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Diners\' tipping habits take money from servers\' pockets | Taste: Dayton food and restaurants

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Diners’ tipping habits take money from servers’ pockets

Do you stiff your restaurant servers to save money? Do you know that when you don’t tip on wine ordered in restaurants or on carryout orders, you may be taking money out of your server’s pockets?

Some diners — perhaps a larger proportion of them than we might think — have simply stopped tipping. That’s what this post from our forum suggests. Here’s how the thread of online conversation started:

I went out with a group of moms the other day to Big Boy and was amazed at how many of the moms did not tip their servers. One mom said that lots of people don’t tip now because of the economy. Another one said that since it was mostly a buffet she shouldn’t have to tip. I was embarrassed because I always tip! Even with the economy, if I can afford to go eat out at the restaurant, I better be able to afford to tip the service. And, especially when the table had a total of 6 kids at it, which means a big mess to clean up!

Just as the comments on that topic were heating up, I received an email from a server who obviously works at a fine-dining restaurant who posed another tipping question: do customers know that when they don’t tip on, say, an expensive bottle of wine, they’re actually costing the server money, not just time? She brought out some points that I never knew. Here’s her story:

Last week, I had two gentlemen sit down for dinner, and after making numerous comments to me about how we have a great selection of wines at wonderful prices, ordered a bottle of Cakebread Cabernet. I proceeded to present the wine, open the wine, and poured the wine throughout their dinner. After they were finished dining, one of the gentlemen asked for the bill, but asked for the wine to be on a separate check. Of course, I obliged. When I returned to picked up their signed checks, I thanked them and they told me how wonderful everything was and thanked me for my terrific service. When I went to close out their checks, I was floored to discover that they had not tipped me on the wine. Again, it’s not like this was the first time this has happened, but it doesn’t make it any less infuriating!
What people fail to understand is that servers are taxed on their sales, their total sales, not just on what they are tipped. When we are taxed on out sales, it is assumed that diners have tipped at least 10% at our restaurant. ( I do know that the federal government only assumes 8.5%). We are required to claim all of our tips for tax purposes, and if our tips claimed do not match a percentage of our sales, we are taxed on our sales anyway. Understandable, we are then at a financial loss. I do not think it is fair for me, or any other server, to have to pay for the wine consumption that I did not enjoy myself. I think the general understanding is that we are only taxed on our tips, and that is not the case. This is also why not tipping on carry-out orders is frustrating.
Servers make $3.65 an hour. We live on our tips. We also have to tip out the bartenders and bussers from what we make. (I hope) diners who read this come away with a better understanding and be more inclined to tip on that next bottle of wine or carry-out order.

I was not aware that this was the case. Were you?

What are your tipping guidelines? Have they changed?


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By Nik

March 29, 2009 10:05 AM | Link to this

As veteran server of over 11 years, I would like to make a few things clear. If I were working for, say, $7.50/hr, I would not expect customers to tip, therefor I would not give a f*@# about whether or not you got good service. Would you still go out to eat at those places? I didn’t think so. And for FUNNY01 that said “Get a real job”, this is a real job to me. It pays my bills, and serves it’s purpose while I go to school to better educate myelf. And to be honest, even after I get my degree and my “real job” I am sure I will still be serving on the weekends. Serving isn’t for everyone, especially inpatient people. Remember that the next time you are running your server to death asking for 5 different sals dressings on the side, extra napkins and your steak well done but not burnt. And if you make your face well known at a certain restaurant over and over again, you are more than likely going to receive crappy service each and every time and you may even get an extra cough on your salad and God only knows what the cooks do when you send your perfectly cooked steak back. This sin’t a game to us. Tip accordigly. You run me to death, you better tip 20% or stay home and use your foodstamps to buy your meals and cook it the way you want! End of story.


March 29, 2009 3:34 AM | Link to this

Touche, Mo. Ted, blow me and every single server that will be working for you. I am, in all reality, working to make MY living, not yours. Flat Fee For Servers….you are an idiot. That is one of the dumbest ideas I have ever heard. Kaetlyn, clearly you think that you are above everyone because you are a nurse. Some people are brilliant with a Masters degree and in this crappy economy can’t find a job anywhere but in a restaurant. Some people actually do not have many choices other than that. Did you know that people like that are out there? Some people make so much money that it is stupid to work in another field. You are also an idiot. Do you depend on your paycheck as your whole entire living? Well tips are our paycheck and that’s the way it works in this industry. Please don’t ever come into my restaurant as I will consider spitting into all of your food.

By mo

March 29, 2009 3:20 AM | Link to this

Hey Ted, you are an idot and probably one of those rest. managers that let his “hourly employees” do all of his work. period, you have no real grasp of the concept. Servers are the reason that dicks like you are able to own restaurants…period. You would be nothing without servers, so suck it up and live with it.


