Tipping etiquette question

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Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Sat Jul 28, 2012 8:53 am

Gerbils, help me out here. For context, I am in Montreal, Canada.

Let us say you go to a cafe to get a sandwich and a coffee. You wait in the line, and then you place your order and pay for it on the counter. You get your coffee and the nice person on the counter says "Take a seat, I will bring your sandwich to your table".

So, are you supposed to tip or not?
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Sat Jul 28, 2012 9:04 am

If all he/she did was bring me the sandwich I probably wouldn't tip. If they brought the sandwich, filled up my coffee, and brought me a to-go cup of coffee or something then I'd leave a couple bucks.
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Sat Jul 28, 2012 9:10 am

If it's not a fast food franchise then, yes I'd leave a tip. I make the distinction because many franchised fast food restaurants actively discourage tipping. I tend to tip heavily because I was on the other side of that counter in past lives...
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Sat Jul 28, 2012 10:05 am

For that I wouldn't go above 10%
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:22 am

Related question: What's an appropriate percentage for a buffet restaurant where all they do is bus the tables and refill your drinks?
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:28 am

just brew it! wrote:Related question: What's an appropriate percentage for a buffet restaurant where all they do is bus the tables and refill your drinks?

My standard Chinese buffet tip is a single dollar.
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Sat Jul 28, 2012 12:38 pm

just brew it! wrote:Related question: What's an appropriate percentage for a buffet restaurant where all they do is bus the tables and refill your drinks?

Tips are often split among the entire staff; in some restaurants the kitchen staff gets a cut as well. So, even if you're getting your own food on a buffet, someone is still cooking it, someone is putting it out, someone is making sure your cup stays full, and someone is cleaning up your mess afterwards. Even if the tips aren't split, the waitress is likely only making a couple dollars an hour (minimum wage is $2.13/hr in the U.S. for people who receive tips).

I always leave at least 15%, rounded up to the nearest dollar.

You might be thinking "I paid x dollars to eat here, why should I give the waitress more" What you've done is paid the restaurant owner, which covers his basic costs and goes to profit. Wait staff are often poorly paid. There's the expectation they will make up the difference in tips; your tips cover most of their salary. If the service was even half way decent, reward them for it.

Edit: to add the last comment
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Sat Jul 28, 2012 12:56 pm

mnecaise wrote:
just brew it! wrote:Related question: What's an appropriate percentage for a buffet restaurant where all they do is bus the tables and refill your drinks?

Tips are often split among the entire staff; in some restaurants the kitchen staff gets a cut as well. So, even if you're getting your own food on a buffet, someone is still cooking it, someone is putting it out, someone is making sure your cup stays full, and someone is cleaning up your mess afterwards. Even if the tips aren't split, the waitress is likely only making a couple dollars an hour (minimum wage is $2.13/hr in the U.S. for people who receive tips).

I always leave at least 15%, rounded up to the nearest dollar.

You might be thinking "I paid x dollars to eat here, why should I give the waitress more" What you've done is paid the restaurant owner, which covers his basic costs and goes to profit. Wait staff are often poorly paid. There's the expectation they will make up the difference in tips; your tips cover most of their salary. If the service was even half way decent, reward them for it.

Edit: to add the last comment


Kitchen staff are usually not paid under minimum wage. Even busboys are usually given $50 flat for a shift. The only people who rely almost exclusively on tips are the wait staff. I also am not a fan of 1 person seating you, one person brings drinks, another takes your order and yet another brings your food out. I'd rather have the same person do everything. What if 1/4 of those people sucks terribly? I can't in good conscience tip full amount when 25% of my service sucked, but at the same time, why am I punishing 75% of the people for 1 person being ****.
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:56 pm

Corrado wrote:
Kitchen staff are usually not paid under minimum wage. Even busboys are usually given $50 flat for a shift. The only people who rely almost exclusively on tips are the wait staff. I also am not a fan of 1 person seating you, one person brings drinks, another takes your order and yet another brings your food out. I'd rather have the same person do everything. What if 1/4 of those people sucks terribly? I can't in good conscience tip full amount when 25% of my service sucked, but at the same time, why am I punishing 75% of the people for 1 person being ****.


That's true. I got a bit carried away with the previous post; but, having been on the other side, I'm sensitive to the issue.

Kitchen staff are not put into that group of tip earners and are usually among the best paid, in terms of base salary. Busboys around here make near minimum hourly wage, which is $7.25/hr right now (U.S.).

