of some of your local heroes if you wish to be the great equalizer of fair pay? And within the restaurant, it is the cooks who are underpaid.

                                                                  50 years ago 10% was considered a fair tip fir good service. Then it was 15%, now it's 20. I predict that in a few years it will be 25%. With the rise in menu prices over the years alongside this, yes, Virginia, it is a well-paid field.

                                                                  I am a very appreciate and generous tipper. I am also fair, meaning the server in Oregon (no sales tax) will get the same tip from me as the one in Washington (tax).

                                                                  1. re: Leonardo

                                                                    This is a food board, and the underpaid personnel in restaurants are the servers.

                                                                    As such, they deserve my gratitude and my very appreciative tipping.

                                                                    1. re: dolores

                                                                      Actually, in a restaurant, the servers make the most money of all. The cooks make the least, as they get a low hourly wage and are not tipped.

                                                                      1. re: manraysky

                                                                        As I've read, but I can't tip the cook, or I would. The best I can do is tip the server generously, and this will trickle down to the bussers and the others.

                                                                        1. re: dolores

                                                                          You absolutely can tip the cooks and the dishwashers and the other line cooks who make a *lot* less. All you do is either write it on your credit card slip or give an extra amount to your server and specifically say, "this is for the guys in the kitchen" or whatever. Without specifying an amount to the people other than your server, whether your generous tip makes it down to the bussers, runners or back to the back of the house is dependent on how the server shares tips and the practices of the restaurant with respect to the sharing of tips. If you want to make sure, take some of your 20% away from the server (who is well paid regardless of how hard you think they are working) and give it to the folks sweating away in back for minimum wage. As one of the formerly sweaty people, I can tell you in the restaurant I worked in, we never got a portion of the servers' tips. When I bussed tables, however, the servers did share with me. I have no idea if that's standard practice in most restaurants, however.

                                                                          1. re: farmersdaughter

                                                                            I'll have to try that, next time I'm in a restaurant. However, I'll continue my 20% plus to the servers, and give some cash to the server to give to the guys/gals in the kitchen. Then next time I'm in the restaurant, I'll ask if they got it.

                                                                            If they do, I'll have to start doing this for all cooks and chefs. Good idea, farmersdaughter.

                                                                            1. re: dolores

                                                                              Great! I know they will appreciate it immensely. We all need to remember those people, from the prep cooks to the dishwashers, as an integral part of the team.

                                                                              1. re: farmersdaughter

                                                                                This is the first tipping thread I've read, and I was tickled to find this idea referenced. I recently had such an outstanding meal (one dish, made just for our table, especially) that I decided to slip the maitre d' some cash "for the kitchen." It didn't feel quite right to give it to the server (who we tipped a bit better than 20% on the total bill via credit card) for some reason, but I was able to sidle over to the MD and hand it to him discreetly. He was very gracious and indicated those staffers would be pleased, so I guess the amount was okay. I arbitrarily decided on an amount that was really a token, in retrospect, and had more to do with what folding money I had in my wallet than anything else. Now if you're still reading, farmersdaughter, thanks for "justifying" my impulsive action :-). Can you tell me your thoughts on how to decide what amount to give the kitchen?

                                                                                1. re: grayelf

                                                                                  I'm glad to hear you did this and I can guarantee they were pleased. Even a $10 tip to the folks in back would be appreciated, I'm sure. When I've done this it's been in the $10 to $20 range, depending on the total bill.

                                                                                2. re: farmersdaughter

                                                                                  Serving definitely is an extremely stressful job. Are there more stressful jobs out there? Absolutely! But let's not devalue the hard work and stress that a server experiences. And they are the lest paid in a restaurant. Cooks hardly every make minimum wage at a restaurant, and their wages aren't based on how well they do their job--or how well others' in the kitchen do their jobs. But a server is paid pennies over $2.00 an hour, and they rely on the generosity of their patrons for their income, and are often nit-picked even when things that went wrong aren't quite their fault. Servers face some of the hardest scrutiny and deal with some of the most demanding folks. It SHOULDN'T be one of the most stressful jobs, but it is. Because they don't have the management OR the guests on their sides.

                                                                                  Unless you've ever been a server, you really can't judge the difficulty of the job. To do so is pure foolishness.

                                                                            2. re: dolores

                                                                              actually, there is a mexican seafood restaurant that i go to frequently.
                                                                              i know the cook enjoys red wine.
                                                                              so, in addition to tipping the server, i often bring a bottle of red wine to thank the cook.

                                                                          2. re: dolores

                                                                            Dolores: servers get my gratitude & very appreciative tipping too. The only difference is that you and I differ in our opinions over what that means in practice.

                                                                      2. re: Karl S

                                                                        Karl S--I feel fairly comfortable that servers don't need our "education" that tipping practices vary regionally, indeed, restaurant to restaurant. Knowing broadly that practices vary is no help to them whatsoever; knowing what the practice is in their restaurant, neighborhood or region is what is useful to them, and they sure as heck know the answer to that question to a much finer point than they could gather from this or any Chowhound thread. I am not criticizing your tipping practices (though full-disclosure, minimum 20% post-tax barring real problems), but the unstated concern here is that if enough people disagree with you, the tipping behaviors of customers and expectations of servers will not be so easily dismissed as regional variations and those who do tip 15% pre-tax will have increasingly less cover and will be more visibly out of step with broadly accepted practice. I do think you're fighting a losing battle to prevent your end of the spectrum from eventually being viewed more generally as "cheap", but at least barring a total overhaul of server compensation, nobody will actually force you to tip more.

                                                                        1. re: planetjess

                                                                          Um, you presume too much about my tipping practice. I am more generous than you. That said, I don't feel entitled to look down on the vast majority of people who don't tip that way. I don't think it's much of a battle, btw - people's tipping customs are pretty resilient and impervious to those who think they should tip more.

                                                                          1. re: Karl S

                                                                            My apologies for misunderstanding, or confusing your practices with those of another poster. However, I certainly don't look down on the amount that people tip (while feeling strongly that our culture of tipping more than a mere nominal amount should be respected by those who come from other types of tipping cultures)--I feel like it reaches the appropriate equilibrium, particularly where someone is a return customer, of service level, customer experience and tipping percentage, with the unavoidable outliers always present. What tends to bother me is the attitude toward servers and the use of the tip as a hair-trigger punishment mechanism--in my experience, this attitude sometimes, but certainly not always, coincides with those who tip at the lower end of the spectrum. I stand by my point that servers don't need us to let them in on the fact that tipping practices vary--the learning curve on that for servers is quick and steep, and they have both the broader sample size and most direct access to empirical evidence.

                                                                            1. re: planetjess

                                                                              Well, I have to say I disagree. On these kinds of threads on these boards, there have been many many servers who appear to operate under the delusion that 20% on the post-tax total is a universally understood norm and that patrons who tip less than that are either cheap or unhappy with the service provided. It's far from universal - in fact, I see little evidence that it has become even dominant. And it's a lot easier to disabuse them of that delusion, since there are far fewer servers than customers.

                                                                              1. re: Karl S

                                                                                And in turn, I disagree. I think what you are chalking up to delusion is much more likely be a reflection of either a) that tipping practices in these servers' restaurants and neighborhoods have shifted toward a 20% norm (they are in a much better position to evaluate this than we are, since we don't know where they work specifically or, in many cases, even very generally); or b) that servers are not stupid--it is in their self-interest to maintain that such a norm shift has occurred even if it has not or is only in progress, and may perhaps be a more effective rhetorical tool than appeals to generosity or better natures.

