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How much tip do u give?

derekw May 18, 2008 09:36 PM

just want to get a sense on common tipping range these days ...

what is your range of tipping percentage from sub-par service to very good service? (me: 10 to 20%)

do u tip different amounts in different types of restaurant (e.g. keg, splendido, chinatown)? (me: in chinatown, my range becomes 5-15%.)

  1. j
    jules1026 Jun 17, 2008 10:21 PM

    Sometimes I have to eat out with awful tippers who pay the bill (at establishments I frequent). Feeling bad that someone left a $3 tip on a $30-40 bill (for standard, adequate, and competent service), do you slip more to the server? Leave it discreetly on the table? Leave it alone and tip big next time?

    8 Replies
    1. re: jules1026
      jspear Jun 18, 2008 05:00 AM

      I insist on paying a fair tip, it has cost me friends.....it is a matter of pride for me...

      1. re: jspear
        Condiment Queen Jun 18, 2008 09:25 AM


        1. re: Condiment Queen
          grayelf Jun 18, 2008 12:34 PM

          The old "whoops I forgot my scarf/umbrella/coat" routine and slipping back to add a bit more has worked for me when I get stuck dining with bad tippers, which luckily is not too often as my friends like to tip well too :-). Once we miscalculated the tip (too many mojitos) and I went back the next day with extra cash. I've also slipped some extra dough to the maitre-d' to give directly to the kitchen staff when they've done an outstanding job.

          1. re: grayelf
            cheeseguysgirl Jun 18, 2008 04:43 PM

            That's a great idea, to give $ to the maitre-d' for the kitchen staff. It also lets him know that you care about things like that-- which is always a good thing when it's a fine-dining estab. and you plan to eat there often. They are great people to have on your side. Thanks for the tip!!

            1. re: cheeseguysgirl
              grayelf Jun 18, 2008 05:23 PM

              You're welcome for the tip tip :-). It seemed like a good idea, though I felt a bit strange the first time I did it -- but it was accepted graciously and I'll continue to do so if the situation warrants. BTW, I just do it on my own and do not include others in my party as they are never as food crazed as I and have already contributed to the "regular" tip.

            2. re: grayelf
              Janet from Richmond Jun 19, 2008 05:23 AM

              I like the idea of tipping the kitchen staff also for a job well done. They are very much the unsung heros of the restaurant quite often.

              1. re: Janet from Richmond
                miss_bennet Jun 19, 2008 10:28 PM

                I know that a lot of restaurants in BC (where grayelf and I live) have tip pools, which divide the tips up for all the employees. When my sister worked a summer as a dishwasher in a mid-range restaurant (beloved by tourists and locals), she got her paycheque (for 80 hours of work) one week and her tip-out the next week in cash. As the lowest-level dishwasher, her tip-out was usually twice the size of her cheque. And the dishwashers got the smallest share of the payout.

        2. re: jules1026
          seahag Jun 18, 2008 08:55 PM

          I leave it discreetly on the table, under a saucer or something...or go to use the restroom, find the server and give it to him/her directly. I never want to insult the host, so I make sure they do not know that I am doing this.

        3. n
          naidan Jun 12, 2008 11:12 PM

          As an Australian, the tipping ettiquette here is significantly different from the US, were tipping is done to reward service and a better than average dining experience. One of the points raised was that tipping is required to offset low wages, as one who has worked in the service industry during my University days I know that whilst my base wage was not huge it was sufficient to meet my needs without large tips.

          What hourly rates are people being paid as service staff in the US, or range of salaries?

          20 Replies
          1. re: naidan
            jspear Jun 13, 2008 06:19 AM

            See above. When my only job was service, my hourly wage was below minimum wage, changed when I tended bar but it was never significant...my money came from tips, my check from the resto paid the phone and part of my utilities....was a while ago but I think this is still common. Depends on where you are living and working I would say.....

            1. re: jspear
              invinotheresverde Jun 13, 2008 12:46 PM

              My "check" was $0.00 every week when I was a server.

