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Tips on tipping - pleeease [moved from Manhattan board}

p
PerfectPalate Mar 25, 2012 11:07 PM

Now it drives me nuts, just because at the end of a meal and some wine (ok, and some more wine) I find tipping a hassle - having to do maths and what hour and after.... Down under (NZ, Aussie etc) wait staff get salaries and then tips are the 'bonus', not the wage. Anyway, my questions are:
- what is the standard % to tip in NY for food
- does one tip other people like cab drivers
- if two of you spend say $800 or so (on a big night out e.g. 20th anniversary) for 2 then is the tip % the same as for smaller meals? Sorry, just asking as that would mean that at these places (we are booking 4 or so for an 18 night holiday) the staff would be paid...$$$$$$$

Not wanting to be cheap - just clear and appropriate in my behaviour:)

Thanks in advance. Cheers, Stu

  1. r
    RGR Mar 26, 2012 12:34 AM

    " what is the standard % to tip in NY for food"

    20%. Should include food and beverages. We don't tip on the tax (nearly 9%) though some people do.

    "does one tip other people like cab drivers"

    Yes.

    "if two of you spend say $800 or so (on a big night out e.g. 20th anniversary) for 2 then is the tip % the same as for smaller mYes.

    Yes.

    http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

    3 Replies
    1. re: RGR
      n
      nmprisons Mar 26, 2012 05:35 AM

      This is (as expected from RGR) the right advice.

      One additional thing to look out for is places that include gratuity in the bill. Some more touristy places do (and should tell you, but it is worth looking at the bill to be sure) as does Per Se. In that instance, no additional tip is required, but you can leave more if you think it appropriate (or, if something truly terrible happened, speak to a manager about leaving less).

      1. re: nmprisons
        r
        RGR Mar 26, 2012 08:43 AM

        I agree that if the service is terrible, the tip should be decreased. How much depends on how bad the problems were. Speaking to the manager about the situation is a good idea, but one certainly doesn't need anyone's permission to do so (your phrasing made it sound as if one does).

        http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

        1. re: RGR
          n
          nmprisons Mar 26, 2012 09:18 AM

          Fair enough. Typically they will have already added the gratuity to the bill and I imagine that, if the service was bad enough to dock the server, you would probably want to mention something to the manager anyway. Since the manager is likely needed to reduce the amount charged to your card, it might make sense to do the thing in one fell swoop, but I agree that this is not something that has to be approved by the house.

    2. p
      Pan Mar 26, 2012 12:35 AM

      Tipping in New York restaurants is very simple. 20% on the total pre-tax amount, unless you are merely drinking at the bar, in which case $1 a drink is common. Also, if you just sit down at a place and order coffee from a waiter (someone who gives you table service, not simply a counterman), still tip at least $1, even if that's more than 20% of the pre-tax amount.

      If you aren't willing to tip 20% on an expensive meal, go to a less expensive restaurant or order less expensive items.

      Tipping in any other setting is off-topic for this forum, and there are other many other more general forums where you can check on tipping in the US in general.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Pan
        f
        foodwhisperer Mar 27, 2012 05:55 AM

        Many people still use the "easy method" of doubling the tax. I don't feel that is enough of a tip. I tip 20 % on the whole bill ( with the tax included). If the service is not good, I reduce the tip down to about 15%. If my beverages are over $300 ( for 2 people) I don't give 20% on the beverage portion. i.e. If i buy $1000 Chateau Latour, the waiter did nothing more than he would have done if I ordered a $40 bottle, they should not get 20% on expensive beverages. Many people take out all beverages and tax and then tip 18-20%. That said, if I get exceptional service I give 25% on the whole bill. It seems very much appreciated, especially places that I frequent. Tips are shared with busboys, servers, etc so it is not all going to the waiter. They do appreciate cash tips in many restaurants, as stated in other posts, charged tips get taxed. In smaller places, sometimes charged tips do not get paid to waiters immediately. To sum up 20% on the whole bill is a very nice tip.

        1. re: foodwhisperer
          p
          Pan Mar 27, 2012 11:10 AM

          I really disagree with you on beverages. If you have table service, you tip 20% on beverages, too. Otherwise, don't get that $1,000 wine; buy it at a wine store for less and have it at home.

          And my solution is that I would never even think of paying that much for any meal. The most expensive wine I've ever ordered was $92.

          1. re: Pan
            Bill Hunt Mar 27, 2012 08:09 PM

            But my meal is at Restaurant Daniel, and having the ultimate wine, back in my hotel, is not the same.

            Hunt

            1. re: Bill Hunt
              p
              Pan Mar 27, 2012 11:32 PM

              Right. So tip 20% on the wine then. If you can afford $1,000 for wine, you can afford $1,200 for wine plus tip. Otherwise, get an $800 wine.

              1. re: Pan
                Bill Hunt Mar 28, 2012 10:32 PM

                Whatever floats your boat.

                Hunt

                1. re: Bill Hunt
                  b
                  blueclaw666 Mar 29, 2012 04:30 PM

                  I agree with Bill.

                  No need to tip 20% on any alcohol. It is a drink brought to my table just like a tea, coffee, or soft drink. It's just a lot more expensive. If you have a sommelier involved then you can add a little extra but whether I order a $30 bottle of wine or a $1000 bottle of champagne, 20% is not appropriate on that item. Tip on the service, not the food. Use the cost of the meal as your baseline. If I'm at the bar, I tip $1 per drink no matter the cost.

                  For a meal, look at your food cost and if you had fantastic service, tip 20%. Good service but not outstanding, tip 15-18%. If you had horrible service, let the manager know and tip less than 15%. This is very fair and most waitstaff will agree. Nobody can correct actions or behavior unless you tell them about it. Good or bad, I usually speak to a manager and tell them about my meal and service. My dad was in the restaurant business for 40 years, this is what we learned to do.

