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Group Tipping brings down your intended %


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All,

Have you had occasion to dine with one or more friends and decide that you'd like to tip really well, either for great service or because it is a small bill and "what the hell, waitresses deserve it...."

...and then your 30% tip is totally blown by your companion(s) who see your high contribution and stiff on their own part of the tip, bringing the real tip down to 15% or less?

I've had this happen a few times and it's always after the fact that I notice and by then I'm too nervous to say anything.

Today I saw a bill for $17 for two people. My share before tip was $7, and I put in $10. Now, IF my companion just saw that $17 total and decided we should leave $20 total and they ALSO put in $10 for their share, my big tip has just been negated.

:sad: Anyone have this happen? Any good ways to deal with it, short of anticipating it ahead of time and saying, "I'd love to tip them well today, so let's see what the total is....".

Andrea

in Albuquerque

"You can't taste the beauty and energy of the Earth in a Twinkie." - Astrid Alauda

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Food Lovers' Guide to Santa Fe, Albuquerque & Taos: OMG I wrote a book. Woo!

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I usually divide my bill evenly with my dining companion(s), regardless of who ate or drank what. (The one exception being a friend who's a recovering alcoholic - I don't expect her to subsidize my wine habit.) We usually decide on a total together and just divide it down the middle (or in thirds, etc.), assuming that, over time, any discrepancies will come out in the wash.

That makes the tipping conversation a necessary and upfront one.

Edited by Megan Blocker (log)

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

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Dining with a group of friends can be challanging when it comes to tipping. Working in the industry in Canada I always tip 20%; my friends however are not so generous. When dining with "cheap" tipper Friends we ask for a separate bill to show our gratitude in the form of a tip. I know this would be a big hassle when dining with more than one couple.

Cheers,

stephen Bonner

Vancouver

Edited by SBonner (log)

"who needs a wine list when you can get pissed on dessert" Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares 2005

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I typically do what Megan does. Just add whatever the tip should be (always 20% in my world, only less for REALLY terrible service) then divide it among everyone. I recently had the misfortune of being in a party with one person who, when she realized how much I was calucating the tip to be, threw a fit within ear-shot of the server. I was mortified, and promptly told her that 20% was the accepted norm nowadays and I refused to give less as we had had really great service. I will never again be dining out with this person.

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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Just out of interest, as I've never been to a country where 20 percent is the accepted norm, how has it become so high? How long has it been that way - and why not higher?

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I'm in the Northeastern US and have been tipping 20% since I've been old enough to dine out without my parents (probably about...11 years).

I always evenly split the bill with my dining compainions, but I work in the industry and so do the majority of my friends so I've been fortunate to never have any issues when the bill comes. I also tend to tip more toward 25%, and more if I've been comped, obviously.

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  Any good ways to deal with it, short of anticipating it ahead of time and saying, "I'd love to tip them well today, so let's see what the total is....".

The only surefire way I have found is to wait until bill + tip has been paid by everyone and then just throw a bit more in in cash. Which means you have to have cash on hand in various denominations. Some people will see you do that and either object or try to recalculate their share but you can say, "I wanted to throw in something extra/bring the tip to 20%/whatever."

With certain family members we always have to hang behind and leave more or hand more to someone to avoid either a recalculation or an earful about overtipping.

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Oh, man. I have had to deal with this in the past, and have learned something: We tell the server to just split the check and add 20%. When someone squawks about it, we offer to fork over the extra bucks to them. Since this never happens with people we consider good friends, it's no biggie. (It's happened in the past with, for example, old friends' second spouses, family members, and new acquaintances.)