              1. re: invinotheresverde
                hsk Jun 13, 2008 08:12 PM

                You didn't get wages at all? Where is that legal - or were you the owner?

                1. re: hsk
                  invinotheresverde Jun 14, 2008 09:06 AM

                  In MA the server pay is $2.63 per hour. Once all of my taxes came out, I was literally left with a "void" check every week (and, most every year, that still wasn't enough taxes taken out of my check, so I had to pay in quarterly).

                  I was no exception; this was the case with all of the servers at the last three places I worked at. We literally got no check.

                  1. re: invinotheresverde
                    jspear Jun 16, 2008 04:54 AM

                    Used to be we were "comped" a meal and I would owe a balance!!

                  2. re: hsk
                    Chris VR Jun 14, 2008 10:39 AM

                    Here's a pic of a waiter's paycheck. Story behind the photo is here: http://www.passiveaggressivenotes.com...

                    1. re: Chris VR
                      cheeseguysgirl Jun 14, 2008 08:39 PM

                      When I try your link, Chris, I get a 404 error page.

                      1. re: cheeseguysgirl
                        Chris VR Jun 15, 2008 05:13 AM

                        Whoops, bad formatting. try this one. I'll try to get the one in the previous post fixed.


                        1. re: Chris VR
                          cheeseguysgirl Jun 15, 2008 03:59 PM

                          Thanks! That worked-- and the comments are more interesting than the story!

                    2. re: hsk
                      miss_bennet Jun 14, 2008 11:52 AM

                      Don't be misled... Apparently some servers receive $0 paycheques. And they have to pay taxes at the end of the year, too. Don't most people who make $60,000-$80,000 a year?

                      1. re: miss_bennet
                        invinotheresverde Jun 15, 2008 08:00 AM

                        There are very, very few servers in the U.S. who make that kind of money. Maybe where you're from in Canada, where to the best of my knowledge servers make minimum wage and voluntarily declare their tips.

                        Also, I wasn't crying poverty. I was just answering naidan's question about hourly wage, and what it all translates to. The waiters at my restaurant rely solely on tips.

                        1. re: invinotheresverde
                          jspear Jun 16, 2008 07:23 AM

                          As they do everywhere.

                          1. re: jspear
                            invinotheresverde Jun 16, 2008 08:18 AM

                            Not true. In San Fran, for example, waiters are paid a living wage (minimum wage) PLUS tips.

                            1. re: invinotheresverde
                              psb Jun 17, 2008 01:19 AM

                              note well: that is a Californnia law, not just SF.

                              and i dont think CA is alone in this. i'm not up to digging
                              up the table with the rules for various states, but it's in one
                              of the manifold tipping threads.

                              1. re: psb
                                invinotheresverde Jun 17, 2008 08:15 AM


                                I was just citing an example.

                                1. re: psb
                                  jspear Jun 17, 2008 10:11 AM

                                  Great info, great for California....too bad minimum wage is so far from a living wage!

                                  1. re: jspear
                                    invinotheresverde Jun 17, 2008 10:47 AM

                                    I would've loved minimum wage when I was waiting tables. :)

                                    1. re: invinotheresverde
                                      jspear Jun 17, 2008 10:50 AM

                                      me to :) I was happy with the employees meal lots of days, now that was sad ;(

                            2. re: invinotheresverde
                              miss_bennet Jun 18, 2008 07:29 PM

                              Hmm... I was basing my comment on a post you wrote awhile back. Maybe I misunderstood it.

                              1. re: miss_bennet
                                invinotheresverde Jun 18, 2008 08:31 PM

                                I thought you were being sarcastic to hsk. Perhaps I was the one who misunderstood. :)

                  3. Condiment Queen Jun 11, 2008 06:27 PM

                    I over tip big time (30-50%) but if I get crappy service, I let the waiter know as well as the manager and leave between 10-15%..
                    If they write their name on the table, I deduct 10%.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: Condiment Queen
                      jspear Jun 12, 2008 05:53 AM

                      What if that is resto policy and they are penalized by their boss for not writing it down? I would ask for clarification first and state your aversion to the practice to the person who insisted on it. This is one of many peeves that effect tipping and many of them are out of the control of the wait person. Servilette, thanks for the breakdown. Many diners who have not waited tables or poured drinks don't realize that tips don't all go to the waiter. I poured drinks for much of my adult life and between people stiffing the bar or moving their drinks to their bill and neglecting to tip on the bar bill, I lost sometimes between 20-30% of what I thought was due me. I lost again when tips were assigned me for drinks that I served but the wait staff received the tip.....