March 29, 2009 2:47 AM | Link to this

It’s amazing to read this. As a server, bartender, etc, it is glaringly obvious who is familiar with this industry and who is not. I am from Ohio but do not live there anymore. Where I am now, 20% is standard and 15% is a bad tipper. Did you all know that it is state government regulation how much tipped employees get paid per hour. There are only about 3 states in the country where tipped employees make the real minimum wage instead of $2-$3/ hour? Did you also know that every single one of our establishments charge us for credit card transactions? I am paying for you to use your credit card. The comments about taking it up with the government are B.S. As someone else said, this is the way things are and everyone knows it and accepts it. So, to all of you with your incredibly ignorant remarks about tipping, think about this the next time you decide to “let” someone else wait on you hand and foot and then think 10-15% is fair. Think about how I, while waiting on you, am getting your drinks, your bread, your salad, your refill, your extra 1000 island dressing, your other refill, your dinner, all the extra crap you need with it, etc….I am also doing the same thing with up to 30 other people…at the same time. I am being bitched at by 1/2 of those people for one reason or another, probably none of them my fault. I am yelling at the cooks to hurry because you are pissed. I am telling them,”No, they don’t care that our entire restaurant is completely full, that we are really, really busy and sometimes things take time. They want it RIGHT NOW”. I am the one dumping your half eaten food and getting it on my hands, worried about getting a disease. I am the one making 400 trips back and forth to the kitchen, to the bar, for you. I am the bartender that is making 25 drinks AT ONE TIME and being bitched at by the servers because YOU want it RIGHT NOW. Remember that you are not any more special than me or the person sitting next to you. There is still such a thing as patience and common courtesy while sitting in a restaurant. Do you know what that is? And if you think we are all killing ourselves, not sitting down, not once for 8 hours straight, going home with horribly sore feet and backs, smelling like grease and food; if you think we are doing this because we love to take your crap then think again. Our employers can’t pay us more by the hour when they have to pay for the hundreds of customers a week that will try anything to get something for free. You will eat almost all of your food and then tell us you didn’t like it and demand that it be taken off of your bill. For those of you that don’t pay your bill at all…guess who has to pay for it….either I do or the restaurant does. Think about that the next time you go out to eat. Or, perhaps, you should try doing this job yourself, for 2 weeks. You will learn the meaning of working hard and earning every single penny you made. Otherwise STAY HOME, we don’t want your business anyway. Wow, that felt pretty good. Thanks for letting me get that out….

By Brandi

March 28, 2009 11:47 PM | Link to this

flipper, ted, funny101, why tip?, Britt, kaetlyn GFY. Some of you might know what I’m saying. But those of you who don’t it means GO F* YOURSELF!

By Angie

March 28, 2009 4:50 PM | Link to this

Funny01, your comment is priceless. I have been a bartender for 10 years, and this may come as a shock to you, but I also have a college degree. Don’t ever assume that you know what a server or bartender does outside of the restaurant, because it is irrelevant. If you receive good service, tip accordingly. If you receive bad service, tip accordingly. Period.

By a srver

March 28, 2009 1:38 PM | Link to this

Another fact you may not know is we actually tip out 3% of our total sales, not tips. Therefore, when you don’t tip on say a $100 bill, your server has to pay $3.00 for you to dine at their table, which adds up everytime someone thinks they don’t have to tip. If you can’t afford to tip, eat fast food or just don’t bother going.

By Staci Casey

March 28, 2009 1:33 PM | Link to this

If you can not afford to tip appropriately, STAY HOME and cook! End of story. If you can not afford to tip your hairdresser go to Walmart and buy a bottle of hair color and do your own hair! If you can not afford to tip a cab driver take the bus! Service providers do exactly that, provide a service. Tipping is appreciated AND expected (Yes even in today’s economy).

By mo

March 28, 2009 1:32 PM | Link to this

I have been serving for 13 years. First of all to Flipper, 10% is an insult. You should just stay home…and tipping little isn’t going to make them try harder next time, just tick them off enough to remember your face so you get really bad service the next time. Bottom line is to just tip your servers. If you can afford to go out to eat what is an extra 15%of your bill??? Tip= To Insure Prompt Service. So, the next time you get good service get off your rump and tip! Just like you don’t have to tip we don’t have to give a rats butt when we see you perpetual bad tippers walking into our restaurants! This subject infuriates me. I don’t understand what is so hard to understand about tipping…it is not a city in China.

By Nicole

March 28, 2009 1:27 PM | Link to this

Flipper-If you stiff your server for bad service or tip 10% flat, then you better not come abck to that restaurant. Servers let EVERY server there know who you are and that you’re a bad tipper. I can guarantee you that. That’s just setting yourself up for bad service everytime you go back there.

By Stiffler's Mom

March 18, 2009 10:57 AM | Link to this

I tip at least 15% for good service, and as much as 20% if it’s exceptional. But if the service is bad (and it’s the server’s fault) I don’t hesitate to tip 10% or lower and let the manager know why. At buffet’s I usually tip a buck or two because they are not paid like normal servers since they are not taxed like normal servers…..based on sales. And it may be the restaurant that taxes on sales. I would check with the IRS to see if that’s the way the law says it has to be done. I usually don’t tip on takeout meals since a lot times the person who takes the order isn’t the same as the person you pay.

By Kaetlyn

March 16, 2009 3:01 PM | Link to this

To begin with…being a waiter/waitress is a “chosen” profession for the most part…and those going into that profession should go into it knowing their base pay is crappy, and be grateful for the tips they receive, but not base their whole livelihood on HAVING to have a certain amt of tips. If that’s the case, they should look for another profession. Not every profession that caters to the public expects to get “tips” for doing it. I’m a nurse, and yeah, my wage is more then $3.25/hr, but I’m also on my feet for 12-14 hours at a time, and handling gallons of pee, poop, and other various secretions from other bodily cavities…being exposed to every bug out there…and get next to no appreciation the majority of the time…instead a lot of ridicule because I can’t be in 10 places at the exact same time. I knew this going into my profession, though…so I accept things the way they are, just as wait-staff should expect that some patrons will tip them, and some will not. I’m sure with the law of averages, they still come out ahead of the game, or they would go looking for a different line of work.

