Omnivore - How much to tip on a comped bill?

If you don't have to pay, how much do you tip?


A little while ago, Salon food writer Francis Lam tweeted "Say you're at a restaurant, and they comp your check. How much do you tip?"

This is an interesting question.

When I lived and worked in New York City, someone I knew, who worked at a very high end restaurant in Tribeca, served an opulent meal to Hillary Clinton. Because she was, you know, Hillary Clinton, the restaurant comped her entire meal. She thanked them graciously, and (I should say here allegedly - I wasn't there to see it) walked out without leaving a dime.

This act alone has made the idea of voting for her difficult for me ever since.

My feeling, as a former server, is that if you are comped because you are Hillary Clinton, or, say, Francis Lam, you should leave a tip that's about 30% or more of the original bill. Industry folks often comp each other, and when that happens, a 40% or higher tip is common.