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Tips: What determines your tip %?

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I had another post about tip years ago, but I have a few new questions.

I am sure that most of you agree waiter and waitresses service determined the tip level. Is he being polite? Is she being tentative?

Previously, most of you said that the foods/dishes should have no impact on the tip. In other words, getting an overcooked/dried out salmon should not count against the tip. Conversely, having a perfectly cooked steak should not boost the tip amount.

What about food delay or order being mixed up? Let's say you ordered a piece of steak and you got a piece of tuna? Or you order 4 small dishes and the 4th one never came until you asked for it, and you had to wait for another 20 minutes?

Thus far, I did not count these against the tip, but I wonder what do you people think?

When you gave out your tip, what exactly were you grading in your head?

Thanks for sharing.

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  1. For lunch, minimum 2 bucks or 20 percent if issues were not the server's fault.

    For dinner 15% standard with the ebb and flow of typical service, but no problem going up or down from that if it truly was a device problem.

    Poorly cooked food, not the waitstaffs problem today. Long term,well talk to the chef.

    1 Reply
    1. re: autumm

      "Poorly cooked food, not the waitstaffs problem today. Long term,well talk to the chef."

      It can be if it's obviously served wrong such as something that you can smell or see without touching the food it's burnt when not ordered burnt.

      Poorly cooked food can be a server issue also if they put in the order wrong such as "medium rare", but they meant to put in "medium well."

    2. Food delay, probably won't affect, but food delay and no update from missing in action waitperson could.
      Screwed up orders are forgivable if there is an appropriate apology and swift replacement.
      But they have to really piss me off to have me dock the tip- i usually double the sales tax and add a few bucks.
      For delivery i'm generous when they are quick and the order is correct, or if it is raining or bad weather.

      For a drink i leave $2/per, those average between $12-15 around here.

      15 Replies
      1. re: Ttrockwood

        "Food delay, probably won't affect,"

        Why not, usually that's the server's fault, here's why:

        Ask yourself these questions as a server:

        1. WHEN do you put in my order? Do you wait or do you go put it in immediately after taking it? If you are double sat or triple sat, you can still go put in each order into the computer after taking each table’s order. By not doing that can result in a much longer wait and that would be YOUR FAULT.

        2. FORGETTING to put in an order. My husband and I have experienced this for REAL that servers ADMITTED to our faces they have FORGOTTEN TO PUT ORDERS IN. All of them were appetizers, bar drinks, and a cup of soup.

        3. Did you put in the order CORRECTLY into the computer? Have had many times servers ADMITTED to our faces they did not do that correctly. Have had wrong entrées before due to our server putting in the order wrong. Have had wrong bar drinks too due to the server putting in the order wrong.

        4. Did you FORGET ANYTHING I ORDERED such as a SIDE DISH? We have had this happen a number of times as well.

        5. Did you DROP anything I ordered? Luckily, we have not had this happen, but I have seen a server once drop some fries from a plate before and I did have a waiter spill some margarita martini when pouring into a martini glass. In other words, it is possible, not likely, but very possible.

        6. Did you remember to GET my food? We have had a server do that before. Also, we have had a number of servers forget bar drinks.

        7. Did you bring out my food obviously correctly if you bring my food out? Do you realize how many times OUR OWN SERVER brings out DUH mistakes like the side dish is wrong, the entrée is wrong, something obvious is not correct bacon that isn’t covered up isn’t extra, extra crispy when you can clearly notice that it isn’t without touching anything, etc.? Every DUH mistake you bring out is YOUR FAULT I am waiting for what I did order by you wasting my time bringing me the wrong item or wrongly prepared item or forgot something. While we all make mistakes, I would have to say a good 90% of the time, servers NEVER COMPARE THE WRITTEN ORDERS TO THE FOOD, because they are TOO LAZY and DON’T CARE!!

        8. Course you said: Servers DO wait to put in entrée orders when appetizers, side salads, or cups of soup are ordered. THAT *IS* THE GOD’S TRUTH! Sometimes it’s TOO LONG THEY WAIT! If it’s another server, it still doesn’t make it the kitchen staff’s fault I have the wrong side dish for example since that is something that’s obvious. It’s either my server that didn’t put in my order correctly or this other server that didn’t compare the ticket to the food or that this other server did compare the ticket to the food, but just missed it(HIGHLY UNLIKELY, but possible).

        9. WHEN do you come to GET MY ORDER? That part is covered in #2 below.

        10. WHEN do you DECIDE to LET ME ORDER? That part is covered in #4 below.

        11. WHEN do you decide to DELIVER MY FOOD? That part is covered in #1 below.

        12. Do you, because they are out of something, decide to assume everyone wants the closest thing so you do the ordering for me? That part is covered in #3 below.

        1. Once, we had a Red Lobster waitress had our 2 entrées on the tray as well as 2 side salads that were for a couple that wasn’t even there when we ordered. Anyway, instead of bypassing their table to hand us ours first since WE DID ORDER FIRST(common sense would tell you that it takes more time to cook food than it does to fix a side salad anyways even if it wasn’t our server that delivered our food, but it was our waitress that delivered our food), she decided to hand them theirs first off the tray. THAT IS SOMETHING THAT IS IN THE SERVER’S CONTROL TO HAND OUT THINGS OFF THE SAME TRAY IN THE ORDER IN WHICH IT WAS ORDERED IN!!

        2. Once, we had a waitress that greeted us which we ordered an appetizer as well as our drinks when greeted. I saw she tucking in chairs at empty tables and pretty much doing everything but coming back to get our entrée order. Well, I found out what happened. She brought out our appetizer and when I asked she said that she wanted to wait to put in our entrée orders. The thing is, that delayed us more by not at least coming to GET our orders. That way, when the appetizer was ready, we wouldn’t have gotten delayed eating our appetizer since we then had to give our entrée orders when we could have given our entrée orders WELL BEFORE THAT and we would have gotten our entrées faster due to that she could have just left to put our entrée orders into the computer after delivering our appetizer instead of taking time to order when our appetizer was sitting in front of us. The point is, SHE delayed our entrées as well as to be able to start eating our appetizer because she could have at least TAKEN our entrée orders and then when our appetizer would have been brought out, could have immediately gone to the computer to put our entrée orders in.What she did was make us wait while our hot appetizer was sitting in front of us, we couldn’t touch it, because we had to order our entrées and could have done that wayyy before that. She also delayed our entrées because we had to spend extra time AFTER our appetizer arrived to give her our entrée orders when we could have done that wayyyy before that.

        3. Once, we had a waitress that assumed that because they were out of raspberry topping for a cheesecake slice when we had ordered dessert that she’d bring us strawberry. Turns out, she knew when she put in the order that the computer had it the manager told us. So she did it on PURPOSE to be so lazy and uncaring as to not come to ask if we wanted the next closest thing. We didn’t, we sent it back, so she had MORE WORK. Also, she didn’t even think about what if someone is allergic to strawberries. I just honestly can’t believe someone would do that. If they are out of something, common sense would be to come to see if the next closest thing is ok. Not everyone wants the next closest thing. So it wasn’t like it was just getting the order wrong by accident or by not verifying the written order with what she was bringing or putting in the order wrong by accident, this was on PURPOSE to be LAZY and to ASSUME. I didn’t know at first that she did that. I thought at first she just was that stupid(or truly just messed up(highly doubt it)) to bring us strawberries on top of a cheesecake when we ordered raspberries.

        4. Your server delays coming to get your order or delays you ordering due to personal conversation. We have had that before as well. Once, we had a waiter that we didn’t know after waiting 15 mins. for a table on Mardi Gras day ask us BEFORE we ORDERED ANYTHING “How’s y’all’s Mardi Gras” “Go to any parades.” See, I don’t mind chit chat with a stranger, but be considerate to do it AFTER we have our orders into the computer so you don’t take up our time.

        We have also had servers not come to get our order due to playing around. Sometimes taking a long time or a longer time has A LOT to do with the server:My husband and I have had 3 TIMES where servers FORGOT to put food orders into the computer. We also have 4 times servers forget to get bar drinks from the bar. Once a waitress forgot to put in a bar drink into the computer. Two of the 3 times it was an appetizer and the servers ADMITTED doing so. The third time was a cup of bisque which is normally served before a meal just like a side salad is. My husband and I also have had delays due to that the servers delayed putting orders into the computer when they COULD have such as deciding to buss a table first or decide instead of a mini-greet(I’ll be right with you all), one waiter I saw decided to take a party of 6 people’s drink/appetizer orders instead of putting in our food orders into the computer. I can understand if they call you over, but if they don’t, you should be putting that order into the computer not delaying our food. The longer you wait to put in orders, the LONGER WE WAIT!! So truly think about that MOST of the time when you wait a LONG TIME for your food or bar drinks even, it could be the server’s fault. 9 times out of 10, your server had *SOMETHING* to do with the delay in most cases! That’s the GOD’S TRUTH!

        "Screwed up orders are forgivable if there is an appropriate apology and swift replacement. "

        Forgivable some, but if I have like 3 things wrong on a plate that's OBVIOUS to the EYES from MY OWN SERVER, NO they didn't **TRY*** their best, therefore, even if I get an apology, I won't be forgiving NEARLY as much, because that's just ridiculous. For example, having all the condiments missing when you asked for 2 mayos, 1 mustard, and 1 ranch when that stuff can be brought out ahead of time SHOULD be docked. HOW will they *LEARN* otherwise, because that won't teach them to check over what they bring you, will it?

        1. re: SpringsONE

          Wow.

          1. re: bobbert

            Yeah. Really, Biting my tongue here, but I wonder if some people here have EVER been served fast enough? EVER had a good experience in a restaurant? Rants, err, discourse like this makes me really glad Im not a server any more.

            When I WAS a server, I always asked (and appreciated knowing) if the customer had timing issues with their food. Are you on your way to the theater? I can suggest dishes that are quicker to prepare than others. Would you like your soup when I bring his salad? Allergies/intolerances etc? I can help you work around those too. Do you want extra lemon with your iced tea? What kind of sauces do you like? On top or on the side? Please don't make me read your mind. But docking some frazzled server's tip because they brought 2 mayos instead of 1 mayo and 1 mustard, or it didn't come out fast enough, is just petty. The scorecard above is just plain scary.