                      1. re: jspear
                        Condiment Queen Jun 12, 2008 08:55 AM

                        Hi j..
                        It was a joke..
                        I usually don't frequent those establishments that write their name backward and I would never penalize anyone for doing so..
                        Server should break down what you served to them and tip you accordingly.
                        It's sad that a lot of people get hosed and the server doesn't step up and tip the people who helped them receive the tip.

                        1. re: Condiment Queen
                          jspear Jun 12, 2008 12:15 PM


                      2. re: Condiment Queen
                        theroyalchef Jun 12, 2008 04:21 PM

                        10-15% for crappy service !!! Doesn't that leave the wrong message though ? "I don't care, I still get paid"

                        Shouldn't it be - you did a crappy job this week, you are getting a crappy wage this week ?

                        1. re: theroyalchef
                          Condiment Queen Jun 12, 2008 06:12 PM

                          You have a very valid point and for me, leaving 10% is tough..with crappy service.
                          I don't tolerate any kind of crap when it comes to service and let it be known to all parties..sometimes I just don't want the drama but correct the situation as needed.
                          I speak several languages and that has softened the edges when things seem like they might be going south.

                          1. re: theroyalchef
                            jspear Jun 12, 2008 06:40 PM

                            where else would that hold true. my supervisor was terrible this week, should she only get a percentage of her pay???

                            1. re: jspear
                              cheeseguysgirl Jun 12, 2008 09:47 PM

                              I guess I would buy that if your supervisor got paid based on her performance. It does hold true for people who get paid bonuses based on productivity, performance, etc. You don't perform up to par, you don't see your full pay. Since I was always taught TIPS stood for To Insure Proper Service (although I'm not sure it's proper use of insure--- maybe it should be ensure, but that would make it TEPS), I think it's appropriate.

                              1. re: cheeseguysgirl
                                miss_bennet Jun 12, 2008 10:03 PM

                                You're right; it should be TEPS.

                                1. re: cheeseguysgirl
                                  jspear Jun 13, 2008 06:17 AM

                                  I think I will propose tips for service in my current job, should go over well. Guess I'm a little sensitive since I have served bad food well and been slammed by the customer for things out of my control....just be aware that people are feeding themselves and their families on tips, housing their families etc. It is not always black or white......

                          2. s
                            servilette Jun 11, 2008 03:53 PM

                            When deciding what percentage to give your server, you may want to take into account the level of dining you enjoyed (or did not enjoy, as the case may be.) Servers in "fine-dining" restaurants have a great deal of assistance to enable them to provide you with a certain level of service. A typical "tip-out" looks something like this (all numbers are based on total sales, including wine and alcohol)
                            hosts 1- 1.5%
                            food runner 1.5 - 2%
                            bar - 1%
                            sommelier - 1%
                            busser - 3%
                            Add to that some other pay outs (stocker, barista, etc) It averages 8.5%. Additionaly servers tend to round up, generously. Especially with bussers. This is expected. Not doing so means the busser will take it out on the server the following shift by being conveniently absent at key moments. The point is, at a fine dining establishment, if you leave a 10-15% tip, the server will walk away with 1.5- 6.5%. They don't get to change their tip out just because they had less than generous tippers.
                            Take this information just for what it is. I am not suggesting that you should tip generously if the service was poor. Just some numbers to wrap your head around when you leave twenty bucks on a two hundred dollar tab for your own, perfectly justified, reasons. Your server will take home three dollars for serving you.

