On Tipping and Restaurant Service
I really enjoy eating in restaurants for two reasons: people bring me food that I didn’t have to make myself, and it’s relaxing and fun to have conversations over a meal out. But I’m going to rant about something here.
You see, if it’s just me and my husband eating out, when we go to a new restaurant or get a new server, too often we get crappy service compared to the other people in our section.
I suspect it’s because we order what we like to eat from the menu — as most people do.
But the things we like to eat are usually inexpensive, and we get water to go with it. Because that’s what we like to drink. (Unless they happen to have fresh-squeezed lemonade, and then I’m all over that.)
In other words, we look like we are likely to be crappy tippers.
Now I’ve worked in a restaurant before, making the usual less-than-minimum wage, and I am not a crappy tipper. At the very least, I am an adequate tipper. But you know, when I get the servers who are clearly giving only us in particular minimal service, it’s very tempting to tip badly or not at all.
I don’t, but I’m tempted to.
I’m talking about servers who come by once after we get our food, and then don’t show up again til they’ve got the bill in hand — all while refilling the drinks of the people nearby and ignoring our empty glasses. Servers you have to drag a dessert order out of when they finally do show up because they’ve already closed out your ticket. And God forbid you have a coupon. (Yes, I tip on what the bill would have been without the coupon in those cases.)
Anyway, there has to be a way for us to consistently get at least adequate service in those situations, short of ordering a bunch of food we don’t want and won’t eat. I’m just not sure what it is.
So what are your thoughts? Would you speak to the manager during the meal if service is poor? Tip in advance? Really, I just want to eat food I like in an enjoyable atmosphere without having to get up and refill our own water. We could do that at home.
And, what do you consider a “good” tip and an “adequate” tip?
I do 20% on the after-tax total by default, and anywhere from 25%-40% on the after-tax total for actual good service or for very small totals at busy times. (Although 40% is rare.)
Finally, I wish servers and other restaurant workers just got paid a good wage. It’s hard work.