            A LOT of things happen in BOH that customers don't ever see or know about. Not every delay, every mistake and every miscommunication is the server's fault.

            This reminds me of a line from a skit we wrote in college. Server is working the Borscht Belt in upstate New York where the regular customers are known to be notoriously critical. He's made several trips back and forth to correct orders, add items the customer found lacking (but hadn't actually ordered) and finally returns for the check back "Well, ladies" he says "Is ANYTHING alright?"

          2. re: SpringsONE

            As my friends and I say, "That's a long middle part"...

            1. re: SpringsONE

              !!!!!!

              1. re: LeoLioness

                Welcome to Chowhound, SpringsONE!

              2. re: SpringsONE

                That's a lot of copypasta.

                1. re: SpringsONE

                  You should probably stop eating out. It sounds very stressful for you.

                  1. re: SpringsONE

                    Posts like this make me so happy my restaurant work was during college and not any kind of long-term job.

                    1. re: SpringsONE

                      I'm sorry, I'm not sure I follow you, can you elaborate?

                      1. re: jrvedivici

                        No! Please no!

                      2. re: SpringsONE

                        i consistently tip well enough so that the restaurant staff think of me as the ANTITHESIS of customers like SpringsOne.

                        i like being viewed as a consistently reasonable, generous, customer.
                        maybe that is why i almost always receive excellent service.

                        1. re: westsidegal

                          I'm totally on board with what you're saying but I don't even think you have to be a regular. We go out like maybe 6x/yr and are almost always highly pleased with the service. I think more people are doing good jobs than bad.

                        2. re: SpringsONE

                          You must keep a notebook w/ you at all times in order to record all this. Either that, or what a memory you have.

                          1. re: HeyImBack

                            "You must keep a notebook w/ you at all times in order to record all this. Either that, or what a memory you have."

                            Anything that affects my feelings I remember. I don't write it down, I just remember it as if it were yesterday or something.

                      3. Staff who takes your should know what your order was....but if a mishap happens, I generally do not dock anyone for it....unless of course I make a special request and it is completely ignored, e.g. when I have a breakfast omelet...regardless of ingredients, I request that there not be the slightest hint of brown on the eggs....going as far to say they can serve them like loose scrambled eggs if need be. The smell of well done browned eggs is not agreeable with me. If the waitress then brings me out an omelet with brown on it...then the onus is on her and not the kitchen.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: fourunder

                          " If the waitress then brings me out an omelet with brown on it...then the onus is on her and not the kitchen."

                          THANK YOU, that's MY POINT that if a mistake is *VISIBLE* without touching the food, then if it is your server that brings out your food, then YES, that makes the issue THEIR FAULT, NOT the kitchen staff's fault. It's just like seeing let's say bread burnt on top, but serve you bread anyway.

                        2. When things go wrong, I "grade" the server on if I think the server actually cares. Sometimes they can't fix a problem, but if I think they care (and gave it a genuine effort) then the tip is not effected. When they give me signals that they don't care, then I don't care to leave a nice tip.

                          This rarely happens though. I have had a few times where the server cared more for the cute bartender than waiting on me, or seemed to forget items repeatedly then throw it on the table like it was a bother, or gave me poor eye contact, was grumpy, spraying negativity all over me and my guest and didn't seem to want to be serving that day. That stuff I lump under "not caring".

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: sedimental

                            <I have had a few times where the server cared more for the cute bartender than waiting on me>

                            I didn't remember reading this from you before (presumably from you). I laugh every time I read this. :)

                          2. 20% most of the time. Service has to be exceptionally good or bad to get me to notice and adjust my tip.

                            Late food... not too likely to drop the tip. Messed up order... as long as they fix it courteously, it's not a problem. If I'm unable to find the server for a prolonged period while I need something... Ok, that starts to annoy me. One of those tricky 'soup or salad?' upsells (where neither is included, but tone implies they are)... now you're on my shit list.

                            I don't tip based on the quality of the food,

                            I sometimes tip more if I'm just in a particularly good mood. And to be honest, I'm more likely to raise my tip because I like the server than because they did an especially great job of serving - I'll tip for charisma.

                            I'll sometimes tip bartenders less than 20% if I'm ordering an expensive drink - tipping a buck on a drink that cost $10 or $15 doesn't offend my sensibilities. That said, I'll also over-tip a bartender who shoots the shat with me for a bit, especially if I've had a few drinks.

                            19 Replies
                            1. re: cowboyardee

                              I also give 20% in general, but I was told that 15% should be normal and 20% for exceptional. Do you know what do most of your friends do?

                              <If I'm unable to find the server for a prolonged period while I need something... Ok, that starts to annoy me>

                              That happens to me recently (a month ago), and it really irritated me. All the waiter and waitresses disappeared, and I wasn't able find them.

                              <I don't tip based on the quality of the food>

                              My problem is that the quality of the food often affects my mood and my party's mood, which then can affect the tip.

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                How unfortunate for the person serving you, who has no part in preparing the food....

                                1. re: LeoLioness

                                  Be my guest, if you think you are one of those people whose mood is unaffected by the quality of the food.

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    My mood may be. My tip is not, except I suppose an extraordinary meal would make me tip more.

                                    But stiff a server for the chef's work? Nope. Not my style.

                                    1. re: LeoLioness

                                      <My mood may be. My tip is not,>

                                      Keep thinking that. Human actions are often affected by mood. I am not saying that you will stiff your waitresses or waiters by the way.

                                      <I suppose an extraordinary meal would make me tip more.>

                                      Excellent counterpoint.

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        I can literally count on one hand the times I've left less than a 15% tip, so I'm confident in saying that bad food does not reflect in my tipping practices.

                                        1. re: LeoLioness

                                          <I can literally count on one hand the times I've left less than a 15% tip, so I'm confident in saying that bad food does not reflect in my tipping practices.>

                                          Actually, it does not. It only means exactly what I said earlier. You are not going below, but it may still prevent you from going above.

                                2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  Good point. Though I don't think I've ever tipped below 20% unless there is also some obvious problem with the service. A bad meal may indeed be more likely to make me notice service errors, just as a good meal may be more likely to put me in a mood to overlook them.

                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                    I don't think I have tipped below 20% neither. It just seems so much easier to calculate 20% :P

                                    To be more clear, I should spell out a bit more. We tend to tip higher than above (say >20%) when we have unexpectedly good service. It really help when the the overall experience is good, and not just the service.

                                    To be more specific, I can probably count in one hand that I tip 30% for a crappy meal. Whereas I have definitely tipped up to 30% when then overall experience is superior.

                                    In short, a disgusting salmon may not make you tip below 20%, but a disgusting salmon may decrease your chance of tipping at 30%. Whereas, you may tip 30% when you eat at a beautiful restaurant with the best steak of your life while that waiter or waitresses may not be doing that much better than an average server.

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      Agreed. A fantastic night often makes for a generous tip, even if the service was nothing special from an objective standpoint.

                                      The same might be said of how much fun I'm having with my dining companion[s] regardless of the quality of the meal or service.

                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                        <The same might be said of how much fun I'm having with my dining companion[s] regardless of the quality of the meal or service>

                                        Like when babycowboy laugh at your jokes?

                                3. re: cowboyardee

                                  " One of those tricky 'soup or salad?' upsells (where neither is included, but tone implies they are)."

                                  I had this happen to me once. Server took the menu from me and then asked what kind of salad dressing I wanted on my salad. Then the bill comes and the salad is extra. Pi$$ed me off. I asked for the manager, but none came so I deducted the price of the salad from the tip and left.

                                  1. re: chileheadmike

                                    That's the WORST version I've ever heard!!!!! Shady!

                                    1. re: The Oracle

                                      It cannot be the worst version.

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        I guess the 'worst' would be just bringing a salad (without asking if you want it or what dressing, etc.) and then getting charged for it! :) Or being charged for the salad (without being asked or ordered) and never receiving it!

                                        1. re: The Oracle

                                          Hmmm... good points. I guess I was thinking more in term of what is the worst thing a waiter/waitress can do.

                                      2. re: The Oracle

                                        I referred to it as stupid waiter tricks. I still don't understand why a waiter would pi$$ off a customer to add 4 bucks to the ticket.

                                    2. re: cowboyardee

                                      I agree with most of what you are saying, except for this part:

                                      <One of those tricky 'soup or salad?' upsells (where neither is included, but tone implies they are)... now you're on my shit list.>

                                      I've had friends who work at places where they are required to do the upselll. They could get in trouble if they did not try. Plus, would you consider "Would you like some dessert?" An upsell? Because it is, but most people would be really pissed off if not offered.

                                      1. re: ludmilasdaughter

                                        Upselling is fine as long as they don't try to trick me or my party into it. No problem at all with 'would you like a dessert?' or 'care for a salad?' or even 'I reccomend this more expensive bottle of wine.'

                                        If there is some deceit though, I'm pissed and the tip is forfeit regardless of whether or not its policy at the restaurant. I'm a bastard like that. Oh well.

                                    3. Rule of thumb 20% with adjustments for good/bad service.
                                      I waited tables while in college eons ago and have little tolerance for some of the things you mentioned.

                                      If I am in a restaurant where I would order a steak (which mean $35 and up for the entree) and the server (NOT a food runner) delivers me a piece of tuna you can be sure that tip percentage is heading downhill. It is the server's obligation to check the food against the order BEFORE serving. This is just plain bad service.

                                      Partial order with no explanation, no follow up and I have to ask for it and wait an additional 20 minutes, sitting there with three empty plates while others at the table may be enjoying their meals, and then they have to wait with empty plates while I finish eating....the server really blew the tip.

                                      Rule number ONE for the server...keep the diner informed of the problems/delays. Be proactive or suffer the consequences. If the kitchen is in the weeds and your customers are suffereing get the manager to make an apology visit early on, it might save your income for the night.

