Tipping follow-up: Oprah’s new advice

Reader Travis Walker says Oprah, ever aware of the slowing economy, has told her viewers to tip 10 percent in restaurants now instead of the usual 15 percent. Oprah’s Guide to Tipping, from the December 2002 issue of her magazine, goes with the standard 15-20 percent rule. At least the beef producers of America now have new friends in the restaurant industry.

On the timing of Oprah’s advice: Wasn’t the U.S. economy struggling in December 2002? Given the lag time in the magazine industry from final edits to newsstands, wasn’t the U.S. economy struggling in, say, October 2002? NBER said the economy was out of a recession by November 2001. Wikipedia says the early 2000s recession was felt mostly in 2002 and 2003. The stock market crashed hard in the last two quarters of 2002.

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71 Responses to “Tipping follow-up: Oprah’s new advice”

  1. Restaurant Worker Says:

    This is extremely bad advice, since I can’t feed my daughter when people tip me 10% at work. Maybe Oprah, the richest woman in the world, could just subsidize all the service staff across the country. Why don’t we cut half the income from all these wealthy people, instead of cutting our income in half? Even when people tip 20% I still only make 22K a year.

  2. Former Restaurant Worker Says:

    This is the most ridiculous advice from someone who obviously is out of touch. I have worked in a restaurant before and know many others who currently work as servers and 10% is nothing, especially when you consider that people in the restaurant industry are only making around $3/hr. Paychecks may only be around $25, and that’s if credit card fees haven’t been taken out. If you’ve never worked in a restaurant before, you probably don’t realize that these people make their living off of the tips they receive. So think about that the next time you stiff someone and don’t listen to Oprah’s horrible advice! These people need your tips now more than ever with the economy the way it is. Shame on you Oprah!

    I totally agree with Restaurant Worker!

  3. Waitress Says:

    If you can not afford to tip your server atleast 18% THan you can not afford to go out and eat at a sit-down restaurant!!!! It’s rude. If you can not afford to pay your bill and tip than don’t go out!
    Statistic: serving is ranked in the top 5 most stressful jobs.
    we work our butts off!

    • restaurant manager Says:

      I think we should all get together and sue Oprah

      • TRH Server Says:

        I agree. If Oprah thinks we can survive on 10% tips, I’m sure she won’t mind paying our lost wages(10k – 15k per year, per server…). Just becaue Oprah is a rich ****, doesn’t give her the right to set standard tipping rates. I have a family to povide for & bills to pay just the same as anyone else.

        The only reason people go out to eat is because they are to lazy to cook for themselves. If you can’t afford the tip, you can’t afford the meal. TIP OR STAY HOME!

      • Truth Says:

        Maybe listening to random internet messages with no facts isn’t a good idea since Oprah never said tip 10%

        Why are people so ignorant and so hesitant to actually look up information!!!!!

        http://msgboard.snopes.com/message/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/21/t/001045.html

      • Marie Says:

        you should never say people are to lazy too cook. Thank God for the people who go out to eat. They are your bread and butter without them where would all of us be. Thank goodness they go out to eat but always should be 20 percent and i give over that because of my job. Thanks to all the waiters and waitress’s out there. We are the best!! We all need to make a living.

  4. RESTAURANT WORKER Says:

    SERVERS HAVE BILLS TO PAY AND CHILDREN TO FEED. HAVE YOU EVER SERVED. MAKING $3.18 AN HOUR AND CLAIMING 100% OF YOUR TIPS PER I.R.S. – LEAVES NO CHECK. 15%-18% IS MUCH NEEED TO TRY AND SURVIVE. TOTALLY SHOCKED THAT YOU WOULD MAKE SUCH A COMMENT. I CHALLENGE YOU TO BE A SERVER AND MAYYBE THEN YOU CAN RELATE AND THEN RETRACT COMMENT!! IT IS HARD – HONEST WORK. TRY IT.

  5. Ronny Says:

    Oprah has lost a lot of respect. Telling people to eat out less would have been the better statement. If you can’t afford to tip properly then you should not go out to eat. That is what fast food is for. Unfortunately many food establishments could not keep their door open paying servers wages that they actually deserve. May you or Rachel Ray never show up in my section. I can tell you that it would definitely be my last day but not before I make a complete and utter fool of you.

  6. Gareth Williams Says:

    Why not campaign for decent wages rather than larger tips?

    • momdever Says:

      hey Gareth, they are not compaigning for larger tips, just the 15% that is “normal” and 20% if they do a really good job. Oprah had no right to advise people to tip less. Obviously that idiot has never been a server. And I’d bet she doesn’t tip either. She has no clue that these people in some places only actually make $2.18 an hour and rely on tips to live and pay their bills. You must be a cheapskate too. I’d bet you’ll leave 10% now just because Oprah told you it was ok to do that, if you tip at all. She makes me sick. Let me guess, if restaurants increased all of their prices by 20%, you’d have a cow and stop going. Because that’s what they would have to do in order to pay those servers more.

      • CJ Says:

        Momdever, I think you may actually be the idiot. There is no proof anywhere on the internet that Oprah Winfrey said this. Her studio and Facebook page both said it never happened. Where is a clip from this? Look on You Tube… you can find 16,200 entries for the word YAWN… so why isn’t there at least 1 of Oprah saying this.. haven’t you ever heard of an urban myth? This random badmouthing about rumors and hearsay is so sad, and is why our country is going down the toilet. Do you homework before you spout off about stuff.. better yet.. let’s all just shut up about this. I will if you will.

      • bryservedio Says:

        I’ve been a server since I was 16. I started in Pennsylvania where $1.00 tip per person was acceptable. I remember working for 12 hours straight – no break, because servers don’t receive breaks – and I would leave the restaurant with $100. Today, 15% tip is very old-school. Most of my customers leave at least 20%, which is more customary, especially in New York City. If a customer leaves less than 15% a server will sometimes say something to the customer. “Excuse me, but was everything satisfactory with the service?” The person will then respond, “Yes, everything was excellent.” And the server says, “Well you’ve left only 8% tip – I’m not sure if you are aware that I pay taxes based on my sales, not based on what tip I receive. Your bill for dinner for two was $200, sir. $16 will not cover the taxes I must pay for your food.” At that moment, the customer normally apologizes greatly and will leave the proper tip, 20%.

