It seems like every few months the issue of tipping takes center stage, there’s a debate and then things pretty much stay the same until the next time.  In New York City more and more restaurants are taking the lead in adding automatic tips to bills and not just for large parties but for any size group…even a solo diner.  For example Five Acres at Rockefeller Plaza adds 20% on all checks with a note on the bill that reads “20% gratuity for our hardworking staff.”

If you want to start an argument bring up tipping and there’s a chance you’ll get one.  To me what you leave is a reflection of the service you received from your waiter or waitress from the time they greet you until they leave the bill.  It is not based on the quality of the food because they have little or no control over that. A great meal can be ruined by a rude server and average food can be made so much better by someone who goes above and beyond.

There may be a time in the near future when a gratuity is indeed added to all checks, at least for a certain level of restaurant.  To be honest I would prefer to be in control of the decision as to what to leave my server.  I understand they need their tips and truthfully I leave 15% no matter what…even for barely adequate service.  I usually start around 20% for good service and have gone higher for a great experience.

Yes that does increase the bill considerably but you know what they say.  If you don’t want to tip don’t go out to eat.  Or get your food to go where you don’t have to tip at all or leave just a couple of bucks at the register.  The staff in a restaurant works very hard and often puts up with a lot.  Treat them accordingly.

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