                  I usually tip 15-20% on food and 10% on high cost alcohol. Leave the tax out of it and watch out for large groups where the tip is automatically added.

                  If you can't afford to tip or think it is not needed, don't eat out in the US.

                  1. re: blueclaw666
                    Bill Hunt Mar 29, 2012 07:04 PM

                    For my 20% wine tip, a lot goes into it. It is not just fill a glass from an open bottle.

                    I will not argue that there is probably no need, but when the wine service is worth it, I never hesitate. Some do, and they have their personal reasons for it. I have mine.

                    Thanks,

                    Hunt

            2. re: Pan
              l
              latindancer Mar 29, 2012 05:46 PM

              "you tip @0% on beverages, too"

              No, I don't think so. You tip 20% on the service.

        2. princeofpork3 Mar 26, 2012 06:21 AM

          Also remember tipping on your credit card gets taxed so the server probably gets 30% less than they would if you tip in cash. This should not impact the amount you tip just an FYI

          15 Replies
          1. re: princeofpork3
            p
            phantomdoc Mar 26, 2012 10:39 AM

            How does it reduce tip 30%, shouldn't it be 3% credit card charge? Arn't cash tips taxed?

            1. re: phantomdoc
              princeofpork3 Mar 26, 2012 11:30 AM

              Either they put the $50 tip in their pocket if cash, or it goes on the CC gets put on their paycheck and is taxed @ 30%. The $50 tip just became $35
              I am making the assumption that the standard server will not report tips as taxable income at the end of the year.

              1. re: princeofpork3
                l
                latindancer Mar 27, 2012 11:27 AM

                A server reports tips as taxable income, by law, but I like the idea of giving her/him cash so they have that tip immediately.

                1. re: latindancer
                  MVNYC Mar 27, 2012 01:28 PM

                  Do you really think servers report all of their cash tips?

                  1. re: MVNYC
                    Bill Hunt Mar 27, 2012 08:10 PM

                    Is that not the "law?"

                    Hunt

                    1. re: MVNYC
                      l
                      latindancer Mar 27, 2012 11:34 PM

                      I couldn't say...however I do believe it's the law, isn't it?

                      1. re: latindancer
                        MVNYC Mar 28, 2012 06:02 AM

                        When you tip on the credit card it automatically gets reported. Cash tips have too be manually reported. If you think 100% of cash tips are reported then I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.

                        1. re: MVNYC
                          PHREDDY Mar 28, 2012 07:00 AM

                          You are 100% on target!

                    2. re: latindancer
                      princeofpork3 Mar 28, 2012 06:10 AM

                      I would estimate less than 20% of servers report their tips as taxable income.

                      1. re: princeofpork3
                        Quine Mar 28, 2012 06:30 AM

                        I believe the ln NJ, is that minimum wage for servers is $2.13, with the remaining $5.12 (to reach the Federal Minimum Wage of $7.25) expected to be made in tips. If the tips do not cover that amount, the employer is required to make up the difference. So if I only make $3.oo in tips per hour, the employer must pay me the $2.12 to make my total of $7.25 per hour. So you betcha tips are reported. At least the amount needed for the employer to show minimum wage requirements have been met.

                        1. re: princeofpork3
                          t
                          tzurriz Mar 28, 2012 07:12 AM

                          A but the IRS has caught on, and estimates cash tips based on credit card tips. If they don't report a very similar amount, they can very easily get dinged for an audit.

                          1. re: tzurriz
                            PHREDDY Mar 28, 2012 07:19 AM

                            You are correct...thus my point , the entire "tipping" gratuity system was completely manipulated by our government for the purpose of making sure workers and owners pay taxes!

                            1. re: PHREDDY
                              carolinadawg Mar 28, 2012 07:30 AM

                              If that were so, then wouldn't a better solution be to eliminate tipping and pay servers a regular wage? The "government" would be better served by eliminating tipping.

                            2. re: tzurriz
                              carolinadawg Mar 28, 2012 07:28 AM

                              Only 1% of taxpayers earning less than $200,000 annually are audited (which covers virtually all servers), so the odds of a server being audited are very, very small.

                      2. re: phantomdoc
                        sgordon Mar 26, 2012 11:31 AM

                        I think pop3 was implying that 30% of whatever tip you leave will be going to the IRS rather than the server...

                    3. sgordon Mar 26, 2012 07:15 AM

                      For standard service, we do 20% on the pre-tax amount. For better service, 20% on the complete amount - doesn't come out to much difference (20% of 9% is only an additional 1.8%). For above and beyond, I'll round it up even further, to 25% or so

                      That said, I know we tip higher than average. Most people it's 20% on pre-tax, and that's that.

                      Also, I make an attempt to tip in cash when possible. At some restaurants the tips are pooled and wind up getting taxed anyway, but if there's a chance the waitstaff doesn't need to report cash... I try to do them that favor.

                      Also, if just having drinks at a bar - $1 per drink is fine for beers, glasses of wine, simple drinks - when getting into fancy cocktails that require a bit of work (i.e. when they start costing $15+), I like to tip a little more - the standard 20%, rounded to the nearest dollar.

                      1. princeofpork3 Mar 26, 2012 07:22 AM

                        As long as we are on the topic of tipping I usually give $2 per coat at the coat check and have never found a reason to tip the Matre D, or hostess. $2-3 to the valet parker as well.

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: princeofpork3
                          p
                          Pan Mar 26, 2012 07:51 PM

                          I give $1 per coat.

                          1. re: princeofpork3
                            Bill Hunt Mar 27, 2012 08:13 PM

                            That is about what we tip.

                            For the valet, if it's wife's car, I tip US$ 5.00 going in, and then US$ 5.00 coming out. If it's a rental, then the fare does often go down a bit.

                            Hunt

                            1. re: Bill Hunt
                              princeofpork3 Mar 28, 2012 06:11 AM

                              WOW that seems excessive unless your wife drives a Ferrari

                              1. re: princeofpork3
                                carolinadawg Mar 28, 2012 07:16 AM

                                I wouldn't be surprised.

