Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tipping Your Server 101

Hello there lovies! Today, I'm going to talk about something that is very important to learn. How to properly tip a server!

Working in a restaurant, I see this every day. Friendly customers, great service, bad tip. Seeing this happen day after day has inspired me to make a how-to! (Especially for all my lovely coworker's sakes)

Things to Consider:

There are many things to consider when it comes to leaving a tip. I'm not saying that you have to sit and analyze information or do complex algebra when leaving a tip, but hopefully this will give a little bit of insight! 

1: Where in the world are you? 
I live in California. This may not seem like anything major, but in my state, servers are paid minimum wage plus tips, although they are taxed on any tips left on a credit card receipt. Other states may not tax their tips. Some states don't pay their servers minimum wage because they make tips. It's always good to know how servers in your area are paid!

2: Are there hosts? Bartenders? Bussers?
There are a lot of people who aid in getting your order to you. A host gets you to your table, bussers clear your dirty dishes, if you get any alcohol or mixed drinks, the bartenders will make those for you. This is all common knowledge, right? What isn't so common knowledge is that servers share their tips with whoever helped them with these little favors! Servers are required to give 5%-10% of their tips to the hosts and bussers. Each restaurant has different policies, but where I work, a server is required to give 10% of all alcohol sales to the bartender. Servers don't take all their tips home with them, and can often give away anywhere from 20%-50% of the tips they make.

3: Are you dining in or taking out?
I see this very frequently as well. While it isn't required to leave a tip on to-go orders, it is very much appreciated. Although you don't actually see anyone putting together your order, restaurants often have their own to-go specialist who ensures your order is made correctly and puts it together for you. It stinks to be that person who puts together a big, very specific order and then isn't left anything because no one actually saw them do any work. Typically, it's customary to leave 10% of the total if you do tip your to-go specialist.

Now that you have some food for thought (see what I did there?), how to leave a proper tip!

While this may vary from place to place, the consensus is to leave between 15-20% of the total as a tip. There are two easy ways to calculate a tip, especially for those who can't derive functions in their head! One way will come out to about 15% (depending on where you live), the other will give you 20% every time. 

The 15% Tip
Take a look at a receipt. It should look something like this:

And now look at the tax. In this case, it's $1.32. In -most areas- of California, tax is anywhere from 7.5%-8%. Multiply the tax by two. In this case, you'll end up with 2.64. That is your tip! 

The 20% tip

We'll use the same receipt for this one. However, this time, we'll be looking at your total, which is $17.77. Getting a percentage sounds scary and hard, but it's actually pretty simple! You're simply going to move the decimal point over one place, like so: 

So now it looks more like 1.777. Drop that last number so it looks more like a dollar value. Now you'll have 1.77. That is 10% of your bill. Double that number. If you ended up with 3.54, congratulations! You have found 20% of your bill and can leave a tip.

I hope that this post was helpful! Now go forth and be a good tipper instead of a server's horror story. Until next time~