Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Feb 12, 2008 10:57 AM

wine tipping

What is the industry standard on tipping on wine. Not, what is morally correct, but the standard?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Not sure why you would tip any differently on the wine than you would on the food you ordered, drinks, etc. My standard isn't based on the ratio of wine/food cost. Of course I don't generally order multi-hundred bottles of wine either (although if I did, and this involved decanting, etc. ) I still imagine I would tip my standard tip on the total. isn't this kind of like asking if you can tip a smaller % if you go for the expensive caviar service?

    1. Frank Bruni answered this in the NYT a few weeks ago:

      I believe he says the expected practice is to tip 20% of the bill, *including* the price of the wine.

      2 Replies
      1. re: orezscu

        i'm very glad you added that FBRUNI link [i was unaware of the article], but
        i dont think that is a fair summary of what he says. rather than try to summarize
        myself, i'd say "read the article".

        others can find many of the other threads on this topic by searching for
        "uncapped linear tips" on wine. mr. vino verite's "statistics" arent especially
        relevant because we're not talking about what the average table does, we're
        talking about what the teeeeeeeeeny minority that orders +$500 [say] bottles
        does. would you tell somebody who called the restaurant and asked for
        special handling because he was organizing a 100th birthday party for his
        grandmother that 99.8% of diners leave 15-20%? would you give the same
        tipping advice to the one person a year who goes into anaphylactic shock
        due to a kitchen error/failure to communicate.

        [BTW, I dunno if tips are fairly normally distributed around a 17.5% mean,
        but if as Mr. IVV claims 99.8% of the probability mass of tips is between 15-20%,
        he is saying that is -3sd to +3sd, i.e. the std dev of the tips are .83, which i
        find pretty surprising ... because i sure doubt service is that consistent. i certainly
        consider it odd that the entire ensemble of tips across all of your customers has
        such low varance given than my personal tipping variance at a given resto is
        probably higher. now what i could believe is "there isnt 1 month in a 1000 where
        the aggregate tips for the month falls outside the 15-20% band"].

        1. re: psb

          Depending where you work, it's definitely not a "teeeeeeeny minority" that orders wine that expensive. Just because you personally don't see it often doesn't mean it doesn't happen all the time.

          A diner organizing a 100th birthday party at a restaurant would almost always be booking a function, where gratuity is included.

          What do a kitchen error and tipping percentage have to do with one another?

          You cite examples that aren't relevant. My examples are real, since I've seen them with my own eyes. You can throw all the technical jargon around that you like, but it doesn't change that I first-handedly experience this exact topic EVERY SINGLE DAY...and see servers tipped on the total.

          Also, along the lines of Xiao's comment, any restaurant that uses automatic gratuity (due to party size or standard operating procedure) includes your entire bill in the calculation.

          I'm female.

      2. If it's any guide, The French Laundry and other places that add a standard service charge (presumably in lieu of a tip) apply it to all itmes, including drinks.

        1. The original comment has been removed
          1. This topic has been beaten to death, so just a quick sum of my years of experience.

            After selling much fine wine in my day, I no longer wait tables. I DO see the service staff's credit card receipts and it's my job to be in the know regarding their wine sales. I'd say that perhaps one, possibly two tables a month don't leave standard (15-20%) gratuity on their wine. This is out of +/- 1,000 tables per month.

            Feel free to tip whatever you'd like on wine, but by not leaving your standard gratuity, you're in a teeeeeeeeeeeeeeeensy minority and definitely labeled by the staff.