Do you see what that is? It’s a credit card receipt. I took a picture of it just a few days ago at a small restaurant (way outside Boston), that I take everyone to, called the Amber Road Cafe. Anyway, I took a picture of it because I wanted you to see what I wrote for a tip: $5.00. No, it’s not a lot of money. No, I’m not bragging about leaving a $5.00 tip on a $14.00 meal. So why post it? Because you’re an adult now and you need to learn how to tip.
Before we get to this $5.00 thing, let’s go over the basics.
- Don’t get out your stupid phone to calculate a tip.
Just don’t. Why? A) You look like an idiot, and B) It is completely unnecessary unless you have some severe form of dyslexia. The only number’s you need to know are 10%, 15%,and 20%.
- 10% = Bad Service, 15% = Below Average Service, 20% = Satisfactory Service
No. That wasn’t a typo, you read that right. TWENTY PERCENT is the standard for satisfactory service. I don’t care if you were taught that 10% is standard, it’s not, it’s a crap tip. Let’s think about this for a minute. You and a friend have a meal at a restaurant. You’re both drinking water (because you’re so healthy like that) and then you each have a $12.00 entree. Your total bill, including tax, is about $25.00. If you were to leave a 10% tip, that’s only $2-3. What’s the big deal you say? You’re not made of money? Consider this: You and your friend may have only spent $25.00, but you took an hour of the servers time, holding up a table, for a minuscule bill. In that hour, the server made $2.63 (in Massachusetts), doing a shit ton of other things besides taking care of you.
- Just move the decimal point and double!
Okay, now you’re going to give a good tip on your $25.00 meal; just move the decimal place over and double the number. So, for those of you whose hand I need to hold: $25.00 becomes $2.50, and doubled equals $5.00. There. That’s 20%. That’s the standard for any service that you are satisfied with.
- Satisfied ≠ Exceptional
When I say satisfied, I mean satisfied. The server was pleasant, attentive to their best extent, and made an effort to fix your wicked complicated and customized order that you think is completely normal to do at a restaurant. (This isn’t Burger King.) Remember, ”your” server is also taking care of a number of other tables, that is if they’re actually working at a restaurant where they can make enough money to live. If you service was exceptional, you tip more than 20%. Now let’s talk about that $5.00 rule.
- If it’s under 25$, leave $5
I consider this a bit of an “advanced” rule, but I think you’re ready. Hell, it’s actually really simple. Rarely should you leave a tip under $5.00. Why, you say? Let’s consider my $5.00 tip from the photo. I stopped at ABC for lunch a few days ago. I drank a glass of water, a cup of coffee, and eat a small meal. The meal came to just over $14.00. If I use my 20% rule, I’m only getting to $3.00 and that’s not good enough. Especially for a breakfast and lunch diner that doesn’t sell any alcohol. So I left $5.00, and I always leave a fiver if it’s under $25.00 for the meal. Not only was I there, enjoying their food, atmosphere, and a bit of banter for 35 minutes, but more than one server now had to add me to their list of people they were keeping an eye on. Unless you’re a complete ass, I’d say that’s worth at least $5.00. If everyone left at least $5.00, those extra dollars would add up.
- If you can’t afford to follow these rules, at a minimum, STAY HOME
Seriously, stay the F home. It’s really that simple. While you’re out to catch up with your friends or have a few drinks with “ya bros” we are trying to earn a living. Not only are we quite literally taking care of you (often while you’re getting trashed) but we have to split our earnings between other servers and support staff at the restaurant. If you’ve got the cash to go out and drink and eat, you better have the cash to pay for all of it.
- If you tip poorly, servers will remember. And we’ll talk about you.
Unfortunately, we aren’t able to refuse your cheap ass service if you come back, but your service is going to suck and we’re going to make sure everyone knows. Do you want to redeem yourself? Leave a good tip and you’ll be back in our good graces.
- Keep your change in your pocket.
Yes. Yes we do mind if you give us all your coin dollars that you hate carrying around. Yes. Yes we do mind that you leave us a tip in quarters. Worst of all: DO NOT LEAVE US CHANGE. Ever. We don’t want it. A quarter or two is nice every now and then for laundry or parking meter, but all the rest can stay in your purse or wallet. Why do I want to spend my shift walking around with a jingle-jangle pocket? I’m not going to a coinstar, I’m not 90. The only acceptable time to leave a non-dollar amount is on a credit card tip. (But you’re not going to be doing that anyway!)
- If you get a discount, tip on the FULL AMOUNT
If you get ANY sort of discount, advertised or not, you need to be tipping on the regular price. Don’t know it? LOOK AT A MENU. Would it really kill you? We have to give you thesame exact service no matter what it costs to you, otherwise we get fired. Imagine if your sales job cut your pay for merchandise you sold at a discount, how would that work for you?
Do you get it now? All this is true whether you’re eating at an upscale place or a small diner, whether you’re getting table service or cocktail/bar service. It’s common sense. Imagine if your boring desk job was reliant on tips. How would you be doing constantly trying to be “on” for your shitty co-workers? People become servers for a variety of reasons, but many do it because they like the interaction with a variety of people. Don’t make them come to hate it. You’re an adult, it’s time to start tipping like one.
This should become law and placed in every menu in America, this is 110% fact. Though I had one customer who always tipped me with dollar coins; another with $2 bills. I’m a numismatist I liked that.
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