Why Do We Tip Servers & What is a Reasonable Amount? Restaurateur, Abraham Diles Shares his Insight

People tend to have strong feelings about tipping restaurant servers in the 21st Century. Those that have worked in the hospitality industry understand how demanding it can be. Others actively fighting for an increased minimum wage see tipping as a way for restaurant business owners to pay their employees as low as possible.

According to the founder of Stakeout Dining Room and Lounge, Abraham Diles, the reality is that while extreme circumstances have occasionally inspired, motivated, or sustained the practice of tipping, the principle behind why people tip servers is simple. He further states, “customers attribute value to good food and good service. The better the food and service, the more customers are willing to pay.”

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A Brief History of “Tipping”

The practice of tipping, originally known as “vail,” originated between servants and prominent people in Europe. From its earliest days, tips or vails frequently motivated better service. However, the practice quickly became associated with entitlement, as well as a clear distinction between lower and higher classes of society.

As the Industrial Revolution progressed through North America and Europe, lower classes of people rose quickly to wealth. And as the non-rich became rich, they used tipping to both motivate the finest service, as well as to show off their self-made success.

In modern days, Abraham Diles shares that tipping has continued to motivate better service among servers and has also helped young people learn the value of creating a unique customer experience. As a result, abuses of the “system” hardly outweigh the overall benefits to both server and customer.

Misperceptions About Why People Tip Servers

Those complaining about having to tip frequently declare that it breeds a sense of entitlement among servers. While it is true that in some places (such as Quebec) society feels that they are entitled to compensation even when the service quality is poor, this isn’t the norm.

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Others complain that restaurant owners encourage tipping so that they can pay their servers and staff less. Many restaurant owners pay more than the standard minimum wage (especially in Canada) and applaud staff members that offer the kind of service that merits tips.

Lastly, Abraham Diles states, some people perceive that servers get tips but that the more difficult work belongs to the cooks and bussing staff. While both perceptions may be true at some establishments, the fact is that servers do have a very difficult job and still pull their tips to share with the kitchen staff.

What is a Reasonable Amount to Tip in North America?

Throughout North America, the standard tip for good service remains at 15% of the bill, says Abraham Diles. Restaurant visitors are encouraged to offer more in tips if they feel that their server merited the extra money. Tips in excess of 25% at finer establishments are not at all uncommon. At bars and pubs, most tenders use their off time to improve their skills. It is customary to tip at least $1 per drink (or the currency equivalent), as well as 15% of any food orders.

Abraham Diles’s Final Thought

Written by

Owner of Stakeout Dining Room and Lounge. Stouffville, ON.

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