Do you tip above the 18% added gratuity? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 54 Old 08-31-2009, 10:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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When you're in a large group and they add the 18% gratuity, do you tip above that?

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#2 of 54 Old 08-31-2009, 10:56 AM
 
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I usually do. Especially if it's a large group and/or we have kids with us. The server didn't really make the policy about 18%, you know? That's management's call. And, I usually tip about 25% if it's a bad table (large group and/or kids). So, I don't want to short the server that 7% just because of management's greediness.

Doesn't mean that I don't complain about a mandatory 18% though.
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#3 of 54 Old 08-31-2009, 11:08 AM
 
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No and when I waited tables I never expected more than that. Sometimes people would tip more, but mostly not.

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#4 of 54 Old 08-31-2009, 11:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BetsyS View Post

Doesn't mean that I don't complain about a mandatory 18% though.
Oh yeah. People complained about it all the time. It was such an odd business -- one table would be shoving an extra $50 bill at me while the table next to them was griping that 18% was too much and they were only going to tip 15%.


"Was the service unacceptable?"

"Oh no! You were wonderful, but I never tip more than 15%."

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#5 of 54 Old 08-31-2009, 11:33 AM
 
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You have a mandatory tip where you are? Wow. Since when is a tip mandatory?

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#6 of 54 Old 08-31-2009, 11:37 AM
 
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I usually tip 20+% when the service is good, just as a rule.

If it's mediocre service I leave it at the 18% (or only tip 15 if it's not already added)

But, even bad service gets at least 10% if it's not already added...


I was a waiter. I know that a lot of places have "tipshare" and it can be a real pain to work your butt off and not get to keep most of your tips.

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#7 of 54 Old 08-31-2009, 11:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mamaluvspirates View Post
You have a mandatory tip where you are? Wow. Since when is a tip mandatory?
A lot of restaurants add gratuity for larger groups (usually 6 or more).

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#8 of 54 Old 08-31-2009, 11:46 AM
 
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We usually round up to 20%

The mandatory tip does bother me. I think it is because I worked my share of restaurant jobs and therefore I believe I am a good and fair tipper.

I also will tell a server why she/he didn't get 15% or 20%.

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#9 of 54 Old 08-31-2009, 12:01 PM
 
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We also round up to 20% for good service, sometimes more if we have a lot of children and some big messes to pick up.
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#10 of 54 Old 08-31-2009, 12:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ruthiegirl View Post
A lot of restaurants add gratuity for larger groups (usually 6 or more).
And some places will show you the recommended tip for a party of your size. A place I went to recently did that...on the ticket it had the 18% tip shown so you could see...

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#11 of 54 Old 08-31-2009, 12:14 PM
 
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I worked restaurant for years and the gratuity is not supposed to be mandatory, however, it is often presented that way. I usually leave more, (especially since we have kids) and if the service is good. I consider it part of the expense of going out to eat. But if a server is bad, I don't 'reward' the behavior with a good tip. They get a minimum of 10% to cover their taxes and I tell the manager.

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#12 of 54 Old 08-31-2009, 12:17 PM
 
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This is a tangent, but I have a terrible time figuring out what is a fair tip, especially if the server doesn't really do much. I get totally stressed about it, so maybe someone here can help me settle it.

Two of us sometimes attend an evening event that takes place at a pub/cafe. Long story and I won't get into the details of the relative frugality of it here, but the value of what we get when we are there far outweighs the cost of the food.

Typically our server (who knows us and remembers what we usually order) checks in and asks if we want our usual - water, water, fries, fries, and a plain burger - and then brings it to us. Generally that is all she does - she doesn't ever offer us water refills, so usually we just bring our glasses up to the bar and ask there for a refill. We are quiet and tidy and don't take up a lot of space. The bill comes to about $17 with tax (yes, I know ack). What is a fair tip?

If money is super tight, we just get water, water, and fries, and the bill totals $8. What is a fair tip on that? Same situation, same number of customers...

I would really appreciate help with this because I'm always afraid I'm tipping too little or too much. I can't afford to tip too much, but I want the waitstaff - there are just two of them - to get their fair amount. WWYD?