                            As an end note, tip out varies at different levels of dining. As well as from restaurant to restaurant. Look at how many people are working on the floor. Sometimes the waiter is pretty much on their own. Then again, if you get exemplary service from someone with very little help, they deserve every cent they earn.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: servilette
                              grayelf Jun 11, 2008 05:59 PM

                              I try to explain why a tip is the way it is -- high or low -- and ideally to the management. I used to work as a wait person and it would bug me for days when I got little or no tip from a table I felt I had good rapport with. When I was younger and poorer, I would sometimes perforce leave a smaller tip but I would always explain to the person who waited on me that it was a reflection of my bank balance and not their service -- not a perfect solution but better than not saying anything IMO. I also would think twice before dining out back then if I didn't feel I could cover a decent tip but sometimes it was unavoidable. Now that I am lucky enough not to worry about $$ as much, I like to tip 20% rounded up on the whole bill for good service, 20-25% for above average. I rarely receive bad service (just luck, I guess) but when I do, it's no tip and advising the management for me.

                              1. re: servilette
                                jfood Jun 12, 2008 05:56 PM


                                Thank you so much for this information and jfood always likes more data in life.

                                But please take this comment from the customer who just wants to relax at a restaurant, have some down time with friends and family, enjoy a good meal and see the BP go down to 120/75.

                                The customer really does not have a dog in the hunt of what gets split and jfood couldn't care less about the splits, whether the runner is the busser, whether the server slips the hostess a few bucks, etc. The customer has a standard tip range for Ok to great service. Like he does not care how much the farmer receives for the banana he buys in the store, jfood has his own form of vini, vidi, vici = he came, he ate, he paid.

                              2. Chew on That Jun 6, 2008 03:58 PM

                                I always give 15-20% or try to. If the server REALLY pisses me off, it might be more like 10%. I usually go for 20% unless it rounds out too evenly with a bit lower percentage.

                                1. Robert Hobbs May 28, 2008 01:15 PM

                                  20% is standard for me
                                  25%-30% if they hook me up and make the evening more enjoyable

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Robert Hobbs
                                    Cheflambo Jun 1, 2008 09:25 AM

                                    Around here, DH tip 15% max, regardless, and I usually have to supplement this in the nicer places. DH has a relative who tries to use the "Mr Pink" logic (making DH seem downright generous) so I avoid dining with HIM whenever possible. Neither of these people have ever worked in a service industry, so they don't get it. I am a former waitress/server who is usually as generous as possible to anyone who actually makes an effort to do their job. If the servers in my local Chinese restaurants are pleasantly surprised by this, I get better service when I return.

                                  2. nofunlatte May 27, 2008 04:13 PM

                                    I usually tip 20%, pretax. Where I live, the norm seems to be about 15-20%, probably closer to 15%. If I tip less than 20%, it's because the service was bad (attitude-wise. I will tip 20% to a server who is trying hard, even if he/she is not the most competent--could be new or could just be having a trying day!) I will tip more for exceptional (and competent) service. If the bill is small, less than $10, I still never tip less than a couple of bucks.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: nofunlatte
                                      treb May 28, 2008 01:51 PM

                                      I usually tip 20% pre-tax, if the service was off the chart, I go more and if the service was poor, I tip 20% and let the waitperson know that although they're having a tough day to remember what I did. They always do! Hey they need to make a living too.

                                    2. jfood May 27, 2008 12:07 PM

                                      jfood tips 100% of what is deserved except for extra good service and then he tips higher than 100%.

                                      1. s
                                        snackboy May 25, 2008 09:39 PM

                                        Mr. Pink says he doesn't tip at all...

                                        I tip for good service 20% . . . Outstanding service 25...

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: snackboy
                                          MrsT May 26, 2008 05:32 AM

                                          ...and Larry David doesn't tip the "Captain"

                                          I also don't quite understand tipping more at "high end" restaurants. From what I gathered from a friend who worked at Tavern on the Green in NY, higher end places tend to pay higher salaries in general (some are unionized) and offer health benefits. I usually tip about 20%, more if it's at a spot that I'm a regular.