        20% is not for exceptional service in these days, when we all know a gallon of milk is $5.00. 20% means you were taken care of properly, perhaps not treated like a queen, but if you had a problem, it was taken care of quickly, the server was friendly, and your likelihood to return is high. 15% means that you can spend $80-$100 on dinner, but are too cheap/too lazy to tip the proper amount.

        PS: Restaurants in NYC force waiters to oblige to a HIGH tip-out scale. In my restaurant, I tip out 33% of my tips. In other restaurants, waiters tip out 7% of their total sales. Some restaurants make waiters tip out 50% of their tips!!! Regardless of how we tip out, the government taxes us 22% on our sales – I often times receive a weekly paycheck of VOID due to this fact.

    • BDW Says:

      This is ridiculous advice. If you force wages to go up for the servers then the menu prices for everything will go up to compensate. Instead of paying 15.99 for an 11 oz steak you will be paying 19.99+ for the same steak when you could have just by tipped properly to keep prices the same. I’ve worked shifts lately where i get 1 and 2 dollar tips on meals around 30 and 40 dollars. What people don’t understand is a lot of places make servers pay tip share based on total sales. If you tip me 10 percent I get 7 percent because I tip out 3 percent which isn’t even included for food runners and linens which can cost 8-10 dollars a night per server.

      • Anonymous Says:

        I worked in many restaurants and tipping is just a drama fest. I’d willingly pay more more a meal than have to deal with the social crap that is tipping. I go out of my way to not dine at served restaurants sometimes because of this.

    • Anonymous Says:

      I agree with this

      • JohnnZy Says:

        So…I guess Steak & Shake is out for you. I guess there’s always Golden Corral.

      • Anonymous Says:

        Good. Then keep going to McDonalds and don’t show your face in a real restaurant.

  7. Waitstaff Says:

    If restaurants provided a better wage to its waitstaff, theyd simply tack the additional costs on to the price of dining at the restaurant. That argument is a cheap ploy by those too cheap to properly tip. Its unfortunate enough that the African-American community maintains the stigma of being poor tippers on a whole because of the way a select group decide to act, but to have a icon such as Oprah acting as a mascot encouraging such lack of consideration for those who make less then minimum wage hourly is outrageous. I’ve yet to see the citation for her having actually said this, but if it did indeed happen its disgusting. One thing for people to remember on top of it all: Most servers tip out a large deal to their fellow help staff (bussers/bartenders/expos/hosts). Its not unusual to tip upwards of 4% of total sales, therefore a 10% tip is truly a 6% for the server in the end. No one can live off that. Be considerate and dont eat out and tip less then 15% (20% if the server was friendly and attentive REGARDLESS of the overall experience, they’re only responsible for things they can control).

  8. Waitstaff Says:

    Oh, and on a sidenote. Don’t believe that your tip balances out because others tip more. The problem of bad tips is two-fold for many servers. The additional issue is that in many establishments now managers track tip percentages left on credit cards and use it as a way to determine a server’s workshifts and sections. You’re not necessarily screwing the poor server out of just your tip, but potentially many others’ as well by taking away their potential to make money in the future.

  9. Bartender Says:

    Yeah, glad one of the most influencial women in the US (possibly the world) decided to open her mouth and let garbage flow from it. Now everyone who sits at home and watches her show is going to spread the word. 10% is a smack in the face to every server/bartender I know. Just remember when you are throwing down that $2 tip on your $20 bill how many times your server/bartender had to refill your ice tea in your 45 minute dining session. Let’s not mention the fact that you immediately made a mess of 10 sugar packets and sucked the tea down before they could even take your food order. It should be a REQUIRED class the senior year of high school that ALL students work in the service industry the last quarter of their senior year. They would all get a start on their resume, have a little extra spending money, learn how to budget, and MOST OF ALL how to act in public.

  10. pissed off waitress Says:

    I now have a very strong dislike for Oprah! I never cared for her in the past, but I had nothing against her.
    For someone of her status to let that kind of word vomit come out of her mouth is infuriating. Having an opinion is one thing, but when you have that kind of influence you should keep it to yourself. She gave millions of people an excuse to be cheap and disrespectful to the people who serve them.
    We live off our tips! How would you like it if Oprah went and told your boss to cut your wages in half? I consider 15% average and mildly disappointing, and 10% an insult. If you can’t afford to tip well, stay home or go to Mcdonald’s. I agree with the person who challenged Oprah to a waiting job. Although Im not sure it would get the point across considering she wouldn’t be relying on her tips for food and bills. At least she’d get to see how we tend to get treated like a lower form of life.

    I’d like to know what Oprah tips her servers…

  11. Bartender Says:

    I think that every person should have to work in the restauraunt business for at least one month and then tell me it is okay to tip 10 %. Do these people realize the livelihood of a waiter or waitress is dependent upon the tips they make and leaving $ 2 on a $40 check is not acceptable. Keep your $ 2. To be one of the richest women in the world that has to be one of the most ignorant, uninformed comments i have ever heard.

  12. BDW Says:

    If everyone starts tipping 10 percent be prepared to see the wages of servers paid by restaurants to start raising. Sounds like a good thing right? Wrong! Be prepared to see everything on the menu to go up 3 or 4 dollars if servers start making roughly $7-$8 an hour plus 10 percent tips instead of $2-$4 + 15+ percent tips. Tip less go ahead but you’ll end up paying more. On top of this I am a server as well. Say on a Friday night I have $750 in sales in 7 hours. Well with 10 percent that’s $75 dollars in tips not bad. The only thing is no matter what I get tipped I have to pay 3 percent of my sales back in tip share for the hosts, bussers, and the bar. This means 10 percent is only 7 percent and if you don’t tip I just paid for you to eat at my table for an hour. On top of this I have to pay $3 dollars no matter what for linens for my tables each night as well as $7 for the food runner who assists in getting the food out to the tables during the weekend. That $75 dollars is now $42.50 plus my $2 an hour for wages and its less if it wasn’t a busy night. For those who have never served it is not an easy job; Its more than taking orders and delivering food, every server has jobs to do on top of their tables to keep the restaurant running smoothly, you are on your feet for you’re entire shift, there are many rude people who think you are beneath them and on top of that we work when you are off at night and on holidays so you can go out to eat.

