To Tip or Not to Tip

After you’ve had a nice dinner with family and friends, the server comes up with the bill and sets it on your table. You pay; and then comes the deciding moment: How much do you tip?

Anyone who has worked in the food industry, from pizza delivery to a high-end restaurant, knows the importance of getting tipped. Waiters and waitresses make extremely little from their hourly pay – not to mention having to share their tips with kitchen staff.

It can be tempting to skip the tip – especially for college students. One might rationalize it, saying the staff is being paid hourly, or maybe the restaurant you’re dining in is overpriced. When the pizza guy knocks on the door, you hand him the spare change in your pocket – there was a delivery fee added to your bill (or so you like to convince yourself).

This way of thinking needs to stop.

Before tips, employers in Michigan are only required to pay employees a few dollars per hour that they work. This means that the rest of their income is solely dependent on you, the tipper.

On top of that, servers are often required to “tip out.” This means they must give a certain percent of their sales back to the restaurant – regardless if they received compensation.

There are other factors to keep in mind as well. There are many things out of the server’s control. The speed at which the food is made, the crying babies at the table near you, your wait to be seated – just to name a few.

None of these are the server’s fault, therefore their tip should not be influenced by this. However, if the server is rude or inattentive, then you may be justified in tipping less – but there is slim to no excuse for not tipping at all.

Generally, tipping etiquette is 20 percent for good to fantastic service, 15 percent for average service and less than that for terrible service.

The bottom line comes simply to this: If you don’t have the money to both eat out and tip, don’t do it.