                                1. re: princeofpork3
                                  Bill Hunt Mar 28, 2012 10:36 PM

                                  No, she drives a Mercedes Benz S AMG Lorinser. So far, all valets have taken great care of her, and especially as the major, local valet service is employed by her. Still, a tip, going in, and coming out is my way of saying "thank you."

                                  Hunt

                                2. re: Bill Hunt
                                  l
                                  latindancer Mar 29, 2012 08:44 AM

                                  You're paying the $5 going in to insure your wife's car is taken car of.
                                  It sounds like it would be, regardless if you paid or not based on her status, however at places here in parts of LA I pay more than the $5 going in...
                                  It's just one nice car after another so the standard of tip goes up.
                                  $20 will get it insured, hopefully.

                                  1. re: latindancer
                                    Bill Hunt Mar 29, 2012 07:22 PM

                                    For me, going in with a US $ 5, and her VIP status with the major valet, has always insured good treatment. The tires are usually not too hot, when the car is delivered.

                                    At most local restaurants, resorts, she is normally parked right in the front, though Phoenix is NOT LA. Sometimes, there are Bentleys and Maybachs,plus an Aston-Martin, a few Ferraris, and who knows what else, that might have a slightly better spot (closer, etc.), but she is always in the "front row." At many establishments, her car is at the door, and waiting, when we arrive with the ticket. That is always nice, especially when there is a queue for 30, waiting to hand off tickets.

                                    It is just my nature to say "Please," and then "Thank you." At the end of the year, it is no big deal, and hopefully, the young folk, who are working valet, will have $ to go to school, next semester.

                                    Now, one thing that I have a bit of an issue with, is a high-end restaurant, where the parking is "in addition" to what we will be spending inside. I am far less comfortable with that, but it's an issue with the restaurant owner, and not with the young folk, parking cars. I try to never ignore them.

                                    Also, at events, etc., the guy/gal parking, will most likely NOT be the one, who brings the car around.

                                    Upon some strong reflection, and research of my Quicken, I do see that with rental vehicles, my normal in/out tips are slightly below, those locally, with wife's car. The average seems to be US$ 4, for both in and out, though there have been some instances, over the years, where it was only US $ 2.00 in and out.

                                    Hunt

                                    1. re: Bill Hunt
                                      l
                                      latindancer Mar 31, 2012 08:33 AM

                                      You are absolutely right about the parking for valet, at a restaurant, in addition to what a customer spends inside.
                                      I know where I live the majority of owners of restaurants must rely on private parking garages, etc. to park the cars.
                                      They pay high monthly leases and the restaurant simply passes that onto the customer. It's become more the norm, than not, and I'm assuming this is the reason why they do it As you said, it's not the fault of the person valeting my car so I don't make it an issue with them and pay both the parking and the tip on top of it.

                                      1. re: latindancer
                                        Bill Hunt Apr 5, 2012 06:10 PM

                                        Yes, much can depend on the "WHERE," as in certain areas of certain cities, parking is something to be passed down, generation to generation.

                                        Now, my reference to charging for valet parking, was from me thinking about three restaurants, that own the parking lots used, and ones that did not charge (directly) in the past.

                                        Still, the valets, themselves, do quite a bit of work. As my wife employees one company for her hospitals, and has their VIP credentials, we seldom are charged anything, but I still tip the drivers.

                                        When we used that company for a personal party at our home, up in the hills, with no easy parking, I tipped the drivers very graciously, as they did a fantastic job. I am still not sure where they put some of those cars. Boggles my mind. Hope that my guests also tipped them well.

                                        I rather use the funds, going in, to the tune of TIPS (To Insure Proper Service), and before a dozen folk chime in that that is NOT where the term "tip" came from, let me state that that is how I use it.

                                        As the driver on my pickup is almost always someone else, I wish to thank them, for delivering my auto, without smoke rising from the tires.

                                        When we valet park, if it will not be the normal duration of the event/meal, we let them know. Just two weeks ago, we attended an event for but the cocktails and silent auction - no meal. We informed the attendants, and they parked the auto in the near-by lot, so that when we left, just as everyone else went into the dining room, they did not have to bring it from the back of the property.

                                        Though I have never done valet work, I try to help, and always respect, the lads and lassies, who do the work. Some of which, involves running up and down hills. Same thing for the driver, if a van is involved in getting me from the parking area to the event. I usually hand them a US $ 5, for their efforts.

                                        Who knows, the valet today, might be my investment banker tomorrow? I might be seated at THEIR desk, asking for a construction loan, or something else?

                                        Besides, I like to say "thank you," since I can.

                                        Hunt

                                        1. re: Bill Hunt
                                          angelo04 Apr 6, 2012 05:10 AM

                                          I hate valeting my car. I prefer to park my car in one spot far out of harms way. When that is not an option my sports car stays home in the safety of my garage. We take my wife's car and tip $5 on the way in and a couple of $ on the way out. I always prefer parking my own. Valeting really irks me.

                                          1. re: angelo04
                                            Bill Hunt Apr 6, 2012 08:33 PM

                                            Depending on the venue, and the event, I could not agree more.

                                            We often self-park, and go for the back of the lot, as we do not mind walking. Still, there are times, where valet is the better choice, at least for us.

                                            Hunt

                              2. Monica Mar 26, 2012 09:15 AM

                                One of the easiest ways to calculate tip is by simply doubling the tax amount. Tax in NYC is 8.875% so if you double the amount, you are tipping close to 18%.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Monica
                                  r
                                  RGR Mar 26, 2012 09:23 AM

                                  I think $18% is too low for most NYC restaurants, especially those at the high end.

                                  http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                  1. re: RGR
                                    Monica Mar 26, 2012 11:10 AM

                                    I always tip on the final amount which includes tax then I round up the amount so I think I am good.