                                      and...as to the overcooked dried out salmon. If it's the inside of the fish, there's no way the server can know, but if the otem obviously looks all shriveled and dried out the server should know it's not up to the restaurant's usual standard and should have refused to leave the kitchen with it. I'm not talking chain restaurants here, but white tabklecloth dining.

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: bagelman01

                                        I agree with this approach. Your Rule #1 is critical: Even if a problem is not within the server's ability to control, he/she can make things right by me by communicating effectively.

                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                          Very informative inputs. I am curious. Did you use to wait at tables for a relatively high end restaurant?

                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                            I waited tables at The Concord and Grossingers hotels during vacation periods and at Old Original Bookbinders in Philadelphia during the school year.
                                            I would say they were upscale.

                                            In all three cases they were legacy jobs. My father had worked in all three when he was in college in the 1930s and made the introductions for me 35 years later. His good name git me in the door, my hard and accurate work kept me in demand.

                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                              <I would say they were upscale.>

                                              I was wondering that because you seem to have high standard -- which is a great thing. Thanks for sharing.

                                          2. re: bagelman01

                                            <If I am in a restaurant where I would order a steak (which mean $35 and up for the entree) and the server (NOT a food runner) delivers me a piece of tuna you can be sure that tip percentage is heading downhill. It is the server's obligation to check the food against the order BEFORE serving. This is just plain bad service.>

                                            If it's on a night when mine is one of only a few tables being served, yes. On a crazy busy packed night where they are clearly understaffed, if the server is apologetic, no problem. We all make mistakes.

                                            1. re: ludmilasdaughter

                                              "We all make mistakes."

                                              No everytime is it a mistake though. If your server CLEARLY didn't compare their written order to the food, that's not trying their best. So THAT is where I am coming from. It's not a mistake if they didn't try. If it's one thing missing that's small, I may look the other way if I get an apology, but no apology, I won't be looking the other way when tip time comes.

                                              If I have 3 things missing on my plate from my OWN server that brought me the food, I don't give a care if they are on the only server in the place, they are supposed to *CARE* about what they are bringing me, so if they have time to grab dirty plates, they CERTAINLY have the time to check the plates for obvious mistakes on the plate.

                                              1. re: SpringsONE

                                                If I have 3 things missing on my plate:

                                                a) Ranch
                                                b) Three Cheese Ranch
                                                c) Peppercorn Ranch

                                                Then obviously I'm not feelin' no love here because no one is gonna kill me with cholesterol. And them extra shredded goodness better not be missing either or imma gonna throw this culinary abortion all over y'all!!

                                          3. I rarely leave anything below 20%. I'm not actively looking for ways to "ding" a server on the tip and I think I'm pretty laid-back, as a diner. Truly bad service experiences stand out for me because I so rarely encounter them.

                                            I increase my tip at places where I'm a regular and know the server, for really great service, for a large and/or more difficult party and for holidays.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: LeoLioness

                                              "I'm not actively looking for ways to "ding" a server on the tip "

                                              I don't look for it, they come to me. It's not my fault my server messes up or doesn't try their best.

                                              "Truly bad service experiences stand out for me because I so rarely encounter them."

                                              Either A you don't go out enough or B you don't modify your orders any and/or C you aren't noticing how long you wait for something and/or D you don't check your check for overcharges.

                                              1. re: LeoLioness

                                                "Or you order 4 small dishes and the 4th one never came until you asked for it, "

                                                Anything missing, OF COURSE, your server is responsible for noticing something is missing. You can't go into the kitchen to get it yourself, can you?

                                                They leave the kitchen, so if something is missing just as if you were at your own house you left something from your kitchen to the dining room such as a bottle of salad dressing, obviously you'd be at fault, DUH.

                                                "Thus far, I did not count these against the tip, "

                                                I am not sure WHY you wouldn't count SELF-RESPONSIBILITY issues against the tip?

                                                I mean you leave a room with an apple, but someone asked for an orange in another room, it doesn't matter if someone handed you an apple, you have to correct the person to get the right item, so if your server goes all the way to the table with the wrong item, that's on them, DUH. COMMON SENSE they wasted your time bringing you the wrong item. Even if they put in the order correctly, they still can *SEE*, can't they and *REREAD* their written order compare it to WHAT they are bringing you for things obviously wrong.

                                                I take off for a lot of things like AUCTIONING off food or drinks when YOU are the server that took my order, so YOU should KNOW what I ordered. Go back to the written order and see who had what.

                                                xx
                                                xx

                                                Let's say we sat like that in a party of 4. You'd go left to right top first. The only way you don't know who had what is either you weren't their server that took the order or they moved seats.

                                              2. 20% for polite service, however poor. 10% for insulting service. 0% if he steals my food. (Only happened once, I have posted about it on another thread.) My advice? Stop overthinking this, a tip is a morally mandatory service charge.

                                                9 Replies
                                                1. re: mwhitmore

                                                  <0% if he steals my food.>

                                                  ............ that sounds very unusual.

                                                  <a tip is a morally mandatory service charge.>

                                                  Just because something is mandatory, it does not mean we don't think about it. I am mandatory to go to work and do my job. It does not mean I don't think about what I do. :)

                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                    It was unusual. I ordered a large steak, ate half, asked that the rest be wrapped to take home. Server agreed. Steak disappeared. Management refused to make any accommodation. (para) I have gotten over my "All-Powererful Lord of the Manor Smiting The Peasants" fantasy. A few percentage points is not going to affect how people do their job, nor the service I get. I "Pay the five dollars!" (to quote an old joke), then decide whether I want to go back to that restaurant.

                                                    1. re: mwhitmore

                                                      < A few percentage points is not going to affect how people do their job, nor the service I get.>

                                                      So true.

                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                        mwhitmore said: < A few percentage points is not going to affect how people do their job, nor the service I get.>

                                                        Chemicalkinetics said: "So true."

                                                        No, not true. If you tell them what they did wrong or report to the manager, if they keep getting those not 20% tips and see other co-workers making 25%-30% or more in tips, they might look at what they are doing wrong and change their ways so they can pay their bills.

                                                        1. re: SpringsONE

                                                          The vast, vast majority of servers are not consistently making 25-30% tips. Also, I somehow manage to do my job effectively without having money held over my head for every person I interact with.

                                                          1. re: ErnieD

                                                            "The vast, vast majority of servers are not consistently making 25-30% tips."

                                                            Then they aren't doing an excellent job then in most cases, because most are that are doing that well.

                                                            " Also, I somehow manage to do my job effectively without having money held over my head for every person I interact with."

                                                            The entire point of the tip is that you are at the customer's mercy if you want their money to do things how *THEY* want them done. That's why you don't make the big bucks as others do.

                                                            1. re: SpringsONE

                                                              "Then they aren't doing an excellent job then in most cases, because most are that are doing that well."

                                                              That is absolutely false. I've been in the industry for 17 years. The very best servers average just over 20%.

                                                            2. re: ErnieD

                                                              Nope, sorry. I make a very nice salary, much more than servers even at 30% tips (about which you are completely wrong. Most people start at 15% and go up and down from there). I somehow manage to do an excellent job, even without each individual person holding me at their "mercy".

                                                              1. re: ErnieD

                                                                I love having a wait staff who obviously enjoys people....food...spirits...and has pride in his profession. A personable experienced wait staff can make the dining experience outstanding. I enjoy being generous with praise and $$$$$ when I get a great server who made things special and fun. They deserve it. What a skill set they have to hone to perfection. Most of the pros seem to love it.

                                                  2. I start at 20% and go from there. I round up to the nearest "5" or "0" typically. I rarely tip less than 20%...the server needs to be rude in order for that to happen. For a meal (as opposed to a cocktail) I rarely tip less than $5.

                                                    1. Never less than 20% -- usually more.

                                                      1. Being part of the industry literally my entire life I tend to over tip on a regular basis. I don't think I have ever stiffed a server or tipped below 15%. Knowing what servers make on average (In my home state the server minimum wage is $2. (something an hour) I will tip you 15% for just showing up to work, no matter how lousy you were.

                                                        Even in today's world were the majority of the time the person serving your food is a runner, not your waiter, I give a lot of room in my consideration of "bad service" knowing the person serving me isn't my server. lol

                                                        A few of the things that make a good server to me are the following;

                                                        Knowing the specials and not just reciting them. Being able to give well thought out response to questions regarding them.

                                                        Attentive to empty beverages, ask if I would like another when you see an empty glass, don't make me flag you down.

                                                        Reset a table, replace silver ware etc. If I go to the men's room I appreciate a napkin placed back. If you take my salad plate away, don't place my fork back on the table, remove it and supply a new one. (this isn't TGIF dining)

                                                        Check on my meal soon after I receive it. Don't ask me how everything is when my plate is empty. But just check once don't be intrusive while I'm are eating. (with exception to the empty glass as noted above)

                                                        After dinner ask me if I want, Coffee, espresso, cappuccino, after dinner drink or a look at the desert menu. Don't say "will there be anything else?".

                                                        If I just ask for a cup of coffee don't just drop my check with it. I might just want to digest for a few minutes before looking at that desert menu or after dinner drink.

                                                        I would say my normal tip is roughly 25%. If you perform all of the above I can easily tip closer to 50% if you impress me.

                                                        1. In its most simple terms the tip is determined by what is in the servers control and how they handle those that are out their control.

                                                          There is no black or white answer (for me), so much is based on the overall experience.

                                                          All that said I never leave less than 18-20% without discussing it with the manager/owner prior to leaving. Their reaction determines whether I would give the place another chance.

                                                          1. I rarely vary my tip from whatever is the cultural norm for the country/region I'm eating in.

                                                            I would need to be seriously pissed off to reduce the tip. And, more than anything, it'll be my perception of the server's attitude, rather than anything more concrete, that affects it.

                                                            I cannot recall ever choosing to tip more than the cultural norm except when it's just convenient to round up an amount rather than wait for change.

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: Harters

                                                              <I rarely vary my tip from whatever is the cultural norm for the country/region I'm eating in. >

                                                              Yeah, I tend to tip 20% or slightly above. It is just easier for the math anyway. However, like you said, some countries are not custom to tipping. I know for a fact that leaving tip can be considered as an insult in some countries.

