Why NOT to tip less than 15% for Waitress in Restaurants in US ?

by Kumar · 199 comments

Why should you tip waitress 15 percent  in US  How much to TipI have so many American friends who work in restaurants just to pay bills or because they are in school and could not find an internship.  As internationals, some of you may not be used to the concept of tipping(leaving certain percent of money of your check or bill)  waitress in restaurants. It is very different in America. You have to tip at least 15% in restaurants; it is very bad on your part if you do not tip waitress less than 15% for even normal service. Let me share some thoughts on this.

How much does waitresses make per hour in Restaurants in US ?

Many of you might not know the truth how much exactly waitress make in restaurants in US…it might be shocking to know the facts (at least that’s how I felt ). In US, the federal minimum wage for waitress (tipped) is just $2.13 (two dollars 13 cents).  In states like Wisconsin, Wyoming, New Mexico, New Jersey, etc, the minimum wage for waitress is just  $2.13 per hour. Because they are tipped employees, if no customers show up, they do not make any money.  Check this Department of Labor Minimum wage site.  Majority of the income waitress make is from the tips that customers pay or leave.

Why should you tip at least 15% for waitress in US?

As you have just read above, how low income waitresses make, you should tip a certain minimum so that the waitress can make a living. The normal standard for tipping waitress is 15% for normal service and around 20% for very good service.  Just to clarify by example, if you spend $100 on food, you should at least tip $15 or more.  Just do not give a common tip like $5 for whatever you bill for food. Please do NOT be stingy or cheap here by NOT tipping properly. Most the waitresses are either students who are in school or someone who could not find a job. You do not want to hurt them and get bad karma. If the service is bad, people tend to tip around 10% and tell openly that they did not like the service. If you tip like 10% it means that you did not like the service and directly stating that by tipping less.

Do NOT tip less and create wrong impression about your people from your country, race or religion.

Waitress think people from certain country or of certain religion tip less, they just stereotype.  In all honesty, you do not want to create that bad impression about people from your country or race. Many people do not tip properly just because they do NOT know the truth how much waitress make and the culture of tipping in US. If a friend of you do not tip properly, just tell him the truth and teach proper tipping standards.

Read this CNN article on How much to tip in US for more info on how much to tip in other places.

Image Credits: http://rlv.zcache.com/tip_your_waitress_card-p137655962504630568q0yk_400.jpg

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jesse jinkins October 30, 2014 at 3:46 am

The only thing I want is for my order to be correct and that I get refills because I can’t consume my meal without enough to drink. I would prefer to leave 25% as a tip but I won’t pay for bad service at all. It’s pass or fail with me. If order to get any service I have to laugh at my waitress jokes and have some type of dialogue with her or she will think I’m cheap and not tip her. The truth is that I never come to a place for entertainment from the staff. I only want service. If I tip when I have bad service the message I’m sending is that you can give me bad service and still get paid. The result will be that the next time I come I will probably get a different waitress and she gets a chance to make 25% which isn’t great but better than the SUGGESTED gratuity and that is all I’m willing to pay for someone to bring me food and drink. When I can’t can’t get decent service from a place I simply quit going. I don’t want someone asking how everything is every few minutes interrupting my conversation. If there is a problem I will let you know. If I have an empty glass just fill it. Don’t ask if there is anything you can get me while my mouth is full and can’t answer, then hurry off leaving me with an empty glass, then feel as though I’m obligated to to pay you. Gratuity is paid when I have gratitude and should be extra but since your boss can’t pay you a decent wage you have to EARN it in tips. I don’t work for your cheap boss you do and like it or not you are working for me. As an employer I fire you and your boss because I don’t come back after a few bad expieriences. I don’t usually complain


jesse jinkins October 30, 2014 at 3:56 am

I didn’t finish posting. I do usually complain but not to the manager. I tell the server directly. The best advice I can give is never ask how everything was. I’ve left more than one place with a bill that I prefer to simply pay than to hear an excuse as to why the staff isn’t capable of writing down an peer and bringing refills.I prefer to be silent and go away but at this point if you ask Mr how everything was, I’m going to let you know.


randy October 17, 2014 at 5:59 pm

10% is enough EVER!!!!!
if the restaurant is high class the price is higher, if the cost of living raise the cost of food raise. 10% is 10%. A owner has profit margin of about 25% if everything works exclent. For this he make investment (he have to pay back) carry all the risk etc. A Server, has NO Risk and is ussualy a super lazy person. If they ever learn to organize their job half way efficient they could handle twice as much tables. But instead they are hanging 80% of the time bhind the door and in the kitch arroud and do What ??? I do not know.
10 % again is the maximum EVER !!!!


