tips on tipping your restaurant server
By Alexis Lear
October 4, 2006 | "If it's good enough for my god,
then it's good enough for my waiter." If you have ever
served in a restaurant or performed any other service
requiring a tip, you have probably heard this phrase
which many people use to justify tipping 10 percent.
But comparing a religious tithe to what you tip your
server after a five course meal seems a bit sacreligious,
If not just plain weird.
Most people are unaware of the fact that in Utah,
minimum wage for a tipped server is $2.13 per hour;
with most of the $2.13 going towards taxes. Leaving
the rest of that waiter's month's rent to be paid in
tips received from customers. Depending on the restaurant,
waiters end up tipping out anywhere from 10 to 20 percent
of their nightly profits to busboys, bartenders, food
runners, and hostesses. In the end, waiters make a lot
less than what one might think.
Going to school, paying for rent, paying for food,
paying for the extra charges on your cell phone because
you text messaged a little too much last month; life
tends to get expensive. Sometimes our financial problems
get the best of us, and tipping for services rendered
falls to the bottom of the totem pole. But it's that
extra dollar you spare for your waiter that makes the
With a little help from Google and a search for "tipping
etiquette," one can find on many different websites
that 15-20 percent is standard when tipping a waiter
in a restaurant. Now, this of course is assuming your
waiter remembered that you didn't want tomatoes on your
burger, and that you didn't ask them for something for
your fries every time they came with in earshot. It
is also tipping etiquette to tip a little extra if your
table has been a bit difficult for the waiter. Yes,
the waiter is there to help and serve you, but don't
treat them as if you have rented a slave for an hour.
Through my two years as a server I have seen it all,
tips of $1 off a $100 ticket and tips of $100 off a
$10 ticket. Some nights a waiter will leave with $150
in their pocket, and other times they'll be lucky to
make it out the door with $20. The life of a waiter
can be very inconsistent.
If you receive great service, nothing goes wrong,
and your waiter was there every time you needed them,
maybe tip a little extra at the end of the night. There
are, however, those times when your waiter doesn't quite
make it up to par. If that is the case, grab a manager
and tell them the problem. Talking to a manager if you
have serious problems is the best solution for everyone.
Don't always drop the tip of the waiter. Because you
talked to the manager, that waiter will know what they
did wrong and work that much harder when waiting on
their next table. Simply tipping poorly or not tipping
at all will not resolve the problem. The waiter will
never know what they did wrong, and the service will
never be improved.
So the next time you are leaving a restaurant agonizing
in your head over how much to tip the waiter, think
one more dollar. One more dollar probably won't throw
off your checkbook that much, and will probably make
that waiter's shift that much better. If Uncle Bob is
the one leaving the tip and barely makes the 10 percent
mark, throw a couple more dollars on the table to help
out: believe me, from a waiter's point of view, it will
be greatly appreciated.