                                          1. re: MrsT
                                            Miss Needle May 27, 2008 11:49 AM

                                            The reason why a lot of people tip a higher percentage as "high end" restaurants is that the skill set is different than your local diner or a lower end place.

                                            I'm sure people will argue that as they tend to get higher salaries and their bills are larger that it should even out, though.

                                          2. re: snackboy
                                            dolores May 26, 2008 06:15 AM

                                            Who is Mr. Pink?

                                            Bet he's real popular in restaurants.

                                            1. re: dolores
                                              viperlush May 27, 2008 08:15 AM

                                              Character from the movie Reservoir Dogs
                                              "...Don't give me that. She don't make enough money that she can quit. ... I don't tip because society says I have to. All right, if someone deserves a tip, if they really put forth an effort, I'll give them something a little something extra. But this tipping automatically, it's for the birds. As far as I'm concerned, they're just doing their job."-Mr.Pink

                                              If people didn't tip, waiters quit, restaurants are forced to raise salaries to get them back? It is a thought.

                                              1. re: viperlush
                                                soupkitten May 27, 2008 12:04 PM

                                                & then the other character, was it mr. brown (?), addresses mr. pink's expectations in typical, gritty, get to the point way: "what do you want her to do, take you in the back and suck your *^&%?"

                                                i think about that scripted exchange from R.D. (which takes place in a very regular, blue-collar, diner-type place, with middle aged, hardworking female servers, btw) quite a bit sometimes during these tipping threads-- since we're often talking about a few dollars' difference. . .vast social gulfs between server and patron. . . i probably shouldn't even get started. ;)

                                                1. re: soupkitten
                                                  snackboy May 29, 2008 11:03 PM

                                                  It was a classic conversation . . . But we all have had friends that tip much less than we do and you either cover for them or ride them about how cheap they are . . . I've got a buddy that I swear is mr. pink's brother . . . his high end tip is 10%...It kills me!!


                                                  1. re: snackboy
                                                    soupkitten May 30, 2008 09:30 AM

                                                    for sure, we've all been there, and everyone has (and is entitled to have) their own opinion on what constitutes good service, and then the normal tip range, and this is going to vary person to person, region to region, restaurant to restaurant, and has a zillion variables-no biggie. the avg chowhound seems to think a 10% tip is cheap (my impression from other threads), and i'd agree :)

                                                    but there's a difference in being a lower-end or very cheap tipper, and being a complete NONtipper!!!-- i think that's what gets every single hospitality worker who's ever watched that RD scene--LOL! coming out with "i don't tip" is absolute contempt for anyone who provides any service. i'd love to laugh but i know those people are out there. maddening to think about them, so i usually don't! :)

                                          3. nanette May 22, 2008 02:02 AM

                                            What do you do when you are in a state that has its own, much higher minimum wage that is paid to wait staff and you're eating somewhere pretty casual and you're there for about an hour? How much should you tip then? Does any of the above make a difference?

                                            (I realise minimum wage still isn’t a “living wage”, but they also aren’t making $3 an hour to start with and needing such massive tips to round out their wages)

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: nanette
                                              marcia May 26, 2008 01:40 AM

                                              Are you asking me? If so, I have no clue what the minimum wage is for different states, and I don't care.

                                              I also don't differentiate from casual places as opposed to those who are higher end as the work, as far as I'm concerned, is the same. I would tip extra if I'm there longer than is the norm because I'm taking up a table that prevents turn over.

                                            2. m
                                              marcia May 22, 2008 01:54 AM

                                              I rarely get bad service, and when it's not up to par it's usually because of low staffing, ktchen issues, or whatever. Even if it's a ruse, most times the server approaches our table to give us an update which at least acknowledges that she or he is aware that things are amiss.

                                              I've read here, occasionally, that some people believe in tipping servers in high end more than those working for restaurants that are not so. I've yet to understand that philosophy. When I ask them why, I don't remember getting a reply.

                                              I am of the notion that being polite, friendly and respectful (and understanding when things go wrong) goes a long way for good service.

