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An hypothetical: tipping( again)

singlemalt Sep 19, 2012 05:10 PM

Here is an hypothetical upon which I would appreciate some input (whew!). Suppose you and a friend, wife, bff, lover,husband go to a restaurant, typicially somewhat upperscale, although it may not really matter, and as a couple you order an appetizer and share it, a side dish and you share it, an entree and yes, you know what, and the same for dessert. My question is, as you have doubtlessly anticipated, how do you tip, i.e, what amount?

Thank you for your kind responses, in advance.

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  1. s
    staughton RE: singlemalt Sep 19, 2012 05:47 PM

    I waited tables for years, and I'll say this: if they ordered four courses and shared, it's likely that the bill was as much or even more than the people who order two inexpensive entrees, which is a much more common phenomenon (and a VERY common M.O. for cheap tippers, btw!). No, people dining in the manner you describe have shown that they're interested in that particular restaurant's endeavors and that they either a.) don't want to stuff themselves, or b.) they can't afford to double the bill. I certainly never expected to be tipped more than the standard 15 - 20%, but I've never met the server who minded being "overtipped". Now, if this couple ordered that way and sat at the table for four hours in a crowded place and the waiter lost the chance to turn that table, THEN they should put more money in. But those people rarely do.

    2 Replies
    1. re: staughton
      cleobeach RE: staughton Sep 20, 2012 09:31 AM

      if they ordered four courses and shared, it's likely that the bill was as much or even more than the people who order two inexpensive entrees, which is a much more common phenomenon (and a VERY common M.O. for cheap tippers, btw!).
      I agree with staughton's observation, as a former server and a frequent diner.

      My husband and I don't split entrees but we frequently go for lunch with our son to a variety of upscale places for lunch and order a bunch of appetizers and salads in lieu of us each having just a lunch entree. We always get wine (just the adults!) and usually split a dessert. I guaranty we spend far more than the neighboring table that orders ice tea and just one entree person and nothing else. Therefore, I tip on the bill.

      I would think an upscale place would have systems in place (like split plate charge) to make sure they got a "minimum" out of each table turn.

      1. re: cleobeach
        sunshine842 RE: cleobeach Sep 20, 2012 01:31 PM

        many do -- there was a thread a while ago about a restaurant that was charging an eye-popping $19 or thereabouts to split a plate.

    2. m
      mangiare24 RE: singlemalt Sep 19, 2012 05:52 PM

      Here's the dilemma: in this situation, the couple only ordered half of what 2 people would order but took up the server's 2-top upon which he banked on getting xx amount of $$ in tips which in turn is based on the average bill of two people not sharing a whole meal. (I'm sure there is a better way to say this but I am too tired to think about it and reword).

      Interesting dilemma...

      2 Replies
      1. re: mangiare24
        Bill Hunt RE: mangiare24 Sep 19, 2012 06:38 PM

        Well, one could possibly take this to another level. Let's just say that the "Surf-n-Turf" was a 3# Maine Lobster, and a Kobe # 5 Filet, at US $300, but the couple only split the salad, the fish-course and then the steak, but there WAS that Surf-n-Turf on the menu, that they did not order. Should they tip, as though they had?

        I would be disinclined to do so, but maybe I am in the minority here.


        1. re: mangiare24
          cresyd RE: mangiare24 Sep 20, 2012 03:58 AM

          For a couple, I don't think that taking up a two top is so much of an issue because had the person been dining solo (and didn't want to sit at the bar), they'd still be taking up a two top. Where I think a hypothetical situation like this would question me more would be if a group of 4-5 were to go to a restaurant, order a table, and just plan on sharing one or two desserts and drinking cocktails or a bottle or two of wine. To me that would be a case that would definitely warrant more attention to how much was being tipped because the size of the table compared to the size of the bill could potentially be far more dramatically different.

        2. Kat RE: singlemalt Sep 19, 2012 05:53 PM

          I have never done that. I like ordering my own meal because, quite honestly, my spouse is a human Hoover and if we ordered anything to share I would be lucky if I got a whiff of it before he sucked it all down! But, if we did, I probably would tip more than my standard 20% to make up for not ordering two meals.

          1. Bill Hunt RE: singlemalt Sep 19, 2012 06:38 PM

            If it is just the two of us (no one else included), it depends entirely on service. I usually start with a full (on wine too) 20%, and work up, but that is predicated on the service.

            I might tip a bit more, if the splitting is done nicely, before the food reaches the table.


            1 Reply
            1. re: Bill Hunt
              Midlife RE: Bill Hunt Sep 20, 2012 11:09 AM

              "I might tip a bit more, if the splitting is done nicely, before the food reaches the table."

              My thought exactly!

            2. h
              Harters RE: singlemalt Sep 20, 2012 03:17 AM

              I tip, in line with my usual standard, on what we have eaten and been charged for.

              That said, I cannot recall an occasion where we have ever shared a dish.

              1. m
                MonMauler RE: singlemalt Sep 20, 2012 06:38 AM

                There are a few girlfriends I dine out with on a fairly regular basis where it has become normal for us to share an appetizer, side and entree. We generally do this because we simply do not want or need more food. When we do this I tip my standard 20% or so.

                1. l
                  lcool RE: singlemalt Sep 20, 2012 07:10 AM

                  We start at 20% of total bill.Better service is rewarded with more $.
                  If we are sharing or splitting 3 apps and an entree the tip does include the entree,dessert or coffee not ordered.
                  However if the waiter,waitress is attentive to detail regarding the split,tip goes up.
                  Four of us had an experience recently,very busy room,YOUNG waiter at a table for six.(a 2 up could be pulled away.)On his own he heard all the meaning when we ordered one bottle of
                  wine and two apps to share while we took our time deciding what else we wanted to try.The messy app arrived already split,plated for 4,the other with additional table top and an easy to pass dish.Continuing this level of thoughtful service all through a long meal.Astute enough into the meal that the 2 up wasn't pulled off leaving us,our wine and food ample space.He was well informed and informative about the food.We split nearly everything.He was very respectful of our pace for the entire meal without putting the kitchen's nickers in a knot.

