If you’ve worked in a restaurant or bar at some point in your life, you know full well the importance of tipping. In the U.S., especially, tipping is an essential component of earnings for service workers. Despite this, the etiquette around gratuity can often be a delicate topic.
Some may feel that tipping, or tipping well, is only required when the service has been stellar. Others may question appropriate amounts or feel uncomfortable when facing uncommon situations, such as open bars. As such a hot topic, these questions are natural, which is why we’ve compiled a list of our most popular Ask Adam tips from VinePair CEO Adam Teeter.
Read on to learn how to be a considerate tipper.
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Tipping prompts offer ease when it comes to figuring out the amount of gratuity to leave. Prompts are often separated into common gratuity amounts such as 15, 20, or 25 percent, and the option to choose a custom amount. This last selection is a choice that is most appropriate when you’d like to leave a bit more than the prompted amount — not if you want to leave less.
More often than not, bartenders working an open bar at events such as weddings or large-scale parties have already been taken care of by the person or group footing the bill. In this case, they’re likely not expecting to receive additional tips from guests. However, those circumstances are different when an open bar is provided as an amenity –– at airport lounges, for example. If you find yourself in this setting, it’s OK and acceptable to tip as you would at a bar or restaurant.
The cost of the bottle of wine should never factor into determining whether or not to tip, even if it’s very expensive. As Adam says, “if you can afford to order a bottle of wine when you’re out, you can afford to tip 20 percent on the bottle, just as you do the food.”
While it’s true that wait staff should be courteous and attentive, sometimes you will encounter a server who is rude. But that shouldn’t translate into you leaving no tip at all. If you feel the service you received was poor, you can choose to leave a tip that is reflective of that. Adam’s general rule of thumb is to tip no less than 18 percent.
In an effort to take care of their workers, some establishments may choose to include an automatic gratuity (usually 20 percent). This ensures that the wait staff is fairly compensated, which means that you are not obligated to add a tip. However, if you feel the service was exceptional then it never hurts to show your gratitude with an additional amount.
It’s not uncommon to grab a drink at the bar while waiting for your to-go order to be prepared. In some instances, your order may arrive before you finish your drink, making your bill a combined total. If this is the case, be sure to tip on the entire bill amount, not just on the drinks you ordered. Remember: Someone still had to prepare, pack, and serve you the order and they deserve to be tipped as well.
Often a bartender will offer a shot on the house to loyal customers or those who have been courteous guests. If this occurs, reciprocate the gesture by leaving a thoughtful tip.