How much do you tip waiters in a restaurant?

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  1. Leroyworld profile image61
    Leroyworldposted 12 years ago

    I learned today that according to the National Restaurant Association, the industry norm for tipping waitstaff is 15 to 20 percent of the bill.  This is, of course, from a school course. 

    What I would like to know is:

    1  What are you expecting from the waiter/waitress in return for a tip.
    2  What are some opinions about tipping.  (I would not mind hearing from waitstaff and customers.  I have a good idea about management's attitude; but, feel free to chime in if you are a manager.)

    1. Leroyworld profile image61
      Leroyworldposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I am getting great feedback.  Thanks guys!

    2. profile image0
      JaxsonRaineposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I don't tip percentage, as I think that idea is fundamentally flawed.

      If I take some people out for dinner, and they all order steak, the server will do the same amount of work as if everyone had ordered burgers. Same thing with wine, the server does the same amount of work presenting a $80 bottle of wine as a $30 bottle of wine.

      Usually, I end up tipping between 25-50%, but I don't plan it that way. The tips can be more than the meal if nobody is very hungry.

      1. profile image52
        Sulfurposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        The problem with your theory is that servers have to pay the IRS a certain percentage of their total sales (I don't remember the exact percentage) and most servers have to tip out the bartender (whether they made them drinks or not), as well as the busboys  So, based on your theory of not tipping a percentage based on the total amount of your bill, a server could in essence end up paying the IRS (and bartender and perhaps busboy) for the privilege of having waited on your table. Do you follow what I am saying?  And yes, I realize your posting is from 4 years ago, but I just found it which means others will too.

    3. Justjed profile image61
      Justjedposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      At least, it is not compulsory and the tip wont be forced out of my pocket, The amount I tip depends on the quality of service rendered by that individual and of course at my discretion

  2. TheMagician profile image87
    TheMagicianposted 12 years ago

    I usually go out with a group of 3+, so we'll always pitch in at least $2 (if we're at like a Chinese buffet or somewhere small), up to about $5 each. Sometimes more if we like our waitstaff or if we're usual's there. All I expect from a waiter is niceness, friendliness, and... well, it's cool when they're personable smile

    1. Leroyworld profile image61
      Leroyworldposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you.  The point about being usual customers is interesting.

  3. Pcunix profile image93
    Pcunixposted 12 years ago

    I expect basic competence. I'm overjoyed if I get more.

    I tip 20-25 % at least.  If I have tied up the table excessively long, l tip much, much more.  I've left $100 for a $25 meal that took up the table for two hours.  If the place wasn't busy, I wouldn't have done that much, but I would still be generous - at least $10 an hour.

    The very few times I have tipped less were in cases of really bad service.  Not bad food (that is not the servers fault ) but bad, sloppy, unfriendly and uncaring service.

    In that case, I leave one coin for a small meal, a single dollar bill if a larger meal.  The point is to make the dissatisfaction known.  I believe  I have only done that twice in my 64 years.  You have to be really obnoxious to get that insult.

    1. Leroyworld profile image61
      Leroyworldposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I am curious.  Were you at one time a waiter?

      1. Pcunix profile image93
        Pcunixposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        No.  But I watched my father treat waiters horribly for years and didn't like it.

        My wife did briefly work as a waitress but she is pretty, friendly and highly efficient so she made good money smile

        1. Pcunix profile image93
          Pcunixposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          But basically I tip well because I know some people do not.

          I'm the kind of person who will put $2 into an honor system candy box because I know there is always some jerk who will just steal the candy.

          Just the way I am.

          1. Leroyworld profile image61
            Leroyworldposted 12 years agoin reply to this

            You sound like a bartender I know.  That's why I asked.

  4. Diane Inside profile image72
    Diane Insideposted 12 years ago

    If I get good service and feel like the waiter or waitress is truly trying to serve me with a good attitude I will leave a good tip. At least 20% but usually more.

    But if my waiter is rude or basically ignores me throughout my visit, they get very little.  Unless I see that they happen to be very busy or flustered.

    1. Leroyworld profile image61
      Leroyworldposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Three replies where attitude makes a difference.  That supports part of what was said in class.

      I am surprised that no one has mentioned the prompt arrival of the food, although that is mostly out of the waitstaff's control.  My text book seems to think that is important.

