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I concur (as does Rocks, from his post - he wasn't saying we aren't "allowed" to discuss the topic any longer).

Okay, so here's a thought: would it be better if restaurants just had a servis compris on wine service? Is there anyone around here who does such a thing?

Hmmm. This way, the customer would see a fixed, "all in" price and could purchase whatever their budget will allow, right? It would be up to the restaurant management then to figure out how much of that price (like a commission) to pay their servers, sommelier, etc., which might end up screwing the servers more in the long run, I fear. At least everyone would have a consistent set of rules though...

(I imagine that we should also refrain from the inevitable capitalism / socialism / communism discussion too.) <_<

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This is worth bookmarking - it contains a good chart on what to tip in certain situations: "Everything You Don't Know About Tipping" on waitbutwhy.com

I always tip 20%. I view it as part of the price for eating out. For me, it doesn't matter if the restaurant in question is Per Se, Applebee's or something in between. While I would never go to A

I especially hate tipping cab drivers.  I don't understand why we have to tip them if they're not handling your luggage.  I would probably never use Lyft because they're the dopes that introduced tipp

I've always done post-tax as well because I thought that's what we were supposed to do, but Tom S says he too falls in the pre-tax camp in today's chat.

Washington, D.C.: Hi Tom,

I was wondering--as you understand it, in calculating the tip for a meal, shold one use the pre-tax total or the final, tax-included total as the base figure for calculating the tip?

I realize that in most situations this probably does not amount to a huge difference, but the difference can be noticeable if you have a relatively pricey meal in the District with its 10% tax.

Thanks!

Tom Sietsema: I base the tip on the pre-tax amount myself.

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I've always done post-tax as well because I thought that's what we were supposed to do, but Tom S says he too falls in the pre-tax camp in today's chat.   

Washington, D.C.: Hi Tom,

I was wondering--as you understand it, in calculating the tip for a meal, shold one use the pre-tax total or the final, tax-included total as the base figure for calculating the tip?

I realize that in most situations this probably does not amount to a huge difference, but the difference can be noticeable if you have a relatively pricey meal in the District with its 10% tax.

Thanks!

Tom Sietsema: I base the tip on the pre-tax amount myself.

DC's 10% tax makes it easy. Just double the amount of the tax.

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Does the tip out policy differ significantly at really top end places? Say like at Maestro or say Le Bernardin in NYC? Just curious.

Also, I use 15% as my starting point and work up or down from there. And at places I frequent, I tip better for sure. But I am wondering if I am coming off as a cheapskate. As someone already asked, when did 15% become 20%? Sheesh/

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Does the tip out policy differ significantly at really top end places? Say like at Maestro or say Le Bernardin in NYC? Just curious.

Also, I use 15% as my starting point and work up or down from there. And at places I frequent, I tip better for sure. But I am wondering if I am coming off as a cheapskate. As someone already asked, when did 15% become 20%? Sheesh/

Come on TJ, you know that the Crü always tips at least 20%

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At a restaurant that's fancy enough to have a dedicated sommelier, how does one ensure that the extra money left on top of the 20% food tip is intended to go to the gentleman/lady whose years of intensive training and experience contributed to your perfect wine selection, rather than solely to your server? Is it better to tip the sommelier directly? With what level of discretion should this be done?

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At a restaurant that's fancy enough to have a dedicated sommelier, how does one ensure that the extra money left on top of the 20% food tip is intended to go to the gentleman/lady whose years of intensive training and experience contributed to your perfect wine selection, rather than solely to your server? Is it better to tip the sommelier directly? With what level of discretion should this be done?

When my major duty was sommelier, I never objected to a discrete, filled handshake and thanks as the way to deliver a tip.

My favorite tip came from Bill Murray who put his tip in his right hand and then made a fist, in full view of me. He then held out both fishts and asked me to pick which hand. He repeated this several times and each time I was wrong. Some of the times his hands were in full view and some times he had them behind his back but clearly not close enough to switch the money! By now there was a crowd looking on and listening to his patter. Each time I was wron, he increased the tip and did it again. After every wrong guess, he slapped me on the arm. At the end, tears running down my eyes, he said "Too bad Dean, you lose!" and left. Although I was dissapointed at not getting the tip, the entertainment value of the experience was enough. and he did tip me every time I made a selection for him before.

