In the US, it’s generally accepted that when you eat at a restaurant, you must tip. The general guideline is 15-20%, more or less, and is based on the performance of the server. There are many differing opinions on gratuities, especially with individuals who have themselves been servers/waiters/waitresses.
I like to eat at mom and pop restaurants. At many of these restaurants, the owner or family will be the one serving your food. After you meal, do you tip the owner?
I feel uncomfortable tipping the owner of a restaurant. I feel like it’s almost an insult to the owner. Tipping carries an underlying connotation of class structure. You tip people that serve you. By tipping someone, you are implying that (for this interaction at least) you are above them. This is further cemented by the accepted salary for waitstaff which is $2.13 an hour in Texas. many waiters and waitresses depend on tips to make a living.
I do not own a restaurant, but as an entrepreneur, I consider restaurateur to be a position of prestige. By tipping the owner, you are lowering the class of the owner. I may be way off base here, but I don’t believe a restaurateur goes into business expecting to make tips. You figure out your costs and other variables and set your prices to make a profit. The owner is not being paid $2.13 an hour.
It’s stupid to assume that there aren’t restaurant owners out there that want/need that extra money. And if you like a restaurant, it makes sense that you want to help the restaurant stay afloat. I think a better policy would be to order extra food or dessert to go. Bring this food to a friend with a business card or takeout menu. Here’s the important part: be sure to tell the owner that you loved the food so much that you’re bringing some to a friend. You are supporting your local restaurant without tipping. Even more so, you are spreading the word about the restaurant and potentially generating more business. Do you think the owner would rather have your 5 bucks now or more people coming through the doors?
Do you think restaurant owners should be tipped?