Family Matters: 5 ways it pays to tip your waiter well

Published on Thursday, 18 May 2017 10:15 - Written by JENNIFER FLANDERS

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My husband and I entered marriage with very disparate attitudes toward tipping.

Wishing to spend as little as possible, I would always drink water, eat light, and calculate my (minimum-recommended percentage) tip to the exact penny, bumping it up to the next dollar amount only if the service was exceptional.

My husband tips generously regardless – even when waitresses are rude or get our orders wrong or don’t refill our drink glasses during the entire meal.

Since May 21 is National Waitstaff Day, I thought this would be a good time to share my husband’s tipping philosophy, which was forged while he was waiting tables himself through high school and college:

  1. Servers Depend on Good Tips – People don’t wait tables because they enjoy getting chewed out when the steak’s overcooked. They’re serving to make ends meet. They depend on the generosity of their customers to help pay the rent, to put food in their children’s mouths, or to cover their college tuition.
  3. Good Service Deserves Good Tips – Waiting tables is grueling work. Servers are on their feet all day. There are orders to be taken, drink glasses to fill (and refill), piping hot plates to serve up promptly, bread baskets to replenish, desserts to proffer, tickets to tally, to-go boxes to fetch, and change to be made. Most servers work hard to earn their tips, so leave them a nice one.
  5. Bad Service is Improved by Good Tips – Your waiter has bad days, just like everybody else: His car breaks down. His girlfriend dumps him. His bills come due. His last customer stiffs him. Such stressors can adversely affect his job performance. Of course, you’re not obligated to reward lousy service with a large tip, but if you choose to do so anyway — to extend grace where it is so obviously and desperately needed – you might just turn a server’s crummy day (and attitude) into a great one.
  7. It Reflects Well on You to Give Good Tips – The way you treat (or mistreat) your waitress says a lot more about you than it does about her. That’s why savvy business owners interview potential hires in a restaurant setting. That a prospective employee is courteous to the person conducting the interview — the one who will determine whether or not he gets the job — says very little. That he is patient with a waitress who spills ice water in his lap speaks volumes. (More revealing still is how he treats his server when it comes time to sign the check.)
  9. You Share God’s Blessings When You Leave Good Tips – It’s common knowledge in the service industry that Sunday morning shifts are the worst. The Sunday lunch hour is insanely busy as restaurants fill to bursting with church-going folks fresh from worship, and tips are minimal or non-existent. We who name the name of Christ should demonstrate His character – His patience, His kindness, and His lavish generosity –  in how we treat others, including our waiters and waitresses.

In case you’re wondering, my husband has by now completely won me over to his way of thinking. I still drink only water and steer clear of expensive entrees, but when it comes time to sign the check, I think to myself, “How much would my husband tip on this tab?” Then I leave that amount, plus a little bit more — just to be safe.


Jennifer Flanders considers herself blessed to be married to such a wise and generous man. To read more life lessons she’s learned from her husband, follow this link: