How we tip

Tipping always seemed so random to me at restaurants, so we codified a system to use. Restaurants are a service industry, they are selling service & food, so we tip on how they do it.  What is a perfect dining experience?


We rate you in 3 categories.  Each category has a maximum rating of 7.  We add the three ratings together, and that equals your tip. WE TIP ON SERVICE!


(Responsibility: All the server, although management assigning too many tables to a server could affect this.  If this is the case, talk to your manager about it, you may be losing on tip money because you have too many tables.)

What decreases it?  Drinks sitting empty. Us looking for server, and not finding server.  Being ready to order (appetizer, meal and/or dessert), and having to wait.  Waiting for check.

What increases it? Keeping drinks always filled, making eye contact with us at least every 5 minutes to see if we need anything. Order accuracy (check the kitchen’s work.) Attending to our needs promptly.

Rating:   0 .. 1 .. 2 .. 3 .. 4 .. 5 .. 6 .. 7


(Responsibility: team work between server & kitchen)

What decreases it?  Appetizers if any taking too long.  Dinner taking too long. Dessert taking too long.

What is perfect? (See times in this blog entry.)

Rating:  0 .. 1 .. 2 .. 3 .. 4 .. 5 .. 6 .. 7


(Responsibility: All the kitchen)

How did the food taste?  Did it have any taste?  Did it taste good?  Is it what was ordered?  Does the plate delivered match the description on the menu?  If we ordered it with no mushrooms, did it come with no mushrooms?

Your Rating:   0 .. 1 .. 2 .. 3 .. 4 .. 5 .. 6 .. 7

Tip amount is the sum of the ratings.  Perfect Tip = 21%

Best restaurants (based on above, and our personal experiences):

  • The Sole Proprietor, Worcester, MA
  • Burtons Grill, Nashua, NH
  • Tavolino’s, Westboro, MA — This may be under new management and no longer accurate.  Based on recent Yelp reviews the level of service at this location has dropped dramatically.  I tried to reach out to them and the response received (from Karen P.) was non-specific and useless.  If you go here, don’t go here because of this website.  I’ll update this if we ever go here again.

Based on our personal experience, they do it perfectly every time.

We live in Worcester, MA, so you can understand why they are both in the central MA region 🙂

What do you think about this?  Does it seem fair? What system do you use?  How would you change it to make it more fair?

I will not post negative comments, calling me a jerk, or other names.  If you want to leave a constructive comment, to try to fix the system, I welcome them.  I know I’m not perfect, this is just an attempt to apply order to the chaos that is eating out. I know the restaurants above can do perfect service every time we visit, so I know it possible.  I can’t tell you want the secret sauce is, I can only tell you what it looks like.

3 thoughts on “How we tip”

  1. My only concern with this system is the fact that YOUR only concern is your table. the waitress has to mind all of her tables. her job is to get her tables everything they need. no waitress has just one table. I understand everyone wants perfect service, but considering you are not the only customer on your waitress’s mind. you should consider that before giving someone a low ‘attentiveness ‘ score.

    1. Amy, thank you for comments. I know at least two restaurants that provide excellent service all the time, so I know it’s possible. I understand there are factors other than my table for the Server, but that doesn’t concern me, the customer. I came in for a meal, I see other people in the restaurant, but they are not part of my meal. I’m not in the business, I can’t tell you how to give us good service. I know its possible, as a few restaurants have the secret sauce. I can’t be expected to understand restaurant operations, and be able to understand the reason for the bad service. All I know is I was ready to order desert, it took 15 minutes to get the menu, and another 20 minutes for the server to come back to take the order. The only input I have other than calling the manager and making big stink is the tip, with candid feedback.

      I am open to constructive feedback on my formula, suggest specific improvements to it where its broken. Constants: the 21% max tip will not change, and it must cover the entire dining experience.

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