A Word of Advice: Tip Your Waiter, Please

By franco on 5 October, 2012


Tip your waiter, please

The restaurant scene in Manila tends to shadow (not always in a positive way) the American experience – specifically, our growing obsession with the idea of  the ‘Celebrity Chef’.  This is not necessarily a bad thing. Any marketing expert will tell you, it is important to put a face on your brand (i.e. a restaurant, ready-to-eat food product, cookbook or television show). Personalizing the brand makes it more relatable and even appealing to all the food obsessed consumers. In the end, a chef’s passion still has to pay the bills.

The downside of all this attention on ‘The Chef’, we tend to take for granted that the delectable dish which you are about to sit down and savor  is a product of a team – a very hardworking, disciplined and often, underpaid team of restaurant professionals.

Kitchen Mosaic

Please don’t misunderstand.

I have a deep, deep respect for chefs. I truly admire those chefs who have ‘made their bones’: working their way up the brigade, improving their craft along the way and more importantly, working their own kitchen lines – day in, day out. These are the type of ‘blue collar’ chefs who have a true understanding of what essentially is a trade craft  and are able elevated it into making delicious works of consumable art.

But like I said we forget. While chefs get credit for their beautiful creations on the plate by diners and the media alike, we overlook the ‘grunts’ working hard behind the scenes in both the kitchen and the front of the house. They are not looking to be noticed. They are just trying to get through service and to do their jobs without any perceptible error.  The goal is simple – to make sure that each guest has an exceptional dining experience… or at the very least,  an edible and stress-free meal. And at the end of the week, get paid.


It’s not all about the money.

At the very core, every person in the hospitality industry is both a people pleaser and an entertainer. Cooks like having plates returned to kitchen eaten clean. Servers like seeing guests stepping away from their tables, looking blissfully satisfied. At the end of service, these disciplined, detail-oriented professionals just want to make you happy.

Yes, there is a service charge on your bill. You may think that ten percent is sufficient. But really, it’s not.

So next time you dine out,  tip your waiter…and please be generous.

Much thanks to At Maculangan for the photos


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  • OCTOBER 5, 2012 10:25 PM

    Anonymous Paul said...

    I'm not so sure service here parallels that of the American experience. There, tables are looked upon as precious real estate and they realy work for tips alone. So it's a bit more competitive. Or even entrepreneurial to a degree. Here... I'm not so sure. Does a guaranteed 10% regardless of effort actually promote complacency? Or is it lack of training? Varies per establishment of course.

  • OCTOBER 10, 2012 3:26 PM

    passive. observer said...

    when an establishment has a guaranteed 10% service charge, usually i leave a minimal amount. however, when the service is really exceptional, i make it a point to give something extra to the server. some establishment have a "no service charge" policy, for these, i leave a customary 10% and not the usual P20 (which according to my friend is sooo seventies). but if service is really lousy, sorry na lang.

  • OCTOBER 11, 2012 3:27 PM

    franco said...

    A good thing about the 10% service charge is that it is usually shared among all the non-management staff, front of the house and kitchen (not usually the case, in other countries) But one of the questions that should be asked is, "Is that enough?" Better service deserve acknowledgement with a bigger tip. But the point for me is having a great chef at the helm is a good thing. But don't forget the other people who work hard to make our meal an experience with little praise and even less financial compensation.

  • OCTOBER 13, 2012 1:19 PM

    leigh said...

    What is a good rule of thumb for tipping? If there's a 10% service charge, then should you add another 5% separately? It can run to a significant amount especially when you have a rather expensive meal ... What about when you eat at buffets for instance? Waiters still get you drinks and other stuff, how much should you tip in that case? Also, what about when you have 3 servers for a group of 10 for instance? It would really be helfpul to know some ground rules so to speak?

  • DECEMBER 4, 2012 6:19 PM

    Cath said...

    May I share this on Facebook or at the very least reblog on my wordpress site? I do tip the server (more when the service is satisfactory) and I also encourage everyone else I know to do the same. About the rise in numbers of chefs as of late, I'd say that most of them are there just for the fame,fad and not really because they really as passiionate in work not just words. Individually? I cannot give an opiniion because I've no time to taste test dishes. Ah, good thing this isn't much of a dilemma.

  • DECEMBER 4, 2012 9:23 PM

    admin said...

    Hi Cath, please share by all means. Thanks for dropping by!

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