Later that night, I found that somehow he had managers to slip an incredibly generous tip into my shirt pocket!

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Let's bring this conversation down to street level a bit.

I think the conversation is about 100-300 dollar bottles, because in the end thats what the majority of us consider a treat to ourselves when we dine.

Tips are what makes the world go 'round.

If the bill is split, between food and liquor, how is the tip calculated on the liquor check? (For example, government per diem rules forbid the purchase of liquor.) I'm not talking about a big check--a $60 meal and several 7/9/12 dollar drinks.
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I think the point is that if you ask anyone in the business how much they'd like to get tipped on anything they sell, they're going to give you an inflated answer because they want as much money as possible. A perfectly understandable desire, but c'mon - 20% of a bottle that's already had its cost punched up several times over? I think not.

There's an interesting query for the wine drinkers out there in DR land: are you likely to give a better tip percentage-wise if you know you're not being raked over the coals on the price of the wine itself?

Regarding your query, I'll absolutely tip better if I know that the bottle we shared was reasonably priced--last night we had a better than good bottle of wine at Dino--not cheap, but well worth the price--which is noted for fair wine mark-ups. We considered the wine as part of the total food bill and tipped accordingly.

I refuse to order wine in most restaurants, except by the glass. I'd rather drink one glass of an OK house wine than pay two or three hundred percent retail. Kudos to Dino and Ray's and others that don't see wine sales as an opportunity to gouge.

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So my best friend Eric and I play a game called "Tip Chicken." Whenever we go out to dinner and split a check, we each hide our bills from each other when signing to see who will leave the bigger tip (within reason). Once it beat him by just two cents. It was kickass-awesome. Anyway, this game usually results in our server getting a 25-35% tip. Our wives maintain that this game is both childish (they're right) and extremely annoying to the server who has to enter these bizarre amounts of ours. My wife's case is bolstered by this posting on Waiterrant.com:

From "50 Signs You're an Asshole Customer"

16) The check’s $100.01 and you split the check between two credit cards. You get the credit card slip for $50.01 and your friend gets the one for $50. He leaves a $7.50 tip and you leave one for $7.49.

Eric and I maintain that, in our situation (unlike the measly 15% tip in the example above), the server is thrilled to be making 5-15% MORE than he/she would have otherwise, and could care less about having to enter $11.01 and $11.03 tips.

What's the opinion of those of you who work in the restaurant industry?

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So my best friend Eric and I play a game called "Tip Chicken." Whenever we go out to dinner and split a check, we each hide our bills from each other when signing to see who will leave the bigger tip (within reason). Once it beat him by just two cents. It was kickass-awesome. Anyway, this game usually results in our server getting a 25-35% tip. Our wives maintain that this game is both childish (they're right) and extremely annoying to the server who has to enter these bizarre amounts of ours.

Usually? Are you dining at the Taberna del Alabardero every night? :o

I doubt it's annoying to the server, but it's annoying to other diners if you manage to:

  • decouple the tip amount from the actual service received, and
  • inflate the shit out of service price expectations at the same time.

Tip well, very well, when the service warrants it. Those servers ARE working harder than the ones who give lousy service, and as diners we should both encourage and reward their dedication. But please don't encourage mediocrity.

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Frankly, I found the "50 Signs You're an Asshole Customer" from waiterrant to have alot of sanctimonious bulls**t. There were many valid complaints, but just as much whinging.

The one that really irked me was the one about people who tip an amount so that it rounds up to an even number. I don't see what's unreasonably difficult about dealing with it. If I were a server, I'd be happy with a 20+% tip, even if it meant dealing with change. Beats the hell out of a lousy tip, vomit on the table, etc.

