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How Do I Calculate a Restaurant Tip?

The Right Way to Calculate a Tip at the End of a Meal


Man paying check at dinner with friends
Diane Collins and Jordan Hollender/Iconica/Getty Images
How do you calculate a tip? The amount that you tip depends on your bill.
  • Calculate your tip based on the total before any tax is applied. (This is also a good time to check if there's a service charge, in which case you generally would not leave any additional money.)
  • Note:If you've ordered an expensive bottle (or bottles) of wine, you may choose to calculate tip on your food separately from your beverage bill. You should still tip on the beverage portion of your bill, but you can tip at a lower rate -- usually five to 10 percentage points less than what you're tipping on the food. (So if you tip 20% on the food, tip 10%-15% on the beverages.)
  • Take the total amount of your bill and calculate a percentage for the tip. Generally, the range tends to fall between 5% and 20% of the total, but see these guidelines for individual countries to learn the going rate.
  • Is the server also the restaurant's owner, wife or child? You don't need to take it into account. Here's an explanation.
By the way, tip calculation is one of the most useful reasons to brush up on how to calculate a percentage, but if you're not a math person, you can print and stash this card in your wallet.
Related Video
How to Tip When Traveling
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  5. Restaurant Meal Tips (How to Calculate)

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