In general, the going rate for tipping in the United States is roughly 15% for average service. A tip of one cent is generally considered more insulting than leaving no tip at all. Curiously, since the recommended formula for calculating the tip is twice the sales tax1, different counties vary in their actual going tipping rate.
Many Americans consider tipping semi-mandatory. This belief is so ingrained that restaurants are permitted to pay their wait staff below minimum wage, with the assumption that tips will make up the difference.
This page is devoted to discussing the pros and cons of this system, what constitutes a reasonable and proper tip for various services, etc., particularly given the diverse socioeconomic backgrounds of the Rochester area denizens.
(Please note that there is a separate Talk page to debate the pertinence of this page on RocWiki. Keep comments about tipping in Rochester here, but "meta" comments about relevance to Rochester on the Talk page.)
Use this page for tips and questions on tipping ONLY:
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2007-12-03 18:40:45 I'm really interested in talking about tipping. I'm from Italy and there, as in most European countries, tipping is not "mandatory"; I mean that waiters (almost any employee actually) earn a fair (or so) salary and tipping is just a completely discretionary token of appreciation of a special service received. I must say that US way usually provides a better service overall (this is, of course, a very coarse generalization). Anyway, I don't fully agree with strictly tipping a fixed percentage of the check. While I agree that a percentage of the check is normally appropriate (so waiters can have an estimate of their income) there are situations where I don't think is acceptable. For instance, if I ordered an expensive bottle of wine, why would the waiter automatically receive more money? Is serving expensive wines more difficult than serving cheaper ones?
I don't want to be rude, just like to understand the rationale behind that custom. —AndreaCogliati
2007-12-04 00:21:05 On the topic of tipping - I personally like the custom here in the US of A. By having tipping 15% as a standard, I can use that as a direct means of informing the server how well I thought he or she did. If it was average, I go with 15; above average service would merit a larger tip, below average would merit a lower tip. If no tip was the standard, I could not let the server know if I thought the service was poor by tipping lower. My only means of doing so would either be to voice my complaint to the server directly (could be awkward) or to find a manager to speak to (which is generally overkill unless service was miserable).
I do agree with you that tipping based on a percentage of the bill isn't always appropriate, and your example with a bottle of wine makes perfect sense to me. For a situation of that nature, I would generally tip the same amount for any bottle of wine and adjust based on quality of service, as opposed to a percentage of a cheaper or more expensive bottle of wine. —StevenDibelius
2007-12-05 17:17:12 What about tipping the owner? If you know that people serving at tables also own the place, do you normally tip them? —AndreaCogliati
2007-12-07 01:36:21 First I will say that this is not Rochester specific and doesn't exactly belong on Rocwiki if you ask me. I will then turn around and be a hypocrite by joining in the discussion. It came up tonight that tipping should be done on the amount BEFORE tax. Anyone have any input on that? —BadFish
2007-12-07 01:38:09 Yes, tipping should always be done on the amount before tax. Some people use the "double the tax" method to figure out the tip, but that still correctly tips on the pre-tax amount. —StevenDibelius
2007-12-07 08:52:46 20% of the pre-tax amount, maybe another $5 if the table service was exceptional.
Now how much should you tip for those who give you personal service. nod-nod-wink-wink—MrPhil
2007-12-08 12:58:41 MissGia, Was what needed? what are you thinking of? Right now I'm getting a haircut. How much do you tip your hairdresser?
You give new meaning to the word "push-button.". —MrPhil Note: this was stated in response to an earlier post that was deleted by the author [MissGia] —see version 20 of this page
2007-12-08 16:51:14 I'm probably the exception to the rule when I say I almost always leave at least a 20% tip on a restaurant bill, usually more. Unless the service is absolutely horrible...at which point I have left $1 or 5%.
If service is really bad, I don't think there should be any pressure to leave ANYTHING as a tip. I don't care if the person is making less than minimum. They know they are working for tips, so why aren't they pleasant?
I found this article helpful. Being in the service industry for over a decade I have witnessed so much as far as arguments go on tipping. I err on the side of generosity. Unless your server (I use this term for many forms) is yelling at you or picking their nose in front of you, a person must tip. This is not optional and those believing it is sere should be ashamed of themselves as *human beings* (some would be shocked at the treatment of them as sub par beings). Go to places where you don't receive service... such as McD's. The reason why servers are tipped is that they make about $4 an hour - nearly half of minimum wage. Perhaps this is a glitch in the US view but this is how it works. Besides, have you ever though about being a poor tipper and a regular in an establishment? Is the staff standoffish and reluctant when you come in? There may be a reason for this. For those that think that servers should get an education and a better job consider the fact that most in the industry are working towards a degree. I personally paid my way through a M.S degree by working because of the flexible hours. Be friendly and ask your server if they are in school or how long they've worked there. Acting like the server is a human being is a great way to get better service! I believe everyone should work in the service industry for at least 2 weeks out of their life. It's certainly not as easy at we make it look. —NightlifeCher
2008-08-22 16:20:07 Tipping is ALWAYS a must. Customer = you.
If you get your food and it is what you ordered a server deserves 15%, no matter what.
If the server was nice to you, went out of their way for you, was sent to the kitchen multiple times by you, or had to make all kinds of crazy changes to the menu item for you, they deserve more than 15%.
If a server was uncouth or blatantly uncaring or if they were in some way unhygenic, that would be the only thing that would warrant a less than 15% tip. If you cannot afford to eat out + 15% tip, then dont. There are many Burger Kings around, eat where you belong.
And many need to remember that food quality/temperature of the food, has NOTHING to do with the server. If you didnt like your food, tough. Make the server aware, but the server cant do anything about it, it is up to the chef and owner to make you another meal or comp food.
I think many frugal types find any reason not to tip 15% and that is sad. Like I said, Burger King calls.
I tip 15% on the total bill, including tax. I know in the 50's many tipped on the the total minus tax, but I find that an outdated custom. How do others feel about that? —MrRochester
2008-08-26 13:37:10 Another thing I notice is that many people do not realize that alcoholic beverages are not taxed in all restaurants so, if you go out and order $50 in drinks and tax is only a couple of dollars based on the food, doubling the tax is incorrect as a 15% tip. I do agree with Steve that tipping before taxes is outdated but realize that many people still do it. I may also be biased though. ;) —NightlifeCher
- 1In this area the sales tax is around 8%. It is usually itemized separately on the bill just before the total. Tipping double the sales tax amount is therefore tipping about 16%.