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Many restaurants have servers tip support staff a percentage of their sales rather than "tips" for two reasons:

I think the point that was trying to be made above is that the IRS, not the restaurant is going to look at sales when looking for poor schmucks to audit. It is true that both the IRS and most every restaurant require you to be tipping out on the tips you made not the sales. But in practice the IRS has no idea what kind of tips you made so they are going to look at your sales numbers and if you only reported your tips as being 7 percent of that sales number, they might want to take a closer look at that and find out why. IE the dreaded audit. I think that people serving 1000 dollar bottles of wine would actually be more at risk of an audit anyways as they are making the most money. I don't feel like the IRS would waste much time auditing the 23 year old 3rd time senior philosophy major working at TGIFridays who makes 20k a year. I admit I don't know much about their selection process but it just seems like they would trend towards the higher dollar, career type servers.

And personally, as far as this whole discussion is concerned, I think the tipping system is a load of crap and should just be scrapped. And I am a server. If I ever open a restaurant I am jacking up all my prices and paying my servers a decent hourly wage and for the full time employees, giving them benefits. Then I am making it widely known that you don't have to tip at my restaurant. The price you see is the price you get.

Sometimes I feel like the whole system just exists to trick diners into thinking a meal is cheaper than it is. Instead of 22.95 that pasta dish is now 15.95!!! (Oh but you have to pay the salary of the guy who brings it to you). It is just like the cell phone companies do. You sign a plan for 39.99 but somehow your bill is 53 dollars every month....

Oh and by the way I think more than a few of those items on the waiter rant thing were ridiculous. I like even numbers on my checks. Easier to close out and easier to add up at the end of the night.

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Dinner on Friday and Saturday nights led to interesting examples of how wait staff deal with customers' mathematical ineptitude and inattentiveness. I found that graciousness works better than a calculator.

The Friday-night situation (Bangkok Joe's):

Eight of us ate dinner at Bangkok Joe's on Friday night (4/6/07). Our bill came to approximately $220.00, including tax, but not including tip. We had no complaints about the perfectly competent service. I told the members of the party that the total amount, including tip, should come out to between $260.00 and $265.00. Three of us split the check. I calculated all the items that my girlfriend and I ordered, added tax and tip, and told the waiter to put a certain amount on my credit card. Another diner, also picking up two meals, added up the relevant items, added tax, but not tip, and told the waiter to put a certain amount on the credit card. And the third person (picking up four meals) told the waiter to put the remainder on his card.

After all of our cards came back, I did not add any further tip amount, because I had already calculated tip into what I asked the waiter to put on my card. The other two diners calculated tips and entered their totals. The waiter, at some point, collected all of the signed credit card slips. A few minutes later, he came back to point out the lack of a tip on my credit card slip. I explained that I had already calculated tip into the amount I had asked him to put on my card. The waiter insisted that something was off, but there was a slight language barrier, and I ultimately decided to examine all of the credit card slips myself. While I was doing so, the waiter left, and then came back.

With a calculator.

So the waiter and I stood next to my party's table and actually ran through the numbers. I concluded that the three credit cards' "totals," when added together, came out to $246.00. Which meant that the waiter had returned to our table, and then introduced a calculator into our discussion, to point out that he had received a surprisingly low 11% tip.

Now, in the waiter's defense, he tried very hard to be pleasant, and I am sure that it was his belief that we had made a calculation error, and had not truly meant to tip only 11%, which was absolutely correct. We had, in fact, made an error in our calculation; either I should have excluded the tip from the amount I asked to be put on the credit card, and then added the tip at the end, or someone should have checked to see that the combined total came out to between $260.00 and $265.00. Once all of this became clear, I assured the waiter that he was correct, that we had made an error, and that we had intended to tip at least 20%. I gave him a $20.00, thus bringing his tip to just a bit above 20%.

By this time, however, one or two members of my party had become quite annoyed that the waiter had, in their view, the audacity to come over and complain about a tip. One person noted that an 11% tip is something a waiter gripes about in the kitchen, not something about which the waiter actually calls the diners on in the middle of the restaurant. The waiter was highly apologetic, and said that he did not want us not to return. I told him that he had nothing to worry about, that everything was fine, and then got my party out of there.

