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Sep 21, 2009 10:55 PM

Waiter wants a bigger tip?


Is it ever ok for a server to ask for a larger tip? I was at a restaurant the other night (pretty nice restaurant if that matters) and my friend miscalculated and only left 10% tip. The server came back with the receipts asking us to make sure it was correct. Although we all felt bad for the miscalculation, we were all taken aback and felt it was a bit rude. What do you guys think?

  1. Absolutely unproffesional. The server should be given a week off to think about it.

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. That is correct. He didn't ask for a bigger tip, but gave you an opportunity to correct the mistake or let him know if there was something about the food or service that was not correct.

        It is never okay for a server to ask for a bigger tip. IMO he went about it correctly, you have to realize it's his job and your tip is a reflection on his service. He can get dinged for it, esp if they pool tips. Thats not too good esp if it was a mistake on your part not his!

        1. your description of the events is not in agreement with your question.
          the server asked you to make sure the bill was correct.
          he did not ask for a larger tip.

          especially, in this case, if it were me, in a situation in which presumably i had received good service, i'd be grateful to be given an opportunity to rectify any errors that i made.

          imho, in this case all the errors were made on your side, not the server's.

          16 Replies
            1. re: J.L.

              I agree. This was on the correct side of the professional-unprofessional border or DMZ.

              1. re: Karl S


                To the OP: your math was miscalculated. What is wrong with him asking about that? What would you have done had you been in his shoes? He did not ask for a larger tip, but rather discreetly pointed out that you miscalculated. Kudos to him.

            2. re: westsidegal

              He asked that question because he thought the tip was too low. He asked that in a round about way, but the intent was clear. As another poster said, the way to approach it was for the manager to ask if there's anything wrong with the service.

              1. re: PeterL

                The math was wrong - what's the harm in asking the guest to check it? Personally, I think if someone gets huffy over something as harmless as that then they have larger issues. To get a manager involved is overkill, IMHO.

                1. re: lynnlato

                  I guess I don't see how you concluded that the MATH was wrong? A tip was left that amounted to 10% of the bill. The OP doesn't say the tip was higher but the person signing added it up wrong when totaling.

                  This is a delicate situation and I would agree that the better way to handle it would have been for a manager to ask if something was lacking in your experience. With the server asking it does seem quite obvious they're disappointed in with the tip. With a manager asking it comes across as more of a 'what can we learn from this' question. Having said that, I'm not so sure there would be a whole lot of managers who would do that for a server under those circumstances. A 10% is not NO TIP, and there's a definite risk of offending the guest. Probably best left as is.

                  1. re: Midlife

                    Doesn't "adding the tip up wrong" amount to a miscalculation?

                    1. re: lynnlato

                      I suppose 'yes' if you figure the person meant to multiply by a different % and wound up with 10, or that they couldn't multiply correctly. It still seems like a huge overstepping by the server to ask a guest to re-check their 'calculation'.

                      I don't think I'm disagreeing with monku when I said "there's a definite risk of offending the guest. Probably best left as is." I understand both sides of this but have to come down on the side where the guest is not questioned. Certainly not by the server. I guess I'm overruled by experience on whether or not it's the place of management. In re-thinking, I don't see how a manager could find a really acceptable way to ask the question anyway.

                      1. re: Midlife

                        Its undoubtedly a touchy issue. Personally, I would never ask a guest about a tip. However, if it were the case of a miscalculation, I feel like that's different.

                        I would most definitely say something if I thought someone accidentally tipped me too much also. I know many a server who have added gratuity to a bill and then failed to adequately point it out to the guest in hopes of them leaving an additional gratuity. That, in my opinion, is stealing.

                        1. re: lynnlato

                          From what I've read here I don't think I have any way of knowing if a 10% tip was a miscalculation or not. And I don't think anyone other than the person who left it would either. Hence............... best left alone by restaurant staff.

                          There' still a part of me that feels both the server and management would be interestedin knowing the reasons if it were an intended 10% for poor food or service, but I still see no way to approach it without risk.

                          1. re: Midlife

                            So when the OP says "...and my friend miscalculated and only left 10% tip." you don't find enough evidence to make the determination of whether or not this was a mistake in math?

                            1. re: Servorg

                              You're right. It must be one of those days.

                              1. re: Midlife

                                I'm just glad I am not alone in (at times) overlooking the obvious, which I do on a regular basis here...

                                1. re: Servorg

                                  It happens to me regularly. I can't tell you how many times I've commented on a thread only to realize its 4 yrs old. :-)

                    2. re: Midlife

                      As a former general manager for 7 years at a moderately priced restaurant, no server ever asked me to intervene and question a customer leaving no tip or a poor tip. They knew it wasn't our company policy to question a customer's tip. Every table was always visited by a manager of the floor during the meal and asked if everything was ok, if it wasn't it was taken care of. I'd say most servers who worked for us did a great job. There were a few who'd do stupid things like chasing after a customer and throwing the change they left as a tip at them...yes they were let go immediately.

                      Unfortunately a lot of people don't understand the tipping process and that includes server's. Someone's always going to be offended, but it shouldn't be the customer.

                2. re: westsidegal

                  I agree but would the serve return to the table with the same question if they left a 30% tip?

                3. Twenty-five years ago we had a great meal and wonderful service at Lut├Ęce in New York. At the end I was distracted by something as I calculated the tip and left much less than what I intended. When we left 10-15 minutes later, the waiter said nothing and showed nothing in his demeanor as he wished us a good-night at the door. Halfway to our hotel the mistake finally popped into my wine-addled brain, and I ordered the cab back to the restaurant, where I rushed in after they had already closed, apologized, and added a generous amount to my tip. The "I knew this kid wasn't trying to stiff me" look on the waiter's face made me feel very good.

                  I would have felt lousy if he had questioned my original tip -- no matter how politely -- in front of my wife at the end of what was obviously a very special meal for us.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Harry Nile

                    My thoughts, exactly. You've stated it well.
                    I have had similar things happen in my lifetime regarding tips, too much money returned to me on a purchase, etc.
                    I have always gone out of my way and done the right thing to rectify the situation and make sure the appropriate money was given in the end.
                    Your server was professional and gracious and you, very kindly and graciously, did the right thing.