What’s your stance on tipping in the US? What is considered undertipping? There has been much debate on how much to tip and it’s got people talking. Common practice is to generally tip 15-20% of your bill at a restaurant, but is this an industry standard? Inflation is on the rise and low-income wages are not keeping up. This means that people are literally becoming poorer, unable to find a way out.
In 2023, companies only need to pay $2.13 an hour to a waiter – barely enough to survive. The consensus is that tips make up for this shortfall. So low or no tip equates to another waiter slipping further and further into poverty. So how does one decide what’s fair to tip? Well, before we get into that, here’s one customer’s story…
A man was recently confronted at a family restaurant by the manager who seemed unhappy with the amount they tipped on their bill
A man in Seattle, Washington started a debate on TikTok when a manager came over to his family’s table to discuss the tip on their bill. Jose was celebrating his birthday at Tavern Law when the manager approached his table. He asked if they were dissatisfied with their service or food due to the low tip of 6% on their bill. Which was considered undertipping compared to industry standards.
Jose shared that a family member had offered to pay the bill which had come close to $600. There were five people who attended including Jose. They had drinks and appetizers. “At the end of the night, they bring the tab and one of my family members decides that they want to pay for my tab,” Jose recalled. “So they pay, sign the bill, and the waitress goes to the back.”
Read: Family Leaves Behind Bill For $0.37 Drink, Waiter Makes Unexpected Find
Just minutes later, someone else approached their table, asking why they had undertipped
At the time, Jose assumed this was the manager. He approached the table and asked: “We noticed that you only tipped 6%, was the service not good?” Jose continued, stating that the family member who paid was highly embarrassed as he was essentially singled out for undertipping. “My family member who paid … his face went red. Like, they were calling him out in front of all of us that he only tipped 6%.” He said.
Jose’s family admitted that service had been good
They all agreed that the service was definitely up to scratch and that they were planning on leaving the remainder of the tip as cash on the table before leaving. “What do you do?” Jose asked. “Like your family member paid for everybody’s tab, and then this person comes up and calls them out for the amount of tip.”
It was when the manager left the table that they noticed the remaining staff were completely ignoring them. The TikTok video has unfortunately been taken down since the incident occurred. BUT not before hordes of TkTokers piled up in the comments section, revealing what they would have done in that situation.
“If the restaurant calls me out for the tip left, I will ask them to change the tip amount to 0,” one user wrote. Another user added, “Very unprofessional for them to bring it up in front of everyone,” while a third user agreed, writing, “Now I’m embarrassing everyone and getting my tip back.”
However, others pointed out that the family should have offered to cover more of the tip
“If someone pays for a $600 tab, as an act of gratitude, I would at least pay for the tip.” A fourth user commented. “Everyone [at] that table should’ve offered to pay something.” Echoed another commenter. Another pointed out that the manager was only looking out for their staff and was genuinely concerned that the customer was unhappy with their service. “The manager/staff are trying to correct for a poor experience, which the low tip signaled. That’s good service.”
Nathaniel Steinberg of Tavern Law provided further insight into the situation
“I can confirm there was an incident on Sunday night. Our staff member approached the table to get feedback and see if there was any way we could rectify any shortcomings of our service or product. Additionally, they wanted to ensure our guests were aware that gratuity was not applied to the tab in case they had mistaken the tip as above and beyond a gratuity,” he explained. “Our venue is split into 2 different spaces; one space has a gratuity that is applied to every transaction and the other only has gratuity applied to parties of 6 or more. They did not mean to embarrass or offend our guests.”
So how does one determine whether they have undertipped?
Generally speaking, gratuity is calculated based on service, experience, and food. Was the server friendly and helpful? Was your order correct and did the food meet expectations? It’s recommended that you at the very least tip 10% of the bill, even if the service wasn’t close to perfect. You do however need to check your bill as some places as a standard already add gratuity to your bill. This is especially common when tables are over a certain amount of people.
For waitstaff at sit-down restaurants, the tip should at the very least be 15-20% of your bill. This wouldn’t necessarily apply to fast-food restaurants, but you are of course more than welcome to tip when a server makes your day. Some restaurants even offer a menu item where you can buy the kitchen staff a round of beers. Quite a sweet gesture for those working hard behind the scenes.
- “Man Says Manager Called Out Him & His Family For Only Leaving 6% Tip On A $600 Restaurant Bill.” Your Tango. Nia Tipton. January 20, 2023
- “The latest rules of tipping: How much to tip in 2023.” Bankrate. Lane Gillespie. December 20, 2022.
- “‘His face went red. Like, they were calling him out in front of all of us’: Man says server called out family member for leaving 6% tip on $600 tab.” Daily Dot. Braden Bjella. January 18, 2023