Tipping on Free Food?

I recently had dinner at a high-end steakhouse that offered one of their premium steaks at buy one, get one free. Were it not for the offer, we would not have gone to the restaurant that night, nor would we have ordered a steak that runs over $60 each. When the bill came I instinctively calculated a tip based on what the meal would have cost on a normal night, much as I do when I have a gift certificate at a restaurant.

After we'd paid and were leaving, we actually asked the server what most people had done who had the same special we did and he said about 60% seem to pay a tip based on what the full priced meal would have cost.

I certainly don't regret the tip we left, but I'm wondering if less would have been okay. If I go to a restaurant that offers a smaller deal, like a special where there is a three-course fixed price option that is substantially cheaper than buying the items separately, I would normally tip based on the actual cost.

What do you guys do when getting free or discounted food? In a buy one, get one free scenario? A fixed price discount scenario? A comped dessert or appetizer scenario?


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