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#13 of 54 Old 08-31-2009, 12:42 PM
 
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yes, the minimum I tip is 20%. We are our own big group, though and four are children. I start at 20% and go up for excellent service. Like Friday night, we went out to a nice restaurant and I rounded the tip all the way up to 30% because the waitress was awesome (and I was a bit tipsy from my 40 oz margarita )

oh, and I love, love, love the quick tip app on my iphone. Otherwise, I was just guessing (I mean, I can do the math if I really want to but most of the time, with small antsy children, we are ready to go once it's time to pay).

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#14 of 54 Old 08-31-2009, 01:29 PM
 
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It really depends... on how busy the restaurant is, how demanding we were as a table, the attitude of the server, how long we were taking up space, etc.

If I feel the server deserved more than 18%, I'd leave more, if I didn't I wouldn't. But that also presumes that I'm paying the tab... if the tab is split then I'll usually leave more just to cover the fact that there's always at least one person who skimps on the tip.

But I know I recently went out to dinner with a group of older folks (my grandmother and her contemporaries), we were a table of 8, they refused to split the check and added the gratuity to it. Let me tell you! The amount of b!tch!ng that went on about that for the next 2 days!! And that poor server didn't get a penny above his added gratuity (15%, IIRC) - but he should be thankful he got that, because they wouldn't have left him even that if they'd had a choice (I was responsible for calculating each person's share of the tab, but I wasn't actually paying myself).

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#15 of 54 Old 08-31-2009, 01:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by amyamanda View Post
This is a tangent, but I have a terrible time figuring out what is a fair tip, especially if the server doesn't really do much. I get totally stressed about it, so maybe someone here can help me settle it.

Two of us sometimes attend an evening event that takes place at a pub/cafe. Long story and I won't get into the details of the relative frugality of it here, but the value of what we get when we are there far outweighs the cost of the food.

Typically our server (who knows us and remembers what we usually order) checks in and asks if we want our usual - water, water, fries, fries, and a plain burger - and then brings it to us. Generally that is all she does - she doesn't ever offer us water refills, so usually we just bring our glasses up to the bar and ask there for a refill. We are quiet and tidy and don't take up a lot of space. The bill comes to about $17 with tax (yes, I know ack). What is a fair tip?

If money is super tight, we just get water, water, and fries, and the bill totals $8. What is a fair tip on that? Same situation, same number of customers...

I would really appreciate help with this because I'm always afraid I'm tipping too little or too much. I can't afford to tip too much, but I want the waitstaff - there are just two of them - to get their fair amount. WWYD?
Okay, first rule of serving is that drinks are never supposed to get below half full if you can help it. IF you're that busy they aren't supposed to remain empty for very long. That is a tip killer for me, personally. In that case I wouldn't tip more than $2 on the $17 and no more than $1 on the $8. That, to me with the service you described, is a fair tip.

Kas (24), Helpmeet to Stefan (25), Mom to Franklin Gaudelio 4/15/09, Jonathan Boswell 1/2/11
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#16 of 54 Old 08-31-2009, 02:18 PM
 
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I hate mandatory tips and I don't tip extra when they are added to the bill.

I will tip more than 18% on my own if we are a big group, or a difficult table, or the server really went the extra mile. Usually we tip 15% and round up to the nearest dollar for typical service, and give a larger tip if we feel it's deserved.

However, if an establishment wants to set their tips and tell me that I can't tip less when service is horrible, then I won't tip more when it's good.

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#17 of 54 Old 08-31-2009, 02:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by amyamanda View Post
This is a tangent, but I have a terrible time figuring out what is a fair tip, especially if the server doesn't really do much. I get totally stressed about it, so maybe someone here can help me settle it.

Two of us sometimes attend an evening event that takes place at a pub/cafe. Long story and I won't get into the details of the relative frugality of it here, but the value of what we get when we are there far outweighs the cost of the food.

Typically our server (who knows us and remembers what we usually order) checks in and asks if we want our usual - water, water, fries, fries, and a plain burger - and then brings it to us. Generally that is all she does - she doesn't ever offer us water refills, so usually we just bring our glasses up to the bar and ask there for a refill. We are quiet and tidy and don't take up a lot of space. The bill comes to about $17 with tax (yes, I know ack). What is a fair tip?

If money is super tight, we just get water, water, and fries, and the bill totals $8. What is a fair tip on that? Same situation, same number of customers...

