Advice on Tips

Hey. You. Yeah, you. You know what you did. Oh, what’s that? You’re not from ’round here? Mmmm. Well. You still know what you did.

“Everything was great. We had SUCH a wonderful time…”

That’s not a tip. That’s a compliment, and you know it. Nothing like the “Tip You With A Compliment” tip.

“Zis es SUCH unt vonderful place! Here es unt 9 percent tip vor such unt vonderful service!”

Yeah. Stop playing the “We don’t tip in my country, so they must not tip in yours” card.

Waiters live off tips, at least in America, they do. I find it hard to believe that in this information age, people are still in the dark about how much to tip your server. So here it is: We make $4.85 an hour. That’s right—less than five friggin’ dollars. We live off of tips. 20% is the going rate. Granted, if your server sucks, tip less. But keep in mind how very little we make by the hour and also keep in mind that the whole staff is probably sharing tips, so when you leave a crappy tip, it’s a bad tip for everyone working.

I don’t mean to sound bitter, but at my particular restaurant, we have to “suck up” to the customer no matter how crap-ass the tip is. And we aren’t supposed to confront the customer even if they leave one dollar on a 500-dollar bill. That gets a bit annoying. Like a big zit on the side of your face ready to pop. But you’re not allowed to touch it.

Here’s a quick and easy way to figure out a good tip:
(First off, don’t just “double the tax” to get the correct amount. That’s about 15%. Boo. None of that.)

If you want to leave a good tip take the full amount (let’s say $100.00 to make it easy) and move the decimal over one space to the left (giving you $10.00) and then double THAT amount (giving you $20.00). Easy. There’s your 20%.

Waiting tables is a hard, demanding job. And don’t you realize that we are handling your FOOD?! Why would you be an asshole to someone deciding the fate (and CLEANLINESS) of your food?

Like I’ve said before, if EVERYONE on earth had to be a waiter for at least a month, the world would be a wonderful, peaceful, respectful place.


15 responses to “Advice on Tips”

  1. Hear Hear!!

  2. JJ, I couldn't agree more. I have employed that same tip calculation method for the last few years. I have never been a waiter but I had a stint as a short order cook while I lived in Boston. Even though I didn't get tips in the kitchen, the plight of the hard working, nacho-toting, beer-slinging waiter/waitress was very real. I always believed in decent tipping but working in that kitchen absolutely brought it home.
    If you can afford to eat out, you can afford to pay the ENTIRE bill, gratuity included.

    Check out this cheap bitch hall of shame from

  3. I know what you mean, I concider myself to be a charming young rouge but for some reason people will leave tips that won't even buy my bus ticket home, but then again I usually walk). Also im younger so for some reason people decide to tip me less. Here is my theory though, if your wearing cheap clothes then a cheap tip is fine (no less then 15%) however for ever step up you should add more money, from sweater vests to tuxes pay me more. Although if your wearing a sweater vest you may just go under the radar due to your foxyness.

  4. Josiah, I know what you're saying but a few things (as I'm the one usually paying the tip)

    1) I hate being guilted into paying a tip for terrible service

    2) I usually want to be left alone, being pestered constantly by service really pisses me off…I'm *less* likely to tip actually. The higher class the place, the more they understand this. More service seems to be there to either get tip or usually hurry you off the table for the next customer.

    3) Pay is variable here and some places automatically add it on, which although means I don't have to pay it I hate cos I'm never sure if the waiters get it…but you never know which places the tips are actually needed or whether the staff are well paid – it seems to vary place to place

    4) Threatening to mess with my food if I don't tip is actually less likely to make me tip. I'm stubborn like that in the face of threats…

  5. Just Josiah Avatar
    Just Josiah

    Yes indeed Tim. You should never feel "guilted" into leaving a tip. And I actually find that the more I let a table be, often times, they leave a better tip. My job is to make your dining experience the most relaxing and enjoyable as possible. A good waiter will barley be noticed by the diner. Your water will be full, your drinks replenished and extraneous articles on the table removed. All while you're having a lovely conversation with whomever you've brought along. That deserves a good tip. And I have never personally messed with anyone's food. But I'm sure it happens is all I'm saying. Tips shouldn't be a forced, added on thing. It should be a "Thank you for a good job" in a tangible way.

