It seems that my previous post took a turn into a hot subject… how much to tip and if to tip at all.
Most places in Colombia are non tipping, meaning you pay for the food and the service is included in the price. Tip at that point is appreciated but never expected.
Here in the U.S. its a LOT different, and I was very surprised when Barry thought that tipping was some cool aide that we all had drank and he wanted no part of.
I have been around plenty of people that have worked in the service industry and I know that tips are part of their income. My Dad has a part time job in the weekends where he runs a donuts shop in the morning. The salary is crappy, but the tips he gets has become his disposable income. He provides great service there, so much so that in two days he makes more on sales than what its made during the other five days during the week. I attribute this to his great service. He remembers all of his regular’s orders and they are being prepared before they even get to the register. Normally people don’t tip at a donuts shop, but my Dad makes probably more on tips that the salary that he gets.
I also know a lot of servers, or former servers and they do depend on the tips. I am not talking about just your average college or high school kid with a couple of part time jobs, but people that are servers as a profession. I believe this is one of the hardest jobs and I am going to reveal something about me that not many people know. I judge people on how they treat servers. It is on my top five measurements on you being considered in my book a good person.
I believe that if you treat the people eating with you nicely, but you are nasty, condescending or dismissive of the server you have not been brought up properly. Now if you are overall nasty, condescending or dismissive all the time, than this rule does not apply. It only applies if you all of a sudden switch because you are talking to someone serving you. However, I don’t judge someone on how much they tip at all.
All of these goes out the window if the server is lousy or being nasty first, or if they look miserable while serving you. I think part of the job is being able to put their issues aside while you are being served. The moment that you look down upon someone that is doing a service for you, I am sorry but you have lost points on my book. The people that work in the service industry are performing duties for you that they normally would only do for family and friends. I think people that don’t respect those professions or see them as less than what a lawyer or accountant does, are missing the point of what providing a service is.
I think those actions have to be paid for, and while it being built into the price in some places(In my experience only some high end restaurants, some resorts and most places in Colombia), it is not the norm here in the U.S.
How much should you tip?
Personally think it is a sliding scale depending on service, type of restaurant and time of day. For lunch, if the meal is being served you should pay at least on dollar per five worth of food. It is a lot easier to leave a 50% tip at lunch for excellent service than on an $30 a plate restaurant at dinner reason being that my favorite time to eat out is lunch. At dinner time everything changes, it takes more time to serve a dinner with multiple courses. If you were provided excellent service I think 20% should be the minimum or at least what you already set yourself to pay. If the service was just ok, anywhere from 10% to 15% should be the norm. An easy way to figure it out is just double the tax, most places tax is around 7%. Again, think of the service you are being provided.
I do understand that having a family means bills are larger and 20% of $60 is $12 (for the no math people) which is what a family of 4 ends up paying on your chain restaurant after drinks, appetizer and a couple of kids meals. $72 dollar seems a lot to pay for a meal at Chillis’s when you can get at least 3 days of groceries for that same amount of money. Not having kids makes it a lot easier to go out to dinner and being able to tip well. I know when I was paying for 3 people to go out to dinner it would happen a lot less often, or take out would be the solution. At that point to me eating out became more of a treat than a convenience.
I can count on one hand the times that I have not left a tip, and I prefer to leave the establishment before the meal is served if I am not being served properly. I just put a lot of my ideas out there, but I don’t know what the right answer is to this question. I guess I care more about people treating the wait stuff with respect and not as much to how much they tip.