                  Was he tipped 20% ? NO
                  Will we return ? YES

                  1. iL Divo RE: singlemalt Sep 20, 2012 01:25 PM

                    it could come down to who suggested what ie:
                    other person said, "let's do this."
                    you both decided neither of you is 'that' hungry, "hey let's split everything in half".
                    one suggested (and feeling obligated) you tentatively said, "okay".
                    either way, split the tip in half. < unless of course they had 19 beers and you had iced tea.

                    1. olyolyy RE: singlemalt Sep 26, 2012 12:07 PM

                      I would tip the standard 10-15% of the pre-tax bill, there is no reason to tip on food that would have hypothetically been ordered in my opinion. If I go out and do not order wine, I similarly do not tip as if I had ordered wine to "compensate"

                      That said, if you enjoy a meal out and want to tip 30%, under whatever circumstances, you are free to do so. Implying there's an obligation to do so under some sort of unspoken social code is a bit much.

                      81 Replies
                      1. re: olyolyy
                        Dax RE: olyolyy Sep 26, 2012 02:31 PM

                        where is the standard 10-15% these days?

                        I generally tip 20% post tax unless service is great (ie splitting the main on two plates as noted above) in which case I would tip at least 25%. Sometimes I tip more depending on my mood but rarely if ever less than 20%.

                        1. re: Dax
                          olyolyy RE: Dax Sep 26, 2012 03:54 PM

                          I don't think I've ever tipped more than 10-15%....except in those rare occasions dining solo where the bill is so low that you leave at least a couple of bucks. Where I live the minimum wage is over $10 and all servers make at least minimum wage so a 20% tip is a dying breed

                          1. re: olyolyy
                            Midlife RE: olyolyy Sep 26, 2012 05:06 PM

                            I'm not at all sure that a high minimum wage has a whole lot to do with how much us 'proper' to tip. $10.24/hr is certainly a number that would not make me tip MORE to offset a $2+ minimum wage, but 10% is a really low tip regardless. Besides, what's the cost of living in San Francisco compared with places where the minimum is low?

                            I can't change your mind on how much to tip if you've "never tipped more", but I might be able to persuade someone else.

                            1. re: Midlife
                              olyolyy RE: Midlife Sep 26, 2012 05:42 PM

                              I think most people in the US tip 10-15%.

                              1. re: olyolyy
                                gaffk RE: olyolyy Sep 26, 2012 06:09 PM

                                Nope, most tip 18-20% in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic. Minimum wage here is @ $7.75 and restaurant staff are paid below this with the expectation of 18% tip. Unless service was egregious, I would never go below 20% as I know all servers must pay their rent and put food on their tables.

                                1. re: olyolyy
                                  Rilke RE: olyolyy Sep 26, 2012 06:20 PM

                                  I agree with gaffk: here in the Mid-Atlantic, standard / expected tip is 18-20%. 10% is an insult.

                                  1. re: Rilke
                                    olyolyy RE: Rilke Sep 26, 2012 06:38 PM

                                    You may choose to believe that but in the US most people tip 10-15%.

                                    1. re: olyolyy
                                      Rilke RE: olyolyy Sep 26, 2012 06:59 PM

                                      I don't "choose" to believe it. I have worked in food service in multiple locations in the mid-Atlantic and participated in forums full of servers from all over the country. Your assertion of "most people" is incorrect.

                                      1. re: Rilke
                                        olyolyy RE: Rilke Sep 26, 2012 07:08 PM

                                        Agree to disagree, but out of curiosity can you point me to the statistic? Because outside of major urban areas I just can't believe this to be the case.

                                        1. re: olyolyy
                                          Rilke RE: olyolyy Sep 26, 2012 07:48 PM

                                          I'm not sure what statistic I can give you. A quick Google search gave me the following pages, among others.

                                          "General rule: 10% usually means you are very unhappy, 15% usually means all was ok, 20% for excellent, and 25% for outstanding.
                                          Restaurants with table service: Tip 15% of the bill, based on the quality of service. If you receive exceptional service, 15-25% is customary. In major cities of the U.S. however, 20% is considered to be a "good tip". "

                                          "If the restaurant has waiters who come to your table, the standard tip is a minimum of 15% of your total bill (post-tax), with the typical tip being between 18% - 20%. Anything less than 15% is considered bad manners and an insult to the waiter. "

                                          I have worked as a server in a major city (DC) and a few suburban-y areas. It was the same in all those places. Anything under 15% meant the person was stingy / rude, foreign / clueless, or blaming me for whatever went wrong. I was good at my jobs and that meant I typically earned about 18% on average.

                                          I remember when a rumor was spread that Oprah recommended tipping 10% to save money in the economy, there was outcry from food service employees everywhere.

                                          1. re: Rilke
                                            olyolyy RE: Rilke Sep 26, 2012 08:29 PM

                                            Thanks for posting that. I had to chuckle at 10% means you're "very unhappy"

                                            If someone were very unhappy they probably would not tip at all. Expecting a certain percentage of tip in any way is bad manners. There are plenty of people who consider a 10% tip commiserate with adequate service.

                                            1. re: olyolyy
                                              Vetter RE: olyolyy Sep 26, 2012 09:02 PM

                                              Yes, plenty of people, and I suspect they're increasingly in the minority. Your perspective seems generational to me, somehow. I disagree with your conclusion but I LOVE that you care about manners. I wish I could tip my friends into having some, some days. (I'm early 30ish.) I just think we've gotten away from a tip being a perk. It's now some sort of messed up way to compensate people for working in an industry that thinks it's okay to pay them dirt.

                                              1. re: Vetter
                                                latindancer RE: Vetter Sep 26, 2012 09:26 PM

                                                <your perspective seems generational to me, somehow.>

                                                Just curious. What generation are you talking about?