By Jane

March 11, 2009 7:59 PM | Link to this

Funny01, you are anything but funny. Please keep your redneck self at Golden Corral, because that is where you belong. Serving is a real job. I know MANY people who have college degrees but still wait tables because they can’t find a job in their field or just want to work part time. It is obvious you are ignorant and are uneducated yourself. Britt, get your Sutter Home White Zinn or Boone’s Farm and drink at home. Servers don’t set the prices of food or wine. Just like it cost the same to make a cotton tee from Walmart as is does for Holister. You are paying for the lable. If you can afford $50 for a bottle of wine, you can afford to tip!

By satanserver

March 10, 2009 10:04 PM | Link to this

people who are cheap and keep coming back week after week after week have no idea how much power a server has over your food. Think about that and remember to tip responsibily

By Decent tipper

March 10, 2009 10:03 PM | Link to this

Whenever I go to a restaurant, whether I go to Fleming’s or to BW3’s, I plan on tipping 20%. I tip more if service was outstanding and less if service was poor, but I never tip less than 10%. I strongly believe if you cannot afford to tip than you cannot afford to dine out. Dining is a luxury and not a necessity.

By johnnyboy

March 10, 2009 9:43 PM | Link to this

I am a server and have been for 20 some years.I cannot be quiet on this anymore. We all know the difference between professional servers(people who have chosen this as a career)and the girl or guy working their way through school.I have done both.I choose to make it my profession. I made 500.oo gross salary last week .I do not have health insurance , My check was 295.00 who the heck is paying taxes ? None of us are getting rich doing this job. We just want what we deserve and thats 20% people.I agree with alot of the blogs,I love my job but the taxes are serious. Yes I have a degree yes I choose this job but I AINT GETTIN RICH so open your wallet fork it over and I wont lick your fork. Since I did

By Rose

March 10, 2009 5:34 PM | Link to this

Tip according to the quality of the service you get. But tip or stay home and cook your own meal. Or try a drive thru. If you drink alcohol with your meal,tip for the booze also.Wait staff do a job many of us would not or could not do.


March 10, 2009 12:04 AM | Link to this

First of all, let me respond to so-called Funny01, who made the comment about “servers not going to school so they can have a “real job.” I am a server, and the job I do every day is real. I challenge you to do my job for a day, and then tell me it is not a “real job.” By the way, I have a Masters degree. Which is irrelevant, but all the same it moots your point. Second, I would like to respond to Ted, who claims to know the in and outs of the restaurant industry. First of all, you analysis is false. I don’t know what type of restaurant you run, or have worked in, but that is simply not the case of the four fine-dining restaurants that I have worked in for the past 18 years. I have always been required to claim 100% of my tips, and in addition, if I am not tipped on any check, I am still taxed on my total sales.Don’t claim something you do not know. You assume that servers are under claiming, and some may be doing just that, but none that I have worked with in the past 18 years. Lastly, I would like to respond to all those who do not tip in carry-out orders. At the restaurant I work at, we have designated carry-out servers every night. I take the call, ring you order, put it together,bring it to you, and cash you out, and all the while, I have other tables and dine-in guests to take care of. If you do not tip me at least 10%, then I am paying you to do you a service.

By Flat Fee For Servers

March 9, 2009 11:18 PM | Link to this

Why do you tip the same percent on a $25 steak and a $8 burger. It should be a flat fee tip. The server really does not do that much more work, if any. I say $1 per drink, $1 per app, $3 per entree, $1 per dessert. $6 total - could be a $25 dollar bill or $120 bill - more or less same crappy service if you ask me. Bottle of wine -$4 regardless of price. Why tip more on a $59 bottle than a $21 bottle? Does not make sense to me. FLAT FEE, flat taxes, FAIR is FAIR as Billy Jean said.

By britt

March 9, 2009 10:56 PM | Link to this

When an owner carges me $50 for a bottle of wine I can buy at shop for $15, why should I have to pay the additional “tax” on it by tipping the witer? The owner should have that figured in if the server gets taxed on it! When I tip it’s 15% on food before taxes I include the over priced soft drinks but draw the line on liquor. I worked in nice dinner houses for many years as a chef and remember servers only bieng taxed on their hourly pay at a min wage level I used to get sick watching some of them take HUNDREDS of dollars home on a good night after tipping out. They tip the bussers and bar(who alrasdy make a ton on their own) while the cooks were struggling on what ever I could get management to justify for sweating the asses off. I never remember a server throwing them a bone on a good night now matter how much we had done extra for them.

By Why Tip?

March 9, 2009 10:23 PM | Link to this

Why tip? Most service is average at best - usually sub par. I say servers should be glad what they get - they never do side work, the b***h and moan all night long, they smoke every 10 minutes, the cry about working nights, they always have to leave bc their kid is sick, the pretend to go to school, they stab other servers in the back all the time, they talk horrible about management, they form clicks that hurt the business, they always steal food and sometimes alcohol, they call off on the weekends, the booze till all hours of the night, the do drugs and can’t really get anything worth while done in their lives. Not all servers are like this, but 99% of servers have 4 or 5 of the above attributes. They are a pain in the a*s to work with… I managed many of these punks and maybe 1 out of 10 was worth a sh*t, for real, and they always b***h about money. But smoke and drink all the time. Give me a break. Your tips go to smokes and shots and weed. Most, to be honest, are losers. Sorry, it is just the truth… and most of you know it.

By Funny01

March 9, 2009 10:14 PM | Link to this

Since these servers are going to cry about it (and don’t go to school so they can have a real job), I will just eat at places where I don’t have to pay for a server, but still get good quality food at a reasonable price. I’d rather carry my food to a table and refill my own drinks than pay 20% for some server that brings the food out cold and forgets to refill drinks.

