Every server wants a decent tip. I mean, it’s why we do what we do, right? It’s certainly not for the joy and fulfillment we get from burning off our fingerprints and having the smell of honey mustard permanently embedded into our clothes, hair and souls. We give good service with the hope that our customers will find it in their hearts to toss a few meager dollars our way so that we can pay our bills and maybe have a few pennies leftover to purchase a much needed cocktail.
And then came Emilee, a server in an unnamed establishment who wants the tip just as badly as any of us, but got a little bit desperate for it. You see, Emilee thought it was a good idea to write in a suggested tip at the top of the receipt so that the customer would know exactly how much Emilee thought she deserved. No, Emilee. That’s not how it works.
If a restaurant has a suggested gratuity factored into the bill and it’s automatically printed at the bottom of the receipt, fine. A customer may or may not see those numbers, and if they do they won’t think much about it. However, if the server personally writes a suggested gratuity down on the receipt next to a half-assed “thank you,” it comes across as rude, disrespectful, and needy. I can guarantee you that any customer who sees it will be turned off and may end up leaving less than they had originally planned.
Emilee, here’s why it’s wrong:
- You’re assuming that the service you gave is worth at least an 18% tip. That’s not your decision, it’s theirs.
- It makes the customer think that you think they aren’t smart enough to figure out how to calculate 20% of their bill. Never make a customer feel stupid.
- It’s just tacky as fuck.
Servers, if you’re reading this, please don’t be Emilee. Writing a tip suggestion onto a check is the equivalent of standing next to a four-way stop sign with a squeegee and a bucket of water with a cardboard sign asking for money. Give good service, be polite and earn your tip. If a customer chooses to not leave a tip, don’t dwell on it and focus on your next table. Too many people already look down at us for what we do, so let’s not give them another reason to think we’re lowly beggars. And if you absolutely feel the need to have a suggested gratuity added to the receipt, let the restaurant take care of that so we can at least pretend we had nothing to do with it.