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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

What is your formula for tipping?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26821points) September 26th, 2014

While out to lunch celebrating the mortality marker (bka birthday) of one of the Brethren, the subject got to tipping. Some people tip the server no matter what because they don’t earn that much. Some don’t want to tip at all because they feel that is what they get paid for. For others tipping is conditional. What formula do you use when tipping? If the food was lousy but the service was outstanding, will you tip? If the service was subpar but the food was off the hook, do you tip? Some other criteria you tip for or not, what is your formula?

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30 Answers

majorrich's avatar

I pretty much tip regardless at about 20%. If I am with a party of people, about $2 per person comes pretty close to the same. As an added treat for me, I will adjust the amount to make my total come to an even amount.

Pol_is_aware's avatar

I always tip, because I know too much about the service industry. If someone is providing shitty service, let them know verbally, not passive-aggressively.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I tip somewhere between 15–20%, depending on what the nearest dollar is, based on service but not on a sliding scale. If the service was passable, I leave the full tip; if the service was terrible, I don’t tip and probably never return to the restaurant. If there was no service, I don’t tip either – i.e., I don’t leave change in the little cups by the cash.

canidmajor's avatar

I spent a lot of years in food and booze service, so I tip well. If a server is actively a jerk and I know they have to tip bussers, runners and others, I will minimally tip, but mention my displeasure to them and maybe management.

I assess what the situation is if there are “cups by the cash”. If a minimum wage barista is pouring coffee, I figure that they are also the ones prepping and cleaning up, and there are always a bunch of customers complaining about the price, the line and the service.

So the next time you think it’s silly to tip someone for “just pouring coffee”, please think of everything that went into that pour.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@canidmajor I realize that you aren’t addressing me personally, but I didn’t describe it as “silly” to leave money in the cups by the cash. I just don’t do it. Personal choice and all that.

canidmajor's avatar

I was just borrowing your words (much more succinct and descriptive than what I could come up with) @dappled_leaves. But I do often hear people say that some of those servers don’t deserve a tip, because they were just pouring coffee.
You specifically said “If there is no service” so I figure you probably know the difference. :-)

jca's avatar

15 to 20%. Sometimes a bit more than 20 if I don’t feel like making change. Typically I keep it under 20. If the service was bad I would speak to the manager, but I don’t think that’s happened lately.

Why punish the service staff if the food is lousy? That makes zero sense.

hearkat's avatar

Take the total, double it, and move the decimal point over one digit to the left. For good service, round it up to the nearest whole 1–5 dollar amount; for poor service round it down to the next whole 1–2 dollar amount.

$87.52 x2 = $175.04
$175.04 /10 = $17.504
Good service will get $18–20, poor service will get $16–17 tip.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@canidmajor Cool.

@jca “Why punish the service staff if the food is lousy? That makes zero sense.”

So true!

elbanditoroso's avatar

My tipping advice – do it like the Leaning Tower of Pisa – tip enough to be noticed but not enough to fall over.

10–20% depending on quality of service and quality of food. Never tip on tax. Bad food and good waiter gets a lousy tip. Great food and lousy waiter also gets lousy tip. Both have to work.

As fro @dappled_leaves comment : why punish the service staff if the food is bad? —my answer: because the service staff represents the restaurant. They are the only conduit to the cook.

jca's avatar

Good point @elbanditoroso, about not tipping on the tax. I don’t tip on tax either.

As far as punishing the service staff if the food is bad, I still don’t get why the service staff should take that hit. If the food is bad, if it’s really awful, I’ll talk to the manager and hopefully they’ll offer a replacement (although, thankfully, that hasn’t happened lately). I’ll also do a review on TripAdvisor. To me, the “conduit to the cook” is the manager.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@jca – maybe you and I go to different places, but where I go, managers generally make themselves scarce, and even if you talk to one, pretty damned ineffectual.

The waiter/waitress has a vested financial interest in keeping the customer happy. I’m not sure the manager does.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@elbanditoroso When the manager is ineffectual, you expect the waiter to be influential? Weird.

hearkat's avatar

If the service is exceptionally bad, I won’t tip on the tax. But I figure these folks bust their asses for these dollars, so I don’t mind giving them a little extra by including the tax.

jca's avatar

Times I’ve spoken to the manager, we usually get our food replaced and/or given something extra to compensate. I always go right to the top (manager) when I’m not happy. (That also includes when I complain about a product or service – I avoid customer service and I will write to the CEO).