                                                1. re: Vetter
                                                  olyolyy RE: Vetter Sep 26, 2012 11:44 PM

                                                  I honestly think a 10-15% tip is more than generous (assuming a $10+ minimum wage). A lot of people work far worse jobs at minimum wage and make no tip on top of that. Working as waitstaff is one of the few jobs where you can work, and go home with a decent amount of cash in your pocket, and maybe even dinner. People in tight spots have relied on the culture of tipping to get by and people will always support that. I don't know that it's some sort of heinous job that is so lowly paid they should get tipped on pity/compassion. Just my 2 cents.

                                                  1. re: olyolyy
                                                    hill food RE: olyolyy Sep 27, 2012 02:00 AM

                                                    waitstaff usually don't make anywhere near minimum wage - there's a loophole in labor law for this http://www.dol.gov/elaws/faq/esa/flsa.... it's often $2.13 something an hour plus tips (which they have to share with the other staff) even the stingiest of friends and family leave at least 15% (ok maybe over 10% at a diner counter


                                                    $10 an hour + tips? heck for that I'd sling hash and even smile. don't kid yourself, those folks are hauling ass for squat except your tip (of which they only see maybe 1/3).

                                                    1. re: hill food
                                                      olyolyy RE: hill food Sep 27, 2012 09:04 AM

                                                      Well many major cities now pay a fair wage to waitstaff. The $2/hour paradigm is prevalent in many areas still, but that also is a dying breed. There is no labor loophole in SF, waitstaff makes the $10+ minimum wage hourly(as is needed with the cost of living here). That plus a 10-15% tip is definitely a fair wage in my opinion.

                                                      1. re: olyolyy
                                                        cowboyardee RE: olyolyy Sep 27, 2012 10:17 AM

                                                        As of the beginning of 2012, only 5 (6 if you ignore Montana's exemption for small businesses) out of 50 states pay federal minimum wage or better to servers prior to tipping. SF is the only place I know of that pays $10/hour or better. Maybe there are some cities that I don't know about starting a trend, but it seems to me that you're cherry picking your examples to support your thesis. AFAIK, most servers nationwide are highly dependent on your tip money for the bulk of their income.

                                                        1. re: cowboyardee
                                                          Dax RE: cowboyardee Sep 27, 2012 11:33 AM

                                                          I have read a few articles where servers say their employers are automatically reporting 15% of their sales for tip purposes, but I assume that only applies to credit card sales. That sucks if so as tips of 10% and tip-sharing (bar, bus, runners, etc) would tend to drop your average take home considerably. Still, if you are honest about your tips, surely the IRS cannot legally take just tax on 15%.

                                                          1. re: Dax
                                                            sunshine842 RE: Dax Sep 27, 2012 03:04 PM

                                                            Nope -- they're witholding based on 15% of your total take for the night -- cash, check, charge, or wampum.

                                                          2. re: cowboyardee
                                                            olyolyy RE: cowboyardee Sep 27, 2012 02:48 PM

                                                            lol@ thesis. Either way, in states that don't have a $10+ minimum wage the cost of living is generally lower. I've lived in areas that eateries pay the $2/hour and worked in places that paid that, I don't agree with the practice and I will always tip accordingly to compensate (usually well over 20%). But I think a 10-15% tip with the $10 minimum wage is decent money for someone waiting tables.

                                                            1. re: olyolyy
                                                              cowboyardee RE: olyolyy Sep 27, 2012 05:26 PM

                                                              'Thesis' is a synonym for argument.

                                                              You can make a reasonable argument for tipping less in places that actually pay a living wage, as they do in Europe. My point was that those places are few and far between in the US. You seemed to be arguing that it's becoming common, and that cost of living in other places is low enough to justify tipping well below the norm. The former is plain not true, while the latter is a judgment call but pretty dubious IMO.

                                                              1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                cowboyardee RE: cowboyardee Sep 27, 2012 09:19 PM

                                                                "Either way, in states that don't have a $10+ minimum wage the cost of living is generally lower."
                                                                BTW, that's ALL states. I've yet to see another place in the US besides SF where there is a $10 living wage in place for servers. And SF is not a state.

                                                                1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                  hill food RE: cowboyardee Sep 28, 2012 01:37 AM

                                                                  I really don't want to belabor this, but I can't imagine living on a full-time $10/hour wage in LA, SD, NYC, DC, CHI, SEA, PDX, BOS, and those are cities with decent mass transit. add a car to the mix and all bets are off. even in SF $10 minus split tips would be a strain (we're not jumping on you o, but SF is almost an island, geographically but also in regards to labor laws, and yes I lived there for 10 years)

                                                                  1. re: hill food
                                                                    olyolyy RE: hill food Sep 28, 2012 10:47 AM

                                                                    A 10-15% tip is perfectly adequate with a miminum wage hourly rate in my opinion. It's sad restaurants are not required to pay minimum wage as a federal mandate but I believe eventually they will. I do not see tipping 20% will remain the norm under that pay structure.

                                                                    1. re: olyolyy
                                                                      latindancer RE: olyolyy Sep 28, 2012 12:49 PM

                                                                      <I do not see tipping 20% will remain the norm under that pay structure.>

                                                                      I do.
                                                                      I con't pay 20% or more because, in the back of my head, I'm thinking about the poor waiter who works for minimum wage. It has nothing to do with my tipping standards. I'm paying the waitstaff in appreciation for what they're doing to make my dining experience an excellent one. I pay accordingly if they decide to do the opposite.

                                                                      1. re: olyolyy
                                                                        Karl S RE: olyolyy Sep 28, 2012 01:13 PM

                                                                        Just don't ever be a repeat customer at a place in the USA where you've tipped 10% for decent full table service. There might be spit in your food. Because your opinion about a fair tip is way out there, like Pluto, in terms of current American norms.

                                                                        1. re: olyolyy
                                                                          thegforceny RE: olyolyy Sep 28, 2012 01:16 PM

                                                                          'I do not see tipping 20% will remain the norm under that pay structure."

                                                                          I thought you believe the US standard was only 10-15%? Now you concede that 20% is the norm?

