Happy National Waitstaff Day – Be Sure To Tip Your Server!

May 21 is National Waitstaff Day, and the best way I can think to celebrate it is to have a frank discussion about tipping.  

I’m going to say it: 

15% is stingy.  Tip 20%. 

Here’s how to figure out how much to tip:

To illustrate, let’s say your bill is $47.29.

  • Move the decimal point in your pretax bill one digit to the left. So, in this case, that would be $4.72.
  • Round up to to the next easy to calculate number – so $4.75.  
  • Double that. 
  • A 20% tip on $47.29 is $9.50.  Oh, what the heck, why not just make that a ten?  

SEE? Wasn’t that easy? 

Ah ha! But, I know what you’re saying, “Ruby!! What if I have a horrible restaurant experience???” 


Well, it happens.  But here’s a (non-comprehensive) list of things that are not your server’s fault:

  • The food took too long. 
  • The food came too quickly, and you feel rushed. 
  • Other tables got their food before you did.
  • You don’t like your food. 
  • Your cook undercooked your food. 
  • The cook burned your food.
  • That cook didn’t cook your food correctly. 
  • No A1. 
  • Cold syrup. 
  • Hard butter
  • That scoop of butter is weird. 
  • Bad coffee. 
  • The kitchen is out of something. 
  • That other table was annoying. 
  • You missed hearing the specials because you were on your phone. 
  • The special is sold out. 
  • The soup is sold out. 
  • The font used in the menu is too small to read. 
  • No wifi. 
  • Cash only.
  • The restaurant is too expensive. 
  • The restaurant won’t split entrees in the kitchen. 
  • No substitutions. 
  • You don’t like your dining companions. 
  • You had a bad day. 
  • They didn’t laugh at your joke. 
  • You had a spoon with schmutz on it.  

Okay, so your lousy dining experience wasn’t any of those things, and it did come down to poor service. It happens.  Maybe your server is having an awful day. For example, perhaps they’re in the weeds – possibly they just got four tables seated at the same time – or maybe being a server isn’t the job for them.  Peradventure, they just dealt with a cranky customer.  Perchance they just dumped a whole breakfast order for five people into the ice station, and now, not only was all of that food wrecked, but the ice needs to be switched out, and the mess needs to be cleaned up, and all of their coworkers are mad at them because it’s slowing everything down during a super busy Sunday morning service (I may be speaking from experience on that one). 

What then? 

Tip 20%. 

“But my server was rude.”

Tip 20%.

“But then my server won’t learn their lesson.”

Tip 20%.

You aren’t there to teach your server a lesson.  And if your server is a genuinely rude person, they won’t learn anything from you anyway.  Wouldn’t you instead prefer to do the right thing? 



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