Heather, whose been in the restaurant industry a long time, takes issue with something I said in the Tipping Guide:
You were correct about it being customary to tip 15-20%, however, you cannot exclude tax and an expensive bottle of wine. Why would you not tip on something that your server has to tip others out on? Servers have to tip out bartenders, busboys, etc. based on their sales not what the check was PRIOR to taxes and a bottle of wine. So, essentially, you are recommending that the consumer cheat their server out of money they have earned. How did the bottle of wine get to the table? Did it open itself? Did the guests pour their own glasses of wine? Dining guests are tipping for a service that is based on the total check. There are no exclusions. Hourly wages for waitstaff is $3.77! Gratuities are how we make a living. I feel that amending your report or printing a revised version is necessary. Given these difficult economic times, false information such as yours makes it very difficult for servers to support themselves on $3.77 an hour. We need all the help we can get to spread accurate information.Personally, I eat out a lot, and always tip generously (20-22%) but always on the pre-tax check amount. If I've ordered a $40-50 bottle of wine, I include that amount when I'm calculating a tip. If it was a very expensive bottle ($100+), I would adjust accordingly. What do you think? Do you tip on the after-tax or before-tax amount? Do you tip a full 20%, even on a very expensive bottle of wine?
Update: Wow, plenty of opinions on this one! If you want to weigh in on the issue please comment here instead.