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Apr 9, 2014 10:26 AM

Infographic: How to Tip Waiter, Barternder, Barista and Deliveryman and Not Be Mean

I came across this infographic on tipping posted by Food Republic and thought it might be interesting to some given all of the threads about tipping which pop up from time to time.

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  1. Where would tips be 100% of a "waiter's" income? (See chart in article).

    The takeout info is interesting too. Pretty much reflects what posts here.

    71 Replies
    1. re: Midlife

      Anywhere they make $2.13 per hour, which goes directly to the tax man.

      1. re: ErnieD

        Sorry? You're saying their withholding eats up all of their minimum wage? I'd question the math on that as a general statement.

        1. re: Midlife

          In most states they don't make minimum wage. They make $2 and change per hour, and yes, taxes eat up most if not all of that. The restaurant has to pay them the minimum if their tips don't come up to it, so it's probably an exaggeration but not a huge one. Their take-home comes almost exclusively from tips.

          1. re: ErnieD

            I'm well aware of the low minimum wage in many states. The 100% just seed like an exaggeration. I guess not really.

            1. re: Midlife

              It's not uncommon for tips to eat the entire 2.13 min wage. At a couple of places where I worked they would write a number on the back of your $0.00 paycheck, which was the additional tax liability for that pay period (as in, after the $2.13 had all been withheld, you still owed X). If you didn't make quarterly payments, you owed the IRS quite a bit of money at the end of the year.

              Additionally, I worked at two different places where I worked entirely for tips, read no $2.13 min. Apparently, (and I don't know how many states allow this), so long as they can show you're earning at least the fed or state minimum through tips, they didn't have to pay us anything.

              1. re: nc213

                Ditto that. Idaho minimum wage for tipped employees is 2.35 per hour. Most of my paychecks were zero.

          2. re: Midlife

            go sign on as a server somewhere.
            See how little your first paycheck really is.

            Fall on your knees and give thanks that you don't have to try to keep a roof over your head and food on your table by being a server.

            Not everyone is lucky enough to have no idea how little waitstaff actually earn.

            1. re: sunshine842

              <See how little your first paycheck really is>

              It's not just servers who have to endure the tax gouge.
              I don't tip to subsidize a server's income. I tip for service and that's about all I think about. They make the choice to work as a server and I'm pretty sure after that first paycheck they're aware of what's happening. I'll never forget it when I saw my first one. It was a lesson in alot of different concepts for me, including 'unfairness'.
              99% of the people out there who're making a living don't enjoy giving their money away to taxes and it doesn't matter what their bracket is…

              1. re: latindancer

                never said anything to the contrary -- but outside of being a server, there aren't many professions where you're that likely to get a paycheck that won't buy your lunch today. It's pretty sobering to see zeros on your paycheck.

                They also don't always make the choice...sometimes server is the *only* choice, whether because of hours, education (or lack thereof) or a shitty economy, there are folks who can wait tables or not work at all.

                1. re: latindancer

                  That's a little disingenuous. The whole point is that they DON'T really know what they're getting into, because each paycheck is different based on the arbitrary whims of strangers. Crossing your fingers in the hopes that you don't get Beatrice who docks your tip for saying "no problem" on the same night you get Edwin who thinks "here's a tip: get a better job" is the height of wit is no way to maintain a budget.

                  The whole "they're making the choice to be a server" never had much validity, and whatever it did have went out the window in 2008. There are three unemployed people for every open job. Many, many people are in a position where they have to keep a job they don't want to keep eating and living indoors. We shouldn't be absolving ourselves of any responsibility because they "chose" a job as an alternative to starvation.

                  1. re: ErnieD

                    <The whole point is that they DON'T really know what they're getting into>

                    I sure did, many moons ago.
                    I knew I'd be receiving a base pay and the tips I made were extra. I was, literally, at the mercy of the customers.
                    I was waitstaff (formerly known as a waitress) and I knew exactly what kind of business I was getting into.

                    1. re: latindancer

                      and some people know what they're getting into, and just don't have any other options at the moment.

