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The Great Debates Server Tipping

Reader Feedback:

As a waiter of 20 years I have experienced the "penalty" of a short or no tip as the result of my customers dissatisfaction.

On a practical basis there are occasions where indeed I did not deliver the service expected and should be tipped (or not tipped) accordingly. There are also those events that are beyond my control (short staff, 86'd product, equipment failures, etc) and I pay the price via the gratuity.

For the most part customers are forgiving of momentary glitches if they are informed of the circumstances and the house makes a sincere attempt to reconcile the inconvenience. What they will not excuse is a waiter's bad attitude because the customer is not happy or the waiter's projected sense of "entitlement" when it comes to tipping.

Waiting tables is craft. The level of remuneration is relative to competent customer service. We certainly do not sustain our careers via minimum wage (although is still an important part of our income). "Raises" are provided by our customers and not our employers. If I want to improve my income level I must improve on my craft and skills.

There are those who do not believe in tipping. That is their choice and it is one of the occupational hazards of the profession. Americans prefer having the option on gratuities and rebel at being told they "owe" tips. I know that I serve over 11,000 people each year and maybe 5 of them challenge my service skills. That leaves 10,995 fabulous guests who are a pleasure to serve and reward my genuine professional attention with gratuities that have allowed me to raise three children as a single parent.

So in relation to your debate... it happens! Get over it! Reset your table for the next party for they may very well leave you 25%... or more!


Paul C. Paz
National Waiters Association - (503) 524-0788

**Next Post

Yes, I will leave the table without tipping if a server, ignores my table because I am a woman alone, if she is rude to me, and can not be bothered with her job. Of which I am. And I do not feel the least bit guilty. If she doesn't like the job. than she should quit, and find a job she likes more. I have owned a restaurant for the last fourteen years, and I have had to tolerate some pretty harsh customers. So as an owner I know what it is to appreciate your customers. And good servers. If one of my servers complains to me about a customers being rude, and the server has done all in their power to accommodate the patron, then I will step in and take care of the problem. No customer will run over my people either. So I know about tipping or not, also rudeness on both sides.


**Next Post

When it comes to a gratuity, and I emphasize the word GRATUITY, I leave what I feel is appropriate for the level of service that I have received. Outstanding service will merit about 25%. Fair service will be about 15-20%. Horrible service, roughly 10%. Is this punishment - not at all, just gratitude for the services that I have received.

In restaurants today, all to often, you find servers that are merely order takers or salesmen, expecting a minimum of a 15% tip on every table, almost as if its a service charge. This is not what a gratuity is meant to be. So the next time that you feel you are being punished by a poor tip, ask yourself these questions - how did I go above and beyond to give my guests an outstanding experience? - What did I miss, What did they have to ask for. What could I have done to give them a more pleasurable experience? Chances are a poor tip means one of two things - one, that the level of service was not up to their expectations, or two, that they don't know how to appropriately tip.

-Jason S Smith

**Next Post

Sure, I will "punish" a server by reducing the tip if the service was poor (actually, I'd rather call it "withholding a reward" instead of "punish").

I will usually tip 15% for acceptable service, 20% for above average or exceptional service and 10% if the service was truly poor. If I can't get a refill on my water or wine during the course of my meal, you can bet the tip will be reduced.

A tip is a reward, not a right. So why should I reward poor service?!

Dan Gage -

**Next Post

I am responding to your query about leaving small tips for waitpeople. Yes I have done it. So has my fiance. We have both worked in restaurants (front and back of the house) so we know how horribly things can sometimes go. We also know how much fun and how rewarding it can be to wait on tables. As understanding as we try to be, we have had to put up with some of the most obnoxious, insincere, and just plain ignorant waitpeople at times.

Monika C. Pattantyus

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