The Etiquette Of Tipping: What You Need To Know About Tipping at Restaurants

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Tipping servers has become the norm in social situations and although it is not mandatory, it is generally expected.

Some restaurants will add a service charge while others simply leave a line for the tip at the end of the meal. But the etiquette of tipping is more grey than black and white.

Most restaurants pay their waiters and bartenders below the minimum wage knowing they will receive tips throughout the shift.

As a result, the server has the opportunity to earn far more than minimum wage on a good night or break even on a slow night. But how they perform can greatly affect their tip.

The general rule of thumb at restaurants with table service is to leave a tip of 15% of the bill.

For most places a 20% tip is considered to be good while anything below 15% is below average.

Often times with large groups of over 10 or 20 there will be gratuity automatically added to the bill. This will be a certain percentage of the bill that is added for the tip and is the only time a tip is mandatory. But when it comes to smaller groups, there is typically no required charge.

As mentioned, 15% is a good rule of thumb to stick by and you typically want to ignore sales tax. In other words, figure out the tip based on the total without the tax.

Everything should be included in the overall percentage during your calculations including all the food, beverage and wine bill.

It can be difficult to decide what to tip at buffet restaurants considering you are the one getting up and serving yourself.

For places that have limited table service, a tip of 10 to 15% is more than acceptable because the servers do still put in work by keeping the buffet line stocked and clean and bringing over drinks.

No matter what type of restaurant it is, try to always leave cash and avoid change. A lot of people will write a tip down on the receipt to be charged to their card when paying the bill.

But even if you are paying with a credit card, it is more than OK to leave cash as the tip.

The final thing to keep in mind with the etiquette of tipping is how to tip bartenders. The easiest rule to stick with is $1 per drink or 15-20% of the total bill if it is a large bill.

Also, in a lot of places, if you tip well and frequently come back to the bar, you are more likely to be served ahead of the crowd, especially if it is really busy.

And sometimes, in addition to a grateful smile for a good tip, you may even get a drink on the house for above average tipping.