A Tipping Question In My ‘In Box’

I love it when people send me an email containing a dining question. Here’s one that was received this morning.

Hello Goldie;

Is it customary to tip the same percentage for the dinner and the wine?
Several of my friends have said that the wine gets a smaller percentage.
Have you ever heard of this? I have not but I am not sophisticated. We generally tip 20% or more for exceptional attention.
What is right?
Thank you,

Hi Inky,
This is a great example of a situational scenario: if the wine is an ‘average wine list purchase’; let’s say a $40-60 bottle of wine, it is proper to include the wine price in the 20% tip.

Let’s put this into perspective; if each person at table of 4 orders a cosmo, a top shelf mixed drink or glasses of wine for that matter, the bar bill would be equivalent to a bottle of wine.

If however, you indulge in a $150 bottle, adjustment to that percentage may be considered. Some feel that if you can spend the money on the exceptional bottle of wine, you should ‘share the wealth’, others tip depending on server attitude.

I think your method, of tipping 20% or more for exceptional attention is the best rule…except for breakfast. Having been a breakfast server, I always am extra generous percentage-wise. Breakfast servers are truly RUNNING around, and often the check is low… after all, how much can you charge for eggs?

Hope this helps, Inky!


What do you do when dining out and order a bottle of wine?


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