                                                                  2. re: olyolyy
                                                                    lcool RE: olyolyy Sep 28, 2012 10:13 AM

                                                                    Greater Washington DC metro area,Richmond to Frederick to Baltimore the highest hourly wage paid to wait staff is $2.23 per hour,BEFORE TAXES !!!!! Philadelphia is lower.

                                                                    1. re: lcool
                                                                      kubasd RE: lcool Oct 12, 2012 12:08 PM

                                                                      Yup! When I waited tables in Arlington I was paid $2.13 an hour (this was about 5 years ago).... My paycheques were exactly zero every week because of taxes. I was literally given a check that said VOID. The ONLY money I made was from tips.

                                                                      1. re: kubasd
                                                                        lcool RE: kubasd Oct 12, 2012 12:50 PM

                                                                        As local F&B trade my awareness of that and the recent practice of CC tips withheld from servers until the "return" on sale is processed is helping us choose not only who I do business with but where we are patrons.Waiting 3 or more days for tips and the rampant accounting mistakes in the $ amount really blows.
                                                                        Some servers now photo all receipts each night rather than fight about errors later.
                                                                        PS unless it's a business expense we tip cash

                                                                        1. re: lcool
                                                                          kubasd RE: lcool Oct 12, 2012 12:58 PM

                                                                          We got our credit card tips at the end of the night. We had to turn in the amount of our tabs at the end of the night, and whatever cash we had left was our tips (cash + CC). Sometimes we were owed money, and it was paid out by the manager.

                                                                          1. re: lcool
                                                                            hotoynoodle RE: lcool Oct 12, 2012 01:14 PM

                                                                            there are some companies, like the landry's group, who make servers pay the processing fees on credit card tips. so if you tip with your cc, the server is paying 1.5% of his/her tip to cover that transaction. awful and exploitative business practice.

                                                                            btw, this company owns over 400 restaurants -- including morton's, rainforest cafe, mccormick & schmick's, bubba gumps and chart house. as well as the golden nugget casinos.


                                                                            1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                              hotoynoodle RE: hotoynoodle Oct 13, 2012 12:10 AM

                                                                              am sorry, i explained this badly and was off-line to edit in time:

                                                                              the servers must pay 1.5% of their cc sales to the company to cover "processing fees." so even if you leave a cash tip, the company is till gouging the server. yes, i know it doesn't sound like a lot, but it adds up over a year, and further it is a cost of doing business. why should a server have to bare this ? if you are a cashier at a shop, would your employer try to ream you like this?

                                                                              1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                olyolyy RE: hotoynoodle Oct 13, 2012 03:00 PM

                                                                                Not trying to sound combative but I have a hard time believing this.

                                                                                1. re: olyolyy
                                                                                  lcool RE: olyolyy Oct 13, 2012 04:56 PM


                                                                                  BELIEVE IT !!!

                                                                                  1. re: olyolyy
                                                                                    hotoynoodle RE: olyolyy Oct 14, 2012 06:45 AM

                                                                                    oly, am not asking you to "believe" in angels or alien abductions. simply stating facts.




                                                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                      DeppityDawg RE: hotoynoodle Oct 14, 2012 09:36 AM

                                                                                      None of these articles says anything about servers paying the CC charge on their total sales, only on their tips. And they don't get gouged on cash tips, only on CC tips. Your original explanation was evidently more accurate than your correction.

                                                                                      And although I agree that this sucks for the servers, and it's nice to stick up for the little guy, it's not like the company is keeping this money for itself. It's a nice gesture for some restaurants to pay the CC fees on behalf of their servers in the past, but it's a good idea for those servers not get too used to this, because nice gestures can stop at any time.

                                                                                      1. re: DeppityDawg
                                                                                        sunshine842 RE: DeppityDawg Oct 14, 2012 09:40 AM

                                                                                        but the restaurant is paying the CC fees for the meal itself -- while it might make sense from a line-item profit margin point of view, it's penny-wise and pound foolish and creates discontent amongst employees and (most) customers -- and in an economy where people aren't spending as much...one would think a restaurant would go out of their way to not irk/annoy/piss off employees and customers.

                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                          DeppityDawg RE: sunshine842 Oct 14, 2012 06:21 PM

                                                                                          In an economy where (as already noted) employees have fewer choices, companies can afford to create some discontent. And not just for the evil pleasure of oppressing their employees and lining the big bosses' pockets, but because in this economy a few tenths of a percent of increased profits may be the difference between staying in business and going bust (and taking all the employees down with them).

                                                                                          It's easy to spin this as the greedy bosses vs. the helpless underlings, but the fact is that both the restaurant and the server benefit from accepting credit cards, so it's reasonable and fair for the restaurant and the server to share the CC fees proportionally.

                                                                                          1. re: DeppityDawg
                                                                                            sunshine842 RE: DeppityDawg Oct 14, 2012 10:49 PM

                                                                                            so in rough economic times, it's okay for companies to kick their employees around?

                                                                                            If the company is in such dire straights that the processing fees on the tips is enough to make or break the company as a whole, they have far bigger problems anyway.

                                                                                            On, say, a $100 tab , there's a 3% service charge. That's $3.
                                                                                            Add a rather miserly 15% tip, making the total bill $115 with tip, and the service charge is $3.45. We seem to have all come to the conclusion that the servers are being smacked only for the service charge on the tip, rather than on the entire bill (which would be completely unconscionable).

                                                                                            That $0.45 is .0045 of the original tab -- less than one-half of one percent...but it's fully 3% of the server's portion. There isn't really a lot of justification as to how this makes it fair., particularly when it gets repeated 4-5 times per night, per server.

                                                                                            As was mentioned above -- the restaurant doesn't dock BOH staff, or outside vendors, for that credit card service charge, because it's a cost of doing business...so there's no reason to dock servers, either.

                                                                                        2. re: DeppityDawg
                                                                                          hotoynoodle RE: DeppityDawg Oct 14, 2012 10:13 AM

                                                                                          the restaurant takes the "fees" money out of the server's tips.

                                                                                          why should employees who make less than minimum wage be responsible for offsetting what is a normal cost of doing business? thr corporation is already allowed to pay them far less than in any other industry.

