How much do you tip?

I’m stealing this topic from David G. Mitchell over at

  1. When you go to a restaurant, how much do you generally tip?
  2. Is the percentage affected by the cost?
  3. Does the quality of service make a difference?
  4. What about the quality of adequate service? (That is, ignoring particularly poor or outstanding service.)
  5. How often do you find that you experience service poor enough to cause you to leave a reduced tip?

Here are my answers:

  1. Usually around 18%, though I’m inconsistent about whether that is before or after sales tax.
  2. 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.
  3. Certainly.
  4. Not generally, though it may affect which direction I round the tip.
  5. 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.

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  1. #1 by whall on November 19, 2008 - 11:33 am

    What is this “tip” thing you refer to?


  2. #2 by Dave2 on November 19, 2008 - 12:09 pm

    1. Depends on the service… no tip on bad service, 10% on mediocre service, 15% on average service, 20-50% on exemplary service. I am a very generous tipper when I’m treated well.

    2. Yes… if somebody gives me amazing service for a small-ticket meal, I’ll tip a higher percentage.

    3. It makes all the difference. I am not afraid to stiff somebody on a tip if their service sucks. How else will they learn?

    4. Everything is accounted for when I leave a tip. It’s not just a mindless habit for me, I put genuine thought into it.

    5. Most of the time I get adequate service. Sometimes I get great service. Only rarely do I get poor service. I think wait staff knows that their tip depends on it, and most of them care.

    Dave2s last blog post..Devilish


  3. #3 by Giggle Pixie on November 19, 2008 - 4:20 pm

    I normally tip 20%, but on rare occasions, if service is just abominal, I will leave only 5 or 10%. Thankfully that doesn’t happen often.


  4. #4 by martymankins on November 19, 2008 - 5:34 pm

    1. Depends on the service, but most of the time, it’s 18% and 20%…. if service is exceptional and the server has been pleasant to deal with, I’ve been known to tip close to 40% for some meals.

    2. For a smaller-priced meals (under $20.00), I use the $3.00 per person rule.

    3. Yes.

    4. Adequate service gets a per person tip, normally $3.00 to $5.00 per person (assuming the meal is under $50, which is most places we eat out at).

    5. Poor service is rare, but the last couple of times, we’ve talked to the manager if there was a problem with the server. We still leave a tip, but the amount depends on how the server treats us after the manager gets involved. Even if part of the meal is comped, we still tip. Same when we have a coupon…. we tip on the original amount.

    martymankinss last blog post..I’m a Substitute…


  5. #5 by Hilly on November 20, 2008 - 4:30 pm

    What Dave said. I mean seriously, rather than type it all out…I am exactly that same way!

    Hillys last blog post..It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Snackie…


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