By Glen

March 9, 2009 9:35 PM | Link to this

In response to Bella 12:51 PM - If the restaurants paid the servers more, your meal price would go up. Paying the servers less keeps your meal cost lower.

By Mary

March 9, 2009 9:02 PM | Link to this

Tim, move to Europe. If the system was different, the cost of food would be a lot higher. Servers, bar tenders, bussers and sometimes even hosts are ALL paid by your tip. Not just the server. If restaurants had to pay them minimum wage, service standards would go down (have you been to Taco Bell, they work minimum wage.) I would not wait tables for minimum wage, if you have ever waited tables you would understand. TIPS means To Insure Proper Service.

By R J..Miamisburg, Oh

March 9, 2009 8:45 PM | Link to this

BB, you have never Oops dumped a pitcher of beer/water on someone that was giving you a hard time? I’ve seen it done a few times and trust me, the person nevers gives them a hard time the next trip in. OK so some may not show back up, Fine with those who had to serve that person.. I have never tipped on a carry out order. The only thing the food place did was to get it ready. That is the only service. So no Tip. I know that TIP is suppose to mean something, can’t put my finger on it.

By seth

March 9, 2009 8:37 PM | Link to this

Don’t tip based on your meal price. If u eat at say Flemings and it costs $100 you tip $20 for good service. But if u eat at waffle house you tip $5 dollars for exceptional service. Even though that waffle house waitress treated you better she made less. Tip based on service. Not meal prices.

By Ted

March 9, 2009 8:32 PM | Link to this

Listen here folks. I’m a former waiter, business owner and entreprenuer. Soon, I will again become the owner of a Dayton area restaurant. Let’s clear the air. Everyone in the restaurant works at the behest and benefit of the business. Ohio law requires a total minimum wage to every worker, servers as well. Ohio law further requires that the sub-minimum wage of $3.65/hr paid must be supplemented by the employer to bring the total up to or exceeding minimum wage. Here’s a simplified example for a server who works 40 hrs in a pay period and received $300 in tips. Multiply 40 x $7.35 (min wage)= $294.00. This is the minimum wages due the server from the employer. The server’s base pay is 40 x $3.65 = $146.00 plus the $300 tip income. The server actually earned $446, which is actually $152.00 more than minimum wage. On the other hand, if the server only admits to receiving $50.00 of the $300 tips actually received, the total reported is only $146 + $50 = $196.00. Therein lies the problem for the employer. The employer must makeup the difference between the of $98.00 ($294 - $196). The server actually got $446, but because of under-reporting the tips received, the employer has to pay another $98.00 or total of $544.00 to the server. In this example the server gets $544/40=$13.60 per hour, some of it to the employers expense. The I.R.S. imparts a percentage of sales by the server as calculated tip income to offset what is believed to be under-reporting of by servers, waiters etc. Employers due the same in some fashion to protect their interest. The prevailing IRS and Employer see it as common knowledge that under-reporting occurs. Personally, it’s irrelavent how the IRS and Employer work it out. Not all servers under-report tips. Furthermore, the truth of the matter is that all income generated by the restaurant, whether it’s services, food sales or tip’s, belongs to the restaurant owner. Servers are not independent contractors working their own customers using the restaurants’ facility for a fee. Sub-minimum wage and tips was just a way to create a flex-pay scale for some staff in the food and hospitality fields. As a customer, I patronize the restaurant and am only obliged to pay the prices for the food I order as it listed on the menu. No customer should ever condone such nonsense or the idea that by not tipping, they’re are taking from the server. The Restaurant should price it’s quality of service and food accordingly for the customer and pay it’s wait staff comensurate with their talents. Bad servers should be fired. They air agents of the restaurant. Good servers should be paid well. They are also agents of the restaurant. Tips should be earned and are not simply due. Servers do not “work” for the customer. They work for the restaurant…period. By the way, my friends and associates frequently comment on how gracious I “tip” my waitresses, waiters and sometimes even send a $5.00 tip directly to the cook/chef. I am not cheap. I’m learned enough to know that tipping anyone for services rendered is an action that is above and beyond what’s required … certainly above what any server should expect from their bosses clients or customers. RESTAURANT OWNERS SHOULD PAY THEIR SERVERS IN A REASONABLE WAGE. SERVERS SHOULD REMEMBER WHO THEY WORK FOR.


March 9, 2009 8:04 PM | Link to this

If you feel you are constantly receiving bad service, you might want to step back and see how you treat people. I wait tables and I do my very best to ensure my customers leave happy, my paycheck depends on it. If you want you experience to go a little smoother, you can do a few things to make the experience good for everyone. First, if you are waiting for someone in your group, wait to be seated. If your guest is even 15 or 20 min late, that takes income away from the server. Someone else can be 1/2 way finished with their meal by that time. If you are meeting someone you haven’t seen in awhile and plan on being there for awhile, go on a weeknight and let your server know. They prob. won’t bother you as much. Keep in mind, it is a business. Managers are trying to get as many people served in the night they can. If you spend 3 hours “catching up” that could cut a servers income by 1/3 (if the server has a 3 table section which is standard.) If you are in a hurry for lunch, bring exact cash or use a credit card. That will cut your wait time for your change. It takes about 60 sec per person to cash people out. Special requests are fine, please note it takes extra time for those. If the hostess seats you, and you request a different table, that is fine, but remember they are using a rotation so one server doesn’t get all the tables at once. Please be patient if your server doesn’t come immediately because your request may have put them behind. Always treat the server the way you would like to be treated. Servers are unlike any other customer service industry. If a customer is rude to a bank teller, the bank teller can react accordingly. A server cannot defend themselves.