                                                                                          1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                            DeppityDawg RE: hotoynoodle Oct 14, 2012 10:45 AM

                                                                                            The fee in this case is the normal cost of getting the money from the customer's credit card into the server's pocket. The restaurant isn't even a party in this transaction, really, so why should they pay the fees?

                                                                                            If you really want to keep the restaurant out of it, next time tell your server you're tipping them via PayPal, and that they'll have to pay the 3.4% transfer feeā€¦

                                                                                            1. re: DeppityDawg
                                                                                              hotoynoodle RE: DeppityDawg Oct 14, 2012 11:51 AM

                                                                                              it's how the place gets money to pay the vendors for the sirloins on your plate and the wine in your glass and the lights in the bathroom. most high-end restaurant transactions are via credit cards these days. the percentage of the check that goes to the house is vastly higher than the tip that goes to a server.

                                                                                            2. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                              Midlife RE: hotoynoodle Oct 14, 2012 07:03 PM

                                                                                              This is illegal in California. I just went through a situation in a venue that began food service and the owners originally said they would be deducting the CC processing percentage from the charge tip money. A few days later it was apparent that wasn't being done. Someone must have read the state code.

                                                                                              I get the idea behind it, but it just seems rather petty of the owners. Just cover it in your margins so the customer pays!

                                                                                      2. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                        DeppityDawg RE: hotoynoodle Oct 13, 2012 03:16 PM

                                                                                        Every server negotiates his/her contract and then they decide whether or not to sign it and work the job. And I am sure that some of them get shafted, just as I am sure that some of them are making more than I do. Is it my responsibility as a customer to find out exactly how things work for them in their restaurant and even things out by tipping more (never less, of course, always more)?

                                                                                        If someone tells me about a restaurant that treats their employees badly, I'll just stop going there. (To be honest, this has never come up for me.) I guess that doesn't help the waitstaff there, but I'll be damned if I'll eat there, pay the owners, and then leave an extra-large tip as if my server's choice to work there was somehow my fault.

                                                                                        To get back on topic, I tip the same X% for acceptable service, whether I spend $20 or $200, whether I eat one plate of food or 10. And I'll pay in cash or by card depending on what's convenient at the time, and I could care less if someone's going to pay taxes or credit card fees or tip out the rest of the staff yada yada yada.

                                                                                        1. re: DeppityDawg
                                                                                          hotoynoodle RE: DeppityDawg Oct 14, 2012 06:49 AM

                                                                                          i don't know on what planet you live, but servers don't "negotiate" or "sign" contracts, lol. they simply try to find a decent place to make a living and not nbe treated like human garbage.

                                                                                          in the case of morton's steakhouse, they were a very employee-friendly group that offered lots of little perks seldom seem in that environment. the company was bought by the landry's group. presto-change-o, overnight a vastly different corporate culture came into play. dunno if you've noticed the craptastic economy but simply switching jobs isn't as easy as it once was.

                                                                                          1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                            DeppityDawg RE: hotoynoodle Oct 14, 2012 07:49 AM

                                                                                            I'm not telling anyone to change jobs if they are unable to. But if their job sucks, it's not my job to make it all better.

                                                                                            What is your specific recommendation for Morton's? Stop going there? Keep going there and tip more? Find out who all works there and send them checks every month?

                                                                                            1. re: DeppityDawg
                                                                                              hotoynoodle RE: DeppityDawg Oct 14, 2012 08:25 AM

                                                                                              it was simply an example. i'm not about to tell anybody what to do, nor do i feel it's a guest's responsibility to compensate for egregious business practices.

                                                                                              that being said, i do not shop at wal-mart, ever, because of their corporate ethos.

                                                                                              we all do what we think best.

                                                                                              1. re: DeppityDawg
                                                                                                lcool RE: DeppityDawg Oct 14, 2012 08:37 AM

                                                                                                I don't think hotoynoodle is suggesting anything like that.

                                                                                                Some of us are simply offering up facts,information so others perhaps are more informed consumers.Caring about the position of corporate culture in the F&B industry is up to the individual.On a personal and professional level I do and fortunately I can afford to.I don't like knowing that the tip I leave is whittled down by book keeping,often twice.

                                                                                        2. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                          sunshine842 RE: hotoynoodle Oct 13, 2012 02:25 PM

                                                                                          that SUCKS.

                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                            lcool RE: sunshine842 Oct 13, 2012 05:01 PM

                                                                                            SUCKS in spades.I couldn't begin to list the greasy shit restaurant groups and their site managers have drummed up in the past five years.

                                                                                  2. re: olyolyy
                                                                                    Jackie007 RE: olyolyy Oct 13, 2012 01:28 AM

                                                                                    New Jersey is one of the most expensive states in the country and servers are routinely paid the typical $2.15/hr + tips.

                                                                                    Tipping below 15% is cheap and tacky, unless service is dismal. I generally tip 20%

                                                                        2. re: olyolyy
                                                                          Harters RE: olyolyy Sep 27, 2012 06:19 AM

                                                                          I always find it just plain odd when I read here that Americans will suffer appallingly bad and/or rude service and still be prepared to tip 10% (or more).

                                                                          1. re: olyolyy
                                                                            Karl S RE: olyolyy Sep 27, 2012 07:05 AM

                                                                            I believe most of them grew up in the Great Depression, when 10% for full table service was still the standard. It had changed to 15% by at least the 1970s (20% in the lower half of Manhattan at that point, which was a special case; that standard has now migrated to the newer foodie hotspots in the bigger urban or resort areas).

                                                                            10% is still the standard for buffet service, however.

                                                                        3. re: olyolyy
                                                                          Janet from Richmond RE: olyolyy Sep 27, 2012 06:28 AM

                                                                          You are wrong in my experience. The only person I know who thinks 10% is adequate is my 89 year old MIL.

                                                                          1. re: Janet from Richmond
                                                                            gaffk RE: Janet from Richmond Sep 27, 2012 02:37 PM

                                                                            And it's not really generational. My parents (dad passed in 2001 at age 80; mom still alive & feisty at 83) are the ones who taught me 18-20% was standard. I dine with mom quite often, and 20% is her norm.