                                    btw, most guideline suggests 15% to 20% so I don't think 18% even on pre tax amount is too low.

                                    1. re: Monica
                                      2slices Mar 26, 2012 02:17 PM

                                      15% was the standard 20 years ago. Minimum wage for "tipped" workers has remained virtually unchanged for over 20 years. Waitstaff make $2.25 and have since I was 13 years old, 20% is the rule.

                                      Somehow cute waitresses seem to get more but that's my problem.

                                      I agree with an earlier poster, tip 20% or eat somewhere cheaper.

                                      Also note tipping is not expected when you take out food from a restaurant or even a fancy coffee counter. However delivered food should be tipped, and preferably in cash. I dont have a set amount I tip delivery, but it probably works out to 18 or 20% but if its raining or snowing they get more from me.

                                      I dont have a rule for tipping taxis, but its usually less than 20%. If I stay in Manhattan and it's an average cab ride I tip $1 and the change for a short trip and $2 and the change for a longer one. If I use the card machine in there I usually do 15%. Maybe I'm a jerk, but they do not rely on tips the way waitstaff do.

                                      1. re: 2slices
                                        JenJeninCT Mar 29, 2012 03:32 PM

                                        All of the guys that deliver to us love us, because they know they're going to get a minimum of $5(or 20% of the bill, whichever is more) and more if the weather is bad.

                                  2. re: Monica
                                    Toot Mar 27, 2012 11:30 AM

                                    Yes, double the tip, that was what I was taught when I moved to NYC and don't see anything wrong with it. Unless you are very wealthy, then you can tip 20, 30, 40 % in very fancy restaurants, but for most of us, 18% is a reasonable tip.

                                  3. r
                                    r32nissan Mar 26, 2012 09:39 AM

                                    Hi PerfectPalate,

                                    I'm from Australia originally and have been here for less than 6 months (on a working rotation for 2 years). I agree that the whole tipping concept took a little getting used to, but I think in summary, my approach to dining out is as follows:

                                    - If I sit down and eat any form of food, I will tip 20% of the pre-tax total...definitely make sure you check the bill to ensure tip has not already been included. This has only happened once to me and was disguised with the initials 'SC' or service charge.
                                    - I do try to tip in cash when possible
                                    - Generally, I will round up my bill to the nearest $5-$10 depending on the size of the bill (i.e. for a $100 check, after tax and tip = $121, I will round up to $125 and for larger checks I will round up to the closest $10.
                                    - I've always assumed that those wait staff who are at the higher end places (EMP, Daniel, Per Se et al) are there due to their skills and services in the wait staff hospitality industry and therefore their tips would reflect his skill level - note that this is purely an assumption on my end and I have no basis for this whatsoever.
                                    - I do not tend to tip when I get items 'to-go'.
                                    - I tend to tip greater than 20% in Chinatown or Flushing when I eat out and wen I get item's to-go as their prices are so low already, I feel an extra amount is warranted.

                                    Not sure if that helps at all but hopefully it's something else you can use to work out the system.

                                    In relation to drinks - if i'm at a bar, and I know I'll be around for quite a while (tends to happen), I'll tip the bartender a $5 or 10 up front and then $1 a drink (beer/wine/spirit + mixer) or $2 a drink (cocktails etc) thereafter.

                                    Goodluck.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: r32nissan
                                      s
                                      Stuartmc910 Mar 26, 2012 09:48 AM

                                      One thing that always has puzzled me is do you tip at BYOs if, and only if, the wait staff pours your wine? If so, how much? 5% of the value of the bottle, 5% additional on top your tip?

                                      1. re: Stuartmc910
                                        r
                                        RGR Mar 26, 2012 10:01 AM

                                        We've never been to a BYO restaurant in NYC, but there are tons of them in NJ. The law there permits the server to open the bottle but not to pour the wine -- though in a lot of places, they do. Regardless, we never tip on the value of the wine.

                                        http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                        1. re: RGR
                                          s
                                          Stuartmc910 Mar 26, 2012 10:21 AM

                                          I WAS refering to NJ as we have a house in Mantoloking (Ocean County) where very few restaurants have licenses and we ONLY dine at BYOs. I didn't realize that they couldn't pour the wine. All places open it and some pour the first glass. Whispers in Spring Lake does pour all meal long as does Daniel's Bistro. But some places don't even pour the first glass. I always thought they were "rude!" :)

                                        2. re: Stuartmc910
                                          bobjbkln Mar 26, 2012 11:12 AM

                                          I tend to add in the Retail cost of the wine plus a few dollars into the base, when calculating the tip. That's still a lot less than what the tip would be if the wine was bought in the restaurant.

                                          1. re: bobjbkln
                                            s
                                            Stuartmc910 Mar 26, 2012 11:49 AM

                                            on a $40 retail wine you would tip an additional, what $8.00, $10.00?

                                      2. Motosport Mar 26, 2012 12:22 PM

                                        Unless the service is awful I tip 20% in any restaurant.
                                        The same for taxis. If you pay for the taxi by credit card the screen in the back of the taxi makes it easy to pick 20%.
                                        Both servers and taxi drivers have tough jobs and rely on tips.

                                        16 Replies
                                        1. re: Motosport
                                          princeofpork3 Mar 26, 2012 01:45 PM

                                          Agreed unless the taki smells awful. Then I dont tip at all.

                                          1. re: princeofpork3
                                            Motosport Mar 26, 2012 02:21 PM

                                            I am guessing that you meant to say taxi.
                                            The only time I don't tip a taxi driver is when they don't want me to pay with a credit card and tell me the machine does not work. It's a ploy to get cash. So, I pay in cash and leave a minimal tip and explain why.
                                            In olden times when I drove a taxi we had to split the fares with the fleet owners. Usually 50/50. These days most drivers "buy" the taxi for the day and keep 100% of the fare plus tips. They are also responsible for fuel and cleaning the taxi. The point I am trying to make is that if you don't tip they still make a few bucks but not as much as if they provided good service, clean taxi and working credit card machine.

