Ask Adam: Should I Include Tax in My Tip?


Ask Adam
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Ask Adam: Should I Include Tax in My Tip?

Send questions to: advice@vinepair.com.

Do waiters and waitresses expect their tip to be figured on the total, including the tax?

While this is in no way a scientific poll, those in the industry who I consulted say yes, it’s generally expected that you tip on the total bill, including tax.

That said, if you tip on the total before tax, servers usually realize what you’re doing. It can be tempting to save yourself extra money, but I try to remember that servers and bartenders make extremely low pay. They live off the tips. If I can afford to go out, I can afford to tip them with the tax included.

I recently was at a brewery and one person there was extremely intoxicated. The bartenders didn’t know because his friends bought his beers. What’s the protocol here?

No one wants to ruin someone else’s good time, so this can be awkward; but yes, you absolutely should have told someone. If someone isn’t drinking responsibly, and consuming to a point where they’re a danger to themselves and others, it’s time to cut them off. Either let a bouncer know, or walk over to the bar and describe to the bartender what both the overly intoxicated person and their friend supplying them the drinks looks like. Then it’s up to the venue to do the responsible thing and end the party.

I was having dinner at the bar the other night and one of my glasses of wine was left off the bill. I wasn’t sure if the bartender had comp’d me or forgotten. Should I have said something?

Usually if the bartender is giving you what’s known as a “buy-back” comping one of you’re drinks, they’ll let you know. In this case, if that wasn’t made clear, it’s probable they simply forgot about the drink and left it off the bill.

Ethically, the best thing to do here is to ask if they made a mistake. It can be tempting to simply take the free drink, but if comping the drink wasn’t on purpose, some places make the bartender or server responsible for mistakes like this.

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