Restaurant Tipping Etiquette

Discussion in 'Out & About' started by James, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. James

    James Senior Member

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    So I'm sure many of you have read some of the articles this week highlighting a couple of local diners increasing their standard tip from 15% to 20%.

    Toronto Star:
    National Post:
    What does everyone else on UT feel would be appropriate and what are your own personal tipping etiquettes that you follow? I typically tip at 15% rounded up to the nearest dollar but I've definitely tipped much more than that as well, depending on the service. Similarly, I've tipped less due to unsatisfactory service too, which thankfully doesn't happen too often.
     
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  2. ShonTron

    ShonTron Moderator

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    I always tip on the subtotal, but tip on the high side, usually 18-20% of the pre-tax amount, or more depending. I don't think taxes should be in any tip calculation.

    $1 for a drink at a bar is always a good rule of thumb.

    As for take-out, I usually avoid tipping, unless some real work is involved in completing my order (a speciality drink, for example).
     
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  3. spider

    spider Senior Member

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    What should the amount on the bottom of the bill have to do with the amount of the tip? The customer is tipping for service not the quality of the meal or the ambience, you already paid for that.
    The waiter at Swiss Chalet makes as much effort on your behalf as her counterpart at the fanciest place in town but has to be happy with 15% of $30.00 rather than 15% of $200.00. $4.50 for her, $30.00 for him, is that fair? The local car wash charges the same price for a Hyundai as a Lamborghini, which they should as the effort expended in rendering the service is the same.
     
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  4. whatever

    whatever Senior Member

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    ^ I apply different standards of expectations to the services that I receive at high-end vs mid-range restaurants. At a Swiss Chalet I'm expecting my food to come out warm, and my water glass to be refilled when empty. If I'm sitting down to a $200 meal the server had better be stepping it up in terms of clearing the table, timing the dishes, refilling that water glass before its empty, etc, etc etc.

    If the service goes unnoticed (that is, at no point did I ask myself where my server was) I'll usually round the after-tax total up to the nearest dollar and apply 15% to that, then round up again to the nearest dollar. I think it usually works out close to 18-20%. If I do notice the service I'll adjust accordingly. It's very rare that I won't tip at all, but if I've had an unusually bad experience I won't leave anything.

    If an establishment has an enforced minimum gratuity (whether it's 15% or 18% or 20%) that's all I'll leave, on principle. If they won't leave me the option of giving less I refuse to exercise my option to give more.

    The real dilemma is what to do when the service is acceptable but the food is awful. I feel bad punishing the waiter for the kitchen's error, but also feel like a chump having to leave a tip on a bill for a meal I didn't enjoy.
     
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  5. Jonny5

    Jonny5 Senior Member

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    At casual restaurants I'll tip around 15% of the total after tax amount, maybe a little more or less to round things to a dollar, if I'm paying with cash. If it's inexpensive but still a full meal (like breakfast), I'll tip higher.
    At more formal restaurants, I will tip 15 to 20% depending on what is ordered, how long I stay and what level of service I get. If it's a quick lunch order for the daily special with no alcohol, it will be 15. At dinner time, I will tip up to 20 if the service is good, especially if there are multiple courses ordered or I'm with a group of more than 4.
    If wine or alcohol is involved it gets tricky. I don't like to pay 20% tip on the cost of wine I pick out myself that is already marked up 500%, but I will tip something and will tip much more when I ask for a wine recommendation (and get a good one). Well made cocktails deserve a good tip. Simple mixed drinks deserve a dollar each.
     
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  6. James

    James Senior Member

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    This is an interesting point and one that many people assimilate with real estate agents as well. Why is the tip or commission tied directly to the price of bread, so to speak. With real estate, this is one of the reasons the commission structures were forced to change. It doesn't appear the food service industry has adopted this mindthought though. Myself, personally, I still use the 15% on the sub-total (pre-tax) and adjust according to the service, not the quality of the food, however I think this is definitely a good point.
     
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  7. dt_toronto_geek

    dt_toronto_geek Superstar

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    I've always tipped 15% (or more when service is really great) on the total, after tax. On rare occasions if I have a crappy server who screws things up, isn't friendly, is not carrying out their duties I won't tip at all. I was at the Pickle Barrel in the Atrium with a friend in early December. It wasn't busy, we felt like we were inconveniencing the waiter who was really unfriendly and our food arrived barely warm. I could see from where I was sitting that he was spending more time talking to the hostess than he did at any of the four or five tables that he had. He never asked if we wanted dessert (we didn't) and we were just randomly presented with the bill when we were finished the meal. I also had to ask two additional times for the glass of water that I ordered with the meal, I must have water with dinner. No tip.
    I think moving up to 20% is too much though it could be suggested where the gratuities are indicated on the menu if service is exceptional consider leaving 20% instead of 15%.
     
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  8. JayBee

    JayBee Senior Member

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    I need to start waiting tables.
     
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  9. gabe

    gabe Guest

    Some restaurants share the tips with each chef, dishwasher and prep cook something like 2% of sales everyday. When i was a cook in a fine dining restaurant, i always got a percentage of the tips
     
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  10. TOareaFan

    TOareaFan Senior Member

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    precisely why food quality has to be a factor in tip level. i always view the resto staff as a team and tip on the whole experience.
     
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  11. prosperegal

    prosperegal Active Member

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    I do 15% over the tax, depending on service. As for $1 for bar service, I do that too, but sometimes feel that I'm over-tipping. I mean, if the drink was $5, I'd be tipping 20% for one drink!
     
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  12. spider

    spider Senior Member

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    So, if the waiter is a jerk or the food is poorly prepared you don't tip and everyone up and down the chain suffers.
     
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  13. canmark

    canmark Active Member

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    Recently, I had a $3 Coke during intermission at a theatre. I paid with a $5 bill and the bartender gave me a toonie (rather than 2 loonies) as change. Was she expecting me to tip her $2 on a $3 drink? 66%?! Even a $1 tip on a $3 drink is still 33%. I've tipped $1 on a $2 Coke at other theatres--a 50% tip. I have no problem with that. That said, I can see that a bartender at a theatre is only going to be serving customers for a brief period of time (before the show and at intermission), but I think $1 tip on a single drink (I only order Coke) is more than sufficient.
     
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  14. Bayer

    Bayer Active Member

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    I consider the tip as the server's income and I have always tipped 20% on the total amount of the bill. I have had to reduce this only twice in the past 25 years, both times when I was essentially held hostage for a long time waiting for the bill after I had asked for it repeatedly. In such cases, a nickel sends the proper message. If the service is bad otherwise, I don't reduce the tip; I just don't come back, as it reflects on the restaurant itself.
     
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  15. gabe

    gabe Guest

    If you have a problem with the food or waiter take up with the manager or owner. I guarantee they will try everything their power to try to fix the problem. They don't want to lose customers.

    I once complained in a fine dining restaurant and got a $150 gift certificate. Our waitress forgot to put our order in, we were a table of 4 . We waited 30 mins for our appetizers, when i asked the waitress where our food was? She said "the chefs must have forgot" which as a former cook, was a flat out lie!! Some of the most finicky people i have ever met are chefs!! So i complained to the owner and he checked the computer, only to see our order was placed all of 5 mins ago!!! The owner was embarrassed and extremely apologetic, he gave us free drinks and free desserts. And best of all, we never saw that waitress at that restaurant ever again. LOL :D
     
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