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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Like many of us, I tend to just split the bill evenly unless someone's order is significantly lower priced. Usually the difference isn't more than a couple of bucks either way. For example, had the OP's check been split evenly, her share would have been $8.50 instead of $7 -- not enough to worry about for most people. This makes it easy for me to simply whip out my Palm Pilot, multiply the total by 1.2 (this adds 20%) and divide by the number of parties at the table. So, in this example, I would have simply said, "it's about ten bucks and a quarter apiece." I'd be likely to do this if we were splitting the bill item-by-item as well. Again, in this example I'd say something like, "okay, with tip it comes out to twelve bucks for you and eight-fifty for me." If someone complains, that gives you an opportunity to say something about the basis for tipping 20%.

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We have a few friends that are poor tippers (~10%). We usually wait until they have put down all their money then slip some extra on the table as we are leaving. I don't have to eat with these people very often and I don't want to get into it with them. These are really friends of friends, or we would probably say something.

Some of our closer friends have become better tippers (at least when we eat out with them, but I expect overall as well). I don't know if we enlightened them or guilted them into it, but either way it works for me.

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I just say something to my dining partners. I've worked with people that just didn't get that tips make the wage and it forced me to become very good about both explaining the facts of life and then refusing to dine with them if it continued. In cases where this just isn't possible, I.E. my grandfather, then I just come prepared and find the server at some point between the check and the door and express my gratitude in words and cash.

Bryan C. Andregg

"Give us an old, black man singing the blues and some beer. I'll provide the BBQ."

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I eat out pretty regularly with more or less the same group of friends (a pool of about a dozen and usually 6-8 of us eating together with the occasional guest). We take the total and divide it evenly, after tip is calculated. There are always variables (I don't drink, but, usually, I pay an even share-unless they have gone crazy with wine or after dinner drinks, and then, I just quietly kick a few shins and they make the adjustment). This works pretty well.

I am one of those who, if invited out with a group of people that I don't know, will probably be not very likely to do it again if I see a calculator involved at the end of the meal, tallying everyone's individual responsibilities. I'm generally eating out for pleasure, and that pleasure in greatly diminished by niggling negotiations at the end of the meal.

take the total, add the desired percentage, divide by the number of diners (making allowances for BIG differences if there are any) and pay the damned check-always with the server in mind. THis works most of the time.

Of course, this group is heavily populated by industry folks and food and travel writers, so we are all pretty aware of the difficulties of multiple folks and cheating the server, even by accident-so we don't.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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I am one of those who, if invited out with a group of people that I don't know, will probably be not very likely to do it again if I see a calculator involved at the end of the meal, tallying everyone's individual responsibilities. I'm generally eating out for pleasure, and that pleasure in greatly diminished by niggling negotiations at the end of the meal.

Exactly. I'm terrible at math, so I tend to avail myself of my Palm Pilot's calculator just to add the 20% and divide it up into equal shares. But it's interesting to observe that people who will niggle over a couple of bucks are often the same ones that will go cheap on the tip. For this reason, I like to be the one figuring out shares of the bill so I can make sure the tip percentage is appropriate.

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I am one of those who, if invited out with a group of people that I don't know, will probably be not very likely to do it again if I see a calculator involved at the end of the meal, tallying everyone's individual responsibilities. I'm generally eating out for pleasure, and that pleasure in greatly diminished by niggling negotiations at the end of the meal.

Exactly. I'm terrible at math, so I tend to avail myself of my Palm Pilot's calculator just to add the 20% and divide it up into equal shares. But it's interesting to observe that people who will niggle over a couple of bucks are often the same ones that will go cheap on the tip. For this reason, I like to be the one figuring out shares of the bill so I can make sure the tip percentage is appropriate.

That's great. I'm not anti calculator. It's just when they start breaking it down into "who had the rabbit over mash with rasberry coulis with fresh apples, etc" that I suddenly feel the need to scream. I'm all about modern devices. I am a modern guy.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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I'm thinking that this is the first time in history "niggle" has been used in two posts in a row.