The Saturday-night situation (Bazin's on Church):

Thirteen of us had dinner at Bazin's on Church on Saturday night (4/7/07). For accessibility reasons, the restaurant divided our tables with a small walkway between the tables, which worked out well. My table had six diners, and the remaining seven were right next to us. I don't know what the bill came to at the table of seven, but the bill at our table totaled about $233.00. Two of us split the bill down the middle. Now, earlier in the evening, while perusing the menu, we had noted that the restaurant adds 20% to checks of large parties. My table chatted about this, ultimately concluding that none of us had any problem with a restaurant having such a policy, but also noting that waiters often end up with a bigger tip by just letting the diners calculate the tip unassisted.

We also noted that some restaurants that have such a policy sometimes opt not to enforce it. We thought that this was exactly what had occurred when the check came, because we saw the subtotal (about $215.00) and the tax (about $17.50), and the "balance" of $232.76. We did not look at the check any closer, and just handed two credit cards to our waiter.

When the individual credit card slips came back, each was for about $139.00. My brother and I (the two people paying for our table) did not think anything of it, entered tip amounts of about 20%, and sent the "final," signed credit card slips back, for a total of about $340.00.

As you can probably tell by now, we did not mean to leave such a large tip (about $107.00 on a $233.00 check, or approximately 46%). This was entirely due to our oversight, because (1) we had overlooked on the itemized receipt a handwritten notation that a $45.00 tip was being added by the restaurant, and (2) when we got the credit card slips back, we did not notice that the amount on each (about $139.00) must have included a restaurant-added tip.

Caught up in celebrating my mother's birthday and conversing, we would not have noticed our error but for our waiter coming to our table and explaining to us what we had done. He knew, and told us, that we could not have meant to leave such generous a tip. We thanked him for pointing out our error, and adjusted our tips. (We still ended up leaving a 30% tip.) I also went out of my way to mention our waiter's honesty and courteousness to Julie Bazin, who runs the restaurant with her husband.

Two weekend evenings, two large dinner parties, two tip-related problems (due largely to diner error or inattentiveness), and two servers' approaches to dealing with the tip-related problems.

Both restaurants will continue getting my business, and I'm not posting this to prompt criticism or praise for either restaurant. (Nor, I hope, will people take me to task on my admittedly wanting math skills.) What I am interested in is finding out how others would have handled the situations above. I am particularly interested in hearing from people in the food-service industry. Further, I am curious about others' dining experiences involving tip-related problems.

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Three of us split the check. I calculated all the items that my girlfriend and I ordered, added tax and tip, and told the waiter to put a certain amount on my credit card. Another diner, also picking up two meals, added up the relevant items, added tax, but not tip, and told the waiter to put a certain amount on the credit card. And the third person (picking up four meals) told the waiter to put the remainder on his card.
The person who put the remainder on his card owes you $20.00.

If you simplify the situation into just 2 parties, this becomes clearer. For example, you have a bill for $100.00 and plan on leaving $120.00 (or $60.00 each). Let's say you end up putting $60 on your card (which includes tip) and the other person puts "the remainder" on his card (or $40.00). When your credit slips come, you will have paid the correct amount, but most likely the person with the remainder will see his slip of $40.00 and think he only has to tip $8.00 leaving a total of $48 instead of $60.

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The person who put the remainder on his card owes you $20.00.

If you simplify the situation into just 2 parties, this becomes clearer. For example, you have a bill for $100.00 and plan on leaving $120.00 (or $60.00 each). Let's say you end up putting $60 on your card (which includes tip) and the other person puts "the remainder" on his card (or $40.00). When your credit slips come, you will have paid the correct amount, but most likely the person with the remainder will see his slip of $40.00 and think he only has to tip $8.00 leaving a total of $48 instead of $60.

