Going out with someone has enough stress associated with it that no one wants to worry about doing math at the meal. Besides the most important question on your mind, (does my date like me and do I still like them), your mind is also now consumed with tipping questions like how much of a tip should I leave? Also, did I tip everyone I was supposed to tip? The questions add up quicker than the bill in some cases.
Following are the answers to these questions and a few others you may run into when you are out dining and having a good time with your date.
The most important tip of all is this, HAVE A GOOD TIME! Too much worry, especially about the tiny details, can ruin a nice time. Relax, keep reading these articles and you’ll be fine. Remember that a good sense of humor helps too!
- Checking your coat
For each item you check you give the attendant $1. This is a normal amount and a gracious gesture. It also shows your date you know your way around fine establishments.
- Cocktails before dinner at the bar
If you and your date choose to sit up at the actual bar and the bartender is right there serving you then give that bartender 10-15% of the bar bill when you leave. If the drinks were good and the conversation subtle go for the 15% and if the service was minimal then at least leave 10%. Don’t start your date by stiffing the bartender. I know a man who always leaves $1 per drink no matter what because he says it’s easier than adding and he always gets great service. Plus, more and more drinks are costing what would amount to $1 a drink anyway, in the way of a tip.
If you are sitting at a table in the bar and the waiter must come over to you for your order and to deliver it, give that person at least 15% of the bar bill or to keep it easy $1 a drink.
Note: 15% for a tip is standard in the food industry though many wait staff depend on tips to live and for good service expect at least 20%.
- Wine Steward
If you use a Wine Steward to help you with your wine selection it’s a wonderful and gracious gesture to tip that person separate from your overall food bill. Standard is 10-15% of the cost of the wine. You are paying for the expertise and service that you get.
When the total bill comes you will pay between 15 and 20% of the total bill. The best way to handle this is to talk with the maitre d’ at the beginning of the evening or when you make the reservation and have the bill brought to you with the gratuity already added and already charged to your Visa. (Give them the Visa card when you arrive) This way you only have to glance at the amount and sign the check. By the way the maitre d’ deserves an additional tip for this service as well as assuring you the best table and service. Give the maitre d’ at least $5. The beauty of this is that you don’t have to worry about doing the math, making a mistake and diverting your attention away from this wonderful person sitting across from you.
- Restaurant Musicians
If you are really having a good time and want to be romantic then you can request a song to be performed at your table. Restaurant musicians get $1 for that request. Note: you can continue to eat during the song but you shouldn’t talk through it and of course applaud softly when the song is completed.
- Valet Parking
If there is not a posted service charge then you should give the attendant $1-$2 dollars upon delivery. It’s best to check this feature ahead of time since some hotels will charge hefty fees for parking though you go through the valet service to do so. The more prepared you are the better things will go. I would recommend using valet parking on a date since most of the time the man and woman are dressed up so walking in high heels or uncomfortable dress shoes can put a damper on fun as can a rainy evening or wind blowing hair all over the place.
- The buffet table
If you are the type that likes a lot of food for not a lot of money and decide to treat your date to an all you can eat buffet then at least make sure you tip the server who fills your coffee cup, clears your plates and helps you. 10-15% of the bill is appropriate whenever someone serves you!
Another note: Sometimes there is bad service and it could feel like swallowing a frog to give a person who has given poor service a tip. Generally in this situation I would still leave at least a 5% tip and also speak to the manager or someone in charge to alert them of the poor service so that others don’t have the same experience. This is the most gracious thing to do for both your sake and the sake of the person who waited on you.
In a date situation I would probably not make as big of deal out of it. It is much more gracious and shows a lot more class to not get peeved or angry with service people but to courteously inquire for more service and to leave something as a tip anyway. You are not on a date to be irritable so don’t be. Be romantic and giving and you’ll be surprised how many of those waiting on you will pick up on the mood and give you better service than you have ever experienced.
Final Note: You need to take a lot of cash with you even if you are intending to put your meal on Visa. From the valet to the coat check and if your date would like a package of mints after dinner you are going to need running money. Don’t be caught out without enough cash. Stopping at the ATM is not the way to impress anyone. It’s like telling your date that they weren’t important enough to plan ahead for.
Get the cash
Make the reservation
Ask about the details (valet, coat check, wine steward etc)
Know what this evening will cost before going out
HAVE A GREAT TIME!
Best of Luck!