It's a great day for the English language.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Is it rude to just ask for separate checks? More and more, I don't carry any cash, assuming I'll pay with a credit card. I normally just double the tax (7-8%) on my bill, then round up to the nearest dollar in the server's favor. If anything, I've found that splitting checks means higher tips for the servers - i.e., if there's five of us, and we each leave an extra dollar or two for our portions, the total tip is much higher.

20% seems a bit high for the expected norm, assuming we're talking about the kind of mid-priced places where one person might get away paying $20-30 before drinks. I have a group of friends who spent a summer working as servers at Applebees, and they said on a busy shift they were making upwards of $15-20 an hour, with tips averaging less than 15%.

I normally aim for 15%, and my friends tend to do likewise.

"Nothing you could cook will ever be as good as the $2.99 all-you-can-eat pizza buffet." - my EX (wonder why he's an ex?)

My eGfoodblog: My corner of the Midwest

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Is it rude to just ask for separate checks?  More and more, I don't carry any cash, assuming I'll pay with a credit card.  I normally just double the tax (7-8%) on my bill, then round up to the nearest dollar in the server's favor.  If anything, I've found that splitting checks means higher tips for the servers - i.e., if there's five of us, and we each leave an extra dollar or two for our portions, the total tip is much higher. 

20% seems a bit high for the expected norm, assuming we're talking about the kind of mid-priced places where one person might get away paying $20-30 before drinks.  I have a group of friends who spent a summer working as servers at Applebees, and they said on a busy shift they were making upwards of $15-20 an hour, with tips averaging less than 15%. 

I normally aim for 15%, and my friends tend to do likewise.

Having spent summers working in restaurants in college, I found it, while certainly not rude, a bit inconvenient and time-consuming to split up a bill for very large parties--anything more than three couples and I rolled my eyes after leaving the table. As far as tips working in the server's favor if the bill is split, I don't think this is generally true unless you have generous people tipping. Far better is when someone who either works in the business (food industry in general) or merely knows what's going on takes command of the bill and orders everyone to pay their share plus 20%.

And it may be true that your friends were making $15-20 an hour on tips less than 15% (a damn shame, tipping less than that), but when an average shift is only 4-6 hours, you're not doing so well in the long run.

Eilen

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My friends and I split bills evenly, and I almost invariably do the calculations so there's never any problem about the tip. Probably because of the implied threat that if they want to change the total, they have to do the maths! And yes, like most other people on this thread, if my dining companions didn't like to tip properly I wouldn't want to eat out with them again.

I'd agree that outside the US (I'm in Britain) 20% is not a standard tip. In fact, when I spent a lot of time in New York about 15 years ago, 15% seemed to be considered standard there too (albeit in practice people tended to double the sales tax, bringing it closer to 20% - is this still normal practice?).

Caroline

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I am the daughter of a notorious cheapskate. . .who is rapidly aging into la-la land. His idea of a generous tip (no matter what the bill is) is 3 bucks, and 5 bucks is extremely generous. If we try to insist he leave more, we have to listen to stories about when he was a young boy who washed dishes in a restaurant. *sigh* Believe me, there's no talking to him about it.

I've learned the hard way to excuse myself to go to the ladies' room, usually just after the plates have been removed, find the server, and personally give him or her some extra cash, explaining that my father is a notoriously bad tipper and I want to express my thanks for wonderful service. Giving the extra money to the server, personally, erases all tipping issues at the table, and the necessity for discussion about them. We're all happier this way.

If you will do that, you can leave a more "standard" tip at the table and not have to worry about your friends or relatives adjusting theirs in reaction.

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Like you, dining with my 80-something father is an exercise in diplomacy when it comes to the tip. Not only is he tipping like it's still the 1950's, he resents the whole "percentage" thing: "Why should I tip more if the waiter brings me one plate with a steak on it than if he brings me one plate with a sandwich on it? It's the same amount of work. Who decided that and what right do they have to impose it on the rest of us?"

So, like you, I track down our server and discreetly make admends privately before the final deed is done. At 85, he's certainly not about to suddenly change his opinion.

