How Should Christians Tip at Restaurants?

Things have been pretty light on the blog this week. Our team is hard at work on at the moment, so we’ve been cutting back on posting here. Not to worry though, things should pick up in the next week or so.

A recent post over at called Tipping as Witness discusses Christians and tipping. The author specifically dissects how some Christians leave tracts instead of money as tips in restaurants. In the comments someone else mentions a church that encourages its members to secretly pay for other people’s meals and/or leave huge tips. Somewhere in between is probably a good rule of thumb on tipping.

What about you though? How should Christians tip at restaurants?

Share your thoughts!

76 Responses to “How Should Christians Tip at Restaurants?”

  • Mark says:

    From the perspective of many years in the restaurant industry, I can tell you that it is a most unfortunate concensus that “Christians” are the worst tippers as customers. I believe, if you truly want to be a witness, you should be a joyful giver. If you can’t afford to tip, then you can’t afford to dine out; tipping is part of the the expense. The minimum tip for basic service should never be less than 15%, (10% if buffet dining),and go up from there depending on the quality of service. If service is below expectations, notify a manager and give the minimum 15%. If you want to be a witness to God’s amazing grace, love and blessings, give extravigantly.

  • Julie says:

    There is dignity in work. Waitstaff are to be treated the same way as any other employee that works for you – with fairness, wisdom, and grace.

    In response to the idea that we only tithe 10% and should therefore only tip 10% of the bill, this is a misuse of the Bible. God has purchased our lives, and we are to dedicate our entire lives to Him, not just the 10% we give of our salaries. The call to give 10% is not an excuse to limit one’s tipping to only 10%. It also fails to follow some basic logic, other than in both cases the number 10 is the same. If I make $x a year and tithe 10%, what should that have to do with tipping $2 vs $3 on a $20 bill?

  • steph says:

    my first was a waitress. its hard work. I feel if you can afford to go to a place where you get to be waited on, you can give a proper tip esp christians. 20%. if your service is so bad, use christian love, pray for the Holy Spirit to ask if there might be a problem…if they understand you have noticed poor service, they should turn it around..if they don’t then I believe the manager should be involved bc the wait person represents their establishment….then go from there. that is what comment cards are for. also be sure to go the extrs mile and give praise to your server and manager. tracks should not be left, if you have time to share a piece of the gospel, then you can ask them if they want addl info. then you have it in your hand ready to give to them in their hand.. in lieu of leaving a track I ususally sign my bill with a common verse. 6od loves you, john 3:16 ..we are the salt and light to this dark world, our smile, attitude and mannors speak way louder then tracks left behind…take the few moments and share yourself and 6od with them…..if you can’t afford to leave 20% then go get fast food

  • Kim says:

    Since we are an aroma of Christ, we desire to be a pleasant one. As a waiter servers us, we try to remember that this too is a divine appointment from God. We start by remembering to be patient. God does not call us to be pampered and although we love to get good service, God would rather we were good servants. I confess, I don’t always pass this test as there are some waiters who could try the patience of Job… but remembering that I am trying to win a friend for Christ helps keep my attitude in check. So from the time we sit, we make casual attempts at relationship building, remembering that the waiter is a person with a life, and needs and a soul. If we have noticed the server as more than just a server then when we are ready to pray for our food it does not seem odd to them when we ask “We are about to thank God for our food. We would love to pray for you. Is there something specific we could pray for you?” I am always amazed at the responses: we have prayed for marriages, school, finances, future decision…sometimes they just say no I am good, and then we also know what to pray:) Then we always leave a generous tip…20% for sure and more often. Because we want to show them through us that God is Good and remembers them.

    • eric johnson says:

      That is an awesome idea, asking your wait staff if there is anything you can pray for! It’s a little intimidating at first but the more I thought about it I love it!

  • Twon says:

    Tips are a way of letting someone know that you are thankful for their service towards you. Although we are so customed to think a good tip is a bundle of cash, you would be surprised to know what kind words, sincere kind words and compliments do to someone who serves you. A kind word stays in the mind for ever.

  • To whom much is given much is required. We should tip generously.

  • It’s simple,Don’t eat out, if you dont want to or you feel it’s a problem helping people who “serve you”. The approch I take is to give 20 or above percent. If an individual does’t have the resources, then there sould be a budget put aside for that special occation. As for tracks; I haven’t seen one for so many years I didn’t think they were still in circulation. I thought the one that explained the four spiritual laws was good. Maybe the best is to just be living examples in our community.

  • gloria says:

    Yes we should and honestly according to the service received.

  • MaryAnne P says:

    When I taught school and had summers off work, I waitressed. It was considered an insult when someone did not leave a tip. The owners of the restaurant were christians and would share with the christian customers that tipping was a good testimony to the waitresses. Generous tipping, 5% above the norm, would say more to that waitress then words. A generous tip with a tract would have a greater chance of being read.