When splitting the check and using credit cards, the better way is to ask the waiter to ring up your credit card slip with just the amount you intend to pay for food and tax, then, when the slip comes, add the tip. If you don't do it this way, I think the waiter could take it in the shorts on his/her tip.
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I think that this happens often with split payments. It seems to be especially true when the bill is split with cash and charge. Fairly often in this situation, the customer says put $60 on the card and we will pay the rest in cash. Often that tip is either left on just the $60 or just the cash amount as the splitting parties don't make clear among themselves how to handle the tip.

If we are aware of it before the customer leaves, we will ask "was there a problem?" But we prefer not to have the waiter ask the question, but a manager. Sometimes there was a service issue and the waiter did not own up to it and sometimes it is a math error etc.

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Our bill came to approximately $220.00, including tax, but not including tip. We had no complaints about the perfectly competent service. I told the members of the party that the total amount, including tip, should come out to between $260.00 and $265.00. Three of us split the check. I calculated all the items that my girlfriend and I ordered, added tax and tip, and told the waiter to put a certain amount on my credit card. Another diner, also picking up two meals, added up the relevant items, added tax, but not tip, and told the waiter to put a certain amount on the credit card. And the third person (picking up four meals) told the waiter to put the remainder on his card.
Did you plagiarize this post? I could swear I saw this in a Princeton SAT Prep course book...

Just an FYI in this situation the last guy would have way less on his card than he owes. The way our system works when you enter set amounts on different cards it subtracts those from the total owed for the whole bill. You can't apply parts of that to tax or tip, it all goes towards the check amount. Say the toal is 60 dollars and you account for 40 dollars of that and you want to leave an 8 dollar tip. You tell the waiter to put 48 on your card and your friend says he will pay the balance. You will get a slip for 48 with a blank tip line and he will get a slip for 12 dollars with a blank tip. That is the way our POSi system works. You can't charge more than the total of the meal. You can only apply tips when you close the check, not when you are charging the card. What you CAN do is tell the server that 8 of that 48 is a tip and he should charge 40 and write 8 on the tip line before he gives it back so you just have to sign it. If you do that than your friends will say 20 dollars like it should. I hope this makes sense to non-restaurant employees. I am having trouble explaining it without showing you on the computer.

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this thread reminds me of a story my wife told me about "going out with the girl's" for cocktails on my wife's birthday last week.

The scene: Max's Gill and Grill, Denver's South Gaylord St.

The players: My wife, her cheap and broke friend Moira, and her cheap but rich friend, Eppie. The manager, a great and good friend of ours over multiple employments.

Two of the four rounds of drinks (I'm afraid my wife and I and all our friends are, well, lushes) are comped, along with my wife's appetizer (all served at the bar, as is our wont). This is not standard birthday practice, but a partial result of our long term relationship with the manager and our only recently bringing our (not gargantuan but steady, I guess he anticipates) custom to his new place of employment. Good times, lots of laughs, bill comes amid much conviviality.

Eppie: Now ms southdenverhoo isn't paying, it's her birthday. Looks like the total is $60, so 15% tip makes it about $65[!], if you don't have any ones why don't you just give me $30, Moira, and I'll put it on my card.

Moira: $60! How could it be $60, I only had three glasses of wine and they comped two of them! And they bought ms southdenverhoo's mussels! [ever notice how people who can't remember how many drinks they had ALWAYS remember how many were free?] And you're tipping on tax, that's not proper..." [etc, ad nauseam, final result: something in the vicinity of $67 is placed on Eppie's card]

Yes a calculator made an appearance but, one is thankful, as the two of them peered over it & the check, my wife was able to palm the bartender a twenty.....having foreseen the exact and entire scene...

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Did you plagiarize this post? I could swear I saw this in a Princeton SAT Prep course book...

Funny! No, had I cracked a Princeton SAT Prep course book and looked at math questions, maybe I wouldn't have had such a disparity between my SAT verbal score and my SAT math score.

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By this time, however, one or two members of my party had become quite annoyed that the waiter had, in their view, the audacity to come over and complain about a tip. One person noted that an 11% tip is something a waiter gripes about in the kitchen, not something about which the waiter actually calls the diners on in the middle of the restaurant.