By ted

March 9, 2009 8:00 PM | Link to this

Jen - I tip 15-20% when I go out to eat. I tip $1 when I pick up. Many on here are complaining that the rest. assumes 10% on all sales. If you are getting 15-20% on dine in and nothing on take out, it should average out to 10% at most. If you are paying taxes on actual tips, the estimated 10% of sales should be equal to or less than the actual tips. In other words, unless you’re cheating on your taxes (I’m not saying you are), it shouldn’t matter that the rest. is assuming 10% of all sales are tipped.

By Sue

March 9, 2009 7:38 PM | Link to this

Depending one where you get your hair done, and what you have done. Independent places either take 50% of the person’s sales or charge them a rent for the space. If the owner of the place cut your hair it is different than if it is the employee. The employee is on an hourly rate, salary or commission. They also went to school to learn how to do hair. It is a trade and a profession. If your kid is a brat and won’t sit still, you should help the stylist and then tip them for their effort due to your lack of parenting. If you get a color or perm, you are taking up 60-120 mins of their time and should tip accordingly.As far as carry outs go. Someone takes your order, puts your food together and brings it out to your car in the cold or in the rain. they do provide a service but no more that 10%.


March 9, 2009 7:32 PM | Link to this

I have been a server for 9 years. It is a great job for someone who wants to work part-time. I have been reading all of the comments, and felt the need to put my 2 cents in. I don’t agree with the tip expected for a carry-out order. Why should they tip? We did not provide any service to them. Maybe they didn’t go out because they didn’t feel like cooking, but wanted a good meal, but really couldn’t afford a tip on top of that. I would rather them do carry-out, than not tip me if they ate at the restaurant. With the economy the way it is, I totally understand. I think that your attitude has a lot to do with the kind of service you give to your customers, and how they tip accordingly. If you are a server only there to make a buck, then it reflects the kind of service you provide. If you truly love serving, and always give exceptional service, the people see that, and tip well, and come back to the restaurant again and again, and even ask for you. You start to build repeat patrons, and even make friends in the process. If you are a good server, you can make a career out of it, and really make good money, heck even more than teachers or others with Bachelor degrees. It’s all about your attitude.

By Jen

March 9, 2009 7:27 PM | Link to this

actually ted, i do claim all my tips. we are required to keep track of what we make. sometimes, i have to clam more than what i make because i tip out. the computer automatically claims all my credit card tips so if i only get credit card tips, i claim all of them but still tip out. don’t assume things about people you don’t know. just because YOU might be dishonest doesn’t mean everyone else is. is that why you cheat your server out of their pay? because you assume they are only claiming part? seriously.

By ben

March 9, 2009 7:27 PM | Link to this

I don’t care if they are reporting 20% or not. Nothing makes the dinner better then good service. I start at 20% and it goes down from there. A good server deserves a good wage.

By Ted

March 9, 2009 6:50 PM | Link to this

Guys - The gov’t is assuming 10% of sales. You are asking for 20% in tips. Are you reporting the extra 10% as taxable income? No?

By rene

March 9, 2009 6:31 PM | Link to this

We tip;12%-15%. 12% if all the server does is take the order and nothing else, more based on what the server actually does for us.We leave 4% or less if the service is exceptionally poor and we always tell the management.20% if the server goes above and beyond the call of duty to make our dining experience a pleasure.

By former server

March 9, 2009 5:57 PM | Link to this

As a former server, it always amazed me how cheap and rude people could be. yes, the Sunday afternoon crowd was the worst. Just because you are excited about your Christian religion doesn’t mean your server is. And no!, your little pamphlets don’t pay your servers rent. It was surprising how many people didn’t know how to figure 10%,15%, or 20%. For example a bill that is $20.00 would make a 10% tip $2.00. Double that amount to $4.00. That would equal 20%. Some readers may scoff at my example, but many people freeze when having to come up with the tipping percentage in their head. For customers with little children, please leave a little extra since the server has to clean up the cheerios and crackers that have been ground into the floor under the table.

By Doug

March 9, 2009 5:24 PM | Link to this

To answer the few people that think the entire concept of tipping should be dimissed. Tipping encourages better service, period. For the places near your home or business that you frequently visit, expect far better service and to be slightly catered to when you have history of being a good tipper. The servers talk, a good tipper will be sought after and catered to. It may not happen every time but being a god tipper will reward the visitor with advantages of being seated quickly (even though a wait exists for others), complimentary appetizers, deserts and or drinks. I generally tip closer to 20%, 15% is reserved for rare occasions of poor service. I entirely agree with all the posts indicating that the current econmony should not affect yor tip. If you don;t have money to tip appropriately, then you do not have money to dine out.

By D

March 9, 2009 5:15 PM | Link to this

Carry out orders are usually assembled and packed by wait staff. At least it was in the restaurant I ran for six years. When you go to McDonalds you have a cashier. They are paid a wage. At most restaurants your server is paid a percentage of the minimum wage plus gratuity from customers but unlike the cashier who is taxed on their income a server is taxed on the total dollar in sales. Computers now track every sale they enter into the POS system. So by not tipping the carryout person you are effectively taking money out of their pocket. Pretty much the same for any type of service. If you don’t tip they loose money. And to be honest, anyone who dosn’t tip is the lowest form of human and dosn’t belong in civilized society.