  • L Doyer says:

    Maybe I’m just strange, but if the service was good, I tip 20 percent of the final bill (I tip on the tax part as well). If the service was better than standard, I add an extra dollar or two and call the manager over to praise the waitperson. Usually at this point the staff come back to thank me which is when I have a chance to talk to them about God’s love. I’ve heard younger wait staff say “Gee, when I saw you praying over your meal, I thought I’d be lucky to get 15 percent!” These people work hard and don’t always get paid above minimum wage. Think how you would feel if you got paid in tracts instead of a paycheck, getting one in your pay envelope along with a full salary would probably go over better. It is hard to send your children to school clothed in religious tracts, and they aren’t as tasty as cornflakes!

  • jay says:

    So sorry my comment needs moderation. Give to bless according to your personal conviction with God’s direction. With love. Jay

  • Rick Stockton says:

    I agree with these guys. *Especially* if they see you pray, tip well, even lavishly. Only once or twice in my life have I had to give a tiny tip, and I always explained to them why. But I’m 50, so that leaves a ton of other times. It’s 20% for decent service, and lots more if I can find the slightest excuse. And I am unemployed, living off savings. It’s just the right thing to do.

  • When in Rome! You should tip what is required, people are providing a service, trying to support thire families.

  • Netta says:

    We should tip according to our bill and service! I do believe we. Should tip though isn’t 15 percent of the bill sometimes I tip on top of gratuity it just depends on the service but I am a tipper I understand they are not paid but two or three bucks hourly. So be sure we bless those who serve us!

  • Jason says:

    I must say this article and the responses have brought conviction to my heart. I don’t always tip 20%, to be transparent, I usually just double the tax amount. Not for any other reason than that’s what I was taught to do. I don’t want to come across like I’m making excuses because there are no excuses. God has blessed myself and my wife with the opportunity to enjoy eating out more than most. We’re not rich but we try to budget the money to enjoy going out. That’ll change when we have kids! Thanks for publishing this article and thanks to the many responses. My eyes have been opened!

  • Bob says:

    As a Christian motorcyclist – tipping is part of the expense of dining out. I’ve been with some rather unusual people – but they always generously tip – regardless of their religeous preference.

    One comment that I had noted “Christians are the worse tippers’ – how do you know they were Christians? A simple sign does not denote your belief.

    My daughter is in the food service business – and it is the tips that have enabled her to remian in this business for many years.

  • Jack Mears says:

    The golden rule works in all situations, even tipping. Works in parent-child relations,(what would like for the child to do if you were the child & knowing what you do now. Works in race relations, works in relations between rich & poor,works in any situation. Just treat the person serving you like you would have him treat you if you were doing the serving.

  • Pam says:

    Everyone below has spelled things out well regarding how we as Christians should view this from the spiritual point of view – and I can’t say it all any better. So I would like to provide some information from the technical point of view. Most wait staff make around $3.00 to $4.00 per hour as a base wage. When they serve you their total sales for the shift are added up – and they are required to tip out a set % of their sales to bussers, bartenders (where applicable – whether YOU drank alcohol or not), and in some establishments the host or hostess. They must do this regardless based on their sales, regardless of how much they make in tips. There was one night where my tips were so bad that I was actually in the negative that night and had to tip out to my bussers & bartender out of my own pocket. It was prom night and almost all my customers were teens that didn’t really have the money to tip – or probably hadn’t been educated. The new etiquette over the last 5 years recommends 18% for good service and 20% or more for excellent service. With this your server might manage at least somewhere between minimum wage and $11.00 per hour. Also – please remember that the longer you sit around holding up a table just to sit and visit, the more your server is losing money, because they can’t “turn” the table and get more customers. Most restaurants only allow each server to have between 3 – 5 tables in their section…so you can see that the longer we sit the less money per hour the server makes. Now that I’ve gotten older and am no longer a server, if I go to a restaurant for a meeting and I’m there more than an hour I pay booth rent to my server. Usually at least 5.00/hour.

  • schella says:

    I used to work as a waitress for several years. I always thought if I did not give good service, for any reason, I did not deserve a tip. You would not pay a roofer if he did not fix your roof, would you? On the other hand, I expected to receive the going rate, which today is at least 15%,if I provided good service. I was always thankful for the blessing of receiving more than 15%, but to expect more is just short of being greedy.How much the person makes hourly is not a reason to tip 20%.If they are a Christian, then God has them there for His purpose and that includes making however much they are getting. Sometimes I do leave 20% or more, but that is for exceptional service. If a waitress/waiter wants 20% then they should expect to be exceptional.

  • Haadinke Pharnwell says:

    A smile and request praying for them I would do.

  • Steve says:

    Please not I did not read all comments before me:

    I have one question for anyone that believe that giving a tract and not leaving any tip(money)is a way to show God’s love

    What is a TRUE motive?

  • Christy says:

    You should not leave a tract instead of a tip, that is rude. Leave both a tract and a tip, now that’s awesome.

  • Kristian says:

    I generally, give between 15 and 20%. Now, if one wanted to give a bible tract on top of the tip, that would be a witness. Otherwise, it would more likely be a witness in the opposite direction. “Do not muzzle the ox that’s treading out the grain”. “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” God has blessed us to be a blessing, not out of obligation, but out of the overabundance of God’s extravagant grace.