For most of us Americans, it has been drilled into our heads that tipping at a restaurant is something that we should do, regardless of the level of service. And, if service is excellent, we should tip even more.

So, how should we react to these observations from Pete Wells, writing for the New York Times?

“Here is a technique that is guaranteed to have no effect on your service: leave a generous tip. I’ve tipped slightly above the average for years, generally leaving 20 percent of the total, no matter what. According to one study, lots of people are just like me, sticking with a reasonable percentage through good nights and bad. And it doesn’t do us any good, because servers have no way of telling that we aren’t the hated type that leaves 10 percent of the pretax total, beverages excluded.”

“That’s one reason we pay attention when a restaurant tries another way, as Sushi Yasuda in Manhattan started to do two months ago. Raising most of its prices, it appended this note to credit card slips: ‘Following the custom in Japan, Sushi Yasuda’s service staff are fully compensated by their salary. Therefore gratuities are not accepted.’ Sushi Yasuda joins other restaurants that have done away with tips, replacing them with either a surcharge (Atera and Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare in New York; Next and Alinea in Chicago; Coi and Chez Panisse in the San Francisco Bay Area) or prices that include the cost of service (Per Se in New York and the French Laundry in Yountville, Calif.).”

What do  YOU think about tipping? Click the image to read more from Wells.

Sushi Yasuda photo by Dennis Yermoshin for the New York Times

9 Replies to “What’s YOUR Policy for Tipping?”

  1. As a college student, I’m somewhat sympathetic to people not being able to leave generous tips! My policy is always that if I can afford to spend a little extra, I absolutely will (especially if the service is top-notch). I think it’s good that some places are implementing a “no tip because the server is being paid enough” policy to insure that the worker is getting as much money they work to get without relying on someone other than their boss to fulfill their paycheck.

  2. I believe that tipping should be something that is used as both a reward and a punishment depending on how well the server performs their job. I have seen in many cases that people prefer to always leave large tips as the quoted person in the article stated about always leaving 20% and use the excuse that the person does not make a good living. To me that is a ridiculous stance because, in my opinion, tipping over 15% should signify that the server did a good job, while tipping under 15% should signify the opposite. I have also seen many people only tip 15% maximum regardless of how well the server did. I believe that this is also unproductive because it still fails to recognize good or bad service. Consistently good or bad tips should be a way to show the server if they are doing a quality job or need to improve, tipping consistently high or consistently low defeats the purpose of that. Lastly, tipping has also become a way to socially show-off. Many people like to impress others and excessively tip to make themselves look wealthy. I believe that the best policy is simply to tip over 15% for good service, increasing that number with how much better the service gets and vice versa for bad service.

  3. Tipping should reflect how the guest truly feels about the level of service and should not focus on how much money they can afford to spend on the tip. I may be a little biased because I am a waiter, but I can say from experience that it demotivates us to give great service if we receive poor tips. It is the nature of the job to receive tips based on your level of service. While there is not a specific amount of money to tip, there should be a standard of how tipping should be decided. I can say from experience that tips greatly effect our general pay, and while I am only working as a part time college student, there are many people receiving tips that go home to support their families. There should fair rules about tipping that everybody should abide to. Employees do their jobs, and the tippers should respond by properly doing theirs.

  4. I believe that tipping is not only courteous but pretty much principal in this day and age. However, how much one should tip definitely depends on their thoughts about the experience they had with the waiter or waitress. If the server didn’t give a hoot about the table they were serving and really didn’t make an effort, then the customer should feel free to not tip how much he would regularly tip a server that really added to his experience.

  5. As a customer, I believe tips should work as a reward system. If my server does a great job or even better, I feel I have to reward good service with an equally good tip. I also feel equally inclined to leave a bad tip (not horrible but a normal percent such as 15%). The server, in my experience, was usually rude or untimely in all parts of service.
    However as a server, I would prefer tip to be included in the prices of the product. I fell as though this would eliminate excessive bad tips from people that order large meals with little tips.

  6. I was personally taught to always leave a reasonable tip, no matter what. Being a waiter/waitress is not an easy job and the employees deserve to be tipped for their hard work. However, not everyone has this mentality, so I agree with restaurants implementing gratuity money into workers’ salaries. This way, the servers will always receive the tip they deserve, and they won’t have to rely on a customer’s mood that particular day.

  7. I have never went to a restaurant and not tipped. I typically double the tax wherever I go because it a quick and simple method. But, I do admit there have been times where I felt like they did not deserve a tip. I think I am just too nice to not leave a tip, I would feel guilty.

  8. For myself in particular I have a very strong opinion on how important tipping is because in the summer I am a waitress. Before I started working at a restaurant I had no idea just how much work was involved, and it is a lot. I definitely believe that the amount of tip that is left should be based on the service, even that is not always the case. Sometimes tables just no matter how friendly and kind and how well there experience was just do not believe in tipping over 15%. I don’t think that 15% is a bad tip but my boss disagrees they assume people should be leaving at least 18- 20% every time. Most of my regular customers leave a large tip because they frequent and we learn about each others lives and its nice to establish that connection, because we provide not only good food but service as well.

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