Is it Ever Okay Not to Tip?

Categories: Bites & Dishes

notipforbitesanddishes.jpg
www.missfitmisfit.wordpress.com
As restaurant-going Americans, we've been conditioned to leave a tip of between 15 percent to 20 percent of the final bill when dining out.

But is there ever a time when we shouldn't leave anything at all?

According to the Consumerist, "there is almost no correlation between tips and good service, but surveys show that Americans relish the power to tip because we falsely believe it provides an incentive to provide good service."

Rudeness? Not receiving food? Inattentiveness? I asked Valley chefs and restaurateurs whether they thought it was ever acceptable not to leave a tip. Here's what they had to say. What do you think?

See also:
- Chefs, What's the Most Interesting Thing You've Made on a Grill?
- What Are the Pros and Cons of Appearing on Television?

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for JoshHebertBD2@1.jpeg
Josh Hebert,
Chef and Owner, Posh

If you're going to stiff the server on a tip, always tell the manager what went wrong. Otherwise, no one is going to learn any lessons. No server has ever gotten a poor tip and thought, "I wonder what I did wrong?" or "How could I have made their experience better?" Instead they typically think, "Wow, what a cheap table." So turn it into an opportunity for a server, chef, or manager to learn.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for MichaelO'DowdbandD.jpg
Michael O'Dowd,
Chef and Owner, Renegade MOD

Yes. It's a job. And if the job wasn't done correctly then the pay should reflect it. It's not a given and should be treated as such.

Thumbnail image for DaveAndreaBratHausBandD.jpg
Dave Andrea,
Owner, Brat Haus

Not really, but I have been known to give 10 percent if someone really sucks. I never penalize the server for bad food.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for FarahKhalidBitesandDishes.jpg
Farah Khalid,
Chef and Owner, Curry Corner

Only in extreme circumstances. Sometimes the servers do no not necessarily share the same dynamic the chef has in preparing the food.


My Voice Nation Help
93 comments
richardstarr
richardstarr topcommenter

Here is a thought, why not have a restaurant actually pay their people directly rather than go through some bs machinations to do so, especially when so many of the management types are now helping themselves to the tips too.  It's like fees for an airplane trip.  I'd rather know what the bill is up front.

Also, I see no point in paying based on a percentage of the food's cost.  Good service is good service, but the same service should be rewarded the same, not based on some arbitrary principal that if I order something expensive vs something cheap.


Why should a crappy server get 10% of a $100 meal and a good server get 20% of a $40 meal. The result is the good server ended up with less than the crappy one.

gardiner.oliver
gardiner.oliver

As someone observed, this is an odd poll to ask chefs and restaurant managers who are salaried. What do these types know from performing direct customer service or having to live on tips?

I find tips annoying. There is this expectation that you must tip regardless of the indifferent service or getting the order wrong. I find it's women who, complain to heaven about the meal, but still tip out of pity, which only reinforces the poor service level.

I worked for tips once for a month; it was too much like begging.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

In Texas, tips are not for good service - they're to help the restaurant avoid paying taxes.
Here, wait staff get paid less than minimum wage, and their tips are considered part of their core salary.

Republicans set it up that way so that business owners could cheat their own employees.

Bob Rebsamen
Bob Rebsamen

Yes, too many expectations, for not doing anything especially when there is a tip jar right in your face.

roggie67
roggie67

I have seen a server deliberately break down in tears while going out on the floor.  Slow night, get the sympathy tips.  That being said, I have worked both on the floor and primarily in the kitchen.  Blame gets tossed back and forth.  Let the manager know if something was bad enough not to tip.  Also look at how your server is being set.  Load them up with five twelve tops at the same time, it is not their fault if they fall behind.

teknik
teknik

always tip!

the server is require it tip out based on their sales, not their tips.

if you stiff the server the server just lost money that they have to tip out,

Homer_J
Homer_J

Im not sure Ive ever not given a tip, but I have in some cases left tips below the traditional 15% to indicate my displeasure with the service. In reading the comments from the chefs/owners I find it interesting that they a lot of them say "let the manager know". I think that this is an cop out/annoyance: Im going for food and/or service, not to evaluate people's performance. My evaluation about the service should be inferred by the tip. It is likely that in general, this is the signal to the employer or server about the performance of the waiter/server (I do admit though that people can be dicks and just not tip, or tip poorly, Im curious about the percentage of people like that though...). Finally, I find it interesting that most owners/chefs encourage most visitors to leave a tip... I wonder what would happen to quality of service if waiter's wages were not dependent on tips, ie, what would happen if a waiter was salaried. Owners would probably have to raise food prices to customers, but then you might start getting people who would like to make this their vocation and in turn provide a better experience to the consumer, instead of people doing the work with the mentality of "this as a temp job, so who cares or the pay is so bad, what do I have to lose...". Lets face it, even with  20% percent tips, you're probably never gonna make enough to live the high life, and ultimately, I think this is what make a lot of people think about the work as temp work, or even shit work. Final comment: in the context of converting from a tipping mechanism, to a salaried one, you as the owner should then be left doing what I think you should be doing: evaluating the performance of your staff yourselves, and not pass the buck to the consumer, via the tipping mechanism...

k2yeb
k2yeb topcommenter

To say you should tip regardless of service, is about as short sighted as one can get. So, reward people that don't do a good job at their job because they chose to be in a low salary position. Lots of jobs work on "commission". If they are average I tip them. But if they are horrible why? If I wanted to reward lack of effort or responsibility I would send some campaign contributions to a certain political party.