                                            1. re: Motosport
                                              p
                                              PerfectPalate Mar 26, 2012 09:26 PM

                                              I have a genius idea - it will revolutionise dining out in America. Imagine a restaurant (OK, and maybe one day all restaurants) paying wait staff etc a fair wage and building this INTO the price that they charge you per dish / for a meal so that YOU / WE don't have to mess around with % and the like. You all (and I am about to) have to calculate %s in terms of tip $ etc and have the hassle of this all the time. Imagine an easy world where the price was 'all up' - unless you got beyond good service where you might CHOOSE to pay a little extra %, or if bad the tell the place and... Sorry but after my initial question and your all too gracious replies I am starting to think that this is a real issue and hassle for a lot of people. PS When did good service start costing more, or indeed any service (because some reviews that I read suggest that this is often the case). I would looooove to see / know the history of tipping in America - just for interest.

                                              1. re: PerfectPalate
                                                l
                                                LeoLioness Mar 26, 2012 09:37 PM

                                                It only seems like a hassle for those who are unaccustomed to it. I don't find calculating 20% difficult at all...

                                                I doubt the system used/accepted by millions of Americans every day is going to change because some foreign tourists don't like it.

                                                1. re: LeoLioness
                                                  p
                                                  PerfectPalate Mar 26, 2012 09:51 PM

                                                  Just exploring ideas - and the rest of the western world includes service in the price on the menu (other than some hotel chains who add on), because they are customer / diner centric i.e. why should i have to do the math (and yes, based on many of the above responses, it is a hassle etc.). Maybe (and yes, they are maybe a bit tacky) but in this new world of iPad menus they will have a with and without the tip 'built in' option i.e food and seat or food, seat and service:) In a similar way to airlines. PS Tourism is bigggg business for every country (including America) and there are a huge number of tourists online mentioning the problems around tipping - and it's not even clear for locals as per the above.

                                                  1. re: PerfectPalate
                                                    l
                                                    LeoLioness Mar 27, 2012 06:11 AM

                                                    We will have to disagree. In general, I hear tourists complain about American tipping customs much, much more than I do Americans, who are both used to and okay with the custom and do not find simple arithmetic a "hassle".. Unfortunately, I've had the displeasure with more than one non-American (in an American restaurant) who thought their usual 10% "was enough" or was fine with tipping 20% until they got a higher-than-usual bill and balked at having to tip "so much". In my experience it's not that non-Americans are so confused or daunted by tipping--they just don't want to do it. (This is certainly not all foreign visitors by any stretch and most do adopt a "when in Rome" attitude but naturally, the unpleasant situations so stand out").

                                                    I travel; I'm aware that tipping is different in other countries. I'm not sure why that means there should be a global standard.

                                                  2. re: LeoLioness
                                                    TeRReT Mar 26, 2012 10:13 PM

                                                    Thats a bit harsh. Its not that "some foreign tourists" don't like it, its that billions of people that don't live in north america have no tipping system at all, and so aren't used to it. Not only tipping, but tax as well. Many countries you pay the price you see in the menu, and thats it, the service, the tax, every thing is built in, just pay what it says. Its very different when you to go north america and have to pay tax and tip, it can be daunting and confusing.

                                                    Most people I know that subscribe to this system, albeit in Canada and not US are not fans of the tipping system and would love to see it gone, not an easy feat however.

                                                    1. re: TeRReT
                                                      Quine Mar 27, 2012 07:02 AM

                                                      I agree, when you go to another country, either as a tourist or due to work, MANY things are different, But we become boorish and rude when we then try to tell that country to stop driving on the wrong side of the road or to making women cover their heads or entire bodies and not drive at all, all in the name of "how we do it where I am from, is SO much easier".

                                                      Yes, in America, the system has always been based on tips, Sorry that almost all folks who visit hate or cannot do the arithmetic (because it is not Math). Will that change ever happen, sure possible, will it happen soon enough to suit now, no.
                                                      Yes, it is the age of the iPad menus, which means there is a calculator on your smart phone and if it does not already have one for tips, download a tipping app.

                                                      Yes tipping is strange to folks who come from someplace that has a built in system, but it is our system and you are here.

                                                      1. re: Quine
                                                        TeRReT Mar 27, 2012 06:55 PM

                                                        My point was not that tourists shouldn't adopt the visiting countries payment system, nor is it even that the tipping system itself is bad, It was just the way one sentence was written bothered me, but maybe i am not understanding it correctly anyways.

                                                        1. re: TeRReT
                                                          Quine Mar 27, 2012 07:17 PM

                                                          Fair enough, happens all the time. De Nada. C'est bon?

                                                      2. re: TeRReT
                                                        Bill Hunt Mar 27, 2012 08:30 PM

                                                        Unfortunately, tipping differs country, by country, and even city to city. It is incumbent on the tourist to learn what is accepted policy, or face some very sour faces.

                                                        Hunt

                                                    2. re: PerfectPalate
                                                      MVNYC Mar 27, 2012 08:02 AM

                                                      The math is pretty easy for 20%. Move the decimal point over and double it. Ex $180.50 = $18.05 x 2= $36.10 . Round up or down based on service.

                                                      1. re: MVNYC
                                                        a
                                                        acgold7 Mar 27, 2012 10:44 PM

                                                        This is exactly what I always do. My wife still doesn't get it.

                                                      2. re: PerfectPalate
                                                        Motosport Mar 27, 2012 08:17 AM

                                                        Got a cell phone? Use the calculator.

                                                        1. re: PerfectPalate
                                                          b
                                                          blueclaw666 Mar 29, 2012 04:51 PM

                                                          Tipping is an incentive for superior service.