    • Tsk Tsk Oprah and all bad tippers Says:

      What most people don’t realize is that the $2.13 per hour that servers are paid is actually to cover the TAX we need to pay on our declared tips.

      I work in a very popular casual dining restaurant in South Carolina. I am the furthest from racist. Trust me. It’s a shame that the African-American community has given themselves a bad reputation for tipping poorly.

      I always provide given excellent service (regardless of race, color or creed) and on countless occasions (even before I have dropped off their bill) I see that they have left two crumpled up dollars on the table. Their bill can range from $10.00 (in this case they generally don’t leave a tip because they probably don’t think it’s a big enough bill)……then when the bill is $30-40 they leave $2.00…………then when the bill reaches a whooping $70.00 – they grace me with $5.00.

      Knowing this information after months and months of experiences like these……. I made a decision to protect myself. Since I tip out 3% of my food sales……I will only charge them for water instead of the tea or soda that they order……..that can reduce their bill significantly as well as my tip-out. Yes some might say – well you’ll still only get 10% – but like I indicated above – if their bill reaches $70 – and I only get $5.00 – that’s not even 10%. I have to tip the restaurant $2.10 and walk with $2.90 on their $70 bill. However if those 6 guests all ordered sodas – add another $2.25 to each person and their bill increases as does my tip-out to the restaurant – and it doesn’t guarantee I get an extra amount for my tip.

      I’m fortunate that we have a busy enough restaurant that the volume makes up for the amount of VIPs (very ignorant people) that fail to tip us appropriately. I try to look at my earnings for the evening and not necessarily based on the sales. If I make $80 or $100 in six hours – that’s better than a Wal-Mart worker in six hours – even if my food sales are high and my tips were low – to earn $80 in six hours isn’t too shabby in the restaurant industry.

      It would be nice if someone from a national newspaper or someone from each city’s newspaper read all these comments and took excerpts from them and published them for all to read – because I can guarantee you that the only people reading these posts are servers and bartenders and not the guests themselves that should be reading it.

      To all my fellow servers and bartenders……keep your chin up……not everyone listens to Oprah……..and remember….what goes around comes around…….her ratings are going to drop now……because she has lost viewers……..

      • bryservedio Says:

        I write 15%, 18%, and 20% on every bill I give to customers. Most customers thank me. They say, “I had no idea that 20% was this much!” And they leave me the proper tip. Try it!

  13. Chicago Server Says:

    As a server in Chicago, I have noticed a dramatic dip in the tips I’ve received in the last few months, though the amount of work I do and level of service I provide have not changed. The argument is out there that patrons don’t like being responsible for their server’s paycheck so they’re going to try to change the system from the inside out by not tipping as much. They look around, see I have 7 tables in my section and assume I’m making $20 on each table in each hour so they decide they can tip me less. But they don’t think about the hours before and hours after we’re busy that we need to be there. Where we get one table per hour and make $5 in that hour. Or the tables that sit endlessly through rush periods with their neverending glasses of water or free refill soda.

    Say on an average Tuesday night dinner crowd, I had $500 in sales. I make the standard 15% in tips ($75) but tip out 4% to my support staff, meaning I’m already making only 11% on standard tipping. So I’ve made $55 to work hard for 5 hours. I work 5 days a week, and suddenly I’ve made less than $300 that week. Sound still like I’m making too much? Sure, some nights are better (bringing me to $400-$500/week, or $25K annually), sure we’re not working a full 40 hours a week. But the work is so hard that it’s considered full-time to be working 30 hours a week in a restaurant.

    Additionally, the majority of people pay with credit cards so I end up claiming that original $75, which I did not make, and paying taxes on more than I earned. For those that say we never complain when we make more than we claim, for sure we don’t. But contrary to popular belief, it only barely starts to even the playing field. I personally have always worked in places where credit cards are the standard form of payment and we have to claim every cent we get on those. We don’t get to deduct from our claimed tips what we tip out, nor do we get to decide if the level of service we obtain from our support staff warrants that tipping out. So we also don’t add for the occasional cash tip we get. To me, that seems fair.

    Servers are amongst the worst treated employees in the job market. There are expectations of us for our skill and friendliness that is not expected elsewhere in the same capacity. Why not pay us for that skill? As a server, and a good one, I’d expect to get 20% for making sure your soda gets that fifth free refill before your glass is empty. Some want you to chat, some want you to get away, some want to never make eye contact with you, some want complete control of the dialogue, some want to be guided. It’s our job to figure you out, and adjust accordingly, and balance you out with 6 other groups of people with just as many needs. Tipping us 10% not only puts us at poverty level (and Oprah did a heartbreaking show about good, hard-working people making minimum wage who are still homeless so she, in theory, GETS IT) but it tells us that our efforts aren’t worth an extra $5 out of you, who just spent $70 on dinner.

    Truly, you can afford to tip if you can afford to go out to dinner – otherwise, stay home or get take out. Too often, I break even or it costs me money to wait on people simply because they’ve decided they don’t like the tipping system. Well, trust me, you’re not getting at “the man”, you’re getting at the worker.

    • Mary Says:

      You are so right ! My husband and I own a restaurant and I waitress there. For the most part I have met many many wonderful and nice people. But there are those who do treat you as a servant..its so obnoxious ! Even though I am an owner, I do not make that known and therefore I know exactly how my servers are treated. I am old enough to be our servers mother too !! Manners and kindness are free, servers are hard working people who are dealing with not only the public…but the cooks, managers, busboys etc. Lots of personalities with lots of moods. Servers don’t just take your orders, they clean-up before and after you, make the coffee, slice the fruit, wash stuff constantly and are exhausted and yet put on a happy and friendly face so you have a nice meal experience. Bad manners and rudeness are unaccectable anywhere, anytime. I go overboard to those customers who are nice…pay it foward ! I hope Oprah didn’t say this, I can’t imagine she did. But everyone reading this remember to treat EVERYONE with respect and kindness…it’ll always come back to you.

