Skip To Content

    13 Things You Should Know Before You Leave A Bad Tip At A Restaurant

    Some helpful ~tips~ on tipping.

    Picture this: You and your friends just finished a nice meal at a restaurant. The plates have been cleared, the credit cards swiped, and the black pens placed on the table. It's time to leave a TIP.


    You, of course, are an upstanding member of society, so you leave a 15-20% tip. But you can't help but notice that your friend left a pretty bad tip, or — gasp — no tip at all.


    Here are all the excuses your friend will probably give for their shitty tip — and what you should say the next time they try this.

    1. "Tipping is optional."


    Sure, tipping is optional — just like most common courtesies are technically optional. But imagine slamming a door in somebody's face while yelling, "HOLDING THE DOOR FOR YOU IS OPTIONAL!" You're not wrong, but you are being a jerk.

    2. "I can't afford to tip."


    Then you can't afford to eat out, and there's no shame in that. Cook a nice meal at home instead.

    3. "Tipping is a stupid system. Restaurants should just pay their servers a fair wage instead."


    Good news! Lots of servers agree with you. Feel free to write your congressperson about this — but in the meantime, keep tipping so your servers can pay their bills.

    And by the way, if restaurants ever DO get rid of tipping, they'll probably raise prices to cover their labor costs. So it won't actually save the customer much money.

    4. "Our check was over $200! You really think they deserve 40 bucks just for waiting on us?"


    Yup! And by the way, that $40 has to be shared with the host, bussers, food runners, bartenders...and then Uncle Sam gets his share. So it's actually a lot less than $40 by the time it reaches the server's pocket.

    5. "Nobody tips ME at MY job."


    That's because your employer pays you a livable wage. Servers, on the other hand, typically only make a few bucks per hour, and most of that goes to taxes. Tips are how waiters survive.

    6. "My food came out wrong."


    That's unfortunate, but your server isn't the one who cooked your meal. Bring the issue to their attention and give them a chance to make it right before you take away their pay.

    7. "The service was slow."


    Is the service slow because the restaurant is understaffed? If so, TIP!!! I promise that server is having a much worse time than you are.

    8. "Okay, but my server really DID do a horrible job, and if I tip them, they'll never learn to do better."


    Stiffing a server without explanation doesn't help them improve. If there's an issue so major that you can't tip, you should respectfully let them know what went wrong. But really think hard before taking away their pay.

    9. "It's just a few dollars. They're not gonna miss it."


    Actually, they are DEFINITELY going to miss it. Servers often have to pay a percentage of their sales to their support staff, regardless of whether or not they got tipped. So if you run up a bill with a server and refuse to tip, you're actually COSTING them money. They'll have to pay the hosts, bussers, and bartenders for your meal out of their own pockets.

    10. "I only tip if I'm truly blown away by the service, and this person was just okay."


    Not all servers need to be tipped equally. Give an amazing tip to that server who went above and beyond, and a simple 15% to the person who was meh. But everyone should get paid for their labor.

    11. "I ordered to-go. You don't have to tip on takeout!"


    Okay, here's the deal: If you're ordering takeout from a counter service place, tipping is appreciated but not necessarily expected. Those employees usually earn a standard hourly wage, and tips are just a nice bonus.

    BUT. If you're ordering your takeout from a dine-in restaurant, you really should tip about 10%. Your server still had to take down your order, check everything to make sure it came out correctly, and package it up nicely for you. That's precious time taken away from their tables — and they aren't being paid much of anything for it. So tip.

    12. "If servers hate relying on tips so much, why don't they just get a new job?"


    All jobs have shitty things about them. The question is, do YOU want to be someone's shitty thing?

    13. "My server dumped a drink on my head, spit in my food, and then stole my car."


    Congrats!!! You have my full permission not to tip. I hope you find your car.

    K, but in all seriousness: It's up to you to determine how much you tip, and there may be the (rare!) occasion where it's fair to give less than the standard 15-20%. But if you're actively looking for excuses not to tip, maybe just stay home instead.