WhatEver
WhatEver

Let me start with, I always tip. Nevertheless, the current system of tipping encourages mediocrity. It encourages the owners to underpay the staff. It encourages the servers not to see their job as a real job but as a gig for which they need no training and which they are not taking seriously. Unless it is a single bad experience at an already established favorite, I am not concerned with your potential improvement. I am not even concerned with your survival, because I am not coming back. You had your chance to impress me with how well trained and supervised your waiting staff is and you blew it. 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

If Tips are mandatory, then they aren't TIPS. 

Oh, and another thing -- you don't Tip on the TAX ... you tip on the PRE-tax total.

hth.

Ashleigh Gaylord
Ashleigh Gaylord

And those that go into that business know that risk when they sign up for the job.

Ashleigh Gaylord
Ashleigh Gaylord

Poor service = smaller tip. I don't think I would ever give nothing though, because that's how I am. On the other hand I've also left a $10 tip for a $5 meal. Just depends. You get what you earn and I think that's fair.

Phil Razzi
Phil Razzi

If they do a poor job I'm not tippin. I'm not just talking about not getting a second glass of water. I'm talking consistent poor service.

Dani Lee Hawkes
Dani Lee Hawkes

Need more feedback on to -go orders... I may throw them a few bucks for putting it together, but most of the time it's an internal struggle. What's appropriate? Ps/ those who stiff full service wait staff without offering to explain why to their servers faces have NO guts. You deserve shitty service in my opinion.

Sam James
Sam James

I consider my tip as my appreciation for the service received. If service is great, then so is the tip. If service were to be nonexistent, the tip might be also...

Mary Martin
Mary Martin

I would leave a smaller tip and then pull the manager aside and tell him why I am leaving such a small tip. The managers need to know when a server is doing bad so they can instruct them to improve or replace them. If the service is good, I tip 20%.

asprings131
asprings131

It is ALWAYS OK not to tip if the service is REALLY HORRIBLE! Ever had someone steal from you? My husband and I have. It was done on purpose and the waitress got fired.  Another time, a waiter decided to keep 31 cents in change. It's STEALING.  I don't give a care if it's a penny, that was INTENTIONAL and that's THEFT! If you steal, I steal the tip back, because really my stealing isn't stealing since tipping is voluntary in most cases, but they ARE really stealing to where they could go to jail for it.

Midwestern Dude'itude
Midwestern Dude'itude

I round up from 20% everytime... on everything. I didn't tip one time in my entire life. It was the most unobservant, oblivious, and just plain piss poor service I've ever gotten. Something more awkward that anything I've ever seen in a sitcom. I wrote a full page note explaining why he was being stiffed. I was at my boiling point, so he was luck a note is all he got.

Jeff Ramon
Jeff Ramon

If the service sucks...the tip sucks

Simone Yavar
Simone Yavar

No there is not! It is also not ok to write a horrible message to your server/bartender.

Evelyn M. Wesson
Evelyn M. Wesson

Wow I can't believe someone would actually write boo on a receipt that's just wrong in so many ways.

Deirdre Stirpe
Deirdre Stirpe

Great comments from the chefs, and telling the manager is so much better than screwing the server. Many can be to blame, not just the server. Great read.

Adam Moreno
Adam Moreno

Of course most chefs are going to say you should always leave a tip. Why not interview frequent guests at different restaurants?

Adam Moreno
Adam Moreno

I agree that every situation is different and it is important to remain conscious that everyone has bad days. That being said, I pay to go out to a restaurant to enjoy myself and the services provided. It isn't fair to a paying customer to have to deal with sub-par servers that bring their personal problems to work. A tip is reflective upon each individual server and the service they provide; in some cases leaving a small tip or no tip is a sign of poor service.

Zack Blowe
Zack Blowe

If u are going to a restaurant and are recieving service from a individual you should always tip regardless of the situation. That is why they are waiting on you! The employer already pays a server next to nothing almost 5 dollars less then minimum wage so the business owner is able to make profit and payout next to nothing for their employees. If you do not want to tip regardless of how shitty the service was then eat only fast food!! They make minimum wage and dont have to deal with the customers crap nearly as much as a server does while having multipule tables to look after. A person can never make everyone happy but understand if you are receiving service from a individual you tip that individual and if necessary just dont sit in the servers section that does not fit your style. All else fails Mcdonalds provides great service and there is no need to tip! Plus you wont have to talk crap about the server and what they did or did not do for you and move on! Less of a headache for everyone involved!!

