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Old 02-19-2012, 11:24 AM   #1
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Tip etiquitte for extreme tabs

If my server or bartender takes care of me i always take care of them, unless it is just crap service i usually tip 15-20%, can be even more depending on how many free beers i get..

Now that is based on a normal tab for 2 people, so $25-50. But what about the overpriced spots? For example i took the misses to Ruth Chris Steakhouse for v'day, the total came out to ~$115. I actually tipped our server $30 on top of that. A buddy of mine took his wife to one of those murder/mystery dinner things the other night and tipped $10 on a $120 tab. Which would be right? $10 seems low to me regardless, but at the same time my tip seems a bit outrageous in hindsight.
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Old 02-19-2012, 11:32 AM   #2
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I'd fall right between y'all guys, $20.00 sounds about right for a $100.00ish bill. And really, a $100.00 tab ain't extreme by todays standards.
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Old 02-19-2012, 11:32 AM   #3
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Tip based on service. If it's a $120 night, chances are you used their table for a good chunk of the night. And you were taken care of. It's not a case of I bring your drinks and food and you might see me one more time during the night if you're lucky.

15% is base tip if everything was satisfactory. Go from there if it was better or worse. Regardless of amount of the bill. Don't forget servers have to tip out the kitchen and bussing staff too.
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Old 02-19-2012, 11:50 AM   #5
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I'm not sure exactly what the theater dinner incurred, i do know that it was a 4 or 5 course meal with wine -no idea if they were preset courses.

In my case we were in and out in under 1 hour. It was over priced, but damn good too. This was one of maybe 3 steak houses i have ever been to where i was not begging for A1. We had one primary server and two runners, it was one of those upscale places where the only option is valet parking and they call you by name.

Now a $120 bar night is a whole different game.. I've lived through two of those, and the receipts i saw the next day showed i took care of them very well.
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Old 02-19-2012, 10:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowmod01 View Post
Now that is based on a normal tab for 2 people, so $25-50. But what about the overpriced spots?
You picked the restaurant. If you didn't want to tip based on their prices you should have gone somewhere you think is more reasonable. 15% as a bare minimum for basic wait service, 20-25% for a good waiter, more if they're outstanding. And even though tax isn't customarily included in the tip calculation, I usually do. No harm in tossing a decent waiter a little extra; it's not a job I envy.

There's nothing uglier than someone who can easily afford a good tip stiffing their wait staff.
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Old 02-19-2012, 10:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowmod01 View Post
If my server or bartender takes care of me i always take care of them, unless it is just crap service i usually tip 15-20%, can be even more depending on how many free beers i get..

Now that is based on a normal tab for 2 people, so $25-50. But what about the overpriced spots? For example i took the misses to Ruth Chris Steakhouse for v'day, the total came out to ~$115. I actually tipped our server $30 on top of that. A buddy of mine took his wife to one of those murder/mystery dinner things the other night and tipped $10 on a $120 tab. Which would be right? $10 seems low to me regardless, but at the same time my tip seems a bit outrageous in hindsight.
20% tip if you cant afford that then you maybe you go some where less spendy. When you said extramural bill i was thinking 500 for a family five star dinner
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Old 02-19-2012, 11:02 PM   #8
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To me, the tip (15 to 20%) is part of the cost of eating out, if you can't afford the place and the normal tip then you shoudn't go....
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Old 02-19-2012, 11:07 PM   #9
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Forget the percentage nonsense. The service of the wait staff is not magically linked to the cost of the food or overhead of the restaurant. Instead, my tip is based solely on what the server does. And that's governed somewhat by average wages, with fifteen to twenty dollars per hour a fairly good wage. Most servers usually spend far less than fifteen minutes at my table in a busy restaurant, so I usually tip about $5 (per person at the table) unless the service was truly extraordinary.
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Old 02-20-2012, 02:05 AM   #10
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I think you gave a good tip and I think your friend was a little stingy. My .02 FWIW.

Back in the early 90's I was on a crew and the eight of us would get together with wives & girlfriends for dinner a couple times a year. The bill for food and drinks was usually $500-$700, and we were a handfull to take care of. We always put down a good tip of $100-$150 dollars. I certainly don't want a wait staff job.
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Old 02-20-2012, 02:40 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stewartx View Post
Forget the percentage nonsense. The service of the wait staff is not magically linked to the cost of the food or overhead of the restaurant. Instead, my tip is based solely on what the server does. And that's governed somewhat by average wages, with fifteen to twenty dollars per hour a fairly good wage. Most servers usually spend far less than fifteen minutes at my table in a busy restaurant, so I usually tip about $5 (per person at the table) unless the service was truly extraordinary.
That works out for an average meal at an average restaurant.

