How much do you tip a bad waiter or waitress?

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  1. davidlivermore profile image93
    davidlivermoreposted 11 years ago

    How much do you tip a bad waiter or waitress?

    This has been a hot bed of controversy each time someone fails to tip, tips very little, or leaves a rude comment.

    If I receive bad service, I leave a small tip.  If it's so bad that I have to complain, I don't leave a tip at all.  One example was that my waitress didn't notice that half of the food I ordered wasn't given to me.  And she was the one giving me my dishes.  Another time, a waitress didn't acknowledge my table for 20 minutes, even though it was really slow.

    If the service is good, I leave a nice tip.

    So how much do you tip?

  2. peeples profile image94
    peeplesposted 11 years ago

    For horrible service I tip nothing and complain. Not great service gets 10%, good service gets 20%, and great service gets 30%. I have 3 children so I try to also calculate the behavior and mess of my children into the tip. I have had some horrible experiences but I have also been a waitress. I get that some nights are just not great and I do think of that when figuring how much to tip.

  3. Neinahpets profile image81
    Neinahpetsposted 11 years ago

    If the service was absolutely terrible (e.g I have to get up and ask for napkins, refills, etc - or I never get a single refill, or empty plates pile up if we're out at a buffet) I leave nothing.  If the server was rude or disinterested along with it I might complain along with "stiffing" them.  Depends on MY mood honestly.

    If the service was mediocre I might leave a single bill.  If good service, a couple bucks.  If really great service and I have the money to spare, around five bucks.  -- this is based on 1-2 people, mind you.

      I don't follow the percentage rule because going out to a local Asian buffet here that we enjoy it costs $60 for two people and if I were to do 10% for poor service as peeples explains, they would get $6, and I don't feel they would deserve that.

    In my late teen to early twenties I was a server many times so I was never happy if I didn't receive a tip or didn't receive a whole lot, but sometimes people don't have the kind of money to do percentages (my family is one of them - 30% of our once a month date night to the asian buffet is $18! That's almost the cost of one person.)  I don't believe in stiffing servers who have provided a good job; but as I said, I have been stiffed and i have never once had a complaint - but have received compliments so I know it was either due to financial reasons or someone who just didn't care to leave one.

    Even if I recieve bad service, I always feel a bit guilty stiffing a server because I once was a server.  Of course, where I was a server in South Carolina the hourly wage was $2.15 and your tips were to supplement your income and they would not pay the difference to minimum wage.  Here where I am now they pay minimum wage ($10.50), plus tips so I don't feel guilty at all if they gave horrible service. 

    Great question!

    1. davidlivermore profile image93
      davidlivermoreposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I know many people state you should tip in those places that the servers earn most of their income through tips.  But that means they must earn their tip.

      I try to tip a minimum of 10% of the bill, up to 20%.

  4. stayabovewater profile image68
    stayabovewaterposted 11 years ago

    It may be one of your customers so extend your hand in faith to at least tip the minimum. Thanks

  5. THEmikeLO profile image59
    THEmikeLOposted 11 years ago

    No matter what you need to tip. Even if the service was horrible that person still worked, and provided a service.  Without them you would have just sat there with your hands crossed.  At the end of the meal pull the server aside hand them their tip and explain how they could have done a better job. Instead of punishing them with a crappy tip you should reward them with advice on how they could have done their job better. this will not only make them treat you 100x better the next time you eat at that restaurant but they will also become better servers.  Positive reinforcement will almost always work better than negative reinforcement.

    1. davidlivermore profile image93
      davidlivermoreposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Or, if they recognize you next time, they can spit in your food.  Unfortunately not all will be receptive to such things.  A tip should not be automatic.

    2. Express10 profile image85
      Express10posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Tips shouldn't be automatic anymore than bonuses are. People "work" for tips and bonuses. Bad attitude, no service = bad or no tip. I do not go back to places where things have ever gone so wrong before that I felt that I should not tip.

  6. heidithorne profile image92
    heidithorneposted 11 years ago

    I'm a lazy tipper (okay, I'll say I'm generous or compassionate). I typically go with 20% and then round to the next dollar. It takes a really, really bad experience to not get 20% from me.

  7. old albion profile image61
    old albionposted 11 years ago

    For good service with a smile and a proper attitude, I always tip 20% or a little more. For bad service I do not tip, I always speak to the waiter/waitress quitely and tell them why I am unhappy and why there is no tip. This usually brings an apology from the server. If I go again to that restaurant and I get the same server, the service is usually excellent and so is my tip.

