How Much Should I Tip at Restaurants?

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Different rules for different kinds of restaurants, and levels of service.

At Restaurants

Wait staff 15% – 20% of the total bill before taxes (Note: some restaurants now suggest tipping after taxes because servers themselves tip out on the after tax amount).
Wine served with dinner The safe recommendation is to tip 15-20% of the total bill, including alcohol, even for expensive bottles of wine. However, we’ve seen some restaurants say it’s OK to tip around 10% for expensive wines.
Bartenders 15% – 20% of the tab; or, $1 for beer or wine, $2 for mixed drinks.  Ideally, pay your bar tab before leaving for your table.
Order at front If you order at the front and food is delivered to your table, it depends.  If, once you’ve ordered, the seating and decor compare with a standard, sit-down restaurant, tip 5%-10%.  If the food is delivered to your table only as a convenience, tipping is not necessary.
What’s an average restaurant tip?  Read our survey results.

At Cafes

Tip jar Optional.  Leave 5%-10% for good service or complicated orders, especially if the staff is hired and is more dependent on tips.

At Buffets

“fast-food” buffets No tipping necessary.
“casino-style buffets” If you have a waitress or waiter who takes your drink order and checks on you, $1-$2 is appreciated.
hotel buffets For business breakfasts, tip $1-$2.  At high-end hotel brunch buffets, 15%-20% frequently is the norm and sometimes automatically added..

At Fine Dining

Parking Attendant Usually $1-$3
Coatroom Attendant Usually $1 per coat
Wait staff 15%-20% of the pre-tax bill (Note: some restaurants now suggest tipping after taxes because servers thenselves tip out on the after tax amount).
Wine steward or sommelier For personal service from the wine steward, you may tip 10% of the wine bill.
Restroom Attendant Usually .50-$1

Other (including delivery)

Pizza Delivery At least $1, 15% for normal service, more during rain, snow or other poor weather.