The first thing you should know is that restaurants are allowed to pay their wait staff below minimum wage.  The current minimum hourly rate for tipped employees in New Jersey is $5.13.

Definition of the word Minimum wage in a dictionary


A lot of folks wonder why restaurants don't just pay their staff more.  The reality is that restaurants operate with very low margins.  Tipping allows good wait staff to make more than they would if they were working for an hourly rate.

For instance, let's say a waiter is serving 4 tables an hour, and each table tips $10, the waiter will make $45, rather than the $13 minimum wage.

When I go out to eat, if the service is good, I'll usually leave a 20% tip.  If the service is poor, my tip will reflect that.  But there seems to be a new trend, and its making people uncomfortable.

Waiter Serving Group Of Female Friends Meeting For Drinks And Food In Restaurant


What do you do when you visit a take-out food restaurant?  You call in the order, and then go to the restaurant, and when you're ready to pay, the cashier turns the screen around, and the screen asks how much you want to tip?  It can feel uncomfortable touching the button that says, "no tip," but that's exactly what I do.  Same thing in fast food restaurants.

Payment with credit card

The concept of tipping in today's world is supposed to be to reward someone for superior service.  How much effort is required to take a bag from the kitchen to the checkout counter?

Here's my rule of thumb:

Tip the bartender a buck a glass.  If service is really good, leave an extra 5 spot at the end of the night.



Valets get 3-5 bucks.  This depends on the weather.  If it's rainy or cold, they get a higher amount.

Buffets are tricky.  If the wait staff is diligent about taking my dirty plates, and keeping my glass full, I'll leave $3-$5.  If not, why pay anything above the meal?

Hair stylists deserve some love.  Honestly, if I go to one of the chains where it costs 15 dollars, I'll leave 5.  The more expensive places will depend on the service.

Woman Getting a Haircut


Manicurists, and masseuses will get 20%

Any delivery service like flowers, food, or groceries, I'll give 3-5.

For more guidelines on tipping, check out

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