  8. profile image0
    Ghost32posted 11 years ago

    I haven't completely stiffed a waiter or waittress in decades, even when the service was next to abominable.  Three of my six ex-wives had at one time or another spent time working as waittresses.  I got educated, if you will, on the life of the food server.  It's not a career I would personally wish to pursue.

    The amounts I leave can vary according to service...but, in all honesty, probably not enough for the wait person to even realize he or she was being "talked to".

  9. Li Galo profile image74
    Li Galoposted 11 years ago

    Great question! In high school, I worked as a hostess and waitress in restaurants for four years.  I was never stiffed.  I always received good to great tips.  It's a job. Servers who don't do their job don't deserve anything.

    Something some folks don't know is that most waiters/waitresses tip out.  Tipping out is when the waitress pays other people who helped her do her job out of her tip money.  It's often required in restaurants and the manager enforces it by cross checking tip outs on receipts at the end of the night against what amounts were tipped out to other staff.  I tipped out to my hostess, busser, and the kitchen.  That was about five other people I was splitting my tip with!  So, remember that if a waitress doesn't get tipped, the busser and kitchen help may not get tipped either!  This is why the percentage is 20 percent for good service... You're not just paying the waitress. Everyone gets a cut. So, if someone can't afford the standard tip, they shouldn't have gone out to eat, they should have ordered less food or they should have eaten somewhere else that was more affordable for them. 

    Having said all that, waiters should still earn the tip. When I eat out, I tip 20 percent for standard, more if service is great, less if service was not good but wasn't awful, and nothing if it was awful.  If I plan never to return to the place again, I might leave one penny on the receipt.  If the hostess was great but the waitress was awful, I won't leave a tip on the table but I'll find the hostess and quietly pay her a separate tip directly to her, letting her know it's just for her.  If I need to talk to the manager, I'll let the manager know I'm not tipping the waitress and why but that I am tipping the hostess and why - and that I expect the hostess not to share the tip with the waitress.  I've never had a manager have a problem with that approach.

    1. profile image0
      Deb Welchposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Right on - I have worked as a Server,Hostess,Cashier, Busser,& Food Prep. Yes - in some places we shared Tips. I leave 15% for regular service and bad service 10%.  If everything was fantastic and extra few bucks is left or I hand it to the Serve

  10. Zfuentes4 profile image59
    Zfuentes4posted 11 years ago

    Having been a server myself once, I have a much better understanding of both sides.  I usually tip 20-25%, and it has to be extremely bad for me to tip nothing.  There could be several factors that may explain the bad service, including, but not limited to, the restaurant being short-handed and/or personal situations.  These don't necessarily excuse the poor service, but the diner(s) should take stock of the situation and analyze the possible reasons for the sub-par service you are receiving.  If the server is just being downright rude, then there is no excuse for that.  I am a strong believer that everyone should work in some form of customer service at least once in their life, so they can have an appreciation for the work they do.

  11. richardbrown81 profile image80
    richardbrown81posted 11 years ago

    i never go over 20% unless the server went way over the top.  12% for bad service or all they had to do was refill my drink and take plates.  12% is fair at buffets because the servers can cover more than twice as many tables.  if it i would be better off returning the plates my self, refilling my own drinks, and getting my own food; i dont tip at all.  a tip is a gratuity not an obligation.

  12. BobMonger profile image61
    BobMongerposted 11 years ago

    For truly horrible service I leave one penny. For really great service I'll leave usually 10% plus--you guessed it--one penny. People in the food service industry know about the penny and what it means. If they don't they find themselves counting lots of pennies and not much else. The ones with a stack of bills at the end of their shift and a bunch of pennies go home with a smile.

  13. profile image0
    Deepes Mindposted 11 years ago

    I generally tip regardless of the level of service I get. It depends on how I feel. I don't tip less than 15% in general. One time, I received horrible service and I tipped 25% and left a note apologizing for the day they had that was so bad they had to take it out on me. The next time I went to that restaurant, that same waitress thanked me for the tip and let me know that her mother had passed away that morning that I was there and asked for another chance. Got the best service ever.

  14. DommaLeigh profile image61
    DommaLeighposted 10 years ago

    People seem to think they have to tip, which you don't. There is no law saying you have to. When I receive good service I gladly leave a tip that I can afford to leave but when It is bad I go by the old standard of leaving a penny with tails up. Back in the day when I was waitress it was common knowledge what that single penny meant.

    I do take under consideration all factors and don't penalize the server if it was not there fault, like overly busy or a crappy cook.


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