      1. TheMagician profile image87
        TheMagicianposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        I've never once in my life tipped based on food arrival time -- never thought about it, and even now that I do, I still don't think that'd be someone important to factor in since I'd imagine it's for the most part out of the waiter's hands. But attitude definitely makes a difference! Waiters that can crack a joke or are just generally warm and cheerful have me shelling out tips left and right! Few things are better than a wonderful waiter smile

      2. profile image0
        JaxsonRaineposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Knowing the industry, I care about what I know to be the server's responsibilities. You can usually tell when the food was late because of the kitchen, and when the food was late because of the server(by observing other guests). Attitude, and keeping up with drinks/condiments/clearing dishes is what to look for.

        Never tip the server less because the kitchen screws up.

  5. Diana Grant profile image91
    Diana Grantposted 12 years ago

    I tip 10%, but I really do object to the principle of tipping - it is just a way of subsidising wages because  waiters earn so little - it should be up to the employers to pay adequate wages.

    Why should people be paid extra for doing the job they are paid to do? (I make an exception for bankers, of course)sad)

    1. Barbara Kay profile image74
      Barbara Kayposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Diana, Around here most waitresses get paid $2.50 an hour by the company. I resent that we have to make up the wage, but I do look at it from the waitresses perspective also. I usually tip about 20%, but in one case I didn't tip the waitress anything. She was so snotty, she should have paid me.  I usually tip according to service like most.

      1. Leroyworld profile image61
        Leroyworldposted 12 years agoin reply to this


        In the US the minimum wage for waitstaff is effectively regulated per state. For example:  In Texas, the minimum wage is $2.15 per hour (if the waiter/ waitress receives $20.00 or more in tips; but, in California the minimum wage for waitstaff is $8.00 per hour no matter what.  Anyone out there from California?  Speak up please.

    2. profile image0
      JaxsonRaineposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Of course, it would be possible for restaurants to pay employees higher wages, but that would require increasing the price of food.

      For instance, there is a relatively fancy/pricey restaurant in Phoenix I like to go to for sushi and salmon, and I happen to know that their profit margin on food is only 4%. There's just not enough money being made to pay waiters $10/hr+.

      It's just changing the way servers are paid. You can have higher food prices with no tips, or lower food prices with tips.

      I prefer the tip system, as it encourages better service.

  6. CJ Andrews profile image85
    CJ Andrewsposted 12 years ago

    I generally tip in the low 20%.  I watch what is going on with the waitstaff.  I do take a lot of things into account.  I look to see how busy the place is, what level of service I expect from the restaurant as a whole, how many tables and people the person has, and pretty much everything.
    From the wait-staff I expect them to have timing on drinks, food, and be able to read the table for things such as joking and interrupting.  Sometimes the table needs to be interrupted and a good waiter/bartender can read this and come over and divert conversation.
    If the restaurant just sat 5 tables I know the kitchen is going to be hit with orders soon, I will stall with the main order and do an app. or two and keep table conversation going.  This relieves the kitchen and makes it so we do not expect to have our food asap.  Just a better chance of things going wrong if the kitchen has 20 orders coming back in a couple minutes.
    If the waiter has 3 2-tops I would expect the evening to be wonderful, and if it is anything short of that I would be annoyed and my tip would be lower.  If the waiter has 7 4-tops it involves more timing on refills and plate removal.
    Most of the time arrival of food is not the servers fault unless they have bad timing.  If this is the case the tip suffers, if they see that the kitchen is behind and come and give a quick explanation - no problems.

    So overall, it matters on what is expected and how they perform.  I expect more from something like the Muse than I would from Steak and Shake etc.

    If you are a person who complains about tipping and think that it is wrong your just cheap.  If every person in that place was paid $10.00 an hour imagine how much your food would cost.  It brings down the cost of your whole outing and makes it manageable.  They are giving you atmosphere and an excellent meal.  And if you are tipping you are going out for the atmosphere and something more than fast food.  So if you don't want to tip you should just keep going to Burger King.

    1. Diana Grant profile image91
      Diana Grantposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I think people tip more in the States than we do in UK. I do always tip, unless service was atrocious. I did work in a restaurant years ago, and know how important tips are to staff.

      1. CJ Andrews profile image85
        CJ Andrewsposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        I think they make more an hour in the uk, and I have heard what you say to be true.  My response was from an American viewpoint.

  7. perfectperception profile image61
    perfectperceptionposted 12 years ago

    I always tip 15-30% dependent on the service. I try to keep in mind that this how people make their money and good service deserves a good tip!

    1. sunforged profile image70
      sunforgedposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Lol, This image was shared as an example of a poor tip, right?

