**Editor's note: Sorry about the layout of this, having issues adding footnotes on the CCToday site**
Who doesn’t love going out to eat? As parents with two small children, one of the most daunting tasks1 my wife and I see weekly, is formulating a menu of dinners at home. Typically the meals revolve around favorite foods of my daughter – chicken, noodles, random garbage. Even then, it is a struggle to get her to eat2. What ends up happening every few weeks, is the “cop-out” suggestion of takeout. This, as opposed to going out to a restaurant, is the preferred option with a two-week old, unless I want to be tarred and feathered by other dining patrons.
A few months back, while flipping through the T.V. for a mindless show to get into3, I got hooked on the show, Bar Rescue. The premise of this show is, a bar and restaurant expert named Jon Taffer, travels the country to resurrect failing watering holes and eateries. Aside from the somewhat-entertaining obnoxiousness of the aforementioned host, this show opens one’s eyes to the cleanliness4 in restaurants. And this coming from a man who ate Chinese food last night5.
Now, I admit that I never worked in the restaurant business. Not unless you count the one summer I worked as a line cook for a seafood shack6. But I feel that I have a respect for those that do work in the biz. Wait staff, including bartenders and bussers, get paid terribly – thus the emphasis on tipping. It always baffles me when people decide not to tip 15-20%. Was the food inedible? The staff rude? Okay, then maybe the tip should coincide with the experience. But sometimes there are situations out of the server’s control. Did the host/hostess sit one too many tables in the server’s section, thus leading to you have to wait a little longer for your quesadilla an extra few minutes? You poor dear. I bet you also complain about the amount of ice in your glass. As they say on the Internets, some people just want to watch the world burn.
What is considered proper etiquette for tipping? I could research this, but you took the time to read my blog so here are my rules:
1. An optimum experience is 20%. It takes significant issues to drop this.
2. Rudeness, problems with the food (like machinery parts in it) can be handled by talking to the wait staff or the manager. Can deduct a little bit.
3. If you have children in your party, or people that are simply acting like children, give 20%.
4. If the server takes the check and says “Do you need change?” This is MOST OF THE TIME an innocent question. No need to deduct for this.
5. If a server, bartender, host, etc. is exceptionally helpful, tip exceptionally.
6. Overall, don’t be a jerk. Just go with 20%.
Only a few times have I looked at websites like Tripadvisor or Yelp! for restaurant reviews. All reviews are subjective7. Other times you can review something in your own head, and give yourself a skewed recommendation for next time. I do this constantly with Chinese food
and McDonalds. After eating there, I always regret the decision and tell myself I won’t return. But, they keep dragging me back.
Everyone loves going out to eat. The food tastes better, you don’t have to cook, and you get all the free water and breadsticks without having to actually buy something!
Think about those who are washing the dishes, bussing the tables, cooking your food, and answering your mundane questions about the menu8. It will make you rethink the amount of tip you leave. Either that, or make you work that much harder when creating your grocery list.