The topic for this week’s edition of MBT Talks is tipping: how much do we tip? Is it a set number always, or is it based on quality of service?
Simon: I definitely tip based on service. Usually, my tips range from 15-20% of the bill — it’s a standard 18% (or about twice the tax in New York) if standard of service is decent, and 15% if service is teetering between good and bad.
I believe that anyone who makes the effort to carry out quality service should be rewarded. So, I’m not a big fan of restaurants that like to slap an automatic gratuity charge on large parties — these tend to be for occasions when quality service matters the most.
Laura: I usually do 20% or more, unless I felt the service was exceptionally bad. I’ve been reading about those people who stiff their waiters (like this one) and it’s just deplorable. If you’re too cheap to pay a tip, you shouldn’t be out eating at a place where you’re supposed to tip!
On the other hand, I prefer things in Asia, which is generally no tipping at all, or an automatic 10% gratuity at some places.
Claire: I usually double the tax when I tip, because it’s the most simple way — plus I hate doing math. If the service is horrible, I will leave 10-15%. If it’s stellar I will usually give more than 20%.
Amy: I tip between 15-20%, depending on whichever number is easier to figure out, honestly, but never under 15%. I think we have a stupid wage system and I don’t think waiters and waitresses should be paid a minimum wage that’s way less than the federal minimum, but because that’s the way it probably will be for a while.
That’s why I never undertip, no matter how bad the service. And the difference between tipping badly and tipping well is never more than a few dollars anyway — thus barring extremely large dinner parties which I rarely go to — so it doesn’t kill me to tip the standard percentage.
Joe: I have somewhat a complicated system. When I get drinks with my dinner, I subtract the drinks from the bill, and then take 20% of that. Then I add $1 tip per drink to get the final total tip I pay.
David: I tip a little more than 20% and my wife tips 25%, because we used to wait tables. I don’t think the main source of waiters’ incomes should be tips, but what can you do.
Anthony: I tip 20%. I worked as a delivery guy for a very long time — my dad owned a pizzeria so I started delivering the second I got my license — so I know how it feels. And I also tip 20% because it just makes the math easier.
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MBT readers, how do you tip? Drop a comment letting us know your rationale, and if you’ve waited tables in the past, we’d love to know about your experience when it comes to receiving tips.