Friday, June 9, 2023

How to know what to tip for foodservice

Knowing what to tip is truly very important not only for your own wallet but for the wallet you are tipping. The amount of money that should be allotted for the tip will vary depending on the total bill amount, the quality of the service as well as your location. The following information will help you break down what is an appropriate amount to pay and when it is appropriate.

How to know what to tip for foodservice

Location, location, location.

Yes. Your location is quite important to help you determine how much you should tip. This is mainly due to a general tipping rule of thumb when in doubt double the sales tax. What does this mean? Well, the sales tax varies from state to state and sometimes county by county. So, depending on your location you will have a different sales tax to double to determine how much to tip.

For example, the sales tax in Manhattan, New York City, New York is 8.875%. Therefore, you would double this sales tax amount and get 17.75%. Then you take your bill total and calculate that approximately 18% of the total bill would be an appropriate tip amount. This is just a general rule of thumb, though the standard for foodservice today is thought by some to be 20%. I’d say that 20% is a good tip for exceptional service, not a general standard, but that’s just my opinion.

How to know what to tip for foodservice

Bill amount

This element to knowing how much to tip was already partially discussed. The bill amount is taken into account when determining the percentage for the tip. However, if you choose not to follow this particular general rule of thumb then you may figure out how much to tip based on how much or how little you spent on the service. For example, if you and your family have dined in a high-class restaurant then the menu items were likely higher priced thus leading to a higher total bill.

Now, you probably wouldn’t visit a high-class restaurant if you couldn’t afford it. Let’s say your total bill came out to around $200+. That’s quite a pretty penny to pay for a meal. But, you factor in that this means the waiter was put through the wringer, taking your orders and filling your drinks all evening to accumulate such a high bill.

Therefore, you would feel inclined to tip the waiter generously. Alternatively, if your total bill was $20 and very little was asked of the food service worker then you may only wish to tip $3-$5. These totals are simple examples and they do work out to be a reasonable percentage of the bill total, either way. However, there is one method that has less to do with percentages and bill totals and everything to do with the quality of service that you received.

How to know what to tip for foodservice

Quality of service

While it is proper etiquette to tip your foodservice providers according to the previous two methods, most people take into account the quality of the food and the service that they received to help them determine how much to tip. In this case, you may dine at a restaurant where you build up a $200+ total bill but you are greatly disappointed in the quality of the food or maybe the waiter was inadequate or rude. Or, in the case of delivery services, you may have received a wrong order, cold food, or the driver neglected to handle the food with care.

In this case, some people may feel that a much smaller tip properly fits the experience they had as a whole rather than how much they paid for their bill. Alternatively, I can attest to spending very little for a meal but finding myself so immensely impressed by the quality of the food, as well as the above standard service provided that I tip higher than the average tip percentage.

How to know what to tip for foodservice

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Bailey Woodean
Bailey Woodean
I have been a freelance writer for more than 4 years, a mom for more than 2 years, and a wife for just under a year. I am currently a student in a cooking and catering program with the intention of expanding my knowledge of the culinary business. I then plan to take this knowledge to properly write about and critique restaurants and food. Writing to you from Niagara Falls, NY, thanks for joining me on the ride!


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