.I.P.S. - Tipping Insures Prompt (or Proper) Service. The argument above is usually very hard to argue against because there is no doubt that servers give good service based on what they perceive to be a carrot on the end of a stick. They will work hard for you and you will reward them at the end for a job well done. So to me, the question is not really to tip or not, but rather how much to tip.
Tipping standards vary greatly from region to region and in different countries. In addition to this, tipping standards change over time and what services require a tip also change.
When figuring your tip, you should consider the following circumstances that may or may not apply to the server depending on which state you are in.
Your server does pay income taxes. If you do not tip the server, it has actually cost the server money to serve you. (e.g. IRS tipping taxlaws.)
Servers don't always get a paycheck. Sometimes, because of the taxes they pay and/or deductions, servers must pay in to the company rather than get a check.
Your server has to tip too. It is very common for a waiter or waitress to have to tip out their supporting staff, ie; the bartender, buss person, food runners and others. Bartenders may have to tip out their bar backs. These tips are based often on the sales of the server, so if you don’t tip them, in addition to the 8% the government gets they often have to shell out money to the support staff putting them further in the hole. Sometimes the support staff is tipped a percent of the servers tips. So not tipping the server is the same as not tipping any of the hard working support staff in the restaurant.
Servers do a lot of work that they are not tipped on also. It is called side work and it is work that is done for no more than their hourly rate. Side work usually involves cleaning the restaurant, stocking supplies and getting the store ready for the next shifts business. Side work can be time consuming and at times physically straining.
The most common argument and most ignorant against tipping, is that by not tipping you are “helping” the servers cause for better hourly rates. Most servers do not rely on their hourly income. Servers can earn a good living from the tips they get. If servers were going to work for a strictly hourly rate, I can assure you that rate would be high. If the hourly rate were high, guess what would happen to the prices you pay when you go out to eat or drink? That money would have to come from somewhere.