Secrets of a Server: 9 Tips on Tipping

Did you know Make it Simple Sister’s own social media maven Ginger moonlights as a cocktail waitress? What better person to finally give us the bottom line on those pesky tipping situations. What we love about her tips on tipping, is that she’s like the Emily Post of the food and beverage industry, tellin’ it to us straight.

1.) 15 percent is no longer a good tip, although it is acceptable. When I go out I tip 15 percent for BAD service. If it’s mediocre I tip 18 percent and if it’s good I tip 20 percent or more. Try to think about it like this…how much did this server have to do for me and how happy were they to do it? Then tip accordingly.

2.) Keep in mind…tips for servers are the same as paychecks are for most people. Servers in CA make minimum wage, which isn’t much to speak for after they pay taxes. Their tips are their wellbeing and they are counting on them.

3.) If you split the check and only tip on half, we notice. You haven’t fooled anyone.  Same goes for paying part in cash and part on a card. The server knows how much your original check was.

4.) If you order drinks at a bar you can usually get away with tipping $1 per drink. Although, if the drinks are fancy and the bartender had to muddle mint, blueberries and schnozzberries and then shake vigorously then you should probably tip more. It’s also a good idea to tip more if you want the bartender to remember you for ‘next round’ purposes.

5.) Anytime you order food you should tip as if you were at a restaurant…even if you are sitting at the bar.

6.) Never ever tip with coins.

7.) A good tip goes a long way. Servers and bartenders remember good tippers and will often give them free stuff, discounts and better service the next time they come in.

8.) In a world filled with happy hours and Groupons you should always remember to tip on what the original check would have been. You may have gotten a swingin’ deal but the server is doing the same amount of work.

9.) Too much to think about? Get the free QuickTip app that quickly calculates your tip for you and lets you choose the percentage you’d like to leave.



  1. What is appropriate to tip and deli counters and the like? There now seems to be an expectation to tip on counter “service.” Rule 5 can’t apply; it doesn’t make sense to tip the same as table service when the customer is doing most of that work.

  2. From our writer Ginger: For counter service I usually tip 10%. My rules apply to getting served! If you don’t have a server it’s different.

  3. Kirstie says:

    To be perfectly honest, I tip 10% and that is it. I don’t get a tip for the job I do and I work with the public every day. On minimum wage. So I’m not going to tip 15-20% when they are doing their job. I appreciate it. But they get 10% and if service has been shocking I tip nothing. It may sound harsh but I don’t have lots of money to splash around! As for “counter service” I wouldn’t tip. Never been told to tip for this and have never seen anyone do this. :).

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