                                                                                1. re: planetjess

                                                                                  Your explanation fails to explain why servers wonder how their service was lacking.

                                                                                  1. re: Karl S

                                                                                    Since you don't point to a particular post, I will take a guess that you are referring to some query from a server along the lines of "I am getting tipped only 15%; am I doing something wrong?" If that's what you're referring to, my explanation was not aimed at responding to such a post (as it was aimed at responding to yours), but it certainly is not mutually exclusive with servers asking that question. Perhaps the server was doing something wrong. Then again, perhaps the norm in that server's restaurant and area really is 15% and for some reason the server has never had a single conversation with one of his or her co-workers or observed any other tipping practices in or near where he or she works. Thing is, I see a lot more posters on here proclaiming that they tip at least 20% than servers wondering how their service is lacking in the specific context of a consistent 15% tip revenue stream (not to be confused with threads discussing variations in diner preference or about one-off experiences with particular patrons--any server who needs to be told that some people will give them bad tips no matter what they do and isolated service screw-ups happen to everyone at some point, are beyond our help).

                                                                                    1. re: planetjess

                                                                                      I am covering years of these threads. This one is old and overripe, but these tipping miscommunication threads go back over a decade. They've happily become less frequent in the past half year, but they used to pop up bimonthly, or so it seemed.

                                                                                      1. re: Karl S

                                                                                        You will receive no argument from me that a server posting such a question in 1999 would have been less realistic in measuring his performance in the expectation of a 20% tip baseline than a server making such an assessment today. Or at any time in between. Such is the effect of an upward-trending shift in tipping practices.

                                                                                        1. re: planetjess

                                                                                          And, post bubble, any such trend is likely to reverse.

                                                                                          1. re: Karl S

                                                                                            I don't see people tipping any less. I covered a bar shift the other night and tips have not changed and I haven't heard any of my server friends saying the percentage they receive has gone down. This is in Manhattan. The norm is still 20%.

                                                                                            1. re: Karl S

                                                                                              Check totals, yes, for a while. Covers, yes. Tipping percentages? Not sure. Even in these tighter times, I don't know a lot of people who take their economic woes out on their servers--they just dine out less frequently, at less expensive restaurants, and order more conservatively. I guess we'll see--we don't really have any evidence to base an assumption on yet unless you want to look to post-tech bubble, but I have a feeling that the fact that tipping practices didn't reverse at that point wouldn't be persuasive to you. We don't have a true economic analogue to look for that is readily applicable to the current restaurant model.

                                                                                              1. re: planetjess

                                                                                                We're still early in the post-bubble correction.

                                                                                                Before World War II (and even after in some places), tipping was generally 10% - and there are still elderly folks who adhere to that rule they learned from their parents in their youth.

                                                                                                Manhattan has at least since the 1970s been 5% higher than the rest of the US - a standard that migrated to other dining meccas. So when I read that 20% is still common in Manhattan, I am reading that Manhattan hasn't changed from the 1970s.

                                                                                                1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                  I'm confused as to how your example above indicates that we are going to see a reverse in tipping practice trends--I don't think anyone is under the misapprehension that tipping percentages haven't increased since the 1940s (never mind that the restaurant industry and how Americans used it 70 years ago bears sufficiently little resemblance to the restaurant marketplace of today as to not be very helpful as a predictor).

                                                                                                  1. re: planetjess

                                                                                                    We're having our first deflationary period since before WW2. I see no reason to assume that tipping percentages will somehow be immune to typical reactions to a deflationary environment. They might prove more resilient, but I would not assume they will.

                                                                                                    1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                      I'm still confused. First of all, what were tipping percentages prior to the deflationary period prior to WWII? That's necessary information for even the barest extrapolation. What was the percentage of discretionary income spent on restaurant dining? What were the wages paid to servers? Second, I also don't get an indication from your explanation what you consider to be a "typical reaction to a deflationary environment." Do you just mean cutting spending? What is particularly deflation-reactive about re-distributing one's discretionary spend between tip and check rather than eating out less frequently at restaurants one is better able to afford? As I mentioned, I'm not sure what the effect of the current environment may be in the long term, but I think it's premature and unsupported (so far) to assume that a trend reversal is "likely".

                                                                                                      ETA: As an addendum to one of my earlier posts--I don't look down on people for tipping less than 20%. But I would very nearly hold in contempt somebody who, in response to these difficult times, determines he needs to cut his restaurant spend by 5% and so continues to order the steak and lobster but gets his 5% savings out of the tip.

                                                                                                      1. re: planetjess

                                                                                                        You noted a trend in the past decade for upward adjustment of tipping percentages, during a period largely acknowledged to have been a bubble in many places. I am merely noting that what may have gone up in some places might also go down in a very different environment in those places. That's all. You don't need correlation to undertand this.

                                                                                                        1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                          No, but I do need information about what the tipping percentages were before the pre-WWII deflationary period to understand whether you're even providing a single example (however inapposite) of tipping percentages going down. You are the one stating that a reversal is "likely", while providing no evidence to support it. Saying that the standard was 10% after the last deflationary period says nothing at all without the information from before that deflationary period to compare the 10% to, except to indicate that the upward trend in tipping percentages has been going on for a lot longer than 10 years. Don't know when and over what period the 10% to 15% shift occurred--I'd think it probably wasn't in the late 1920s, but since I have no actual facts on the topic, I wouldn't like to just guess.

                                                              2. When I added up my sales for the night, tax was included. If the register kept track, the sales total in the computer included the taxes. Then I had to claim a percentage of this sales total as tips. If my tips came out to less than 15%, I definitely felt I'd had a bad day.

                                                                1. Ok folks, thanks for replying to my post. This has been interesting in deed. Some called it "dumb"; yet, others called it "freedom of choice." I see both sides of the coin and appreciate the debating prowess.

                                                                  Now, to bigger and better things such as truffle salt. Why pay for fake stuff mixed with regular salt? Just kidding, don't answer that - this is a "Not About Food" thread.

                                                                  1. Out of curiosity, I went to the Emily Post etiquette site and she specifies that an appropriate tip on sit-down dining is 15-20% PRE-tax: http://www.emilypost.com/everyday/tip....

                                                                    1. Believe me, if you want to return to the restaurant, if the service is what you expect or exceeds, you should tip correctly !5% to 20% of the total of the bill, period, we don't make the rules, you just have to play by them. You will never know what evils servers are capable of. If you are a poor tipper to the same server, you could be eating spit every visit.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: waitress

                                                                        As a server myself that is definitely not true. I have worked in the industry for many years and have never heard of anyone doing that for 15% pre-tax. In fact since one can never be sure how a customer will tip that is what the server will look for first, "oh, there you go they did a 15% pre-tax; look they rounded down as well." That's the only way to survive.

