How much should you tip when dining out?

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Two recent stories highlight contrasting takes on the behavior of people who eat out.

On the one hand, you have this story from The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel  about a woman who threw a glass at her waitress because she and her party were upset about the mandatory gratuity put on tables of 8 or more.

On the other hand, you have this story from about a server who gave a family with well-behaved kids a discount on their meal because they so appreciated the easygoing family.

It just goes to show you the wide range of stories out there about dining!

Meanwhile, what do you think is an appropriate tip when you’re out for a meal at a restaurant?

USA Today recently ran a story asking, is 25% the new normal for tipping? Many people still do the old thing of 15%. Still others have kicked it up a notch to 18%.

There’s now something called tip creep. People think it’s 25%. Servers expect 25% in many cities.

Meanwhile, what do you do when you’re in an eatery where you go down the line getting coffee or ice cream or what have you? Do you tip? The difference is a server is paid around $2 an hour and lives on tips. At the place with the line, that person is being paid at least minimum wage there.

I want to know what you think. Be sure to vote in my polls.

I tip 20% if the service is as it should be. I used to tip 15%, but my producer Kim told me back in the ’90s, she was a server before she worked on the show. Apparently I came in to her restaurant before I knew her and she was my server. She said she never had anybody have a lower ticket price for two people the entire time she was there! And that I tipped exactly 15%.


So knowing I avoid so many extras when dining out, I know the server is still doing the same amount of work. So I’ve personally decided to boost it up to 20%.

Clark Deals
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