                      But if you (or me, or Ernie, or Midlife, or anybody else) doesn't subsidize their income, they could end up facing very dire straits.

                      I know it's a lot less uncomfortable to think that we don't pay their salaries, and that it's their own fault for taking a job waiting tables, but the ugly reality is that we DO pay their salaries, and if we undertip, we're denying them a living wage.

                      It's a really, really ugly part of the American system.

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        I couldn't agree more. It's nasty, and it creates a nasty dynamic. I don't really understand we we require it only in this industry, and pretty much only in the US. I wouldn't go to my mechanic and say "hey, I'm going to pay you a set price for parts, but I want to decide what your labor is worth later according to a set of criteria you're not privy to, including but not limited to how attractive you are, whether I think you were flirting with my husband, and whether you draw a smiley face on my check."

                        I feel like "I worked for minimum wage/tips for a couple of summers in the seventies and you don't hear me complaining" has become the new "I had to walk 10 miles to school in the snow." We live in a completely different economy than we did even ten years ago. If your only job choices are serving, serving, serving, and serving, you are not making a choice in any meaningful way.

                        1. re: ErnieD

                          <I worked for minimum wage/tips for a couple of summers in the seventies and you don't hear me complaining>

                          I never did, actually, and I certainly, along with everyone I knew who worked like I did, didn't expect people to 'subsidize' our living. Never. It actually would have never entered my mind.
                          Why would it be expected now? Just curious...

                          1. re: latindancer

                            It's not "subsidizing" to pay someone for their time. If you are tipping someone who already making a living wage, that might be considered subsidizing but that's not what's being discussed.

                            1. re: latindancer

                              The restaurant system in our country is set up for diners to subsidize wages directly (as opposed to paying for wages through costs of goods/labor billed as it is in most industries). There is an understanding that the bill for eating out is 15-20% more than what comes on the printed bill. That's the way it works here. That's the way it is set up. Folks can think that's dumb. They can think folks are dumb for "choosing" those jobs But that is the way the system is set up. In my opinion, someone not willing to participate in that system should eat at home.

                          2. re: sunshine842

                            <It's a really, really ugly part of the American system>

                            And, for that, we can (at least me) respectfully disagree.

                            1. re: sunshine842

                              Plenty of people work on commission. You adjust, or quit. Your income is determined by your sales skills, sort of like owning your own business.

                              1. re: coll

                                Except you know what to anticipate in commission based upon your employment terms.

                                Crap shoot for servers. From none to some.

                                1. re: coll

                                  even when you're on straight commission, any company worth working for will allow you a draw against future commission.

                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                    No way to forecast income in sales, but I made out OK. I got a certain percentage of the profit, but total weekly sales figures were far from guaranteed. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, part of the game. I did that for 20 years and it averaged out fine for me.

                                    1. re: coll

                                      And like the other sidebar about waiters not staying on if they can't make enough tips to equal minimum wage...

                                      ...if you're not averaging out fine, you probably should consider a job change. New company, new industry, new profession...something needs to change.

                                    2. re: sunshine842

                                      Just realized I didn't say: I've never worked for a company that gives you a draw against commission. And I've worked for three big ones in the same field. Like I said it's like running your own business, if things are slow you have to hustle any way you can.

                                  2. re: sunshine842

                                    <doesn't subsidize their income>

                                    It's not my duty to subsidize anyone's income, Sunshine, unless it's my choice to do so. Certainly there IS a mentality out there that feels that way but I don't.
                                    Once again, my tips are based on what I think a person is deserving of in service, nothing more.

                                    1. re: latindancer

                                      You are not subsidizing their income. You are paying them for their services.

                                      1. re: ErnieD

                                        <You are paying them for their services>

                                        Correct. It was Sunshine who I was responding to when it was stated "But if you (or me or Ernie or Midlife or anybody else) doesn't SUBSIDIZE their income, they could end up facing very dire straits.
                                        I clearly responded that it's not my duty to subsidize anyone's income.

