How Well Does Central Illinois Tip?

CHAMPAIGN—For those behind the counter, there are few things worse than serving up and being shut down.

“Sometimes people come and they get a really big food order and they don't tip,” said Ashley Tobias, assistant manager at Aroma Cafe.

Others tip, but not a lot.

At Aroma Cafe, a quaint coffee-shop-meets-bistro in Champaign, those customers put things into perspective.

“Tips are appreciated but they're not expected,” said Tobias.

Even so, employees at Aroma estimate that about one in every four customers either throws some change into the jar, or rounds up if paying with a credit card.

But up the street at Destihl Brewery, a more formal feel means almost all diners leave a tip, and the average amount is right where management likes it.

“Our staff averages about 19 percent,” said Justin Kelley, beverage manager at the restaurant.

Leaving anywhere from 18 to 20 percent of the total bill shows management at the brewery that the service wasn’t shaky and your order was served up right.

“Anything below that and we actually start to worry if whether or not our staff member was doing and going through all the Destihl standards and making sure that the level of service is where it needed to be,” said Kelley.

Because the ultimate goal is to leave customers full and satisfied.

The server will have a party of 20 that would not be [automatically tipped],” said Kelley. So it's really up to them to make sure you know, that they are refilling drinks, clearing plates, and taking care of our guests.”

And for some, that’s the most gratuitous part of the job.

“We have a lot of regulars,” said Tobias. “And sometimes just seeing their faces, that's tip enough.”

But a few extra dollars go a long way too.

Current Conditions