Tipping

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Trueblue63's picture
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Tipping

I just read the tipping advice at the Disney Food Blog and there is some erroneous info. So I just thought I'd toss out what I know.

Tipping has not climbed to 18%. What has happened is that tax on meals has become nearly universal, and most people just tip on the bottom line. The thing is that no tip on tax is necessary in any way. So 15% of 8% adds another 1% or so, and then if you round up it can become 18% of the pre tax bill easily.

On the flip side, we love eating at little old fashioned breakfast spots. Sometimes the bill for 3 comes to $15. The minimum appropriate tip is $1 per person. If the waitstaff has been especially diligent refilling water and coffee you ought to add a $1.

Finally, I noticed that WDW will recommend an 18% tip at their buffet restaurants. I'm not sure if it's on purpose, or just a STD computer code for all on site table service receipts. But thats a big tip for a server who doesn't take your order for anything besides beverages, doesn't bring any food. And from what I can tell doesn't have a bus staff to split it with (yup typically the bus staff gets from 1/3 to 1/2 of all tips). My feeling is that 10% (or about $4 per person) is adequate, 15% is generous. But this is JMO.

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Kristen K.'s picture
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Tipping is a highly personal concept, that I believe should be done in a manner people are comfortable with. There are no hard rules. I have actually had servers at Disney ask me for a tip (almost argue) when they thought I had forgot to add one. It was in a small money envelope and they thought I was just giving them an envelope, they didn't look inside. I was *furious* and let me tell you managers all the way up the chain of command heard about that one.

As a dining plan user, I frequently read the menus and add up what our best "guess" cost is. Then I put a tip into a cash envelope before we even leave for home. Sometimes it's turns out to be a very generous tip, sometimes it's slightly under, but I never question what I'm leaving because it's already been accounted for and out of the budget.

I've worked in the hospitality industry for years and I understand how little servers make and how much they depend on tips. I tip on the high end while on vacation. However, I do very much believe that tipping should be on a level that is commiserate with the service. If you truly had a miserable time and your server did nothing at all to make your meal enjoyable, your tip should reflect that.

JoAnn C's picture
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My rule of thumb for tipping is

15% for ok / they did their job service
20% for exceptional service
10-15% for buffets (depends on how often drinks are refilled and plates are cleared)

Kristin - wow! A server asked for a tip. what nerve. I have a similar story. I had gone out to dinner with a group of friends one night. We just all put in cash to cover our meals with tax and tip. We were chatting as we were leaving the restaurant and waiter stopped and tried to give us money back. We told him that was his tip. He made some comment that his service was better than the tip we gave him and thought he deserved more so he gave back his tip. We took the money and he was left with nothing. I don't know what the total was (they said it was 15%). There were a couple of ladies at the dinner who aren't big tippers. So he may have been slighted. I would have felt bad if it wasn't for his attitude. He was a good waiter.

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JoAnn C's picture
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My rule of thumb for tipping is

15% for ok / they did their job service
20% for exceptional service
10-15% for buffets (depends on how often drinks are refilled and plates are cleared)

Kristin - wow! A server asked for a tip. what nerve. I have a similar story. I had gone out to dinner with a group of friends one night. We just all put in cash to cover our meals with tax and tip. We were chatting as we were leaving the restaurant and waiter stopped and tried to give us money back. We told him that was his tip. He made some comment that his service was better than the tip we gave him and thought he deserved more so he gave back his tip. We took the money and he was left with nothing. I don't know what the total was (they said it was 15%). There were a couple of ladies at the dinner who aren't big tippers. So he may have been slighted. I would have felt bad if it wasn't for his attitude. He was a good waiter.

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JoAnn C wrote:
My rule of thumb for tipping is

15% for ok / they did their job service
20% for exceptional service
10-15% for buffets (depends on how often drinks are refilled and plates are cleared)

Kristin - wow! A server asked for a tip. what nerve. I have a similar story. I had gone out to dinner with a group of friends one night. We just all put in cash to cover our meals with tax and tip. We were chatting as we were leaving the restaurant and waiter stopped and tried to give us money back. We told him that was his tip. He made some comment that his service was better than the tip we gave him and thought he deserved more so he gave back his tip. We took the money and he was left with nothing. I don't know what the total was (they said it was 15%). There were a couple of ladies at the dinner who aren't big tippers. So he may have been slighted. I would have felt bad if it wasn't for his attitude. He was a good waiter.

