Tipping Survey Reveals Some Shocking Don'ts When It Comes to 'Thanking' Your Server

tipping check restaurantOne of the many things I adore about my fiance is how perpetually generous he is -- especially when it comes to tipping. He pretty much assumes, without question, that any server at any restaurant we go to is getting 20+ percent (unless they somehow screw up big time). And it isn't because he's showing off or wants to look a certain way to me or anyone we're dining with. It's because he genuinely believes in tipping well. Because all too often, waiters and waitresses are making next to zilch outside of their tips.

But as sweet and generous as it is, my fiance's philosophy is not necessarily the only one. Zagat surveyed 1,719 people to see what's normal, what's stingy, and what's extreme when it comes to tipping, and sheesh, people have a lot of weird eccentricities when it comes to gratuity -- which really seem like practices to avoid!


For instance, it's always been super-bizarre to me how some people calculate their tip before tax. Why would you do that? Tax is just a part of the bill. Seems to me like tipping on the pre-tax amount would just be a not-so-sneaky way of shortchanging your server. And yet 38 percent of people surveyed do this. Weird!

Another quirk: 10 percent of people said they tip more when they're dining at a fancier restaurant. Hmm. So that chain restaurant employee doesn't deserve as much as the guy at the fancy French place written up in the Times? Lame. Thankfully, the majority -- 85 percent of people -- tip the same percentage regardless of place.

Strangely, though, when the food is being delivered to your home instead of a table at a restaurant, the majority of people only tip 10 percent versus almost 20! What the heck? You'd think someone schlepping food to your front door would deserve more than a waiter carrying it from the kitchen to your booth!

But guess this is just what happens when there's no one standardized way of tipping in our culture. It's so subjective and individualized, people in the food biz probably just resign themselves to receiving everything from awesome to decent to totally horrible tips. That said, I really can't blame some restaurants for adding gratuity automatically to the bill!

What do you believe are tipping no-nos and must-dos?


Image via Iwona Erskine-Kellie/Flickr

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