Monday, September 6, 2010

"Gratuity Guide from the Sommelier to the Sushi Bar"

Ever wondered what the pizza guy should be tipped? Or the host at a restaurant? Huffington Post took a close look at exactly who should get what in various food service positions.

Oh, and there's the nagging question of whether it's proper to tip pre- or post-tax. Luckily the LA Times' David Lazarus cleared that one up. According to Lazarus' research, although restaurants often show suggested tip amounts calculated post-tax, it's perfectly proper etiquette to calculate the tip pre-tax.

Sommelier

At a high-end restaurant where the sommelier has played an important role in the wine program, it's appropriate to give 10-15% of the price of the wine directly to the sommelier. However, when paying the bill, diners should deduct the price of the wine to calculate the tip to go to the waiter. At most meals, it's okay to just tip 15-20% of the final bill and let the restaurant divvy it up.

Bartender

While bartenders used to expect only $1 per drink, nowadays it's customary to pay 20% of the final tab, with a minimum of 50 cents for soft drinks and $1-2 on alcoholic drinks.

Baristas

By all means tip away, but it's not a huge faux pas if you occasionally -- or even often -- don't.

Maitre d’

Diners should never tip the maitre d'. It's tacky and pointless.

Food Delivery

Diners should tip 10% of the bill, and between 15-20% for especially hard deliveries. Tips should be slightly higher for a large corporate order if the delivery person has helped set up the meal.

Pizza Delivery

Serious Eats had their "Pizza Girl" blogger explain what compensation she expects from customers. She suggests a minimum of $3 dollars on any order, because it's 15% of a $20 order, and, she reminds us, delivering one pizza is just as much work as delivering three. Pizza Girl suggests customers never tip less than 10%, and that they add $1 for complicated orders executed correctly, delivery to a house outside of area, or for inclement weather.

Carry Out

According to Bon App├ętit, diners should always leave a few dollars, no matter how cheap or expensive the order is.

Sushi Chef

Diners should leave 15% for the waiter and 5% for the sushi chef.

Room Service

Many hotels will include a "service charge," which completely covers the tip. But a tip is not included in the mysterious "room service charge" or "delivery fee" or "delivery charge." If a "service charge" is not included a tip of 15-20% is customary.

Waiter

A tip of 15-20% is customary for good to great service, 10-15% is common for poor service and 20% and up for excellent service.

Grocery Loader

It's normal to pay $1 for bringing bags to the car.

Hibachi Griller

There's no need to tip the grill master individually. A tip to the waiter will get split and given, partially, to them.

Waiters at Buffet-Style Restaurants

Since waiters need to provide less service when there's a buffet, a typical tip runs between 10-15% depending on how much is required of the server. If there are complicated drink orders or many silverware changes, diners should treat it like any other restaurant.

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