Art of tipping at restaurants
Having enjoyed that sumptuous lunch or dinner you are ready to dig into your wallet to pay the check. You look at the total and flip out a 10/20 KD note and wave to the server to clear the check. The server hops off to the counter and returns back with the change…an so comes the tipping part.
So how do you feel about tipping or rather how much do you tip?
Tipping as they say is from heart…but I say use a bit of common sense. Unless you are are Sultan of Brunei, who famously tipped US$ 170,000 at the Four Seasons Cyprus, you might want to recheck your eating out budget if you leave excessive tips. Tips are for service, tips are a token of appreciation, and in Kuwait I also consider tips as a small contribution towards the lowly pay check of the staff.
Here is my common sense outlined when it comes to tipping:
- Always check the invoice, if it includes a service charge, then you should go for minimal tipping
- If the total bill is less than KD 5, I prefer to leave from quarter to half KD. Sometimes the amount left out is quarter KD plus some loose change that comes back from the cashier, so I leave that as well
- If the total is between 5-10 KD I would leave between half and KD1 [plus some loose change if it comes back from the cashier, if the total tip does not exceed KD1]
- If the total goes upto KD 20, and the total diners with me are around 3-4 then I would consider half KD per head and leave the appropriate amount
- If I have to pay upto KD 50 and am dining with say 5-10 guests, and given that service is great I would leave upto KD 5 depending on number of servers, quality of service and food
- In case you are paying for a large gathering [a la carte] where you have booked in lets say 20-30 tables with around 8 diners per tables, then the trick is to count the number of servers. This is usually decided with the caterers/restaurant before hand when you are arranging for the party. This way your total bill may be lets say upto KD 750 but with 6-8 servers you can end up paying say KD 5 per server for the entire event
- If you are arranging for a buffet then the tips need to be adjusted because the work i shared between diners and servers. Servers would bring in drinks and clear the plates but not serve food. Here you can cut down on tip per server
- If I am in a group where the check is payed by chipping in then quarter to half KD per person seems good tip as long as the total tip amount is upto 15% of total bill
- I never tip at over the counter fast food joints like McDonalds unless there is a family feast and the servers are bringing in all the food to the table
- In case of home delivery, I always read the invoice as it would indicate the delivery charges, and then tip accordingly
- If I am in a fancy joint where there is a valet parking, I would leave upto KD1 for the valet if there are no pre-assigned valet charges. And I would pay this when the valet takes my car not after returning the car, as this would ensure better handling of my car
- I always tip a quarter to the cleaners in the washrooms who deserve some appreciation for their work
- In case you don’t feel like tipping, there is no harm in not tipping. Remember you have paid for the food and you have the right to walk out without feeling guilty
No matter how you use your judgment when it comes to tipping, never forget that total of tips should include all the money that you have forked out at the joint including valet tips, server tips, cleaner tips, excluding the actual bill for the food. So next time you are enjoying a great service with good food, be sure to tip, but with some common sense.