I would really appreciate help with this because I'm always afraid I'm tipping too little or too much. I can't afford to tip too much, but I want the waitstaff - there are just two of them - to get their fair amount. WWYD?

There are 2 people, probably a decent amount of time at the bar/restauraunt, meaning the staff cant 'turn' that table that night?? I'd probable leave $10 each time. IMO the fact that staff 'knows' you but doesn't really service the table is a reflection of how they have been paid in the past.
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#18 of 54 Old 08-31-2009, 02:28 PM
 
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To the OP, we usually tip between 15-25%, it all depends on how long we are at the restaurant, if we take the kids and have a mess, etc... I really feel if we linger and stay longer thats less 'turns' they can get out of the table and I do leave a bit more for that. I tend to tip more for dinner then lunch. (% wise)
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#19 of 54 Old 08-31-2009, 02:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cristeen View Post
But I know I recently went out to dinner with a group of older folks (my grandmother and her contemporaries), we were a table of 8, they refused to split the check and added the gratuity to it. Let me tell you! The amount of b!tch!ng that went on about that for the next 2 days!! And that poor server didn't get a penny above his added gratuity (15%, IIRC) - but he should be thankful he got that, because they wouldn't have left him even that if they'd had a choice (I was responsible for calculating each person's share of the tab, but I wasn't actually paying myself).
This whole story makes me giggle. My grandfather was a horrible tipper. We ate out together quite a bit when he and my grandmother were still with us. Our favorite place was a social club where the food and beer was very reasonable - like all four of us could eat and have a drink or two for $40-$50 for all of us.

On a $40 check, my grandfather would think $4 was PLENTY of money for a tip. (this was sit down, full service place) This is after he (and my grandmother) would run the waitstaff back and forth during the entire meal.

My nana would whisper to DH "make sure he leaves enough" When Pappy walked away, one of us would throw more money down so she got a 20% tip.

Pappy would have had a fit if a restaurant added a tip. I can sort of understand why it is necessary sometimes.

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#20 of 54 Old 08-31-2009, 04:13 PM
 
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It really depends on the service. I normally tip at least 20% so I would add something extra onto the bill if the service was good, but I have eaten at places where the server knew that the tip would be added onto the bill and the service reflected that.

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#21 of 54 Old 08-31-2009, 04:46 PM
 
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Never had gratuity added, never tip less than 20% unless it is truly and honestly the wait staff's fault due to his/her own bad attitude. I typically aim for 25%. I've waited more tables than I care to think of, and those mandatory tips come form the number of large sunday morning parties that think leaving a religious flyer is tip enough : Or a penny inside their water glass .


To the poster who asked about tips on $8 and 17$....If you're taking up a table for more than the time it takes to eat, I'd be tipping a lot bigger. She's tipping out the bartender and possibly the cooks/bus staff, and you've just taken up a space where she could've been making money. If you're just there for long enough to eat and she's not refilling drinks, a) ask her about it, tell the manager, something, and b) then tip 15%.

15% for dinner is no longer acceptable people!!
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#22 of 54 Old 08-31-2009, 04:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 1growingsprout View Post
There are 2 people, probably a decent amount of time at the bar/restauraunt, meaning the staff cant 'turn' that table that night?? I'd probable leave $10 each time. IMO the fact that staff 'knows' you but doesn't really service the table is a reflection of how they have been paid in the past.
Wow, $10, really? That is a lot. FWIW, I usually tip about $5 (on $17 - $3 on $8) and I was wondering if that is high for the relatively minimal service we get. But maybe there should be such a thing as a "minimum tip"... And I don't have any idea what the waitstaff makes, or what would seem low or high to them. To me, a $10 tip on an $8 basket of sweet potato fries or a burger-and-fries plate sounds like an awful lot.

If they are really busy, we move so we won't occupy a table. Usually they are not that busy, though. And often we share a table with a lot of other people, or use part of a table just for eating and then move off to the side.

Probably too difficult for me to explain the circumstances here. It's a weekly gathering where some people buy food, some buy just drinks, some buy nothing. I feel obligated to support the establishment by buying something.

I hate to think the waitstaff are judging me by my tips, though. I think it's pretty good that I can afford to buy us anything when we're there. Is there a minimum flat tip that works when you can't figure out easily what is reasonable?