                                      2. re: latindancer

                                        but your tips are where their money to live comes from.

                                        They aren't being paid a wage (to speak of) by the restaurant -- so the only source of their income is from your tips.

                                        That's not a philosophical statement -- that's plain fact.

                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                          The concept of tip credits by federal law and for the states that have them is simply that the restaurant can count your tips as part of making sure that you are paid the minimum wage in your jurisdiction. The federal minimum is $7.25. The restaurant is on the hook that you will make at least that much whether through tips or not.

                                          1. re: nocharge

                                            and how many weeks do you think the restaurants are going to cough up for a server who's not making the cash?

                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                              If you can't make that number, maybe you are in the wrong place.

                                              1. re: nocharge

                                                no argument there.

                                                There are times that you end up short (bad weather or similar comes to mind) -- but yeah, if you're not regularly making the rest in tips, you should probably be examining your future as a waitperson.

                                          2. re: sunshine842

                                            <so the only source of their income is from your tips>

                                            It's still not up to me to pay for their welfare in tips. I've found that I'm, most likely, overtipping…which gives me pause for thought.
                                            I tip for service and I've never thought it's for subsidizing their income. If they give me great service then I'm happy to think it's going to pay for their mortgage or food or whatever.
                                            Not sure what you're getting at.

                                            1. re: latindancer

                                              this has devolved into semantics.

                                              Plain and simple -- the restaurant isn't paying them money to live who do you think is paying them?

                                              I'll assume that you're paying tips when you eat at a restaurant -- so YOU are paying them.

                                              Call it paying, call it subsidizing, call it whatever you want -- but their income comes from your pocket (and the pockets of everyone else who eats at that establishment).

                                              (but those baristas that you're overtipping? They're not considered servers, so they're making minimum)

                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                <their income comes from your pocket>


                                                When I tip, even though I'm tipping for service, I'm now classified as someone who's paying a wage earner's income. I really could care less. I know why I do it and that's all that matters to me.

                                                1. re: latindancer

                                                  **in a restaurant** where the waitstaff are paid far below minimum wage and have to rely on tips for their income.

                                                  Taxi drivers, busboys, baristas, and every other service worker is making at least minimum wage...for those folks, yes, your tip is a *supplement* to their income.

                                        2. re: sunshine842

                                          Heartily agree that this is one of the more despicable and pointless aspects of the American system. The silly think about it, is, it devalues the tip itself as an expression of appreciation. Once, as in the US, tipping is not optional but required, and at a fairly standard level set by convention, then it stops being a personal gesture of goodwill and merely another impersonal part of paying the bill.

                                          It also denies waiters any sort of after-the-fact positive feedback on their job; after all, if they get a tip, even if it's a generous one, they know it's only part of the quid pro quo for serving customers - so they can't really know how the customer actually felt. That robs them of any feeling of having done a good job if they did, and equally, gives them no easy way to identify when they've done a poor job.

                                          What the system is in truth is a way for restaurant owners to conceal the *actual* price of the meal from their customers; what you see on the menu isn't a good reflection of the actual amount you'll pay. I'll also say that not including taxes in the listed price is another part of this concealment; what's with that? Is that actually US law? If so it again is absurd - it adds another layer of calculation so unless you're mathematically clever or carry a pocket calculator around with you you're not going to be able to estimate accurately how much your meal will cost before actually paying for it.

                                          1. re: AlexRast

                                            The taxes are indeed added after the fact per US law -- but it's the same for restaurants, groceries, pharmacies, and everything else you purchase -- the tax is always added to the posted prices.

                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                              Which always seems strange to me. I can understand US law applying taxes after the notional sales price, but I don't really understand why they would also require (as seems to be the case) that the *listed* price of an item of any sort NOT include tax - so that you can never know exactly how much you're going to pay for something until you reach the till.

                                              Incidentally, on another point spoken of earlier:

                                              "Plain and simple -- the restaurant isn't paying them money to live who do you think is paying them?

                                              I'll assume that you're paying tips when you eat at a restaurant -- so YOU are paying them."