By gary

March 9, 2009 5:06 PM | Link to this

Its great to hear from those who ARE working in the industry.Tipping is the customers worst nightmare. Most servers are ontop of their game and do the best, customers are always right but not necessarily. When I go out depending on the service I will leave a good tip. and I make less money with a culinary degree!

By Tim

March 9, 2009 5:04 PM | Link to this

In Europe there is minimal tipping, the cost of everything is up front. It is more expensive to eat out, however serviers earn a decent wage, and no one is rushing you out of your table to seat the next tipper.

By Tom

March 9, 2009 5:04 PM | Link to this

20% is the going rate these days, folks. Inflation, you know. If I can’t afford to leave 20% of the tab for the waiter/waitress, then I should be eating at home.

By Pharrell

March 9, 2009 4:55 PM | Link to this

And to add to Jenn’s point, how dare you assume I want your god in my life? I’m not a server so I’ll ask - is it just the Christians that leave those terrible little tracts? Do other faiths have the booklets?

By Ted

March 9, 2009 4:39 PM | Link to this

Karen - I tip for service. When I get carryout, there is little or no service and therefore little or no tip. If you are getting taxed on carryout tips, you should discuss that with your employer. The term server denotes service. Its impossible to serve someone who is picking up a meal.

By Jenn

March 9, 2009 4:26 PM | Link to this

I can’t stand to work on Sunday, but am required to. Church people are the worst. I don’t understand because you JUST came from Church where you learn to not judge people and have patience. Then, you leave 10% and a pamphlet about how to bring God into my life. How dare you assume that he is not? You say you leave 10% because that is what you tithe. I am not asking for 20% of you income, just of your bill!

By Jennifer

March 9, 2009 4:14 PM | Link to this

I work at a nice restaurant by the mall. I have a B.S., and I work part time so that I can be with my kids more. I know tipping is taboo. However, you know when you go out to eat where there will be a server, you are supposed to tip. It is not the server’s fault. I tip out 3.5% of my sales. If you stiff me, I PAY for you to eat. Even at $3.65 and hour, I do not get a paycheck. I give great service. I think people expect servers to entertain them. You are there to eat and drink. We are there to serve you that. If you are meeting someone you haven’t seen in awhile, or are trying to have a meeting, I suggest you go somewhere where you will not be bothered. If you are sitting at my table, I assume you are there to eat. If you are there for another purpose do not get mad if I am trying to do my job. If you sit and look at pictures all night, I lose money. If you ask for a plate of lemons and 10 baskets of bread, please don’t get mad if I can’t make it magically appear. By the way,at your house do you use 10 lemon slices in your water? Do you eat a loaf of bread with dinner? Do you let your child throw food on the floor and not pick it up? Do you drink a six pack of soda? The sugar packets are not for Junior to play in because you are too busy to parent. People use them for their drinks, and to make there own lemonade with their plate of lemons. We are human, if you think serving is an easy stress free job, I challenge you to try it. Serving has jaded me to people. People can be so rude. I am not an idiot. If I forget something, it is a mistake. I am sure you forget things from time to time at your job and your boss doesn’t deduct it from your pay. I don’t expect to people to tip over the standard amount. But, what do you consider bad service? If your server is rude, messes up your order, or forgets something, ask for a manager. We have NO control on how long your food takes or if it comes out incorrectly or cold. We do not cook it. If things take longer, it is because I am busy, not because I am ignoring you. You are not the only one customer I have! I am sure at your job you get busy and sometimes it takes longer to do simple things like answer the phone. I do not think you should pay your hard earned money for a meal, have a bad experience and still leave 20%. I just think you should be aware of what is going on around you. Bad service is subjective. You may not like your server, but that does not always equal bad service.

By susan

March 9, 2009 4:01 PM | Link to this

Thanks for the opportunity to sound off. My boyfriend is a server in one of the better local restaurants. I know how hard he works to make his guests visit a pleasant experience. Not only are tips down but he also has to deal with idiots who are rude, don’t control their kids, use profanity, and in general, are disrespectful (not only to him but the other diners around them). Granted,this a small percentage of his patrons but that type of behavior shouldn’t exist at all. If you are plannning a meal out it only makes sense to tip the person who has spent the past hour or 2 serving you…

By Pharrell

March 9, 2009 3:41 PM | Link to this

Karen, I was with you until you came back for the carryouts. I can’t bring myself to tip on those. But I hardly every get them and since I’m tipping well on every pint of sweet, sweet beer that I drink, I think I’m probably in the clear.

By Karen

March 9, 2009 3:33 PM | Link to this

Sorry I’m back, did forget to mention carryouts. The servers also need to be tipped for carryouts at the restaurants that make them tip out based on their sales. These charges are included in their daily sales. In other words it will be taken out of their monsterous $3.25/hr. income.

