Are You Tipping Enough?

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RENO, Nev. -- The new normal around the country is tipping up to 30 percent at restaurant and bars according to the New York Post. Where does Reno stand?

Most servers and bartenders live off of minimum wage and tips alone. The average tip percentage is 15 percent, but is that enough for a quality drink and good service?

People usually go out to a bar or restaurant to escape from their busy schedule and expect good service.

"If you come and have a great experience, you have someone who's actually pleasant, who wants to make sure you have a great night, that's gonna be your biggest factor," Nicole Barker, Cin Cin bartender said.

The tips at the end of the night not only go to the server, but the busser, expo, kitchen, or the Maitre d'.

"The actual take home is actually less because you're tipping so many people underneath you," Barker said.

In an unscientific poll, 48 percent of the Reno population tip 15 percent while only 2 percent tip 30 percent or more.

"People are still consistently 15-20% on their tips i see most of the time. 30% is a rare occasion, i don't see that at all," Sam Bartlett, Moxie's bartender said.

The economy has not effected how people tip in Reno. Barker says it's not the tip that suffers, it is the frequency of customers.

"For the most part, people respect the industry and understand that if they're gonna take the time and money to spend out on their own even if they're not doing well and it's not really in their budget to go out then I think they just go out a little bit less," she said.

Both Barker and Bartlett have worked in the food and beverage industry for 14 years and have not seen too much fluctuation in tips.

"I think things have kinda stayed the same. I mean a drop in how much people go out for sure but not really in the tips," Bartlett said.

Barker says it is more about the server's ability than the percentage of tips.

"The better you get at it, the better your tips are," she said.

Having worked in the industry, they know what to look for when they go out to a restaurant or bar.

"Sometimes you got to a restaurant and it's incredibly busy and you have to wait. I'm not gonna punish my server for having to wait because it's busy," Barker said. "It means it's a great restaurant and a lot of people are there to have a good time."

Bartlett says tipping is just common courtesy.

"So even if the service is sub-par, it's still at least 20%," she said.

The minimum wage in Nevada is $8.25, which is higher than the national minimum wage according to the U.S Department of Labor.

Bartlett says she makes about $100 in tips on a good day.