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Restaurant Tipping

Restaurant Tipping

Restaurant tipping is a bit of an art in my opinion, at least for tip jars. For me, I tip not only to reward the good service and dining experience but also for the hookup on the next visit. If I tip well and they remember me doing so, I've found that I get extras at no charge and good portions. It makes me feel like I'm part of the "in" crowd, all for a couple bucks.

I generally am a very good tipper when it comes to restaurants that I frequent. At restaurants that I know I will hang out at often, like one of the brew pubs or at my favorite restaurants, I'll tip everyone. It's worked for me so far.

For normal visits to restaurants I don't frequent often my tip will be the standard 15 to 20% depending on the quality of service. Even if the wait person is not that good, I'll still tip because I assume that they have to split tips with the rest of the staff. I've only not tipped once...and that was in the early days of Kanpai.

Tip jars are a bit of a game for me. I have a few techniques that I play around with. If it's a restaurant that I'll go to often but they use a tip jar, I'm a fan of making the cashier put the tip in the tip jar for me. To do this, I will over pay with the tip included and then when they try to give me the change I'll point to the tip jar and say something like "Oh not that was for you". Or I'll make like I didn't know the tip jar was there and leave the money on the counter which they'll scoop up and put into the tip jar.

If an item is $5 like the meat, bean, and cheese at Longboard Louie's, I'll pay with a $10 and say "If you give me some ones I'll be able to leave you a tip". This works the best for validation and leaves a lasting impression.

I do not like tipping for's the lamest tip jar there is and is usually in a spot where it's difficult to get recognition for the tip. In my opinion, if you don't see the money go into the tip jar, you're thinking I didn't tip. That does me no good. So don't turn around after you give me change or else it's going right in my pocket. I mean my own money will go into my pocket, not stealing yours of course. Don't want a Costanza situation where the calzone guy didn't see the tip so he tried to take it back to get the recognition.

Seriously, what does the tip jar do? They put the tip jar out but what am I tipping for? All you've done is successfully taken my order. What is the appropriate tip for giving me the proper change worth? If I had to repeat my order do I put less in the tip jar? If this is the norm, why aren't there tip jars at OfficeMax, Target, HomeDepot? They did the exact same thing you just did, they processed the transaction just the same.

Now if you read my mind or knew my order, then maybe it's worth something. But since I'm already paying $4 for my coffee, is it worth another buck on the chance that my coffee is exactly what I asked for? What if I had to wait longer than I felt necessary, what if you burnt the milk, what if you added the wrong syrup? Should I get to take my tip back?

What I can't stand is putting a couple bucks in the tip jar and not getting any recognition for it. I hate tip jars in the first place but if I drop my change or add a buck or two to the cup, I want you to at least say thank you.

On a recent trip to Cold Stone I added two bucks to the tip tray expecting to hear that song. I hate the forced singing but I still want the recognition and it's a policy that they pretty much have to sing. The cashier saw me put the money in the jar and didn't do anything to get the songs going.

I should have said something or just taken my money back. Could you imaging some jacknut just going off in a Cold Stone for not getting his $2 song? HA!

Go ahead and send in your comments, but I'm right and I know it.

Here's a nice resource on Restaurant Tipping and tipping in general:


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Anonymous monkeyinabox said...

Tipping has it's place, but just because you get food doesn't mean that's the case. I think with any restaurant that you sit down at and are served (order taken, chekced up on during the meal, etc) deserves a tip. Of course I think that bad service deserves a bad tip, otherwise what message are you sending?

I always remember when pizza places started doing this in Bend, instead of letting you sit yourself and just go up to the counter and order your pizza. Why? So they could pay the workers less by letting tips be part of their pay. A huge example of this is Izzy's. It's a buffet! If you get up to get your food, having your soda refilled isn't worth a tip. Give me a break.

Tip jars are in place simply because it's a way to get money for doing nothing. What's the difference between ordering at Longboard Louies and McDonalds?
Check out Taco Time. They have a sign up saying tips are forbidden.

May 29, 2007  
Blogger dkgoodman said...

My late aunt, who used to be a waitress, would ALWAYS leave a tip in a restaurant. But if the service was REALLY bad, she would tip two cents. She said if she didn't leave any tip at all, the waiter would just think she was cheap and had stiffed him. But if you leave two cents, they know you're not just stiffing them, you're really mad.

I haven't done that myself in a really, really long time.

May 29, 2007  
Anonymous Tip-less Beeyatch said...

Of course you're right. And I love the bell at Parilla Grill. I tip for no other reason than that they were clever enough to know that if I'm stuck giving them money for nothing more than 'taking my order', then I want something when I give them 'money for nothing'.

