I pay major attention to what is going on when I go to a restaurant. How many tables the waiter/waitress seems to have, how busy they restaurant seems to be, I don’t factor in the food in tipping (not that persons fault if the food was bad) and I take these things into account. I almost always tip at least 20 to 25% (only for really bad service to I go under, and NO lower that 10%) and I’ve given as much as a 50% tip before. I try and always tip in cash so they can claim whatever they want as the tip. I have no problem tipping, I actually enjoy it if I got great service.
All that being said, I HATE the fact that it’s mandatory. Servers should be paid a living wage and a tip should be given for great service, not because it’s mandatory. The cost of my food should include the cost of paying everyone who has anything to do with it. I also hate how much I’m hearing about it recently. I realize there are people who need to be educated, who have never worked in a service industry who don’t know how crappy it can be sometimes. But I don’t like feeling guilty for going out to eat, no matter how much I tip and that’s exactly the way it’s starting to make me feel. I almost don’t want to go out at all, and I love to eat out. :(