Wednesday, August 2

Tipping Etiquette

I get this question a lot. Do you tip 20% on an expensive bottle of wine?

The answer is YES (IF the service renders!). It is simple. When you plan to go out and have a nice evening, service is a part of the experience. That is why you go out instead of uncorking that bottle of wine at home. I know it takes two seconds to open a bottle and you can justify it that two seconds doesn't deserve 20%. But what you don't know is how much training the staff has to get to present that wine, let alone the knowledge they have to possess about other wines so they can help you choose. And besides, if you are going to order a $100 of wine, you are probably in a venue that you are paying for that experience.

My motto is this: You should never go out if you can't afford to take care of the servers properly. That is apart of the experience! If you can't, stay home.


Anonymous Buster said...

Bollocks - 20% to open a bottle of wine!
Americans think they deserve a tip for nothing. At an average New York hotel I was expected to add 15% to 20% for a self service breakfast! I live in Spain where waiters ( of either sex ) only expect a tip for proper service.

8/12/2006 1:22 PM  
Anonymous caroline said...

i think we'd all agree if it is not proper service, the tip would refect that...My point is still that you tip for the experience not the item..

8/13/2006 9:31 PM  
Anonymous Steven said...

I understand where you are coming from on this, and I always tip (usually more than I make myself) but you cannot get into the expectation that people should only go out if they can afford to tip.
I've worked in a job where a lot my wages were made of tips, but most of the customers were old ladies so I never served anyone expecting a tip. The fact that these older ladies were spending money in the business at all meant that I got a wage. Not a great wage but a wage nonetheless.
For some people going out once a week or once a month it is their one and only luxery that they allowed themselves. It's their one chance to get treated like royalty and have other people running around after them for a change. They can get dressed up, have a nice meal, try an expensive bottle of wine they have never tried before. They might feel guilty about that bottle of wine because some of that money was going to be the tip of the server but they have reasoned with themselves that they've had a hard week, they deserve it and the next time they are back in the restaurant they will be sure to tip the server extra.
The thing is you don't know the situations of all your customers. The person who tips you 30% might not be able to afford it, would you give them the money back if you knew that? The person who didn't tip you still brought money into the restaurant. If the restaurant was half empty all night because some potential customers felt they had enough money for a meal but not enough money to tip how does that serve you?
A full restauarant can afford to pay it's staff more money. This would mean that the staff would be less reliant on tipping. Contrast that with the half empty restaurant struggling to pay the bills.
Tipping etiquette is all well and good but a restaurant without customers doesn't do anyone any good.

8/14/2006 6:22 PM  
Blogger demondoll said...

Don't wait staff get taxed on the amount they sell? I don't know what it is now, but back in the Paleolithic when I was a waitress, it was 8%. All for the honor of serving people food and drink.

I understand that the dollar is hard-earned, but I wholeheartedly agree that if you can afford to go out, you should be able to tip properly. Factor in the costs- meal+tax+tip.

8/14/2006 7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just thank God I live in a country where tipping is not the norm at all. When I go out to dinner I pay for my meal and drinks as part of that charge I would expect it to cover the cost of opening my wine or serving my meal. What are wages for?
In this day and age we all pay for our education. In my job I provide a service and I find it unethical to expect my customers to cough up " a little extra" if they feel I have given superb service. I would hope I do my job superbly every time and keep the customers happy. Thats my job !!!

8/15/2006 10:39 PM  
Blogger Dani said...

I agree that if you go to a nice restraunt that you should be prepared to tip well. My only problem is that I have gone to nice restraunts and gotten shoddy service and I do not feel that I should tip 20% just because the wine was good if the service was bad. I am not saying that they shouldn't deserve a tip, but they deserve one on the basis of what type of service they gave.


8/16/2006 4:34 AM  
Blogger Red Shift said...

I'm all about leaving a most excellent tip. Heaven knows those folks working in the service industry don't earn much money otherwise. If they give exceptional service they deserve to be rewarded. That said I am seeing a trend that bothers me. Some establishments are tacking on an automatic 15% - 20% gratuity to the check. Generally speaking I tip much better than 20%. So when I find myself in one of these restaurants the server simply doesn't receive more than the establishment "takes". I don't think a restaurant should determine what I'm going to leave the server - that's wrong, in my opinion.

On a lighter note I have an interesting tipping policy: The quality of my servers tip is directly proportional to the quality of the dirty joke she (he) tells me! :-)

8/17/2006 4:23 PM  
Blogger iconoclastical said...

I always tip on the bottle of wine, here's why:


Yes, that was yelling. The place I work at has mandatory tip-outs, and those tips outs are taken out of total sales, including expensive bottles of wine.

So, let's say half of your bill is composed of a $300 bottle of wine, but you decide to not tip me on that, leaving my tip something like 10% of the bill, after they take the mandatory 5% out, you've only left me a 5% tip- and after a server provides me excellent service, I just can't leave what is, in effect, a 5% tip.

8/23/2006 4:33 PM  
Blogger M.A.D. said...

This is all very strange to those of us from the good old UK and I have worked on both sides of the bar...

Over here, if the service is good you leave a 10% tip, unless the establishment has added it to the bill already as a service charge.

If the service is not good, you leave nothing.

It is the establishment's job to pay their staff, not the customer's. A tip on this side of the pond is just that - a bonus for good service, it isn't supposed to be part of the wages.

As for a 20% or 30% tip - well, I actually find it hard to understand how the service can be that much "better" that it deserves a 30% tip - unless it's something one-off, like they arrange for you to get your food really quickly because you are in a hurry, or something...

8/25/2006 6:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that many of these comments are very funny. They all assume that it is all up to the consumer to decide how much to pay someone for performing a service for them. Do you decide how much to pay the plumber to fix your toilet? No. The person performing the service decides how much to charge. If the service is not up to your expectations, you still have to pay. In the United States, the minimum wage for tip augmented service industry workers is about $3.50 per hour. It is understood that these workers make most of their income from tips. Waitstaff is also responsible to tip out their support staff (bartenders, hosts, bussers ) an amount ranging from 3-5%. To go out, demand service from someone, get it and then rationalize any reason to not pay them is just not rational.

10/13/2008 12:49 AM  

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