                                              This fact is true *regardless* of the specific system whereby the payment reaches the wallet of the waiter. After all, the restaurant gets its money from its customers, so whether the cost of staff is incorporated into the price of the food, whether it's appended as a service charge afterwards, or whether it comes through tips, you're still the one paying. But if it's built in to the price of the food you have a better, clearer picture of the *true* cost of the meal.

                                              Thinking along a totally different line - how is the liability towards their waitstaff changed or affected under US law by the method whereby the restaurant chooses to pay them? Are there specific legal advantages to making it come in the form of tips? If so I can understand why restaurants would customarily do this - and if this is true, then it's likely the system will NEVER change, whatever the public dissatisfaction may be.

                                              1. re: AlexRast

                                                Don't think there are any legal provisions that prevents anyone from including sales tax in the price of anything. In fact, lots of stores have "We pay the sales tax" sales where you only pay the amount on the price tag. The store is still liable for the sales tax, of course.

                                                As for differences between tips and other forms of compensating servers through service charges, higher menu prices, etc. There are tax issues. A voluntary tip is usually considered a gift and not subject to sales tax. (Income tax is a different story.) But any charge that is mandatory would typically be subject to sales tax.

                                                1. re: AlexRast

                                                  but under the US system, the customer is **directly** paying the server his/her income. Elsewhere, yes, the customer is paying the salary, but it's indirect, with the establishment keeping a percentage of that for overhead, profits, etc., etc.

                                                  It gets truly bizarre because there are different sorts of taxes for different kinds of businesses (I'm thinking the city occupancy tax for hotels, which can downright userous)...and different municipalities, counties, and states charge different amounts of sales you could have two restaurants literally across the street from one another, but because that street is also the dividing line between one jurisdiction and another, the two places have to charge different sales tax rates. (confused yet?)

                                              2. re: AlexRast

                                                <Once tipping, as in the US, is not optional but required>

                                                When will this happen?
                                                If a service charge is tacked onto my meal (which has happened recently) then my tipping system (which is overly generous) will diminish and my 'personal act of goodwill' will go out the window.

                                                1. re: latindancer

                                                  but that's backward.

                                                  Your personal act of goodwill would then truly become an act of goodwill, and a genuine indicator of your appreciation for their service.

                                                  It seems to be changing in that direction, but I'm guessing you didn't really expect anyone to set a concrete date as the deadline by which such a quantum shift in the service culture will have been completed.

                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                    A tip is not a 'right'…it's a privilege.

                                                    Now, if the restaurant I'm attending writes on the menu that there is an automatic service charge then I have to pay at the end of the meal it or not eat there. It's my choice at that point.
                                                    Okay, it's 'changing in the at direction'. Fine. That's the restaurant's prerogative to charge it and the 'tip' is now paid, as far as I'm concerned. There won't be any further tip given on my part. But, of course, if the restaurant's service charge is 12% then I'll add on an extra, say, 8% or more depending on the service, and it'll all balance out in the end.

                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                      Sunshine - I was going to say the same thing. Makes no sense at all. Since he/she said << I tip for service and that's about all I think about. >> why would that change if there was a service fee? If one *really* tips for service than I am sure they also tip doormen, hair stylists, electricians, etc, who don't count on tips for their livelihood and most likely make a "living wage". Why stop because of a service fee?

                                                      1. re: foodieX2

                                                        who's talking about a service fee?

                                                        I didn't bring it up...should tips ever be included in restaurant prices, it won't be a "service fee" -- because an automatic 18% gratuity is not the same thing as just paying servers a minimum wage and charging accordingly. If the cost of a restaurant meal goes up 20%, there will be much wailing and rending of vestements, but the cost really won't have gone up much at all, because we all tend (TEND!) to tip 15-20% on a restaurant meal, anyway...

                                                        And so it wouldn't change anything -- the servers would get paid a minimum wage, tipping would no longer be obligatory, BUT the object of leaving a tip as a reward for a job particularly well done then becomes *truly* reward-based, and not because we all know fully well that we have to pay these folks' wages.