Better restaurants usually offer better service, and so what is average at TGI Friday's isn't even passable at a higher quality establishment. The scale for level of service has moved, as has the price of the meal, and using a percentage calculation reflects that. Besides that, in any other job when you move to a better company that produces higher-quality widgets, you get paid more for your work. So your wage is tied to your company's operating costs, at least loosely. So a more pricey restaurant means you should tip more. If they wanted to make burger-flipping wages they'd be flipping burgers; they took a job at a better establishment to make more money.

Your waiter's tip may also be required to be shared with bussers and hosts. At many more casual, less pricey restaurants these personnel don't even exist. So the percentage calculation based on higher food price at a better establishment with bussers and hosts, who make it possible for your waiter to be more attentive to you, still makes more sense than a flat tip.

Also if your waiter offers good to average service and you spent 2 hours at peak time taking up table space and his time when he easily could have had 2-3 groups at that table in the time you were there, and you order drinks, appetizers, main dishes, desserts, alcohol, he gets you multiple drink refills per person, and you order a cup of coffee and you only tipped the kid $5/person, you're a jerk . Just because they aren't standing at your table doesn't mean they aren't working on your order in some capacity. And don't expect a great reception next time you walk in the door.
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Old 02-20-2012, 03:03 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stewartx View Post
Forget the percentage nonsense. The service of the wait staff is not magically linked to the cost of the food or overhead of the restaurant. Instead, my tip is based solely on what the server does. And that's governed somewhat by average wages, with fifteen to twenty dollars per hour a fairly good wage. Most servers usually spend far less than fifteen minutes at my table in a busy restaurant, so I usually tip about $5 (per person at the table) unless the service was truly extraordinary.
So that I understand what you are saying, how would you tip the two examples below?

EXAMPLE 1: Only you go eat at Olive Garden for lunch and have "all you can eat" soup, salad and breadsticks and a water to drink for $7.00 (total) and the wait staff visits your table often during your 1 hour visit to ensure you are getting "all you can eat".

EXAMPLE 2: Only you go eat at Ruths Chris Steakhouse and have a filet, baked potato, wedge salad, dessert, water and a bottle of wine for $125.00 (total) and the wait staff visits your table often during your 1 hour visit.

Assuming the wait staff (that you saw) visited your table would both be there about the same amount of time (15 minutes?), would both wait staffs get paid for 1/4 of 1 hour at a rate of $15 to $20 per hour per person seated? In other words would they both get a tip ranging from $3.75 to $5?
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Old 02-20-2012, 03:38 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowmod01 View Post
If my server or bartender takes care of me i always take care of them, unless it is just crap service i usually tip 15-20%, can be even more depending on how many free beers i get..

Now that is based on a normal tab for 2 people, so $25-50. But what about the overpriced spots? For example i took the misses to Ruth Chris Steakhouse for v'day, the total came out to ~$115. I actually tipped our server $30 on top of that. A buddy of mine took his wife to one of those murder/mystery dinner things the other night and tipped $10 on a $120 tab. Which would be right? $10 seems low to me regardless, but at the same time my tip seems a bit outrageous in hindsight.
OP, your friend was def a little cheap, and you were quite generous. Of course, being valentines, perhaps you were trying to impress the wife for ......... my wife used to host @ an upscale restaurant right after college and taught me the importance of tipping: 15-20percent is perfectly acceptable, and generally expected at nicer places, unless of course the service was atrocious. Another thing to consider though is cash vs. plastic. Wait staff always prefer cash.
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Old 02-20-2012, 04:10 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stewartx View Post
Forget the percentage nonsense. The service of the wait staff is not magically linked to the cost of the food or overhead of the restaurant. Instead, my tip is based solely on what the server does. And that's governed somewhat by average wages, with fifteen to twenty dollars per hour a fairly good wage. Most servers usually spend far less than fifteen minutes at my table in a busy restaurant, so I usually tip about $5 (per person at the table) unless the service was truly extraordinary.
I agree with this also. Not to take away from the server at the upscale place, but to make sure that the server at the cheap place is taken care of also. So, my tip is a combination of:
1. Total bill amount
2. Service received
3. Time spent at the table / number of courses ordered.
4. Fair wage based on hourly rate.

At an expensive place it might be 15 - 20%, but if i eat alone and get a $5 burger but spend an hour there with a lot of free soda fillups, i will leave at least a $5 tip, which is 100% but still fair.

OP, I believe your tip was generous and your buddy was cheap (assuming that he was at a regular type restaurant - there are buffet style places where you do not really have a waiter, so i just leave something for the busboys)
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Old 02-20-2012, 05:26 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bethes View Post
(snip) Better restaurants usually offer better service, and so what is average at TGI Friday's isn't even passable at a higher quality establishment. The scale for level of service has moved, as has the price of the meal, and using a percentage calculation reflects that. Besides that, in any other job when you move to a better company that produces higher-quality widgets, you get paid more for your work. So your wage is tied to your company's operating costs, at least loosely. So a more pricey restaurant means you should tip more. If they wanted to make burger-flipping wages they'd be flipping burgers; they took a job at a better establishment to make more money. (snip)

Your waiter's tip may also be required to be shared with bussers and hosts. (snip)
Okay, lets be realistic here. It's not really my job to pay the restaurant's employees, at a "higher quality establishment" or anywhere else. That's why this country has minimum wage and similar employment-related laws. With that in mind, how "high quality" can that establishment truly be if it's weaseling around those laws (claiming wait staff is independant contractors or whatever) in an effort to avoid paying it's own employees.