                                                                        1. re: waitress

                                                                          Sorry, I've worked a lot of tables over the years & never worked with a server who would do that. Many places were so busy that you just picked up the tip & looked at it later. I never really wanted to know who was a good & who was a bad tipper. Didn't want a poor tip to change my mood for the evening nor did I want to chance that the knowledge might affect my performance if I waited on them in the future. Now I would remember who was a PITA - don't care whether they tip good or bad! Knowing who was a poor tipper didn't help in the future - they still could be put in your section again. A server is there to provide a service, and like anything else it (hopefully) is being done to the best of the individuals ability. Sometimes the customer responds with generosity, sometimes not. There are quite a few lovely people who are very appreciative but still think 10% is the norm (especially in retirement and tourist areas). It all evened out as long as there was traffic in the place. I've said it before on these boards: the take home pay for a server is a crap shoot - if you can't live with the gamble choose another form of livelihood. Don't take your displeasure out on the customer - a tip is made at their prerogative.
                                                                          (Edit) BTW, I always assumed tip would be calc'd on the pre-tax total. Once in a while customers would ask for help in figuring the tip. Not being comfortable telling them how much to leave, I always explained how to use the tax as an easy starting point in the math.

                                                                        2. There's no way I'm tipping on what until a year ago was 15% tax (13% now) and 10% liquor tax. Sorry, that's starting to get out of control.

                                                                          1. Proper etiquette is to tip on the *pre* tax total. Personally, I always tip on the post-tax amount. It really isn't all that much more, and since I am a waiter I know how much other waiters make.

                                                                            1. i think it's kidna crazy to argue over 1.5% [about the difference in pre-post
                                                                              tax tip, i.e. $1.50 per $100 of the bill] ... since that is more than swamped by
                                                                              the rounding I do ...

                                                                              Say my bill is $42.46 pretax -> $45.96 post tax. And I'm happy enough with
                                                                              the service to use a "20% basis". I'd probably do something like this:
                                                                              Take 45.96, turn that into $45, then take 20% or 1/5 of that which is 40/5 + 5/5 =
                                                                              8+1 = 9. The I'd add that to 46+9 = $55. I guess if I was especially happy I might
                                                                              add to the "basis" amount, although that is more likely if the final bill is like $54 -> $55.

                                                                              I really dont care if the waiter decides that is a 21.29% tip [pretax] or 19.97% tip [posttax].

                                                                              Although I'd probably find it kinda amazing to learn the waiter calculated the percentage
                                                                              to more than 1 sig digit past the decimal point. Do you guys actually calculate tips down
                                                                              to the penny? If you are rouding to even 50cents, this question is moot except for
                                                                              pretty large bills ... and surely in those cases it's a little silly to worry about a $5 on
                                                                              a $400 dinner.

                                                                              Anyway, it seems to be if you want to argue first and second order factors, you should
                                                                              also factor in the tip credit. See e.g.:

                                                                              Cant we get back to talking about "uncapped linear tips" on high end wine? :-)

                                                                              1. I tip on the bill "after taxes" this is my way of helping the server pay the nightly taxes they have to declare at the end of each shift. If my extra 1.00 helps defray their tax burden then the more power to me... I waited tables/tended bar for over 30 years and appreciated each and every penny I made. I also tend to tip more along 25% range unless the service is awful then you get 20%...

                                                                                I have to say- women are the cheapest tippers around and I have 30 years of experience with tipping to back up my statement, let alone a mother and girlfriends who prove it to me over and over again each time we go out...

                                                                                If your nickel and diming a waitperson over the 5% tax on your bill then I am sure that you are not the great 18-20% tipper you believe yourself to be. If the bill was 50.00 with a 5% meal tax of 2.50- the additional tip you would be paying if you tipped on the :taxed" bill would be FIFTY CENTS! GET OVER IT PEOPLE- STAY HOME IF YOUR THAT CHEAP!

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: MeffaBabe

                                                                                  I would not call those people cheap. I would call them patrons, in whose absence some of those server jobs may go away.

                                                                                  Since I often eat alone, I tend to tip up a lot. But I will not look down my nose at all what is probably the majority of people who think the customary tip is 15% pretax. And I think calling them cheap and trying to shame them however indirectly into getting with a new program is a really poor way to go about things. I cannot think of anything more likely to worsen tips than what amounts to a campaign by servers and their friends to classify well-intentioned patrons as beneath serving. It's one of the reasons I post so often on these tipping threads - because the hostility towards patrons at least matches that directed at servers, often more so. And it's not a reciprocal relationship - people can eat at home; servers cannot earn a living at home.

                                                                                2. We went to a nice restaurant Friday night, and when we received our check they had a handy feature at the bottom where it gave suggested amount for the tip at 15%, 20% and 25%. I looked it over and it didn't seem right to me. It was a lower tip than the total of the bill. There was a manger in the room that had introduced himself to us earlier, so I called him over and asked. He said the tip was based on the pre-tax amount, not the total, because the tax was not theirs to keep. That goes back to the government. I told him that I had always thought you tip on the total, and he said most people assume that, and that's fine, but not necessary. It wasn't considered part of the restaurant revenues in the first place. So I still tipped 20%, and threw in a bit extra, because it was very good service, so all in all I probably tipped on the total, but I got this issue cleared up, in my mind anyway.

                                                                                  1. As a server, I never expect to be tipped on the total after tax, but am pleasantly surprised when I am. As a customer, I do not have a rigid tipping policy, except to be as generous as I can and as the service warrants. I usually tip after the taxes.

                                                                                    1. Having worked in the business I have a lot of compassion for those that still do. For good service I generally tip between 20% and 25% on the total bill. I never understood the concept of parsing through the check as if you were itemizing deductions on an income tax form. As was said earlier, whats a few more bucks? You may say that "it should not cover what goes to Uncle Sam." but that really doesn't make sense. That extra money goes to the staff. Another thing to consider is the wait staff have long memories. I'm especially generous at places I frequent regularly, and it makes a difference.

                                                                                      1. I always tip on the pre-tax amount because I am tipping the wait staff not the restaurant. But I also try to tip in cash because, as everyone who has ever waited tables knows, very few wait staff declare all their cash tips. So a cash tip may be more beneficial, and they get the tip that day. If you add it onto the credit card balance or bank card balance, they may not see the tip until the books are done at the end of the month. And in some places restaurants are obligated to withhold taxes on tips they process.

                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: pengcast

                                                                                          Why in the world should I help a server to evade paying taxes on income they make by tipping them in cash so they don't have to declare it and pay their fair share? They don't get paid for a couple of weeks because I charged it? Too bad so sad. Welcome to my world, where sometimes I don't get for my hard work until months later.
                                                                                          I am flabbergasted by all the prescriptions and dogma I see on these tipping threads.
                                                                                          If I don't tip at least 20% without fail unless service is atrocious (if server is unconciounably rude or incompetent I am permitted to reduce to a lowly 15%), if I charge the tip, or if I don't base tip on taxed amount, according to some I should stay home. If all customers who fail this litmus test stayed home and never dined out, we'd see 75% of today's restaurants close down.

                                                                                          1. re: pengcast

                                                                                            Why would you want to enable someone to cheat on their taxes? That's indirectly stealing from all of us (US readers) here and everywhere really. That's a long running debate between the SO & I. She puts "cash" on the tip line and pays in cash just for this reason, I put the tip on the CC just so they *can't* cheat.

                                                                                            1. re: jgg13

                                                                                              Any server who cheats on his tips is likely to be audited these days.

                                                                                          2. I tip like others here, except that I also take my race into consideration.

                                                                                            My tipping habits have changed over the years. I grew up and lived in the Midwest until I was a young adult. Like most people I grew up with (mixed-race suburban community), I used to tip 15% for ordinary service, more for extraordinary service. And having read, as others here have, that the Miss Mannerses of the world advise that the pre-tax basis is appropriate, I used to tip based on the pre-tax total.