  14. Beau Says:

    I work at a restaurant and our menu offers an inexpensive selection of entrees and appetizers. We are able to offer food at low prices because we pay our wait staff very little($2.13 an hour). If everyone tipped a lousy 10% then we would eventually have to pay servers a higher hourly, and in turn your food will cost more. Don’t be an ass, tip at least 15% or don’t go out for dinner anywhere other than fast food.

  15. meghan Says:

    Can anyone tell me the time/date/channel of the episode or interview in which Oprah said this? I have been searching and there seems to be no proof that this actually happened. It has not turned up in any searches on Snopes, Youtube, Oprah’s website, or even Google. I would very much like to find the source of this information. Thank you.

  16. Disgusted bartender/server Says:

    Wow. It’s absolutely disgusting that someone in Oprah’s position would not know how to tip appropriately. I sometimes understand that some people (teenagers, people from foreign countries on vacation) would not know how to tip appropriately. However, to know that someone of her age who has lived in the country her entire life, and is very well off, has been tipping like this her entire life and advising other people to do so is infuriating. This career choice is not an easy one. It can be a very hardworking customer service position that is also very demanding as far as time and patience go. We generally do not receive a paycheck due to taxes and if we do a $30 check would be a surprise. On top of this, I personally tip out 3% of my sales, no matter the tip, and I tip a food runner seperately, this is every night that I work. Now at the end if the night at my job I am required to claim 10% of my sales. If you tip 10% not only am I only making about 5-6%,I am also paying taxes on a full 10%

  17. Rae Says:

    When those who haven’t worked in the fine industry that is food service decide to treat someone as their minion and leave a slap in the face like 10 percent…imagine this, that person waiting on you is your grandchild/niece/nephew/son/daughter…trying to make their way through college on those “tips”…

  18. formerserver Says:

    Really would like to see evidence that she said this, I’ve been told it is a rumor. Would love a video clip or something…Anyone?

  19. anonymous Says:

    just found a community post on http://www.oprah.com where you can post directly to her people. there have been 150 posts so far to date. you have to sign up to post but it’s free. this was my post to her site:

    I am in complete agreement with Ms. Bonham. I too am extremely outraged by your comment that it is “OKAY” to tip your servers 10% due to the economy. I have been a server for 12 years now and most people do not realize that our hourly wage is $2.13 per hour. Do YOU REALIZE that servers make very little per hour? Out of my tips, we have bussers and bartenders that have to be tipped out 10% of our tips. You are in a position of influence in our country and it is absolutely appauling that you would use that influence in such a negative way. If people cannot afford to go out to dinner and tip their servers then they should not go out to dinner. I have 4 different jobs to help support my family and the cost of living isn’t getting any cheaper because of the economy. IN fact groceries and gas are getting more and more expensive. I’m quite sure that all the books and magazines you have are not “necessities” to people in this time of economic trouble so maybe all the royalties you receive from these could be put back into our economy or back into the pockets of those that your comments will effect and cause hardship. I believe that EVERYONE should have to wait tables at some point in their lives. Maybe then more people will appreciate what we do and how hard we work to make sure others have a pleasant night out even though what you are suggesting will now be at OUR EXPENSE. Maybe you could walk in our shoes for a day and go to work in a restaurant for 10% tips and then maybe you would reconsider and publically apologize for what you have said.

  20. CARLYNNE Says:

    I TOO AM VERY DISTURBED BY THIS COMMENT OF TIPPING 10%. DID OPRAH LOWER THE COST OF HER TICKETS TO SEE HER SHOW?? IS GAS GOING UP? OR DOWN?? LIVE IN THE REAL WORLD WITH US OPRAH, WERE YOU WORK 7 NIGHTS A WEEK TO BE SURE YOU CAN PAY YOUR BILLS!!! FOR SUCH AN INTELLIGENT WOMAN, YOU REALLY SCREWED UP THIS TIME!!!

    WILL NEVER TAKE OPRAHS ADVICE ON ANYTHING!!!!

  21. shevot Says:

    People CALM DOWN. #1 Oprah NEVER said any such thing. This is what is known as an URBAN LEGEND. Oprah is a very generous woman and we all know. Do you really thing she would say something like this? No, because SHE NEVER SAID ANY SUCH THING. If she did, please find the footage and post it. It would be all over YouTube don’t ya think? Please use common sense and stop flaming Oprah just because she is very wealthy, she earned it. Instead focus your frustration on where it belongs.
    Thank you, and have a nice day.

    • Wake up shevot..... Says:

      If she hasn’t said this why hasn’t she defended herself? These posts and subsequent blogs on her own website haven’t been replied to. She hasn’t denied saying it. So shevot – since you’re so close to Oprah – what makes you the expert that she didn’t say it? Also – when you say focus your frustration on where it belongs…..isn’t that where all these people are focusing it? It belongs to Oprah for giving financial advice to people that it’s okay to reduce our salary !!!!!!

    • Lindsay Says:

      Dear she say it….on live tv…..do you really think this many people would be outraged….no one is knocking oprah….i’m knocking what she said…and like it or not….SHE IS DEAD WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. Samantha Says:

    Maybe she did say it and maybe she didn’t. I tried to find the video myself and could not find it. I work as a sever in two restaurants. One of them is nice but laid back and one is on the higher end along the scale of a four star restaurant. Not to mention i am 6 months pregnant. Before the whole economy went down I have wanted to sit on the side of the road just like a bum and not ask for money but educate the people who have never worked in this kind of industry. Every restaurant is different, some make you tip out 5% of your total sales and some may only have you tip out 5% of your tips for the night. Some will just have you tip certain people out who helped you for the night. ( bartenders, expo, etc) But for one servers dont make crap for a pay check and since mostly everything is paid with a card everything is reported so not only do people want to tip 7.50 on a $60 meal I think you should go home and make some food your self. one its cheaper and a simple thank you will suffice in the house hold. It looks like you wont see me one the side of the road holding a sign because it just not classy now with a baby on the way but I hope with this rumor that it doesnt hurt oprah but I do hope that it opens up peoples eyes that what you are tipping is what we take home to our families. ( and sometimes what you tip is only half of what we get)

  23. Tsk Tsk Oprah and all bad tippers Says:

    What most people don’t realize is that the $2.13 per hour that servers are paid is actually to cover the TAX we need to pay on our declared tips.