                                                                            1. re: gaffk
                                                                              SocksManly RE: gaffk Sep 27, 2012 03:21 PM

                                                                              Cool for you if you can afford it, but I can't afford 20%. If I had to tip 20% every time I went out, I would go out a lot less or not at all, or eat at places that let me save money by walking a few steps to go get my food.

                                                                              1. re: SocksManly
                                                                                gaffk RE: SocksManly Sep 27, 2012 05:00 PM

                                                                                Actually, when I was younger and couldn't afford it, I did go out a lot less and ate at places that let me save money with counter service.

                                                                                1. re: SocksManly
                                                                                  Karl S RE: SocksManly Sep 27, 2012 05:47 PM

                                                                                  If you can't afford 15%, eat less to afford the 15%.

                                                                                  1. re: SocksManly
                                                                                    Rilke RE: SocksManly Sep 27, 2012 08:32 PM

                                                                                    If you go out at all, you should be prepared and able to tip 20% for good service.

                                                                                    1. re: Rilke
                                                                                      Karl S RE: Rilke Sep 28, 2012 04:56 AM

                                                                                      15% is still the norm in many areas. That's been the subject of many exhaustive discussions. It's safe to say that, for full service (not buffet or counter service) the US norm is currently 15-20%, typically at towards the higher end in the downtowns or other food mecca areas of major urban areas. 10% for full-service, however, is at least two generations out of date. I would dread to be a repeat customer at a place where I've tipped 10% for good full service, because the wait staff would be spitting (or worse) in my food if they recognized me.

                                                                      2. re: olyolyy
                                                                        Janet from Richmond RE: olyolyy Sep 27, 2012 06:27 AM

                                                                        I disagree completely. I don't know of anyone who tips less than 15% (under the age of 75) and most people tip 18%+ if everything goes okay.

                                                                    2. re: olyolyy
                                                                      latindancer RE: olyolyy Sep 28, 2012 01:43 PM

                                                                      So....given your thoughts on tipping, what do you do when you go out with a friend/family member who thinks differently than you?
                                                                      Do you split the bill and he/she pays for her/his own and you each tip separately? Is there a Larry David discussion?

                                                                      1. re: latindancer
                                                                        olyolyy RE: latindancer Sep 28, 2012 10:35 PM

                                                                        Whoever pays, tips what they choose to tip. Generally if a bill is split, it's split on a card and you do tip seperately...if everyone is throwing in cash I contribute the amount requested, never had a conversation about it.

                                                                        1. re: olyolyy
                                                                          Midlife RE: olyolyy Sep 28, 2012 11:24 PM

                                                                          And the amount requested is always 10-15% and no more???? Just askin'.

                                                                          1. re: Midlife
                                                                            olyolyy RE: Midlife Sep 29, 2012 09:57 AM

                                                                            I don't really notice or care either way...

                                                                            1. re: olyolyy
                                                                              latindancer RE: olyolyy Sep 29, 2012 12:44 PM

                                                                              <I don't really notice or care either way...>

                                                                              Okay that makes more sense, then. You'll tip 25% with friends who tip that amount and not question it.

                                                                          2. re: olyolyy
                                                                            Karl S RE: olyolyy Sep 29, 2012 02:59 AM

                                                                            Here's an experiment to test your theory: next time are with your dining companions (it need not be at a meal), tell them how you tip 10% for good service, and then say you found you got a lot of flak over at Chowhound, so, what do they think about that?

                                                                            1. re: Karl S
                                                                              olyolyy RE: Karl S Sep 29, 2012 10:02 AM

                                                                              I don't see any point to asking people's opinion of something that I'm not going to change my mind on.

                                                                            2. re: olyolyy
                                                                              latindancer RE: olyolyy Sep 29, 2012 12:42 PM

                                                                              <if everyone is throwing in cash I contribute the amount requested, never had a conversation about it>

                                                                              So you're saying the person requesting the amount, when throwing in cash, has included a 20% tip and you just let it go and pay it? Never having a conversation about your 10% - 15% max?

                                                                              1. re: latindancer
                                                                                olyolyy RE: latindancer Sep 29, 2012 02:37 PM

                                                                                Yes, my "max" as you call it is not set in stone...Like I said if the bill is very low I leave an amount that is probably closer to 50%...or if gratuity is a mandatory 18% etc. But if I am paying a bill or portion of a bill, the range for tipping is 10-15%.

                                                                                1. re: olyolyy
                                                                                  latindancer RE: olyolyy Sep 29, 2012 04:21 PM

                                                                                  Well, I do respect your flexibility and your principles.

                                                                                  As much as I'd love to leave $2 on a $20 tab I just don't think I've ever done it unless the service was. what I considered, atrocious. Four dollars on a $20 tab is pretty ridiculous if I really sat and thought about it....

                                                                          3. re: olyolyy
                                                                            latindancer RE: olyolyy Sep 29, 2012 12:48 PM

                                                                            <I don't think I've ever tipped more than 10-15%>

                                                                            It appears you may have, based on your non questioning of friends, who are most likely paying close to 20%, when you don't question after they request you throw in money to pay the bill.

                                                                            1. re: latindancer
                                                                              olyolyy RE: latindancer Sep 29, 2012 02:43 PM

                                                                              On a few occasions, yes. I've also paid $7 for a Sprite at a ball game. That said, I wouldn't advise Sprite Inc to count on that figure as my price point for a soda.

                                                                              1. re: olyolyy
                                                                                latindancer RE: olyolyy Sep 29, 2012 04:46 PM

                                                                                <I've also paid $7 for a Sprite at a ball game.>

                                                                                Forgive me here. I'm just trying to make some sense of your logic.
                                                                                You're saying you don't, as a rule, tip more than 10-15% @ a restaurant. Yet, you'll pay $7 for a Sprite that costs the vendor close to nothing?

