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As I waited tables, the other servers and I tried to develop an idea of what kinds of combinations would end up being good trucks.
One convenient businessman ordering for the whole party? Usually a good sign. Tables checking their hours and “considering maybe ordering some food” near the end of happy hour? good luck.
As it turns out, we probably should have kept an eye on Braun’s equipment.
Restaurant software company Toast examined 12 metropolitan areas to determine the best city to relocate to. Cleveland topped the list with diners there adding a 20.6% gratuity to their checks, on average. San Francisco comes in at the bottom, with an average tip of 17%.
- Cleveland: 20.6%
- Denver: 19.8%
- Salt Lake City: 19.6%
- Phoenix: 19.5%
- Richmond: 19.3%
- Chicago: 19.3%
- New Orleans: 19.0%
- New York: 18.7%
- Washington, D.C.: 18.6%
- Seattle: 18.0%
- Los Angeles: 17.5%
- San Francisco: 17.0%
Toast’s study was based on transactions where the tip was credited via credit card or digital payment, which seems convenient. It seems like every transaction you make these days comes with a tablet tipped in your direction with suggested tip amounts.
Having worked in the restaurant industry, I’ve always considered myself a good tipper, at least as far as sit-down table service is concerned. As long as the server doesn’t put a fork in my eyes, they get 20% – more if they’re particularly good.
When it comes to these tablets, however, I tend to get more confused. I recently picked out some items at a local grocery store/convenience store/deli, and when I flipped the touch screen I was asked to tip 20%, 22%, or 25%. Over a 12-pack of beer, some chips, and a dip, I’d usually just flip through, well, nothing.
“It can feel like a pressure moment,” says Daniel Post Senning, co-author of Emily Post Etiquette: Centennial Edition. “The rules about whether you tip and how much you leave haven’t changed just because we did [point-of-sale] touch screens.
So what are the rules?
When it comes to wait staff, the good people of Cleveland and I are right, says Diane Gottsman, etiquette expert and owner of The Protocol School in Texas. “The guideline is 15% to 20%, but it errs on the side of a 20% excess. A lot of restaurant workers are struggling and the industry hasn’t bounced back yet.”
If one of these options suits you, choose it. If not, you can always hit Custom Tip.
Owner of the Protocol School in Texas
Takeout and net service is “like a tip jar—not necessary but generous,” Gottsman says. She adds that when making suggestions for digital tips, we tend to go ‘fast-forward’, so take a breath and look at your options.
“If one of these options works for you, choose that one. If not, you can always hit Custom Tip.”
You may not be comfortable leaving a tip at all. That’s fine, too, says Eileen Swann, etiquette expert and founder of the Swann School of Protocol. While some service workers rely on tips to make a living, others, like baristas, are paid by the hour. “It’s a good idea to hit ‘no tip’ or ‘continue’ or even ask how you don’t include a tip,” she says. “And you can do it with confidence.”
Ultimately, the best thing to do is include advice that makes you feel good, Senning says. “Don’t let technology interfere with the interaction between two real, living people,” he says. “Tips work best when there is someone you want to appreciate. Keep that feeling central.”
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