I've known a couple places where the tips were all thrown into a jar and split at the end of the day. At one place a friend worked, this included the kitchen staff. Most places; however, the tips go to the wait staff exclusively -- but they're paid a very low base wage.

If you have bad service, talk to the manager. They would want to know and they'll usually straighten it out fairly quickly. Restaurant business is very much based on word of mouth advertising and they don't want you telling all your friends how bad your experience was.
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:56 pm

Edit: double post ???
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Sat Jul 28, 2012 3:44 pm

My first job was as a busboy. We got a cut of the tips, as did the seater. The wait staff had to turn their tips into the manager, and he'd pull out the tips for the busboys and seaters. Everyone could pick up their tipshare the next morning after the shift. Back of the house staff and managers were not on tipshare. The flaw in this system was exposed when one of the managers was fired and arrested for skimming tips.

This was when minimum wage was $4.25/hr. Busboys made $2.60/hr and wait staff made $3.25 an hour. The rest was tipshare. If business was slow, the house was supposed to make up the difference to $4.25/hr but AFAIK it never came to that.

If you don't spit in my food in front of me you'll get 15%. If you keep my coffee filled you'll get 18-20%. I've gone as high as 40% for someone working for what I could tell was a d-bag manager and still working hard.
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Sat Jul 28, 2012 5:05 pm

I think after reading this thread, I will settle at "some tip", perhaps 10%, for the original question :D
Till now, I actually used to avoid such places simply cause it was too confusing!
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Sat Jul 28, 2012 9:52 pm

How much of what you are paying for is product and how much is service? If 80% is service, I'd tip up to 20-25%. If they're not really doing much other than bringing your food to you so you don't have to stand around waiting, then I wouldn't tip more than 5-10%. Same goes for being neglected by your waiter. If the place is busy, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. However, if the place is dead and it takes them 10 minutes to refill your drink then I wouldn't tip more than 10-15%.

If you put it in my hands to pay someone to work for me, then they'd better work for me. Especially if I'm in some fancy place where the food is expensive; I already don't want to pay more than I have to so the service better be darn good or I might only give 5-10%, which can still be a decent size tip, so there's no guilt on my part.
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:27 am

just brew it! wrote:Related question: What's an appropriate percentage for a buffet restaurant where all they do is bus the tables and refill your drinks?

Chinese buffet? I usually go for around $2-3. I figure the money means almost nothing to me and quite a lot to a family-run business.

If it's the local sit-down Chinese restaurant that I frequent, I always tip around 30%, and they always remember. Keeps everybody happy that way.
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:04 am

idchafee wrote:This was when minimum wage was $4.25/hr. Busboys made $2.60/hr and wait staff made $3.25 an hour.


Here is one of the problems with American culture:
You don't get tipped for working in an office, doing your desk job, why does the service industry work differently. European visitors to the US are probably considered lousy tippers, but that's because our culture hasn't conditioned us to tip for ordinary, expected-as-part-of-the-price service. If I go into a cafe and order a coffee it will cost ten times more than the same coffee I make myself. I expect that ludicrious markup for a drink to be covering the service and overhead.

If you get a crappy waiter in France/Spain/UK you don't tip AT ALL. Tipping is a gratuity, a reward, a bonus. If someone surprises you and goes beyond what is expected of them, then a decent tip is justified (I've sometimes tipped over 100% where I feel the service was more important than the goods). I can see how tips are useful to encourage better service, but the system is pretty broken; On a busy day the lousy waiters are rewarded and on a slow day the hardest of workers aren't paid minimum wage. It also encourages selfish, individual thinking when eveyone on the premise should be working as a team.

I wasn't even going to go here, but tipping is a taxation nightmare. It's cash-in-hand, a gift, and therefore free from taxation. To expect a tip, and to build tips into the minimum wage system is basic violation of the minumum wage system. There's a strong feeling in the service sector that tipping doesn't work and a lot of people I know in the industry wish the tipping culture would go away - The end result is that they are underpaid when business is slow and that is a burden the owner should be covering, not offloading it onto the employees. Taking that last paragraph out of the context of "the service sector" would actually make the "expected tipping culture" illegal business practice for all kinds of different reasons, and in a few places in Europe it's already illegal do pay your staff that way.
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:48 am

This reminds me of that awkward moment when you order chinese takeout, go to pick it up, and get the receipt with the tip line on it you have to sign.
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Sun Jul 29, 2012 8:38 am

Chrispy_ wrote:I wasn't even going to go here, but tipping is a taxation nightmare. It's cash-in-hand, a gift, and therefore free from taxation.