                                                                            2. re: olyolyy
                                                                              Midlife RE: olyolyy Sep 29, 2012 04:18 PM

                                                                              I'm thinking it's time to leave this discussion with the Mt. Rushmore of tipping. ;o]

                                                                          4. re: olyolyy
                                                                            Janet from Richmond RE: olyolyy Sep 27, 2012 06:30 AM

                                                                            A (very) quick search found this.


                                                                            1. re: Janet from Richmond
                                                                              Harters RE: Janet from Richmond Sep 27, 2012 07:28 AM

                                                                              From my foreigner's perspective, there's the interesting suggestion in that link that poor service may not be the server's fault, so the server should not be "stiffed" - in other words, an exhortation not to reduce the tip whatever the circumstances. Amazing - even for an American commentary on the subject.

                                                                              1. re: Harters
                                                                                Janet from Richmond RE: Harters Sep 27, 2012 07:52 AM

                                                                                Often it is not the server's fault. They are at the mercy of the kitchen.

                                                                                The only time I deduct the tip based on the server is if they are rude or ignore.

                                                                                1. re: Janet from Richmond
                                                                                  hill food RE: Janet from Richmond Sep 27, 2012 08:43 PM

                                                                                  true, if the kitchen is being hitchy and slow the server can at least stop by and check-in, reassure, refill water, bread etc (heck sell more drinks and wine). the ones that simply ignore do not deserve the same tip as those who do bother.

                                                                                2. re: Harters
                                                                                  MellyMelle RE: Harters Sep 27, 2012 03:44 PM

                                                                                  Yep, these are the people who reinforces bad servers to continue bad service. Where's the incentive for them to improve if they'll get tipped a certain minimum amount regardless of what they do (or don't do)? And how does that make good servers feel, when they're busting their ass only to make a couple % more than someone who doesn't give a rat's ass?

                                                                            2. s
                                                                              SocksManly RE: singlemalt Sep 26, 2012 09:26 PM

                                                                              You know what I love? Going out to dinner and not giving a shit what kind of math the wait staff are doing in their head about how much we're ordering, what we're ordering, what it might mean, how long we stay, or anything else. I tip 15%, 10% if it was terrible, 20% if they were really great. If that makes someone pouty, what can I do. I'm not spending my dinner worrying about the wait staff's feelings.

                                                                              For those of you who spend an inordinate amount of time trying to get these things perfectly fair, I surely hope you toss a few bucks to the homeless guy on your way to the car!

                                                                              23 Replies
                                                                              1. re: SocksManly
                                                                                staughton RE: SocksManly Sep 26, 2012 10:00 PM

                                                                                Given the attitude of many people posting here, one can be fairly certain some of the homeless we pass were formerly their servers.

                                                                                1. re: SocksManly
                                                                                  olyolyy RE: SocksManly Sep 26, 2012 11:52 PM

                                                                                  I agree, eating out should be a relaxing experience. I am not spending my meal grading the service...mistakes happen, etc, who cares. Maybe someone is having a bad day. As a rule of thumb, the higher a check is the lower end of the tip scale is how I calculate it. How the service went is irrelevant to me. I also tip a set amount for wine, not a percentage of the cost of the bottle. It's a tip, not a tax. And it's the same amount of work to open a $20 vs $200 bottle of wine.

                                                                                  1. re: olyolyy
                                                                                    hill food RE: olyolyy Sep 27, 2012 02:01 AM

                                                                                    wine - there I do sort of agree the tip ought to be about the same. uncorking a bottle is uncorking a bottle. the difference would be if a sommelier had been called over to suggest pairings for your courses.

                                                                                    1. re: hill food
                                                                                      hill food RE: hill food Sep 28, 2012 02:25 AM

                                                                                      but then again, was the wine 'corked' and smoothly replaced? and was it indeed the bottle ordered?

                                                                                      I'm still trying to figure out how a higher tab rationalizes a lower tip. with a higher tab a higher level of service is expected. so at $150 pp, damn straight my (starched linen) napkin is caught before it hits the floor. ok I'm not really that fussy. but I hope you see the point. tip has only to do with front-of-house and at those prices you deserve to be treated like royalty, and they deserve to be rewarded as well (although nobody is asking you to create a 'Grace and Favor' apartment in the attic crawlspace) but in this economy that might be a retirement strategy...

                                                                                    2. re: olyolyy
                                                                                      Midlife RE: olyolyy Sep 27, 2012 09:47 AM

                                                                                      "How the service went is irrelevant to me." - ???????????????????

                                                                                      If your local servers make a 'decent' wage then what is the reason, exactly, that you tip at all? REALLY curious.

                                                                                      1. re: Midlife
                                                                                        olyolyy RE: Midlife Sep 27, 2012 02:22 PM

                                                                                        If you re-read the post I describe a 10-15% tip plus $10+ dollar minimum wage as the "decent" wage.

                                                                                        1. re: olyolyy
                                                                                          staughton RE: olyolyy Sep 27, 2012 02:37 PM

                                                                                          ?!?!?!? SHOW me the restaurant waiter (and NOT a unionized banquet server in a hotel, either) who makes $10.00/hr on top of their tips. I think the OP used the right word in this thread's question with "HYPOTHETICAL". Many of you certainly are building your arguments on some completely unfounded hypotheses.

                                                                                          1. re: staughton
                                                                                            olyolyy RE: staughton Sep 27, 2012 08:27 PM

                                                                                            There are cities that mandate this in the US.

                                                                                            1. re: olyolyy
                                                                                              Karl S RE: olyolyy Sep 28, 2012 01:52 AM

                                                                                              How many? It's in the third standard deviation, if not further beyond that.

                                                                                          2. re: olyolyy
                                                                                            Midlife RE: olyolyy Sep 28, 2012 11:16 AM

                                                                                            Granted. Sorry I misread.

                                                                                        2. re: olyolyy
                                                                                          lcool RE: olyolyy Sep 27, 2012 11:05 AM

                                                                                          "how the service went is irrelevant to me"

                                                                                          Begs a question about patronage.Are you a happy,regular or repeat customer somewhere, anywhere?Tip percentage aside,the overall experience,food,service and presentation etc is inter-twined and important for us.So your remark about service is unfathomable to me and
                                                                                          unimaginable for me.

