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Readers Respond: How Much Do You Tip?

Responses: 78


How much do you tip at restaurants? It's one of the most sensitive issues in culinary travel -- if you leave too little, too much, or in some countries, anything at all, you can cause offense or create a scene. Get to know tipping customs around the world, and then it's your turn: How do you handle the gratuity when you're traveling? And why?

Here's a tip..."TIP!"

If you can afford to go out to eat, you can afford to leave a tip for the person waiting on you. Do you think you're entitled to free service? These people have to make a living. Put yourself in their shoes, what would YOU expect? You're NOT just paying for food. YOu didn't have to buy it, cook it, plate it serve it, or clean up after it. If I get GREAT service, I tip 25%, good service gets 20%, mediocre service = 15%, poor service = 10%, horrible service = 2 pennies.
—Guest BaBaRacine

Tipping gives you more control

If you didn't have to tip (because servers were paid a standard wage), then what incentive would they have to serve you well? If they got the same wage no matter how effectively they did their job, do you think you would get the kind/courteous/drink refilling server you get now who are doing it for a tip they may/may not get? no. No chance of a carrot instead of a stick equates to a higher chance of poor service. Also food prices would skyrocket. Running a restaurant is expensive, and you would be paying their 'tips', except now in the form of food prices, and you don't get to choose how much to leave. Personally, I would like to have the option to tip well instead of having it decided for me. Servers take a chance when they choose to serve. They know if they aren't good, then they get poor pay...but...if they are amazing - the rewards are beyond any minimum wage job offering out there. Tip according to service - 20% for good, but (and I'm a waiter) very low for bad
—Guest Customer Server

Going in ignorant isn't an excuse

first off: I wait tables, make sauces, bus tables, prepare some of the food for the customer, prepare a lot of the food prior to service, wipe tables, set tables, mop, clean bathrooms, sweep, close out at the end of the night, take to go orders, and remake salads/soups/sauces/teas/etc. during the actual waitressing time I get paid about $3 an hour, but having worked 147 hours last month my pay check for hours totaled $117. That was for a month. My W2 takes quite a bit out, but my employer adds on whatever he thinks our 'cash tips' were to our CC (credit card) totals so that he doesn't have to pay towards those and can tax out. Most managers and owners do this. Out of my tips, I get 33% taken out. We do not have a busser, but that 33% goes to the chefs who already get paid full wages (i've seen their paychecks). Is this legal? no. Is the Better Business Bureau going to do anything? no. Please tip 20% for good service. BUT if the waiter is just being a **** - no tip needed
—Guest Informer

It's not my job

I go to work everyday and put in a full days work. I don't get tipped and I am expected to do my job the best I can. If I don't feel I get paid enough I get another job that does pay enough. I too have customers I have to serve but do they tip or pay me? No, that is what the company I work for is supposed to do. When I go to a restaraunt am I just paying for the food and that's it? No of course not, I am paying to sit down at a table and have someone serve me. So if that's included in the price of the meal who is being cheap, me or the business? Or if it not included in the price of the meal then maybe the food should be alot cheaper. It has gotten to a stage where not only is paying for a restaraunts employees expected but it is demanded and maybe it's time to demand that the company pays it's employees properly instead of expecting us to.
—Guest Michael


Sometimes giving tips make people bias, and seems like bribing, not everybody can afford to give tips and the bad thing is those people can afford it or giving much ofcourse treated well and this is good, servers or anybody work to serve are already being paid if am the boss I prefer to have and employees who work for me not after the tips who will work and serve pople fairly ..
—Guest Giving tips is not mandatory at all

yes! tip 18%-20% at buffets.

I work at cheesecake factory and at a Disney buffet. And let me tell you, there is a lot more work to be done at a buffet than a la carte. In a regular restaurant I bring you 1 entree plate and take 1 away and bring probably 1 refil and tip out the bussers who do the rest. At a buffet people eat 4-5 plates a piece plus desert and drink 3-5 glasses of soda plus coffee. Then I clean up their mess after they leave, reset the table and sweep up all the food their kids leave behind on the floor. And I talk to them too, give them show times, directions. Just because you might be picking out your own food, doesn't mean I'm not doing any less work. I carry way more, work way faster, and walk way farther.
—Guest disney server

Agree to Sasha

Never tip waiters/waitresses or bartenders!!! Never tip waiters/waitresses or bartenders!!! Never tip waiters/waitresses or bartenders!!!
—Guest Never tip waiters/waitresses or bartende