    I work in a very popular casual dining restaurant in South Carolina. I am the furthest from racist. Trust me. It’s a shame that the African-American community has given themselves a bad reputation for tipping poorly.

    I always provide given excellent service (regardless of race, color or creed) and on countless occasions (even before I have dropped off their bill) I see that they have left two crumpled up dollars on the table. Their bill can range from $10.00 (in this case they generally don’t leave a tip because they probably don’t think it’s a big enough bill)……then when the bill is $30-40 they leave $2.00…………then when the bill reaches a whooping $70.00 – they grace me with $5.00.

    Knowing this information after months and months of experiences like these……. I made a decision to protect myself. Since I tip out 3% of my food sales……I will only charge them for water instead of the tea or soda that they order……..that can reduce their bill significantly as well as my tip-out. Yes some might say – well you’ll still only get 10% – but like I indicated above – if their bill reaches $70 – and I only get $5.00 – that’s not even 10%. I have to tip the restaurant $2.10 and walk with $2.90 on their $70 bill. However if those 6 guests all ordered sodas – add another $2.25 to each person and their bill increases as does my tip-out to the restaurant – and it doesn’t guarantee I get an extra amount for my tip.

    I’m fortunate that we have a busy enough restaurant that the volume makes up for the amount of VIPs (very ignorant people) that fail to tip us appropriately. I try to look at my earnings for the evening and not necessarily based on the sales. If I make $80 or $100 in six hours – that’s better than a Wal-Mart worker in six hours – even if my food sales are high and my tips were low – to earn $80 in six hours isn’t too shabby in the restaurant industry.

    It would be nice if someone from a national newspaper or someone from each city’s newspaper read all these comments and took excerpts from them and published them for all to read – because I can guarantee you that the only people reading these posts are servers and bartenders and not the guests themselves that should be reading it.

    To all my fellow servers and bartenders……keep your chin up……not everyone listens to Oprah……..and remember….what goes around comes around…….her ratings are going to drop now……because she has lost viewers……..

  24. Nate Says:

    15% is not a normal tip. The standard is 20%. Oprah is clueless and fits the service industry stereotype for bad tips.

  25. angery server and father Says:

    oprah is an arrogant, ignorant, irresponsible person for opening her big mouth on this situation. i am a server and a father and i have bills to pay and mouths to feed. I hope any eating establishment she walks into refuses to serve her until she corrects her idiotic statements. i hope she doesn’t expect any good service from any wait staff ever again. She is feeding into the stereotype that african americans tip horribly.

  26. Matina Says:

    Waitressing sucks. Too kiss the azz of a really rude person for $5 for a whole hour is unbearable to me. Snapping fingers, yelling managers, waitresses stealing your tables, and people who need special everything just to come back. Now they tax your already pathetic tips and have to many servers in a dead restaurant. I did it during school and I will never forget it. I once saw on T.V. a news segment on people who give to charity. They monitered a man with a Salvation Army donation jar in front of a store at Christmas. After a person put money in the jar they interviewed them. The poor were more likely to be generous. Some would give 10% of their already poverty stricken income, during Christmas. With cheer. BOO! OPRAH! You probably eat out alot. What’s so shocking is Oprah always appears generous on her show.

  27. Kris server /bartender Says:

    So, as everyone knows Oprah is a very influential person and knows and loves her for her generosity. Who is she to say how much the service industry is to make? Who hired Oprah as OUR higher up? I work for a corporate restaurant, as I’m sure a lot of other people do, and $2.15 hourly is not enough to support myself. I’m not allowed to work past over time. There are only 24 hours in a day. With school in the morning and working into the odd hours of the night, who is Oprah to say that I’m only ENTITLED 10% off of a $ 50 tab?! If this carries further, and people do start to just leave that 10% tip, what do you think is going to happen to the restaurant industry? Or what restaurant? You take away the hired help, how are restaurants supposed to survive??? No more Emeril’s at City Walk! No more Ruth Chris! no more bars, lounges, nothing! Unless of course there’s at least a minimum wage involved. Even then the bull people have to put up with from other’s wouldn’t be worth it. I love my job. I love the fact that good service (i.e. good food, good atmosphere, good entertainment, and a good server to not only help you have a good time but make you laugh and possibly be there to have fun with) can give me that 20% to 25% tip. I earned it. Oprah, you stating that people should budget. I say, if you can’t afford to go out, don’t go out! If you do go out and tip 10%, I would highly recommend you never go back to that place. You’re face will never be forgotten, you will be given the service you paid for :o) It’s as simple as that. Good Luck America!

  28. Kris server /bartender Says:

    And 1 more thing, who nominated Oprah as the financial advisor of the US? I didn’t see the voting slip! Oprah needs to shut her mouth when it comes to money. If she feels SO obligated to help people, tell her to put her money where her mouth is! She’s good at that!

  29. Bitsy bartender Says:

    Yes go ahead and tip 10% just be advised that your service and quality of your dining experience will be reflected in your cheap and inconsiderate gratuity

  30. Lindsay Says:

    I completely find this appalling!!!! She has no right to say what the standard is…and she is so out dated on her ideals….i sincerely hope that the richest African American woman in America really tips more than a lousy 10% when she goes out to eat! That is outrageous!!!! WE HAVE FAMILY’S AND HOMES AND BILLS TO TAKE CARE OF ALSO!!!!!!!!!!! We are struggling in this economy just as much as the next person…… I truly hope that Oprah rectifies this citation as she is going to lose all my respect and I’m sure a lot of the rest of the HARD WORKING CLASS!!!!!!!!!!!
    P.S. anyone on face book look up the group “BOYCOTT OPRAHS 10% COMMENT” AND PLEASE JOIN I AM TRYING TO GET AS MANY PEOPLE IN THE GROUP AS POSSIBLE UNTIL A REBUTTAL IS MADE ON HER BEHALF!!!!!

