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Tipping in Expensive Restaurants - 20%?

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Melbourne, Australia
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Tipping in Expensive Restaurants - 20%?

Sorry - another tipping question on the tripadvisor, however it is confusing for those of us who live where tipping is not standard practice! I have seached the forum but was not able to find rthe answer to the following query:

Is 20% the standard tip for all restaurants regardless of price? For example, that would be a $100 tip for a $500 meal at a high-end restaurant, or $10 tip for a $50 meal. Is 20% expected no matter what the price? Or is there a standard tip per person at high end restaurants?

I understand that restaurant staff rely on tips and I'm happy to pay whatever is normal, and obviously good service should be rewarded appropriately, however I just want to make sure that I'm paying the "right" or regular amount.

Berkeley, Ca.
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1. Re: Tipping in Expensive Restaurants - 20%?

I've always assumed that restaurant tips are 15-20% regardless of the price of the meal, assuming that service wasn't abysmal or extraordinary.

Thousand Oaks...
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for Israel
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2. Re: Tipping in Expensive Restaurants - 20%?

I agree with wanderer in saying that the tip % is independent of the restaurant price or perceived status.

I do not agree wih just giving a blanket 20%. To me, 20% is for totally outstanding service .... and it goes down from there depending on service.

Needless to say, finding totally outstanding service nowadays is not all too common.

Dr. Z

Los Angeles...
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3. Re: Tipping in Expensive Restaurants - 20%?

15% minimum for good service and 20% for anything more. I always tip 20% no matter the status unless I get terrible service.

Anaheim, California
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4. Re: Tipping in Expensive Restaurants - 20%?

Seems like 18% is becoming the "new" standard. If you look at menu's, some places require large groups (usually about 8 or more) get an automatic tip, and 18% seems to be the posted rated on the menus.

Some places are now even charging a "mandatory" tip on small parties, even one or two folks. (So always check your bill before paying!).

Another common one is for those who get a discount, maybe a coupon, a deal from a place like GroupOn, or buy a Gift Certificate from Restaurant.com, and they tend to be 18% tip on the FULL price before the appropriate discount.

But if you do have poor service, and get stuck with a "forced" tip, always ask to talk to the management with your issues, they can override the tip amount.

Dublin, California
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5. Re: Tipping in Expensive Restaurants - 20%?

I think high end restaurants at LA, SF are now expecting 20% as standard tip. What if a bottle of wine is involved? Is the cost of wine included in the calculation of the 20%?

Thousand Oaks...
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for Israel
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6. Re: Tipping in Expensive Restaurants - 20%?

No. In a high end restaurant you would have a sommelier to handle your wine. He/she would receive a separate tip.

In a restaurant in which the waiter handles everything the cost of wine and/or corkage is part of the food bill and should be tipped accordingly.

Dr. Z

West Hollywood...
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7. Re: Tipping in Expensive Restaurants - 20%?

I wouldn't overthink the tipping amount. An easy way to address the issue as follows: Most municipalities will impose a tax of around 9% on restaurant bills (part of this is paid to the city; the rest to the state). The amount of tax will be plainly listed near the bottom of the bill, usually just above the total as it is the last item to be added. So, for example, if your food costs $25, then the tax would be about $2.25 so the bill would look like this at the bottom:

total food: $25

tax: $2.25

Total: $27.25

If you double the tax amount (2 x 9% = 18%) you'll get an amount that is in between 15% and 20%. In the above example, that would be $2.25 +$2.25 = $4.50.

If the service was adequate, round the tip down to the nearest dollar, i.e. $4; if it's extraordinary, round it up to $5. In the above example, adding $27.25 to $4 would total $31.25; adding $27.25 to $5 would total $32.25. If you're paying by credit card, it's easy to write in the appropriate tip on the credit card slip and calculate the total. If you're paying by cash and you have the exact change, that's great. If not, consider the following:

If your total is, say $31.25 and you have no coins, you could certainly leave $31 or $32 exactly to save the time and trouble of waiting for the server to return to take your money and provide change. No one is going to pull out a calculator and accuse you of leaving only a 14% tip (if you left $31) and no one is going to cheer you for leaving 19% (if you left $32). Bottom line: don't stress over it.

In any case, if the service is extremely poor, you're not obligated to tip at all but keep in mind that the bad service is determined by how poorly the server performed. It's not a measure of:

a. How much you liked the food

b. How long it took to be served to you (unless it's obvious that it was the server's laziness rather than the slowness of the kitchen that delayed your meal).

One final note: if you do plan to get change back, be sure you don't send the wrong signal. For example, in the above example, if you wanted to pay a total of $31.25 (including tip) and you offer the server $32, it is unlikely that he/she will provide change (as it will be assumed that you are tipping all the way to $32). To avoid an embarrassing situation, give the server $40; in such a case, it's obvious that you're expecting change.

Yucaipa, California
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for Anaheim
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8. Re: Tipping in Expensive Restaurants - 20%?

Tipping would be different in a high end restaurant based on the number of staff involved, including the maite' d. If you leave a single tip it is split up between those who have contributed to serve you. You would consider that.

Los Angeles...
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9. Re: Tipping in Expensive Restaurants - 20%?

The automatic 18% tip on large parties has been standard for years and is nothing new. That doesn't mean that 18% is the standard under normal circumstances. You're welcome to leave more and I always do when service is good. 20% is normal. Calculate down for sub par.

And Hopskip, for someone that says not to over think it, that post was the epitome of over thinking it. Lol.

california
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10. Re: Tipping in Expensive Restaurants - 20%?

18% is fine, no one is going to sneeze at that. And doubling the tax is easy.