Is A Revolution Underway In How Much We Tip Waiters?

waiter tipping changesThe story of the Tower of Babel is understood to be a parable on humanity's disparate nature. When the species coalesced pridefully around the construction of an imposing tower, the higher being made the decision to divide humanity. And so humans began speaking distinct languages. Along the way we've diverged on countless other practices, like tipping.

When it comes to gratuities, the United States of America outpaces its peer nations. Tipping in developing countries is especially fraught with fears over whether the funds actually end up with the intended party, among other issues. And so in some places tipping isn't necessarily expected. The same is even true in First World locales like Italy and Spain. In America, however, a reverence for hard work and "rags to riches" Horatio Alger stories, bolsters a generous tipping culture. It's not uncommon for 15 to 20 percent to be a norm for tipping for good service in an eatery.

But a movement is afoot to both protect tips and increase their amounts.

Management's practice of dipping into the tip jar prompted the summer 2010 case against New York restauranteurs Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, and Babbo, the highly acclaimed Manhattan-based Italian restaurant. According to the restaurant blog, Eater, Bastianich had this to say about the suit: "We're going to fight this to every inch of the law, because we know we're right." In so doing, Bastianich defended the practice of having the wait staff tithe between 4 and 5 percent to management. But this week comes word that the operating group, Pasta Resources Inc., has agreed to pay out $5.25 million in the class action settlement.

The victory for the wait staff comes at a time when high priests of the restaurant establishment have spoken out in defense of a culture of healthy tipping -- even for well drinks. A figure no less than the chief restaurant critic for The New York Times, Sam Sifton, used a farewell Q&A, to make that emphatic point. "[T]ip well on every round of drinks you purchase. Seriously. Every round," he wrote last June in defense of gratuitous gratuity.

Two years earlier, his predecessor, Frank Bruni, waded directly into the debate with a discussion about actual figures. He felt the 20 percent figure used for table tips should not necessarily carry over to the bar. "I don't think there's been any consensus on 20 percent as the default tip even for table service," he wrote in March 2009. "So I'm not sure why it should be the default tip for service at a bar, which is more straigthforward and usually involves a whole lot less walking."

For their part, 67 percent of respondents in a 2009 poll conducted by Down By The Hipster felt $1 was a perfectly adequate tip for a drink.



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tomkat751

on a dinner check 20 to 30percent. if i go to a place for breakfast or lunch and i am a regular, on a breakfast bill 5 dollars. a watress has to work just as hard on a 10 dollar check as a 20 ckeck. same goes for lunch.that 1 or 2 dollars extra is not going to kill me, but it does bring you extra service and attention every time i go there.

June 25 2013 at 3:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tconom

I don't care what the trend is, I tip for good service, more for exceptional service. If a place tries to include an amount for gratuity on my check, they won't see me again.

June 26 2012 at 11:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mcwhomper

tips use to be a gratuity now its practically a demand sometimes automaticly added to bill even if the waiter or waitress is rude or ignores you completely.although 15 percent is the norm when food prices are so rediculously high plus all the dam taxes a ten percent tip could be as much as 15 bucks for three people

May 24 2012 at 2:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ruselky

Solution to get rid of illegal aliens... Give them 6 months amnesty to get out of the US. After the 6 month amnesty period, all illegal aliens and their children under 18 years of age caught in the US will have their vehicles, homes, cash and valuables confiscated and they will be deported and barred from seeking US citizenship for a period of 15 years., sending them home with what they came here illegally with....NOTHING ! All future documented workers will be bonded by the employers and they will be responsible for the housing and medical care for them. Their children will not become US citizens automatically. When they become legal age they can get in line behind everyone else waiting to become a US citizen. They will be fleeing the US in droves to keep from losing all their possessions and those that dont and have their possessions confiscated will go to help offset the costs of deporting them, Our soldiers have been sacrificing their lives for over 200 years for this country and not it is being overrun and destroyed by illegal aliens and our military and govrernment does nothing

March 09 2012 at 6:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ruselky

Solution to get rid of illegal aliens... Give them 6 months amnesty to get out of the US. After the 6 month amnesty period, all illegal aliens and their children under 18 years of age caught in the US will have their vehicles, homes, cash and valuables confiscated and they will be deported and barred from seeking US citizenship for a period of 15 years., sending them home with what they came here illegally with....NOTHING ! All future documented workers will be bonded by the employers and they will be responsible for the housing and medical care for them. Their children will not become US citizens automatically. When they become legal age they can get in line behind everyone else waiting to become a US citizen. They will be fleeing the US in droves to keep from losing all their possessions and those that dont and have their possessions confiscated will go to help offset the costs of deporting them, Our soldiers have been sacrificing their lives for over 200 years for this country and not it is being overrun and destroyed by illegal aliens and our military and govrernment does nothing

March 09 2012 at 6:17 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
cindy3420

My daughter makes better money than I do. I'm a teacher and she's a waitress.... go figure....

March 09 2012 at 5:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cindy3420

Having been in the club business, I can sympathize with the waiters and waitresses who get stiffed; and I always tip just over whats called for: however, I won't be told what to tip or what not to tip. It's to show appreciation for good service....NOT given because I'm told too. If I am old I will pay a certain amount they will get NOTHING!!!

March 09 2012 at 5:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
economystc

15% is the normal tip. too bad aol. Hey I sympathize with waiters/ servers. with prices going up so does the tip. a $40 ticket on average should get a 15% tip. That would be $6. Now with prices going up that same ticket would cost $50 and accordingly the same 15% tip goes up to $7.50. See how that works? And I do sympathize with working people, I was a cook for these people for years, but if they can't live on their income then maybe they should find another place to work. Not necessarily in being a server either. But maybe. If they are very attentive servers. They may not have more tables so they may need to try working at a more expensive restaurant. But if they are just not good at the work then their aree lots of other jobs at this level. I know because i worked almost all of them.

March 09 2012 at 1:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ndc5095

If you don't want to tip expect prices to go up. Currently most states have a minnimum wage for servers that is less than $4 an hour. If they were to be paid $9 an hour how is the management supposed to pay them? By raising prices. I don't think that tips are mandatory, but rather earned on a scale of good to bad. Bad is still tipped in my book, but definetly not as well as good. Also, I have on several occasions tipped over 40% for outstanding service. The main point is Tips are at your discretion, if tips are gone expect your $100 dinner for 2 to cost $120 because you are still going to have to pay the servers.

March 08 2012 at 11:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ndc5095's comment
economystc

My point therefore is that the average tip would be 15% on the first dinner would be $15 on the second it would be $18 and now you say they would be getting $9 an hour on the second dinner but only $4 on the first, totaling $19 as opposed to $27. Wow.

but i agree the average should be 15% and better service should be more and worse service should be less (but still something otherwise the server may think you just forgot)

March 09 2012 at 1:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
erin

In France the tip was included and if the service was really good you added on.

March 08 2012 at 11:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to erin's comment
economystc

many places in Europe include the tip in the final bill. So there is no getting out of leaving that minimum like you can do here.

March 09 2012 at 1:15 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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