While dining out with a friend last week, I overheard a couple at the table next to us discuss how they were going to insult their waitress. I believe they did not realize they were going to insult her, but leaving her a three dollar tip to a thirty-two dollar meal is considered an insult in the service industry.
They reviewed her service and both agreed she was a fine waitress and did a good job. They were ignorant enough to believe that a ten percent tip was sufficient for great service.
The two diners are not alone; many people are as uninformed. If you consider yourself esteemed enough to dine at a respectable restaurant, you should at least understand the proper ethics of payment.
The general guidelines are: add on fifteen percent (before tax) to the bill. If the party is large or the restaurant is four star, add twenty. The exact amount to leave is, of course, up to the customer’s discretion.
Unless you had to go get your food from the kitchen and clean up after yourself, ten percent (or less) is considered an insult to the server. Even if the server made a mistake (which often times is out of the waiter’s control and has more to do with the kitchen), they are still doing you the service and working for you.
You are their major source of income, as most waiters get paid under minimum wage.
Has no one watched the opening scene of Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs”? Mr. Pink believes that tipping is overrated, and unnecessary. The rest of the group argues with him, and eventually puts in more money to compensate for his shallow belief.
I assure you that many waiters who watch that movie look at Mr. Pink with dismay, just as they may look at you if you under-tip them because you are unaware.