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Is it okay not to leave a tip at a full-service restaurant?

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Andrew Robinson
Andrew Robinson
4 months ago

For some reason, the range of tips I am willing to give is much narrower than the range of service quality — there are some truly excellent servers that can magically create a memorable experience, and (obviously) those that fall far short of the expected standard.

I find it difficult psychologically to tip outside the 20-25% range, though I wish I had the guts to tip amazing servers 35%+ and terrible servers below 20% (within reason, for many of the reasons others have mentioned).

For others who mentioned having a baseline and adjusting based on quality of service… What is your baseline and range of adjustments?

Roboticus Aquarius
Roboticus Aquarius
4 months ago

Similar, with the same issue. For poor service, I have left a 15% tip, and for great service I have left 30% (not counting small bills where I have left 50-60% so the server gets a decent amount.)

Nick M
Nick M
5 months ago

I don’t go to full service restaurants because I realized years ago that by tipping, the tip was really there to make me feel better about participating in an inhumane wage system. If enough people continue going to these places and tipping, my choice will not bring change, but at least I can reduce demand, and I know I’m not being a hypocrite. For me it’s not only okay to not tip, it’s a moral imperative. I would ask others a different question: How do you feel knowing that you’re dollars are perpetuating a wage system that you disagree with?

Last edited 5 months ago by Nick M
Tooney
Tooney
7 months ago

No.

Moesha
Moesha
9 months ago

Never. Everyone should always leave a tip. If the service was poor, you need to leave an appropriately bad tip; even if it’s only pennies. Otherwise, the server may think that you just forgot.

Jeff
Jeff
11 months ago

I’m in the start at a certain percentage camp and then adjust from there. It would have to be really really bad service for me to not leave a tip. So far I always have.

Chazooo
Chazooo
1 year ago

Some servers are so good that you want to tip them well. Then there are those with “attitudes” and they deserve nothing since they are clueless about how the system works.
It still kills me that you can find bubbly older ladies busting their butts in cafes/diners where prices are so low that even a 25% tip is chump change, but you can go to a pricey steakhouse and get some snarky young guy/gal who is pissed because you don’t want an appetizer or alcohol to juice up the tab for a bigger tip. And it is the pricey steakhouse that has a busboy or server trainee deliver the food and they ask “who gets the Filet rare?”, etc.

mdh2959
mdh2959
1 year ago

Have you ever been a server in a restaurant?

mdh2959
mdh2959
1 year ago

No. Tipping more as the pandemic subsides. Seeing more “service charges” added – 18-20% to ensure fair wages, so that eliminates tipping at those restaurants.

Thomas
Thomas
1 year ago

Maybe if your waiter is actively hostile or rude, but otherwise no. If you’re too cheap to tip, you probably shouldn’t eat in a restaurant. That’s my approach. 😁

Last edited 1 year ago by Thomas
Pete Storm
Pete Storm
1 year ago

I used to start my tipping at 15% and adjust from there. Due to the pandemic, I now start at 25%. I adjust from there based on quality of service, but I consider 10% stiffing someone.

R Quinn
R Quinn
1 year ago

No! Unless the server is especially rude and incompetent (very rare), I leave at least 20%. I don’t hold the server responsible for actions by the kitchen or others. That server has a tough job and without doubt they need the money more than I do. I even tip in Europe. It’s a habit I can’t break.

Catherine
Catherine
1 year ago

I almost always tip, even at part-service restaurants and nowadays, even with takeaway, since the restaurants in our city are closed to table service. I have known people who are raising their families as wait staff and glad I am not in their shoes.

John M
John M
1 year ago

Not in the US; exceptions should be rare. I leave a tip even for poor service, it’s just not as much as for good service.

There was only one time where I left essentially no tip. The situation went beyond terrible service, and I’ll just leave it at that.

Ginger Williams
Ginger Williams
1 year ago
Reply to  John M

The one time I had a truly terrible experience, I asked to speak with manager, told him why I was unhappy, and handed him my bill, payment, and 10% tip. Perhaps alerting him to situation encouraged him to spend a bit more time on the floor, where he could see the safety violations, poor service, and food being sent back to kitchen.

Jim Wasserman
Jim Wasserman
1 year ago

It really depends on the system. Living in Europe, where waitstaff are paid a living wage (mostly), I just rounded to leave the change. In the US, tips are considered a part of the compensation (and this really needs to change), and so I always try to leave a tip of some sort. Remember also that in many places tips are pooled among staff, so non-tipping hurts many.

Rick Connor
Rick Connor
1 year ago

I was a busboy at 12, and remember those @#@##$ who didn’t tip. I’ve never wanted to be one of them. I tend to leave a nominal tip for nominal service, and overtip for exceptional service. It would have to be an extremely bad situation for me not to leave a tip. The references to Europe are interesting. I’ve traveled a bit and find it hard to change lifelong habits.

Burney
Burney
1 year ago

I worry that this question has not even one qualifier. So, no. If you are not a psychopath, then of course you leave a tip. During the pandemic, if you can find an indoor restaurant, tip like you mean it. If you are in Europe for a trip, no, you can just leave your change. But, if you live there and hate their horrible service, be friendly and leave a decent tip. Maybe they will pay attention to you next time.

John Goodell
John Goodell
1 year ago

I waited tables in college while I was in ROTC. I’d go home at 1am exhausted after closing, wake up at 6 to do an Army workout, then to class and back to the restaurant. I still remembering the feeling of getting stiffed, and it hurt. Tip your waiters even when they’re bad. There’s often a person who is struggling on the other end, and they are serving you. Some people love waiting tables, but many do it because they have to (and the pandemic has only highlighted how vulnerable that segment of our society is).

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