5 Tips For Tipping

If you have ever wondered when to leave a tip, how much to leave, or why you should tip in the first place, read on:

Tipping may have begun as a custom wherein wealthy patrons offered those who waited on them a bit of cash to enjoy a meal or a drink after work. It has now become customary to tip wait staff and other service personnel in the U.S. Most people think of it as just another item on the bill and include a set amount when calculating how much they plan to spend for a meal or service.

Still, some people are not sure when or if a tip is required or how much they should tip.

Why should I tip?

For the most part, wait staff and other service persons are paid very low wages. Their livelihoods depends on the tips they receive from their customers. It may seem unfair that you have to pay a percentage of somebody else's employee's wages, but in fact, tipping allows restaurant and club owners, as well as other business owners, to keep costs down. If they had to increase each employee's wages, they would also have to raise prices. Through tipping, you have the ability to decide just how much you want to pay for food or service.

Whom should I tip?

Wait staff in restaurants and lounges expect to be tipped. You are certainly within your rights to leave small amount if the service is not up to par, but you should generally leave something. Bartenders often depend on tips as well. It is not inappropriate to ask your server if you should leave something extra for the bartender. In most cases, bus persons do not expect a tip, since servers are supposed to give them a percentage of their own tips. Other service people such as hotel bellmen and hair stylists also usually expect a tip. However, if the stylist owns the salon, tipping is not required but again, is generally appreciated.

If in Doubt, leave a tip

If you are in situation, which leaves you unsure whether or not a tip is necessary, leave one. Even if it is not expected, it is usually be appreciated. If a tip is not appropriate, someone will certainly let you know and will return your money. This happens rarely.

How much should I tip?

The accepted rate for a tip is about 15% of the bill. Many people opt to calculate the tip from the subtotal, before tax is added. Ten percent is considered a low tip, and anything below that amount is commonly considered an insult. A very low tip can be just as insulting as leaving nothing at all. A 20-25% percent tip is considered excellent. Those who tip generously can usually expect excellent treatment. If you frequent a restaurant or other establishment regularly, you will quickly be recognized by your generous tipping habits - or lack thereof - and can expect corresponding service.

How can I tell if the tip is included?

A gratuity is included most often in restaurants, usually when a large party is being served. As a general rule, for parties of eight or more, the tip is commonly included. Usually, if the tip is included, a notice will appear on the menu, or the maitre de will inform you when you make reservations. If you are unsure whether the tip has been included, it is best to ask the server or hostess. This way the server will not get "stiffed" and you will not end up leaving much more than you planned. On the other hand, the included tip is usually calculated at 15%, so if the service is exceptional, you may want to leave an additional amount to compliment the server.

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