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Tip Computation: How do you Determine the Tip?


Varmint
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To answer the $20 vs. $100 bottle question. We're getting into pretty dicey territory here, as I feel that it's getting dissected. To start, if you have that range (and higher) you've got some effort going into the wine choices, pairings and service. I know there's the "I could have made those choices", but if you think that way, you shouldn't eat at restaurants.

You have crystal glasses and decanters, you have a server's or someiller's wine knowledge, you have the extra care and pampering from the front of the house staff and the kitchen (this info gets around). A good restaurant should be able to deliver the extra service associated with a better bottle. IMHO, order a bottle within the range that you think the restaurant deserves - will they be able to deliver these intrinsic qualities to add to your meal? If the resto cannot, don't put yourself in that uncomfortable situation, as the bottle is available at the wine store for half the price. To put it bluntly, after 6 years working in great restaurants, no matter the price 15% after tax tip is a minimum for showing gratitude and respect for the service.

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Tocino I fully agree about the glasses etc in the restaurant which is why I will still tip for wine service and nice glasses but I don't base my tip on the price of the bottle. For example let's say it works the other way. If I happen to feel like a simple inexpensive white wine instead of an expensive red wine and my waiter/sommelier is excellent and I have beautiful glasses should I be tipping less because my bottle cost less? No, that doesn't make sense at all! I guess I just look at TIPS as payment for service and not a simple percentage of the cost of the wine.

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steven shaw wrote something here that has stuck with me, particularly the last sentence.

The custom is to tip on the total bill, wine included, and, absurd as it is, that’s probably what you should do. I’d have to say that if you can afford the wine you can afford the tip.

this might be US-centric, but i think it applies here.

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10%

just like for take out from a sit-down restaurant.

you tip for take-out? (as opposed to delivery)

i've actually only done take-out maybe twice in my life, and each time i was told by non-cheapskate american friends that they might leave a couple of bucks (regardless of bill) but even that was generous for the service of basically putting your food in a bag and waiting for you to come pick it up.

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Would hate to insult the wait staff

Here, in England, I make a point of taking cash for the tip. It is more likely to end up in the pockets of the people who have served you so well. (I think)

Am I right or am I wrong? :unsure:

Martial.2,500 Years ago:

If pale beans bubble for you in a red earthenware pot, you can often decline the dinners of sumptuous hosts.

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10%

just like for take out from a sit-down restaurant.

you tip for take-out? (as opposed to delivery)

i've actually only done take-out maybe twice in my life, and each time i was told by non-cheapskate american friends that they might leave a couple of bucks (regardless of bill) but even that was generous for the service of basically putting your food in a bag and waiting for you to come pick it up.

yup. you're basically taking the waiter or waitresses time away from their seated customers.

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yup. you're basically taking the waiter or waitresses time away from their seated customers.

Tip on take-out? I almost did a double take here ... but tryska makes a good point. I think it would depend on which take-out place we're talking about. For example ...

My fave fish & chips place has different prices depending on whether you dine in or take out. The sit-down prices are slightly higher, I assume to compensate for the staff they need to serve it to you, clean-up, etc. However, the take-out portion of the place is a separate entity. I may tip a modest amount in the "tip jar", but I'm not taking anybody away from their job.

If the restaurant in question did take-out as a courtesy (i.e. they don't advertise it as part of the norm) then I'm likely to tip a bit more as per tryska's comments.

Hell, I leave any change that's not a loon or a toon in the tip jar when I buy my americano.

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as far as i understand, some places base the amount that the report to the IRS for a server on take-out as well. so if you're taking out 40 dollars in food, there's an assumption, on the restaurant's part, that the server got a certain percentage of that as tip (perhaps 12% in some cases? restaurant accountants feel free to jump in), and therefore they're taxed on it. that's a very good reason to tip the server, aside from the other good reasons which have been mentioned here.

at the end of the day, everyone should tip what he or she feels comfortable tipping. no one is twisting any arms. and i bet very few are spitting in food. the only absolute as i see it is that the guidelines seem pretty well-defined and are generally accepted.

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Yeah - i should clarify - I often grab takeout from mid-level and up restaurants. the kind of places that don't do a lot of take-out business. Those are the palces i tip. if it's like mcdonalds or someplace that doesn't have waitstaff then no.

the only reason i ever even thought about this is when i waited tables at a diner in queens, my customers would tip me roughly 10% on takeout.

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I totally agree. We eat out quite frequently, and I always stash money on me, while darling SO carries the big guns. I leave the tip, and I tip in what I feel is an honorable amount. When we return to places, we are given VERY nice service, so you are indeed the maker of your own future. A house staff might sometimes mentally misplace a fair tipper, But they never forget a lousy one.

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I think once you start ordering wine in a restaurant, you're into the league of big spenders. You can't be a cheapskate and start skimping on the tip.

I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself. - Johnny Carson
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With regards to tommys post about mid to high level restaurants and take out.

Depending on how organized the take out situation is in a restaurant, there is no taxing on the the restaurant's take out sales. ie: take out counter, and appropriate packaging. This is where a tip jar is key.

