Tipping Your Server-A Good System?

I just finished a shift at the bar. Being cheap wings night, it was CRAZY busy. It felt like the whole town showed up to gorge on boiled animal appendages while drinking a side of their yeasty favourite.

Hundreds walked through the door, and a total of five employees were tasked with accommodating the hungry masses.


I’m a food-runner and busser, so my job is to sprint from table to table like a madman—frantically attempting to satisfy the dining needs of every customer while also cleaning up after the full stomachs who leave mountains of chicken bones and eating utensils in their wake.

With only three servers working (the fourth front-end employee being a bartender) one girl was left to serve the family section single-handedly.

If you’ve never worked in the restaurant industry before…imagine facing every biblical plague at once.

No matter how hard she tried, a cruel symphony of countless families threw order after order in her frightened direction. It was hard to watch her become more and more overwhelmed, eventually breaking down and tearing up after one lady complimented her work—then paid the bill with a big ol’ ZERO where “gratuity” is indicated.

She’s a good waitress, but she’s only ONE waitress.

By the end of the night a huge amount of customers failed to provide her any tip whatsoever. That really sucks.

Which brings me to the point of this blog entry: does the tipping system work?

Obviously, a ton of variables play into this discussion. I don’t know the answer—but I’d like to hear what other people think.

One buddy suggested that we offer servers a living wage and diminish the importance of tips. This way servers would show up to work knowing they’d be pocketing at least $16/hr—rather than the $8/hr pittance that’s labeled as a ‘serving wage’ in my neck of the woods.

I understand the tipping system can change from bar to bar, from restaurant to restaurant. I wonder if a higher wage would ensure that servers wouldn’t work as hard…or if the guaranteed compensation would raise employee morale and cause servers to work harder.

Personally, I like working hard. It means the shift goes by faster and I feel as if I truly earned the tip-out allotted to me.

But that’s just one guy-on-the-inside’s opinion.

The point is: try to empathize with your servers. They’re characteristically hard-working people (at least most of the waiter/waitresses I’ve worked with are) who are operating at a mile-a-minute pace.

So next time you’re at the local watering hole and things are hectic, try and be fair while gauging how much you think that server’s efforts are worth. 

I usually go 10% for bad service and 15% for good.

And if I get a feeling that she and I are destined for to be, I might go as high as 17%.


I you liked this, then like this.

(Insert witty and equally thought-provoking sign off here)

15 thoughts on “Tipping Your Server-A Good System?

  1. Well, I come from Dubai and 10% is considered very frivolous here (Unless you’re dining at a 5 star). I don’t see a lot of people tipping here, and even we never felt compelled to do it though we do tip from time to time. I s’pose it depends on what is considered normality around you.


      1. I think it’s definitely a factor. But in my family we definitely tip the server if they feel they’ve received extra care from him/her.
        And trust me Dubai’s fun and all, but the heat’ll kill ya c:


      2. The East Coast of Canada is basically another country. Comparing Toronto to Vancouver is like comparing Florida to Seattle. Why don’t we trade—I’ll visit Dubai for a week and you can be Canadian for that time 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Well we have a gym and swimming pool in our building. Also a sauna, though I only used that once and now it’s broken or something. Apart from that, in winter the weather gets quite pleasant, so jogging is quite fun c:


  2. “Which brings me to the point of this blog entry: does the tipping system work?”

    Sometimes, sometimes not. The problem is, servers get 20%-25% tips at times when they don’t deserve it like they did a poor job and other times get 10% or ZERO tips for doing an excellent job. So if people would tip like me and my husband do based SOLELY on SERVICE, then it would work.

    It sometimes doesn’t work because a lot of servers would rather get 15% than work their butt off to get 25%. I am finding that more and more as I go out to eat(me and my husband have been gone out to eat every weekend just about, holidays, vacations, etc. since Nov. 2000 when we met).

    For instance, we have had some servers say to me “You might have to remind me” all because they were too lazy to write the condiments part of the order down and compare the written order to the food. It’s like they do NOT want a good tip. They aren’t **WILLING** to go all out and then some, so WHY should I give them 25%-30% for not wanting to do the things I want them to do? We have plenty of times tipped that much and more, but have plenty of times stiffed, 10%-12%, 15%, 20% , etc. as well.

    We are VERY FAIR when we tip. If the server makes a mistake, is that they didn’t *TRY* in the first place or is it an honest mistake? For example, if I have 4 condiments missing from my plate when my server brought me my food, that’s no honest mistake. I can see ONE forgetting honestly, but not 4 if you really TRULY checked the order for obvious errors or things missing. Also, if I don’t get a “sorry” from the server for the problems they caused, I take off more tip points just for being mean. A nice person apologies. I even apologized to people in drive-thru that didn’t tip me when I messed up. I don’t get why they aren’t nice, but then want your money? They think by not admitting fault they’d hide it, but most of the time, if it’s an obvious error, you KNOW *WHO* to blame, so WHY hide it?

    “try to empathize with your servers.”

    ONLY if I see them putting forth *******EFFORT********* into the service and if they seem to **CARE** about our dining experience like apologizing for mistakes. Apologizing makes a HUGE DIFFERENCE as far as how much people will give. Believe me, it DOES HELP in most cases.

    I want an apology from my server when they mess up, but more importantly, I want them to **TRY THEIR BEST** in the first place. I ask myself WHY did I have this item wrong at my table? If I can see the issue without having to touch my food if my server brought me my food, they could have seen it too. If it’s condiments, my server can bring those out ahead of time avoiding another server or themselves from forgetting them.

    If they care about us, we care about their tip. If they could care less about us, we don’t care as much about their tip or if it’s really bad, at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just awesome input. I feel like this could be used as both a guide to tipping and serving. Having worked in the industry for a short while now, I’m forced to agree that effort is SO IMPORTANT in getting a good tip out.
      I work in an under-staffed bar that takes in an entire town on some nights. I’m basically sprinting the entire shift, and some people tip ME personally.
      Thanks for taking both perspectives.


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