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post #1 of 44 (permalink) Old 08-17-2012, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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Weird tipping question

We went out for dinner tonight, and I have a bit of an 'etiquette' question about tipping...

Italian restaurant (great place), four people. We had a coupon for a free pasta dish with the purchase of a pasta dish and two drinks. We got four dishes, an appetizer, and 2.5 drinks (2 alcoholic and one pop). Anyways, the bill comes. The cheapest pasta dish (which would be free from the coupon) was $11. The GST (5%) was around $3.75.

Generally, I try to tip around 15%. Which means tripling the GST, so about $12. Since that was about the price of the free dish, I just paid the whole bill on my card, then added $3 in change on the table (service was really good, despite a HUGE group of 15+ people, and the dude forgave my mangled Italian and even gave me an impromptu lesson.)

Anyways, afterword one of the people out for dinner with us gave me heck and said I tipped way too much - that the tip is supposed to be a percentage of the price after the coupon, and that I basically way overpaid for the meal.

I know it's sort of weird thing to ponder, is basically a prototypical "First world problem", and ultimately doesn't matter, but I realized I don't actually know what's appropriate. Is it convention to apply the tip before or after discounts? I mean, I don't really care, but if I'm ever in a situation where we're splitting a bill, I don't want to ask others for too much money.
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post #2 of 44 (permalink) Old 08-17-2012, 11:59 PM
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Your friend is wrong. It's supposed to be 15-20% of the bill before any coupons, discounts, or gift cards, at least in the US, the theory being that your server still services the entire meal, not just the portion you paid for after your discount.
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post #3 of 44 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 12:56 AM
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You are correct. The server is still doing the same amount of work, they shouldnt take a pay cut just because you have a coupon.


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post #4 of 44 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 01:00 AM
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I agree with Jadis. I tend to tip upwards of 20%, but I eat at the same places and order the same food. Well, actually they just see me come in and run to hide. Lol. I hardly every have to say more than "my usual" at most of the places I eat, so I tip because I like the server and I get that nice feeling that they remember my ugly mug. I'll also sometimes tip 100% or more if I come in really late and stay past closing or if I know one of the servers is having some at-home difficulties such as a nice young woman named Sarah. I knew her baby girl was always in and out of the hospital so when I saw she was having a stressful week, I would tip her a good $50 or so and tell her to go relax at Starbucks for a few hours or something.

Anyway, 15-20% is standard here in the US with the tip including anything that was discounted. I personally think that if someone thinks you tip too much, then they probably tend not to tip enough.
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post #5 of 44 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 01:06 AM
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We don't tip over here, but it makes sense that the tip is calculated before any discounts.
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post #6 of 44 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 01:08 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the answers (would still like to hear more!) I think it makes sense that the server is doing the same amount of work, so should be tipped by that.

10-15% is closer to the norm here. I think I remember reading that in the USA most servers don't make minimum wage? 20% makes sense in that situation, but here it seems a bit too high, especially for below-average service, since I know they're making at least $11/hour anyways.
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post #7 of 44 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 01:49 AM
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Yep, in most of the US servers make $2.13/hour plus tips. It was half of minimum wage back in the day when min wage was $4.25. Minimum wage has gone up since then but server minumum wage has not for the most part. Servers in California make min wage, not sure anywhere else.
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post #8 of 44 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 01:57 AM
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I think businesses are required to make sure servers get at least minimum wage with tips.

US Federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour. If a server gets paid $2.00/hour and they only make $5 in tips for each hour, the business has to pay them $2.25 for that hour. I imagine it's added up at the end of the shift though.


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post #9 of 44 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 02:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottd View Post
I think businesses are required to make sure servers get at least minimum wage with tips.

US Federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour. If a server gets paid $2.00/hour and they only make $5 in tips for each hour, the business has to pay them $2.25 for that hour. I imagine it's added up at the end of the shift though.
That's true, but I've never known it to be an issue. Most nights I average significantly more than minimum wage.
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post #10 of 44 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 02:24 AM
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10-15% is the norm in most countries, after coupons etc. Why servers don't get paid a proper wage in the us, I I'll never understand though.
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