When you go to a restaurant, how much do you tip? There is a wide spectrum of responses to that question. Some people withhold a tip for the tiniest little inconvenience, while others tip heavily without regard to the service. Some tip exactly 15% every time, down to the penny. Others will tip $2 a plate, or something similar.
Servers are of one mind on the question. Patrons do not tip enough. Your server is typically making minimum wage, or less, and is dependent every dollar. Meager tips can be depressing or insulting, and fat tips, while welcome, are rare.
Patrons, of course, don’t have tons of excess money either, and so tend to be stingy when paying the bill. Any excuse to scrimp on the tip will do. Even those who don’t scrimp can end up leaving small tips. Consider: for $10 you can get a full breakfast of eggs, bacon, pancakes, grits, biscuits and gravy, hash browns, and coffee. Oh man, now I’m getting hungry. You also get visited at least three times by the server, and usually more than three. At the end of the meal you settle up and pay the server – a buck and a half.
I heard an interesting idea recently. I haven’t tried it yet, but I might. On relatively cheap meals that come out to $10 a person or so, why not go wild and tip 35%, or just get crazy and tip 50%. Is paying $15 for a ten dollar meal going to break your piggy bank. Probably not. But the server sees the huge tip and floats three feet off the ground the rest of the day. Good investment? But wait, there’s more! Next time you go in there and see the same server, how do you think you’ll be treated? Like royalty!
Take these two points to heart. Never tip below 15%, regardless of service, and consider tipping extraordinarily well on the smaller meals. And above all: lighten up! Don’t be so miserly. You’ll make your server’s day, and you might make your own as well.