How often do we debate in hushed tones over ‘how much to tip' at the dinner table when dining out? While one wouldn't hesitate to place Rs. 20 at a regular Irani biriyani joint, the same might not be the case elsewhere. At a coffee shop he/she will be left wondering ‘how much is appropriate'. “For a regular cappuccino, should I tip Rs. 20?”

How much you tip also depends on how nice and non pesky was your attender. But what does one do when you are approached by a friendly, casually dressed boy who hands over the menu and says, “Hi, what would like to have today?”

What is the best thing to do in such a situation? “I usually avoid tipping. I am not sure how much to tip. I wouldn't want to make them feel small with an amount that might be below their expectation,” says P. Jackson a fine art student from JNTU.

He says their group of friends mostly visit places where they don't have to tip. “We mostly avoid going to fancy eateries,” he says.

While in some places people feel absolutely okay to leave a Rs. 5 tip, patrons of some places feel they are still unsure of how much to pay.

“I wouldn't think twice about tipping a waiter in an Irani café with Rs. 5 or Rs. 10 but when I step into a coffee shop and are being attended by the non-uniformed staff I am left wondering what to do in such a situation. Most of the times I avoid tipping them. Otherwise, it is a 10 per cent of the total bill,” says marketing professional Rohini.

Calculative diners say the tip depends on whether they were charged service tax. “But otherwise if they are regulars the tip varies from Rs. 50 to Rs. 100 depending on how well placed is my money situation,” giggles Nighat Munir.

However there seem to be no rule about tipping at a restaurant. And opinions vary on whether a tip should be accepted or not.

“I work at a restaurant and also study. I work to earn my pocket money but that doesn't mean I look forward for tips from customers. But if money is left in the bill cover we as a group has decided to give it to the cleaning boys and the kitchen helpers,” says Vivek who works at a bistro at Diamond Point.

Others say, they don't usually expect but when a tip is placed, it goes to a fund called the tip fund, “at the end of the month we share the collection. That is like an incentive so that none of us feel left out,” says Samuel.

Keywords: moneywaiterstipsdining

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