                                              That said, I tip 20% after tax, Sometimes more if it's good, but truth be told I can't claim to tip 30% for overly good service because I simply can't afford it.

                                              1. rockandroller1 May 20, 2008 01:14 PM

                                                We tip 20% most of the time if we get good service. I will be known to til 10% or even less if service is bad. I don't visit buffets so that part is n/a.

                                                1. c
                                                  crewsweeper May 20, 2008 09:01 AM

                                                  What about for counter help? If you just place your order at the counter and then pick up (not the fast food chains) do you tip? If it's a place I frequent and I pay with plastic, I'll usually add a $1 for orders under $10, partially to help offset processing costs. I'll leave at least the equivalent to the tax if I'm picking up a phoned in takeout order. For ordinary service in sit-down places, it's usually double the tax (8.75% for my area). For excellent service, I'll go with around 20% of gross bill, rounded to nearest $ .

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: crewsweeper
                                                    jspear May 30, 2008 09:30 AM

                                                    I do 10-15% at the counter depending on the amount of personal contact and the quality of that encounter. Having lived on tips, counter people are usually lower paid (salary) as well...

                                                  2. h
                                                    hsk May 20, 2008 08:46 AM

                                                    I used to leave 15% for good service but these days 20% seems to be the norm. Sure it's based on customary practices, but as far as I can tell it's to compensate for the low wages paid to floor staff. I found out only recently that in some jurisdictions tipped staff get paid less than minimum wage so now I tend to tip more in those areas. I don't get upset about that, if they had to pay the full minimum wage I'm sure the prices would have to be higher so either way I'd end up paying.

                                                    1. k
                                                      kobetobiko May 20, 2008 07:59 AM

                                                      I am based in NYC, and 25% tip is almost my standard. I tipped 15-20% if the service is bad, and will note the bad service on the receipt so they know.

                                                      I am tip up to about 30% in fine-dining restaurants because of their exceptional service + freebies that they gave (again, I will note it on the receipt)

                                                      The managers are usually very happy to see compliments on the receipts (or just you telling them) and will tell the staff about it. I think when the staff did a good job, they deserve to know it.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: kobetobiko
                                                        jujuthomas May 20, 2008 08:03 AM

                                                        I agree Kobe, we frequently comment to management - in person and via corporate website when available - when the service is exceptional. I think that can mean more than a good tip, because it can lead to an improved position for that excellent server. :)

                                                        1. re: kobetobiko
                                                          dolores May 20, 2008 08:54 AM

                                                          >>I am based in NYC, and 25% tip is almost my standard. I tipped 15-20% if the service is bad, and will note the bad service on the receipt so they know.

                                                          >>I am tip up to about 30% in fine-dining restaurants because of their exceptional service + freebies that they gave (again, I will note it on the receipt)

                                                          Exactly the correct amount of tip for servers who have one of the hardest jobs in the world. Good for you, kobetobiko.

                                                          1. re: kobetobiko
                                                            jspear May 30, 2008 09:29 AM

                                                            I really like the tip and comment idea. I do both, comment on bad service, commend great or above and beyond. People who stiff for no reason are just thought of as stiff's, a bad waiter or manager will not know something was wrong unless you tell them.

                                                          2. t
                                                            theroman_empire May 19, 2008 10:37 PM

                                                            I just have to ask, why would you tip less in Chinatown?

                                                            10 Replies
                                                            1. re: theroman_empire
                                                              Miss Needle May 20, 2008 05:43 AM

                                                              I'm guessing because the OP's not receiving the best service in C-town. C-town waitstaff are notorious for bad service (but I've been pleasantly surprised at a few places). A lot of their surliness is more of a cultural thing. For me, it ends up that I'm tipping more at those places because C-town is so cheap to begin with. What am I going to do -- tip 85 cents on a $4.25 rice plate?

                                                              1. re: Miss Needle
                                                                scoopG May 20, 2008 07:51 AM

                                                                I am not sure if the Chinatown demographics in Toronto are similar to NYC. I tip more in NYC's Chinatown because 60% of the Chinese there are foreign born with only a high school education. Wages there are as low as 50% of the regional average and 20% live in poverty. These stats from Peter Kwong, a professor at Hunter College and CUNY in his 2005 book, "Chinese America."