      If one person racked up a 100ish bill on their own - than they can afford at least a $20 tip

      If 2 people racked up a 100ish bill - they can afford at least $8-10 a piece

      If 4 people racked up a 100ish bill - they can afford at least $5 a piece!

      Thats the type of thing that makes a waiter sad when they open it when you leave.

      If you were one or two people, you probably held up a table for 1 - 2 hours - a time which you could run 3-4 other smaller checks through.

      If you were a larger table then you may have taken up two stations for that time period.

      Not really your concern as a diner, but that's the reality of such a tip. It could turn a $200 night into a n $80 night! less checks, less tables, crap tip, crap night!

  8. Pcunix profile image93
    Pcunixposted 12 years ago

    One more thing:

    I tip on the whole amount of the bill.  My wife insists upon subtracting the tax first, and then calculating a tip.

    1. Diana Grant profile image91
      Diana Grantposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Wish I had a wife like that!

  9. yvonnie ametin profile image61
    yvonnie ametinposted 12 years ago

    Not so long ago servers made $2.35/hour now they make $4 something an hour.  I always tip 20% or more and if anyone tips less than 15% they shouldn't bother going out to eat.  If customers expect good service then servers expect kindness and consideration - not impossible expectations.

    Most often then not servers already have the customer pegged before the customer says a word.  Cheap, unhappy customers who are never happy, and ready to complain about everything or the easy go lucky customer who just smiles - who do you think is going to get the better service?

    If you are a good tipper - you get great service - year after year - if you are a "difficult" customer - don't bother going back to the restaurant that displeased you - they don't want you coming back.

    Really a $10 tip on a $100 bill and not tipping on the whole bill and subtracting the tax - how rude.

  10. Beth100 profile image68
    Beth100posted 12 years ago

    I've been on both ends of the receipt.  As for working and serving -- it's a hard job -- on your feet for a minimum 8 hour shift, carrying/lifting heavy dishes, not spilling, smiling constantly and being pleasant to everyone (including the customer who treats you like gum under his shoe).  I worked hard and only had 2 - 15 minute breaks and on 30 minute lunch break.  Never long enough to actually rest your back, hips, feet and knees.

    Now, as patron, I do tip between 15-25% but it depends on a number of variables.  Attitude, attention, friendliness, promptness of arrival of food, timing of the dishes and follow up.  If the server is never around during the course of the meal, but near the end, hangs around trying to show good service, then the tip is generally smaller.  There are occasions where I have tipped 60% when the service has been exceptional.  There are also occasions where I have left a coin under the plate for the worse service I have ever encountered.

    However, I always keep in mind how difficult the job can be.  smile

  11. Lady_E profile image75
    Lady_Eposted 12 years ago

    It depends on the service. If it's a good service a £5 Note.
    If it wasn't - few pound coins.

    (I can't work out percentages after a meal) smile

    1. Leroyworld profile image61
      Leroyworldposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I need to work out the exchange rate with the Pound.  It does sound easier to tip a flat rate instead of a percentage.

  12. Diane Inside profile image72
    Diane Insideposted 12 years ago

    For quite awhile a couple of years ago my husband couldn't find work that paid well.  So he had to resort to being a Pizza delivery driver.  It paid very little, especially considering he had to pay for upkeep and fuel for his car.

    So needless to say we relied on his tips alot.  Because of that we had a prospective of wanting to tip well when service was good.

    My husband said he could tell the difference in his tips which reflected a lot on his attitude toward the costomer.

    1. Leroyworld profile image61
      Leroyworldposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I always tip in the upper range for pizza delivery.  I think the drivers talk about who tips because I get good service from my normal place.

      The gas and insurance alone must kill the wages I have seen offered.

  13. Greek One profile image63
    Greek Oneposted 12 years ago

    I would feel awkward leaving a tip, since I most often walk out on the bill itself

    1. Hollie Thomas profile image60
      Hollie Thomasposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Do you walk or run? if you walk,  I'm sure there are lots of people out there who would really like to know how you escape without legging it. Has Mrs Greekone had baby number 2 yet?

    2. Leroyworld profile image61
      Leroyworldposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I can see how that would be awkward. 

      Anybody out there with insight on how restaurants handle this situation?

  14. amandaD profile image58
    amandaDposted 12 years ago

    Hmmm let me think?!! Never been to a Restaurant before....WAYNE!! take me to a Restaurant now so I can leave a tip!

    1. Leroyworld profile image61
      Leroyworldposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      If Wayne is paying, are you picking up the tip?  That is nice of you.