At the same time, I don't really care who that wait staff may or may not be required by the employer to share tips with. If a restaurant decides to not pay it's employees, and/or uses the employee's money to pay other staff it's also not paying, that's between the employees and the employer, not between the employees and me. Those employees need to demand a bit more (fair wages, etc) from their employers, not from me.

Finally, I don't at all appreciate demands for money to receive reasonable, courteous, service, nor threats of potentially less if I don't ante up enough. I don't put up with that crap anywhere else (any other business), nor will I do so from any restaurant and/or it's employees.

If any of that makes me a "jerk," as you say, so be it. My tip (an archaic practice I'd like to see disappear) is based on a reasonable estimate of the time spent in relation to a reasonable wage. As far as I''m concerned, that's fair enough - and certainly far more than many employers in this industry are doing.

-
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:24 AM   #16
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I'm getting some good responses from both sides here and some interesting ones too..

"You can't afford it, dont eat there", and "you picked the restaraunt" -

Correct, i did pick the restaraunt, and i absolutely can afford it. We do this around 4 - 5 times per year. I have never thought twice about tipping 20% until my buddy made the comment about tipping only $10, and again that seems extreme.

Another trend i am seeing here is some scoffing at $120 bill being high. keep in mind that i live in the south eastern region. If i lived in Cali or NY this would be a different story. Here $25-30 gets two a meal at applebees, TGI friday's, Chili's, etc. $40-55 will get you through a Japanese steak house, Outback steakhouse, Longhorn steakhouse, etc. - no tips in these prices and typically no alcohol.

So if $60 a head is normal in your area then consider what your thoughts would be if it were $120 a head. Another thing i want to throw out there is alcohol. A comment was brought up about a bottle of wine, so what if you tacked a $900 bottle of wine onto your bill or a $250 shot of bourbon? Given good service are you still going to tip out 18-25% on the total bill? After all they only brought you a shot, or topped of your wine glass a few times.
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Old 02-20-2012, 07:01 AM   #17
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For me Tip isn't included in the price it is just that a Tip for above par service. They got hired on at said job and what they agreeded to hourly is all that is to be expected unless they perform above what their job calls for.
For me if you do just your job you get just your pay. If I don't have to call you everytime a drink is low you'll get no less than 15%.
I worked as a buss boy, waiter, and bartender when I was younger, so I've walked a mile in these shoes.
No one deserves a tip just for doing their job, thats what their wages are for.
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Old 02-20-2012, 07:34 AM   #18
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For me Tip isn't included in the price it is just that a Tip for above par service. They got hired on at said job and what they agreeded to hourly is all that is to be expected unless they perform above what their job calls for.
For me if you do just your job you get just your pay. If I don't have to call you everytime a drink is low you'll get no less than 15%.
I worked as a buss boy, waiter, and bartender when I was younger, so I've walked a mile in these shoes.
No one deserves a tip just for doing their job, thats what their wages are for.
I agree for the most part, i think one of the reasons i tend to tip 20% is to compensate for others. I have had close ties to bartenders and servers in the past, as well as owners, and all too many times i have seen people not tip at all or literally leave $1 for good service. Many people do not realise that servers do not make the standard minimum wage. Of course it's not uncommon around here to have people eat almost all of their main course and then try to bitch about it being under cooked or cold to try to get knocked off the bill.

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Another thing to consider though is cash vs. plastic. Wait staff always prefer cash.
Yes they do! but given how greedy many people are i bet much of that cash never makes it back to the rest of the support staff.
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:04 AM   #19
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Ahh but in the fact that they make less than minimum wage is the issue. That is their issue not the patrons. They hired on at said wage, which means they agree to earn that unless they perform well enough to receive a tip. When you hire on and agree to do a job price is discussed, if you agree then that's it. For instance in most peoples jobs you do it as well as you can and your daily cost doesn't go up based on that, so you and a poor worker will get the same pay no matter how well you work. As a waiter I was able to out perform my coworkers and what I cashed out at night reflected that. In some ways I wish more jobs had this form of pay. Your pay is directly reflected by your output.
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:02 AM   #20
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thats one thing i do miss about being stationed in geramny. the waiters/servers made a decent wage and didnt expect a tip. infact that looked at you like u were crazy if u tried to tip.

and i agree with the percentage bullshit. i shouldnt have to pay for adequate to good service. it should be expected. its your job. if you cant do ur job decent or better, find a different job that u can
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How many plastic tabs have you broke? BarefootBandit 2nd Gen. Tacomas 1 05-08-2011 04:42 PM
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