Fair tip percentage for average service at a restaurant?

Yappi

Go Buckeyes
I'm not sure when it happened but 15% was a standard tip rate for when I started paying at restaurants. Now I'm seeing electronic paying systems that start tips at 18% and go up to 25%. Not sure why a percentage-based tip would ever have to increase as the cost of the service is tied to inflation but it has obviously happened.

So what do you think is a fair tip amount when you get average service at a restaurant?
 

utsherman

Well-known member
I'm not sure when it happened but 15% was a standard tip rate for when I started paying at restaurants. Now I'm seeing electronic paying systems that start tips at 18% and go up to 25%. Not sure why a percentage-based tip would ever have to increase as the cost of the service is tied to inflation but it has obviously happened.

So what do you think is a fair tip amount when you get average service at a restaurant?
It depends on the service you're provided. I've always understood the average to be 20%. But as someone who worked in the retail/restaurant industry in a previous lifetime, I'm apt to err on the high-side if warranted.
 

Thavoice

Well-known member
I'm not sure when it happened but 15% was a standard tip rate for when I started paying at restaurants. Now I'm seeing electronic paying systems that start tips at 18% and go up to 25%. Not sure why a percentage-based tip would ever have to increase as the cost of the service is tied to inflation but it has obviously happened.

So what do you think is a fair tip amount when you get average service at a restaurant?
How attractive was the waitress?
 

NewOldBlood

Well-known member
I'm a sucker and even when the server isn't very good I tend to tip at least 18%. I've been know to tip a lot more for good service, especially a good bartender. Like the poster above, I tend to err on the high side after working for tips in the restaurant industry. It's hard work and sometimes bad service doesn't fall squarely on the server. Bad management, poor training, and a slow kitchen can all be factors and none of those workers suffer the consequence of a bad tip.
 

Mr. Slippery

Well-known member
Can't answer fairly. My only sit-down experiences post-COVID have been at dives where my food bill is so low that I'll tip a high percentage regardless. Truthfully, I don't miss the experience of sit-down restaurants. Carryout does the job for my plebeian tastes.
 

Orin Swift

Well-known member
I'm not sure when it happened but 15% was a standard tip rate for when I started paying at restaurants. Now I'm seeing electronic paying systems that start tips at 18% and go up to 25%. Not sure why a percentage-based tip would ever have to increase as the cost of the service is tied to inflation but it has obviously happened.

So what do you think is a fair tip amount when you get average service at a restaurant?
The worst are the ones that start at 20% and go up to 30%.

Standard was always 15%, I started tipping 20% for average after I waited tables in college, especially if the place has a bar that pours/makes drinks as they typically tip out to the bar staff.
 

Auggie

Well-known member
I come from the business so I am more generous, I start at 20% and go from there. I will say that serves like it best for you to pay the check with a credit card and tip in cash. When you tip on a card the bank takes anywhere from 1-3% off the top for the transaction fee. Also while the restaurant legally has to report the checked amount to the govt for tax purposes a server always makes out better on cash tips with regards to payroll taxes. Finally nothing better then having $s in your hand and going out at the end of the shift to pay some of that hard earned $s forward at the local watering hole.
 

D4fan

Well-known member
Always leave at least a $20.
Never had a restaurant bill in my life where even a 20% tip would have reached $20.
I know this topic has came up a few times over the years, but my brain is still stuck in 1980's with a 15% tip. Used to eat at our favorite restaurant back then for $8 / person so a tip of $2 /person showed real gratitude.

I will tip the college kid less for same service than the mother of 3 working the weekend circuit to help take care of her babies at home. Figure Biden has the college kid well taken care of with loan forgiveness, while the mom of 3 is in a tough spot. I will leave a 100% tip in such a case, but I rarely eat out.
 

CedarBuck92

Well-known member
I really try to judge the server on the things within their control. So a slow kitchen isn't their fault but never coming back for refills or making me track them down to get the bill is on them. I really try to hit 20% regardless. Have had some service that warranted way less and also others where 100% tip was too little.

I also take into account how long I have been taking up space. So if I am staying to watch a game I tip more than if I am just eating and leaving.
 

Indiandad

Well-known member
Never had a restaurant bill in my life where even a 20% tip would have reached $20.
I know this topic has came up a few times over the years, but my brain is still stuck in 1980's with a 15% tip. Used to eat at our favorite restaurant back then for $8 / person so a tip of $2 /person showed real gratitude.

I will tip the college kid less for same service than the mother of 3 working the weekend circuit to help take care of her babies at home. Figure Biden has the college kid well taken care of with loan forgiveness, while the mom of 3 is in a tough spot. I will leave a 100% tip in such a case, but I rarely eat out.
You've never taken family or friends to dinner where the bill was $100?
 

AEW Champion

Well-known member
I always tip at least 20% — but usually significantly more than that because I typically go to the same few places where I know the bartenders and they know me, so I give them a good boost upward to keep getting good service that they give to a regular.

Plus I know these workers are very dependent on tips to make the job worth their time.

It’s true, it’s true. Trust me …
 

mcm.1019

Well-known member
20% if my service is good...less if it's bad and more if it's excellent...and I always tip higher at breakfast since that's usually a less expensive meal (a lesson I got from my dad who drove truck for a living).
 