Thats for us as well. As long as I don't have to ask for a refill... I will always do 20%. But if I have to ask and such, then depending on if the wait staff was busy or not, is when I go below 20%. But since we go to Disney with 6 people... we automatically get charged the 18%. Always hated that rule. I know its more than 4 or the average family... but some times... now I'm not saying all the time... but some of the times the wait staff won't be as diligent because they are guaranteed that 18%. I remember eating at the Mexican place last year, and our waiter was HORRID. I got a spicy dish, and couldn't finish it because he was no where to be seen to get a refill on a drink. I tried to give him a little credit because the place was busy... but it was obvious we were last priority over his other tables.

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Trueblue63's picture
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My intent in the original post wasn't to tell people how much to tip. I simply get annoyed that the myth of 18% keeps getting pushed out there. And I get equally annoyed at Disney for claiming that an 18% tip at a buffet is somehow normal or to be expected.

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Trueblue63's picture
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JoAnn C wrote:
My rule of thumb for tipping is

15% for ok / they did their job service
20% for exceptional service
10-15% for buffets (depends on how often drinks are refilled and plates are cleared)

Kristin - wow! A server asked for a tip. what nerve. I have a similar story. I had gone out to dinner with a group of friends one night. We just all put in cash to cover our meals with tax and tip. We were chatting as we were leaving the restaurant and waiter stopped and tried to give us money back. We told him that was his tip. He made some comment that his service was better than the tip we gave him and thought he deserved more so he gave back his tip. We took the money and he was left with nothing. I don't know what the total was (they said it was 15%). There were a couple of ladies at the dinner who aren't big tippers. So he may have been slighted. I would have felt bad if it wasn't for his attitude. He was a good waiter.

I'd say you're waiter got what he deserved.

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ChipnDaleFan's picture
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Up here 20% is standard- waiters consider it cheap if given anything else. More than that is for exceptional so we always do 20 anyway.

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My husband made his living waiting tables for many many years (thank goodness he has a more stable job now) so I leave it up to him when determining an appropriate amount for a tip. He is able to tell if a place is under-staffed or if it is the kitchen's fault for slow food. Sometimes we leave less than 15% and sometimes we leave more than 20%. It honestly depends on how good of a waiter they are. I figure if he feels good about the amount we leave so do I.

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We ate a O'Charlies the other day for lunch and our waitress was a little slow with refilling my tea while she sat down at another table to chat with friends, but the kicker was when she disappeared for nearly 15 mins after she saw we were finished with our meal. She finally walked by and I had to stop her to ask for my check. I used my debit card to pay and in the space for tip I wrote "No tip, Too slow".
Staff at some places seem to think they are owed a tip, simply because of where you are.

It looks like there is a consensus view on tipping those in the food service, but what about other workers?

Anyone have personal guidelines for tipping CMs or staff at WDW parks and resorts?

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We probably over tip. We tip mousekeeping $5 per day when we stay in a non DVC resort. There are only two of us in the room and I am a bit OCD on somethings. I hang up every towel and even make the bed.
For dinning we tip at least 20% and have been known to tip more if the service is that good.
Valet parking gets $5 to both park and retrieve our car.
We tip the bellhop $1 per bag or usually $20 because we are usually close to that with bag count anyway.

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20 bags? Wew.

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Yep, we pack a lot.
We also drive so we can pack as much as we want to. We do tend to over pack since we drive. We also stop before we get there and buy water and diet Pepsi for the room. We both usually take a laptop, we take an Ipad and a camera bag. As far as actual luggage goes we usually only have 4 bags. I also pack coffee supplies and have even packed our Keurig, I pack laundry supplies, and I always pack a duffle bag with my "stuff" in it.

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scrappy wrote:
...have even packed our Keurig....

We do that too, whenever we drive someplace on vacation. Once you have a Keurig, who wants to deal with an regular coffeemaker?

But as for tipping, at restaurants we tip 15% for mediocre service, less if the service is really crappy, 20% for good service, and more for exceptional service. $20 for housekeeping at the end of the week - this is at a timeshare resort when they only cleen once a week, not a hotel where housekeeping comes in every day; at a hotel we would tip more than that. And when I go with sis & family, I'll tip more even though it's a timeshare resort because we'll have a full house, so more work for housekeeping than if it were just me and hubby.

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I think the $5/day scrappy mentioned sounds like a fair tip.