                                                                1. re: scoopG
                                                                  Miss Needle May 20, 2008 08:52 AM

                                                                  Yeah, a lot of Chinatown waiters really don't make very much money. I wouldn't be surprised if some of them don't get base pay. There are differences in levels of service between a C-town waiter and a waiter at the French Laundry. But to me, there's not too much of a difference in the work and skill set involved in a restaurant where you've got $5 checks (not necessarily C-town restaurants) and one where you've got $30 checks.

                                                                  1. re: scoopG
                                                                    SomeRandomIdiot May 20, 2008 09:15 AM

                                                                    Some of those stats might just come from the incomes being underreported. An interesting tactic the Golden Bridge mgmt used in their fight with some of the waiters was to fully report the incomes of the waiters so that they could no longer qualify for low income housing.

                                                                    1. re: SomeRandomIdiot
                                                                      scoopG May 20, 2008 09:30 AM

                                                                      Actually the stats Kwong cites are from a 2003 study by Douglas Miller and Douglas Houston titled "Distressed Asian American Neighborhoods" (which appeared in: AAPI Nexus: Asian American & Pacific Islanders Policy, Practice and Community, Vol. 1, Number 1, Summer/Fall 2003.)

                                                                      This study looked at five major urban Chinese concentrations in the US: San Francisco, New York, Sacramento, Chicago and Seattle. All were described as "communities in distress." The disadvantages the immigrants face forces them into a segregated ethnic labor market. In Sacramento, the poverty rate is as high as 50%!

                                                                  2. re: Miss Needle
                                                                    jgg13 May 20, 2008 12:48 PM

                                                                    That's a good point, I read it as perhaps he was talking about it being a cultural thing. A lot of the non-american asians that I have worked with have told me over the years that they don't tip/tip much in chinatown, doubly so for dim sum (where I've heard folks say they leave nothing and/or a dollar or two under the tea pot).

                                                                    1. re: jgg13
                                                                      Miss Needle May 20, 2008 01:00 PM

                                                                      I think a lot of people think of dim sum like a buffet where you're not supposed to tip as much. And I think you're right about the non-American Asians who tip very little. One of my friends who's very Chinese (not Americanized) tips 10% because she says that's what a lot of Chinese people do in C-town.

                                                                      1. re: Miss Needle
                                                                        jgg13 May 20, 2008 01:11 PM

                                                                        I've only ever listened to their "advice" on dim sum ... for other meals, its often the case that simply saying "keep the change" is already an a very good tip (and tossing in an extra dollar beyond rounding up is a huge tip).

                                                                        On dim sum now we typically tip like we would on a buffet (ie not as much as a normal restaurant but not nothing) although it tends to be less/almost none if one of our chinese friends are with us as they generally insist it should be zero.

                                                                        I've also had chinese acquaintances tell me that at dim sum houses that they expect whiteys like myself to be tipping well and the asians to be minimal. That's when I just said "screw it" and went with the buffet standard.

                                                                        1. re: jgg13
                                                                          Miss Needle May 20, 2008 01:21 PM

                                                                          This may be only in Chinese communities because DH's folks are Chinese but settled in a very white area of NYS. When I've gone out with them, I believe they always leave 20% as they've adopted the "American" standard. Perhaps they would have tipped less if they settled in a Chinatown as opposed to Vermont and upstate NY. And my friend that I'm talking about (even though she came here at the age of 1), is VERY connected to NYC's Chinatowns (she even speaks English with a Chinese accent despite going to NYC schools).

                                                                          I guess Chinese waitstaff love "Americans."

                                                                          1. re: Miss Needle
                                                                            jgg13 May 20, 2008 01:29 PM

                                                                            Oh, I'm only talking about the chinese folks that I know who are from china and generally have stayed very "chinese" (ie not americanizing much ... although some 2nd gen ones i know are the same, but definitely not all) - and even then there's some variation from person to person.

