Here’s a short-course in the art of tipping:
- Use cash. That way, you can be sure your waiter actually gets the money. According to the website CreditCards.com, many restaurants deduct the bank’s processing fee – a percentage of the check - before handing the money over to your waiter. So, leaving cash is the only way to be sure you’re not also tipping your bank.
- That doesn’t mean a small cash tip is better than a generous one on plastic. Brian Connors is a professor at Johnson and Wales’ College of Hospitality Management. He says that service employees appreciate gratuities in any form because without them they wouldn’t earn a living wage. Plus, many restaurants require waiters to share their tips with busboys, food runners, and hostesses - which can reduce their earnings by as much as one-third. That's one of the reasons why etiquette expert Dan Senning recommends raising your standard tip from 15 to 20-percent - even if you’re not thrilled with your meal. He says that the reasons behind your bad experience usually have little to do with the waiter. So, your best bet is to tip well, and lodge a complaint with the manager.
- If you’re thinking cash tips encourage people to cheat on their taxes, don’t worry. Financial expert and former restaurant employee Liz Weston says that the IRS has adapted new, tougher rules on gratuities, rules that require waiters to report tip income based on gross sales. This means, in some cases, service people are paying taxes on tips they DON’T even receive.