I may be on the cheap side, because my tip percentage generally goes down as the meal price increases. Let's say a nice meal costs my family of four, $100. They're probable not getting a $20 tip, unless they did something really great or we stayed for a long time. They will most likely only receive somewhere between 10-15% if they only did their job well.

My thoughts behind this, is that I want to tip everyone the same amount and not the same percentage. The waitress at the Waffle House will easily get a 25% tip, or better, if she just does her job. I will pay her the same $10 for a $30 meal as I did for the $100 meal.

I will not tip for poor service. There are exceptions, like if you are a regular guest at a restaurant, you may need to at least tip moderately every time.

What do you do if the service was great, but the food was horrible?

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Tony's picture
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SquareAce wrote:
What do you do if the service was great, but the food was horrible?

Politely send the food back. This is when a good server can really earn a good tip.

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Tony wrote:
SquareAce wrote:
What do you do if the service was great, but the food was horrible?

Politely send the food back. This is when a good server can really earn a good tip.

That is right, some people forget that it is NOT the server who cooks the food. They are responsible for getting the food to the table in a fast and courteous manner, and a few other things, but if the food is horrible mention it to the server and send it back, but I just do not think you should penalize the server for the Chef's and sous-chef's inability to properly cook and plate the meal.

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On the other hand, you should not penalize the ability of the Chef and his staff due to the incompetence or inability of a bad server. I have had a delicious meal, but bad service at times. ( Not a Disney World ). In this case I think management should be notified and explained to them why you are not leaving a good tip if that's the case. They may have to get that server help, or be replaced, but a good Chef / restaurant should not suffer due to bad service.

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scrappy wrote:

We also drive so we can pack as much as we want to. We do tend to over pack since we drive.

DITTO! I feel like we pack the entire house every time we go. Once we brought a toaster for Pop Tarts. Some times I have to remind myself that just because we own it doesn't mean it needs to come with us on vacation.

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I tend to tip 10% as my "base". That would be what the server would get if he/she comes to the table, takes the order, and it comes out warm and correct. And pretty much does nothing else other than maybe bring something that Mrs. Tex or I asked for. I don't tip 10% very often, but I'll tip even less if they don't at least meet this minimum requirement.

15% is for a server who does a good but not outstanding job, checks back once or twice, and refills the "free refills" drinks like iced tea. Still, nothing special here except the service that a patron should expect. I frequently round this up to the next dollar or so.

Over 15% (I've gone over 25%) is for that server who is on the ball, observant, keeps things moving, checks on us as soon as the food comes out and several times after that without being pushy about it, and has a positive attitude.

For a buffet, I don't tip at all unless somebody does something for me. Otherwise, it's just too much like hunting for someone to take your money. If they bring things, like refills, back orders, or drinks, then somewhere between 5% and 10% seems fair.

And I NEVER blame the food on the server, unless it's the wrong thing, or cold, or (depending on who brings it out) improperly plated. Something missing, thrown in a pile, or the like -- things that a server should notice and take care of with the kitchen. If it's just nasty, or tastes bad, or is crappy quality, that's not the server's fault but I won't be going back there.

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I seem to have developed a pet peeve about tipping. As I've mentioned before, I'm a fairly heavy tipper, but on this past vacation I've noticed a trend for the Disney servers to circle, highlight, and star around the portion of the bill that says the tip is not included. This drove me MAD.

I spend a lot of time and put a lot of care into creating tip envelopes for Disney wait staff, the thought of being begged or reminded that I need to leave a tip is insulting. I can remember a time that Disney was a fairly tip free zone, I'm positive that Uncle Walt would not be happy that waitstaff is now begging. I actually took money out of the preplanned tip envelopes and dropped the tip to the suggested minimum because of the practice.

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Kristen K. wrote:
I seem to have developed a pet peeve about tipping. As I've mentioned before, I'm a fairly heavy tipper, but on this past vacation I've noticed a trend for the Disney servers to circle, highlight, and star around the portion of the bill that says the tip is not included. This drove me MAD.

I spend a lot of time and put a lot of care into creating tip envelopes for Disney wait staff, the thought of being begged or reminded that I need to leave a tip is insulting. I can remember a time that Disney was a fairly tip free zone, I'm positive that Uncle Walt would not be happy that waitstaff is now begging. I actually took money out of the preplanned tip envelopes and dropped the tip to the suggested minimum because of the practice.

That kind of gets to the root of my tipping pet peeve. I get that servers don't make much. But it really, really bugs me when tips, any tips, are expected. In my mind, they are still gratuities - extra. (And yes, we always tip 15-20%).