                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                          LD did. LD said he/she would basically stop tipping if a restaurant had one. Basically that his/her tip would already be paid. So if is he/she was *really* tipping for good service then a service charge shouldn't stop her/him from tipping

                                                          <<Now, if the restaurant I'm attending writes on the menu that there is an automatic service charge then I have to pay at the end of the meal it or not eat there. It's my choice at that point.
                                                          Okay, it's 'changing in the at direction'. Fine. That's the restaurant's prerogative to charge it and the 'tip' is now paid, as far as I'm concerned. There won't be any further tip given on my part. But, of course, if the restaurant's service charge is 12% then I'll add on an extra, say, 8% or more depending on the service, and it'll all balance out in the end.>>

                                                        2. re: foodieX2

                                                          I DO tip for service. Now, if the restaurant takes over my tipping then why would I add an extra tip on top of that?
                                                          If that were the case the wait person would now receive about 40%.
                                                          I will continue to tip my florist for delivery, my hair people, my nail people, my electricians, my plumber and on and on…
                                                          If the restaurant owner builds it in? Then I'll not tip unless the service is so exemplary I have no choice but to do it…
                                                          And I have.

                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                            but if you tipped another 20% you'd be a blooming idiot.

                                                            But if you paid another 5% (10%?) you'd be truly giving a tip for exemplary service.

                                                            The French even have two different words for it-- service is, obviously, the regular service charge included in the bill.

                                                            The "pourboire" (literally "for drinks") is the extra you leave on the table for a job well done. It's pretty rare indeed that the "pourboire" would be more than 5-10% of the bill...and even then it's entirely optional.

                                                      2. re: latindancer

                                                        Most people on this board seem to be arguing about decorum. Should you tip 15, 18, or 20 percent? In other words, a lot of people feel that tipping is mandatory even though that it may not be so in the same legal sense as a service charge.

                                                        And if the restaurant charges you an 18 percent service charge that you are inclined to believe will be distributed to the staff, most diners will make that a reason to decrease their tips. But most restaurant will give you the opportunity to leave an additional tip on top of the service charge. So what's the problem here?

                                                        1. re: nocharge

                                                          <So what's the problem here?>

                                                          I see no problem. I always give at least 20% and alot of time higher but I don't think of it as 'mandatory. I actually invite the restaurant to charge the service charge so my job's done in the area of tipping. I won't have to leave one or very little.
                                                          I only hope my waiter's going to give the same level of service now that he/she knows in advance there's an adequate tip for him/her already built in.

                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                            and so FINALLY we all manage to end up on the same page.

                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                              That argument, the servers may have reduced motivation if they're not compensated with tips, always confuses me. I work hard without people having the opportunity to dock my pay at will; so did my parents and so does my husband and our friends as far as I can tell. It's not my automatic reaction to assume that servers are worse employees than me.

                                                              1. re: ErnieD

                                                                A lot of people have good work ethics just because that's the way their were brought up. Good for them!

                                                                But let me give you two complete anecdotes:

                                                                1. Back in the early 90s I was on a business trip to Berlin. It was just after the German reunification. I was to stay at the Intercontinental but the first night they were sold out. So they booked me at a property in the former East-Berlin that they had recently acquired. That had been the marquee hotel of the former East Germany, an extremely tall tower complete with a casino at the top floor with some some of the best-looking hookers I've ever seen although I was too jet lagged to bother. But after checking in, I went to the lobby lounge to have a drink. There were like three cocktail waitresses standing around chatting and none of them felt compelled to come up to me and serve me. Probably a remnant of of the Communist system of giving people a "living wage" no matter what. I was thinking to my self, that would never happen in the US with the US tipping system.

                                                                2. A woman I know was a cocktail waitress at a dive bar in a college town. She would aggressively approach any table of frat boys with the opening line "What kind of shots can I get you guys?" She made enormous amounts in tips. The manager of the place was so impressed that he decided he had to marry that woman. They did get married and ran a three-star restaurant in San Francisco for well over a decade.

