Wednesday, March 23, 2011
You're a good tipper right? You're a generous individual who appreciates good food, service, atmosphere, etc. You may have just experienced life changing service, your day was brightened, there was playful banter and yet somehow every single possible need was deftly handled by your server, you almost didn't notice him/her except when you needed something, there it was. So, you leave a large tip. Where does it go?
Every restaurant is different but the theory is that the more 'support staff' a server has at their disposal (bus people, host/hostess, floor manager, bar back, food runner, etc.) the more they will tip out. The range is anywhere from 1.5% to 5% in fact there is tell that a restaurant in town, that will remain nameless for now, takes the tip completely.
Most places base the tip out on server sales, which means that the size of your tip doesn't affect the amount tipped out. The more you give, the more the server directly taking care of you gets, but if you give nothing, the tip out still remains (read: your server pays to serve you). Now this is no fault of the guest, sometimes the service sucks, and ultimately your money belongs to you. The servers understand this fate before signing up. This is merely meant to be informative.
The only time this becomes very important is with very large bills. You may be a large party that has racked up a $500 bill, or perhaps you're like me and you're just a little gluttonous and your table for two can reach into the hundreds of dollars as well. Now is when you should consider the tip-out. Let's say the average is 3.5%. Of that $500 bill your server will pay $17.50 whether you leave a dime or not. So when you think a $20 is enough be aware that the person who just took care of your unruly large group (a topic for a later post) is getting $2.50.