a quick guide to tipping your servers (in america)
- please tip 15% minimum unless your server is really really terrible. servers get tipped minimum wage which is currently federally at $2.13 an hour if i’m not mistaken. it varies from state to state but the highest i know of right now is $3.10/hr. we don’t earn a lot in hourly wages. it’s not like we’re swimming in money after a 50-hour work week. our income is literally based on our tips. we try our best to be nice and talkative, but if we’re very very busy and can’t pay extra attention to you, don’t think we’re being rude or lazy.
- if your food is incorrectly cooked or your alcoholic drink is too weak/mixed incorrectly, please don’t tip your server less for this! it’s one thing if they put in the order wrong, but it’s another if the cooks aren’t doing their job. at most places, cooks do NOT get a cut of the tips. so don’t give your server a bad tip for bad food. likewise, bartenders sometimes will get a tip-out from servers, but it’s not usually more than 3% of all of the alcohol the server sold the entire night, so if your beer is warm, it’s probably not your server’s fault and you shouldn’t tip them bad for a warm beer.
- if you have a party and you’re splitting up the checks, check how much everyone’s tips are altogether! a lot of the time parties who split the checks assume other people are tipping well and don’t tip servers even a full 15%. if you’re a big party you’re likely one of the only tables a server has for the night. you know how gratuities are 18%? tip a party like a gratuity - 18% standard since you’re taking up a lot of room, more if the service was good.
- if you have a small bill, please don’t do 15% on like, a 5 dollar tab. leave a couple bucks. a server doesn’t want small change. it doesn’t make up for the loss in hourly wages like its supposed to.
- if you’re only drinking/have a small bill and you’re sitting at a table for a long time, realize that you should tip extra for taking up that table. by not ordering food or drink, you’re preventing table turnover for that server and keeping them from earning the money they need. that’s not to say you can’t sit down and socialize, just that you need to be considerate when tipping for taking up the table.
- this is a big one!! if you have a coupon or a discount card, do NOT tip for the bill after the discount! ALWAYS tip your server based on the bill before the discount. this is so important especially at places that have a buy one get one free meal coupons. those are awful for servers because people only tip them for half of the service the server provided usually. please tip based on the pre-discount bill!