Tipping, white-glove service, and other restaurant hacks

Ramit Sethi

Like a jaded old Vietnam vet, I thought I’d seen it all.


If you’ve been around on the internet, you’ve seen some guy write a post about tipping. Then, like a god damn math formula, the comments unfold exactly like this:

  1. You should tip at LEAST 15%!
  2. Are you joking? I tip based on how good their service is.
  3. Have you ever been in food service? They need that money to survive!
  4. Don’t tell me what to do, socialist
  5. If you can’t afford it, maybe you shouldn’t eat out
  6. (Mayhem)

I usually just sit back and cackle, because these commenters genuinely believe they’re coming up with creative arguments, but the entire conversation has already happened thousands of times before.

Recently, I learned some advice about tipping in restaurants that blew my mind.

The advice came from my guest, Steve Dublanica, a former waiter who’s been in the food service industry for 10+ years. You can ask random people what they think about tipping, but their arguments are usually limited since n=1.

There’s no better person to ask than someone who sees it over and over — in this case, the waiter who’s had thousands of conversations and tested dozens of variations to maximize their tips.

Before you watch the video, here are some questions to consider::

  • How much do you usually tip?
  • Do you tip better/worse based on service?

Prepare to be surprised by what he says. Watch the video on tipping.


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