Alfatango1 September 27, 2014 at 8:26 pm

If you choose to work for tips you better not expect 15 to 20% from every customer. The only thing I owe is for the bill for the food and drink I order plus and taxes. I DO NOT OWE YOU A LIVING! Sometimes you will make $200 a night sometimes you make $30. I tip between 15 and 20% or more, usually bartenders get more because they can comp me a drink or two and that means something to me. I know if you’re a server you have no control over that but that’s reality. I worked in California when commission sales people did not get minimum wage at all. I’ve worked in insurance and securities where if I didn’t close a deal I was not paid. You could spend hours with a client and not make a dime, so don’t cry to me when you don’t get tipped. You chose this line of work, like I chose mine. I’ve made $30,000 a year and I’ve made $130,000 a year all on commission. My choice, no one owes me a thing.


Scott July 16, 2014 at 3:40 am

So, I did some research.


The first link shows that not all states pay the minimum tip wage and that some even pay the states min. wage as the tip wage. 7 states follow this policy. Which means that if you go to/ are in any of those 7 states, tipping is just extra money for them. Over half of the states have raised their min. tip wage. Some even up to $7.00 per hour.

The second link says that if the waiters are mot tipped enough to put them to the minimum wage (that is $7.25 per hour), the employer must cover the difference. To take it straight from the linked web-page…

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires payment of at least the federal minimum wage to covered, nonexempt employees. An employer of a tipped employee is only required to pay $2.13 an hour in direct wages if that amount plus the tips received equals at least the federal minimum wage, the employee retains all tips and the employee customarily and regularly receives more than $30 a month in tips. If an employee’s tips combined with the employer’s direct wages of at least $2.13 an hour do not equal the federal minimum hourly wage, the employer must make up the difference.

So, yay information.

What this means is that whenever you leave a tip, you are paying them more than the min. wage (or at least putting them at the min. wage). I’ve seen many labor intensive jobs that pay the min. wage and that employee doesn’t get tipped. So I don’t see how this is quite fair tipping these people when other people are (almost literally) breaking their backs just to get paid min. wage.


a July 4, 2014 at 11:59 am

Yes! Finally something about a.


Michael June 22, 2014 at 3:41 pm

The tipping tradition is complicated to tourists.

Coming from Denmark where the posted prices includes everything(also taxes also service) I find it irritating and complicated to figure out what I’m really going to pay for fx. meals just looking at a menu card.

I like the states, but the tradition of not having everything included in posted prices makes me wanna go elsewhere.


polskijanusz May 6, 2014 at 4:48 pm

A spierdalaj jankeska kurwo


Donna April 2, 2014 at 9:23 am

While I have worked in the industry for many years, but mostly bartended, I have seen countless servers as well as bartenders that shouldn’t have been in the business and I wouldn’t have tipped them myself. A customer has a right to expect good service and a helpful and pleasant attitude. IF these things are adhered to, there is no reason that a customer should not be tipping appropriately.

I no longer work in the industry, but when I dine out, I fully expect what I am paying for…full service. I don’t want someone to come to my table, drop menus off, take forever to just get drinks to the table. I shouldn’t have to wait until almost the end of the meal when my glass is empty to get a refill because they forgot and are sorry. I should be able to get those extra napkins before the middle of the meal and especially before the end of the meal that I requested when I placed my order. If the order is not right, I don’t want to wait until everyone at my table has nearly finished eating for them to return and find out that my order was wrong. I could go on, but I suspect everyone gets the gist about the service part. Some things are just expected when dining. I am also not addressing when it is extremely busy and they are shorthanded. I am addressing a regular crowd or even minimal.

Above all, I don’t find it pleasant or funny when the server is sullen or a smart aleck and thinks they are funny. There is a difference in being a wise guy and being funny than being offensive. As a business owner myself now, I say leave your attitude at home and act like the professional you want to be paid like or don’t complain. When people dine out, they want to relax and let someone else do the work they avoided at home. Make it pleasant. It doesn’t always guarantee that everyone is going to tip, but your chances of being tipped well are greater.


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