One time my sister had a hair in her salad. Not only did we get her salad replaced, but the manager gave us all free coffee and dessert. That’s just one example.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Great service: 25%
Good service: 20%
Bad service: 15%
Terrible service: 10%

And for those who don’t tip because “that’s what they get paid for,” keep in mind that people who work for tips often work for less than minimum wage because tipping is expected (and is supposed to make up the remainder of that wage). If you tip low, you’re basically saying “I don’t believe you deserve both food and shelter.” If you don’t tip at all, you’re saying “I don’t think you deserve either food or shelter.”

kritiper's avatar

At a minimum, $1.00 for each person at the table. But I normally shoot for at least 15%.

jerv's avatar

I tip 10% on the food as, regardless, the server has bills to pay, and the quality of the food really isn’t under their control.

The rest of the tip depends on service, and most of the time is around another 10% or so unless the service is exceptional one way or the other. For small orders, I usually throw in a little more just to compensate for the time/effort. And I’m not one to bother with change, so it’s generally in whole-dollar amounts.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@SavoirFaire “tipping is expected (and is supposed to make up the remainder of that wage)”

I’ve already posted my feelings about this elsewhere.

I find it ironic that the people who argue that people who dine out should be supplementing the low wages of wait staff are often the same people who advocate boycotting establishments like Walmart, which effectively do the same thing by paying their employees so little that they require food stamps to survive. If I believe that the employee is not being paid enough to live on, I think the correct response is to boycott the establishment, not to personally make up the shortfall (thereby supporting that system).

Anyway, as I have said, I do tip, but not to fill any wage gap. That motivation for tipping really does strike me as an American thing.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Shitty service: little or no tip. Yes, bad or terrible service does not deserve it.
Average service: 15%
Good service: 25–35%

livelaughlove21's avatar

I almost always tip 20%. I can’t remember an experience when I had “horrible” service, but I don’t think I’ve ever tipped less than 15%. And I always tip on tax – never thought anyone did it any other way.

If you can’t afford or aren’t willing to tip at least 18–20%, you have no business going out to eat. Stay your ass at home.

jca's avatar

A quick Google search on the tipping before tax vs. after tax brought up this interesting NY Times article, which brings up an interesting point. They discuss the places that tack on an automatic gratuity, and that some tax the total after the gratuity is added which seems not too Kosher, to pay a tax on a tip.

What I got from the search was that the logic for not tipping on the tax is that you pay the tip based on the food cost, not based on government tax for the meal.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

15 % to 20 %, if they have done a great job it will be in cash on the table, not on the credit card slip.

JLeslie's avatar

Don’t tip at all?! A waitperson in a restaurant? In America? You know people who leave without tipping? That is horrific.

I take the subtotal before tax, multiply by “2” move the decimal, and usually round down so the total after tipping has no change.

For instance if the bill is $33.70, in my head I think 33×2=66. $6.60, but I need the change to be 30¢, so I would leave $6.30. If their service wasn’t great $5.30. If their service was really good $7.30.

If the bill is really cheap I up the tip to what a more typical meal would be. Like if all I eat is a side salad or a soup for a few dollars, I would still at minimum give $2 tip.

canidmajor's avatar

I always tip a higher percentage in diners, as the amount of work that the server does is usually more with less return. I will tip at least $5, even if the bill is only $10.

And I usually tip on total, not total before tax. Unless the bill is stunningly high, the percentage one tips on the tax is so low as to not be an issue (IMO).

syz's avatar

20% usually, with a $3.00 minimum for cheap meals. If they aren’t very good, 15% or less.

stanleybmanly's avatar

20% and up. Deductions for bad service. Bad food has its own penalty. I won’t be back. I round the tip off upwards to the nearest dollar.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@dappled_leaves My response is limited to those places where the underlying conditions informing it apply. I was answering @Hypocrisy_Central, after all, who lives in such a place. Those who do not live in a place where tipping is expected to make up most of someone’s wage are obviously exempt from arguments based on that reasoning (which should really go without saying).

With regard to Walmart, their pay structure is not the main reason behind most boycotts (at least not the ones that have been advertised to me). As such, the two issues do not seem comparable at all. That said, I have been an advocate (both on Fluther and in the real world) for changing the way waitstaff are compensated in the United States. But until then, I don’t think Americans should stop tipping well.

osoraro's avatar

I always tip an extra dollar if the Guinness is poured correctly.

Haleth's avatar

20% for average service, 25% for very good service, above and beyond for excellent service.

To make up for all the d-bags who don’t tip properly. In most cases, it costs like an extra dollar or two. If you’re already eating out at a restaurant, a little amount like that shouldn’t really matter.

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