  31. DenverServer Says:

    Does Oprah or anyone who would follow her advice realize what kind of food they will recieve? I hope Oprah likes other peoples spit and snot cause I think she will be eating it the rest of her life! Same goes for you other ten percent tippers.

  32. Server not a Servant Says:

    I dont know where to start with this other than HOW DARE SHE. Myself and my boyfriend are both servers and bartenders. We have 2 children and with the decline in business that we have seen i am completely appauled that someone with the influence that she has(and the money) would say that we should tip less. Obviously Oprah has NEVER worked in a restaurant, and put up with the crap that we servers/bartenders have to. People need to realize we dont make 7/8 dollars an hour. We make $3.14(md) and hour PLUS our tips, our tips are how we pay our bills. i personally see a 15% tip as the bare minimum to tip these days, 20% is acceptable. Since the recession my bf and I have seen a HUGE drop in our income. I bartend and i would bring home on the avereage between 7 & 800 dollars a week and my bf would bring home between 6 & 700. Now we barely make 1/3 of that. My bf is lucky if he makes more than 30 dollars on a night shift and im lucky if i bring home more than 20 on a day bar shift. We can barely feed our children and are debating to sign up for food stamps, and can barely keep our bills somewhat caught up. (meaning they are only a month behind). i think that she should have to work in a restaurant for a month, and not an easy one. she can come to Olive Garden(home of the neverending soup, salad, and breadsticks), where my bf and I work and see what its like to have to do all the running and BS we have to do for our customers and then turn around and get a $5.00 tip on $100, or even better a nice big fat 0. Better yet why doesnt she help the recession and donate her 13 BILLION dollars to all of us who she thinks dont need it. Here’s some advise for Oprah dont talk about something you have NO CLUE ABOUT. And here’s some advice for those that dont serve, if you cant afford to tip, you cant afford to eat out. And at a bar your coins arent an acceptable tip, formula(for my 10 month old son) is expensive but its not that expensive.(and i have told a customer that) its a slap in the face. we dont have to wait on you, you came to us
    I used to admire Oprah. she came from nothing and is now one of the most wealthy people in the world, and she worked for everything she has. Now I dont even want to hear her name, everytime i hear it it just pisses me off.

  33. Erin Says:

    You people are making total a**es out of yourself for not doing research. Oprah’s people have continually defended her for never saying such a thing on her blog. Get a grip, and look it up. In fact, I’ll give you the EVIDENCE since none of you seem to have any… http://www.oprah.com/community/message/1076401
    Now relax.

  34. Shaun Says:

    So as a server, I have to say something to the world: When you use a coupon, PLEASE tip accordingly to the PREVIOUS check amount. I have had people argue that they can use more than one coupon, THEN have their check go from $40 down to $7 and proceed to tip me $2-$3.
    One other thing, if you raise our wages, the cost of food will go up, people will not go to that restaurant as much and then the tip total per shift will go down. Is that a stretch? Am I right here?

  35. Shaun Says:

    One more thing: is there digital print, audio or video proof that Oprah really said that (tip 10 percent)? I have heard that it is just a myth, perhaps a racist and stereotypical myth…

  36. Taren Says:

    So tonight i worked a nine hour shift, i work in a very large restaurant. which means alot of brisk walking everyone i wait on was really pleased with my service and i believe im a good person and go above and beyond for my guest ! I made $880.00 dollars in sales and had to tip out $ 45 dollars. $15 to my food runners $12 to my bartenders and $14 to my server assistant. I walked with $55. I made $6.10 an hour which is way less than minimum wage and thats before tax. when I mentioned how much i made to a work friend he mentioned what Oprah had said., If you want to tip us this amount expect your food to be late the server has a bad attitude on approach, to not get what you order , to fill up your own ice tea and soda , your entrees come before your apetizer, your table to be dirty and not cleaned and you can have a rag to clean it yourself, to ask a bartender how to make a martini and he/she has no idea and maybe you can get you own silverware from a bucket before you seat, How Classy !!! I’m reading theres a few Oprah lovers like Shaun ! maybe its an issue that needs to be adressed now ! what ever business your in remember outside waiting tables maybe were a customer of yours ! or does money grow on trees ! “Oprah make a new statement to all your dooshbag followers, go to Golden Caroll ! “

  37. Shaun Says:

    I have to reply to this. I do not like Oprah at all. She is practically a cult following. She is annoying. I actually can’t stand her. I was not defending her, I was merely pointing out the fact that there is not a shred of evidence to prove she has said this. I was merely stating that it COULD be a racist or even stereotypical rumor that has started. I also enjoy people’s opinions about tipping and how they feel. So keep them opinions coming! I also have to mention one thing: I loved the comment about the Golden Corall!
    Seriously though. You come into a nice, sitdown restaurant and tell me that you are in a hurry. I then proceed to focus all of my attention on you to get you out quickly… then you just sit there after you have paid and chat with your friend. Then tip me 10%. Thanks. People take the word SERVEr literally. We don’t serve you like a slave, we are here to make your dining experience unique and like no one else’s. So remember this: Servers do not forget people that screw us. No, we don’t spit in food but we do learn which guests screw us and then proceed to intentionally make their experience terrible and regrettable. So, treat us right and become our friends and then you will get your rewards in free deserts, discounts, whatever. Almost all servers believe in karma. Am I right here?