                                                                                            Then, when I moved to NYC, I learned that many people here tip 17%-20% post-tax (17% = double the tax, a simple calculation). At about the same time, I was dating a Chinese restaurant worker who told me that people of my race are usually viewed as very poor tippers by waitstaff, who tend to dislike being assigned to our tables as a result. I was shocked to hear this and initially wondered (a) whether this was true and (b) whether it was limited to Chinese restaurants.

                                                                                            Some years later I heard it reported that a study had confirmed there is a racial difference in tipping and that it contributes to how restaurant workers treat customers.

                                                                                            As a result, I now tip 20% after tax (rounded up to the nearest dollar), sometimes considerably more if I really like the place and want to be treated well there on future visits.

                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: racer x

                                                                                              Of course, there can be a feedback loop in these perception stories. Perhaps many servers already gave service with a less positive attitude to minorities, thus earning lower tips and creating an expectation of discriminatory service on the part of those customers, et cet. Studies don't really treat proximate causality - it can work both ways.

                                                                                              1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                No doubt. But be that as it may, the individual customer still has to deal with those perceptions. How do you break the cycle, other than by tipping at a higher rate?

                                                                                                1. re: racer x

                                                                                                  The only way to exit a feedback loop is to actually exit it and not be co-dependent with it. Tip normally, and don't overcompensate. Overcompensating for the perception feedback loop is dysfunctional, albeit understandable.

                                                                                                  1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                    I don't think racer x is overcompensating. 20% is still normal, although at the high end of normal, rather than the mid to low end. If he said he started tipping one-third to one-half, i would say he is overcompensating. I too have switched from double the tax, round up (double the tax is 16.750% pre tax) to 20% flat on total, mainly because I see from boards like these what servers often have to put up with. However, I also consider the fact that as a middle aged woman I am also considered a low tipper and want to do my bit to end that perception. Most of my woman friends tip similarly, but when I do find myself among poor tippers, I do push gently to nudge the tip up. I may not get them to 20% but at least we are not at the 15% pre tax to the penny.

                                                                                                2. re: Karl S

                                                                                                  "Of course, there can be a feedback loop in these perception stories. Perhaps many servers already gave service with a less positive attitude to minorities, thus earning lower tips and creating an expectation of discriminatory service on the part of those customers, et cet. Studies don't really treat proximate causality - it can work both ways."

                                                                                                  I think you're right on the money. There are way, way too many servers with that attitude, and it's a self-fulfilling prophecy in my experience. My mom taught me to treat everyone equally well, and to consider the cause behind a person's actions before leaping to judgements. That isn't to say that I wasn't often frustrated by poor tips from some guests, but I I can't remember drawing any correlation between a guest's tip and their skin color. I do think that, generally speaking, the tip a guest leaves mostly correlates with their attitude (the guest's.) I would say probably most of my tips would have been given regardless of the kind of service they received.

                                                                                              2. It's interesting to read how much disagreement there is on whether to tip pre or post tax, considering, as others have pointed out, how few dollars and cents the difference makes.

                                                                                                I've traveled to India a number of times over the years, and have always felt uncomfortable trying to decide whether and how much to tip in Indian restaurants. My Indian friends who live in India tell me they never tip, or only for exceptional service, and then only a few rupees. Some Europeans and Australians also say they never tip in India. One poster an the international web forum wrote, "The only people who tip in India are generally Americans who have been brainwashed by their society." People of similar mind argue that we Americans are ruining the local standards by creating a new expectation.

                                                                                                We, on the other hand, while wishing to respect local customs, are also painfully aware of how much more the restaurant staff could use the money than us (especially considering how small an expenditure a tip is relative to the cost of a flight from the US to India).

                                                                                                I'm curious as to whether there is a correlation between how one feels about restaurant tipping pre vs post tax and how one feels about leaving a tip in the little cups on the counter that have become ubiquitous (at least in NYC) in other sorts of shops.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: racer x

                                                                                                  >I've traveled to India a number of times over the years,
                                                                                                  >and have always felt uncomfortable trying to decide
                                                                                                  >whether and how much to tip in Indian restaurants.
                                                                                                  me too ... note also though, i am indian.

                                                                                                  i generally do leave a tip. here are the factors that play into it:
                                                                                                  -in many places service is really horrible. to the point of pissing me
                                                                                                  off. like say 6 people get 1 menu. you ask for more menus and
                                                                                                  then you get one more. food come out of logical order, some
                                                                                                  people dishes are massively delayed etc
                                                                                                  i leave a pretty low tip in these places.

                                                                                                  --if service is even so-so, i'll leave a decent trip ... you are absolutely
                                                                                                  right even Rs 50 is $1, Rs 100 is $2.50. ok maybe the wiaters
                                                                                                  think you are a chump but you know what? they also know you make
                                                                                                  100x ... maybe 500x ... as much as they do.

                                                                                                  --often i have to up the tip because the "local standard" on the patron
                                                                                                  side is to really treat the staff shabbily ... like yell across the room practically
                                                                                                  snapping their fingers and asking for something. at least they dont address
                                                                                                  the waiter as "boy".

                                                                                                  --i've run up some big bills in restos there taking a lot of family [say 15-20]
                                                                                                  out to eat ... serving a table like that is a huge pain. there is no way i could
                                                                                                  not tip in those cases.

                                                                                                  one problem there tho is normalizing tips ... like i have no idea how they
                                                                                                  split tips when they are rare or yur tip is 20x the avg "keep the change" tip.
                                                                                                  or what is fair tip for a person who performs "extended serivice" [say you
                                                                                                  stay some where for 2 weeks and you are assigned a cook] vs a one shot
                                                                                                  thing ... say serves your table for 8. i think the extended service people end
                                                                                                  up getting short changed in my estimation ... some of those people provide
                                                                                                  really amazing serivice, so if its a little unfair if the contracted compensation
                                                                                                  you are obligated to leave somebody redering lousy service is within 5% of
                                                                                                  what you'ld give for cheerful, great service]. i personaly hate being waited on
                                                                                                  but DIY isnt often an option while travelling in india.

                                                                                                  what i wanted to ask was: is the no-tipping custom also the case at
                                                                                                  the really pricey places? say above Rs1500/person? i really cant
                                                                                                  bring myself to go to a place like that in india. not so much becase
                                                                                                  i can get a perfectly good meal for Rs 40 [or even less], but because
                                                                                                  i'd feel bad ... i also feel bad paying Rs 60 for a fancy coffee there
                                                                                                  or spending money on liquor.

                                                                                                  i have to say i'd be shocked if people didnt tip at the kinds of
                                                                                                  restos in the "grand hotels" and such.

                                                                                                  1. re: psb

                                                                                                    When I'm the one paying the bill, I pretty much always tip at restaurants in India - I just fret over whether it's the proper thing to do. In the high-end, grand hotel-type restaurants, my expectations of the quality of service are much higher than at the 40-rupees places, so I am more likely to tip at a lower rate in the expensive restaurants if service isn't up to snuff. At less-expensive places I am more inclined to disregard minor slips in service (but then, that's probably the same as it is here at home). I only rarely eat at the 1500Rs/person places though ...

