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Tipping between shifts

When you happen to dine near shift change how do you tip?
My dad and I went out to eat and we had already gotten all our food, refills etc and the waitress said she was going home and someone else would be taking over. The only thing we had left was our bill.
She was a good and attentive server and I wanted to make sure she got her fair share, I pretty much knew what the bill would be so I tipped her accordingly. Should I have asked for the check before she left or just wait and leave tip for whoever brought the check but did not do any actual service?
Most of the time when I got between shift or near break it was mid meal where I would still be needing refills or maybe order dessert or something so I just leave tip for the last server.

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  1. Just leave the tip you thought was deserved - when tables change hands for shift change the servers generally agree between themselves on how to divide the tip.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mordacity

      Yeah I usually do trust them to do that. But I was very happy with the service and her patience with my 86 year old dad I really wanted to make sure she got her fair tip :)

      1. re: LARaven

        Most servers decide to pass on a table like she did with you. Don't worry about it.

    2. If I were all done I would ask for the check. If I didn't ask for the check I would just tip the person who brought the check knowing that they would tip out the original server.

      1. I would be surprised if the restaurant didn't pool their tips. I can't imagine any server being okay with walking away from the full tip from any table they did all the work for. Either that or they probably agreed on some arrangement.

        The only time I ever consciously tip out mid-visit is if a bartender is changing shifts.

        1. The server has a choice - to stay & wait til the table is done or to leave since their shift & side work is essentially finished. Most places I have waited tables you work something out with the person on for the next shift. 99% of the time they are happy to take over & leave the tip for you to get later. Most servers know they will be on the other side of the equation someday, so it all works out. If the food is out & the table is an easy one the tip usually goes to server #1, If the food is not yet out and/or the table is time consuming, the tip generally goes to server #2. IMO it is unprofessional of a server to ask the table to settle up just because the server chose not to stay.

          1. It's not true that a server always has a choice. Where I work, we can do all of the work, and if the table is absolutely finished, has nothing else to do but pay, but are sitting and talking... when shift change comes around, I must transfer to the new server and the house rules are we split the tip. Sometimes you get a fair server who knows you did everything and will leave the whole thing for you, sometimes you don't. Sometimes they forget to leave anything at all. It's a small chain, so it is a corporate policy.
            The server should never ask you to settle up, but you can take it as your cue to pay THEM if you feel like it. So, in this situation, I would have just told the server I wanted to pay them, make sure they get the whole tip, etc.. They will likely be happy to take care of it themselves.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Azizeh Barjesteh

              Where I work the person who closes the check needs to tip out on that check as well, so our policy is to give the original server 10% of the check and then tipout 7% to the back of the house. Which often works out to the detriment of the person who picks up the check. In fact I took over a table the other day where they tipped out the original server and left me 8 dollars, but since I was supposed to tip out on 167 dollars I would have been paying out of my pocket for that one.

              This is not for any customer to stress over, totally insider stuff that we deal with when it comes up. However, that is why if I am done I would ask for the check.

            2. I worked as a server for years, and have found that how the between shift tipping thing is handled between servers varies greatly from restaurant to restarurant. If we are at the end of our meal, then we'll just ask for that server's check, and then start a new check with the new server, if necessary. That way, both servers will get their share automatically. If we are at the beginning of our meal, then we pay the second server's check and let the servers work it out between themselves.

              1. If a server, or bartender informs me that their shift is coming to an end, I have them close out my check, and they are tipped accordingly. I then start a new tab with the new server or bartender.

                1. house tipping policy varies enormously from place to place. if you really want to make sure your original server gets the bulk of your tip, close the check out with her, and start a new tab with your new server if necessary. even if your meal really is over (no new tab), the second server will still attend to your table (clean up after you and get the table ready for new guests) so a smaller tip for the second server is also appropriate.