                                                                So I wouldn't dismiss tipping as a way of getting more attentive service. And that's even without getting into a discussion about how how to game the system in terms of comps and stuff.

                                                                1. re: ErnieD

                                                                  Not so sure why you're confused.

                                                                  I don't know of one person, including myself who at one time waited tables, that didn't do it for the tips, at least in the town I live in. Otherwise, why do it? For the minimum, lousy wage?
                                                                  The agreement and expectation was…
                                                                  The harder I worked, the better tips I made. I'd come to work with the knowledge that the nicer I was, the more I refilled the coffee, the more attentive I was, the faster I got that meal out of the kitchen all added up to why most people, including myself, leave high tips.
                                                                  It always worked. Then there are those restaurants where it REALLY works. it's an industry where good money can be made and it's just the way it is.
                                                                  I'm just not convinced (and I've experienced it where service charges are added on) that waitstaff is going to have the incentive to work like they would when they're working for tips. Not everyone has that desire to work hard when there's no payoff.

                                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                                    What's being discussed is switching a non-tipping system, so what would motivate servers would be the same thing that motivates me-wages. What I'm trying to get it is what makes people assume that I, as a speech therapist, will do my job to the best of my abilities without the people I work with having the opportunity to dock my wages (and so, by the way, can fast food workers, cashiers, doctors, and ditch diggers) but servers are not to be trusted to agree to the value of their labor before they complete a transaction.

                                                                    1. re: ErnieD

                                                                      The restaurant industry has extremely low barriers to entry and an extreme amount of turn-over. If you are a good-looking young woman, chances are that you could get a job as a hostess somewhere. Getting a gig as a speech therapist might be more iffy. I think that is part of the equation. The restaurant industry has lots of people who are not really dedicated professionals who work hard just because of their work ethics but who would rather be doing coke whenever there is an opportunity. But they need to make money, maybe just to support themselves in college, and, presumably, the harder they work and the better the job they are doing, the more money they will make in tips.

                                                                      On the flip side, there are people who seem allergic to tipping and good tippers, like myself, thrive on them at their expense by getting the entire quota of comped drinks. I'm saving myself money without the cheapskates having a clue that I'm screwing them and happily so.

                                                                      1. re: ErnieD

                                                                        similarly, the barista, the flower-delivery guy, the clerk at McDonald's, and the beautician also receive their full wages for the job done, and the barriers to entry are not significantly higher than that of being a server.

                                                                        Why, then, are servers left purely to the whims of the customer?

                                                                        Why should a server go home after a long quiet shift when the weather is bad with nothing in their pocket? (there will be no extra in the paycheck if the average is at or above minimum wage).

                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                          Again, the servers are subject to the same minimum wage requirements as the clerk at McDonald's. All the tip credit concept means, in those states that have it, is that tips can be counted towards fulfilling the restaurants minimum wage obligations.

                                                                          1. re: nocharge

                                                                            I believe that is against the law in the state of California.

                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                              California is one of the states that doesn't have a tip credit, correct.

                                                                            2. re: nocharge

                                                                              but all those other service people are making minimum wage at the MINIMUM.

                                                                              Waitstaff are starting from $5/hour in the hole.

                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                "Waitstaff are starting from $5/hour in the hole."

                                                                                Unless the restaurant is violating state or federal minimum-wage laws, a server has as much right to the minimum wage as a clerk at McDonald's. And the restaurant is legally on the hook to ensure that. Tip credits just mean that the restaurant can argue that some of the server's tips are part of meeting that requirement.

                                                                  2. re: nocharge

                                                                    <most diners will make that a reason to decrease their tips>

                                                                    I absolutely agree. It'll be interesting to watch and see how this plays out in the long run.
                                                                    Will the wait person be more inclined to agree with the service charge or long for the day when tips were left up the client to tip as they please?
                                                                    Like me, I don't think people will be adding on another 20% to the already 18-20% service charge added to the bill.
                                                                    That's alot of tipping.