Ericles

Well-known member
When I lived in Bowling Green and went to grad school at BGSU, I went to Fricker's nearly every Friday night for almost two years straight. Same girl would almost always be behind the bar. I was in there so much that she would often start pouring my beer as soon as she saw me walk through the door and before I even sat down on the barstool. I usually had a few and often got a refill for free. 🙂 She even ordered my food for me a few times without me telling her what I wanted. She was moving out-of-state with her then-boyfriend (now husband, I think) and on her last night of work, I stopped in and gave her a 100% tip. It was worth every penny.
 

AEW Champion

Well-known member
I’ve also in the past few years started giving a cash Christmas “bonus” to a couple of the bartenders who I interact with the most throughout the year. I just keep it simple and stick cash in one of those little bank cash-holder envelopes, write Merry Christmas on it, and hand it to them when I pay, usually the last time I visit their establishment before Christmas. I feel like an easy gesture like that can go a long way toward making their night and ensuring they feel appreciated.

It’s true, it’s true. Trust me …
 

chs1971

Well-known member
I'm so old 10% was considered the standard.

For dinner I usually tip 15% of the subtotal and round up to the half dollar.

At dinner last night I did not like the table that was available and the service was less than helpful. I bit my tongue and my $14 tip was 15.07% of the pretax total.

At breakfast or lunch where the total bill is much smaller I tip more.

I will not leave a tip at fast food or fast-casual where I order my food an the counter and carry it to my table.
 

cabezadecaballo

Well-known member
When I lived in Bowling Green and went to grad school at BGSU, I went to Fricker's nearly every Friday night for almost two years straight. Same girl would almost always be behind the bar. I was in there so much that she would often start pouring my beer as soon as she saw me walk through the door and before I even sat down on the barstool. I usually had a few and often got a refill for free. 🙂 She even ordered my food for me a few times without me telling her what I wanted. She was moving out-of-state with her then-boyfriend (now husband, I think) and on her last night of work, I stopped in and gave her a 100% tip. It was worth every penny.
This

If you tip back half the gratis on the regular, you will almost always have a superior dining experience on return, right ? It doesn’t take long to form a relationship.

As others have said always, I always try to tip in cash and start at 20%. I go back to when 10% was expected.
 

CatAlum

Well-known member
Cleveland is a very highly regarded restaurant city with several "name" chefs...Michael Symon, Rocco Whelan, Zach Bruell, Jonathan Sawyer (though, I think, he's out of the game at the moment).

I've always viewed tipping waiters as "that's how they get paid". With RARE exception, I don't see that I have much of a role in this. I don't sit in judgement at the table..."your service was 8 out of 10...you get 19%". I just give them 20% UNLESS they really pi $ $ me off...almost never happens. Truthfully, the only time I go over 20% is if the bill is comparatively small and we used up the table for awhile.

For those who see this differently...here's an article from Cleveland.com, last week, on the closing of Parallax in Tremont (Zach Bruell). He talks about the inability to find reliable workers in this industry...calls the situation "off the rails".

Tip your waiters if you like going out to a restaurant now and then...

 

Zunardo

Well-known member
There's been much made over the past two years about how fast food places have doubled starting wages to keep folks. Have wait staff rates been increased as well for tipped positions?
 

Foster

Active member
I have a niece who was working a Sunday shift at an Elby's. A group of 11 came in after church and she arranged for them to sit together for Brunch. She waited on them by herself and was shocked to find they left her a penny on the table. She saw they were still talking in the parking lot. She ran out and handed the penny to one of them and said "one of you forgot this on the table", then walked back inside.
 

cabezadecaballo

Well-known member
There's been much made over the past two years about how fast food places have doubled starting wages to keep folks. Have wait staff rates been increased as well for tipped positions?
Given that our current rate of inflation has brought greater Cleveland an $18 burrito plate about 30 years early, maybe that’s been addressed already ? Definitely not at first though. I would imagine that for some, rising meal prices have the opposite effect, unfortunately. That’ll make some wait staff find a regular job, huh ?
 

Thavoice

Well-known member
I have a niece who was working a Sunday shift at an Elby's. A group of 11 came in after church and she arranged for them to sit together for Brunch. She waited on them by herself and was shocked to find they left her a penny on the table. She saw they were still talking in the parking lot. She ran out and handed the penny to one of them and said "one of you forgot this on the table", then walked back inside.
That was very rude.
 

14Red

Well-known member
I'm not sure when it happened but 15% was a standard tip rate for when I started paying at restaurants. Now I'm seeing electronic paying systems that start tips at 18% and go up to 25%. Not sure why a percentage-based tip would ever have to increase as the cost of the service is tied to inflation but it has obviously happened.

So what do you think is a fair tip amount when you get average service at a restaurant?
My guess is the people who run restaurants pushed it to 20-25% to keep good staff. To me, for average service 10-15% is good. At a busy restaurant if you have 4-5 tables and can turn them in an hour, hour and a half, if you're making $10-$40 in tips per table, that's pretty good money.
 
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