  38. Anonymous Says:

    This email message is regarding Oprah’s comments on tipping 10 percent. I am hoping this will find a way into her hands, as a former fan of hers, I would like to convey why a lot of her viewers are siding with NBC’s special report and not with her. I was an Oprah fan for years and after hearing and watching her latest comments on tipping, I no longer watch her show or care for her. Oprah needs to realize her comments have a devastating effect because her viewer base consists of MILLIONS of viewers who treat her comments like the rule of the house. If you are having financial trouble, do not eat out! But DO NOT walk into a person’s very livelihood and assume you can tip 10 percent and that is “acceptable.” Have you ever waited tables Oprah? Do you realize how our livelihood rests on a thin thread of our customer’s judgement and competency to tip accordingly? Do you realize how many days many of us walk into a restaurant to work and leave with less than 10 dollars in our pockets? What about us? What about our financial trouble?Do you realize how many tables we have the pleasure of serving only to be left nothing in return?To serve others is supposedly the most honorable and decent work there is and yet you tell your millions of viewers to cheat honest hardworking people (who have to deal with unbelievable likes of people) out of a few dollars in order to save on other expenses that are selfish and self serving? *How dare you effect millions of waiters and waitresses with your wayward assumptions of what is ‘acceptable’.* I am dissapointed to have supported someone all these years who can dismiss an entire population of workers. NBC’s coverage on this issue was wonderful. At least someone in this industry was smart enough to attack Oprah on her statements and not dismissing the “servants” that Oprah can so easily forget. Promote compassion and common consideration for your fellow working man Oprah, not greed for the green which you so clearly value more. A disappointed ex-fan.

  39. TRH Waitress Says:

    I am a waitress for Texas Roadhouse- I make 3.65 an hour plus tips. the 3.65 is to cover the taxes, my paycheck is anywhere from $25.00-$90.00 every TWO weeks. I rely on my tips to help make my way through college, and it is very upsetting when a guest turns the word ‘server’ into ‘servant’. Stop treating the server like we are trash you walk on, if you can not afford to eat out and tip your waiter at least 18-25% please- stay home. The economy is so bad right now that people “treat” themselves to a meal… well when someone doesnt tip well..who do you think it effects.. the company doesnt make up for the difference of minimum wage. I am very VERY upset at what Oprah has had to say. I work my butt off for every penny I make, and I do this so I can make a better life for myself and future family by going to college. I am just at aw with what she has said-

  40. waitress Says:

    It doesn’t matter if she really said it or not, this has blown up so much that even the rumor that she said it still effects the service industry. Just the other day I had an idiot tell me because Oprah said it was okay he only had to leave me 1.00 on 40.00. The past month I’d say the majority of my tips have been 10 percent or less. I’ve been in this industry a long time and I’m not perfect, but I do make good money, and when my tips are going down atleast 100 a week there is a problem.It makes me sick that people think it’s okay to do this! I have kids, and bills also! Must be nice to sit ontop of a billion dolar fortune and dictate advice on something you’re completely ignorant about. Who knows if its true but the damage is already done. I bet she’s extra careful now when she dines out haha

  41. beenthere Says:

    DO NOT WAIT ON OPRAH. A nice boycott of the “BIG MOUTH” and her insane opinions. Then, with all of the money her “SHEEP”, saved by not tipping wait staff they can go buy her ridiculous “FAVORITES” and be the prettiest in the trailer park!
    Shame on you Oprah. If your followers are so broke they can’t tip–which the majority of them NEVER DO ANYWAY, suggest they stay home and COOK/CLEAN/RUN for themselves!
    Why don’t you try living on what wait staff earns big mouth??!!

    I have seen those families of five, sit and take 30 minutes just deciding which ALL YOU CAN EAT plan is best while the kids throw things, spill water and parents are oblivious. I must clean/fetch/etc.
    Then when they DO decide they have me running back and forth for extra this another THAT; six, seven eight times. To have their food bill come to a whopping $45.00 and they leave a $3.50 tip.
    OPRAH, JUST SHUT THE EFF UP OK? Thanks.

  42. enigmaboi Says:

    I think its funny how some people say an easy solution to tipping servers would be to simply get rid of tipping altogether. Of course you’d have to raise menu prices to compensate for the increased wage that will now be paid. But honestly though, what do you think would happen to your level of service? TIPS: to insure prompt service

    another side note: most restaurants labor rape their servers because they pay them such a low wage…as a server i spend usually 2.5 hours (thats before and after a shift) doing sidework and other labor intensive taskes outside of my job description. One way restaurants save money is to send all their higher paid staff home whilst keeping servers around at the lower wage…think about that the next time you stiff your server.

  43. Education for the ill-informed Says:

    Two types of people who don’t tip 20 % (when given standard service):

    Ignorant bastards
    Stingy bastards

    Note: I am using bastard in the true connotative meaning of the word!!

    Ignorant bastard: you have NOT been taught what is culturally, ethically, morally, pragmatically acceptable; therefore you leave a tip that is under 20%

    Stingy bastard: you have been taught what is culturally, ethically, morally, and pragmatically acceptable, yet you purposefully decide to chastise your server out of inconsideration for another human’s needs. You have not been taught basic concepts of ethics and morals from a young age

    For the afore-mentioned “ignorant bastards” let me provide simple justification why 20% is acceptable:
    1. servers ONLY get money from tips-the $2.13/hr. (or up to around $4/hr. where inflation is high) goes towards taxes, and for most servers this does not completely cover their taxes; they still owe at the end of the year.

    2. servers have a mandatory “tipout” for bussers, bartenders, hosts, food runners, silverware rollers, bread runners etc. This can be up to 5-6 percent of the server’s sales depending upon the restaurant.

    3. servers do not have a simple or easy job; statistically it is ranked as a top 5 most stressful job in the United States-try smiling when someone is being an unjustified jackass to you because the chef, accidentally or even intentionally (because they might not like you) did not prepare the food the way you asked for it to be prepared. One is forced to smile in order to save a tip that will help provide childcare for the three year old at home whom you are trying to support. No lie, this a tame example of the kinds of things servers run into on a daily basis. You would be shockingly surprised what servers deal with every night!!!!

    4. servers have what is called “running sidework” and “closing sidework”-these vary from restaurant to restaurant, but are typically pretty time consuming. “Running sidework” is done during the shift while the server has tables, and “closing sidework” is self explanatory.

    5. servers work holidays so the “holiday tippers”-holiday cliental who leave little or no tip-can come in and even more intensely ruin the holiday for the server.

    6. servers pay out of their pocket for those who walk out on tabs.

