Restaurant Etiquette: How to tip


With Valentine’s Day coming up this weekend, I’m sure there are many couples gearing up for a dinner date at some point in the next few days.

It has recently come to my attention while at dinner with a person (whom I know for a fact to be an absolutely wonderful and giving person) that some people really don’t know how to tip in this day and age. After this dinner, I thought, “Maybe it’s just older people. We need to educate our elders!” But after chatting with a few service industry friends, I realized, this is a widespread thing.

It would be easy to give a specific percentage of how much is suitable to tip your server. I could give you a “how to: a. b. c…” but instead of doing that I wanted to have a conversation with you on a real level and get you thinking for yourself because everyone’s money situation is different and I totally understand that.

I have worked in the service industry in the past and my husband still does (managing a restaurant) and after brainstorming about this, it occurred to me that people these days just must really not know any better!  Why else would someone leave a $2 tip on a $50 tab? Or even a $10 tip on a $100 tab?

Some might say, “Well, that’s 10%!”, but even without statistics, does it really seem as though things are the same as when you first learned that 10% was an “appropriate” tip? Really though, an appropriate amount to tip goes beyond inflation. Forget all the statistics and numbers for just a second and think about the person.

The person who:

 (Ok I’m going to throw some numbers at you now)

-has probably been working 8+ hours

-for less than minimum wage (usually anywhere between $2 and $2.75 an hour)

-which means they probably have 2+ jobs, because really..who can live off of $2 an hour

So forget what is politically or technically correct and put yourself in the shoes of a person who might be missing out on Valentine’s Day with their loved one to serve you and yours for an incredibly low hourly wage. Also- you might want to make sure your grandparents are aware of this too because “back in their day..” $2 might have been a generous tip and it just hasn’t occurred to them that times have changed :)

I’m not at all saying go above and beyond your means every time you dine. Maybe you can bless someone immensely every once in a while but I’m sure your server would be over the moon just to receive a tip that says, “I recognize your situation and your hard work. I appreciate you and will compensate you as such.”

I’m confident that if you use this mindset when dining out this Valentine’s Day (or any day really) you won’t leave a server behind with the misconception that they did something wrong or that you are a rude, thankless patron.


The establishment pays them to show up, YOU pay for your service, so that should be factored into your dining budget BEFORE you go out.




Now guys, get on those plans if you haven’t already! ha! I hope everyone enjoys their Valentine’s Day with their love! Or their ladies if they’ll be hanging with their girlfriends like me ;)