If I used the 15% rule, then that $8 basket of fries would imply a $1.20 tip, and the $17 fries-and-burger would be $2.55...that sounds low from what you're saying. So I guess I'm tipping about 30% and thought that was generous. But maybe for smaller meals or smaller parties the rules are different?

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#23 of 54 Old 08-31-2009, 05:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by amyamanda View Post
The bill comes to about $17 with tax (yes, I know ack). What is a fair tip?

If money is super tight, we just get water, water, and fries, and the bill totals $8. What is a fair tip on that? Same situation, same number of customers...

I would really appreciate help with this because I'm always afraid I'm tipping too little or too much. I can't afford to tip too much, but I want the waitstaff - there are just two of them - to get their fair amount. WWYD?
You have to get your own refills?!?!? Not cool, unless that's what everyone else is doing.....

Minimum 'good' tip is 15% so for 17$ (17x.15) it would be $2.55.
for 8$ it would be $1.20. I would round up. The reason many people give 20% is because it's easier to do the math in your head.

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#24 of 54 Old 08-31-2009, 05:20 PM
 
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Also, FWIW, the reason 18% gratuity is added to larger parties isn't because it's mandatory, it's because too many people don't know how to tip . I've seen a server work their heiney off and get 2$ with a 'you're such a good server, here you go' on a large tab. Many people assume that a server makes minimum wage (hard to believe, I know..) but that's not everywhere (in Indiana, the tip wage is STILL $2.13- not even enough to cover taxes..all my servers had to pay in the last year I was Managing..). In my neck of the woods, 15% is still acceptable, 20% is preferable and anything less makes for crappy service next time.

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#25 of 54 Old 08-31-2009, 05:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by amyamanda View Post
Wow, $10, really? That is a lot. FWIW, I usually tip about $5 (on $17 - $3 on $8) and I was wondering if that is high for the relatively minimal service we get. But maybe there should be such a thing as a "minimum tip"... And I don't have any idea what the waitstaff makes, or what would seem low or high to them. To me, a $10 tip on an $8 basket of sweet potato fries or a burger-and-fries plate sounds like an awful lot.

If they are really busy, we move so we won't occupy a table. Usually they are not that busy, though. And often we share a table with a lot of other people, or use part of a table just for eating and then move off to the side.

Probably too difficult for me to explain the circumstances here. It's a weekly gathering where some people buy food, some buy just drinks, some buy nothing. I feel obligated to support the establishment by buying something.

I hate to think the waitstaff are judging me by my tips, though. I think it's pretty good that I can afford to buy us anything when we're there. Is there a minimum flat tip that works when you can't figure out easily what is reasonable?

If I used the 15% rule, then that $8 basket of fries would imply a $1.20 tip, and the $17 fries-and-burger would be $2.55...that sounds low from what you're saying. So I guess I'm tipping about 30% and thought that was generous. But maybe for smaller meals or smaller parties the rules are different?
The bolded combined with the getting your own refills make this an interesting tipping situation.

If it was a traditional restaurant/bar than I would take into consideration the average turn, like someone else mentioned. What would an average table spend and what would the average tip to the staff be?

Then I would make sure the waiter got that amount of tip even though you might have only had a water and fries. This is under the theory that waitstaff is losing money on you taking up space an average-spending customer might occupy.

For example, if most people were eating/drinking and generating a $30 a check in the hour you are sitting there, I would tip the waiter at least $6 bucks for your meal no matter your actual check amount.

But based on your information, it sounds like you are spending more than some people. The situation seems causal to begin with, especially if there are people spending no money yet taking up space.

In this case, I would continue to tip at the level you are comfortable with and not worry about it.

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#26 of 54 Old 08-31-2009, 10:43 PM
 
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Also, FWIW, the reason 18% gratuity is added to larger parties isn't because it's mandatory, it's because too many people don't know how to tip . I've seen a server work their heiney off and get 2$ with a 'you're such a good server, here you go' on a large tab. Many people assume that a server makes minimum wage (hard to believe, I know..) but that's not everywhere (in Indiana, the tip wage is STILL $2.13- not even enough to cover taxes..all my servers had to pay in the last year I was Managing..). In my neck of the woods, 15% is still acceptable, 20% is preferable and anything less makes for crappy service next time.
Yes, this. We have the tip thread every so often, lol.
for those of you who don't know, in many places, tipped employess DO NOT make minimum wage, they make $2.13 an hour, which doesn't even cover taxes,and the "tip" is ACTUALLY the ENTIRETY of what they EARN.

