A controversial topic in American society is why, or how much, is the correct way to tip a waiter? The consensus seems to be that anywhere between 12-20% of the total price of the bill is the amount that the waiter should earn as a tip.
This is not correct.
Why should the waiter/waitress earn less than minimum wage and earn the majority of their pay off of tips that are tied to the amount of the price of the meal? A hungry customer could find a way to work this system into their favor by ordering multiple dishes at a lower price. For example, a customer could order three value priced 16 ounce steaks (creating more work for the server) for $5 a piece, for a grand total of $15. Using our current practice of tipping, this server would earn a tip between $1.80-$3.00. Advantage-Customer.
Meanwhile, this same waiter could be serving another customer at another table. This customer, however, orders the $25 chopped salad. Under the current system, this chopped salad is costing the customer an extra $3.00-$5.00 in tip money. Less writing and carrying for the server. Advantage-Waiter.
The Correct Way to Tip a Waiter
The system is broken, people. It’s 2021, and we demand a change.
The only way to make this fair for both parties is to begin tipping our servers based on the weight of the food they are serving. You read that right. Throw out everything you know about the tip you typically leave after a meal, this is the way we must begin doing it.
The model for calculating your servers tip is as follows: (Our unit of measurement will be grams)
Total weight of meal – weight of physical dish = food weight
- The waiter should only be tipped based upon the weight of the food, the dish itself is what their base pay is for.
Each gram will earn the waiter one penny ($0.01)
Now let’s apply this model to the scenario I portrayed above.
The first customer ordering the three steaks, creating more work for the waiter, would tip as followed: 16 ounces= 453.59 grams= $4.54 per steak
Total tip= $13.62
The second customer’s chopped salad, weighing roughly 200 grams would cost this customer much less in tip money.
Total tip= $2.00
This is fair. The first customer created more work for the waiter, more writing/memorizing (how to cook the steak, etc.) and carrying, thus justifying the higher tip.
Conversely, there are ways for the server to negate their earned tip:
- Corny joke -15% (plus -2% for each additional poor joke)
- Untimely service -10%
- Inserting self in table conversation -20%
- Pushy up-selling -5%
- Share personal details of their life/day -30%
- Smiley face/message on the receipt -1%
- Referring to you by name after reading your credit card -20%
- Sit down at the table with you -100%
Yes, it is possible for the waiter to earn a negative tip, creating a situation where they actually owe you money. Let’s say our customer who ordered the salad had their waiter sit down at their table while telling two corny jokes. Congratulations! You just earned $0.34!
You may also award bonus points to your waiter for excellent service:
- Carrying multiple plates in one hand +3% for each additional plate after the first
- Speedy, straight to the point service +10%
- Not being named Chad, or something similar +1%
- Listening to the customer, not implying or forcing own thoughts +3%
This system creates a uniform tipping standard that can be applied at every kind of eating establishment. This will eliminate all guess work (actually, probably not) that is involved in our country’s current price based tipping method. It’s the 21st century, we have the necessary knowledge and technology to discard such barbaric tipping standards.