                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                I should have added that caveat, that I tip according to the cultural norm, in general.

                                                                1. re: Harters

                                                                  An exception to the "cultural norm": we ate in the same place for nearly a month on the first trip to India. Tips there are small, if tipped at all. Our server repeatedly upped his attention and gave small extras, unasked. We ended up tipping 25%. For us, in the rupee exchange, it was a small matter, but the waiter (an older man) had tears in his eyes. We wanted to encourage his exceptional demeanor in a place where meh service was the norm.

                                                                  1. re: pine time

                                                                    I'm sure that he will have appreciated that visiting tourists tipped extravagently. I reckon servers in many parts of the world, including mine, enjoy having north American tourists as customers - the tip level will be much higher than they can usually expect either from homegrown customers or tourists from elsewhere.

                                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                                      On our last day, we gave him an envelope with a generous extra amount--he had told us about his grandson's school expenses, and I don't think he was trolling for money, but we hoped that extra gift might help the next generation, just a tad.

                                                                2. My base is about 18% these days - it goes up if the server was efficient, had a pleasant demeanor, and responded timely and accurately to any needs (e.g. hot sauce, extra napkins, etc).

                                                                  I also very much appreciate a server who knows something is amiss and addresses it (the uneaten dish, the order that comes out incorrect, etc.)

                                                                  It goes down slightly (never below 10%) if the server has an attitude, seems put out to serve, is MIA, receives a request but never delivers.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: The Oracle

                                                                    I once had a server who forgot to put my order into the kitchen...she got stiffed and, on my way out, she said how sorry she was and i said that i was sorry too.

                                                                    1. re: betsydiver

                                                                      I have a couple of these "I forgot" or "ordered mixed up" situations. I have not had penalized the waiters/waitresses for them. Not to say that they should or should not be penalized, it is just that I didn't.

                                                                      It also annoy me in different levels depending on my situation. On a relax day, I usually don't mind it very much, but if I have an event which I need to attend, then I would get seriously annoyed. This basically put me in a situation of skipping a meal -- not a fun thing to do.

                                                                  2. 20% which goes up or down based on things for which the server is responsible;
                                                                    fried shrimp instead of Scampi=responsible
                                                                    broccoli instead of sweet potato casserole=responsible
                                                                    tuna instead of steak=responsible
                                                                    steak cooked well instead of medium rare=not responsible
                                                                    overcooked tuna=responsible (difference being that you can see whether the tuna is overcooked or not while you cannot easily see to which doneness the steak is cooked)
                                                                    I have to make my drink (usually Diet Pepsi) last through the entire meal because you don't ask ONCE if I need a refill=RESPONSIBLE
                                                                    If you take my order it is your job to make as sure as you can that it is delivered to me correctly and your tip will reflect how well you do that job.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                      "steak cooked well instead of medium rare=not responsible "

                                                                      Responsible for putting the order in correctly is part of the server's job. That means the steak cooked wrong could mean your server put in the order wrong. Also, if it's cooked well, but no one at my table has something that takes long like ribs(let's say I have another person at the table that has a salad add chicken to it. Common sense would tell you with *TIME* that if you are the server it shouldn't be taking that long. That's another thing as well that's part of the server's responsibility.

                                                                      1. re: SpringsONE

                                                                        I used that example with the understanding that the server placed the order correctly. Obviously if the order was put in incorrectly then the server is responsible.

                                                                    2. "order being mixed up? Let's say you ordered a piece of steak and you got a piece of tuna. Thus far, I did not count these against the tip,?

                                                                      Have you thought about this with common sense in mind? Here's why you are enforcing bad service to continue:

                                                                      Servers put in orders wrong a lot or forget to put in orders or delay putting in orders. Here's some more about things like that:

                                                                      90% of the time it's the SERVER'S FAULT:

                                                                      1. They can put in the order wrong into the computer or if it's a written ticket they submit, they could have written something down wrong or hard to read.

                                                                      2. They could have forgotten to put in the order in the first place.

                                                                      3. Servers can also misunderstand what the customer is saying such as 2 times when I ordered 2 sides of bbq sauce and the stupid idiot servers thought I didn’t want bbq sauce on my ribs when I NEVER ONCE SAID I didn’t and I didn’t say “ON THE SIDE”, I SAID SIDES, which means extra. One of those times I said extra even.

                                                                      4. Most mistakes with food are visible:

                                                                      A. Condiments of any kind regardless of who brings out the food can be brought out by the server ahead of time.

                                                                      B. If someone orders extra crispy bacon with their pancakes, then the bacon looks limp, not stiff, and you can even see some white fat on it, guess what? MY SERVER COULD HAVE SEEN THAT TOO AND TOLD THE COOKS IT WASN'T CORRECT, TO RECOOK IT INSTEAD OF BRINGING IT TO ME WRONG IN THE FIRST PLACE!

                                                                      C. Any wrong side dishes or entrees are the fault of the server if they bring out the food even if they put in the order right. You can tell the difference between a baked potato and mac n' cheese, yet, a waiter at Logan's Roadhouse was so stupid as to bring me mac n' cheese when I ordered a baked potato. I noticed it within 5 seconds of the food hitting my table. Like DUH a baked potato looks completely different from mac n' cheese.

                                                                      D. Any MISSING side dishes, appetizers, condiments, or entrees ARE the server's fault if they bring out the food as well. Have had that happen a few times or so. Our servers aren't blind, so they can tell if something is missing or not.

                                                                      E. I have seen a red steak delivered to someone before at Outback which means let's say the customer ordered their steak well done, that the server could have noticed the color difference as in your example “Steak cooked rare instead of well done ? It’s not your server’s fault, they didn’t cook it, it’s the kitchen’s fault.”

                                                                      F. If something LOOKS burnt such as a piece of bread with the food and the person didn't order it burnt, my server is at fault for serving me that.

                                                                      G. If my server forgets an item that an entree or appetizer comes with, that's their fault if they brought me my food without the item such as a side dish or ranch.

                                                                      H. I have ordered at Outback my fries "lightly cooked" "Not overdone and yellow not brown." I have had their fries before cooked the way I like them before many of times before this time I am talking about. This stupid waitress decided to blame the kitchen staff for REALLY DARK BROWN FRIES as if she was blind or something and my husband even told me he could see that they were really dark. My husband may not agree with me on every subject of course, but with that, you could EASILY tell just by LOOKING that those fries were overdone and very dark. She said she put in the order correctly. I am thinking, SO? I wish I could have said "Are you blind?" That was HER FAULT she DECIDED TO SERVE ME THOSE FRIES THAT WEREN'T CORRECT. I noticed the mistake within 3 seconds of my food being placed in front of me.

                                                                      http://www.bunrab.com/dailyfeed/daily...

                                                                      You can tell in this picture above the bacon is very crispy just by simply LOOKING at it.

                                                                      http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_vv2IGE5obwk...

                                                                      You can tell in this picture above the bacon is NOT CRISPY, just by simple LOOKING at the bacon.

                                                                      While the server didn't "COOK" the bacon, it's obvious to the *SERVER'S* EYES that one batch of bacon is crispy and the other isn't to decide to BRING the food to the customer wrong or not. It's my server's fault if they decide to bring me the bacon that's like in picture 2 if I ordered it crispy that she or he didn't tell the cooks it was wrong and get them to cook the bacon more instead of SERVING it wrong. WHY bring it out only for the food to be sent back?

                                                                      http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_DzuAhw_RcXU...

                                                                      You can clearly see the fries are overdone in the picture above if the customer ordered them "NOT OVERDONE, lightly cooked."

                                                                      http://www.orthogonalthought.com/blog...

                                                                      In this picture above, you can see the fries don't appear overdone and the bacon is NOT CRISPY. If a customer asked for their bacon to be crispy, I would REFUSE to serve it and I would have enough CARING and COMMON SENSE to get that fixed **BEFORE** I brought it to the customer only to have the customer send it back or leave me a bad tip for not caring about their food.

                                                                      My server's job isn't just to bring out what the kitchen staff gives them, it's also getting the order OBVIOUSLY correct to the table as much as possible in order to get that good tip. As someone said on a blog or forum “They just want to be tipped well and will do pretty much anything reasonable to get your money”, which that IS VERY REASONABLE to think OUR SERVERS ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT THEIR TIP TO GET THINGS RIGHT TO HAVE A BETTER TIP!!

                                                                      http://www.akronohiomoms.com/wp-conte...

                                                                      You can notice a lot of things on her plate in the picture above like if the customer asked for no sour cream, well DUHH, it's STARING in your face. If the customer asked for a side of ranch(I would have), it's missing, DUHH!! If the customer substituted fries for rice, well DUHH, that's not on the plate.

                                                                      Get what I am saying here? MOST of the mistakes happen due to either your server if they bring out the food or another server that doesn't compare the ticket to the food(assuming the order was put in correctly by the original server of course).

                                                                      You also can notice if someone has wing sauce "On the side" vs. "On the wings" themselves. This isn't rocket science.

                                                                      Most of the things that are wrong with the food can be caught by the server if they bring out the food, even if they didn't cook it. If it's another server, they can catch obvious errors on the ticket and menu(such as menu states the item comes with bbq sauce and the ticket doesn't say "no bbq sauce") if the ticket was correctly put in by the original server that took the order. Condiments(in bottles or on the side in containers) can always be offered to be brought out ahead of time REGARDLESS of WHO brings out the food to the table.

                                                                      So most of the time when the food has something wrong with it, chances are, your server or another server could have caught the mistake before it got to you in most instances. I NEVER said ALL, but in most cases, it can be caught BEFORE bringing out the food(unless another server brings out the food with the ticket wrong), because then the original server that took the order is at fault for putting the order in incorrectly into the computer.

