Though the practice of tipping waiters in restaurants is not as widespread in New Zealand as it is in some other parts of the world it is still a useful skill to master. Chances are that at some point in time, whether at an upscale New Zealand restaurant, or overseas where it is virtually mandatory, you’ll find yourself faced with the task of compensating your waiter for service provided during the course of your meal.
The Rules of Tipping
In New Zealand tipping is generally considered an extra gratuity given to a waged employee for polite and attentive service. Overseas, particularly in the United States, tips make up the major part of a waiter’s income. Despite this difference, certain general rules of tipping can be considered to apply in most cases.
- Evaluate your dining experience. Was your food well prepared and attractively presented? Did the restaurant provide an enjoyable atmosphere? Was your waiter polite and attentive? All of these things are important for a pleasant meal, but it is worth remembering that not all of them are within your waiter’s control.
- When you receive your bill check to see whether a tip or service charge has already been added to it. If it has not, you are free to calculate your own tip. Generally, for adequate service 15% is considered fair.
- Certain factors might be considered to merit heavier tipping:
- Exceptional service.
- If you occupy your table for an unusually long period of time (thereby preventing the waiter from seating additional guests and earning further tips).
- If you have young children with you – the waiter will have to pay more attention to your table and spend longer cleaning up after you’ve gone.
- If you are disappointed with your dining experience you can express this by reducing your tip. Think carefully before doing this, though. Was it really the waiter’s fault? If your food was badly cooked the fault is more likely to lie with the kitchen. Even if your meal was slow arriving at your table it may have been due to circumstances beyond the waiter’s control. In cases such as these it might be more appropriate to express your disappointment by speaking to the manager.
- Finally, waiters remember customers who tip well and it may be worth it to consider tipping a little extra to ensure even better service next time you visit the restaurant.
Tipping a waiter is an expression of your satisfaction with the service provided by the restaurant. Be fair, evaluate your experience, consider extenuating factors and tip appropriately.