                                                                            The more americanized chinese folks that I know tend to be much more, well, americanized on the dim sum tipping issue from what i've seen (which means doing the 'do i do it like a buffet? a restaurant? i don't really know what i'm supposed to do!' shuffle).

                                                                2. w
                                                                  wayne keyser May 19, 2008 07:11 PM

                                                                  Inadequate, 10%
                                                                  Ploddingly ordinary, 15%
                                                                  Professional, 20%
                                                                  'Made the evening much better', 25%
                                                                  And the VERY RARE 'stunning and truly memorable' 25%+ and also a comment to the management.

                                                                  1. j
                                                                    jujuthomas May 19, 2008 12:45 PM

                                                                    we generally tip 15-20%, but more in our favorite diner because we can't bear to leave just a couple bucks when they work so hard. DH generally tips higher than I do, and is less willing to reduce the amount for bad service.

                                                                    1. The Chowhound Team May 19, 2008 12:27 PM

                                                                      As is often the case with tipping threads, we've had to remove a number of really rude, personal attacks from this thread. If you want to contribute your own tipping practices to this thread, go ahead, but insults directed at other people for their tipping practices are not permitted.

                                                                      1. m
                                                                        Muskrat May 19, 2008 11:46 AM

                                                                        Good. You seldon see tipping threads here.

                                                                        20% minimum, of everything -- not deducting wine, taxes, or anything else.

                                                                        Unless there's a real problem.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Muskrat
                                                                          Missmoo May 19, 2008 11:59 AM

                                                                          I do the same as Muskrat and a bit more when I am given something.

                                                                          1. re: Muskrat
                                                                            jspear May 30, 2008 09:27 AM

                                                                            yes, leave off the leave offs. Tip the bill, it was all served to you.

                                                                          2. Karl S May 19, 2008 10:37 AM

                                                                            The US custom is currently 15-20% on the pretax total (grossed up to include the value of any coupon or comped items) including liquor for full service dining, 10% for buffet dining. One is always free to tip more. Variations abound on the rest of the details (suc, so it would be hard to generalize a custom out of that - like that it's good manners to tip up more if you've had the table for a couple of hours but only ordered one course, et cet.)

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Karl S
                                                                              cheeseguysgirl May 19, 2008 10:42 AM

                                                                              I am not disagreeing with you, as we generally tip 10-20% (and round up, often, to an even final dollar amount), but I am wondering, who sets the US custom? I see on tipping threads all the time what is customary, but who sets that? I remember when it used to be definitely 10-15% (lunch to dinner), but now it has crept up to 15-20%. When did that happen? How did that happen?

                                                                              1. re: cheeseguysgirl
                                                                                Karl S May 19, 2008 12:12 PM

                                                                                Custom is the predominate practice. It's descriptive first and foremost, then prescriptive to the extent reinforced by standard etiquette manuals like Emily Post, Amy Vanderbilt, et cet.

                                                                                I would still venture that 15% pretax is still the vastly dominant practice in the US. 20% became common in fine dining in Manhattan a generation ago, and as comparable dining has extended to a variety of food meccas across the country, that higher standard has trailed in its wake. Since many Chowhounds either reside in proximity to those areas or are by nature inclined to tip up, you will see many here who have 20% as their personal standard. But it's not necessarily representative of current US custom overall.

                                                                                The other thing being aware of the custom does is it gives servers a benchmark about when to be concerned that they they got a substandard tip due (1) poor service (which they would need to improve upon), or (2) a cheap patron (who are impossible). When servers elevate the customary standard higher than it really is, they set themselves up for miscommunication through no fault of the patron.

                                                                            2. Axalady May 19, 2008 07:05 AM

                                                                              We tip 15% on a pretty standard basis, more if we feel the server has earned it. Luckily we haven't run into what we consider sub-par service often, but on those rare occasions when we do, we tip less. So I'd say we're in your 10-20% range. We tip the same, regardless of the type of restaurant. It depends on the service.

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