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July 28, 2012


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I always start at 20%. Having been in the restaurant business as both a waitress and a manager, I recognize that part of the tips go toward the bus staff or that it may be an establishment that pools tips. i don't like to punish someone else because my waiter/waitress wasn't good. If the service was really bad, I'll still leave a decent tip, but let the manager know about the service (in the same vein, I let the manager know if my service was exceptionally good).

Please excuse all the "usually"s; I'm in a hurry.

I almost always leave 20% of the final (including tax) amount. For really sparklingly efficient flexible service, I go at least 25%. For substandard service I usually cut a break the first time, then drop back to 20% of the pre-tax amount. After that I usually just don't go there any more, or pointedly ask for a different server next time. This usually only happens when the whole place is poorly run, and the service ends up being only one reason of many why I won't return.

If I'm mad enough to not leave a tip at all, I'm going to be talking to the manager to explain why. I never just leave 5% or 10% without someone knowing specifically why; I feel that is unhelpful to the business and the server and is more than a bit passive-aggressive. Again, this almost never happens.

Hope that helps.

I suck at math, so I just tip with double whatever tax was. Since the tax rate is 10% here in Seattle, it works out nicely to 20%. BUT I'll occasionally round down to the nearest dollar if service was lame, and usually up to the nearest $5 if service was awesome.

I figure up 20%, and round down to the dollar if service was terrible, and round up proportionately to how great it was otherwise. I live on tips myself, so it would take something major for me to stiff someone.

20% is my baseline, and I'll tip more if the service is really great, and somewhere between 15-18% if the service was subpar. I have to say, though... in SF, I rarely get poor service, and more often than not, I'm tipping above %20.

I have a food allergy, and the servers who handle this really well get the biggest tips from me.

Having been on the receiving end, you know the tip isn't a negotiable part of the cost of eating. The server is on the hook for that amount regardless. For really horrible service, I might not make as much effort to tip in cash, but I fork out anyway.

Once, in Denver, I left $50 on fries and a diet coke for a kid working the overnight at Denny's, just because I could. I'd overheard him with other tables getting hassled, and he seemed like he could use a kind deed.

So if anything, it's like that -- reward, vs. penalty.

I almost always tip between 15% and 20%. Where the server falls in that spectrum depends on the quality of service with only the truly awful or truly exceptional ending up outside the window.

Start at 20% of total bill. For bad service I'll drop it down to 20% of pre-tax aount. For really exceptional service I'll go 25-30% of total bill.

20% of the total bill baseline, and then adjusted up if the service was great. Almost never adjusted down, unless I can be sure it's the server that's the problem and not the kitchen. I can only think of maybe 3 or 4 times in the last 10 years I've gone below 20% and that was to make a very specific point about something. One time was when we were in a hurry and the server spent the WHOLE time talking to the bartender and hanging around the bar and I finally had to interrupt their conversation to ask for the check, 20 mins after we finished eating. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

20% is standard. changes to that are up to the level of great service, which can be 30% if the server is being awesome and perceptive of needs, really funny or kind to the table. Now, if I'm at a place where I'm a regular (or want to become one) that can vary wildly because the servers there are generally already awesome, remember drinks, etc. Then they often get a flat tip on drinks or dinner that can easily be 40% to 100% (100% is usually when I don't order much, but I get it quick when it's busy, etc.) I'm a professional chef though, so I appreciate the good servers when I meet them.

It's pretty rare for me to get lousy service. I'm patient waaaaaaaaay up until a point in which someone has to prove themselves credibly stupid before I start deducting. If that happens, then sometimes I give the horrid tip and talk to the manager. Worked in too many places that let really shit for brains servers stay on too long and bring a place down.

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