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Nov 5, 2008 01:31 PM


Anyone else read Mitch's article today in the local free newspaper the Trend? It is all about tipping and references another article I might want to read that is longer. I was just wondering what people thought, it was eerie because Mitch mentions overtipping and ego and my one friend and I were just discussing that very subject on the way home. John has been known to order a scoop of ice cream, a cup of coffee and a cookie at an ice cream place and toss a ten dollar bill into the tip jar. I don't want to go on and on and summarize the article here, but it certainly gave me food for thought.

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  1. I've used to just 86 the Trend, but ever since you referenced Mitch's reviews, I've started reading them.

    I think sometimes people overtip because they just aren't confident enough to tip with assurance. Believe it or not, I'm convinced that some are also math challenged & can't figure out percentages; they cover by just guessing, and guessing on the high side so as to not be embarrased. There's also a difference between how women tip and how men tip.

    After having my daughter work her way though school in a local college eatery/bar, and having a number of nephews who are servers, I find I am a little more generous now than I was years ago. I am more attuned to what their jobs are like. I'm also aware that most servers are also required to "tip out" support staff in the restaurant, so that $5 you give them as a tip doesn't mean that they are taking that $5 home with them.

    I hear you about the ego thing. I work with people in sales all the time & it's a factor. I think there's a difference, too, between how you tip at a place you are visiting for the first time & are unlikely to return to, and how you tip at a place where you are a regular.

    I find that my biggest decision is how to tip appropriately at a buffet. Throws me for a loop every time.

    3 Replies
    1. re: PattiCakes

      Wow!, Me too. I am no authority on this one. But, I figure. They say hello and carry away your plate (not to insult but more like a glorified bus boy.) I think when someone is describing specials, opening wine, carrying numerous courses or plates out a little more skilled work than putting a plate in a bin. I probably sound horrible but that's just how I see it. So, let's say a $9 - $15 buffet, I go more for 10% - 15%. Now a nice restaurant, great service, BYOB especially I consider 20% minimum and always round up.
      Just my opinion. I don't have an expense account job or make 6 figures so I try to be as generous as I feel the service I've recieved

      1. re: PattiCakes


        Interesting comments regarding your family members who are servers and how you approach tipping.

        I used to wait tables and I have a little different approach. I do reward good service with a 20-25% tip, however I am also very critical of bad service and will tip 15% and under if the service is bad. Good service should be rewarded, but poor service should be penalized.

        This said I do wish that servers would realize that service doesn't stop when you take your last bite or sip. I have seen way too many servers provide great service up until that point and then basically forget about the table once the bill is left. I find myself "penalizing" servers that make me wait too long to take my credit card/bring change more than poor "meal time" service. If the tip started at 20%, I'll deduct 5% for every 5 minutes that I am kept waiting.

        1. re: mitchh

          I agree with you mitchh. It was my pet peeve about the now defunct Salford Pub. From my stint as a waitress I know that too. I wasn't very good and nothing would make people madder than being slow to get everything settled so they could leave. It's that trapped feeling, like umm why am I still sitting here?

      2. I waited tables back in college and I really feel for today's servers. I always tip 20%. If we have a memorable experience and feel our server has really gone out of their way to make our visit exceptional, we will always give them something extra.

        Regarding buffets. We may be serving ourselves, but the waitstaff has to visit the table and clear 3 to 4 times as many dishes. If they are attentive and clear the dishes promptly, I have no problem tipping 20%

        I can only recall 1 time in recent years when I left a restaurant without leaving a tip. Although there were problems with the food, the main problem with our experience was 100% the server. The worst service I have ever experienced. You name it, she did it.

        Also, thanks to you givemecarbs, I too am reading Mitch's reviews. I am still trying to get over the Spring House Tavern experience!

        1. My issue of the Trend doesn't seem to have this article. Instead I have a review of Spice Indian Thai Bistro from the "dining duo."

          My personal view on tipping is 20% for smaller tabs but 15% on more expensive ones. So if dinner for two is $100 I would tend tip $15 for good service rather than $20 but if dinner for two is $50 I would probably tip $10.

          1. Always over-tip the breakfast wait staff. These folks get up early, put up with people who haven't had their coffee yet and usually wind up with a buck or less per person. Don't think that I'm one of them. I'm a retired computer consultant who spent exactly 2 weeks working in the food industry - at Mickey D's! I had my eyes opened to this years ago on a business trip by a customer who's daughter was trying to save money for college and after a full summer of being a breakfast waitress had only $350 to show for it. Since then, I always tip the breakfast folks at least 25%.

            3 Replies
            1. re: bucksguy14

              One of my nephews is a professional server who has worked at a lot of chain restaurants -- Cheescake, Dave & Busters, Carrabas & now PF Chang. He has opened my eyes to what a good server can do to really enhance a dining experience, especially in a more casual atmosphere. For instance, he knows that a lot of his clientelle watch shows like Lost & Mad Men. He makes sure he keeps up to date with the episodes so that he can make light conversation if needed. Because he works in the kinds of places I mentioned, this schtick works very well for him & garners his great tips. He's also told me horror stories about the FOH staff having to eat crow for big problems in the kitchen, or busting his butt for a 12 top & getting a meager tip -- once, when he served a party with a minister, the party left a tiny tip, but did bless him.

              1. re: PattiCakes

                Ouch! PattiCakes,that brings back memories of the Holiday Inn in Kulpsville. There was a table of ten that used to come every sunday after chuch and left two dollars for the ten of them every single time. Ministers were generally very poor tippers and there was a morning prayer group that sat at a big back table and got only coffee but prayed there. This made the staff very uncomfortable and likely the other patrons too but we tried to keep them off to themselves as they wanted "privacy" too. The Innkeeper and his wife were miserable to wait on, and the waitresses would flip a coin to see who would get stuck with those two. But eventually one single mom with a bunch of kids just stepped and said she would put up with them because a fifteen percent tip was automatically added to their check, so she knew she would at least get something for her suffering. And trust me the word suffering is not an exaggeration here.

                1. re: givemecarbs

                  The idea of a regular table of 10 leaving a tip of $2 every week made me think about what an appropriate reaction to this group would be. The consensus from the multiple tip threads seems to be that some amount of tip is generally expected to be coughed up even for sub-par service, but if you know the tip is going to be $2 no matter how hard you work what's a waiter to do? Is it worth any effort on your part to serve this group? Ignore them? Talk to them about tipping? Tell a manager? It's hard to undestand how patrons are so oblivious to the basic ecenomics of a waiters salary. No money = no reason to work!