                                                                      There are few rare cases where the food being wrong is the kitchen staff's fault such as raw food(such as raw chicken), slightly undercooked or overcooked food that you'd have to CUT into to know if it was under or overcooked, or anything the server cannot see with their eyes unless they were to TOUCH the food. Things such as a pickle under a bun the server can't notice unless they lift the bun, so unless they put the order in wrong, they wouldn't be at fault, but in general most food mistakes can be caught BEFORE bringing the food to the table.

                                                                      What I am saying is, MOST mistakes ARE PREVENTABLE by the SERVER if they bring your order to you that they can NOTICE things wrong by comparing those written orders to the plates of food.

                                                                      Once a waiter at Chili's said "The kitchen forgot" when I had ordered 2 sides of mayo and 1 side of mustard. The thing is, my waiter brought out the food, so NO, HE HE HE HE HE FORGOT, the kitchen staff didn't step out the kitchen to bring me my food and forget obvious missing containers from my plate that aren't covered up by anything. MY WAITER DID THOUGH!!

                                                                      You walk in one room in your house with a plate of food, but forget the ranch. Even if your mom or significant other plated your food, which you even told her you wanted a side of ranch for your fries, but you bring it to another room. HOW IS THAT THEIR FAULT? It's YOUR FAULT YOU LEFT THE ROOM WITHOUT THE RANCH AND DIDN'T NOTICE IT SINCE IT'S SOMETHING OBVIOUS YOU DON'T HAVE TO *TOUCH* TO NOTICE THE MISTAKE!!

                                                                      Even if he didn't bring out the food, that waiter could have prevented that type of thing from being forgotten since it needs no cooking to bring it out ahead of time. It is always the person bringing out the food that is at fault for any type of mistake that you don't have to TOUCH the food to notice the mistake, unless of course, the order was put in wrong by the original server that took the order with another server bringing out the food. Of course unless, the kitchen goofs up, making it correctly even if the ticket is wrong, but that's highly unlikely scenario.

                                                                      I cannot believe you honestly think that the server is not at fault for most food mistakes. WE LIVED THROUGH THE "DUH" MISTAKES, SO WE CAN SEE WITH OUR EYES WHO WAS AT FAULT!!

                                                                      We had a waiter once admitted he grabbed the wrong entrée from the kitchen. It was just my husband and I. This waiter not only admitted he didn't compare the WRITTEN ORDER with the entrées he was bringing out, but also we saw he had other entrées for another table that he didn't ONCE get his pad of paper out to see WHICH ENTRÉE WENT WITH WHICH TABLE!! So 2 times he could have caught his mistake, but didn't *****TRY HIS BEST AS HE SHOULD HAVE, because that's HIS JOB**!!

                                                                      He admitted that he grabbed the wrong entrée from the kitchen. He brought my husband fried shrimp w/fries when he ordered crawfish au gratin w/baked potato. Those items look NOTHING A LIKE, but yet THAT WAITER WAS TOO LAZY AND UNCARING TO VERIFY *WHAT* HE WAS BRINGING US!! We still left him 17% BTW, just to let you know since he profusely apologized TWICE and FIXED THE SITUATION IMMEDIATELY just about. We honestly shouldn’t have though, because that really didn't make him LEARN anything. If I had to do it all over again, I would have tipped 13%. It's because since that happened(a number of years ago, maybe like 4), me and my husband have had some terrible experiences. We have had good ones too of course, but the servers need to LEARN that they can't just hand you ANYTHING like McDonald's cashiers do. They are there to EARN a tip, NOT to just hand you anything.

                                                                      It's very rare that it's not the server's fault. Things like if I order no pickles if you took my order and brought out my food, which there are some pickles under a bun that you'd have to lift it to see it, unless you admitted putting in the order wrong, I will assume it's the kitchen staff that is at fault and probably is.

                                                                      Things like raw chicken tenders aren't the fault of the server unless they are pink or something.

                                                                      A slightly over or undercooked steak if the order was put in correctly is not the server's fault.

                                                                      Also, some people assume things as well, that end up being wrong.

                                                                      If another server brings out a wrong side dish or if they are missing items other than condiments, no it's not the server's fault if they put in the order correctly, but it still counts against the tip. It's part of the service.

                                                                      Why also is it when you say "no pickles" or "ONLY lettuce and onions", they still have a pickle on the plate? WHY you servers can't understand that if the customer states they don't want pickles, that means on the plate, because otherwise, they'd specifically state they would have wanted it "ON THE SIDE." Think about it. WHY do I keep having servers bring me some pickles on the plate when I ordered no pickles? NO SERVERS ARE BLIND OR ILLITERATE that they cannot determine any of the obvious errors that don't have to be touched to notice the mistakes or mistake.

                                                                      "What about food delay Thus far, I did not count these against the tip, but I wonder what do you people think?"

                                                                      Ask yourself these questions as a server:

                                                                      1. WHEN do you put in my order? Do you wait or do you go put it in immediately after taking it? If you are double sat or triple sat, you can still go put in each order into the computer after taking each table’s order. By not doing that can result in a much longer wait and that would be YOUR FAULT.

                                                                      2. FORGETTING to put in an order. My husband and I have experienced this for REAL that servers ADMITTED to our faces they have FORGOTTEN TO PUT ORDERS IN. All of them were appetizers, bar drinks, and a cup of soup.

                                                                      3. Did you put in the order CORRECTLY into the computer? Have had many times servers ADMITTED to our faces they did not do that correctly. Have had wrong entrées before due to our server putting in the order wrong. Have had wrong bar drinks too due to the server putting in the order wrong.

                                                                      4. Did you FORGET ANYTHING I ORDERED such as a SIDE DISH? We have had this happen a number of times as well.

                                                                      5. Did you DROP anything I ordered? Luckily, we have not had this happen, but I have seen a server once drop some fries from a plate before and I did have a waiter spill some margarita martini when pouring into a martini glass. In other words, it is possible, not likely, but very possible.

                                                                      6. Did you remember to GET my food? We have had a server do that before. Also, we have had a number of servers forget bar drinks.

                                                                      7. Did you bring out my food obviously correctly if you bring my food out? Do you realize how many times OUR OWN SERVER brings out DUH mistakes like the side dish is wrong, the entrée is wrong, something obvious is not correct bacon that isn’t covered up isn’t extra, extra crispy when you can clearly notice that it isn’t without touching anything, etc.? Every DUH mistake you bring out is YOUR FAULT I am waiting for what I did order by you wasting my time bringing me the wrong item or wrongly prepared item or forgot something. While we all make mistakes, I would have to say a good 90% of the time, servers NEVER COMPARE THE WRITTEN ORDERS TO THE FOOD, because they are TOO LAZY and DON’T CARE!!

                                                                      8. Course you said: Servers DO wait to put in entrée orders when appetizers, side salads, or cups of soup are ordered. THAT *IS* THE GOD’S TRUTH! Sometimes it’s TOO LONG THEY WAIT! If it’s another server, it still doesn’t make it the kitchen staff’s fault I have the wrong side dish for example since that is something that’s obvious. It’s either my server that didn’t put in my order correctly or this other server that didn’t compare the ticket to the food or that this other server did compare the ticket to the food, but just missed it(HIGHLY UNLIKELY, but possible).

                                                                      9. WHEN do you come to GET MY ORDER? That part is covered in #2 below.

                                                                      10. WHEN do you DECIDE to LET ME ORDER? That part is covered in #4 below.

                                                                      11. WHEN do you decide to DELIVER MY FOOD? That part is covered in #1 below.

                                                                      12. Do you, because they are out of something, decide to assume everyone wants the closest thing so you do the ordering for me? That part is covered in #3 below.

                                                                      1. Once, we had a Red Lobster waitress had our 2 entrées on the tray as well as 2 side salads that were for a couple that wasn’t even there when we ordered. Anyway, instead of bypassing their table to hand us ours first since WE DID ORDER FIRST(common sense would tell you that it takes more time to cook food than it does to fix a side salad anyways even if it wasn’t our server that delivered our food, but it was our waitress that delivered our food), she decided to hand them theirs first off the tray. THAT IS SOMETHING THAT IS IN THE SERVER’S CONTROL TO HAND OUT THINGS OFF THE SAME TRAY IN THE ORDER IN WHICH IT WAS ORDERED IN!!

                                                                      2. Once, we had a waitress that greeted us which we ordered an appetizer as well as our drinks when greeted. I saw she tucking in chairs at empty tables and pretty much doing everything but coming back to get our entrée order. Well, I found out what happened. She brought out our appetizer and when I asked she said that she wanted to wait to put in our entrée orders. The thing is, that delayed us more by not at least coming to GET our orders. That way, when the appetizer was ready, we wouldn’t have gotten delayed eating our appetizer since we then had to give our entrée orders when we could have given our entrée orders WELL BEFORE THAT and we would have gotten our entrées faster due to that she could have just left to put our entrée orders into the computer after delivering our appetizer instead of taking time to order when our appetizer was sitting in front of us. The point is, SHE delayed our entrées as well as to be able to start eating our appetizer because she could have at least TAKEN our entrée orders and then when our appetizer would have been brought out, could have immediately gone to the computer to put our entrée orders in.What she did was make us wait while our hot appetizer was sitting in front of us, we couldn’t touch it, because we had to order our entrées and could have done that wayyy before that. She also delayed our entrées because we had to spend extra time AFTER our appetizer arrived to give her our entrée orders when we could have done that wayyyy before that.

                                                                      3. Once, we had a waitress that assumed that because they were out of raspberry topping for a cheesecake slice when we had ordered dessert that she’d bring us strawberry. Turns out, she knew when she put in the order that the computer had it the manager told us. So she did it on PURPOSE to be so lazy and uncaring as to not come to ask if we wanted the next closest thing. We didn’t, we sent it back, so she had MORE WORK. Also, she didn’t even think about what if someone is allergic to strawberries. I just honestly can’t believe someone would do that. If they are out of something, common sense would be to come to see if the next closest thing is ok. Not everyone wants the next closest thing. So it wasn’t like it was just getting the order wrong by accident or by not verifying the written order with what she was bringing or putting in the order wrong by accident, this was on PURPOSE to be LAZY and to ASSUME. I didn’t know at first that she did that. I thought at first she just was that stupid(or truly just messed up(highly doubt it)) to bring us strawberries on top of a cheesecake when we ordered raspberries.