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Trueblue63's picture
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Kristen K. wrote:
I seem to have developed a pet peeve about tipping. As I've mentioned before, I'm a fairly heavy tipper, but on this past vacation I've noticed a trend for the Disney servers to circle, highlight, and star around the portion of the bill that says the tip is not included. This drove me MAD.

I spend a lot of time and put a lot of care into creating tip envelopes for Disney wait staff, the thought of being begged or reminded that I need to leave a tip is insulting. I can remember a time that Disney was a fairly tip free zone, I'm positive that Uncle Walt would not be happy that waitstaff is now begging. I actually took money out of the preplanned tip envelopes and dropped the tip to the suggested minimum because of the practice.

This could be due to people not tipping. If someone cleans rooms and is struggling to get by, and all of a sudden they are making $100 less per week, they might try to be creative. I agree with you KK, it's wrong. But it might be desperation in these tough times not simply crass behavior.

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Trueblue63 wrote:

This could be due to people not tipping. If someone cleans rooms and is struggling to get by, and all of a sudden they are making $100 less per week, they might try to be creative. I agree with you KK, it's wrong. But it might be desperation in these tough times not simply crass behavior.

Oh I'm sure it probably is because everyone doesn't tip. I know when I waited tables in my youth it tore my heart out when I didn't get a tip. Not only for the financial burden, but because I always agonized over what I had possibly done wrong. I'm sure that people don't read all the details on their tickets either, but the whole highlighting thing just seems so crass to me.

Unfortunately I don't have a good solution to the problem, and circling the "tip not included" is probably the least invasive way to remind folks. I'd say they should go back to the tip being included in the DDP, but that created service issues that I'm just not willing to put up with. Perhaps it's just one of those issues that doesn't have a good solution.

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I think working in the food service industry can jade a person. I always tip fairly well if the server does a good job. If they do a bad job the generally know I'm dissatisfied with them because I've told them but I leave a smaller tip..not nothing at all. I was a good waitress and there were many times that a customer paid for entire meal in quarters and left me 5 cents.
But that's just me..everyone has a different tipping opinion.

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Kristen K. wrote:
As a dining plan user, I frequently read the menus and add up what our best "guess" cost is. Then I put a tip into a cash envelope before we even leave for home. Sometimes it's turns out to be a very generous tip, sometimes it's slightly under, but I never question what I'm leaving because it's already been accounted for and out of the budget.

Your tip envelopes have inspired me. I reviewed all the menus and decided what I am going to order and calculated the tip for each meal - 20% for regular table service and 15% for buffets. I also added in any adult beverage I may partake in. I got money out of the bank today and cashed some in for singles and fives. I just sorted the cashed needed for each meal per day. I attached a piece of paper on each batch of money with the restaurant, day, time, what I'm going to order, adult beverage (where applicable) and tip amount. I have two envelopes - one marked "breakfast / lunch" and one marked "dinner". Each day on my trip, I'll put the appropriate pack in the appropriate envelope before I leave the resort in the morning. The money will be separate from my other spending money. I also have a third envelope for mousekeeping and airport parking tips.

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Kristen K.'s picture
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That's fantastic! I hope that it works for you, you'll have to let me know! yay

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We tip 20% or 25%.

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We tip the suggested 18 percent and more if service was exceptional......I don't think we have ever had poor service and when the server returns our copy of the bill they always appear to be very surprised and happy with us. I always wonder what other people are tipping because everytime we have tipped our server seems gratefull and happy.

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Speaking as a Server I would DEFINITLY circle that the tip is not included on the bill. Servers make minimum wage and suplement that with tips, in addition to that at the majority of restaurants you have to tip out (give a portion of your sales) to the kitchen, host staff, cleaners, bar tenders etc.

In the restaurant that I work at I have to tip out 2.5% (standard in the industry) of my net sales to the kitchen staff. So that means if some one doesn't tip because they think it is included then I as a server still have to give 2.5% of that bill to the kitchen out of my pocket which affects your bottom line very very quickly...imagine not only not making tips but also owing money to the ktchen and comming out negative at the end of a shift.

I don't feel good about doing things like that but you can't take the chance when its your livelyhood.

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i work in the service industry as well. If a server ever circled that tip is not included I would probably be tempted to tip less. i most likely would not do it, but the temptation would be there.

While we were there we tipped pretty well. the standard 18-20% more if service was really good or I had a difficult order. (I can be picky with stuff).