The single largest complaint from servers at restaurants that host food challenges is the lack of “tipping” from customers attempting their eating challenge(s). They often work hard to take the person’s order, get all of the requested drinks, serve the meal, and then clean up afterwards, all for a less than 10% tip. Sometimes they don’t even receive one at all. This happens most often at restaurants that host a more expensive challenge costing over $40. After failing the challenge, people get upset that they owe a lot of money for the meal, and some feel that the food costs so much that they don’t need to worry about leaving an additional tip. There are also some people that feel they don’t need to tip after winning the challenge and being awarded the meal free. Twenty percent of zero is zero right? Wrong!! Here are reasons why you need to tip your server after your challenge:

Reasons You Should Tip Your Server Whether You Win Or Lose

1. Your sever does not receive any portion of the menu price – I’ll be the first person to say that many food challenge prices are marked up a little too high, but the price is the price and you should be aware of possible costs before even stepping foot inside the restaurant. All of the challenge pages in our database include the price of the challenge as of the day we added it to our global database. You may want to double check the price while you are contacting the restaurant to confirm the time and date you will be taking the challenge, along with any other important details. Treat food challenges just like gambling. Don’t play with money that you cannot afford to lose. In the restaurant world, they say, “If you cannot afford to tip, then you cannot afford to eat out.” In the eating challenge world, “If you cannot afford to tip after a food challenge, then you cannot afford to attempt that food challenge.” Your server does not see any portion of the menu price that you had to pay for losing, so you need to add an extra amount to thank him or her for all the work he or she just did to serve and take care of giving you a proper challenge experience. Please don’t take your loss out on your server(s).

2. Because a verbal “thank you” does not pay your server’s bills – You don’t get up and go to your job everyday, or go to school so that you can one day get a job, hoping that you will barely make any money do you? My guess is no, you do not. Your server is not getting any community service hours for helping you, and they do their job to make money too. Contrary to popular belief, a verbal “great job!” and “thank you!” are not payments accepted by utility companies, banks, and apartment complexes. The restaurant staff serving you depends on tips to pay their personal bills, and your server is not your personal slave, so please thank them via a proper tip in addition to a meaningful “thank you.” If tip was included in the price, know that your bill would be much higher anyway.

3. Because your server just spent a lot of time helping you – Customers attempting food challenges are typically much more labor intensive than regular everyday customers ordering normal meals. You may win the challenge and get the meal awarded free, negating an actual food and drink bill, but it’s impossible to “undo” all the time that your server just spent taking your order, getting your requested beverages, serving your challenge, keeping track of time, and staying nearby in case you needed something, followed by cleaning everything up and then resetting the table for the next person. Even if you get the meal free or discounted, please tip your server based on the menu price, just like you would while dining with  your significant other. Twenty percent of zero is still zero, but that rule does not apply to this particular situation. Your server will surely appreciate your gesture.

4. To ensure that the restaurant keeps their challenge going – If a server never gets any tips from customers attempting their food challenge, why would he or she put forth much effort during future challenges. That server will focus more on the surrounding customers whom he or she knows will most likely tip more. Remember that TIPS does stand for “To Insure Proper Service.” If the servers don’t care about their restaurant’s food challenge, people will be much less likely to try the challenge. People will only want to try it if there is a lot of excitement and “buzz” surrounding it. If people don’t attempt the challenge, the restaurant will eventually shut it down. That is a pretty harsh and highly unlikely scenario, but you can see the visual picture that it “painted.” Help keep the restaurant staff excited about future challenges by rewarding your server for a job well done.

Please understand that we are not meaning you should tip after every single food challenge no matter what the situation is. There may be times that you do a food challenge at a “fast food” style restaurant where you don’t even have a server. You order the food yourself, get your own drinks, and then also clean up after yourself. Obviously, a tip is not required at all here, and this article does not apply to that situation. Being at the type of restaurant where to tip you need to place dollar bills into a plastic cup on the counter near the register is not the type of situation this article is pertaining to. This article refers to when you are at sit-down nicer restaurants where a server is actually waiting on you and taking care of everything for you. Please note that we are also not suggesting a particular amount or percentage that  you should tip or anything like that. What you decide to do is completely up to you, and it also of course depends on how well you are treated, just like any other restaurant experience. If you are unhappy with your service and long wait, first decide whether it is your server’s fault. There is a high percentage chance that it is not your servers fault, and the chefs in the kitchen are taking a long time to prepare your meal while juggling all the other orders coming in from other customers. Most restaurants let you know beforehand that your larger menu item will take a little longer to prepare. If your server is not at fault, please don’t take your unhappiness out on that person by leaving a poor tip. If you do receive poor service though that definitely is your server’s fault, handle that just like you would any other poor service scenario.

We just want to stress that you should tip your server whether you win or lose your challenge to thank him or her for taking care of you. Please also note that this article mostly applies to eaters in the United States where many restaurants only pay servers a few dollars per hour and let tips make up the  difference. Tipping is totally different in other parts of the world including Europe and Australia, and not required, but still encouraged of course. If you do happen to fail your  challenge and receive a large bill, please don’t take your aggression with yourself out on your server. He or she has mouths to feed and bills to pay, just like you do, and your server is not responsible for your loss. If you do win and get your meal free, you should definitely have money available for tipping, but you don’t necessarily need to tip more when you win than you would have if you had lost, simply because you saved money not having to purchase the meal. We have another article entitled Help Restaurants That Take Care Of You which teaches how to thank the restaurant and owner for a great challenge by promoting them along with the challenge online, and that is a different scenario. Tipping is how you thank the actual server and restaurant staff who just provided you with a pleasant challenge experience, so please properly do that.

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