                                                          Sure you could show up at your job as a waitperson and go through the motions with no smile, no discussion, no customer service, but you won't get as much of a tip from me as your counterpart that went above and beyond in the name of customer service.

                                                          A nice tip is something to work toward, not something to be expected. Work for it. If you have an attitude, are never checking on my table, don't fill my drink when empty, and generally don't wait on me, then your tip will be less. I am in your restaurant. I can't get up and get things for myself so you need to do it for me. If you do it with a smile and are prompt, you get a bigger tip.

                                                          It's all based on quality of service. There should never be a default percentage to tip just because you are eating out. Be prepared to tip handsomely, but if service stinks, don't hesitate to let the manager know and tip less.

                                                          1. re: blueclaw666
                                                            Bill Hunt Mar 29, 2012 07:30 PM

                                                            << A nice tip is something to work toward, not something to be expected.>>

                                                            Well stated!

                                                            Every aspect of the service, goes into my tipping. I never hesitate to really reward stellar service, though ratchet things down, steps at a time, when things are NOT stellar.

                                                            Many years ago, we did a "Wine Tasting" seating at a bar, before our dinner. The wines were very good, the conversation was great, and the apps. received, were excellent. When our table was called, I asked to settle up the bill for that tasting. The bartender informed me that it was free, and part of our experience. Well, then his tip was many, many times what any % would have been. He worked hard, and we were charged zero for it. I slipped a US $ 50 into his hand, and said "thanks." He had earned it.

                                                            Same for many of the resorts, where we spend "down-time." Many have all gratuities included. However, at one, in particular, we often arrive from one of our trips overseas, so have much more luggage, than we would normally have. Lot of extra work. In those occasions, I palm a US $ 20, and acknowledge the extra work involved. It is but my way of saying "Thank you."

                                                            Hunt

                                                  3. Monica Mar 27, 2012 06:48 AM

                                                    I always find it ironic that a lot of waiters at upscale restaurants make more than a fix figure while the actual chefs and cooks who prepare your wonderful food barely make half of what the waiters make.

                                                    12 Replies
                                                    1. re: Monica
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                                                      latindancer Mar 27, 2012 11:30 AM

                                                      Isn't it smart for the wait person to give the chefs/cooks/bus part of their tips at the end of their shift?

                                                      1. re: latindancer
                                                        Motosport Mar 27, 2012 11:51 AM

                                                        I know that most if not all restaurants share tips among the dining room workers: host/bussers etc.. Kitchen help, I am not so sure?

                                                        1. re: Motosport
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                                                          latindancer Mar 27, 2012 11:56 AM

                                                          I don't know either but I would think, if I were a waitperson, that I'd like to make sure the person who was making the food for my customers was well taken care of....
                                                          In the form of a good tip. :).

                                                          1. re: Motosport
                                                            Monica Mar 27, 2012 12:01 PM

                                                            Nope, they don't. Both my sis and her husband work as chefs in NYC(both CIA graduated) and they've never received anything extra other than their wage which is very very small for what they do.

                                                            1. re: Monica
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                                                              latindancer Mar 27, 2012 12:23 PM

                                                              That's pretty amazing.

                                                              I would think that a good server would know that tipping the chef would him/her on a iist of servers who get that extra 'help' from the kitchen, assuring their customers excellence.

                                                              1. re: latindancer
                                                                f
                                                                foodmusing Mar 27, 2012 01:55 PM

                                                                If the server was good, they would be able to hand the orders in a timely matter (ex. instead of slamming tickets down for multiple tables all at once or something). Less stress in the kitchen makes things easier for the server.

                                                                Maybe that was a bad example.

                                                            2. re: Motosport
                                                              f
                                                              foodmusing Mar 27, 2012 01:49 PM

                                                              Most restaurants don't share with the back of the house.

                                                              1. re: foodmusing
                                                                bagelman01 Mar 27, 2012 04:05 PM

                                                                The restaurant cannot share the servers tips with the back of the house, that is generally illegal. An individual server may choose to make a gift of part of the server's tips to chef, etc, that is legal in most US jurisdictions.

                                                                (FYI>>I am an attorney)

                                                                In other words, a restaurant can require a server to share(tip out) bus personnel, barstaff, hosts, but NOT cooks, dishwashers, managers and NEVER owners.

                                                                I waited tables in a steakhouse years ago where the owner's two daughters were the hostesses. we were required to tip out 2% to the hostesses. A quick check with the Secretary of State's office showed each daughter owned a small piece of the business. That info cost the owners more than 200K in fines and 50K in payroll restitution and interest to the employees.

                                                              2. re: Motosport
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                                                                latindancer Mar 27, 2012 04:41 PM

                                                                I am talking strictly about a server giving a tip, a gift, at the end of the shift to the chef.
                                                                I have no idea what a restaurant does/doesn't do....
                                                                I'm saying I see nothing wrong with a server doing this....
                                                                I would think it would be a nice thing to do.
                                                                A good relationship between a server and a chef, imo, is a good thing.

                                                                1. re: latindancer
                                                                  s
                                                                  small h Mar 27, 2012 05:49 PM

                                                                  I'm not so sure that would be a good thing at all. It sets up an arms race between the servers - those that pay off the chef get "well taken care of," while those that don't, don't. Good relationships depend on more than flat-out bribery. At least I hope they do.

                                                                  1. re: small h
                                                                    l
                                                                    latindancer Mar 28, 2012 12:04 AM

                                                                    Well, it does happen.
                                                                    A waitperson cannot do their job alone, they need other people to maximize their efficiency, and so therefore...

                                                                    1. re: latindancer
                                                                      carolinadawg Mar 28, 2012 07:18 AM

                                                                      "Well, it does happen"
                                                                      ______________________________________________________________

                                                                      Perhaps, but i'd wager not very often. I've worked in 2 restaurants (admittedly a very small sample size) and I've never seen it happen.