                                                                                                2. i tip on the total. usually 20 percent. i'm getting a little unhappy about the hit i take on wine. this problem will only grow as i get a little more adventuresome with wine selections (my own). i haven't figured all this out just yet but it is beginning to stick in my craw.

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: steve h.

                                                                                                    Last Friday night was the first time I consciously did not tip on the total after tax and primarily it was because the service was very slow. This place is a regular of ours and we had a group of 10 and the bill was $800. Here the meals tax is 11.5% (or in this case roughly $90 of the tab). With better service I probably would have tipped 20%+ on the total but ended up tipping $150. A couple of days later I found out the waitress complained about the tip.

                                                                                                    1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                      The waitress was deluding herself that she received an inadequate tip. Below about $110, OK to complain, as the customary tip would range anywhere from about there (which would be slightly more than 15% on the pretax total) to $160 (20% on the posttax total). You were well into in the upper part of the customary range. Had the server a better understanding of the customary range, she could have saved herself unnecessary grief.

                                                                                                  2. If a waiter gave me a dirty look because I didn't tip enough, I'd feel like "Yeah, that's the attitude that deserved the lower tip!" When I was a young waitress - many years ago - the standard tip was 15%. When did it change to 20%? Is it about to go up to 25%? Who sets the rate of the standard tip? I don't want to be stingy, but I don't want to be a chump either. Help!

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: vicsailgarden

                                                                                                      I agree completely. Why, with tips rising due to rising prices, does the percentage need to rise too? Though, for simplicity's sake, I just round the tax up to the nearest dollar and then double it. So it ends up in the range of 18% more or less. If the service is particularly good or bad I adjust up or down. Also, it the bill is especially low, as in a diner or for a low-priced prix-fixe brunch, I tip at least 20% because I feel bad if a server gets paid a lot less because they work in an inexpensive restaurant. I am a repeat customer at many restaurants and the staff always treat me very well so I can't imagine they think I am stingy.

                                                                                                      1. re: vicsailgarden

                                                                                                        I'm not sure I agree that tips should be going up either. I always thought that a tip was based on service? Unless service has improved I don't see myself paying more for a tip. I guess you have to determine what the value of the service is.

                                                                                                        I usually just double the tax, and round to the nearest dollar when I tip. At a nicer place I tend to tip more - but usually the service is better so deserves a better tip.

                                                                                                        Oh, and when I go out to sushi at my favorite place I tend to tip more too, it results in better pieces of fish. Shoudn't be this way, but that's the way it is.

                                                                                                      2. I tip any where from 10% - 20%, depending on service on total service amount of the bill. I never tip on tax, since it has nothing to do with the service. I'm not considered cheap by any stretch of the imagination by any of my friends or family, just practicle. Also the more the bill the less the tip. On a $400 service bill, I;m not tipping $80, but I may tip $50-$60. On the other hand on the $80 dollar service bill I may tip up to $20. But never a tip on tax. Uncle Sam did not pour my water or wait on me. I pay him on April 15th.

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: bjkaufman

                                                                                                          >more the bill the less the tip ...
                                                                                                          >$400 service bill, I;m not tipping $80 ...
                                                                                                          you'ld tip the same about when 4 people run up $100 bills each
                                                                                                          as you would with 15 people running up a $25-$30 bill each?

                                                                                                          i dunno what part of the country you, your friends and family are in
                                                                                                          but in SF if 4 people went out to a $100 dinner, a $50 tip would
                                                                                                          be considered subpar.

                                                                                                          BTW, the pre/post tax tip difference on a 4people x $100 is a $1.50
                                                                                                          each ... less, if you feel 12.5% [$50 tip] is "reasonable".

                                                                                                          Once again, for non-large bills, the pre/post tax calculations are swamped
                                                                                                          by subdollar rounding [30cents on a $30 bill]. for large bills, does it really
                                                                                                          affect your evening if your dinner bill is $105 or $106.

                                                                                                          maybe i just have a crazy fondness for round numbers. i suspect the waiter
                                                                                                          understands i'm rounding, not worrying about pre-post tax etc.

                                                                                                          1. re: bjkaufman

                                                                                                            In many more expensive restaurants, the service is often better because the servers are responsible for fewer tables than in a cheaper restaurant. Moreover, the turnover of tables is often slower than at cheaper places. Therefore, the patrons should tip the same, or even a better percentage than they would at a less expensive establishment in order to compensate for those differences.

                                                                                                          2. As a variant, how do you you tip in a BYOB restaurant, esp if there is no corkage fee? Do you add a set amount to cover the added service for the wine? (glasses, pouring, sampling, eyc.) Do you add additional to the tip based on cost of the wine? Number of people drinking wine in the party? Bottles consumed? Or do you ignor the wine portion of the meal in determining the tip?

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: qwertop

                                                                                                              in a restaurant with no corkage fee, i tip about $5/bottle.

                                                                                                            2. From emilypost.com:
                                                                                                              Wait service
                                                                                                              (sit down)
                                                                                                              15-20% pre-tax

                                                                                                              Wait service (buffet)

                                                                                                              No obligation
                                                                                                              $10-$20 on occasion, if you are a regular patron

                                                                                                              Take Out
                                                                                                              No obligation
                                                                                                              0-10% if the person went above normal service

                                                                                                              $1 per drink or 15-20% or tab

                                                                                                              Tipping jars
                                                                                                              No obligation
                                                                                                              tip occasionally if you are a regular or if the person went above normal service

                                                                                                              Restroom Attendant
                                                                                                              $0.50-$3, depending on service


                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: samurai98

                                                                                                                Where does Emily Post come up with her calculations? I disagree with some of them. Take-out is time-consuming and often done by servers who also have other tables to worry about. Getting your take-out order ready sometimes interferes with their ability to provide their tables with the best service. Their total night's sales includes take-out, so their tip-out and taxes paid includes the amounts from that portion. You should be tipping at least 10% for take-out.

                                                                                                                I do agree about the tip-out jars, though. They annoy me a lot. But if you're going to frequent that place, it's wise to drop at least a couple bucks in there.

                                                                                                              2. You know, I've slogged my way through many tipping threads on CH, and the one conclusion I can draw is that there is absolutely nothing rational about the entire system of tipping servers, so it's impossible to comment rationally on any aspect of it. 10% or 20%, pre-tax or after-tax, different for wine or the same for wine, sit down or takeout--you can argue forever, because it's all senseless. Wouldn't we all love it if restaurants paid all their employees appropriately, set prices to reflect that, and prohibited tipping, so that the business transaction aspect of dining was no different than the business transaction aspect of seeing a movie or buying shoes? And best of all, there would be no more tipping threads!

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: MommaJ

                                                                                                                  ....and what a bleak boring world that would be!

                                                                                                                2. I think the 15% is crap all together.

                                                                                                                  You are paying for a service. The effort one makes in giving you an enjoyable experience at a restaurant.

                                                                                                                  Whats the difference between two waiters who refill your drink once and only takes your order and gets your food, just because one restaurant charges twice as much for the steak? Is one of the waiters giving better service because you paid for better meat?

                                                                                                                  Here are the questions I ask when leaving a tip.

                                                                                                                  Were they nice?
                                                                                                                  Did they interrupt my conversations (i go for food and friends, not a stranger trying to beg for money) ?
                                                                                                                  How long did I stay?
                                                                                                                  Was the waiter full; does me being there prevent someone else from being at his table?
                                                                                                                  How much work did he have to do/ did he do for me?
                                                                                                                  Did they let my drink go empty?

