Tipping in a service industry town

Tipping. It can be a touchy topic of discussion for some, and it’s certainly subjective to the individual. I also think there are differences on the topic across cultures, as I’ve heard horror stories from friends who are servers. But I won’t go into details…after all, I still like the Brits!

Honestly, I’m not quite sure why I chose this topic to write on; perhaps I was out to dinner recently (we all know how I love to eat!), and realized I have a tendency to overtip.

The economy in Central Florida largely relies on tipping…in a way. We are, after all, primarily a service industry centered market. And many of the salaries of service industry employees depends on good tips. Granted, one must earn their tip — it’s a pretty sure thing if you are nice to me and make sure I’m taken care of, I’ll give you a good tip.

So what, really, is a fair tip? I’ve always heard 15% is standard. That’s “if you do your job” and not much beyond. Typically, I just tip 20% as a standard. But I’ve known people who are very specific about what they tip, and it’s a walk on the wild side to tip anything beyond 15%.

I ran across a website that might help. It’s called The Tipping Page, and while the site design isn’t all that appealing it does appear to contain some great information. I even found an article on Oprah.com that talks about appropriate tipping rates. What I like about hers is that it covers situations beyond dining (while out-of-date the article is still relevant).

What are your thoughts on the matter? How do you determine what sort of tip a server gets when you’re out to eat for a meal, or having a few drinks at the local bar? Take our poll and let others know.

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5 comments

  1. This is such a tough subject–especially for women–who probably spend much more on regular services such as haircuts/color, manicures, etc.

    I’d love to know if I’m over/under tipping my hair/nail services.

    Restaurants I think I tend to over tip too. Although we tipped 10% for lousy service on Saturday night.

  2. At restaurants, I start at 20% and go from there. These people work hard and often have to divvy their tips between others on shift, plus their starting pay is usually less than minimum wage because it’s expected tips will make up the difference.

    The only times I won’t tip 20% is if service is really bad or the restaurant automatically adds a tip onto the bill (common for groups of 6 or more).

  3. Michelle:

    Sounds like a good system you’ve got going. As I mentioned in the post, I tend to tip on the high end. However, I never tip based on the “they get minimum wage or less or have to share their tips with others” theory; without it sounding too harsh, they are the ones who chose the service industry as their profession, so if they wanna earn the cash they gotta work for it.

    Is that bad?!?!

  4. Well, it’s not so much about the minimum wage or the sharing, but I just have a lot of friends who bust their butts as servers and have had people tip them like $5 on a $100 bill where they basically demanded to be waited on hand and foot. It’s grueling work, no doubt about it.

    Just because it’s their job doesn’t mean I can’t show them I appreciate their efforts. πŸ™‚

What are your thoughts?