                                                                    1. re: latindancer

                                                                      they won't be adding another 20% -- that would be stupid.

                                                                      While we'll have to wait to see how this plays out in the US, we don't have to wait at all to see how having a service charge with an optional "little something extra" works -- most of the rest of the world seems to be functioning perfectly well under this concept.

                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                        <most of the rest of the world seems to be function perfectly well under this concept>

                                                                        Service charges, and how they're implemented, vary from country to country.
                                                                        Of course there are those countries where service charges are included and an additional tip is highly offensive.
                                                                        Then there's the custom of leaving a small amount of change which would be, most likely, what would happen in the US when an overall service charge is developed.
                                                                        BTW…I wasn't really considered 'stupid' when I left an additional 20% tip to an already added 20% automatic tip for a large party. It was above and beyond expected service and I was very happy to do what I did.
                                                                        There just are those times.

                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                          if the service was truly 20% above what was expected, then hey, it's your money.

                                                                          But to regularly just tip 20% above a 20% automatic tip for mediocre service? If the shoe fits.

                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                            It was a truly special occasion and seemed just right at the time with more than 5 waitstaff at any given time and stellar service. When the bill came and the 'tip' was already included for a large party, my foreign friends who were present thought I was crazy for doing so…they all would have not left anything additional because of their habits back home.

                                                                            However, once this concept is fully implemented, where there's a service charge automatically added on to the bill, then I'm hoping waitstaff will be happy with it and the amount is adequate for them to live on.
                                                                            The mindset of the diner, no doubt, will be that the 'tip' is built in and a new habit will begin where very little extra will be added on in extra tip, if any.

                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                              that's how it works. Very little, if any, is added on -- 10% is considered extravagant.

                                                                              Usually it's a few coins.

                                                      3. re: sunshine842

                                                        Sensitive much? Relax. I was just questioning the math. I AM a server, although in a state that pays an $8+ minimum wage, and I understand how tough it can be. You're preaching to the choir.

                                                        1. re: Midlife

                                                          My intent was not to be nasty -- just a nudge to remind all of us that we could be worse off than we are now.

                                                          I've always thought that waitstaff get screwed, and especially since living in Europe, strongly support the idea that waitstaff ought to get a living wage and tipping becoming the idea of being extra for a job particularly well done, not as how some poor soul scrapes together enough cash to pay the rent.

                                                2. Ditto Midlife, good info on takeout especially. I always struggle with that.

                                                  1. so apparently I overtip cab drivers and takeout orders and undertip baristas

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: DukeFan

                                                      I overtip cab drivers and restaurant delivery and undertip baristas as well (but I very rarely get a coffee out, so I don't feel that bad)

                                                      1. re: DGresh

                                                        and I usually get just a plain old cup of drip skill or talent required to pour a cup of plain drip coffee.

                                                        I suppose if I were an afficianado of the grande doppio chocolate crema espresso with a leaf drizzled in the top of my coffee-pooped-out-by-a-jungle-cat, I might tip.

                                                        But I'm not.

                                                    2. No wonder the person who delivers my food almost trips over themselves when I tip them…there's almost a 'bow' from them and I always wonder why they're so appreciative…or the bell person stands around after I've tipped him hoping there's something else I need.
                                                      I'm way overtipping everyone according to this.
                                                      Not quite sure how to tip a barista other than what I already do…hand him/her a bill? They, typically, pool their tips in a jar by the register and I leave change. I've seen $20 bills in there and wonder what that's all about other than, maybe, a regular who feels generous that day.

                                                      21 Replies
                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                        having seen it done - - quite possibly the staff themselves who cash out the tip jar for change, or to send a guilt trip.

                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                          Do you mean the staff empties the tip jar to make it look like they're not getting any tips so somebody comes along and feels sorry for them and then tips huge?
                                                          Do you see people hand the barista a personal tip?
                                                          Now I'm curious.

