Tipping for engineers


Ever been stuck trying to decide how much to tip a waiter that falls short of the mark? As an engineer type, I like to break processes down to their component parts. Take for example table service, which I've here conveniently parsed into 15 points, one for each percent. On days I'm feeling particularly prickly, I'll tip 1% for each of the 15 expectations I have of a waiter (when within his/her control) that are met:

  1. Prompt, polite greeting

  2. Clean attire

  3. Prompt water, drinks

  4. Knowledge of menu

  5. Accurate recording of orders

  6. Updates on progress of food prep if delayed

  7. Attentiveness to special requests

  8. Accurate delivery of food

  9. Prompt delivery of food (warm)

  10. Proper delivery of food (no reaching)

  11. Attentive but not impatient during meal

  12. Checks when requested or at end of meal

  13. Check splitting appropriately

  14. Checks processed promptly

  15. Expression of thanks

I'll also add extra credit for special attentions or circumstances:

5% for panache, for that special waiter that makes dining a delight.
5% for acceding to special requests, such as taking a group photo, or quick turnaround, or special seating
5-10% or more apology money when one of my party (occasionally, me) turns out to be a real butthole, sloppy drunk, or wannabe comic.
5% when one of my party forces the waiter to decide for him/her what to order.

What criteria do you use in deciding how much to tip?


Originally published