anyway...the reason they ADD a "mandatory" tip onto a lareg order is because frankly - people WILL stiff you for no good reason. And with a large table, the waitperson might have only waited on that table..so, if they get stiffed, they literally LOST money working for that hour. Also..some people either are uber-cheap, or "don'tbelieve" in tipping, or simply have a WARPED sense of how much to tip...there aer literally people who would throw down $10 on a $200 tip. : it happens a LOT with lareg groups, where "everybody" ASSumes others are paying the tip...so ina group of say 8, with a total bill of $200, if everybody leaves a dollar, the waitperson only gets $8 , or a 4% tip.

So - hence, the "mandatory" tip, which is NOT mandatory per se, but if you have an issue with paying it, you need to speak to the manager. That way, if you have a gripe, complaint or truly feel the service does not warrant a minimla 18% tip, you can explain why. in those situations, usually teh manager will compensate you somehow, etc...
But, it makes sure that for DECENT service, the waitperson isn't getting shafted up the rear for all his/her hard work.

Waiting tables in a "tip wage" state is AWFUL..***.how would you feel, if you could go to work all day long, and then at the end of the day, your boss could CHOOSE to NOT pay you?? *** : that is EXACTLY what waitpersons do. And sadly, the level of service they provide doesn't necesarily correlate. Some people will shaft you regardless.

yes, of course, you can say "so dont get a job as a waitperson" but honestly, in some places, that might be the ONLY job you can get.

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#27 of 54 Old 08-31-2009, 11:07 PM
 
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I can't believe that the minimum wage is that low in some places! Here it is a bit lower for servers than for other workers but at $8.25/hr (going up next year I think) it's still not too terrible.

If the amount of the bill is not very high, I tend to tip more than 15% so what the OP is doing sounds fair enough to me.
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#28 of 54 Old 09-01-2009, 12:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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OP here

I asked b/c we went out to eat for my sister's b-day yesterday. There was 15 people total, 6 children under 6 and 9 adults. We had about 5 separate checks to make life easier for us and each one had the "mandatory 18%" added to it. We had drinks go empty and get slowly refilled, our appetizer came after the entree was served, we had to remind him of a few little things here and there, but overall, good service. There were no big messes to clean, I actually feel we're a pretty "clean" group b/c we tend to clear the table as we finish things, like stacking all the empty plates together w/ the silverware on top, moving the empty glasses or plates to the outside of the table so they don't have to reach over us, keeping the trash together, etc. We weren't loud or obnoxious, the kids were VERY well behaved, we were a good large group and didn't need any extra attention from the waitstaff.

I was just curious what everyone else does. We decided not to leave above the 18%, I guess b/c we didn't really feel like the waiter had to go out of his way for our large group and we were kind of rubbed wrong by the mandatory tip. I don't really know how the others in our party tipped, other than they alsohad the mandatory tip added on.

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#29 of 54 Old 09-01-2009, 12:26 AM
 
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I don't know that I've ever been in a situation where I've had the tip already added onto the bill! Hmmm.....

Generally, I tip very well. 20% at a bare minimum. Usually more than that.... and often much more at the restaurant(s) that we go to often. I don't know if I would add on to a tip that was already included, though. Just for simplicity's sake.

(I also get down on my hands and knees and pick up all of the crumbs that DS has dropped over the course of the meal before we leave, but that's another thread. I hate it when families with little kids leave and it looks like a salad bar exploded in a 6-ft radius around their table.)

I have a theory that EVERYBODY should work retail or in a restaurant for a period of time. I think we would be a much more civil and empathetic society if we did so.

Sleepy mama to Colin Theodore 8-12-08 and Trevor Arthur 7-17-12.

 

 

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#30 of 54 Old 09-01-2009, 12:29 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FillingMyQuiver View Post
We had drinks go empty and get slowly refilled, our appetizer came after the entree was served, we had to remind him of a few little things here and there, but overall, good service.

Considering this, I would say that 18% is perfectly adequate.

Sleepy mama to Colin Theodore 8-12-08 and Trevor Arthur 7-17-12.

 

 

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