The average Tip is between 15 to 20 Percent in every state. If it is exception then higher then 20. But rarely should you tip more then 20. Laws have changed in some states and many places DO pay higher wages then they have before. Dont let some waitress convince you if it is 20 percent or less its an insult...I have worked in the industry for many years and as a waiter and if a waitress ever ever mentioned that the average was higher then 20 I would say to that the only tip you need is to get a different job. Dont be greedy you hurt the industry when you make people think they need to spend 30 percent on a tip.
—Guest shocked

Not 100%

Am I the only one who quit reading after the first paragraph where Allison states that in the U.S. taxes make up almost 100% of a server's take-home pay. That is complete BS. Maybe they make minimum wage, but to say that tips make up all their pay, that is saying they work for free. I think not. That said, i tip unless my service was terrible, in wich case I give a minimal tip and write a note for management on my cc receipt. EDITOR'S NOTE: I'm pretty sure you're saying that tips, not taxes, make up nearly 100% of a servers take home pay. Employees that earn tips are very often paid less than the minimum wage, and so after taxes, tips make up nearly 100% of a server's take home income. Please see Cornell University's research on this issue if you don't believe me! http://www.hotelschool.cornell.edu/chr/pdf/showpdf/chr/research/tools/lynntippingtoolfinal.pdf And thanks for your feedback. -Alison
—Guest srayle

disgusted by some of these responses

What ignorant jackasses there are on here! If you can't pay your bills if you had to leave a tip, then you shouldn't go out to eat. Servers do a lot of work (prep, dealing with your ignorant asses, etc) and should be tipped accordingly. Some people only tip for "above and beyond" service? BS! That's just a way to ease their conscience after they've weaseled a hardworking server out of a tip! Seriously, fuck off if you aren't going to tip. 20% is what should be tipped unless your service was poor. I always give good service (unless it's a repeat bad-tipper, then, why bother?). And you can tell people who are going to leave bad tips. They come in with bad attitudes and faces like their is shit under their noses. They are the most demanding customers, funny, since they are also the most unappreciative.
—Guest Server


Being a waitress, myself; I often sympathize with servers when dining in other restaurants. I know the feeling of running around with your head cut off for a table who tips $5 on an $80 bill or not being tipped at all. With that said; I tip 25%-30% when dining out. Also, the minimum wage for a server is $2.83, so we rely on the customers to give us an adequate tip when they're given great service. Like previously stated; everyone should be a server at least once in their lives; especially the rude customers who think they are above their server. Little do those people know, their server is probably the next neurosurgeon or CIA Agent.
—Guest Sia

Optional but Shame if You Don't!

Personally, I always tip $3, at least -- that's mandatory service keeping my drink full gets that etc. There are a few places I tip very high ($10 $20) for just my personal meal. The reason I tip at least $3 (unless the waiter or waitress treats me like crap) is you never know there situation they might have a kid or something. The tips do pay their bills. So sure, you don't have to tip, but in the same restaurant I'll get better service than you every time. I've seen it happen. My table is treated better than most are cause I'm a regular tipper and if you're not I'm not sorry for ya, and nope the management will not care cause it's the wait staff that keeps me coming back week after week. I've seen some managers ask people to not come back cause they ran up big tabs, were loud, hogged a table all night and didn't tip. Like I said, it's up to you, but karma has its ways.
—Guest big tipper

Paid by patrons, not by restaurants.

Jessica - The things you mention - "you can go to the kitchen, put in your own order, carry your own hot plates to the table, refill your own drinks, make your own coffee, clear plates between each course & clean up after yourself. You can also set up, assist in food prep, roll napkins, clean the bathroom, break down & clean equipment, polish glasses & silverware" are all done in Australia, and we don't have to tip. We only tip if we get good service.

I Pay for Service not Attitude

People are full of it if they think it's mandatory to leave someone a tip "just because". Yeah I wouldn't mind tipping for good service, it would be ignorant of me if I didn't, someone who's not giving me good service doesn't deserve crap. If you can't make enough because your job performance is lacking, that has nothing to do with me. If I half-ass my job I would like to get a nice big tip too so I could afford to live and pay bills.
—Guest jessdoit

They don't even

The waiters /waitress don't put the full amount of tips they get for the night y'all shouldn't worry about them it's the bussers bartenders who don't get paid right there the ones working the hardest servers have the easiest job in the restaurant and don't deserve any tips to be honest they don't share any of it
—Guest Blah
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