In the US you are legally required to report (and pay taxes on) tips. I'm sure a large percentage (possibly even the majority) goes unreported though, since if its paid in cash there's no way for the IRS to audit it.

Bensam123 wrote:This reminds me of that awkward moment when you order chinese takeout, go to pick it up, and get the receipt with the tip line on it you have to sign.

So... does anyone tip for carry-out Chinese or pizza? I'll tip the delivery person if I get it delivered, but I don't tip if I pick it up myself.
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:42 am

My general rule of thumb is: if the receipt comes before you recieve your food, that usually means no tip. As far as the coffee/sandwich shops, I think they typically choose to deliver the food to the tables so they don't queue up too many people at the counter. The person that delivers your food to you is generally the barista and the teller so chances are pretty good they're making at least $7.25 an hour which is non-tipped minimum wage of course.

Take out gets no tips. If I have to come pick up my own food, you don't get a tip.

Other than that, I'm almost always in the 18-20% tip range. I think the curteous norm is ~15% but the difference between that and 20% is oftentimes only a couple bucks per person, so why not make somebody's day. Although I've never been a waiter, but my girlfriend worked at a small restaurant, so I've heard plenty of horror stories about bad/no tips. Of the waitstaff I've known, tips become harder and harder to come by as the cost per plate and/or size of the restaurant decreases. I don't see the waitstaff at large upscale restaurants being too hard up for tip money. But if you're in a place during "meal time" and there's only need for one waiter/waitress, that person probably isn't making a killing.
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:50 am

For me, it depends on what the minimum wage laws are. Where I live in Colorado, Minimum wage is $7.64/hour. However, in industries/locations that count on tipping, the minimum wage is only $3.02. For me, if they are only making $3/hour, I'll tip.
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Sun Jul 29, 2012 2:20 pm

TheEmrys wrote:For me, it depends on what the minimum wage laws are. Where I live in Colorado, Minimum wage is $7.64/hour. However, in industries/locations that count on tipping, the minimum wage is only $3.02. For me, if they are only making $3/hour, I'll tip.


Aah, thats very low! Here in Montreal, minimum wage is $9.90 an hour for people without tips and $8.55 an hour for people with tips.
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:38 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Chrispy_ wrote:I wasn't even going to go here, but tipping is a taxation nightmare. It's cash-in-hand, a gift, and therefore free from taxation.

In the US you are legally required to report (and pay taxes on) tips. I'm sure a large percentage (possibly even the majority) goes unreported though, since if its paid in cash there's no way for the IRS to audit it.

Bensam123 wrote:This reminds me of that awkward moment when you order chinese takeout, go to pick it up, and get the receipt with the tip line on it you have to sign.

So... does anyone tip for carry-out Chinese or pizza? I'll tip the delivery person if I get it delivered, but I don't tip if I pick it up myself.

I worked at a pizza place, no one expects a tip for a pick up order. If you get really nice service or it's a place you go frequently, occasionally throwing in a dollar or 2 is a good way to insure that the people there will go out of their way to make sure your orders are prioritized though.

Also, I didn't report credit card tips either. The restaurant pooled all credit card tips together in the computer so there was no record of how much each person got.

Edit:
codedivine wrote:
TheEmrys wrote:For me, it depends on what the minimum wage laws are. Where I live in Colorado, Minimum wage is $7.64/hour. However, in industries/locations that count on tipping, the minimum wage is only $3.02. For me, if they are only making $3/hour, I'll tip.


Aah, thats very low! Here in Montreal, minimum wage is $9.90 an hour for people without tips and $8.55 an hour for people with tips.


In Illinois I believe minimum wage for a tip job is $5 with regular minimum wage being $8.50, but if your tips + wage doesn't add up to $8.50 you employer is required to make up the difference. Most people don't know this and get screwed.
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:38 pm

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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:52 am

Miimum wage here in Australia is $15.51/hour, tipping isn't part of our culture.

I want to go to the USA in about 2 years, do you do it after you've had your food, before you get it or do you tip with every new thing that gets taken out to the table and keep the waiter keen?
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Mon Jul 30, 2012 4:13 am

Another thing worth noting is that in jobs where people are expected to receive tips, the government assumes they are making a minimum amount of tips per hour, and charges them taxes accordingly. If someone makes no tips in a given hour, they still pay taxes for the tips they aren't receiving.
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:04 am

AMD Damo wrote:I want to go to the USA in about 2 years, do you do it after you've had your food, before you get it or do you tip with every new thing that gets taken out to the table and keep the waiter keen?