                                                          2. Bill Hunt Mar 27, 2012 08:05 PM

                                                            In the US, maybe you should contact a Congress-person, like Senator Chuck Shumer, and demand that Congress pass a law, on tipping, with tipsy That would make it easier.

                                                            Hunt

                                                            1. l
                                                              latindancer Mar 27, 2012 11:53 PM

                                                              -what is the stander % to tip in NY for food

                                                              20%

                                                              -Does one tip other people like cab drivers

                                                              yes

                                                              If two of you spend say $800 or so...

                                                              $160

                                                              To clarify what I do; I tip anyone and everyone who makes my life easier. I will tip a Maitre d who gives me a table when I've no reservation, I tip valets well who park my car, I tip bellmen well who carry my heavy luggage and the list goes on and on. My one universal and timeless thought is that everyone deserves to make a living. They're doing me a favor and they're gifted for it.

                                                              1. PHREDDY Mar 28, 2012 05:59 AM

                                                                First off, the 20% movement from 15% was a result of the state and federal governments. Not true? Well it is they who has created an almost cashless society...why? it is eaiser to track and of course stop people from cheating and make all pay their fair share of taxes. In light of the "restaurant' industry, the insurance companies also jumped on the bandwagon. If you understand how the liability and workman's compensation insurance system works, you know that their premiums are generated from gross payroll. Thus if all tips are in cash then they only pay insurance premimums on the small minimum wage. Social Security and Medicare is not paid 100% by the employee, the restaurant owner or employer kicks in about 103% in addition to to the employee. so if in NY the wage is $2.25 per hour and all of your waitstaff gets cash, your insurance and taxes are very small. Once everything is on a credit card....bingo all is traceable and the owner says....it is now as if my people are making $10 nto $15 per hour....now I have to pay taxes like a real business with real employees....therfore I almost never leave cash, because it is ultimately myself I am cheating, these workers will have little or nothing paid into Social Security, and they will be come a burden to us all.

                                                                If a restaurant does not accept tips on a credit card, if I choose to pay that way, I ask to see the owner or manager incharge. If they are unyeilding, then I tell that I will visit one of the other 10,000 plus eating establishments in NYC.

                                                                I also like to give extra, but I will usually do that during the meal in the form of 2, 3 4 5 bucks directly to a bus boy, mait're d , hostess or bathroom attendant....why wait for the end of the meal....people are definitly more responsive when I employ this practice.

                                                                1. Motosport Mar 28, 2012 06:46 AM

                                                                  Because of the abundance of tourists from non-tipping countries some Manhattan restaurants have a multi-lingual note attached to the check explaining that it is the norm in the USA to leave a gratuity. Unfortunately I have seen several foreigners stare at the note in bewilderment. On the other hand, while visiting Italy and Spain, I have seen uninformed AMericans leave a lavish tip in restaurants. A nice bonus for the servers.

                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Motosport
                                                                    princeofpork3 Mar 28, 2012 10:40 AM

                                                                    I had my money rudely push back to me at a bar in Ireland for leaving a tip on the bar.

                                                                    1. re: Motosport
                                                                      Bill Hunt Mar 28, 2012 11:33 PM

                                                                      International travel can be a bit dicey.

                                                                      Not that long ago, we had a cabbie take us from Mayfair to LHR. He handled our luggage, got us a trolley, and was just great. I handed him the fare, plus £10. He hesitated, and looked perplexed. I pointed to the photograph on his dash, with his daughter, and her English Bulldog, and told him that we also had English Bulldogs, and that extra was for the puppy. He grinned, and finally accepted the tip. Now, in DC, we would have had a cabbie, who did not know where we were going, spoke no English, let alone the Queen's English, would never have lifted a hand with one piece of luggage, and would have been horribly rude, but expected an even larger tip. Heck, if I feel obligated to tip for bad service in the US, then a great UK cabbie deserves more, at least in my book, and especially if his daughter has a Bullie.

                                                                      Hunt

                                                                      1. re: Motosport
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                                                                        latindancer Apr 6, 2012 03:44 PM

                                                                        I really do like the idea of the tip being built into the cost of the meal...so there's not a question of how much/which percentage, etc. should be left.
                                                                        It's always interesting, to me, to dine here in the US with someone who's from a city/country where tipping's either not the norm or is completely prohibited and viewed as rude and dishonorable.
                                                                        A whole, long conversation can be built around the pros and cons of the subject.

                                                                        1. re: latindancer
                                                                          p
                                                                          Pan Apr 7, 2012 04:16 AM

                                                                          That's most of the world. And you get much better service in Japan, where tipping is not done, than in the US, where tipping is just about required.

                                                                          1. re: Pan
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                                                                            latindancer Apr 7, 2012 12:01 PM

                                                                            Honor, etiquette, customs, humility, ceremony and tradition. Japan is one of the those countries, a person visiting, should completely understand before traveling.
                                                                            Tipping is, as you say, just about required in the US. However, unlike many countries, the tip/service is not included in the final tabulation for the meal. So something needs to be given don't you think?

                                                                            1. re: latindancer
                                                                              p
                                                                              Pan Apr 7, 2012 11:42 PM

                                                                              In the US? Yes, of course.

                                                                          2. re: latindancer
                                                                            h
                                                                            Harters Apr 7, 2012 06:13 AM

                                                                            Interesting subject which you only ever seem to come across on American led boards. Here in Europe, tipping is pretty much a non subject, despite the fact that we have a variety of practices depending on which country you are in. In a few countries, service is included in the price of the meal and really nothing else is required. In most countries, however, some form of tipping often exists, although it is never with the same sort of compulsion that appears to be the case in America. And, where a tip might be reasonably expected, the expectation might range from leaving a few coins up to , say, 10% of the bill. Of course, folk will feel free to ignore the "expectation" and will tip at a lower rate or not at all.

