Every night out at dinner, my mom had the same routine: Get the check from my dad, retrieve her credit card and this little two-sided card with a bunch of numbers on it - her "Tipping Reference" card. I never took tipping that serious until I started working in hospitality. I took it more serious once, I was sole receiver of tips. I took it even more serious, once I went out with my friends and notice, I was OVER-tipping because I knew my friends didn't know how to tip.
Once you get into food & beverage you realize all of the ugly truths about tipping and food service in general. The biggest issue...nobody wants to talk about it, except ME! Trust me I know the stereotypes, I've even developed some on my own...I know what servers dont want guest to know, but I also understand how servers don't like accepting truths. Despite it all..lets discuss the harsh reality about food service & tipping.
What your server WON'T tell you
There are certain aspects of F&B that your server just won't state. Most of the time, they wont tell you because they don't want to lose their job.
1) Yes we know the stereotypes, yes we believe them: Do some groups of people tip better than others? YES. It has been proven. Sometimes its a lack of education, cultural change or etc. For an example, a few years ago I went to Cancun and it amazed me how the hotel concierge instructed me NOT to tip at authentic restaurants, as it was a sign of disrespect. Well I tested his theory at a restaurant and the server and owner was thankful, they refused my donation.
2) Servers always expect a good tip, despite their service: This requires no explanation.
3) We avoid giving the check to the lady, if we can. Studies show that women usually control the finances within a household. They watch every dollar carefully and make sure everything is spent reasonably. Nothing is better than someone who OVER compensate you for your service. That is more possible with men.
4) If you cant afford to leave a good tip, then don't eat out. Fair enough.
The Ugly Truth about Tipping
GUEST: The 15/18/20 Rule: The easiest way to dismiss stereotypes? Make people aware and follow it with education. [INSERT THE 15/18/20 RULE] Regarded as the safest, most reliable way of tipping, the 15/18/20 rule is your way to tip your server if there service was BAD/OKAY/GOOD. Did your server go 'above and beyond' well tip them more. Its that simple. SIDENOTE: Your server not getting you a free refill every 10 minutes isn't bad service. It's you being cheap and petty.
SERVERS: Your LOW WAGE is the issue, not the tip. It is your responsibility to create a comfortable life for yourself. For years I listened to other servers complain about how the lack of tips is going to force them to find a ways to pay bills and etc. Not only is this mind blowing to me but it's simply irresponsible. SIDENOTE: Tips are an addition to your wage..don't forget.
GUEST: Spare your server the explanation. They already know the outcome. You have already made up in your mind, you're about to complain and your not gong to tip. You have complain during the duration of dinner and the check is finally dropped. You have two choices A. Call your server over and complain some more and get items removed from the check or B. Just leave a terrible tip. Whatever you do, PICK B. Your server already know their fate. Spare them the complaints. SIDENOTE: Servers are fluent in body language and reading attitudes.
GUEST: You have a server...NOT A SLAVE. There is this misconception that your server is there to pamper you. Just because you've saved for weeks for this big night, doesnt mean your server is there to stroke everything from your back to your ego. SIDENOTE: Have some manners.
SERVERS/GUEST: The little things matter [not really]. Even though I don't think this makes or break a night...the little things seem to matter nowadays. Yes I like "timely refills" but just because your servers misses refilling your water when your glass is 2/3 empty, doesn't mean you're receiving terrible service. It might just mean, your server is OTW.