Tracy Guest
Tracy Guest

I had my dinner served in my lap once. That was the only time I didn't tip And yes we complained to management, barely got an apology. I was left with a ruined dress and a partial meal. It would need to be that extreme for me not to tip.

Jason Kroll
Jason Kroll

very far and few between but I will drop percentage if "service" not food was bad... the waitstaff has low control of the food unless it is brought out late and cold... poor service in any realm should and could be addressed by pay..

Joshua Nitro Rodriguez
Joshua Nitro Rodriguez

If I'm not making my own food, then I know I should pay fairly for asking people to bring it to me. How much I pay is either how well I would like to treat myself, and how well I feel I've been treated. I was a server once and I had to work hard to make my money. Your life changes when you actually have to service off of making tips. This is a dumb question ha

Lisa Jasper
Lisa Jasper

I would never not leave a tip, it's classless. I was a server to help pay for college and a babysitter. One night a very needy couple stiffed me in spite of great food and service because "I didn't smile enough". What they didn't know is my boss was a sexist ahole, I walked to work, I just lost my mother and my disabled son was having brain surgery again that week. You never know what a server is going through on the job or home and you are not thier only customer. I try not to judge others.

Daron Nikki Petit
Daron Nikki Petit

As your server introduces him/herself place your maximum tip on the table and tell them "it can only go down from here."

nathan.m.ricci
nathan.m.ricci

The response from Josh @ Posh is such an amazing reply. I will visit this resturant on his positive outlook alone. Thank you.

richardstarr
richardstarr topcommenter

@bvckvs Minimum wage laws are Federal in level, with states being allowed to require a higher rate.  Take a look at when the changes were made to the minimum wages laws.  Well what do you know, done under Democrat administrations.  Reference the fair minimum labor acts for tipped employees.

yourpoprock
yourpoprock

@teknik stupid (and possibly the worst grammar on city pages' site) comment.

If the service (not the food - the service) sucks, no tip for you.

teknik
teknik

servers have to tip out based on their sales. to not tip makes the server pay those other people out of their pocket.

we are talking about employees who's bosses don't pay minimum wage

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Ashleigh Gaylord <== receives Big Tips ...

yourpoprock
yourpoprock

@Simone Yavar Sure it is.  If you do a shit job, what in the world would make you expect a tip?  You get exactly what you earn.

yourpoprock
yourpoprock

@Evelyn M. Wesson Not really.  If it was that bad, the server is likely lucky that all they got was "Boo" written on the receipt.

yourpoprock
yourpoprock

@Zack Blowe Stupidest. Comment. Ever.

yourpoprock
yourpoprock

@Lisa Friel Jasper doing a shit job is classless.  Excuses are all I hear here.

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

@Daron Nikki Petit That's stupid.  You have no idea how much or what you are going to order so you have no way of knowing what percent you are tipping by putting it out before you've even ordered.  For all the server knows at that point, you have put 5% out and are trying to act like a big shot.  In the end you're just going to come acress as an asshole.  You need to find a new solution.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@teknik ... bullshit.

If the server doesn't NET the minimum wage with their tips, the Employer is required BY LAW to pay the difference to the waitress/waiter so that they earn at least the normal minimum wage.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@JohnQ.Public "You need to find a new solution."

How about PAY THE EMPLOYEES -- including Waitstaff -- a WORKING WAGE and eliminate the absurd anachronistic institution of "tipping" altogether?

Raise the menu prices 15 - 20% to compensate.

Problem solved.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@JohnQ.Public ... or the table of businessmen that order a single bottle of $100 wine ... and that server gets $20 for running one item to the table/

The institution of Tipping is NOT fair ... it's an ADVANTAGE to the Restaurant Owners who can then have an excuse and legal authority to pay Waitstaff even LESS than the pathetically puny minimum wage. 


JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

@DonkeyHotay That wouldn't bother me one bit.  I agree that tipping for good service is bullshit when there is an expectation that everyone tips and the tips are essentially a predetermined amount.

Here's the other thing that gets me about tipping - it subjects servers to the luck of the draw.  Say 2 four tops sit down at the same time and get assigned to 2 different servers.  One four top orders sodas with free refills and meals with no appetizers or desserts while the other four top orders a couple drinks each, appetizers, meals and desserts.  Both tables tip 20%.  By the luck of the draw, the server with the second four top gets a much bigger tip while the server with the first four top doesn't.  Both were there, both were willing to work.  Just because the first four top didn't order very much the server who got it gets screwed.  That doesn't seem quite fair either.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...