However, If you are ordering from your fave sit down joint, which doesn't usually do take out, but you're staying late and want to pick up that duck confit for the office... you get the picture. Not many restaurants are that prepared, and they do it so rarely to have a separate accounting file for take out... unless they have a catering service. Invariably, the combined declared sales of the servers at the end of the night must match up with the days numbers. You bet the servers are taxed on the tip of that meal.

Plus, you're still getting the expediter to pack it up during service, and the waiter to time it correctly so it is straight off the pass when you walk in the door.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree with you Jeff Boy: the server does the same amount of work at breakfast, or more with all those coffee refills.

I am aghast overall with some of the comments here.

Firstly, like it or not, we have a system where we are supplementing the servers wage. If you don't approve, move to France

Secondly, I have never ever heard of deducting the wine or liquor total when calculating a tip. Why not just deduct the mark up on the food as well? Restaurants do sometimes have outrageous markups on wine, but the profit margin is still tight in most places after overhead. The server does not set the prices.AND, keep in mind that your server has to tip out on his total sales, with wine, sometimes up to 5% or more, to bussers, hosts, bartenders etc.

I always tip out on the after tax amount, but I will cede the deduction of taxes if you insist. But why? Trust me, that extra buck or two will go a long way the next time you are in that servers section. And believe me, word spreads if you get a rep for bening cheap.

I used to work in the business, so admittedly I am biased. But I think that 20% is an acceptable minimum for good service. 15% is for OK service.

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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Oh, and I do tip for take out, albiet a little less. Why? because the server who rings it in has to tip out on that amount to his support staff.

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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  • 2 weeks later...

well to add my 2cents to the tipping on wine argument..

when certain posters claim the only job the waiter does is pulling the cork, and that this doesn't deserve to waiver depending on price of the bottle, my only response is to stick to ordering glasses of house red..

not being bitter, but its sounds like cnspriggs doesn't spend much money on wine when they dine out..

we are talking fine dining here.. not milestones, or anywhere else they open your bottle between their knees.. they more you spend, they better service you will get because everyone knows the tip will be higher.

if i have two tables.. one orders $50 kim crawford, and the other orders a $500 gaja.. guess whos going to get more service? guess whos going to be mentioned to the chef? and guess who will get crystal glasses, their wine decanted, their wine kept to a perfect level, and everything extra I can do.

same thing applies to the table of two that wants "ice water and separate checks", vs the party of eight, bring on the grey goose martinis, and the san pelligrino.

what about premium alcohol? does your same logic apply to that? polar ice vs grey goose? ballantine's vs johnny walker blue label?

bartender drops two ice cubes, and pours an ounce of whisky.. bill is $7 for one, $50 for the other.. I carry it to your table.. and thats it..

what about easy tables, vs pain in the neck tables?

table one wants, two soups, the foie gras, the escargot, and their both having the seabass.. wham!

table two wants to know what kind of mushrooms are in the soup, and if they are wild or farmed, and if she can only have the wild please, and no onions, and the foie gras, its from france? how is it prepared? pan seared.. oh.. with oil? or butter? can I have it with extra onions? and the duck confit... is it crispy? how crispy? and many scampi come with that? can you make sure they have no salt at all.. and i want the vegetables from the lamb, but not the spinach, can I have bok choy instead.. steamed no butter

do people who make these ridiculous requests ever leave a bigger tip? sometimes their dates do.. out of embarrassment..

and like other posters have mentioned.. we tip out on a PERCENT OF SALES..

if you're my table.. you have a 1965 Dom Perignon, and a salad.. your bill comes to $4020, and you tip on the $20!! plus a 'corkage tip', I still have to tip out 6% on the TOTAL, which comes to about $240..

sure I didn't do as much as I might if you had a 6 course meal.. but I did race around, get the best flutes, the proper bucket, keep your glass level, plus the sommelier paid you attention, and the chef definitely paid attention to your salad, not just letting the grand manger throw it together..

so maybe you still don't see it being worth a $600 - $800 dollar tip.. that doesn't change the fact it is.

I guess if you want to drink nice wine, you better just stay at home.

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if i have two tables.. one orders $50 kim crawford, and the other orders a $500 gaja.. guess whos going to get more service? guess whos going to be mentioned to the chef? and guess who will get crystal glasses, their wine decanted, their wine kept to a perfect level, and everything extra I can do.

cool. so i won't bother tipping you 20% on my kim crawford because i know i'm being ignored and not getting the best service. you just saved me a couple of bucks. :laugh:

Edited by tommy (log)
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I'm not saying tables are ignored if they dont spend.. all my tables get all my available time.. even the ice water and one course ones..

but this is a business, i'm at work.. this is not the UN.. you spend, you get more attention..

if joe millionaire walks in.. orders an expensive wine, and four courses, the management will tell the chef, the kitchen will make sure his food is perfect, they will bow and scrape.. and generally give him the level of service he expects..

when susie sixpack walks in and orders a glass of white zin, and the tuna.. no one gives a shit beyond that.. no ones going to roll out a red carpet for another bridge and tunneler.. but we're also not going to treat you like a leper.

if you think the chef inspects every $8 salad that goes out.. you're delusional

all that said.. I prefer a NICE table who leaves 12% over rude, ignorant snobs who leave 20%..

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