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Tipping your Favorite Waitstaff for the Holidays

  • t

During the holiday season, I tend to avoid leaving large tips to my favorite bartenders, servers etc, cus some of the establishments I frequent have tip pools. Instead, I give cards, individually with cash inside them made out to each person. I want to ensure that this is a gift and not a tip to be shared.

Wondering what your practice is?

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  1. My tipping practice remains constant throughout the year.

    1. I don't go to restaurants that pool, so I usually just leave extra and/or give them a bottle of wine! I also wait tables and many of the regulars will drop off cards and our management will distribute them to the staff.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Missmoo

        "I don't go to restaurants that pool"

        So, do you ask the host/hostess when you first show up and walk out if they pool?

        1. re: FrankJBN

          No I meant I don't know of any that do it.

          1. re: Missmoo

            How would you know if you don't ask?

            1. re: Missmoo

              I bet you go to restaurants that pool tips and you don't even realize it.

              1. re: ttoommyy

                Sorry I'm in the business, I live in a particular area, I usually know someone on the staff. It's not a big deal to me if they do pool tips, but it is very unusual around here. Sheesh. It was just a comment about my understanding in this area of the country.

                1. re: Missmoo

                  Sorry. I saw that you lived in SF and made an assumption based on restaurants here in NYC. I apologize.

        2. I worked as a waiter in Whistler, BC for over a decade and while tip-pooling is not common up here i can say that a personalized card would seem much more special than just an overly large tip that time of year. i think your idea is a sound one.

          1. Since I tip waiters all year long I see no need to tip them extra at the holidays.

            Generally speaking holiday tips/gifts to regular but intermittent service providers are given to those who work 51 weeks a year without tips.

            1 Reply
            1. re: FrankJBN

              Yeah that's how I do, if I eat out within a day or two of Thanksgiving or Christmas I'll tip an extra 5%.

              If someone is actually working on Christmas then I'll tip 40% or so.

            2. We usually give gift cards to the servers or managers we really like, but if we've gotten to know the person pretty well, such as the bartender of this one place we go to every week, we'll give a more personally thought of gift. (We know he does watercolors in his spare time, so he's getting a copy of a collection of award-winning paintings. Thanks, Amazon!)

              1 Reply
              1. re: Michelly

                That's how I feel, if I go to the same place for lunch or dinner say, once a week, it's usually the same bartender and server that waits on me. The btender and server are very thorough and they know what I like for food and drink etc. Hey look, they work pretty hard for their tips, they make sure everything is excellent and I feel that showing appreciation, in addition to regular tipping, for the past year, in the form of cash, for the holidays cus I have the means to do it, is a nice thing to do and most can use the extra income. I wouldn't like that to be shared with poor waitstaff or slackers.