• Marc Primo

Gratuities: The Difference Between Too Much & Too Little

Updated: Mar 19, 2020

The following is an article “Gratuities: The Difference Between Too Much & Too Little” by Marc Primo.

We all have different standards when it comes to tipping. Some might tip too much, while others don’t believe in tipping at all. So what is the universally accepted rule when it comes to gratuities?

While many service-related industries, especially dining establishments, include a service charge of 10 to 15 percent in your final bill, the debate on whether or not to include a tip still rages on. The following are some points to take into consideration when deciding on whether or not to leave a tip:


Service — Obviously, a tip is called a gratuity because it is supposed to be a show of “gratitude” for great service. If you feel that your servers went the extra mile and were exceedingly attentive, then no doubt you would want to show your appreciation by leaving a tip. But that may not be applicable if service charge has already been slapped on. Nevertheless, an additional 5 percent of your final bill, on top of the service charge, is enough to show your gratitude without leaving deserving servers feeling unappreciated.


Culture — In some countries, gratuities are mandatory whereas in others, they are discouraged. In Japan, for instance, tipping is not customary because good service is something that is expected and therefore already included in the total amount. In countries where tipping is practiced, as a general rule 10 percent of your total bill is the universal standard. However, if you are unhappy with the service and have already been charged a service fee, then it is perfectly acceptable not to leave a tip without further explanation after having paid the bill and service charge in full.


Scenario — In some cases, tipping would be inappropriate despite being in a situation where you would expect to tip a server. For example, your server in any cafe or restaurant in most parts of the world would expect a tip for serving you a meal, and this is something you would not dispute. At the same time, it is common knowledge that your server in a fast food restaurant who also serves you a meal does not expect a tip, nor are your supposed to give one. Whatever the reason for this is that society dictates, always consider the scenario you are in first and use your better judgment before deciding whether or not to leave a tip.


Appropriate — Never feel obligated to leave a tip if you think your server does not deserve one. There are too many self-entitled people out there in the service industry who think a tip is their god-given right and get away with receiving a gratuity after providing terrible service. By rewarding them with a tip, you are inadvertently creating a culture of mediocrity wherein taxi drivers, waiters, bellhops, etcetera, settle for providing sub-standard service instead of striving for excellence. Ultimately, it is you, the customer, who will suffer.