Boy, don't people think you're a mean bastage when you don't tip. Sheesh.

May 29, 2007  
Anonymous mark said...

The real secrets to getting celebrity style service everywhere can be found in this great book called, Tipping for Success! The secrets reveal it’s not how much, but rather what to say. Never wait in line again! The best secrets for upgrades at hotels, restaurants, airplanes, etc. you name it!

May 31, 2007  
Blogger A A Meza said...

First, a comment on the blog -Baristas, more so than many other service industry people, deserve a tip. I'm not talking your Starbucks or other cafes which use a super-automatic espresso machine (where they simple press a button to make mediocre espreso). But if you go to a cafe where they are actually pulling proper espresso (and especially if you are ordering extra shots) then they more than deserve a tip. The reason? Espresso extraction is far more difficult to do well than, for instance, make a cocktail. You would tip a bartender, correct? With espresso you not only have to know how the particular machine you are using works, but you have to dose the precise amount of coffee (to the gram), tamp the coffee with a precise amount of pressure, time the extraction time properly, and make adjustments on the fly based on how the coffee is behaving that day. My suggestion? 15%-20% tip or $1.00 per drink (just like you would give a bartender).

Secondly, this is in regards to dkgoodman's comment. Never, absolutely never, leave a tip of 1 or 2 cents. All this accomplishes is pissing off the waiter/waitress for the rest of the day or possibly longer. They definitely are going to think your a jerk if you do that. If the service is extremely bad, tip nothing and talk or write to the manager. The manager can deal with the employee in a proper manner and the manager will more than likely compensate you for your poor experience.

August 27, 2007  
Anonymous Luther Von Ruckerson said...

I am generally a good tipper. However! Putting pizza on a plate and handing to me does not warrant a tip. Nor does pouring me a cup of black coffee. I actually think beer pour-ers deserve borderline tips, but I always do anyway, mostly because I'm drunk and love everyone in the world.

What really bothers me is how a waitress walks out of a shift with 100 dollars and up while the kitchen staff come out with around ten dollars. There is simply no way that a smile and cute booty deserve 10 times the amount that the people actually preparing the food get. Should waitresses get a little more? Sure, give them three times the amount that individual kitchen staff make, that seems plenty generous.

September 17, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been a server for over 17 years and I can agree with a lot of points being made about tipping. I hate those tip jars, but can understand why they are there. Bend is not one of those places where you are making money hand over fist at a deli/pizza counter. The only thing I wanted to add was for people using credit cards to pay their bill-LEAVE AT LEAST ONE COPY FOR THE SERVER. When you take both-we get stiffed. I really hate that. Oh, and if you meant to stiff me-I hope you get Hepititus C from one of the other establishments you frequent. Wow, that felt good.

January 14, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i would like to comment about tip jars first in coffee shops, if you want them to know that your tipping them, just hand them the money, we appriciate it, plus they get taxed 10% of there sales weather or not you tip them. Bagels and smoothies are FAR more annoying to make then coffee, so if you would tip for a latte, tip for a smoothie to! As a waitress the reason why we do it is for the tips, and for what luthor von says, the kitchen makes a lot more money on there paychecks that we do thats why we get tips, we get maybe $200 or $300 every 2 weeks when the kitchen is bringing home $600-$800 every 2 weeks so i think we deserve a tip! and yes if you tip us good we will remeber and hook you up. if you work in an area that there is a coffee shop or caffe and you go there every day to get a drink or food, please remeber to tip us, we will be nicer to you and give you more in return. and yes please do leave us the copy of the visa that you signed, we get stiffed and introuble for not having it. if you think i was a good server and enjoyed your expirence please leave a good tip, just telling me how wonderful i am( all though it is appriciated) isn't quite good enough!

July 30, 2008  
Blogger Bend Oregon Restaurants said...

I've enjoyed reading the comments on the restaurant tipping bit. I especially like the comparison of a barista to a bartender. I completely disagree about the techniques of being a barista as being harder than a bartender. NOW, if you had a bar with 20 people standing at it with another 20-30 people behind them all wanting drinks, no one in line, and waitresses coming up with their orders as well, then maybe the barista has a complaint. But the reality is you have one drink to make and the machine does 90% of the work.

I tip bartenders because I want them to come back and give me more beers/drinks. I only need one coffee so who gives a crap. At the bar I'm hoping to get served out of the 50 other people wanting a beverage. At the coffee shop, I stand in line and then wait 10 minutes for a coffee that is not that good.

At a bar, I tip after I get my drink, at a coffee shop you tip when you pay which comes before your drink. Makes NO SENSE.

July 31, 2008  

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