  15. amandaD profile image58
    amandaDposted 12 years ago

    Nah I'll let him pay and tip the staff!!

  16. IzzyM profile image87
    IzzyMposted 12 years ago

    As a former bar owner here in Spain, and before that as a taxi driver in the UK, I can say that both governments tax declared profits with 10% on top for supposed tips.

    I did get well tipped as a taxi driver, but not by all customers.

    As a bar owner, I chose not to take any part of the tips, leaving it to be shared out amongst all the staff, even though I was working more hours than any of them put together.

    I still got taxed on it, at a rate of 10%. Must be a European directive or something.

    You the customer are not obliged to leave a tip. It is entirely up to you.

    I'm still miffed (all these years later) at the American customer and his wife who I took from the main train station in Glasgow to their hotel.

    I'd got out the cab and piled all their luggage into the taxi's luggage compartment, while they sat in the back out of the rain.

    He said to me "hey thank, honey, I always like to tip well for good service, how much is the fare?"

    Well he must have been blind or something because the meter was right in front of him.

    It was something like £2.20, ($3) to I asked him for it.

    "Hey honey I only have a £20 note, got change?"

    "Yeah sure", I replied, reluctantly digging out the float I always carry to make sure I had enough change to give him.

    He took all of his change, and was about to leave, when he suddenly realised he hadn't left a tip.

    "Oh hey honey, I clean forgot, I wanted so much to thank you for taking us here so quickly, let me find you a tip".

    "Oh Okay thanks", I mumbled.

    And sat there, and sat there...and sat there...while he went through his wallet, his pockets, asked his wife...God knows what all!!

    Finally, a good 10 minutes later, and I swear to God this is true, he said to me, "Hey gee, sorry honey, I don't seem to have any small change on me!", which of course was a downright lie because I had given him change from my float.

    The words F off sprung to mind as I drove away, with a bitter taste in my mouth.

    1. Hollie Thomas profile image60
      Hollie Thomasposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Izzy, some people just get off on their little power trip. How sad that he got some amusement from that, just shows how empty his life must have been, despite the money.

      1. IzzyM profile image87
        IzzyMposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        LOL, that was no compensation to me, at that time I could have earned double his fare again in the time he held me waiting for a tip.

        It did put me off Americans for a while, you tend to think they are all the same.

        Then again, I read stories here too about Americans having been fiddled by some local chancer, and realise that all over the world there are thieves and chancers, and that really, all of us need to be on the lookout.

        To keep this post within the remit of thread, do not tip for bad service, anywhere.

    2. Leroyworld profile image61
      Leroyworldposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      This is a great reply IzzyM.  I am glad to get feedback from a former bar owner.  I had not thought about the issue of time you mentioned from your taxi driver days.  I rarely take cabs where I live; and, now I know to have my tip ready, if I ever take one.

      PS  - I have heard some friends who are bartenders here in Dallas relate very similar stories about regular customers.  The big difference is that everyone in their stories were locals.

  17. Payne Anne profile image61
    Payne Anneposted 12 years ago

    If the service in of its self was good I always tip 20 to 25%.  If it was bad I tip 10%.

    1. IzzyM profile image87
      IzzyMposted 12 years agoin reply to this


      You tip 10% for bad service?

      Bad service does not deserve a tip at all!

    2. Hollie Thomas profile image60
      Hollie Thomasposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      If the service was bad, I suppose we'd have to discuss how we define bad, but I'd be demanding a refund, not leaving a tip.

  18. IzzyM profile image87
    IzzyMposted 12 years ago

    What is an acceptable tip?

    Round the figure up to the nearest round figure.

    3.20 to 4, 9.80 might be 11 because that .20 seems a bit stingy.

    Unless you are super-generous, 15.80 need not be 20, but instead 17, or maybe 18.

    It's just a way of saying thanks, it's not compulsory.

    1. Hollie Thomas profile image60
      Hollie Thomasposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      It depends on the service and on the cost of the meal. If it is an inexpensive meal but the service was good, I'd probably be much more generous. 20% perhaps. If the meal was expensive but the service good, I'd stick to the 10%. If that makes sense.

  19. pstraubie48 profile image82
    pstraubie48posted 12 years ago

    Tipping is based on service unless it is a large party and is figured into the bill. I am not wealthy but I feel that I am a generous tipper. I do not figure a percentage of the bill. I tip solely on the service.
    Is the wait person is:
    friendly,efficient, attentive but not overly so, and if they make us feel we are the 'only ones they are serving'...then the tip is very generous.
    By the same token if the service is poor, the tip reflects that. I do not ever leave nothing but I do leave a very small tip is the service was substandard.

