The Ins and Outs of proper tipping

Customers should tip 15-20 percent on drinks at the bar. The bartender, who is actually making the drink, also works on tips. (AP/Brian Kersey)

WASHINGTON – Are you tipping correctly?

It turns out there is a right way and a wrong way to calculate a tip.

Reader’s Digest and Yahoo’s Financially Fit spoke with Steve Dublanica, a former server and author of the blog Waiter Rant, to get to the bottom of proper tipping.

Dublanica answers five common tipping questions:

  • Should you tip on the tax? – There’s no reason to tip on tax, the restaurant doesn’t keep tax money. But one thing to consider: When servers calculate sales at the end of the night, they do include the tax in the amount.
  • What is the right amount to tip on drinks? – You should leave 15-20 percent of the total cost of the drink. The bartender, who actually makes the drinks, is also working for tips.
  • Do you always tip a barista? – Many baristas appreciate the change from buying a cup of coffee. For customers who order a decaf, double shot, soy, iced latte with no foam, go ahead and tip a dollar.
  • When, if ever, is it acceptable to leave a bad tip? – Tip money is distributed to other employees in the restaurant so you’re punishing all the other people connected to your dining experience. Instead, leave a tip and talk to a manager, Dublanica recommends.
  • Should a server be able to automatically include gratuity it it’s not a large group? – Restaurants that include an automatic service charge should tell customers. Deciding to attach a tip is not a decision that should be made by a waiter. It’s a decision for management.

To read more about properly tipping, follow this link.

WTOP’s Veronica Robinson contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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