26 NOVEMBER 2019


With the focus being more on the service industry today, we need to be reminded that we are dealing with people and not products or machines. Oftentimes, we deal with services as though it is the same as dealing with products or goods. The first thing that comes to my mind is the way society treat people, after their required services have been rendered, especially in the hospitality industry. I would like to focus on one big aspect - TIPS. Yes, you read it right - Tips that you'd give a waiter while paying the bill at a restaurant.

While countries have norms and certain standards regarding tipping, there are many countries who have tips in a more organised manner or even regulated by statute. Regardless of the types of services that one obtains, in the service and hospitality sector, the question arises, 'whether tips should be dictated by statute, norm or should it be an act of kindness?'

Have you ever been in a situation wherein you needed to answer any of these questions before you gave a tip for services received by you? Example - at a restaurant.

  1. Is it necessary to tip?
  2. What is the norm?
  3. How much is good enough?
  4. Would it be an insult to the waiter/owner of the restaurant?
  5. Is service charge included already? If yes, would that correspond to being a tip?
  6. Would the tips be shared with all the waiters in the restaurant?
  7. Would the concerned waiter receive the tips or would it go to the owner of the restaurant?
  8. Was the service worth a tip?

If any of the above questions have come to your mind, then it would be worthy for you to read further and find out how best can you can overcome your queries on tipping. A few pointers just in case you are in two minds of tipping:

No fault of the waiter

Sometimes the pitiful waiter is deprived of a tip though his or her service would have been 'top class' but, because of reasons beyond their control they would get penalised by the customer. For example, the food not being too tasty or the ambiance of the restaurant not being pleasing.

Arrogance of a particular staff

Often we find that the arrogance of any one particular staff in the restaurant could result in no tips to the waiter who would have actually served you extremely well. This could happen especially when a steward may not have pleased you with the best vantage location within the restaurant, but the waiter would have delighted you with his exemplary customer service.


While plastic money and digitization have made our world comfortable, at times though, it proves to be a spoke in the wheel. Sometimes the 'Tips' column in the credit card charge slip is missing and customers may not have adequate cash on them for tips. The result could be - no tips for the waiter for no fault of theirs. Also often, customers may doubt whether the money (added on as tips in the charge slip), would ever reach the waiter and hence not include it.

Lack of corporate generosity

In this crazy corporate world, many executives conveniently forget to tip while on their official tour. The truth of such cases are that tips aren't reimbursed, as it is beyond the organisation's travel policy. Hence the waiters stand to lose, in spite of their extraordinary service. A real pity!

All of the above examples can be applied to any professional services in the hospitality sector. Be it the masseur who helps you relax, the tradesman who comes home and repairs your gadgets, the therapist, the barber, the beautician and more!

Being human in your decision will help

The one situation that a waiter would not want to witness, is the rude behaviour of the customer who doesn't acknowledge his services. On the other hand, merely refraining from paying tips could also be seen as an act of forgetfulness versus customer dissatisfaction and this wouldn't work well from a customer service perspective. Hence a graded tip based on levels of service can be a great scorecard and motivator for the waiter and his future.

Irrespective of the country or culture you are in, the obvious thing is that, the ones who receive tips are human and have emotions. So a tip in the form of cash, or even a smile, could go a long way in making their day and yours.

Reaching out with gratitude could well be the key to solve the clutter, surrounding 'tipping'. It is good to remember that people are different and it's important to treat them with respect. They would love to be cared for as much as they care for others.

And finally, a tip when accompanied with a smile could light up the face of the waiter - no matter how tired he or she may be.

This article is written by Willis Langford. An unbiased, result driven & passionate HR professional who has a flair for technology and keen interest in making this world a better place with a zest for life.