                                                                                                                  All these things effect my tipping.

                                                                                                                  If I am at a restaurant only drinking coffee for a few hours, ill probably tip 1500%.

                                                                                                                  But sometimes ill go to a restaurant and order a water (not because im cheap, but i like water with most my meals) and the waiter never refills it, he might end up getting a 5% tip.

                                                                                                                  Server brings me food mentally im thinking $2-3 per plate. Brings me water, there is a dollar. Refills my water there is another dollar. Refilling my water yields as much money to the server from me as refilling my coke, i could give a crap that a soda costs more than water.

                                                                                                                  So my point is i don't tip on tax or total, but the service of the server. My tip range 5%-1500%.

                                                                                                                  And as a side point Tip is a crap concept, servers should be paid a wage accounted for in the price of the meal.

                                                                                                                  1. To keep it simple, I usually tip on the full amount, which most often includes the wine. If the wine-service is very good, then the sommelier will often find "something extra." When I get to odd figures, I round up.

                                                                                                                    Good friend, who is not cheap by any means, hits the calculator, figures the food/wine bill to the cent, and tips only what he feels is appropriate. I'm lazy, and do not carry a calculator with me, so I round up, tip, and possibly round up again, then live with it. Servers seem to like me, but if they have done a good job - fine.


                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                      I'm kinda with you Hunt. I used to worry about before/after tax, with/without booze but now I just go, hmm, total bill is $91.53, that's close to $100, I'll leave $25 because the service was on point. So much easier than trying to figure it out to the penny, especially after wine :-). But I'm not going to leave a tip if the service or food was bad, no matter what the amount of the bill is. And I'll usually try to let someone other than the server know why I stiffed them (if my oh-so-subtle hints during service haven't resulted in positive change), as I think they deserve a chance to improve and they can't do this if they aren't informed. I realize this approach may penalize BOH etc if tips are shared but it's the only way patrons have of "commenting" -- not paying for a sub-par food item is generally frowned upon around here anyway :-).

                                                                                                                      1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                        "But I'm not going to leave a tip if the service or food was bad"

                                                                                                                        Why would you stiff the server if you don't like the food? Your server didn't cook the food.

                                                                                                                        1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                          "not paying for a sub-par food item is generally frowned upon"

                                                                                                                          And I always explain why... like I said, not perfect but all we gots as consumers :-).

                                                                                                                          1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                            Not returning and telling your friends is how you "punish" the establishment. Stiffing your server if the service is adequate is just wrong.

                                                                                                                    2. I tip 15% on service unless it's exceptional. This is the amount I tipped when I was younger and the actual tip has evolved with restaurant prices. I see no reason to accelerate this evolution by boosting the tip percentage to 20%, 30% or 35%. I certainly think people who tip generously should be lauded for their kind behavior--although I often wonder how much is for the waitstaff and how much is showing off for their dinner companions. Let me put it this way: do you tip the (rare) gas station attendant who puts gas in your tank or wipes your windows? Do you tip the architect who built the building you entered. I just don't get it why servers are more entitled to tips than say doctors. Or lawyers. It's convention, right? In North America. Not most of the world. In Europe, tips are built into the check. In many developing countries, little or no tip is expected in most restaurants.

                                                                                                                      While I don't feel tipping is necessary, I go with the 15% to avoid a ruckus. But frankly, I rarely find service in any restaurant so exceptional as to merit additional payment.

                                                                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Bobgreen

                                                                                                                        My lawyer starts the meter at $300/hour. And yells at me more than any server has ever done ;-). When he brings that hourly figure down below minimum wage, I promise to tip him too...

                                                                                                                        1. re: Bobgreen

                                                                                                                          I don't know why I'm responding to an obvious troll post, but here goes. You're expected to tip here because your server makes a little over $2.00 an hour from the restaurant, and almost all of that goes right to Uncle Sam.

                                                                                                                          1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                                                                                                                            How does this apply to jurisdictions where there is a reasonable minimum wage, and severs earn close to the full minimum wage amount ($8.90 vs. $10.25)?

                                                                                                                            As an Ontarian, I sometimes wonder whether the practices described from the US here are as directly applicable as they might initially seem. I either dine with more miserly individuals than the average person here or the standards for tipping are lower than in the US.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Atahualpa

                                                                                                                              Atahualpa, most of this discussion is not applicable outside the US.

                                                                                                                              And even within the US, chowhounds' tipping practices may not be typical.

                                                                                                                              "I usually tip 20% for excellent restaurant service, 15% for solid service and 10% for bad service.

                                                                                                                              I thought I was being generous. Turns out that makes me, at best, an average tipper.

                                                                                                                              Tips have been on the rise for some time. During the 1950s, people commonly tipped 10% of the bill, says Michael Lynn of the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. By the 1970s and 1980s, the standard tip had risen to 15% of the tab. Nowadays, people commonly tip 15% to 20%, with the average tip about 18%."
                                                                                                                              Neal Templin, Wall Street Journal blog Oct 8, 2008

                                                                                                                              "The average tip in Chicago, servers and industry consultants say, remains roughly 18 percent, but European visitors still tip less (or not at all, gratuity being less common overseas)."
                                                                                                                              Christopher Borelli, Chicago Tribune May 1, 2008

                                                                                                                              "The Dec. 11-14, 2006 Gallup Lifestyle poll asked Americans what the appropriate percentage of a restaurant bill to leave as a tip is. The two most popular tipping amounts are 15%, named by 37% of Americans, and 20%, named by 34%. Another 15% is on the stingy side when it comes to tipping, saying the appropriate amount is less than 15%. On the other extreme, only 2% believe a tip in excess of 20% is appropriate.

                                                                                                                              All in all, the average recommendation for a restaurant tip is 16.2%."

                                                                                                                              This poll also found that wealthier people were more likely to say that 20%+ tips were appropriate compared to those with lower incomes. The poll further found that the preferred size of tips varies by gender.
                                                                                                                              Gallup Poll reported January 8, 2007

                                                                                                                              1. re: racer x


                                                                                                                                Interesting data, and thank you for sharing it.

                                                                                                                                Guess that I am at the upper-end of the tipping spectrum, or maybe I have been fortunate to have "above average" service.

                                                                                                                                Had an interesting one the other night. No mention was made of any gratuity being added, on the menu. Service was slightly above average, and I was prepared for 18 - 20%. The waiter presented the check and announced that there was a 15% gratuity added (party of four), with some fanfare. OK, 15% it was.

                                                                                                                                In many similar threads, mention has been made of "suggested gratuities," and I had little experience with that. Spent a few days at an Orlando, FL, USA, resort, and saw it many times. I X'ed those out, and just totally disregarded them, tipping what I felt was the appropriate amount. All of the "suggested gratuities" were based on the food, wine and tax. In a few cases, I went downscale, but due to the service. In a few, I actually went above the total, but again, that was based on the service.

                                                                                                                                Maybe it's my old engineering background, but we are not talking thermo-dynamics here. I can round up, factor a %, and tip on what I feel is right. I do not need a chart printed on my check. Maybe others do, so I cannot comment too strictly.