Tip goes with the final payment.
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:12 am

How can you have a tipping thread without a link to this video? :P

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLV4OxzDKwI
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:17 am

MJZ82 wrote:Another thing worth noting is that in jobs where people are expected to receive tips, the government assumes they are making a minimum amount of tips per hour, and charges them taxes accordingly. If someone makes no tips in a given hour, they still pay taxes for the tips they aren't receiving.


Law requires the employer to make up any differences between what they make in tips and minimum wage. If they only make $3 in tips in an hour, the employer is required to give them the other $4.25 (assuming a $7.25 minimum wage)
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:25 am

A person from Montreal tipping? Well, I guess there is a first for everything.
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:27 am

Chrispy_ wrote:Here is one of the problems with American culture:
You don't get tipped for working in an office, doing your desk job, why does the service industry work differently. European visitors to the US are probably considered lousy tippers, but that's because our culture hasn't conditioned us to tip for ordinary, expected-as-part-of-the-price service. If I go into a cafe and order a coffee it will cost ten times more than the same coffee I make myself. I expect that ludicrious markup for a drink to be covering the service and overhead.


There are different ways to get tipped in an office job. Bonuses, commission, stock options, continued employment (depending where you work), and others I'm sure I'm forgetting. Anything that falls under "employee incentive" could be considered tipping.

Why is the service industry different? It's different because dealing with people is the pits, and most people work better when they have a carrot to chase. It's a feedback loop.

Plus, it's a way to show your appreciation for the service. Platitudes are nice, but monetary rewards are more honest. This may be colored by living in the southern parts of the US, but people are just nice to each other. It is what's expected, so the real way to gauge how much a service means to someone is to put a dollar amount on it.

To expect a tip, and to build tips into the minimum wage system is basic violation of the minumum wage system.


I feel the same way about the way it's structured in the US. Minimum wage should be the minimum wage regardless. Besides, it's not like you can live off of the minimum wage anyway, so they might as well give them a chance get a little bit more.

AMD Damo wrote:I want to go to the USA in about 2 years, do you do it after you've had your food, before you get it or do you tip with every new thing that gets taken out to the table and keep the waiter keen?


Tipping is very situational, but there are some general guidelines.

Always tip your bartender. Tip after every drink if your paying cash, or tip on the total amount when running a tab on a card.

Tip on the bill when your at a sit down restaurant where you're seated and menus are brought out. Think about how long you've held the table, and tip appropriately. Waiting for the kitchen doesn't factor into holding time; it's just the time you're at the table after finishing your food.

You don't need to tip on anytime when a counter is involved. I usually tip local places even when a counter is involved, if there is the option. I like supporting local places, and I like to think it helps.

You don't need to tip the housekeeping at hotels, as much as my wife would disagree with that.
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Re: Tipping etiquette question

Postposted on Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:35 am

Corrado wrote:Law requires the employer to make up any differences between what they make in tips and minimum wage. If they only make $3 in tips in an hour, the employer is required to give them the other $4.25 (assuming a $7.25 minimum wage)

I can't remember the number off the top of my head, but the employer is already paying a minimum wage, albeit lower than $7.25. The $2.15 (or something close to it) is mean to cover the taxes. Just pointing out that it wouldn't be making up the whole $4.25.

just brew it! wrote:So... does anyone tip for carry-out Chinese or pizza? I'll tip the delivery person if I get it delivered, but I don't tip if I pick it up myself.

I never tip when I pick up either, but I always tip drivers. There is a delivery charge on most pizza, and drivers typically get paid more than others in the store, but they still pay for their own gas and car upkeep. You don't have to throw a full 20% their way, but an extra couple bucks helps them out a lot. I say this because my first job was at a pizza place with delivery. I was not a driver, but my job also didn't cost me a lot like keeping a car in good condition.

I do agree that having a lower minimum wage for waiters is complete BS, though. I wasn't even a waiter, but dealing with people is stressful. Being a clerk at Gamestop, I had to deal with angry people (it happens), but at a restaurant, you deal with hungry, angry people, and good waiters/waitresses will bring you anything you want because it's in the job description. Let 'em have at least $7.25/hr, and the best will earn more than that in tips because they deserve it.
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