Tipping [Moved from Ontario board]
I am wondering what people's tipping practices are in a restaurant.
What percentage do you tip for different levels of service, ie awful service, service that isn't that good, good service, outstanding service?
Do you ever tip some token amount like a penny or nickel just to make a point when the service is very bad?
Do you tip based on the value of the meal and drinks before tax? (which is what I do)
Does the percentage you tip depend on what kind of restaurant it is? (ie higher end you tip a higher percentage, lower end you tip lower, regardless if the set-up and level of service is the same - ie you sit at a table and a server serves you?)
Do you always tip even if the service is bad because it would be embarassing not to tip anything?
Any other parameters you use to decide what to tip?
As you are from Ontario, I don't think US tipping customs really apply. In the US, servers make a base wage of $3-$5/hr plus whatever tips they can get. In Canada, servers get a wage, plus tips. Also, in the states, servers do not get benefits. Everyone in Canada gets health care.
Just some things to consider.
I as a rule tip 20%+ if the service is good.
My tip does not change according to the type of restaurant I am eating at. A coffee shop server does not have the same skills as a server at a top tier restaurant, and the tip based on the prices of items of the menu justify that.
I tip on the total bill and tax.
I have left a penny one time in my 38 years, and I left a note telling the server why(she was too busy chatting with friends & sitting on her butt at the bar)
I am never embarassed to tip someone 15% if they are not doing their job corectly, or are rude. They should be embarassed for not caring about their job.
--What percentage do you tip for different levels of service, ie awful service, service that isn't that good, good service, outstanding service?
My base is 20% and above, especially after being updated with the life of a server. I define awful service as disrespectful to the point of arguing with the customer. To these abysmal servers, I leave 0% tip. Any other 'bad' service that is understandable or for which the server communicates the reason to the customer, I still leave 20% and above.
--Do you ever tip some token amount like a penny or nickel just to make a point when the service is very bad?
No, as per the above, I leave 0%.
--Do you tip based on the value of the meal and drinks before tax? (which is what I do)
No, I tip on the final bill. The server is entitled to every penny I can give them. They are to be admired for choosing such a career.
--Does the percentage you tip depend on what kind of restaurant it is? (ie higher end you tip a higher percentage, lower end you tip lower, regardless if the set-up and level of service is the same - ie you sit at a table and a server serves you?)
No, 20% and above across the board, whether it's a counter or a white tablecloth.
--Do you always tip even if the service is bad because it would be embarassing not to tip anything?
As per the above, if it's 'bad' bad, nope not a dime. I have a contract with the establishment. If I fulfill my part of the bargain, I expect them to fulfill theirs. I don't embarrass in restaurants.
--Any other parameters you use to decide what to tip?
Not really. I have certain deal breakers, otherwise I believe in treating others as I want to be treated. That's about it. I have been fortunate in only once having encountered truly horrific service for which I left.....0% tip.
My starting point is 20% of the total bill (including tax) and from there I will adjust for exceptional good service, for someone who is having a hard day and being honest about it (I give big kuddos for just being honest when a situation isn't going well) and obviously for items which are comped. I will adjust downward if there was poor service with a poor attitude, but typically do not go below 12-15%. I also tend to tip a higher percentage at cheaper places (diners or Mexican typically) up to 40-50%.
The US customary tip for full table service is 15-20% pretax, generally including wine/liquor and grossing up for any coupons or comped items. The baseline is 15%, with a variation up to 20% more common in city neighborhoods with a concentration of fine dining establishments (formerly, Manhattan only a generation ago, then gradually spreading to some other food meccas). Tipping for buffet service is 10%.
I tend to tip 20%-25%, even up to 50%. I tend to add 5% to my baseline if I am dining alone, beacuse there is a certain amount of table service that is for each table, et cet. I also tend to tip up if I only eat one course but take the usual amount of time. In low-cost establishments, tips tend to be higher on a percentage basis because of rounding (if I am paying in cash, I usually round to the nearest dollar, but if service is mediocre, to the nearest half dollar). Et cet. But there are no customary rules for these things, and it's just a matter of consideration.
For mediocre service, I tend to do 15% almost exactly on my credit card rather than rounded up in cash.
The most important thing to do for poor service is to alert the manager before leaving. Simply leaving a lower tip without doing so is both bad form and useless, because it does nothing to remedy the problem. The single-coin approach is something I've only done once - to a personally insulting server; the next time I experienced a personally insulting server, I withdrew the tip and told the manager.
The server is not to be penalized for poor food or kitchen problems that are not his/her doing. On the other hand, if the food is great but the service poor, that's the server's responsibility to be reflected in the tip if you wish.