General Question

robmandu's avatar

How much do you tip at some restaurants?

Asked by robmandu (21331points) August 10th, 2008

I used to be a waiter back in the day, so I’m pretty sensitive to this. But I just enjoyed a delicious meal at one of those joints where you go up and get your own food and bring it back to the table… meaning I had to already do half the work. The server still brought drinks and some side items.

So, what do you tip in that situation?

I know some states auto-calc that a server will collect 15% tips based on his/her receipts for the night. So you wanna be careful about not taking money away from someone unless they were simply horrendous (by tipping less than 15%).

And sure, a lot of folks just tip 20% regardless. But I happen to like rewarding people with my hard-earned cash by putting some thought and criteria to the tipping situation.

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16 Answers

El_Cadejo's avatar

Atleast 20% if they were bad ill do 15% but nothing less unless they were horrendous. But if they were genuinly a good server ill give more anywhere between 30–50%.

I know this may seem really high, but like you rob i was also i server and i know how much it sucks and how often you get stiffed by people. Most people dont know that servers only make 2.13 and hour and depend on the tips to make any money at all.

sndfreQ's avatar

I usually tip 10–15 percent if they’re simply bussing the trays and refilling drinks. We frequent a “cafeteria-style” salad bar restaurant where the typical service is just bussing the tables, but a lot goes in to prepping and keeping the salad bar stocked. I consider that side of the meal preparation and part of the meal cost. Personal service above and beyond the prep of the food is what I weigh.

robmandu's avatar

@uber, good point re: the $2.xx/hour bit. That is indeed common and generally sucks… especially when you often times must report to work either an hour before opening or stay an hour after close to prep/clean/open/close (i.e. getting paid less than half minimum wage to do crappy cleaning work).

jaredg's avatar

I usually tip somewhere between a dollar a person and 15% if it’s apparent that tipping is appropriate, i.e. you settle the bill with the server or there’s an indicator that tipping is nice (a salad bar place I used to eat at had a reminder on the tables). Some of those quick service places pay the food runners at the normal minimum wage rather than the food server wage. It is not always obvious what’s appropriate, though.

jasonhannah20's avatar

10 percent of the total amount

Snoopy's avatar

I tip 20%....and then move up or down from there.
If they are “on it” (drinks, available but not hovering) I go up to 25%.
If they are mediocore….down to 15%.
If they are horrible…..(and they really have to try for this….) nothing -10%
I was a waitress at one time….so I know how hard the good servers are really working.

nikipedia's avatar

I’m not a big fan of the percent system. I’ve had dinners that were $200/person and dinners that were $7.00/person. The bleeding heart in me feels like the staff in the latter restaurant could use the cash more than those in the former. So I try to tip 20% minimum, and more if dinner was cheap or the waitstaff was awesome.

crunchaweezy's avatar


I always carry pennies in the car, so if they were terrible I’d tip them in pennies.

MacBean's avatar

There’s 8% tax here, so I double the tax and then round up to the next half-dollar to figure out the tip. I’ll give more or less if the person was especially good or especially poor.

marissa's avatar

My tip guidelines:
10% if the service was really poor
15–20% if the service was average decent service
20–25% if the service was excellent
Also, like nikipedia, if I am dining where the food is cheap, but the service is great, I have tipped as much as 50% ($10 bill, great service, $5 tip) especially if it is a ‘mom and pop’ type restaurant.
I also like to leave an extra $5 or so, if the servicer seems to be having a bad day and they just need a little boost, if the server is obviously pregnant or elderly.

wildflower's avatar

Depends on country/culture:
In Scandinavian countries I only tip if the service was exceptional or I’m paying for a big party.
In UK/Ireland it varies on the service I get, either I just round upwards on the price or add 10–15%.
In the US (the one time I was there) I asked what was customary and was told 20% for good service and I applied this, although it made one waiter come back after checking the tip to say “You can’t be European! They don’t tip this much!”. I thought it was quite amusing and made me feel a little extravagant :)

MacBean's avatar

“You can’t be European! They don’t tip this much!”

ahahahahahaha! We are so classy, aren’t we?

flameboi's avatar

Here, everybody charges you 10% of the total bill, I leave an extra 10%, if the service is horrible, I complain. I was a waiter too (back in the day)

WakeUp's avatar

I pull my waiter to the side before I leave and say “Take a shower”, “Don’t play with matches”, or “I before e, except after c, and when sounding like a, as in neighbor or weigh”

marinelife's avatar

Usually 10% in that situation. At an Indian buffet recently, though, our server went and got us some fresh samosas when there were none on the buffet. We tipped him 20% for that and all-around above and beyond service.

Knotmyday's avatar

I over-tip regardless. Wait staff work hard, even if they screw up. I’ve screwed up once or twice.

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