By Kim

March 9, 2009 3:31 PM | Link to this

This is the way restaurants have always done it and I can’t imagine a change coming any time soon. And it’s NOT minimum wage - it’s much less than that! I’ve always thought it was ridiculous, but that’s the way it is and everyone knows it. My daughter works as a server, so I appreciate what they go through. In her restaurant - there is no busser - so they order your food, fetch your refills, pick up your dirty dishes, wipe up your mess and vacuum up after you, along with all of the checking and fetching in between. I have watched her work many times, and she is good at what she does, but she sure isn’t always appreciated. It is disappointing to see how rude and thoughtless so many people can be. I agree - it’s a rough economy - but eating out is NOT a RIGHT, so if you can’t afford to tip - STAY HOME. She has actually had people say to her that it was too expensive, so “there goes your tip” - unbelievable. The prices are on the menu - this was not a secret - don’t blame your server because you didn’t bother to look at it. Also - keep in mind that your table is valuable real estate to a server/restaurant. Sitting there indefinitely would be rather like pulling your car into a carwash, putting it in park and walking away, or paying the first month’s rent on an apartment but then stiffing the landlord while you continue to stay - you are preventing them from making additional income. If you want to sit - that’s fine - but pay the “rent” and tip accordingly because you are preventing them from earning their living. A classic example is people who will just meet for a cup of coffee and sit there to talk for hours and think that $1 tip is fine - go to McDonald’s or Panera or somewhere else that the employees are paid a real wage! Or - if it means that much to you to sit in a restaurant to talk - then tip accordingly. I will add that I’m NOT an advocate of tipping well for bad service - tipping does give you the option for some control over your dining experience, vs. just increasing the price of the food and paying regular wages. That would eliminate the incentive to take good care of you. I always tip something even when it’s bad - typically 10% - but I think it’s important to recognize when you have received great service. I am mystified as to why someone would think that they didn’t need to tip on a bottle of wine, but we know that Uncle Sam is scared to death that someone might make a dollar that he doesn’t get his share of!

By Karen

March 9, 2009 3:27 PM | Link to this

If you cannot afford to tip the server, then you cannot afford to go out to eat. The tip should be included in your “eating out”budget. Anyone that eats out from the US should know this. At times cultural differences (i.e. Great Britan)will cause someone not to know these rules of thumb. The min. tip in 2009 is 15%, with 20% being the standard. Many nicer restaurants require their servers to tip out the bar, food runner and bus persons based on their sales, not whether or not they receive an appropriate tip from John / Jane Doe Cheopo-Angry at the World. There are exceptions such as an incredibly rude, incompetent server, but if you consider that the source of problems can easily be the kitchen, please try to differ between the 2. Never worked in a retaurant in my life, but know those that have suffer through it.


March 9, 2009 3:04 PM | Link to this

We enjoy eating out. If I am by myself I usually tip between 18-20%. If two of us my husband will only tip 15% if he pays. When I pay for the two of us I again will tip between 18-20%. If the service is horrible 10% or less, depending on how bad it was. Yes we usually do tell management if service is bad just as we tell management if service was excellent.

By goodserver

March 9, 2009 2:53 PM | Link to this

At my restaurant, bartenders and bussers also make $3.65 an hour, and the servers tip-out 4.2% of their sales to them. Doesn’t sound like much, but on busy nights I tip-out $40-$60. So if you don’t tip on your $50 bill, for example, it just cost me $2 to wait on you, not to mention you took up a table that could have been occupied by better tippers.

By null

March 9, 2009 2:49 PM | Link to this

Some of these comments are exactly why I moved out of Dayton…

By Pharrell

March 9, 2009 2:46 PM | Link to this

Dunkards, Steve? The people of Dunkardia? Or do you possibly mean those who hang out at Dunkin Donuts? Aren’t a lot of them owned by people from India? Wouldn’t that make Indians and Dunkards pretty much the same thing? Is Steve posting from the department of redundancies department? Unless he meant drunkards. But that makes no sense. Speaking as a drunkard I can tell you that Iím an excellent tipper. In fact, there have been times when Iíve left my entire wallet on the table.

By College Kid

March 9, 2009 2:44 PM | Link to this

Why do college kids tip the best? I’m reading these responses and can hardly believe that most of you only tip 15%. As a college kid, who makes about $8,000 a year, I figure out 20% of the bill, and round up to the next full dollar. Only time I tip less is if the tip is already figured in or if the service was absolutely terrible. The servers need this money to get by, this is their income, don’t short them!

By BigJack

March 9, 2009 2:39 PM | Link to this

I usually tip pretty well I think. However, I will NOT tip on an order that I have to pick up myself. I will usually leave a buck or so at a buffet if they get my drinks, rolls, etc. But if I have to do it all myself, I don’t tip at all.

By Steve

March 9, 2009 2:33 PM | Link to this

Someone should cover Tipping 101 with Indians and Dunkards. They are the cheapest and servers hate when they are seated in their section. And they will sit there for hours taking up valuable seating that could have more valuable guests sitting in them.

By KaCee

March 9, 2009 2:30 PM | Link to this

I tip 10% for carryout if my order is complete; someone had to put the order together to make sure it’s all there…less if stuff is missing. Generally we tip 15%, but only on the food…I do not like the listed tips, they usually calcuate it on the entire bill, including tax. I don’t tip on tax! There are a few places we’ve had exceptional servers and they get 20%.

By geez

March 9, 2009 2:02 PM | Link to this

I’m with Rodger. I didn’t get a tip doing my job. They should get a regular pay check and work the same as everyone. I hate the idea of tipping and I’m not a cheap person. Like a hair dresser. They charge a great deal and still want a tip.Maybe I look at things wrong. I do leave a tip, but I feel let them do their job and pay them a wage. Maybe we all should stay home and let them shut down. No I don’t tip if I get out of my car and walk in and pick up my order.To me tipping is when someone goes out of their way for you, not doing their job. guess I’ll get three slaps with a wet noodle.

By null

March 9, 2009 1:54 PM | Link to this

I refuse to tip on a carry out order. There is nothing to tip for!!!!! The cash register should be using the manager’s log on.

By cat daddy

March 9, 2009 1:51 PM | Link to this

I think it is important to understand that if you go out to eat and have a server, you should tip at least 15 %…. However, I do not think that if you pick up food for carryout, you should have to do the same. When you pick up a pizza, you do not tip the guy at the desk. Carryout orders should be placed within in the system, not on individuals final sales for the day. If anything, maybe a dollar, but not anything more for an order of wings from bw3s. Hell, they are already way marked up as it is.

