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May 22, 2009 10:33 AM

ASKING TO ADD 10 PERCENT TIP TO MEAL [moved from Ontario]

Last night we tried a new (for us) Vietnamese restaurant here in Toronto.
It is a mom and pop type establishment.
At the end of the meal the 'pop' asked me (with a smile) if it was OK to add a 10% tip to the meal.
No mention of an automatic 10% was mentioned anywhere in the restaurant or the menu.

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  1. Well, I guess if they add 10% you don't need to worry about giving more than that!

    Personally, initially I would probably be offended but when you think about it, the normal tipping policy is 15% so by adding 10% does that mean they don't expect anymore than that?

    Interesting tactic.

    7 Replies
    1. re: lyndak

      Did they speak English very well or only minimally?

      This actually makes a difference because on some credit cards machines
      there isn't a spot for a gratuity... basically the kind of machine a convenience store would have.

      If they don't speak very good English their merchant services saleperson may have conned them into taking a machine that doesn't print out the tip form the way a restaurant slip does.

      I own a restaurant and had some salespeople try to unload these on me (older models they wanted to get rid of but still make money off of). This could well be the issue...

      1. re: quovadis

        He was perfectly fluent and very polite.

        1. re: quovadis

          The 'bill' itself is handwritten.
          The items are listed, then a subtotal, then taxes.
          There is a caption that says 'tip'.
          Beside that he wrote '10%'.
          Then he wrote in the total which does not include the tip.
          The credit card chit only has the total amount (in terms of $).

          1. re: allanc

            If the service was adequate then you're getting off cheap at 10%.

        2. re: lyndak

          I thought that you are not supposed to tip the owner anyway.

          1. re: allanc

            I think quovadis has the probably answer for why he asked, though 10% is very low.

            As to tipping the owner: In a small, family run restaurant, with full table service, I would tip whoever serves me. Especially in these times I don't see any reason to presume that the owner doesn't need the money as much as anyone who might be working for him. In fact, at 10%, he may be taking care of tipping out others there as much as himself.

            1. re: Midlife

              In general, I tip regardless of whether it is a mom and pop or not and regardless of who served.
              That is assuming that I think that it is justified, of course.
              My son is in the industry and I know that he is hurting for the tips recently so I tend to more be understanding and liberal.
              The main thrust of the my original post is that someone (anyone) actually *asked me if it was OK to add the tip*.
              The fact that it was the owner was secondary.

        3. I don't think we have enough information to give a very good answer. Was this meant to be a tip or was he implying the prices on the menu were no longer accurate so he wanted to increase the cost of the meal? What did you say and what was his reaction?

          1 Reply
          1. re: KTinNYC

            When I put my credit card on top of the bill, he pointed at the total and said something like 'May I add 10% as a tip'.
            I was quite surprised as was my companion but said 'Yes, sure'.
            I am not sure if he said thank you because I was caught totally off guard.

          2. Well, he asked; and that's the polite thing to do.

            It's now up to you to decide if they deserve more or less.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Maximilien

              Regarding tipping an owner... if they are your server you do.

              1. re: quovadis

                I always have when it was warranted and without being asked, of course.
                The only reason I said 'I thought you are not supposed to' is because he actually *asked* which threw me off.

            2. Since the credit card slip only has the total amount, he doesn't want to report the tips as income if the tax rules are the same in Canada as in the US. At 10% no one will balk, some may leave more in cash or suggest a higher percent, and the amount he saves from taxes could offset the potentially higher lost tip income.

              1 Reply
              1. re: alwayscooking

                I think you are exactly right. If it is recorded separately as a tip, income tax is due. If it is just part of the charge for the meal, there is no record of taxable income.

                And clearly, it was not "automatic." You were asked for permission.

              2. hmm... strange.
                Maybe his last ten customer didn;t tip and he thought he should ask?