Is tipping mandatory?

Tipping is always a choice, but keep in mind it’s the manager who is responsible for staffing.



From the Summer 2012 issue of the magazine.


tipping_322Q: When service is really slow at a restaurant because it’s understaffed, should you still tip the server?

— C.W., Vancouver

A: Tipping is always a choice, but keep in mind it’s the manager who is responsible for not staffing the restaurant appropriately. The slow service could also be the fault of the kitchen. So penalizing your waiter or waitress, who relies on that 15% to make ends meet, may be unfair. If your server was doing his or her best under the circumstances, don’t withhold the gratuity, says dining etiquette expert Louise Fox. Instead, take up your complaint with the manager, who should apologize and offer something to compensate you. “If he is interested in repeat customers, he should definitely comp the meal or give you a voucher for another visit,” says Fox. If the manager doesn’t budge, at least you—and your friends—will know which eatery to avoid in the future.

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One comment on “Is tipping mandatory?

  1. As someone who has worked in the serving industry, I can say it often happens that tips suffer when we are overworked. It is unfortunate because not only are you running around without enough time to do anything, but you also make less money. The hourly wage for a server is very low, so without tips we make less than $9 an hour. It is definitely the manager's fault for not having enough staff on, so please try to remember this when deciding on a tip to leave.


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