  20. kayyluh profile image61
    kayyluhposted 12 years ago

    well seeing how im in college and don't work..not to much haha smile

  21. roxanne459 profile image79
    roxanne459posted 12 years ago

    I have been in the service industry most of my adult life and I fully understand that tips are called 'Gratuity' for a reason. They are earned and not entitled. I really enjoy providing exceptional service! Unfortunately, quality customer service has gone to the waste side in todays society for the most part so my guests are very receptive and appreciative.
    That being said, I don't think most people realize that in some states (WA) a portion of your server's total sales is deducted from their pay because it is assumed that they were tipped. What that means is, if someone doesn't tip or tips very little, that server is still charged a portion of the bill's total. If I present someone with a bill that is $100.00, $8.40 will be deducted from my paycheck. If that customer decides not to tip, I just paid for the privledge of serving them. Just an FYI

    1. Leroyworld profile image61
      Leroyworldposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I have never heard of that before.  Is that part of the WA state law?

      1. sunforged profile image70
        sunforgedposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        If I remember right, mandatory federal withholding is 8% for Waitstaff - all your credit tips will be accounted for plus whatever cash tips you report. Its pretty common practice for employers to leave any cash tip handling and reporting to the employee.

        But its a withholding, so if in fact, Roxanne, you made less than that estimated figure in the year, you would eligible for a refund.

        Of course, that's a tax issue, so you should talk it over with a Professional, but that was the information as I knew it during college when I worked in the restaurant/bar industry.

        I dont tip on percentage of Bill and Im probably more strict (and more generous) in regards to service. I sometimes eat at Denny's and get a $7 egg platter, I sometimes eat at a greasy spoon and get a $4 egg platter and sometimes a place that charges me $12 for the same product. In the past, all 3 waiters would probably get a $5 tip for my portion of the bill.

        But, I have no problem dropping that figure for lazy or inept waitstaff. A great personality can make up for a great deal of incompetence though!

        I bring a baby with me now, so everyone gets overtipped to make up for the mess .. but Im still in the habit of "pre-bussing" my own table, lol

        1. profile image0
          JaxsonRaineposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          I can't help but do that as well. I have young kids who can be quite messy, but I always find myself doing everything I can to help the server.

          Another thing people don't always realize, is some restaurants your tip goes to not only the server, but the bussers/dishwashers/bar staff as well.

  22. Eaglekiwi profile image73
    Eaglekiwiposted 12 years ago

    Sign In Airport as you enter New Zealand

    'It is not our custom to tip'

    Personal opinion on the matter " It should be ,because the wages are lousy lol

  23. Deborah Rangel profile image43
    Deborah Rangelposted 12 years ago

    For me it's mostly 4% of my total bill at most places, yeah if i go out to a really good place to eat i would tip 8% then :p

  24. sunforged profile image70
    sunforgedposted 12 years ago

    ok - i was curious, so I googled the visible text plus "restaurant" .. didnt know Peyton Hillis was a Celebrity … eat-tipper

    Glad to see its not your bill!

  25. habee profile image91
    habeeposted 12 years ago

    I tip 20% for good service. If I get great service, I'll tip more - as much as 30-35%, especially if the waiter/waitress is a former student and I know they really need the money.

  26. Alastar Packer profile image70
    Alastar Packerposted 12 years ago

    According to the dude who wrote Waiter Rant 15% is acceptable but 20-25% is better of course. Anything considerably lower than 15% and you'd probably best eat elsewhere- wait staff have long memories for that. And believe it or not unless there are extra duties or large parties of customers to wait anything considerably over 30% is considered  bad form!

  27. profile image0
    JaxsonRaineposted 12 years ago

    I worked as a server for many years, so I appreciate how difficult it can be to provide great service, especially at busy restaurants. An extra $5 on the tip doesn't usually hurt the diner's financial situation, but can greatly help the server's financial situation.

  28. Eaglekiwi profile image73
    Eaglekiwiposted 12 years ago

    Wonder how the whole idea of tipping began, and why it became expected.

    I mean don't people get paid for working from their employers? … dForce=SM_

    Found a site ,helpful if its not customary to your culture smile

  29. sunforged profile image70
    sunforgedposted 12 years ago

    T>I>P  To Increase Promptness smile

    Thats why it works better if you tip before (at the bar) or are a regular who tips well


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