                                                                      4. Your server delays coming to get your order or delays you ordering due to personal conversation. We have had that before as well. Once, we had a waiter that we didn’t know after waiting 15 mins. for a table on Mardi Gras day ask us BEFORE we ORDERED ANYTHING “How’s y’all’s Mardi Gras” “Go to any parades.” See, I don’t mind chit chat with a stranger, but be considerate to do it AFTER we have our orders into the computer so you don’t take up our time.

                                                                      We have also had servers not come to get our order due to playing around. Sometimes taking a long time or a longer time has A LOT to do with the server:My husband and I have had 3 TIMES where servers FORGOT to put food orders into the computer. We also have 4 times servers forget to get bar drinks from the bar. Once a waitress forgot to put in a bar drink into the computer. Two of the 3 times it was an appetizer and the servers ADMITTED doing so. The third time was a cup of bisque which is normally served before a meal just like a side salad is. My husband and I also have had delays due to that the servers delayed putting orders into the computer when they COULD have such as deciding to buss a table first or decide instead of a mini-greet(I’ll be right with you all), one waiter I saw decided to take a party of 6 people’s drink/appetizer orders instead of putting in our food orders into the computer. I can understand if they call you over, but if they don’t, you should be putting that order into the computer not delaying our food. The longer you wait to put in orders, the LONGER WE WAIT!! So truly think about that MOST of the time when you wait a LONG TIME for your food or bar drinks even, it could be the server’s fault. 9 times out of 10, your server had *SOMETHING* to do with the delay in most cases! That’s the GOD’S TRUTH!

                                                                      35 Replies
                                                                      1. re: SpringsONE

                                                                        <"order being mixed up? Let's say you ordered a piece of steak and you got a piece of tuna. Thus far, I did not count these against the tip,?

                                                                        Have you thought about this with common sense in mind? Here's why you are enforcing bad service to continue:>

                                                                        I didn't say that is the right thing or the wrong thing to do. I don't usually get the wrong order. It has happened, but it was a long time ago. At the time, I was young and wasn't really in the mood or the attitude to tip below the normal % amount.

                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                          " I don't usually get the wrong order. "

                                                                          I do. I also modify my orders. I RARELY order as it comes so servers tend to not check over the food for accuracy as far as obvious mistakes. Also, even when it's something like a side dish we have had that forgotten even if the side dish itself wasn't modified or my husband's order had once a side dish forgotten even though my husband didn't modify his order any from OUR OWN SERVER that brought out our food to us.

                                                                          You are very lucky if you haven't gotten your order wrong much. I get my order wrong constantly a lot, like A LOT, around 85% of the times.

                                                                          1. re: SpringsONE

                                                                            Come to think of it. I probably have had more wrong orders than I first spoke to you. I meant that I have not gotten many outrageously wrong order, like ordering a steak, and get a salmon.

                                                                            I have certainly gotten the wrong side. You know. Asked for curly fries and got regular French fries. Still, most of the time, the orders are fine.

                                                                            I am sorry that ~85% of your orders are wrong. That sounds mighty high.

                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                              " I meant that I have not gotten many outrageously wrong order, like ordering a steak, and get a salmon. I have certainly gotten the wrong side. You know. Asked for curly fries and got regular French fries."

                                                                              At least in your example of the fries, it's still fries, not to say that it couldn't taste completely different, it probably does, but at least you got fries, not onion rings. I was talking about like completely forgotten side dishes we have had, completely wrong entrées along with the side dishes being wrong too and/or condiments if any were ordered from OUR OWN SERVER even.

                                                                              Once at Denny's(don't normally go there), I ordered seasoned fries and our waitress even made sure to tell me when the menu even said it there would be an upcharge. SHE brings out my plate with ONION RINGS. VERY OBVIOUS to the eyes not to bring that out. It also looks like she didn't put in the order correctly, because I wasn't charged for it, which I feel if she was not charging us extra for the seasoned fries due to the mistake, she would have for sure mentioned it to get bonus points on her tip. So she probably messed up twice putting in the order wrong AND bringing out onion rings to me when I ordered seasoned fries.

                                                                              We have gotten stuff outrageously wrong like I ordered bbq chicken nachos as my meal, our waiter brought out quesdillas without the ranch and extra bbq sauce that I ordered. Turns out, not only did he bring it out wrong, but he admitted to me he pressed the wrong button. That's how he said it "I pressed the wrong button."

                                                                              As I said in one of my other post as well, my husband ordered crawfish au gratin with a baked potato, our waiter was bringing out party's food along with ours on the same tray which he sat the tray down on the tray jack, then handed out the food without comparing his written orders to the food to see WHICH TABLE HAD WHAT PLATE OF FOOD. He put in front of my husband fried shrimp with fries. Turns out, our waiter admitted he grabbed the wrong one from the kitchen. The thing is, we saw he didn't *TRY* to *******SERVE********* it correctly by when he was lifting the plates off the tray on top the tray jack he didn't verify anything, I *SAW* him just handing off the plates of food. Any good, caring waiter would have at the very least verified which table had what food, for real.

                                                                              So he messed up twice by most likely not checking it in the kitchen and then not checking it in front of us on the tray as he was handing the food out. He was a moron and very lazy as well as uncaring. Any decent human being would *CARE* about WHAT he was handing to you.

                                                                              "Still, most of the time, the orders are fine. "

                                                                              Not mine and it's mostly condiments I have the very most problem with. I order a side of ranch for my fries and some mayo and mustard for my burger or sandwich, a good 80% of the time, some of them are forgotten, which they could just bring that stuff out ahead of time. No true need to wait 25 minutes or more to bring me some mustard or mayo or ranch, seriously.

                                                                              "I am sorry that ~85% of your orders are wrong. That sounds mighty high."

                                                                              Thanks, that's why I am so passionate about this subject and pissed off at those servers for being lazy and uncaring, because most aren't putting 100% *EFFORT* into the job. As I said before, that waiter just put plates at either our table or another without looking at his pad. I *SAW* what he was doing, because I was hungry and watching to see where our food was. Plus, I had gotten mine already I believe, but when he gave my husband's, he was like "I didn't order that." That waiter was a moron, because it wasn't like he actually *TRIED* and then messed up. What pisses me off is that the waiter didn't *VERIFY* his written order with the food. He got 2 things wrong, the entrée itself and the side dish.

                                                                              Anyway, that's why I am so pissed when people try to say that it's not the server's fault for most issues, because most issues it is.

                                                                            2. re: SpringsONE

                                                                              I go into a dining experience (or pretty much any kind of situation for that matter) expecting that things will go well, and usually they do. If things do go amiss, I have found that having a positive and caring attitude will usually result in things ending well.

                                                                              Case in point: We recently tried a new locally-owned Mediterranean restaurant. Our city is a chain restaurant wasteland so we are always eager to try new places that aren't chains and support them if they are decent. This place has gotten good word-of-mouth for really good food and exceptional value, but they are still working out kinks in their service. We went there for the first time on a weekend afternoon when we weren't in a hurry and tried a number of items to share. The owner was serving and realized he had made an error on one of the plates. He was extremely apologetic and hustled off to make the correct plate. We assured him things were fine and not to worry. He brought the corrected item promptly, still apologizing and insisting we have dessert on him. We were so full there was no way we could eat dessert but we thanked him for his kindness. When the bill came, he not only removed the item that he corrected, but also the most expensive of the other plates. We assured him it was not necessary but he insisted. We paid the bill, tipped well on the full amount of our orders and left happy.

                                                                              We now return to that restaurant probably once a week and our orders are always correct and we get wonderful service. Best of all, we have found a new favorite place to eat regularly and are hopefully doing our part to make sure they stay in business. Had we gotten huffy and fixated on the original error, we would have lost out on a great continued experience, yes, we may have been technically in the right to want to complain or ding the tip, but that would have been so much less satisfying,

                                                                              I have found that being a "glass half-full" kind of person usually serves me well. I cannot imagine how frustrating it would be to dine out and be disappointed to the point of keeping that kind of mental record 85% of the time. What a bummer.

                                                                              1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                "I have found that being a "glass half-full" kind of person usually serves me well. I cannot imagine how frustrating it would be to dine out and be disappointed to the point of keeping that kind of mental record 85% of the time. What a bummer."

                                                                                In your case though, the person was *VERY NICE and APOLOGETIC*, which is something we don't get a lot no matter if the server themselves notices the issue once they get to the table or if we NICELY tell them about it.

                                                                                For example, my husband's baked potato was forgotten by our own server. My husband nicely told our waitress about he had ordered a baked potato. Instead of immediately saying she was sorry, she looked on her ticket that she had on top the tray and just LEFT. Then she came back with it, STILL NO APOLOGY that she forgot to bring it to us, but my husband STILL SAID "THANK YOU." What a mean person that was. We get MORE of those jerks than we get that are like this owner you had for a server. This was an OWNER, so yeah, he probably will care more about you. Also, we didn't get anything comped for our forgotten side dish, which I feel you should get at least a soft drink off the bill for our inconvenience since to me, it took a while, it could have been she didn't even put it on the order into the computer right.

                                                                                My main point is, most servers aren't nice like they should be. If I would have been the waitress, first off I would have checked the plates compared it to the written order to make sure all was there(it was only the 2 of us and I even asked her to bring the condiments ahead of time so those were already there before she brought us our food).

                                                                                Let's say I would have missed the baked potato, I would have said IMMEDIATELY "I'm SO SORRY about that, I'll go get it." I would tell the kitchen staff "make this on the fly" and when I would have brought it back I would have said "I'm SO SORRY about that." I would have asked the manager if I could take a coke off the bill. If not, I would have paid for it myself.

                                                                                See the difference between MOST servers today and your experience? While I would have been like the owner as a server that you had serving you, most servers aren't nice and caring like that. They are mean and don't give a care.

