Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Aug 5, 2011 01:23 PM

Tipping before or after added tax?

When we go to a restaurant, I always tip on the whole amount. My friend says you should tip only for the food, not the tax. Which is correct?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I have this debate with my husband all the time. I say tip on food only.

    1. I can't believe people even bring this up. In my state the tax is 7%, tip is 20%, so you are concerning yourself with 20% of 7% which is well under 2%.

      Why the heck would you go to the trouble of tipping only on the food? Does 2% of the bill really mean that much to you?

      6 Replies
      1. re: redfish62

        How is it trouble? Most bills post the pretax total. After that, it's just second grade arithmetic.

        1. re: cowboyardee

          Well when people say they debate it with their spouses I would say it is more trouble than it's worth.

          It seems incredibly small and chintzy to me to even contemplate it.

          1. re: redfish62

            If you are having a $200 meal, it is substantial. I think the point is concept, not dollars. - an intellectual debate if you will

            1. re: LAC06488

              In this scenario the difference is under 4 dollars that's hardly substantial if you are having a 200 dollar meal.

              1. re: kpaxonite

                Whether it's substantial is utterly beside the point. The question is what etiquette dictates. Anyone who wants to tip above and beyond is still welcome to. I often do. But I do like to know exactly what I'm tipping on in the first place.

              2. re: LAC06488

                Assuming 7% tax, and 20% tip, the difference would be less than 3 dollars. I guess it comes down to what one thinks is a "substantial" amount of money in the context of eating out and tipping.

        2. We tip on the pre-tax amount.

          1. I just double the tax for the tip --here it is 10% tax anyway
            so I only tip on the food...why tip for the government portion...then again its what ? extra 80 cents to a dollar??

            13 Replies
            1. re: ROCKLES

              This is exactly what I do. Well, used to do. Now that I have a toddler who is a messy eater, I double the tax then add $5. We try to clean up as best as possible before we leave, but it's no where near perfect so I hope the extra $5 makes our server feel compensated for the mess.

              1. re: ROCKLES

                Over the years it would add up, though. For us, a typical bill (10% tax), we'd pay only about $2.50 more. Still, it's the principle of the matter. It will eventually become "convention" and then those for whom the little extra matters, will be made to feel bad that they tip "pre" rather than "post". Mostly it's about keeping a particular social protocol, IMO.

                1. re: velochic

                  "it's the principle of the matter"

                  This always means money. Always.

                  1. re: melo7

                    "This always means money. Always."

                    Of course it does. Um... what else would it mean?

                    1. re: velochic

                      "Still, it's the principle of the matter" Um, the principle? But you're right. It's never the principle of the matter it's the money. Thanks for agreeing with me.

                      1. re: melo7

                        It's the principle of a financial matter. So it's about both the principle and money.

                  2. re: velochic

                    Mathmatically it adds up but as far it effecting my lifestyle it doesn't. But, unlike you, my typical meal out doesn't come to $125. I believe people are not MADE to feel bad usually (at least not in this situation), they choose to. "Social protocol" changes over time. Certainly tipping rates have gone up and I'm glad for the servers who actually benefit from the small extra amount I leave them. I tip on the entire amount obviously.

                    1. re: rebeccamarsh

                      Where we typically dine, the tables are turned about every hour and an average bill is $100. The server is usually tending about 5 tables. That means a "meager" tip before taxes is netting this server about $75 - $100 an hour wage. That is far more than most people are making that are paying the actual tip. Of course, it averages out to less with slower times, but if I'm in a restaurant at a busy time, I'm not going to feel bad that I'm tipping pre-tax rather than post-tax. By FAR, at those times the server is earning more than I do. I'm tired of the "poor little server" complaint. They are earning a decent wage even if they occasionally get stiffed, and they are still earning a decent wage if they are tipped before taxes. (FTR - I almost never tip because it's my dh that does the tipping, as he pays the bill 99% of the time.)

                      1. re: velochic

                        Wow, if I'm dropping $100 on a meal, I'd be very annoyed if I was hustled out in an hour.

                        1. re: donovt

                          Well, to be clear, we have never actually been "hustled" out of a restaurant. We just don't typically sit more than about an hour (give or take 10 or 15 minutes) for dinner unless we're eating some place really nice (where the bill will be twice as much and there will be more courses consumed). An hour and $100 is just typical weekly dining out for us ("us" meaning dh and I along with our 9 yo dd) and we're not hurried along with our meal or anything. I would get annoyed no matter how much we were paying if they "hustled" us along. If we were made to feel unwelcome, that would probably reflect in the tip, too. ;)

                          1. re: velochic

                            It should have been obvious to me that you didn't feel hustled since you said that is here you typically dine. I guess it helps if I read the whole post.

                            I was projecting since I rarely go out to eat since we had our son, but when I do it tends to be 3 courses and a couple of hours.

                        2. re: velochic

                          Hi, the waiters have to split their tips among everyone, so it's not like they are making 100's of dollars. How could you think that? Don't you think everyone would just drop out of school and become a waiter if it paid so much? Your math is way off. They do not get paid that much.

                          GET YOUR FACTS.

                  3. I say tipping on tax is neither expected nor required. But if you tip on the tax as well, no one is gonna take you out back and rough you up.

                    This has come up several times before and the clear consensus seems to be that you only need to tip on the pretax amount.