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    Tips on Tipping
    BY: Stephen Richardson
    Dated: 2009-02-02 19:49:10

    Key Words:
    Tip Tipping Restaurant Server Service Waiter

    Tipping for many can be an unsettling task especially when you are out with a group of other and you don’t want to stand out from the crowd. This is a short guide on when, and how much to tip.

    Full Article:

    Tipping for many can be an unsettling task especially when you are out with a group of other and you don/'t want to stand out from the crowd. Though tipping is used widely I will keep this discussion to restaurant tipping. Though most tipping is discretionary, restaurant tipping is generally expected. Some people would go as far as to say that when service is good you are morally obligate to tip. Tipping as a moral obligation seems a bit much of a reach for me, but keep in mind, it is both customary and expected in most locations.

    General rule: Generally the tip should be 15%-20% of the total bill. Obviously 20% is the reward for great service but if the server went way above and beyond the call of duty than tipping more is fine. Tipping on alcohol is expected to remain at 15-20% of the total bill but on expensive wines 10% is acceptable. 

    Double Time: If you have remained seated twice the length of time that would be considered normal then your tip should be doubled because you have in reality cost the server one extra tip.

    Pre / Post tax: Typically the tip is calculated pre tax. 

    Coupons and gift certificates: You should tip based on the original price. 

    What if the service is already overly expensive: When you are deciding where to eat choose a location that fits your budget and your budget should include a 15% tip.  

    Have mercy:  This is a debatable issue. Some people argue that servers are only people and they can have a bad day and thus a tip is always warranted even if the service was not up to par. My opinion is that if a person is having a bad day but feels they are still able to work they should be professional enough to not let it effect their performance. That being said I always leave a tip but if service is really bad I do not mind dropping below the generally accepted 15% minimum. Also, keep in mind that a bad tip will not correct a problem so you should try to speak with a manager if possible.  

    The List Of Tips

    Food server - 15-20%.

    Alcohol with food – 15-20% of bill or 10% on expensive wines.

    Bartender - 15-20% or $1 per beer or wine and $2 per mixed drink. If at the bar before a meal, settle up with the bartender before you go to your table.

    Ordering at front (Cafeteria style) - no tip necessary, but if décor is typical of a sit down restaurant consider 5-10%

    Self-service restaurant or buffet - Nothing unless there is some service. Tip 5-10% if the server delivers all or part of your meal or keeps your drinks refilled.

    Takeout – Typically nothing, but if you get good service then at your choice you can tip $1-2 or up to 10%. 

    Drive through - Nothing.

    Teppanyaki chef - 15-20% of the total bill. The gratuity will be split among the wait staff and the chef.

    Café tip jars – Nothing necessary. If your order is complicated or the service was great then consider 5-10%

    Cocktail server - 15-20%. For free drinks in Vegas, tip $1-2 per round.

    Wine steward or sommelier - 10% of wine bill.

    Busboys - Nothing, unless he did something extra special like cleaning up a huge mess. Then give him $1-2.

    Maitre d - Nothing, unless he gets you a special table or the restaurant is full and you had no reservation. Then give $5-10 or more.

    Coat check - $1

    Restroom attendant - $1

    Musician that visits table - $2-3 if you make a special request. Optional if he just stops by and plays.

    All other tip jars – I personally ignore them, its your call.

    So that’s all there is to tipping…

    Once again this is just a suggestion not a moral obligation. Tipping is discretionary even though it is customary and expected in some areas for certain services such as restaurants. It you think that tipping is stupid then don’t tip. If that’s your stance then I would suggest you not complain that minimum wage is too low. Keep in mind that you are being served with the expectation of a tip of 15-20% and if you know that you will not be tipping perhaps you should let the server know in advance. I expect your service will suffer.

    Many of these ideas have come from a variety of articles around the web and this is a list of the more commonly referred to amounts.