                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                            When I was a teenager working in an ice cream shop/deli, we regularly emptied the jar of nothing other than a few ones and some coins. We figured a guilt trip might work :)

                                                            1. re: Hobbert

                                                              I just always figured nobody else tipped either. No guilt trip for me. I can't stand those tip jars:-)

                                                              1. re: miss_belle

                                                                Haha that's how I feel about it now. We got paid a little over minimum wage and it was a fun job and while we tried to get tips, no one was relying on them to live so it was pretty lighthearted.

                                                              2. re: Hobbert

                                                                <We figured a guilt trip might work:)>

                                                                It's worked on me all these years, for sure.
                                                                Amazing, now that I look back on it, the amount of times I've frequented very, very busy and high end coffee places in my area…
                                                                The tip jars are empty in the middle of the day. I KNOW people tip and I'm one of them.
                                                                Awww…have to rethink this.

                                                                1. re: latindancer

                                                                  Wouldn't each shift cash out the jar before leaving?

                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                    I have no idea how their system works, most likely it's different for every location and how they collectively choose to do it.
                                                                    I'm just not inclined anymore to drop a 5 in the jar without thinking about what's been said here.

                                                              3. re: latindancer

                                                                It's more likely the staff exchanges change and $1s for larger bills to encourage bigger tips. "See! Someone left a $10!"

                                                                I've always been somewhat skeptical when I see a $10 or $20 in the tip jar at a Starbucks.

                                                                1. re: latindancer

                                                                  Yes, they empty the tip jar so it's empty -- if it's full, there's pretty logically less motivation to tip them.

                                                                  I also have seen them pull 20 singles out of the tip jar and replace it with a 20 out of the register to save time getting the manager, opening the safe, etc., etc.,etc.

                                                                  And does anybody really doubt that people (employees or customers) help themselves to the tip jar from time to time? It's wrong on multiple levels, but I'm not naive enough to believe it doesn't happen.

                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                      I'm still not really convinced the tip I give should go to anyone other than the barista.
                                                                      Long time ago when baristas became fashionable in the US (specifically WA state) tip jars were never heard of, never seen.
                                                                      I'm not sure when this became fashionable, with coffee houses or anywhere else, but I don't always want to do it and so I don't and don't feel the least bit guilty.

                                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                                        I'm guessing that places with tip jars split the tips amongst the employees.

                                                                        1. re: sunshine842


                                                                          It's a natural assumption. Which means if I give the barista the tip he/she will simply pool it(because they're forced to) and there I am back to square one.

                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                            That's what we did for what it's worth. I can only assume other places do the same.

                                                                    2. re: sunshine842

                                                                      I thought the staff emptied the tip jars to ward off theft.

                                                                        1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                          I almost never see tip jars empty. It just seems that would be too important to give the impression that people DO put money in the jar, and the more the better.

                                                                          1. re: Midlife

                                                                            oh yes -- you have to put something in the tip jar, or people think you JUST emptied it, which means your pockets MUST be full.....

                                                                            weird psychology, tip jars.

                                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                                        I notice the delivery people and my cab drivers are always very grateful that a) I tip well and b) I try to have exact change or if I need change it's minimal and doesn't clean them out.

                                                                        1. re: Sooeygun


                                                                          If the food/laundry/flowers etc., are delivered in a timely fashion and it all comes with little to no problems then they're tipped well. The same goes for cabs. If not?
                                                                          Then they've created their own problem with the tip as far as I"m concerned. I'm very generous to a point.

                                                                      2. I just use the iHandy Tip Calculator app. Or I tip well if the service is good, which it usually is. My philosophy is if I can afford to go out and spend, say, $60 on two of us to eat, I sure can afford to tip the waiter/waitress a nice tip, say, $15 or $20, and make their day to boot.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Muddirtt

                                                                          Totally agree..

                                                                          The question is:

                                                                          If there is an automatic service charge tacked onto the total bill what would you leave the server?

                                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                                            Probably about the same. Eating out is splurging, so might as well go all out, lol. It's nice going home knowing that you just may have finished paying some college student's rent, or now THEY can go out to eat somewhere.