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Tipping inflation?

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Tipping inflation?

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  • #78392

    Today on WOSU’s “All Sides” I had the opportunity to ask this question: How much should I tip my server? The reply was 20% minimum. Here’s my beef with that. Food prices have already risen out of pace with income, so over the last few years that 15% of my meal price has gotten higher without any corresponding increase in server duties – thus providing a “raise” for servers above & beyond what the standard American worker has received.

    I wish I could tip every server 25%+, but most of them earn more than I do. I have served in various restaurants over the last 10 years and I never, ever felt entitled to more than 15% unless I did something exceptional. Which kept me very motivated to go above & beyond. When did 20% become the new norm?

    Servers, please weigh in!

    #308009

    I thought 20% was the norm for dinner.

    #308010
    Mae Greentree
    Mae Greentree
    Participant

    Here is an article from December 2008:
    Here’s a tip: 20% is the new 15%

    #308011

    joev
    Participant

    I usually tip 20%. More if the tab is low. But with bad service, I tip less. I figure, it’s a couple dollars to me – why not be generous?

    #308012

    disclaimer before i get a reputation as 15% girl: I tip @ least 20%. but my question remains: how does this figure into the context of increased food prices?

    #308013

    TaraK
    Participant

    I’m not a server, but my thoughts:

    Most decent people will tip as much as is appropriate for the meal and service provided. For some of us it’s no biggie to heft out 20%. For others, we’d be giving the server more than what we ourselves make in the same amount of time they spent serving us. I’ve met few people who undertip because they’re just scrooges.

    #308014

    joev
    Participant

    @TaraK – I’m not sure I get your argument – you shouldn’t pay a server more per hour than you earn per hour? This issue doesn’t come up when we talk about car mechanics. Does it only apply when you get to pick the cost of your service?

    #308015

    TaraK
    Participant

    Here’s a question — a sincere question, to which I don’t know the answer — why is the amount of the tip based on the cost of the food? I mean, it doesn’t require more energy to serve more expensive food? I don’t understand the logic. I mean, if a couple has a $30 meal at a Mexican place and a $80 meal at a nicer place, and both meals involve the same amount of time, why should one person get a $6 tip and the other $16?

    I assume the logic behind it was bigger bill –> more food ordered/served –> more work for server. But that’s by no means true in all cases, especially in a Mexican joint where they’ve kept you stocked with free chips & salsa.

    Anyway, I guess I think it makes more sense to base the tip on something else other than cost of the food, but I have no experience in the restaurant industry. Anyone want to explain it?

    #308016

    tipping used to be 15% standard. but it’s edged up to 20%. will it increase to 25% in the coming years?

    #308017

    TaraK
    Participant

    joev wrote >>
    @TaraK – I’m not sure I get your argument – you shouldn’t pay a server more per hour than you earn per hour? This issue doesn’t come up when we talk about car mechanics. Does it only apply when you get to pick the cost of your service?

    No, I get what you’re saying. I’m just talking about the economics of income. Also, I would think most people eat more than they go to a mechanic. (I really don’t know if what I’m trying to say is making any sense.) In other words, if someone makes $10 an hour and wants to go out to a nice meal, I understand that they might feel like it’s stretching their dollar thin to tip $15 on top of a meal price. I think most people really want to give as good a tip as they can afford.

    #308018

    Bear
    Participant

    TaraK wrote >>
    Here’s a question — a sincere question, to which I don’t know the answer — why is the amount of the tip based on the cost of the food? I mean, it doesn’t require more energy to serve more expensive food? I don’t understand the logic. I mean, if a couple has a $30 meal at a Mexican place and a $80 meal at a nicer place, and both meals involve the same amount of time, why should one person get a $6 tip and the other $16?
    I assume the logic behind it was bigger bill –> more food ordered/served –> more work for server. But that’s by no means true in all cases, especially in a Mexican joint where they’ve kept you stocked with free chips & salsa.
    Anyway, I guess I think it makes more sense to base the tip on something else other than cost of the food, but I have no experience in the restaurant industry. Anyone want to explain it?

    More expensive food correlates with both higher quality restaurant and higher quality of service, on average?

    Not always, of course, but if you’re going to use something as a proxy for quality of service, food price may not be bad. Dunno.

    #308019

    joev
    Participant

    TaraK wrote >>

    joev wrote >>
    @TaraK – I’m not sure I get your argument – you shouldn’t pay a server more per hour than you earn per hour? This issue doesn’t come up when we talk about car mechanics. Does it only apply when you get to pick the cost of your service?

    No, I get what you’re saying. I’m just talking about the economics of income. Also, I would think most people eat more than they go to a mechanic. (I really don’t know if what I’m trying to say is making any sense.) In other words, if someone makes $10 an hour and wants to go out to a nice meal, I understand that they might feel like it’s stretching their dollar thin to tip $15 on top of a meal price. I think most people really want to give as good a tip as they can afford.

    If I couldn’t afford a conventionally acceptable tip, I wouldn’t be going to that higher priced restaurant that commanded that tip.

    #308020

    L.I. to Buckeye
    Participant

    I may be biased because I’ve been a server, but really, how much is that extra 5% going to impact you? I figure it’s only an extra $5 on a $100 bill, right?

    20% is my usual. More for really good/outstanding service. 18% is usually as low as I go unless the service is really completely bad. If I’m feeling low on funds, I’ll go somewhere inexpensive so I can leave that 20%. Either that or I don’t go out.

    #308021

    NerosNeptune
    Participant

    Not that 15% is difficult, but 20% is easier for a lot of people to quickly calculate in their heads. Maybe that’s why it has shifted?

    Food also takes up a good bit less of our income now than it did back when my dad was my age and giving people 15% tops.

    #308022

    Bear
    Participant

    NerosNeptune wrote >>
    Not that 15% is difficult, but 20% is easier for a lot of people to quickly calculate in their heads. Maybe that’s why it has shifted?

    That was my father’s justification, many years ago, for tipping 10%.

    That, and, “They’re all Union.”

    Took me a while to notice mom slipping extra cash into the folder as we were leaving….

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