- When you go to a restaurant, how much do you generally tip?
- Is the percentage affected by the cost?
- Does the quality of service make a difference?
- What about the quality of adequate service? (That is, ignoring particularly poor or outstanding service.)
- How often do you find that you experience service poor enough to cause you to leave a reduced tip?
Here are my answers:
- Usually around 18%, though I’m inconsistent about whether that is before or after sales tax.
- Yes, though really just on the low side. I have a minimum dollar amount for the tip based on the number of people: $(n+1). Now that I think about it, it also affects the high side if I’m getting really good service — the more expensive the meal, the less likely my tip will be to exceed 25-30%, plus the service expectations are higher. Additionally, if a gratuity is included in the bill then it would take exceptional service to cause me to add more.
- Not generally, though it may affect which direction I round the tip.
- Very rarely, actually. In fact, the only poor service in recent memory is simply slow service, and my tolerance for that is usually pretty high. Years ago we did have a server that apparently quit sometime after taking our order, but without turning in to the kitchen. A long time passed before anything happened, partly because we had appetizers. There were about 8-10 people in our party and eventually the manager came and told us that our entire meal would be comped and that we could order whatever we wanted. We came away with a positive view of the restaurant. I don’t recall what tip we left, but I expect it was pretty large since we weren’t having to pay for the meal.