When I'm dining with quite a few people, I follow the suggestion above to wait until everyone has chipped in. And then we rise, start for the door, and I turn back and toss a few more bills on the table.

I have never yet had anyone double back to "readjust" their amount.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Is it rude to just ask for separate checks? 

It's not rude at all, but, in terms of what the server has to do, it is a bit inconvenient.

Say you have 5 people at a table. You ask for seperate checks and the server says, "certainly, I would be happy to do that for you."

Well, it's entirely possible that he is happy to do it for you, but, not only will it take him 5 times as long to ring you out than it would otherwise, but, in fact, it's entirely possible that this time taken in the back of house to run cards, make change, get it all organized, etc. is going to have a negative effect on how you percieve service, as in, "Why is it taking so long to get my bill so I can get out of here and go back to work?"

It's just alot more work. Certainly, there are situations where seperate checks are needed, but I find that, with just a bit of upfront organization with your friends or associates, it's usually not something that's needed (of course, when everyone is on expense accounts and traveling seperately, sometimes, there's no avoiding it) very often.

Even a situation (last night, I had this same situation) where three people are paying with cash and 2 are paying by credit, it's still easier to get one check. Simply add up the cash, make sure that it works, and tell the server how much to ring on each card. It's not that easy, but it at least saves making out 5 different checks. We do this all of the time and there is never a problem with it.

And this is not exactly on topic, but, generally, 20% (or better, in fine dining) is what we are shooting for in our group.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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To me, tipping has lost all meaning. Tipping used to be an appreciation of good service - something extra. Now it's mandatory since restaurants pay servers so little. 15% has long been considered standard, so anything less makes the patron a jerk (regardless of the level of service). And many people tip more since that's the only way to indicate that service was actually good.

I've traveled quite a bit in Asia where tipping is unknown, yet the service is the best in the world. In fact, during my first trip to Japan I tried to tip, but was vehemently refused each time. (Once, the server chased me down the street to return the tip I'd left on the table. He wouldn't take it even after I explained that it was a tip.) Of course, a living wage is built into the meal price, so prices are higher - by about 15-20%. I'd love to see restaurants in the US switch to this system, but that's a pipe dream. Wouldn't that make the group tipping situation so much easier?

Funny story: I once heard this from a waitress. An elderly couple were regulars at the restaurant where she worked. They dined there several times a week and always sat at one of her tables. Every time, the man chatted with the waitress and left a big tip. Every time, his wife hung back as they left and retrieved the tip - the ENTIRE tip. The man never knew and the waitress never said anything. Apparently, this went on for years.

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In the example I used above, it was a tiny check, so the percentage was unusually high. I mean, the (my) bill was $6.50 plus tax, so leaving $10 is about a 36% tip.

But I love this restaurant and hanging out for over an hour drinking great coffee with REAL cream was well worth the 'service charge' of $3.50.

Who hasn't gone to a diner and had the $3 breakfast special and left them $5? :smile:

On a more typical dinner bill I'm usually going to tip just shy of 20% for good service, say $10+ on a $60 bill or so.

Andrea

http://tenacity.net

"You can't taste the beauty and energy of the Earth in a Twinkie." - Astrid Alauda

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Food Lovers' Guide to Santa Fe, Albuquerque & Taos: OMG I wrote a book. Woo!

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In the example I used above, it was a tiny check, so the percentage was unusually high.  I mean, the (my) bill was $6.50 plus tax, so leaving $10 is about a 36% tip. 

But I love this restaurant and hanging out for over an hour drinking great coffee with REAL cream was well worth the 'service charge' of $3.50.

Andrea

http://tenacity.net

Now see, Rachael Ray would minus out the tax, do her cheap-o (rhymes with yum-o!) calculation and leave oh, about 97c.

"I'm not looking at the panties, I'm looking at the vegetables!" --RJZ
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