                                                                                1. re: SpringsONE

                                                                                  "In your case though, the person was *VERY NICE and APOLOGETIC*, which is something we don't get a lot "

                                                                                  Maybe because the servers can sense your attitude from a mile away and figure that they're in a lose/lose situation.

                                                                                  1. re: dudewheresmytip

                                                                                    "Maybe because the servers can sense your attitude from a mile away and figure that they're in a lose/lose situation."

                                                                                    No, I don't make them have a mean personality. They don't sense any attitude. I am a NICE PERSON. I am not mean.

                                                                                    Telling them "thank you" after they fix a mistake should CUE them in to say they are sorry, but they have no common sense, do they?

                                                                                    1. re: SpringsONE

                                                                                      There's a kind of paradox that happens when you stop focusing on whether the service meets your standards and focus instead on just having a good time - not only do you have a better time, but the service generally gets better too.

                                                                                      This is because your servers are not programmed automatons whose sole purpose is to provide customers with a good experience and maximize their tips at all times. Rather, they're people with their own complex psychology. When they (or almost anyone) sees someone who appears friendly, happy, and non-judgmental, they tend to like said person. They're happier to help said person. When they say, 'you're welcome' or 'have a good one,' it sounds better because they mean it.

                                                                                      Conversely, when they notice someone who is uncommonly troubled by simple service errors, or who is paying just a little too much attention to how they do their job (and they do notice, even when you're polite), they get defensive and frustrated and stand-offish. Just like you or I or anyone else does when we're around someone who plainly doesn't like us. They avoid your table, consider your tip a lost cause, and respond to your judgment and annoyance in kind.

                                                                                      It's not a matter of luck that your servers seem awful so much of the time. Most of us actually are getting better service than you. Riding a server (or anyone) like a rented mule doesn't make them do a better job, especially when the job in question is to be nice to you.

                                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                        Well said, cowboyardee. I waitressed in college (for beer money!) at a Chili's-type place. Servers aren't as stupid as some might think. Ordering specific changes was never a problem, but I could always tell by tone, demeanor, etc. when they were ordering if it would most likely turn into a problem no matter how hard I tried.

                                                                                        What you give to the world is what you get.

                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                          "when they notice someone who is uncommonly troubled by simple service errors, or who is paying just a little too much attention to how they do their job ..."

                                                                                          They wonder if you are a mystery shopper sent in to catch all the mistakes.........................

                                                                                    2. re: SpringsONE

                                                                                      Please don't take this the wrong way, but if your attitude here is reflected at dining establishments, then I don't wonder that you have bad experiences a lot. Instead of trying to find a reason to reduce the tip, try to find reasons to raise the tip. I'd be afraid to patronize these places more than once if your attitude is as negative there as it is here. If not, you may have a reputation at these establishments that it doesn't matter what the server does, you are looking for a comp and will find something wrong. I just don't know if I could manage to go through life keeping tabs like you have and have any sort of positive feeling when dining out. I'd also say that the places you mention in your posts are really just sit down fast-food restaurants. Chili's, Red Lobster, Outback, etc... these are chains that are run like fast-food restaurants. You can't expect a lot from that sort of place to begin with. Try some small, local, or ethnic restaurants and I'd bet your outlook would change.

                                                                                      To answer the thread's question - I give most servers the benefit of the doubt and realize it is a TOUGH job. I start at 20% and adjust from there. Almost always up and rarely down. Negative factors are glaring mistakes such as not replacing silverware after a course, letting my glass get and stay empty, rudeness when asked for anything out of the norm, and excessive wait times for requests or the check. I also use my manners and talk very nicely to the servers because they deserve respect for the job they are doing. Yesterday I gave a very, very good tip just because the young server smiled a lot and she had a really sweet smile even though she forgot my drink twice and didn't bring my entree out until about 5 minutes after the other ladies at my table (7 in all) were served. She was just an upbeat part of a dreary day. All of us thought she was great even though she missed a handful of things. Glass half full, I guess. ;)

                                                                              2. re: SpringsONE

                                                                                I'm honestly curious & not being snarky: why do you continue to eat out, given what you feel are continuous bad experiences?

                                                                                1. re: pine time

                                                                                  HaHa:)

                                                                                  1. re: pine time

                                                                                    So she's got material for her blogs.

                                                                                    http://www.blogger.com/profile/163308...

                                                                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                      Miss N.....you are my Internet Information Sleuth Hero.

                                                                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                        Wow, I only clicked on one blog and just read a few of the comments (and her responses to them). Wow. Just wow.

                                                                                        1. re: gaffk

                                                                                          Folks, we know it's tempting, but please don't make this a conversation about another poster. Please keep the focus on tipping practices and not on how people post. Thanks.

                                                                                          1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                            That's not a person, it's spam. A simple google search show that the same statements have been made over numerous boards over a period of 10 years (at least.) Seriously Chow Team, google it.

                                                                                            1. re: plaidbowtie

                                                                                              plaidbowtie :"That's not a person, it's spam."

                                                                                              I am a person and NO it's not spam. You just don't like I am telling the GOD'S TRUTH, do you?

                                                                                              1. re: SpringsONE

                                                                                                "Gods Truth"? seriously? We are talking a food and dining experiences, not life and death.

                                                                                                1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                  ""Gods Truth"? seriously? We are talking a food and dining experiences, not life and death."

                                                                                                  For me it is similar to life and death, because it's THAT IMPORTANT to me.

                                                                                                  1. re: SpringsONE

                                                                                                    I can only wish that the rest of my life problems were so insignificant so that I could consider dining out to be as important as 'life and death'.

                                                                                                    1. re: jw615

                                                                                                      I know, can you imagine have such a blessed life that a thing like forgotten condiments and mixed up food orders are life and death??

                                                                                                      God willingly you don't suffer serious hardship or tragedy to discover what is truly life and death.

                                                                                                      Gah why do I keep feeding the TWWS!

                                                                                                2. re: SpringsONE

                                                                                                  I honestly can't whether these posts are trolling or being serious in this thread.

                                                                                                3. re: plaidbowtie

                                                                                                  Plaidbowtie is absolutely correct. These comments are a clear "cut and paste" which have been doing the rounds of various boards in recent years. Google easily confirms it.

                                                                                                  I've no problem with posters using material from elsewhere, so long as source is acknowledged. What does not earn my respect and consideration is passing off someone else's remarks as your own.

                                                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                                                    I am not passing off someone else's remarks. These are *MY* WORK.

                                                                                                    http://www.blogger.com/profile/163308...

                                                                                                    These are my blogs are blogger above.

                                                                                                    Below is my livejournal.

                                                                                                    http://springs1.livejournal.com/

                                                                                                    1. re: SpringsONE

                                                                                                      OK.

                                                                                                      1. re: SpringsONE

                                                                                                        This is absolutely incredible. Wow.

                                                                                                    2. re: plaidbowtie

                                                                                                      Wow. I googled and just wow.

                                                                                              2. re: pine time

                                                                                                Didn't Einstein have a quote about someone that does the same thing over and over and over again....but expects different results? Hmmm.....

                                                                                                1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                  Not sure if it was Einstein, but I know it's the definition of insanity.

                                                                                                2. re: pine time

                                                                                                  "I'm honestly curious & not being snarky: why do you continue to eat out, given what you feel are continuous bad experiences?"

                                                                                                  I don't always have bad experiences and I like the food as well as being out.

                                                                                                  You don't know if you are going to have a bad experience or not until it happens.

                                                                                                  1. re: SpringsONE

                                                                                                    from below: "I have problems a good 85% of my outings mostly dealing with food errors such as missing condiments that I have the most problem with most of all."

                                                                                                    If I routinely had problems 85% of the time, I'd either reduce my expectations/be more realistic/take up Zen or quit eating out. My 2 cents.

                                                                                                3. re: SpringsONE

                                                                                                  SpringsONE owes me a glass of wine, because mine is now all over the computer keyboard.

                                                                                                  This has got to be right up there with the infamous Thanksgiving Dinner Family eMail (http://awkwardfamilyphotos.com/2009/1...).

                                                                                                  Hopefully you were paid well for that bit, 'cause it must have taken quit a bit a time to tap out!

                                                                                                  Cheers!

                                                                                                  p.s. my daughter just asked "what do you do for a living?" TIA

                                                                                                4. " Conversely, having a perfectly cooked steak should not boost the tip amount. "

                                                                                                  If your server put in the order correctly, it should. Your server can put in the order wrong that means a steak that isn't cooked right can be their fault.

                                                                                                  1. I start with 20 %.I'm not expecting much in the way of food from most of the restaurants where I live.I have had some good and some yuck. Unless the waiter or waitress is not doing their job around 10 %.Then again if I'm getting liqoured up and feeling good with a great meal and service 50 % and upwards.

                                                                                                    1. We are kinda 20 per-cent-ers no matter what.
                                                                                                      To get less a server has to be pretty baaadd..as in forgetting to check on us, bringing the wrong dishes, outright rudeness etc.

                                                                                                      Although some find them annoying, a "friendly" server will generally get larger tip than a cool one at our table. And yes, since it's timely, we will often tip more during the holidays.

                                                                                                      1. I typically tip right around 20%...

                                                                                                        However, a few things pull at my heart strings to tip more...If I am eating at an inexpensive sit down chain that was a friends choice (I live in the land of chains), I typically give a tip equaling the bill or more, usually at least $10. It seems these places are often staffed by single parents an college students...If I think this is the case I put down a really good tip, especially around the holidays.

                                                                                                        I rarely penalize my tip based on poor service. I have only ever once not left a tip and that was a few weeks ago at a conference. The server mixed up my regular soda with another conference goers diet and then acted put out when we would not switch and he had to bring fresh ones. I never got a refill. He then proceeded to place my soda on another tablemate's check. I had already filled out my receipt with a little above a 20% tip. He then took about 15 minutes correcting the bill and had the audacity to add the soda back to my bill. Not that I mind paying for my soda, but after the 3 mistakes that were his and wasting 15 minutes time, I did not leave a tip on the second bill. Right, wrong or indifferent I was very put out by his behavior throughout the meal- a companion was not served soup, while another's allergy request was ignored and had to be sent back. Worst dining experience ever...and that is why I typically avoid hotel restaurants.

