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Old 02-24-2008, 11:06 AM
Location: Raleigh, NC
266 posts, read 986,722 times
Reputation: 202


that many people not only leave no tip (regardless of the level of service) but some leave without paying their bill and many restaurants make the wait staff pay for it. I saw three elderly ladies wait until their waitress was in the kitchen and then hurriedly leave. I was not aware that they had not paid their bill until the waitress started crying. Their bill was over $100, which was her pay for the entire weekend and then some. She was our waitress and was quick, efficient and very nice.
In addition, 15% is condsidered a minimum tip, not average. For large parties that would be 18%. Businesses have guidelines for their salespeople that allow 25% or more for exceptional service.
Yes, people may be able to get other jobs, but for many people the alternative jobs are just as poor-paying. Wait staff put up with nasty dishes of leftover food with cigarettes smashed in it and clean up after babies that have accidents. They put up with people who denigrate and insult them just to show off to their friends. The put up with people "sending food back" for the same reason. They have bad backs and bad feet if they stay in the business long enough. While many wait staff ARE going to school to get better jobs, especially in college towns, not everyone can go to college or should. I thank God for the hands that prepare and serve my food whether at home or in a restaurant. I do not eat out often because it is expensive, but when I do, I am going to do my 20%, or more. Thanks to the rest of you that do, which I gather is the majority.
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:37 AM
2,940 posts, read 6,789,058 times
Reputation: 2799
Back when I worked in a restaurant during summers, waitstaff had to claim 8% of sales as tip income since many tips were cash and not tracked by the IRS. They had to tip out to the bar and bus people (I can't recall if it was 1% each or 1% total, I'll assume total). That left, with a 15% average, 5% of their sales (and a very large chunk of their income) that they were not claiming as income and not paying taxes on.
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:48 AM
Location: Cary, NC
8,269 posts, read 23,314,973 times
Reputation: 5568
I don't know if it's the same way now, but back when I waitressed, the servers actually had a formula they used to figure out the MINIMUM they had to claim for tax purposes and the rest was not reported. I think they rule was, that servers had to pay tax on whatever the ACTUAL minimum wage was in NC (not the wait staff minimum wage of $2.13 an hour but whatever it was back then, like $4.25 an hour or something). They subtracted the $2.13 from $4.25 and only reported tip income to make up the difference. Knowing the difference was about $2.00 an hour, the wait staff would report their tips to show that they made "minimum wage", which was all the state cared about, and the rest was NOT reported, so tax free. If someone made $100.00 in tips, over 4 hours, they would only pay tax on about $20.00 of that $100.00.
I'm not saying everyone does this, but it was pretty standard protocol when I waited tables.
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Old 02-24-2008, 12:17 PM
71 posts, read 201,346 times
Reputation: 52
I waited tables for 6 years up until about a year ago. Many restaurants today automatically declare all tips received on credits card as income for the servers since the IRS could easily compare credit card records to declared tips. I never had a choice in what amount was declared. About 85% of my tips were from credit cards. After tipping out, there were many shifts where I would end up having more taxable “income “ on record than what I actually walked with in my pocket. As credit card use increases, the days where servers were able to hide a large part of their income from the IRS are long gone. Many servers I knew would be left owing thousands of dollars in taxes – which is not easy to come up with when living on tips!
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Old 02-24-2008, 12:49 PM
Location: Southern, NJ
5,477 posts, read 5,689,087 times
Reputation: 7566
As a former hairdresser from the North and my husband a former bartender, we always leave at least 20% for a tip. If we get a drink or dessert on the house, the tip goes up to 40 or 50%. We have seen a norm in E. NC of very little or no tipping from a variety of people. When they have a buy one get one dinner free, instead of tipping on what the bill would have been not having a coupon, they usually tip on one dinner. As the previous poster wrote, if you can't afford the tip, eat at home.
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Old 02-24-2008, 01:24 PM
Location: South Beach and DT Raleigh
12,848 posts, read 20,510,447 times
Reputation: 12597
Originally Posted by underPSI View Post
Everybody as a customer knows the average tip for good service is 15% and extremely exceptional service is 20%.
I slightly disagree with this...
I'd say that the MINIMUM tip for good service is 15% while the average tip is probably somewhere between 18-20%. In modestly priced restaurants that provide the handy little tip guide on the bottom of the check (15%,18%,20%, etc.), I usually go with 18% and then round it up to the next dollar.
In really high end restaurants with lots of service personnel, I typically move the tip up 5 percentage points since there's a lot of tip share in these sorts of places and tables don't turn over as often.
I was a server at Red Lobster on Glenwood Ave as a college student in the
80's. It was the most miserable job I have ever had. Clients there were HORRIBLE tippers. Sometimes I had to claim more income (you had to claim a minimum of 8% of sales) than I actually made. So, I ended up paying taxes on money I didn't make.

If you have a bad experience at a restaurant, be careful not to automatically blame the server. It may be the fault of the kitchen, management, etc. but the server usually gets blamed for all sorts of problems. If you have problems and are kind to the server, it will make his/her job easier and you are more likely to get the problem resolved and some sort of "compensation" for the trouble.
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Old 02-24-2008, 01:54 PM
Location: Blue Ridge Mtns of NC
5,661 posts, read 25,388,137 times
Reputation: 3844
Originally Posted by Xxtayce View Post
As North Carolina is a Right To Work State, servers are not allowed to have unions or go on strike to protest their wages.

I'm confused by your statement. Can you expand on that?

The Hotel and Restaurant Employees International Union has members working in NC. I think they changed their name to something else a few years ago. I believe their state headquarters is in Durham.

Here's a list of some of the labor unions already operating within the state -XPDNC - North Carolina Labor Links

Last edited by mm34b; 02-24-2008 at 02:26 PM..
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:01 PM
5,541 posts, read 16,119,648 times
Reputation: 4299
My first job at 16 was a part-time waiter at the local Holiday Inn. I had that job until I graduated from college 6 years later. I worked mornings and went home smelling of bacon and pancake syrup after every shift.

That said, it is not my responsibility to "make up the difference" if your employer's or industry's pay is not adequate. I tip at least 15% for what I consider adequate service, and up to 20% for good service.

If nothing else, working as a waiter convinced me that I had to make it through college and get a degree so that I wouldn't have to do it again.
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:35 PM
71 posts, read 201,346 times
Reputation: 52
When I was waiting tables I noticed that people who were more "rural" or working class tended to tip less. Many of these people never ate in restaurants as a child and were not taught how to tip. Even if they are well off now, many of them really just don't know any better. I have observed this in several people that I know, they are clueless. Of course as a server knowing this did not make me like waiting on these tables any better! It is much better to work as a server in affluent, upper middle class areas. I worked in Morrisville near the RTP and my tips averaged 17 -18 %, and I was pretty average at my job. I would get completely stiffed on the tip only once every 2-3 months and no customer of mine ever walked out without paying.
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Old 02-24-2008, 04:18 PM
347 posts, read 878,331 times
Reputation: 236
why does one assume that they should tip? I will only tip if the service is good. if the service is good I will tip 15 to 20 %, sometimes up to to 25 %.

And I understand about paying with credit cards the tip can be tracked. I try to pay my tip in cash for just that reason. I aint saying they shouldnt claim it , but I understand....
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