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Jul 23, 2011 08:11 AM

Question about tipping in NM.

Here on the east coast, we have two kinds of restaurants--table service (where you tip the server) and counter service (where there is no server). In our travels to NM, specifically in and around Albuquerque, we've been surprised to encounter many restaurants that are a hybrid of these formats. We just don't have restaurants here where you stand at a counter to order your food, but a server brings the food to your table, checks in with you to refill drinks, etc and cleans up your table. Please tell me what is the convention for tipping in this kind of restaurant. Do you leave a tip of 15-20% like you would if the server took your order in the first place? Is there a different rate of tipping for this "intermediate" level of service? This system makes it awkward to put a tip on a credit card since you'd have to decide on the tip amount before you actually receive any service.

Please educate me.

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  1. The money that goes into the tip jar is divided among the staff [person who takes order, person who brings food etc]. For some reason, people seem to get very upset by these jars. Most folks seem to toss in some money but it doesn't look like 15% to me, more like a buck or 2. The fact is that these workers often don't get full min. wages, so the tips are important. I know this because my daughter worked in one of the more popular ABQ restaurants that employ this method. Because of that, I tend to be a bit more generous than most. IF it is just a place that takes orders and hands the food to your right there [ala Mc D;s] and there is a tip jar, then a buck or 2 MAYBE.

    3 Replies
    1. re: DebitNM

      Kind of depends - I usually just add 20% onto the tab (what the heck; we're fortunate to be able to not worry about the extra). The problem is that I've noted that service in such places is often kind of erratic - there doesn't seem to be a drive to gain tips through good service, as tips have usually already been given.

      Frankly, this sort of service irritates me and I tend to avoid such places, unless it's a small place where you can be sure that the server will be aware that you already took care of them.

      Good topic question, though!

      1. re: Erich

        Thank you for your replies. I'd much rather leave cash on the table as I leave than leave a tip in a jar or on my credit card before I even get my food. I didn't know about pay scale differences in that kind of restaurant, now that I do, I understand that the tip is an expected part of the servers income in that sort of restaurant too. Thank you.

        1. re: drcmk

          A lot of single mother's & minorities working for substandard wages. Tip them well.