Tell Them the Tip You Want

by Barry Moltz on July 5, 2010

Tipping in restaurants is a strange tradition in American business culture.  It is not practiced in many parts of the world.

TIPS is an acronym that stands for “TO INSURE PROMPT SERVICE.”  But it almost is expected in the restaurant industry since the servers are paid lower than minimum wage by the restaurant.  It is hoped they will make this up with tips (which they do).

Many people give a straight 15%. I give 10% to 25% (on the pre-tax amount) based on the service and how frequent I visit the establishment.

But, many people have a problem with the math and get nervous about it. Over the weekend, I found a restaurant that had a very clever solution to the math problem (or for people from other countries that traditionally do not tip).  On the credit card receipt (pictured in a blur to the left), it says “Gratuity Guidelines” and gives the tip you need to add to the bill if you want to give 15%, 20% or 25%.  This was very clever and I had never seen it done before.

The one mistake: The “Gratuity Guidelines” are based on the total bill plus the tax.  When was the last time you paid a gratuity on tax?

Have you seen other clever ways to get the consumer to leave a tip?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jim Kukral July 5, 2010 at 2:03 pm

That’s a great idea. I tip 20% standard. My wife always says I’m overtipping, but I used to deliver pizzas in high school and I worked off of tips so…

I use a tipping app on my iPhone now. Tip calculator I think it’s called. Works great!

Barry Moltz July 5, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Us, former waiters, always tip heavy!

Karin O'Connor July 6, 2010 at 12:16 pm

I recently noticed the Gratuity Guidelines chart, too. I generally double the tax and then round down a bit–goal to get to 20%.

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