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How much should a customer tip a server when dining in a Buffet ( self service ) Restaurant?

I currently work in a all buffet reataurant where guest dine for long periods of time, but don’t tip the customary 15-18%. Even though there getting the food themselves, its alot more work than ala carte service, due to the guest making several trips to the buffet, its more plates you have to clear, not to mention all the beverage they consumme. Some guest are in & out whithin 30 minutes, in ths case I’m O.K. with 10%, but dont make it an all day affair and give me pennies.

I’ve worked in the restaurant industry for 20 years. It is now customary to base your tip at the lowest 18% to the highest at 23% with the standard being 20%. And it should never be different for a buffet versus a la carte items. People that eat out should realize that the server has to tip out to the bussers, the kitchen and the bar and sometimes even the hostesses and captains on the floor. You don’t just hurt the server. There is a snowball effect that occurs when you are a cheap tipper. Regarding the buffet…Just because you served yourself at the buffet doesn’t mean that you set up and broke down the buffet yourself , kept it fully stocked and cleared your table yourself and got your drinks too. If you can’t afford to tip 20%, don’t bother going out. And did you know that all server sales at most restaurants are reported to the IRS daily so we pay taxes based on what you buy…whether you tip or not. So when you skimp on the tip, not only am I out my hourly wage but I get hit with the tax of the assumed tip based on the average for the restaurant…which is now 20%.

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