I think waiters have every right to ask, "WTF?". It's his freakin' livelihood.

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this thread reminds me of a story my wife told me about "going out with the girl's" for cocktails on my wife's birthday last week.

The scene: Max's Gill and Grill, Denver's South Gaylord St.

The players: My wife, her cheap and broke friend Moira, and her cheap but rich friend, Eppie. The manager, a great and good friend of ours over multiple employments.

Two of the four rounds of drinks (I'm afraid my wife and I and all our friends are, well, lushes) are comped, along with my wife's appetizer (all served at the bar, as is our wont). This is not standard birthday practice, but a partial result of our long term relationship with the manager and our only recently bringing our (not gargantuan but steady, I guess he anticipates) custom to his new place of employment. Good times, lots of laughs, bill comes amid much conviviality.

Eppie: Now ms southdenverhoo isn't paying, it's her birthday. Looks like the total is $60, so 15% tip makes it about $65[!], if you don't have any ones why don't you just give me $30, Moira, and I'll put it on my card.

Moira: $60! How could it be $60, I only had three glasses of wine and they comped two of them! And they bought ms southdenverhoo's mussels! [ever notice how people who can't remember how many drinks they had ALWAYS remember how many were free?] And you're tipping on tax, that's not proper..." [etc, ad nauseam, final result: something in the vicinity of $67 is placed on Eppie's card]

Yes a calculator made an appearance but, one is thankful, as the two of them peered over it & the check, my wife was able to palm the bartender a twenty.....having foreseen the exact and entire scene...

That's good stuff! By the way, welcome from a fellow food/wine/beer lover from the Sabre!

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We ate at Etete on Saturday night (great food-first time any of us had eaten Ethiopian and we loved it), and I believe that we tipped 10%, which is standard in the UK. The waitress came over to ask if the service was ok, because the tip wasn't much.
The standard over here is 18-20% with more for better service :blink:
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We ate at Etete on Saturday night (great food-first time any of us had eaten Ethiopian and we loved it), and I believe that we tipped 10%, which is standard in the UK. The waitress came over to ask if the service was ok, because the tip wasn't much.

FYI , unlike Europe , in USA servers are working for tips. they dont have a salary here. so tip % should be more than 10. 18-20% is good if there is no problems with the service , but if you really like everyhing tipping more is much appreciated.

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FYI , unlike Europe , in USA servers are working for tips. they dont have a salary here. so tip % should be more than 10. 18-20% is good if there is no problems with the service , but if you really like everyhing tipping more is much appreciated.

Aren't servers in the U.S. paid a base salary (which is much less than a European server's salary) and tips are on top of that?

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Aren't servers in the U.S. paid a base salary (which is much less than a European server's salary) and tips are on top of that?
In Maryland, minimum wage for tipped workers is $3.08. State minimum wage for all other workers is $6.15. Taxes are withheld from that $3 based on the assumption that the worker's real wage (wage + tips) is at least the minimum. If you pull 5 shifts a week at 6 hours a shift that's 30 hours a week. 30 * 50 weeks worked and you got 1500 hours over the course of a year. Or a gross base salary of $4620.
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In Maryland, minimum wage for tipped workers is $3.08. State minimum wage for all other workers is $6.15. Taxes are withheld from that $3 based on the assumption that the worker's real wage (wage + tips) is at least the minimum. If you pull 5 shifts a week at 6 hours a shift that's 30 hours a week. 30 * 50 weeks worked and you got 1500 hours over the course of a year. Or a gross base salary of $4620.

Right, that's what I meant. I guess the point is that even thought they are technically paid a salary or wage, it amounts to almost nothing. But is minimum tipped wage the industry standard? I would be surprised if, say, Corduroy paid its servers $3 an hour.

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Right, that's what I meant. I guess the point is that even thought they are technically paid a salary or wage, it amounts to almost nothing. But is minimum tipped wage the industry standard? I would be surprised if, say, Corduroy paid its servers $3 an hour.
The last time I waited tables was in a different era in a different city, but based solely on my own past experience, I wouldn't be too surprised if restaurants at that price point did pay the minimum.