                                                                            And, in spite of those differences about tipping, I really don't see any difference in the level of service. Not between European countries. And not between Europe and north America. I experience "good" service in "good" restaurants and, from time to time, not so good service in not so good restaurants. Of course, we will all have our own opinions about what constitutes "good" service - and my guess is we will usually prefer the style of service to which we are accustomed.

                                                                            1. re: Harters
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                                                                              latindancer Apr 7, 2012 12:08 PM

                                                                              Yes, and as you can see, there's an entire thread devoted to this subject. There's a great scene from the sitcom 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' where Larry David, the main character, is lunching with his friends at their Country Club. There's an automatic 18% added on to the bill and they all decide whether or not Larry should add on another tip (where theres a place to leave it on the tab) to bring it to the preferred 20%.
                                                                              A whole conversation evolves from this one topic....whether he should/shouldn't.
                                                                              To me, it seems what you're talking about makes more sense and certainly more logical.
                                                                              Your term 'compulsion' certainly fits the practice here in the US.

                                                                        2. Motosport Mar 29, 2012 09:52 AM

                                                                          There is a very cute old story about an 11 year old girl who sits at the counter of an ice cream parlor, puts her pocket full of change on the counter and orders a small ice cream sundae. The "soda jerk" says: "you've got enough for a large sundae!" The girl says: "Then I would not have enough for a tip!"
                                                                          The moral is???

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Motosport
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                                                                            latindancer Mar 29, 2012 11:56 AM

                                                                            I think people have forgotten the purpose of tipping.
                                                                            This little girl should have taken the advice of the soda jerk and ordered the large sundae. To me, leaving a tip for him, would have been no different than me tipping the woman at the counter who sells me a lipstick @ Neiman Marcus...
                                                                            The soda jerk was making a sundae at a counter and giving it to her. He wasn't, making the sundae and bringing it to a table and serving her.

                                                                            1. re: latindancer
                                                                              Motosport Mar 30, 2012 07:29 AM

                                                                              @ latindancer The soda jerk greeted the girl, smiled, engaged her in conversation, took her order with care, prepared the sundae and delivered it to her with untensils, napkin and probably a nice glass of ice water. To me that is service and deserves a tip for the person who relies on gratuities for their livelyhood.
                                                                              I often eat breakfast at diners and sit at the counter if I am solo. I order the bacon and egg special with coffee. The bill is usually way under $10. I usually tip $2-3. Leaving 90 cents in coins on the counter seems criminal.

                                                                            2. re: Motosport
                                                                              Bill Hunt Mar 29, 2012 07:34 PM

                                                                              For me, a "medium," or even a "small," would be the choice. But, that is just me.

                                                                              We spend far too much time in the United Red Carpet Clubs, now United Clubs, and we buss our used dishes. Still, I usually tip the attendants a few $, to say "Thank you," for keeping the club clean, even if we did most of the work, for our stay there.

                                                                              Heck, the same thing happens at my country club. I tip on the work done, and do not expect others, though perhaps hired to do so, to pick up after me. I am an adult, and appreciate their efforts.

                                                                              Hunt

                                                                            3. JenJeninCT Mar 29, 2012 03:42 PM

                                                                              Our motto is :"it's not tipping we believe in, it's over- tipping". Anything under 20% means the service was really bad. More often, we tip in the 25-30% range, including beverages, after taxes. We appreciate good service, and are appreciated (and remembered the next time we come) by those who allow us to show it. It's a nice circle.

                                                                              There are times I tip based on my "moral minimum", and it can exceed 50%. For example, my mother and I went to lunch at Olive Garden (I know, I know) and had salad, breadsticks and iced tea. The total was something around $15. There is no way I can tip the waiter $3!! So, my moral minimum is $4 per person if food is served.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: JenJeninCT
                                                                                Bill Hunt Mar 29, 2012 07:39 PM

                                                                                Hey, I think that we were twins, but separated at birth!

                                                                                Give me great service, and I will do my best to reward that.

                                                                                Hunt

                                                                              2. Delucacheesemonger Mar 31, 2012 09:03 AM

                                                                                Went to a BYOB last night with a bunch of friends, no corkage charge. Because there were a lot of us they employed the included service charge of 20%. We added an additional 7-8 % for 2 reasons. First the service was excellent and there was no wine charge, but more so when splitting up a check for many people, l would certainly rather hear l owe $ 60 than l owe $ 56.35, just easier to deal with.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Delucacheesemonger
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                                                                                  latindancer Apr 1, 2012 10:44 AM

                                                                                  Room service in a hotel when they've already added the tip...

                                                                                  I always add a few dollars more, depending on the total amount, because I always, inevitably, have phenomenal service wherever I go.

                                                                                  1. re: latindancer
                                                                                    Bill Hunt Apr 5, 2012 06:43 PM

                                                                                    Yes. And when the server mentions that X has already been added, I express my knowledge of the policy and the charges, and say, "thank you."

                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                2. angelo04 Apr 7, 2012 03:22 PM

                                                                                  I normally don't follow the tipping threads. This one caught my attention. Born and raised in NYC, tipping is second nature to me. I tend to tip 20-25% at my regular places and tend to receive above average and much appreciated great service. I err on the side of genorousity. If I eat a $150 meal and were to tip $30, another $8 is not going to break my bank and chances are the server really appreciates the gesture.

                                                                                  On another note, I recently traveled to Aruba where some places added 15% and others left it to your discretion. I must admit, I was a little annoyed. I prefer to decide on the tip instead of having a certain % forced on the bill. This probably owrks out better for the servers because without the added surcharge, more often then not they would probably get stiffed.

                                                                                  I never ate in a place in NYC that added gratuity. Presumably if a restaurant in NYC is adding gratuity automatically I would catergorize this as a tourist trap that a true hound should avoid. Perhaps the only exception is when you have a larger party of 8 or more diners. That ie the only situation where I have seen gratuity added in NYC.

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