    7. servers pay out of their pocket for those who don’t leave a tip-because of mandatory tipout, which was described earlier

    8. servers are the scapegoat for all aspects of the restaurant industry-chefs get angry with the server when the guests is picky and wants a dish altered, the managers continuously ride the servers for their expectations, and obviously the guests get annoyed with the server when something doesn’t go perfectly, even if it isn’t the server’s fault

    9. the server’s ability to efficiently serve the guests is dependent on so many other aspects of the industry that it is often impossible to provide adequate service. The bartender is busy and it is hard to get the drinks made in a timely manner, a table pays with cash-the server has to wait for the bartender, because guests often don’t realize that servers don’t have cash registers. Also, hosts may give the server 3 or 4 tables consecutively and make it impossible to provide all of the tables with timely service.

    For the afore-mentioned “stingy bastards,” I do not have the time to educate you on philosophy of civil duties, you will have to look into your soul

  44. Liz Walls Says:

    i just started a petition for Oprah to recall the “10% tip suggestion”…if you would like to get on board…please look for me on facebook…lizhwalls@gmail.com…i just started it last night and already have over 100 people…id like to get as many names as possible & then send it on to the “big O” and have her retract her suggestion as well as acknowledge how hard those of us in the service industry work. I read last night that roughly 4 states pay tipped employees minimum wage…the other 46 states pay tipped employees significantly lower. One woman with millions of viewers/fans is taking millions of dollars collectively out of many legitimately hard-working Americans’ pockets!

  45. Olive Gardenz Says:

    Way to be Oprah! I guess it slipped your mind that millions of people look up to you and of those millions a large percentage of the are thick headed enough to walk into traffic if you so commanded them. You are a icon a role model and a celebrity. You live a lavish lifestyle that us common folk can only dream about and you star in your own talk show that broadcasts your opinions as law to everyone who is willing to hear it. So we would pressume that since you have the audasity to have a talk show like that, that you would infact know what the hell it is that your talking about! As a server (90% of us are this way accept for the few lucky ones who work at clubs) we get paid a measly 2.13hr and because the IRS is aware of our credit tips or because some of us have to pay for their health inssurance all our checks say ‘VOID’ on them. So litterally Olive Garden isnt paying me to work there and take care of their guests because my paychecks all say ‘VOID’. So the money that we have is solely bassed on the generosity of the customers that we serve. Our job is far from easy I’ve worked in 2 star resturants and I’ve worked in 5 star resturants and some of those positions yes are very easy, but the Olive Garden because we have so many rediculous “Bottom less” or “Never ending” promotions or menu items it is crazy difficuly. Especially because people come in there thinking they are Gods gift to the human race and that they can run us to death with their thousands of special requests and because they feel the need to drink an entire soda while I’m standing there taking the entree order. So yes we deserve every penny of our 18-20% which is generally whats appropriate and what is expected in a restiruant like that. So dont emabarass yourself by eating at a nice resturant and then only tipping 10% for one its rude, for 2 its de-meaning to the server and 3 beleive it or not we remember who takes care of us and who leaves us hanging. When I have return customers that I know dont tip to save their lives you better beleive (and we all do this) that their service suffers because of it, some of us will go as far as intentionally screwing up an order just to make the whole expierience difficult for a guest that doesnt take care of their servers. I’m not saying I’ve done that but I am saying I am very aware of that taking place…right around me….so keep that in mind the next time you want to leave your server 10% unless you are honestly wanting to communicate non verbally to the server “Hey you are trash! You do a trash job! and I’d consider killing myself if I were you before you shine your smile to your parents in public again because surely they are embarassed of you!” if thats what you are ok with communicating then by all means tip %10 or worse, but if thats not what you are trying to communicate than keep in mind that not only are you offending the serving staff taking care of you but you are liable to communicate that vulgar sentence to the server as well…

    have a good one

  46. eric Says:

    You want to make more money? Don’t work in the unskilled service industry. There you go. Being a server is not skilled labor, and should not be paid as such. I regularly tip 10%, sometimes more, sometimes less. I refuse to be pressured by servers to feel guilty for tipping whatever I choose. You want more money, learn a trade and get a better job. Being a server is not skilled labor.

    Additionally, your [the server] bs friendliness only belies the fact you want my money. If I want to feel like that, I’d go to a strip club. i go to a restaurant to eat and enjoy the company of my friends, not make small talk with a server who wants me to pay for it.

  47. daggers Says:

    I agree with Eric – I live in Hong Kong and in most restaurants, good service is provided as a customer right, not because they have tipped to guarantee it. And before you start talking about the slave wages paid to Asian workers, actually, they earn around $600 – $1000 per month without tips, which seems more generous than many of you claim to be receiving. Most of the contributors on this forum appear to be condoning the awful wages paid by many restaurants – instead of blaming the customers, blame your bosses. I would willingly pay more for a meal than suffer the discomfort of deciding on an appropriate tip. Your advice to cheapskate customers to stay at home if they can’t afford a 20% tip seems oddly irrational in the current economic climate. Oh, and stop talking about the tips paying for your taxes – we all pay taxes and work part of our day for nothing.

  48. FactChecker Says:

    People who author a blog should really verify their facts before posting crap like this. Its a lie and hoax, Oprah never made these comments. It been documented repeatedly, Check Snopes, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Augusta Chronicle, the Waiter Rant Blog, Oprah’s own site the list goes on and on.

  49. teleburst Says:

    @daggers – first of all, everytime you dine at Outback in Hong Kong, you are paying a mandatory 10% service charge. So it’s really not “service provided as a customer right” – you are paying for it and you really have no choice in how much to value the service that you just received. However, that’s not all. You also have to understand that the menu prices are also much higher. Some of that is just due to the food costs and shipping to far locations, but a lot of it is also the increased cost of payroll. I couldn’t find a price on the Hong Kong menus to compare because I don’t read Chinese, but I found that a Bloomin’ Onion in Japan costs $10.90 as opposed to $7.01 in Nashville (both include the local tax). So, in Asia, you’re paying over 35% more menu price AND paying an extra 10% on top of that. How does THAT feel?

    BTW, $600 – 1000 a month? In Hong Kong? that’s, what? About $2 – 3.50 an hour at 40 hours a week? And there are no tips? Sounds like either you’re wrong about what they make (which I suspect that you are) or they are indeed “slave wages”.

    Sounds like the American system works just fine, thank you very much.

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