How to Tip Like a Gentleman

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Ever stiffed a waiter on his tip or worse still waived it around like you were the superior man? If so, you need some tipping etiquette lessons, pronto!


Proper tipping etiquette is still a trait rarely found in modern men yet, when perfected, it can actually become quite enjoyable. It’s a selfless act of giving to others based on the level of service you’ve received. A lot of these people get a pitiful wage and the tips they get go a long way to supplement their income. Make them happy and you’ll be looked after. Annoy them and you’d be best advised to eat your meal with caution!

Tipping like a Gentleman

Tipping really is an art form and when you’re giving your tip you want to be as discrete and gentlemanly as possible. Hand over the tip with your palm facing down and shake hands with the person you are tipping, simultaneously placing the money in their hand. What you want to avoid doing is waving the money around and making a big deal of it. You’ll look like an idiot for starts and if that isn’t enough, you’re going to make the person receiving the tip feel uncomfortable because, believe it or not, you’re coming across like a condescending jerk. You’re not throwing a treat for Fido here.

So how do you figure out how much to tip? Well the truth is there are no tipping rules per se, however there are guidelines which suggest how much is appropriate to give. Let’s investigate.

The restaurant waiter/waitress

This is the one that causes most debate because there is no hard and fast rule. It is also made even more difficult by waiting staff who have lost sight of the fact that a tip is a gratuity and is not actually required. As a guideline though, I’d say you can safely use the following without a disgruntled waiter spitting in your salad:

  • Self-serve/Buffet restaurant10-12%. If the service was fantastic, you could up this to 15%.
  • Local restaurant15%. Again, you could up this by a few percent if the server worked particularly hard or went out of their way to help you.
  • A 4-star restaurant – You’ll want to tip the maitre d’ as you’re being seated, particularly if you’re a regular and he/she goes out of their way to reserve you a table or get a table when the restaurant is busy. The standard tip here is anywhere from $20-100. For the service of the meal itself I’d recommend a tip of around 20-22%. Don’t forget to tip the wine steward (a few dollars per bottle of wine) and/or the coat check attendant ($1 for a couple of coats).

Taxi driver

Unless you want to annoy the Travis Bickle-esque taxi driver by stiffing him on a tip you’d better go ahead and give 15% of the fare.

Hair salon

You want to make sure your hair looks as good as possible and tipping will ensure that your hair stylist gives a polished cut. They’ll also be more likely to look after you next time you visit too (I’ve been given a free colour before simply for tipping well). An acceptable amount is somewhere in the region of 10-15% of the cost.

Hotel staff

There are a number of staff members at the hotel that can make your stay very pleasant or a living nightmare depending on how you tip them. Here’s who you should tip and how much to give them:

  • Chambermaid $5 per night you stay. That is, if you want clean sheets, towels and plenty of toilet roll.
  • Room service waiter – Again this is the standard 15%.
  • Bellhop – If you let the bellhop carry your bags up to your room and show you around said room without giving them a tip then you’re going to hell. Tip them around $10-15 for their efforts.

The casino

If you’re going for a night out at the casino, you better be prepared to tip. Of course if you’re a professional gambler (or just extremely lucky) you’ll be able to tip from your winnings.

  • Blackjack dealer$5 chip (or more) per session. It’s also common place in casinos for the players to place a small side bet for the dealers. You can agree the amount with other players but a $1 chip is usually sufficient.
  • Craps dealer – Those craps dealers love the action as much as you. It’s common to place up to a 10% side bet for the dealer.
  • Poker dealer$5 per session. Winners usually tip at least $10 and sometimes as much as 10% on bigger wins.
  • Drink waitresses$1 chip per drink.

Parking attendant

You don’t want some juvenile attendant ruining your prized Bentley Continental because you didn’t tip the lad, do you? On second thoughts, why would you let a juvenile attendant park your prized Bentley Continental unless you’re asking for trouble?

You should tip, at the very least $1 ($5 if they help with your luggage) but I would tip a little extra to get a better level of service. Perhaps $10-15 to make sure they don’t take it for a joy-ride ? la Ferris Bueller. Oh, that reminds me, always check the mileage of the car before handing it over to a parking attendant!

But what if I don’t want to give a tip?

There are some occasions where you feel unjustified to give out a tip, but let me tell you why you should.

  • The food was terrible.If the food was terrible, then complain to the manager (you might get a discount on the bill) but don’t take away the tip from the waiting staff because you’re punishing them for someone else’s mistake. Chances are they worked very hard for you and to not reward them would be unfavourable.
  • The service was below par. If the service was below par then you should tip at a lower rate than normal. Usually, I’d speak to the waiter I’m tipping and politely explain the reasons for the lower tip. Just make sure you’ve eaten all your food before you tell them!
  • You are a stingy and grumpy old man.So you don’t want to tip. Why not? You’re rewarding someone for doing good work. How would you feel if your boss decided to not give you the pay raise you’ve been asking for or taking your bonus away from you just because he felt like it? As the old saying goes, “Treat other people the way you expect to be treated yourself.”

Oh and for those of you wondering how to deal with people who flat out ask you for a tip. I like to go with the following:

Yeah, I’ve got a tip for you. Never eat yellow snow.

What’s your etiquette for tipping? Is it more or less than I’ve suggested? Also, if you’ve got a great tipping story from a restaurant for example, let us know in the comments.

Just A Guy Thing is a men's lifestyle magazine focused primarily at guys wanting to better themselves.

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