I’ve always viewed tipping as a calculation of an experience. It’s the final measurement of appreciation or irritation between the wait staff and the customer.

So how do you tip when service is removed from the equation?

Quick-service restaurants are virtually on every corner. The pizza places, burrito joints, and sub shops, we frequent all too often. Yet, we still aren’t sure how to tip at these establishments.

Do we cut back to five percent? Do we tip at all?

The simple answer is, well, it depends. There really isn’t one overarching rule for quick-service restaurants, mainly because no two are alike. Each restaurant ends up with its own set of standards and rules for receiving tips.

Here are a few of mine.


Show Love For Awesome Food Preparation:

Nothing else matters when life calls for a hearty, meat-stuffed burrito, as long as the weight of Mexico lines your stomach within the hour. So how should you treat someone who pours on an extra spoonful of steak? Simple. Give that humanitarian an extra dollar, because they just made your future a better place.


Appreciate The Speed:

Even if no one wants to admit it, the speed of McDonald’s in phenomenal. Wouldn’t it be great if a ribeye and garlic mashed potatoes was on your table in three minutes? While that may be impossible, a restaurant serving quality food in a hurry should be rewarded. There is no feeling more frustrating than a grumbling stomach and a ticking watch, so reach into your wallet and pull out a one. You never know how it will impact your next visit.


Chip In For Cleanliness:

It’s quite possible there is no job more underappreciated than the bus-boy. Imagine if they didn’t show up to work. Your table would be riddled with the filth of previous diners, your plates would be crusted with earlier meals, and your glasses would be covered in grandma’s lipstick. That is a world I don’t want to be a part of. Lay down your change for service which largely goes unnoticed, because if they’re unhappy, you’ll be unhappy.


Go The Extra Mile For Someone Who Did The Same:

Checking on tables is not required of staff in most quick-service restaurants. If they’re willing to give you a smile and  “How is everything?”, I don’t see why it shouldn’t be reciprocated. Leave a few singles on the table for someone who went out of their way to be friendly to a stranger.

Remember. Don’t adopt a doctrine of tipping rules. Adjust your tips for each restaurant you dine in, because service is no longer identical. That doesn’t mean tipping the “old fashion way” is gone, it just means keep an open mind for each scenario.

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AuthorNate Paulson
CategoriesTip Jar