Then again perhaps someone who actually knows something will tell us and prove me wrong. :blink:

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The last time I waited tables was in a different era in a different city, but based solely on my own past experience, I wouldn't be too surprised if restaurants at that price point did pay the minimum.

Then again perhaps someone who actually knows something will tell us and prove me wrong. :blink:

Bare minimum is usually the norm. Exceptions might be the union jobs you can get at national hotel chains etc but very very rare. I don't ever see a check. Most servers I know just get a blank pay stub every two weeks and still owe the IRS at least a few grand at the end of the year.

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Right, that's what I meant. I guess the point is that even thought they are technically paid a salary or wage, it amounts to almost nothing. But is minimum tipped wage the industry standard? I would be surprised if, say, Corduroy paid its servers $3 an hour.
I'd be very suprised if they paid more. From what I understand, a waiter earns more money by being able to handle more tables, working in a restaurant with a higher price point, and providing service that warrants generous tips. So tip very well when it is deserved, and hesitate before stiffing someone - unless they really didn't provide any service at all, they probably deserve to be paid something for showing up to work. And, remember that the waiter doesn't get all the money you leave either. They generally have to share quite a bit with others that are not tipped directly by you.
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Just a quick reminder: If, on a busy night, you stay for an extended period of time at a table after your meal is over (something in the realm of an hour after you've gotten the check), it'd be nice if you left extra for your server. No, they likely did not do anything for you during that time. Yes, you did effectively reduce the size of their section for that hour (or more) while keeping them from turning your table, costing them money in the process.

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Just a quick reminder: If, on a busy night, you stay for an extended period of time at a table after your meal is over (something in the realm of an hour after you've gotten the check), it'd be nice if you left extra for your server. No, they likely did not do anything for you during that time. Yes, you did effectively reduce the size of their section for that hour (or more) while keeping them from turning your table, costing them money in the process.

Anyone who would linger at a table for an hour after finishing their meal on a busy night has a general disregard for the business itself, the server, the bussers as well as other waiting customers. The last thing they're thinking about is leaving a few extra bucks on the table.

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Anyone who would linger at a table for an hour after finishing their meal on a busy night has a general disregard for the business itself, the server, the bussers as well as other waiting customers. The last thing they're thinking about is leaving a few extra bucks on the table.

*waving tiny hand in the air*

Not always the case. I've been that linger-ess, stuck with a one-and-only chance to meet with an important business contact or cherished friend in an acoustically unoffensive environment. Talking them into going to another place to hang would not be a possibility. So, assuming there was no wait for tables ("busy" but not packed), I've stuck around after a meal every now and then.

Of course, I tip up the wa-zoo when I do this. And I give the server a heads up that he/she can ignore us, and that we'll pay for the time.

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*waving tiny hand in the air*

Not always the case. I've been that linger-ess, stuck with a one-and-only chance to meet with an important business contact or cherished friend in an acoustically unoffensive environment. Talking them into going to another place to hang would not be a possibility. So, assuming there was no wait for tables ("busy" but not packed), I've stuck around after a meal every now and then.

Of course, I tip up the wa-zoo when I do this. And I give the server a heads up that he/she can ignore us, and that we'll pay for the time.

Fair enough...there are always exceptions to the rule, of course. MOST people wouldn't think of tipping extra to stay longer. :(

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We went out last night and I noticed there was a somewhat hard to find bottle of wine on the menu at an exceptional price even for a restaurant. I inquired about quantities and we ended up buying the last two in their cellar to take home. When the bill came the bottle we drank with the meal did not show up on the bill but the other two did. When I pointed out the mistake I was told the one we consumed was 'on the house'!

So when figuring out the tip - I added the cost of our food plus included the price of the bottle left off the bill for the calculation. Was that the right starting base?

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We went out last night and I noticed there was a somewhat hard to find bottle of wine on the menu at an exceptional price even for a restaurant. I inquired about quantities and we ended up buying the last two in their cellar to take home. When the bill came the bottle we drank with the meal did not show up on the bill but the other two did. When I pointed out the mistake I was told the one we consumed was 'on the house'!