  6. Yeah, or your waiter might start up a blog like this one: or possibly some poor husband, like me, will have to listen to his wife cry about the horrible people who short-change her daily.

    20% at the least!

  7. Nice article Mr. J

    I leave 20%, unless I get shitty service, then you get 15%. If I know you and we're friends, then you get 25%… this is why I never visit you at work. I wouldn't be able to afford it.

  8. SSSStacy Avatar

    Try this on for size, as I do the waiting shit for a living as well….If the server smiles at you more than once, looks you in the eyes and shows their concern for your time being well spent, tip 20%! If they don't seem concerned with you and don't seem to LISTEN to what you are saying tip 15% if your food was on time and drinks refilled blah, blah. If they are rude and you had a BAD time because of the server (not the food-we don't cook or the bussers/helpers) then tip less like 10%. Lastly, before you feel the need to leave less than that, turn and look at the foreigners working there perhaps illegal aliens who are doing there job bussing and maybe running the food just trying to get by on hopefully $360/week. You're tipping them too!!!

  9. Kiwi Andy Avatar
    Kiwi Andy

    How's this for a tip:

    "Another show please"

    Yes, I am an ungrateful bastard!

  10. Tips? whatever-I'm a Jew.

  11. Just Josiah Avatar
    Just Josiah

    In Amy The Nin-Jew's case it's called "circumcision."

  12. In Just Josiah's case it is called "goy" :)

  13. Let me see if I understand.

    Becasue of YOUR lack of either training or education you have been relegated to working in food service industry.

    Therefore it is my problem that you only get paid $.4.50+ by the owner (This is the person that got the education or traing to move up.

    If I do not give you the TIP YOU feel you deserve ,you are implying that you might do something nasty or unsanitary to my food (Which I paid for).

    Doe the concept of threats mean anything to you.

    How about if I imply that if you screw with my food I will rip your head off and place in in an opening in your body?

    Little bit diffeenet if viewed from the other side ?

    TIPs are a direct result of the service that YOU provide.

    If you ae having issues with the cook, bus person etc. that is your issue not mine.

    Talk to the owner of the establishment.

    I will not tip on alcohol (It is so overpriced the owner can afford to transfer some of the massive profits from alcohol to the staff (Your issue to discuss with them).

    I do not tip on the sales tax.

    TIPS = To Improve Performance & Service

    How about if I set up a deduction system (starting with the imagniary 20% and for every "slight" that I feel I deduct a percentage.

    Get a life.

    So if one were to combine the TIPS you receive during a hours of work (assuming a one hour meal per table) how many tables do you serive at a time.

    So the $20.00 I leave and the $15.00 another person leaves means that you are earning about $35./00 per hour, not bad for a person carrying food.

  14. Just Josiah Avatar
    Just Josiah

    Well at least you're not bitter there, Charles. Learn how to spell, first off. Secondly, you're obviously not from New York. Nobody's telling you you HAVE to do anything you don't want to do. I'm merely telling you people how this system works. But because of people like you, we can't make a decent living. Ever hear of sarcasm? I'm wasn't threatening anyone. Take a pill and call me in morning.

  15. Wow. I don't get Charles. I wonder if he was born with a 20% silver spoon in his mouth or what?

    I don't know how the waitstaff feels about my personal tip system, but it goes like this:

    Minmum: $5. If it's a $10 lunch, it's a $5 tip.

    Any meal that takes an hour is a minmum $20 tip.

    The full on, couple hour multiple course meal is 40 bones or 20%, whichever is bigger.

    Drinking at the bar is a buck a drink.

    Any waitstaff want to let me know if that's reasonable? Nobody has ever said anything or given me a dirty look…that I saw anyways.

    I just appreciate the fact that serving people sucks ass. So Charles should get his own damn liver & onions or whatever shit food a bitter dick like that eats.