Tip Like You Mean It

Modern day tipping can either be really simple or really confusing, Hell, if you’re like most people today you toss a $5 bill on the table saying everything was all good. However, what do you do if you hated the food but liked the service or vice versa? What if you bonded really well with the bartender, but you waiter was crappy? What if you simply have an enormous bill and don’t know what percentage is good enough? We’ve got you covered. This post will give you the basics of how and what to tip to ensure you don’t get a bad rap.

If you have friends in the restaurant industry or have ever held a convo with a waiter/waitress before I’m sure you’ve heard complaints about bad customers. Honestly, when I go into an establishment I always go in with the mindset of dropping a $5. It’s typically a good tip no matter where you go. However, there are lots of things to take into consideration. Rule of thumb is to leave a minimum of 15%. As customers, we tend to forget that the average paycheck for a server is around $2/hour and on top of that, they have to split tips with busser and bartenders. If you liked your meal, be generous.

My absolute favorite thing to do to let the server know that I enjoyed the service (besides leaving a generous tip) is to leave a little note on the receipt. Being kind and polite goes a long way and it’s even scored me a free round of drinks before! I know people that may even call over the manager to let them know how well the server did, but I don’t like the idea of stopping their management flow so I think my little notes do the trick.

No, you do not have to tip $5 for that $1 beer you just drank, but it is nice to let the bartenders know they’re appreciated. Definitely leave a little something like a dollar or two per drink.

If your bill was a bit higher than a five dollar bill will cover and you need a bit of help figuring out the perfect amount, there are a couple of tricks. You could easily round the bill to the nearest $10 and then figure out the tip or you could move the decimal one to the left to show you 10%. Once you figure that out feel free to decide how much more you want to add depending on your level of service.

And then there was gratuity.

Gratuity is when the tip is already factored into your bill to make serving large parties fair to the server. Gratuity can really sneak up on a bill if you don’t know what the cap is before gratuity gets added, but it saves time because you won’t have to factor it yourself. Typically it ranges between 15% and 18% and it will usually be stated on your bill or the menu. If you want, feel free to ask in advance or sneak and check the menu to see how they do gratuity.

At the end of the day, when in doubt, leave a little something. My father taught me that back then if the food was good and the service was bad leave a penny, but I’m not sure how much that still applies. Be generous to your servers and others waiting on your table. Remember that if anything with the food doesn’t come out right, give the server a break because they’re not the ones cooking the food (unless it keeps happening). Keep in mind that your tip says more about you than the person you’re leaving a tip for.

Happy dining!

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