                                                                                                                                Again, thanks,


                                                                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                  Bill, you'd be shocked at how many people can't do simple math.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                                    You are probably correct in that. I do cheat, as I will round up, and then do the calculations. The ¢'s do not matter, and in the end, the single $'s are less of a consequence. As Bob Dylan penned and sang, "my money comes and goes... and flows through the holes in my pockets to my toes." I'd rather over-tip US$ 3, than stiff good service, even by 01¢.


                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                      Which is why, I'd wager, most servers love you. ;)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                                        Nah, it's 'cause I'm charming. However, when I think that I am "charming," I realize that I have had too much to drink. [Grin]


                                                                                                                          2. re: Bobgreen

                                                                                                                            You don't feel tipping is necessary?...what part of the country are you from

                                                                                                                            1. re: Bobgreen


                                                                                                                              I guess that we just dine in different restaurants. I find many, where the service is over the top, and tip accordingly. Just different places, I guess.



                                                                                                                            2. Has anyone mentioned that many restaurants automatically charge 15% tip on pre-tax totals when in a large party?

                                                                                                                              Just my 15%....

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: phongpei

                                                                                                                                It is typically 18% in Vancouver...

                                                                                                                                1. re: phongpei

                                                                                                                                  When there is a "service charge," I just factor that into the total. If things are just OK, I let that go for the tip. If things are great, then something else is likely to be added.

                                                                                                                                  Oh, and I always say "thank you," to all of my servers, just to let them know that I appreciate their work.


                                                                                                                                2. Wow, I never actually thought about this. First of all, I stink at arithmatic (not math, but that's another story). I usually tip roughly 20 percent, but it's never exact. When I lived in California, however, I tipped a bit less for one simple reason: The tax at the time (don't know what it is now) was 8.75 percent. I'd double that and maybe add a buck or two (depending on the restaurant, service, et cetera).

                                                                                                                                  I've waited tables a lot in the past in many types of restaurants, and I was never bent out of shape unless the tip dipped below about 15 percent (assuming no problems either of my other the restaurant's doing). That seemed to be the consensus.

                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Mestralle

                                                                                                                                    That 15% in the US is about where I start. Luckily for both me, and for the servers, I usually work up pretty quickly, though it does depend on many factors. Fortunately (for me), I have seldom felt that less than 15% was justified, though I have gone below, those were rare circumstances indeed.

                                                                                                                                    When it's all said and done, I ascribe to a paraphrase from Bob Dylan, "my money comes and goes, and flows through the holes in my pockets to my toes." A few extra $ here, will never break me. I tip liberally, and smile often with "thank yous" where deserved. If nothing else, it makes me happy to share what I have earned with folk who deserve it. [With that said, I guess that I need to point out that I am a conservative Republican, and do not feel compelled to pay for the world - just for good service.]

                                                                                                                                    I may never dine there again, but if the service is good, I want to reward that, and am glad to do so.

                                                                                                                                    OTOH, I take strong exception with a restaurant that charges me a £10/person cover charge, just to dine with them, regardless of what the exchange rate is. Add that to a 25% service charge, and the servers would have to detail my auto, while I am dining, to get one ¢ more. Though maybe not their fault, I do not enjoy getting hosed.


                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                      Always "overtip the breakfast server", just a personal philosophy, for my favorite breakfast place. Maybe that makes up a little for the moak who stiffs the server and takes all the "Splenda" coffee sweetner!!!!!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                                                        I wonder if those same folk also take the two rolls of toilet paper in the restroom?

                                                                                                                                        I've well over-tipped on just a pastry and a cup of coffee, because of the nice service and the cheerful greeting. The 15 - 20% tipping does not hold true for me, in many circumstances.


                                                                                                                                  2. Tipping for service state-side is pretty complex: 15 or 20 percent; before or after tax; if I decide on the $200 bottle of wine all by my lonesome, should that factor into the tip amount; my waiter added nothing to the meal, should he/she be compensated the same as competent folk; and so on.
                                                                                                                                    I"m not fond of the state-side tipping scale. Ever higher taxes make this an issue that should continue to be discussed.
                                                                                                                                    Just my $0.02.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: steve h.


                                                                                                                                      You make some great points, especially the ever rising taxes on restaurants in some places.

                                                                                                                                      I have a very bad feeling for where that is heading, but will reserve comments until it does - or it doesn't.


                                                                                                                                    2. I've never heard of anyone tipping on anything other than the bill's total, which includes tax. I guess I could see the principle some of you are using to justify tipping the pre-tax amount, but here's a little something to think about; At many places (and most, if not all, corporate restaurants) the amount of taxes the server has to pay (as well as their tip-out) is based on their total sales. Their total sales includes the taxes of every check (the very definition of the word "total.") So, if you're tipping on only the pre-tax portion of the check instead of the total, you're actually short-changing the server. If many people do that, it could add up to an extra $10-$20 that the server has to pay out of pocket because a few people decided to do something "on principle." And, let's be real here, the only affect your acting on that principle has is that the server has to pay taxes on money they didn't even earn. Logically speaking, that doesn't make sense. Don't use principles as an excuse to be cheap. If you feel that strongly about something, write to your congressman, or start a servers' union. Don't punish hard-working people because they work under unfair conditions.

                                                                                                                                      "The dirty looks are probably due to the self-entitled generation now assuming they have a right to post-tax tipping as well these days."

                                                                                                                                      If the server did their job, why wouldn't they be entitled to be paid for it? The "self-entitled generation" is characterized by their demand to receive things they didn't necessarily earn (money, car, good grades, a degree, respect, recognition, etc.) I totally know what you're talking about, the people you're referring to, but a hard worker wanting fair pay doesn't qualify.

                                                                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: MichelleRenee

                                                                                                                                        Wrong. Total sales do NOT count taxes.

                                                                                                                                        It's completely illegal to make a server pay taxes on taxes. Taxes are not earned income and therefore are not taxable. If your restaurant is doing this, they need to be reported to the IRS. Same goes with tip out.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                                          Wrong? I assure you, I'm 100% correct on that point. Or at least, that's how it was done when I was a server, about 7 years ago.

                                                                                                                                          I'm sure the restaurants I've worked at have done/do many illegal things! But, believe me, the amount of taxes we claimed, the amount we tip-out..... all included the tax on the bill. The tax is included in the money you have to pay to the management at the end of your shift. You have to fork over the TOTAL sales (minus credit card payments, but you must have the slips or else you pay that bill and lose the tip, as well) in cash at the end of the day. The way you know how much cash you owe is by printing a cash-out slip that tells you your total, the percentage amount you owe to the bar, and the percentage amount you owe to the host/hostesses. Illegal? You bet. We paid other employees wages using OUR taxable earnings. But there was little to be done about it other than to quit... where it would be the same at any other restaurant at that time.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: MichelleRenee

                                                                                                                                            It doesn't work like that anymore. Businesses are actually audited with frequency and those kind of shoddy practices get places fined and shut down.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                                              Hmm. I'll have to ask the server next time I go out. If it really has changed then I'm so happy for the servers all over! That was always a huge frustration for me.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                                                One of my best friends has worked as a server in NYC and Miami in a few restaurants during the past couple of years. He and server friends of his have experienced a number of shady (and in many cases illegal) practices like what MichelleRenee describes.
                                                                                                                                                Unemployment being as high as it has been, many restaurant workers feel they have no choice but to put up with the managers' policies.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: racer x

                                                                                                                                                  I think good waiters can get a job anywhere. If you sell yourself hard enough, the restaurant knows you'lll do the same for them.