So when figuring out the tip - I added the cost of our food plus included the price of the bottle left off the bill for the calculation. Was that the right starting base?

If you're sitting at my table and have something comped, at the end of the night I'll be required to tip out to my support staff (and at the end of the year required to pay taxes) based on a percentage of my sales. If you had something comped, my sales amount to the amount of your final total, NOT the pre-comp total. In terms of making sure your server doesn't get short-changed, tipping on the post-discount total is perfectly fair.

Here's where it becomes sticky, though: Let's say you go out to eat at a restaurant where you're a regular, and $30 of food disappear from the bill, giving you a $90 tab instead of the $120 you should have been paying. For tax and tip-out purposes, you only need to tip on the $90. However, even though you're only paying $90, your server did the work commensurate with a $120 bill. To tip on the lesser amount doesn't screw over your server, but it kinda sucks.

With that said, since you're also tipping on two bottles of wine that you're just taking home, and since I assume the amount of the comp was less than the two bottles you purchased, I think you would've been completely justified in tipping on the amount after the discount.

Hopefully I made some sense here; it makes sense in my mind, but I'm not sure how well I worded that.

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I don't think there is any tip necessary on the wines taken home. The establishment should have some way of tracking retail sales and not expect the server to tip out on a retail sale. In any case, this is not the customers sales. Retail wine purchases are just not something traditionally tipped on. But yeas, I think you did fine tipping on the amount comped. I always do. As to how much work is done at a table, I am sure most servers agree that the amount of work is not always porportional to the size of the bill, but to the size of the sphincter on display during the meal.

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Hopefully I made some sense here; it makes sense in my mind, but I'm not sure how well I worded that.

That makes no sense. Dean's right, you don't tip on the 2 bottles to take home but you do tip on the comped bottle. What the restaurant has to report to the IRS in terms of sales has nothing to do with the server's actual service. If the server is required to report income based on $200 of sales but didn't get shit for tip, that's his problem, not anyone else's. The opposite is true, if the server served $200 of food but the restaurant comped some food for whatever reason, the server shouldn't be punished.

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That makes no sense. Dean's right, you don't tip on the 2 bottles to take home but you do tip on the comped bottle. What the restaurant has to report to the IRS in terms of sales has nothing to do with the server's actual service. If the server is required to report income based on $200 of sales but didn't get shit for tip, that's his problem, not anyone else's. The opposite is true, if the server served $200 of food but the restaurant comped some food for whatever reason, the server shouldn't be punished.

When did I ever argue to the contrary? If your service sucked, tip as such, but don't not tip on something you ordered from your server such as unopened bottles of wine or food that's specifically to-go on the basis that it's zero work and it'll work itself out in the end, because while it is minimal work, I'll end up paying a small percentage of what you ordered. That's completely independent of what you're tipping me on the rest of the bill - if you're tipping me 50% because you're hitting on me, or 5% because you thought I was terrible and need to be fired but couldn't bring yourself to stiff me, I'm still tipping out on the cost of the wine/takeout. The amount of tip you left me doesn't matter except to figure out how much I have leftover.

And it's certainly no travesty to not factor that in, since it's tough to justify leaving a whole lot for essentially handing you a bottle of wine or a bag with your food. However, if you want to make it a truly neutral transaction for the server, something in the ballpark of 5% of the cost of the wine or to-go order accomplishes that.

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Comped meal- what do you tip?

I'd tip on the cost of the meal.

Several years ago, I was watching Oprah and her guest was Charles Barkley. They chatted all about rich people stuff and the subject of tipping came up. Of course, both being so, so famous, they get to eat for free...a lot. They both agreed that they leave big tips when dinner is comped, but then Oprah was shocked when Barkley went on and on about his cheap-ass friend, Michael Jordan.

It seems that Jordan, what with his gajillion dollars, doesn't tip so well. In fact, when he has meals comped, which is often, he tips on the cost of his food. $0.

Prick.

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