By Jer

March 9, 2009 1:30 PM | Link to this

Tipping is a personal thing. By that I mean you shouldn’t have to announce at the cash register the amount you want to leave. Wanting to have the tip on the credit card I take it to the cashier where she asks outloud the amount I want to add for tip. Some places just give you the receipt and let you fill in the amount then they ring it up. But to be asked at the cash register the amount you want to leave is wrong. Only solution is to leave a cash tip at the table, but then you may not have a complete record of your spending, especially if on business expense where you shouldn’t have to use your own money. As for buffets usually leave dollar per person which is usually about 10% and I know they don’t have to deal with being taxed on amount of the dinner.

By Ann

March 9, 2009 1:29 PM | Link to this

I agree with PK. We eat out quite often. We never tip less than 15% of the total bill. Great service-20%. On holidays-a bit more than 20%. My cousin told me that if you received BAD service, you do not leave a tip and place a penny upside down on the table. Still-knowing this I have never done it. I still tip. I appreciate the work my server does and I let them know it.

By Roger

March 9, 2009 1:21 PM | Link to this

Tipping is a strange cultural tradition that has no real benefit to the server or the patron. Because server’s rely on tips for income, I tip, but on principal I think it worthless. Servers should be paid fair wages like everyone else instead of this silly adjusted minimum wage for the service industry. That would likely mean that menu prices would have to increase to cover the cost — that’s OK. In fact, it’s better than OK. The consumer would know total cost of their restaurant experience upfront and the server would earn a steady paycheck. Lastly, about the government taxing servers based on total sales. That’s a problem the restaurant industry should take up with the government and not pass it on to the consumer. Taxing on total sales is ridiculous. With normal wages they would be taxed on their income the same way everyone else is. Though it would be nice to see income taxes disappear altogether and replaced with a more fair tax system like a national retail sales tax that taxes people on what they spend, not what they earn, but that’s a whole other conversation.

By flipper

March 9, 2009 1:19 PM | Link to this

I tip 10% flat. If the service was exceptional then it could go up to 20%. If it was really bad, nothing. They get the message and try harder next time.


March 9, 2009 1:14 PM | Link to this

I personally tip 15-25% based on service. If I am on company business and cannot tip but 15% (at lunch say)and receive great service, I will usually let the server know I am adding cash for their great service.


March 9, 2009 1:14 PM | Link to this

I know it’s a unpopular position, but I would much rather just be charged an appropriate amount for the meal allowing the employer to pay his/her serving employees an appropriate wage. I can then decide myself beforehand what i want to spend. The tipping process can be very intimidating/unenjoyable for the customer.That’s just my opinion.

By former waitress

March 9, 2009 1:05 PM | Link to this

First off to Bella - The restaurant owners are going to pay what they need to pay. Minimum wage. Secondly - I can vouch for the fact that the servers are taxed and sometimes have to “cash out” a portion of their tips to the “food-runners”, bussers, and hosts. Please do not go out unless you are prepared to tip. Otherwise, stay at home. However, if service is bad, I will not tip well and sometimes leave a note as to why I didn’t tip well.

By ted

March 9, 2009 12:59 PM | Link to this

I agree that its terrible not to properly tip the server when eating out. Picking up an order, however, is not eating out. It’s picking up an order. The “server” walks out to your car and hands you the food. Sorry, but the service level is not even close. If I’m expected to tip when picking up an order, I’ll cook myself.

By cin

March 9, 2009 12:57 PM | Link to this

We always tip, even if the service is bad, and when that happens, we tip accordingly. We recently dined out and it was nice to see on the bill the amount to tip for 15,18,and 20% written on the bill so that we didn’t have to figure it out. I thought that was a nice feature, and there is no mistake on the amount to tip! If you can’t tip though, then don’t eat out, it’s not fair to the server who is also trying to make a living.

By bella

March 9, 2009 12:51 PM | Link to this

why should we (the public who eat out) have to pick up the slack because these big-shot rich diner owners don’t want to pay their employees but $3.00 an hour? how did that get made our problem? people that eat out are struggling just as much as the servers. the employers should take more responsibility in paying their laborers (servers) a decent wage! don’t get me wrong, i do tip, infact always 20%, but this topic really frustrates me!

By Charles

March 9, 2009 12:37 PM | Link to this

We eat out twice a week and tip 15-20% even when the kids choose one of the family buffet resturants we still tip. Stay home if you cannot afford to tip.

By Sassy

March 9, 2009 12:32 PM | Link to this

Well, I didn’t know about the tipping on wine as well. However, I haven’t ordered an bottle, but just a glass. Also, I am not so sure about takeout orders require a tip as like those who sit in for their meal.

By Ted

March 9, 2009 12:16 PM | Link to this

I have to agree with PK’s last line: ” if you can afford to eat out, you can afford to tip. Otherwise, stay home. ” Amen

By Hillary

March 9, 2009 11:30 AM | Link to this

I tip at least 15% unless the service was bad… and then I tip accordingly, but that doesn’t make a lot of sense. What about places where you have multiple servers helping you? How do they work out who gets taxed for which sales? Or places where the carryout register is logged in as one person? That’s definitely not fair to the servers.


March 9, 2009 10:55 AM | Link to this

Flat 15% on meals I am served. 20% if there was exceptional service. 10% if the service was extraordinarily bad. I would be ashamed to not tip someone who counts on them for their living. I agree with the point in the article — if you can afford to eat out, you can afford to tip. Otherwise, stay home.


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