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Playing 'The Tipping Game'

• Sep 25, 2018 at 5:00 PM

How much do you tip for service at a restaurant?

In a post for mantalkblog.com, Harold Hosie Jr. writes that he dishes out 15 percent. Or 20 percent is the service is really great.

In his post, Hosie first breaks down the wage law, and then explains how tips are figured.


“First a tip is based on the overall restaurant bill, tax included,” he notes. “Second, if you have discount or special coupons for your meal, the proper thing is the tip you leave should be based on what the bill should have been had you not had these discounts. Therefore, a 10 percent tip of a normally $50 restaurant bill would be $5. But if that bill is couponed (no such word) down to let’s say $30, it is still proper and the right thing to pay the $5 in this particular example.”

The same reasoning applies should the restaurant give you a free meal or you won some kind of contest for one.

“What bugs me and many others nowadays is a restaurant ticket that lists the tip payments in 10, 15, 18 and 20 percent listings, which also give the dollar amount one should list for each percentage,” he writes. “Now the restaurant ... is attempting to force you and I to leave a higher amount so the restaurant does not have to compensate their servers from their income. ... In fact some receipts begin with the 15 and 18 percents and jump to 20 percent.”

Worse yet, according to Hosie, is when your server asks, “Do you want your change?” when you pay your bill rounded-up with cash.

“In Reno a few years ago I had a $15 meal,” he writes. “I gave the waitress a $100 bill and she asked, ‘Do you want your change?’ When answering ‘yes,’ I silently considered a response that would go something like, ‘Oh, hell no, I always tip $85 bucks for a $15 meal and marginal service — don’t you?’ Anyway, when I got my change, I left only a $1 tip for her stupid question.”

The bottom line, Hosie says, is that it is not the customer’s job to pay a restaurant’s employees.

“Generally the reason you go out to dine is for the experience and the service. So restaurants and especially servers should remember to sell service, because service sells.”

Read the complete blog post: “The Tipping Game.”

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