                                                                                                        1. If service is excellent and the wait staff are fun pleasant and energetic then I increase the amount I tip. If and when I go out it is to have a good time.....I cook and eat a lot of good healthy foods at home so when dining out I want great service.......sinfully delicious food and cocktail service that is on the ball:) Slovenly service.....ignorant attitude? Small tip.....not worth my time or money to reward ineptness...anywhere to anyone.

                                                                                                          1. Biggest factor for me is frequent refills on any free liquid (water, coffee, iced tea). Also, since I frequently dine alone, I always tip well if the server is attentive without being intrusive (as in repeatedly coming by every 5 min. to inquire about the meal). I am always mindful of the fact that if I'm at a table in a busy place, they could have 2 customers in my place.

                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: katydid13

                                                                                                              <Biggest factor for me is frequent refills on any free liquid>

                                                                                                              It is not a big deal for me, except this one time where I ordered some really spicy Jamaican foods (Jerk pork), and the waitress disappeared. I went to bathroom and rinsed my mouth with water from the faucet.

                                                                                                              1. re: katydid13

                                                                                                                "Biggest factor for me is frequent refills "

                                                                                                                So your order being wrong is better??? Sorry, I don't think that's the biggest factor. If you get chicken, but you ordered steak, I don't think you'd be happy.

                                                                                                                Biggest factor with me is getting my order right.

                                                                                                                May I suggest you ask at the greeting to get refills without being asked throughout your service? This way, your server will know you are a fast drinker for refills.

                                                                                                                1. re: SpringsONE

                                                                                                                  Sorry, I don't think that's the biggest factor.

                                                                                                                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                                                  Sorry, but I think katydi13 is old and smart enough to know what is the biggest factor for herself in restaurants.

                                                                                                                  1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                    Everyone, let's not rank "biggest" factor. We usually mean "most common and realistic" factor. It is very possible that katydi has hardly ever gotten the wrong orders, so her biggest factor is not that.

                                                                                                                    I mean I can also say that "My biggest factor is not getting murdered by my waiters and waitresses" -- which is technically very true. It is just not very realistic for me.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                      I get delayed refills a lot as well as forgotten refills at times.

                                                                                                                      It's common to wait for refills a long time at times. That doesn't mean it's my most important thing to me. In my opinion, something that takes longer to fix would make most people feel it's more important which that is food issues. Refills don't take long to fix. A wrong side dish if it needs cooking take a while to fix or a wrong entrée.

                                                                                                                2. re: katydid13

                                                                                                                  I agree, Katy. I really cannot remember every having been given the wrong entree, and if the server were to mix up the sides, I would not let that affect my tip, as long as the problem was corrected cheerfully and quickly.

                                                                                                                  But if I have had to wait with an empty coffee cup or glass, and no-one stopped by with a refill, my standard 20-30% would go down to 10%.

                                                                                                                  I also tend to overtip when I eat lunch out on my own, figuring that I am taking the room of at least a two-top.

                                                                                                                  1. re: DebinIndiana

                                                                                                                    "I really cannot remember every having been given the wrong entree, and if the server were to mix up the sides, I would not let that affect my tip, as long as the problem was corrected cheerfully and quickly."

                                                                                                                    I can and have it happen a number of times before. Why shouldn't it affect the tip? Why ENCOURAGE servers to mess up? All you are doing is feeding the problem rather than fixing it. If they know you won't tip as well if they mess up, they will more than likely *TRY* their best to check the food *BEFORE* they leave the kitchen.

                                                                                                                    You obviously don't eat out much or as you said don't have much problems like I do. I have problems a good 85% of my outings mostly dealing with food errors such as missing condiments that I have the most problem with most of all.

                                                                                                                    "But if I have had to wait with an empty coffee cup or glass, and no-one stopped by with a refill, my standard 20-30% would go down to 10%."

                                                                                                                    I guess because it doesn't happen to you often you don't care. It happens to me quite often so I do care.

                                                                                                                    I care wayyy more about my order being right which takes A LOT MORE TIME to fix than if your sever forgets your refill. I am not understanding your take on this at all? If you get the wrong food because your server put in the order wrong, do you realize it will take around 10 minutes or more compared to a minute or two for a refill?

                                                                                                                    "I also tend to overtip when I eat lunch out on my own, figuring that I am taking the room of at least a two-top."

                                                                                                                    I don't overtip for that reason if I eat by myself. I overtip because of the price that let's say my bill is $12, 20% isn't much($2.40), so that's why I tend to overtip if I get good service that is.

                                                                                                                3. I don't dine out too much, but usually I tip 20%. More if the dish is ridiculously cheap or the waiter is a particular favorite of mine that takes extra good care of me, less if there are obvious snubs or attitudes on the part of the waitstaff. But truthfully, I haven't run into one of those in over 20 years, and the few messups I see could easily be traced to the kitchen staff, which isn't the waiter's fault.
                                                                                                                  One of my favorite waitresses at a favorite Vietnamese restaurant actually sang happy birthday to me (very softly, thank God) like this-
                                                                                                                  Happy birthday to you
                                                                                                                  (Cha cha cha)
                                                                                                                  Happy birthday to you
                                                                                                                  (Cha cha cha)
                                                                                                                  Happy birthday dear Eileen
                                                                                                                  (Cha cha cha)
                                                                                                                  Happy birthday to you!
                                                                                                                  I love Lu! I don't know where she got the cha cha cha, she's not near old enough, but it made my day.

                                                                                                                  1. Always over tip the regular breakfast waitresses, I will leave $5.00 for an average check of $12.00, gee, I never get bad service or food! Dinner house wait staff 20-25% At my fav place I slip the cook an occasional $20.00 and the wait staff knows our preferences in wine, affetato, coffee, etc. What difference does it make if you tip a little more than "average" if you have an enjoyable time?

                                                                                                                    1. My standard tip is 18-20%. I rarely tip below 18% but will go down to 15% if the service (within the server's obvious ability to control) goes awry. I will tip 25-30% or even more for excellent service. I will also tip more for a server who is engaged, friendly, and makes my overall experience more enjoyable.

                                                                                                                      I am pretty forgiving about service errors when they happen. What matters most to me is the server's attitude and effort to correct a problem.

                                                                                                                      My one personal pet peeve is not getting prompt service when I have made it clear up front that I am on a tight timeframe. If I have stated that clearly, am ready to order immediately, and do my part to be efficient, I get ticked when the restaurant doesn't perform accordingly or tell me up front that they can't.

                                                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                        I am always amazed that people say that standard tip is 18%. :) How do you calculate that at the table? Do you use a calculator?

                                                                                                                        <My one personal pet peeve is not getting prompt service when I have made it clear up front that I am on a tight timeframe.>

                                                                                                                        Agree. Sometime I have a meeting that I have to go to. It is important in these cases that I get my foods fast -- even if they are not supertasty.

                                                                                                                        <I get ticked when the restaurant doesn't perform accordingly or tell me up front that they can't.>

                                                                                                                        Hmm, I get ticked if they cannot perform accordingly, but I don't get mad if they tell me up front that they cannot. I actually respect that. I would go to a restaurant and say that I need to get out in 30 minutes, do you think you can serve me this XYZ. Sometime they will say that they don't think it is possible. I am fine with this kind of replies.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                          "I am always amazed that people say that standard tip is 18%. :) How do you calculate that at the table? Do you use a calculator? "

                                                                                                                          From early 1980s until 2011 sales tax in CT was 6% and 18% was easy to determine by just tripling the tax.

                                                                                                                          I don't need a calculator to figure the tip, I have no problems doiing numbers quickly in my head.

                                                                                                                          I think many may state that the standard tip is 18%, because it is the most common figure we see printed on area menus when is says "Gratuity of 18% will be added for groups of 6 or more."

                                                                                                                          In essence, the diners are letting the establishment set the standard.

                                                                                                                          1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                            Ohhh... I never thought of looking at the sale tax. I see. Now, it all makes sense. Thanks.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                              In. NYC sales tax is 8.875% so most people just double the tax and maybe round up to the next whole dollar or 25 cent increment

                                                                                                                              1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                I usually just give 20%. Like multiple the total bill by 0.2. In effect, my 20% is the 20% of the entire bill (after sale tax and everything), and then just round up to the nearest dollar. (usually).

                                                                                                                                1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                  I remember many many years ago when I was in college, my aunt who lived in NYC (sales tax was around 8% then) took my cousin and me out to dinner. She paid and as usual was planning on doubling the tax for the tip. Unfortunately we were not in NYC, where we were the tax was 4%. She was always the cool aunt but not a math wiz, luckily for our server, we were able to explain that the doubling of the tax didn't universally work.

                                                                                                                            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                              Yes, our sales tax is around 9%, maybe a bit more, so I would double the tax to get an 18% tip calculation.

                                                                                                                              Yes, I agree with you, chemicalkinetics, I just wrote it out poorly. I don't have a problem if the server tells me up front that they can't accommodate my time schedule. What peeves me is if they *don't* tell me up front that they cannot accommodate me even though I have let them know when ordering. I guess basically, good communication.

                                                                                                                              1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                :) Got it. Make sense. Thanks.

                                                                                                                              2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                "How do you calculate that at the table"

                                                                                                                                It's 18%, not partial differential equations

                                                                                                                            3. Ever since I found out that you have no way of knowing how the tips get divided, I usually give 20%. If both the food and service are bad, I will give less. I'm fine with service errors that are promptly corrected.

                                                                                                                              I was at brunch once in a particularly disorganized restaurant where I could see our entrees sitting on the pass for so long that the line cook pulled and remade them. In that case I tipped two bucks on the check and then walked over and handed the cook a five.

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: agozoic

                                                                                                                                On behalf of cooks, everywhere, thank you.

                                                                                                                                1. re: agozoic

                                                                                                                                  You shoud be aware that in some states, even if tips are pooled, it is illegal for the establishment to let non-service personnel share in the tips. BOH employees such as cooks, dishwashers, etc are excluded from the tip pool by law.