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Saying "Thank You" in a restaurant

By Cinse Bonino

You may have worked as a waitress. Or you might one day. It's a job that lots of people do, some forever and others on their way to something else. Waitresses (and waiters) don't get paid very much. They can make a lot of their money in tips. You know, you or your parents pay the bill and then leave some extra money on the table for the waitperson. If you haven't done it yourself, you've probably seen someone else do it.  So how should you tip?

How did your waitperson do?
Tipping is based on service. What kind of service did you receive. NOT how was the food, the waitperson has no control over the taste of your food. She can bring it to you quickly, but not if the kitchen doesn't have it ready. He CAN be friendly and listen to you carefully. It's not very good service if she brings you something other than what you ordered, or if she forgets to bring your drink, or if it takes him forever to bring you ketchup or something else that you need to enjoy your meal.

So first decide if the waitperson was:

  • not so cool
  • okay
  • pretty cool
  • or totally awesome

Now it's time to decide HOW MUCH to tip.
Some people give 10% no matter what. Other people think that 15% is good for okay service and anything less should get 10%. Lots of people reserve 20% for those waitpeople who are truly awesome. I myself like to tip 20% for good service, 15% for okay service, and 10% for so-so service. You might want to find out what is considered normal in the area where you live or just ask your parents. But, if you're paying the bill, then you get to decide how much to tip!

Where's the calculator?  On your phone?
It's pretty easy to figure out the tip even without a calculator. Here's how:


Let's say your meal cost $15.32. All you need to do to get 10% is to move the decimal point to the left one place. That means that $15.32 becomes $1.53. Get it? You can make it an even $1.50 to make life easier. $22.63 would become $2.26. Call it $2.25.


To get 15%, first get 10% and then add 5% more to it. Five percent is half of 10%. So, if your meal cost you $15.32 that's $1.53 or $1.50 for the 10%; half of $1.50 is 75 cents. $1.50 (10%) plus 75 cents (5%) equals $2.25 (15%).


To get 20% just double the 10%. So, for a $15.32 meal it would be 2 times $1.50 which is $3.00. If you always round the cents to a number that ends in a 5 or a 0, it makes everything especially easy.

Enjoy your next meal out and remember to say "Thank you!" to your waitperson.