                                                                                                                                                  I think no one has a right to complain if they don't speak up. Change doesn't just happen.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                                                    You're right. One of the problems is that it's such a transient job for so many. Most people seem are only working as servers to get somewhere else. When that's the case, it's easier to do the job and then get out of it as soon as you can. The more noise you raise, the more risk of losing the money that's getting you by. Department stores don't pay so well.... I still never understood why it's even the employees jobs to make the changes, though, since there are legal guidelines to follow. But it happens that it's one of the few industries in this country where the law turns a blind eye.... And while good waiters can get a job anywhere, chances are that it'll be the same way there, too.... or it was, anyway.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: MichelleRenee

                                                                                                                                            MichelleRenee: "I've never heard of anyone tipping on anything other than the bill's total, which includes tax. I guess I could see the principle some of you are using to justify tipping the pre-tax amount, but ...."

                                                                                                                                            I can understand that your experience may have been such that you really have never heard of anyone tipping based on the pre-tax bill. Fair enough.

                                                                                                                                            But I think it is also easy to understand why others have heard otherwise:


                                                                                                                                            1. re: racer x

                                                                                                                                              Thanks for the links! I never had to read up on tipping because I've known servers my whole life, so my knowledge always came from the source. I think some outsiders' advice is a bit off, but at least an okay guideline.

                                                                                                                                          3. when in doubt - tip more

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                              Thew, I agree "Always tip more when in doubt",!! for what will it matter, if you tipped to the penny minus tax, minus wine bottle cost, etc. etc. when, 50,000 years from now the black cinder of what once was the Earth hurtles through space......Hey, go for it!!!!

                                                                                                                                            2. as a teen i worked as a waitress(im in my mid 20's now). If someone didn't tip me 20 percent after tax, I felt they didn't like my service(if i made any mistake, i felt that was justified), but if i gave excellent service and did not get at least 18%, I felt jibed. I'm not saying anything bad about your tipping method, but i have never ( even when i was broke ) left a restaurant giving less that 18% after tax if my service was satisfactory. When the check is very low, i never leave without giving at least $2/pp.
                                                                                                                                              One evening while having too much wine at a celebratory dinner, I filled out the tip incorrectly... I wrote $15 instead of $45. The instant i had a suspicion that i wrote it in incorrectly(5 mins later), i called the matre d and had him correct the check for me. And the next time we visited the restaurant I apologized to the waiter for the mistake...I know what it feels like to get a check and see a completely disproportionate check. Waiters live on tips... their salary is minimum wage minus taxes... think about it...
                                                                                                                                              The only time I believe i gave 15% was at a dinner where i had to send my fish back 2x... The Palms restaurant @ Caesars Palace. They swore the fish was fresh, not frozen... but it tasted like it was frozen fish, the texture was all wrong, Even had my husband taste it(used to own a very well known gourmet restaurant) to confirm it was not my taste buds. I left having eaten no dinner while watching 3 other people enjoy their meals, then going home to have a ham sandwich. Did not go back after a year long hiatus... glad that they have now resolved their issues i experienced 3 years ago(i believe the head chef was replaced).

                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: BedazzledLV

                                                                                                                                                I'm confused. The last sentence of your posts states that the issues you experienced were at the hands of the head chef (subsequently replaced). If so, why was the _server's_ tip diminished to less than your usual standard tip?? In essence, why was the server punished for the failings of the chef...

                                                                                                                                                1. re: silence9

                                                                                                                                                  LMAO I forgot to mention during the whole time we were there, the waiter never checked on our table. We had to flag a busser to get our non-existent waiter anytime we needed anything. If the server had done their job, they wouldn't have been penalized, but that wasn't the case.

                                                                                                                                              2. I tip on the whole check and round up from 20%. In part it's selfish. I get exceptional service where ever I eat regularly for a very small investment and I always thank the servers as well. If I couldn't afford this, I would eat at home.

                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Helene Goldberg

                                                                                                                                                  I have never, in a Western restaurant, seen that the amount tipped makes the slightest difference in service quality.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bobgreen

                                                                                                                                                    It absolutely does if you are a regular. I can have a bar full of people in front of me, vying for my attention, and if a regular (not even necessarily a fantastic tipper, but at least a good one) walks in, I will immediately greet him or her and get their drink first. Usually, I know their preferred drink without even asking. And I typically buy them one. Not to mention the little favors and indulgences we talk the kitchen into sharing (off menu items, freebies, etc).

                                                                                                                                                    Just some of the perks of being a regular who takes care of the service staff.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                      Sure wish we lived closer to Bourbon.... '-)

                                                                                                                                                2. 20% post-tax is the norm in D.C. and has been as long as I've been serving, which is on and off since 2005. I appreciate tip at that level and frankly, it doesn't really even occur to me to check if a lower tip is 20% of the pre-tax total. I just assume the person is unaware of the tipping norms in D.C., cheap, or (what I consider unlikely 98% of the time) had an issue with the service that they didn't voice otherwise.

                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                    At that levels, you may be making more on a percentage basis than the restaurant's owner. Perhaps the two of you should consider swapping places?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bobgreen

                                                                                                                                                      Hardly. I make less than $2.75/hr in regular wages. On a very good night, I make about $23-26/hr, before taxes. How is that making more than the owner? Last I checked, the owners were driving nice cars, and can afford to have babies and own their own homes. I can't even touch that on serving income alone. What a ridiculous statement.

                                                                                                                                                      Reality check, bud.

                                                                                                                                                      Edit: if you're talking strictly "percentage basis," I'm confident that beers and non-premium alcohol is marked up at least 200%. No one is hurting here. Last year, we cleared an insane number in sales...despite the bum economy. They're doing more than alright.

                                                                                                                                                  2. When I was a server, if I didn't receive at least 42% post-tax I thought the customer was a jerk.

                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                                                                      Hyperbole will get you anywhere.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                        To all you over tippers out there, I am from Iowa, the state that regularly selects the president for what that is worth. Myself and many others I know tip anywhere from 10 -15% of the pre-tax. But we aren't from the big cities and free will spenders like DC and California. And the discussion I've read about how much the servers earn every penny of their tip is rediculous. I've shopped in other stores where clerks have helped me out more than many restaurant servers, but these people never get tip for their service and probably make less than the restaurant server. I believe this tipping thing is way over blown. Maybe you big city folks have nothing else to do but blow your money away!!!!.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bjkaufman

                                                                                                                                                          in d.c., you see, the overtipping customers have to live up to the politicians' spending reputations. "hey big spender.....spend a little time with me." bum-de-bum-de-dum! wow, shirely bassey is terrific! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8FlmX...

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bjkaufman

                                                                                                                                                            So you're shopping in Iowa stores where the clerks are paid $2.75 per hour or less by their employers? And those clerks are "helping you out" over the course of 2+ hours at a time, while simultaneously helping out other patrons for 2+ hours at a time.? That is indeed a magical land!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: silence9

                                                                                                                                                              Look, the state elects Presidents all on it's own. It's clerks can certainly help two people simultaneously.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: silence9

                                                                                                                                                                So who spends 2+ hours at a restaurant, no other responsibilties at home other than wining and dining. Come to the "field of dreams" and learn what life is truly about.

                                                                                                                                                        2. It seems like everything there is to be said on this subject has already been said, and now the conversation is just going in circles, and growing increasingly unfriendly. We're going to lock it now.