                                                                                          1. re: lcool
                                                                                            olyolyy RE: lcool Sep 27, 2012 02:31 PM

                                                                                            Some people when they eat out only care about the food, not the service. People will even reduce a tip based on an issue with food despite great service. Personally I tip according to the amount of the bill, good service is expected! But it would be hard for bad service to ruin great food and good company(: Whether I'm a regular or a visitor makes no difference to me...like I said my tip is dependent on the price of the bill. The higher the bill the closer to 10% and if the bill is really low I just tip $4-5.

                                                                                            1. re: olyolyy
                                                                                              SocksManly RE: olyolyy Sep 27, 2012 03:19 PM

                                                                                              I like your style oly. I'm going to adapt some of your ideas to how I tip as well.

                                                                                              Because I also am not picky with the service. I'm polite, I understand they're likely doing their best, and I don't "take it out on them" by not tipping etc when things go bad. So similarly, since I'm a nice, undemanding person with realistic expectations, I'll tip accordingly.

                                                                                              I also like the idea of tipping based on how the food was vs the service. Because I came to eat, not to see how good the service is.

                                                                                              1. re: SocksManly
                                                                                                Rilke RE: SocksManly Sep 27, 2012 08:27 PM

                                                                                                "I also like the idea of tipping based on how the food was vs the service. Because I came to eat, not to see how good the service is."

                                                                                                So you believe it is fair and justified to tip badly (in other words, punish your server) if your food is not up to expectations? This directly contradicts your assertion that you "don't 'take it out on them' . . . when things go bad."

                                                                                                1. re: Rilke
                                                                                                  SocksManly RE: Rilke Sep 27, 2012 10:19 PM

                                                                                                  I haven't done it yet, but it seems like a good idea. I almost always tip 15%, and don't really care about how the service was. It would have to be really bad for me to tip 10%. But maybe I don't factor in how good the food was.

                                                                                                  1. re: SocksManly
                                                                                                    sunshine842 RE: SocksManly Sep 27, 2012 10:54 PM

                                                                                                    you guys are totally missing the point here.

                                                                                                    The price for the food is the price for the food.

                                                                                                    The tip is the price for someone bringing you your food, extra bread, filling water glasses, getting your order to the kitchen promptly and correctly, etc., etc., etc.

                                                                                                    The server doesn't shop for, prepare, or cook your dinner.

                                                                                                    Thus bitch-slapping your server with a lousy tip because dinner wasn't up to your expectations is miserly, unkind, and unfair.

                                                                                                    I'm sure many of us (myself included) have overtipped a harried server who has busting their ass to take care of their tables, regardless of the disaster taking place in the kitchen or the calibre of the food...and similarly have undertipped at restaurants that serve up fabulous food because the server was surly, inattentive, intoxicated (been there...) or otherwise provided substandard service.

                                                                                                    The bill and the tip are for two different parts of the meal. Pay accordingly.

                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                      hill food RE: sunshine842 Sep 28, 2012 02:10 AM

                                                                                                      "The bill and the tip are for two different parts of the meal"

                                                                                                      essential. the cooks usually don't see any amount of tip and any comment on the food is un-noticed. tip for the service but if the food sucks talk to the manager.

                                                                                                      1. re: hill food
                                                                                                        Karl S RE: hill food Sep 28, 2012 04:54 AM

                                                                                                        Exactly. You don't screw the server for food quality issues unless they are very obviously related to service by the server (getting the order materially wrong, among other things). Food quality issues should be addressed to the manager in the end, not just the server.

                                                                                                        1. re: hill food
                                                                                                          Harters RE: hill food Sep 28, 2012 05:01 AM

                                                                                                          One of the benefits of the service charge we have in a number of European countries. Usually means all the staff, including chefs and cleaners, get a share.

                                                                                                          1. re: hill food
                                                                                                            jw615 RE: hill food Sep 28, 2012 07:36 AM

                                                                                                            Agreed - I have only once not have a manager resolve food issues when I spoke with them - and that was a place with both food and service issues.

                                                                                                            In fact, if something is wrong with my food that the waiter can't control (like an overcooked steak), I am actually more likely to tip them a little extra if they take care of it quickly and kindly.

                                                                                                  2. re: olyolyy
                                                                                                    lcool RE: olyolyy Sep 28, 2012 10:33 AM

                                                                                                    olyolyy & SocksManly

                                                                                                    The waiter brings your plate.( service )The condition of that plate once it hits the pass is 100% in your waiters hands,more than 99% of the time.Good or great food requires the entire kitchen brigade and equally the waiter.He has a huge role in your food,meal experience.
                                                                                                    The waitstaff anywhere can bring down a kitchen.Plates left cold in the pass etc.

                                                                                                    BAD SERVICE CAN RUIN GREAT FOOD in a heartbeat,and often does.At $2.23 per hour,tips unknown,guess who has who by the balls.The front and back of the house are codependent.

                                                                                                    1. re: olyolyy
                                                                                                      Midlife RE: olyolyy Sep 28, 2012 11:23 AM

                                                                                                      It's quite apparent that no amount of discussion is going to change your mind olyolyy. But I DO have one question.......

                                                                                                      What happens when you dine with other people? Do you only share meals with people who share your tipping style? If not, do you always pick up the bill and use your style? I very honestly feel that I would be quite uncomfortable dining with someone who tips 10% while I'm tipping 20+. Do you always insist on separate checks?

                                                                                                      1. re: Midlife
                                                                                                        Karl S RE: Midlife Sep 28, 2012 01:16 PM

                                                                                                        OMG, if anyone tips 10% in a group, you can be sure there are others in the group who resent it deeply and have to make up for the deviant tipping behavior.

                                                                                              2. b
                                                                                                bobbert RE: singlemalt Sep 27, 2012 06:15 AM

                                                                                                I might tip more if there was more work done by the server. Did he actually "split" the dish for us or maybe just bring an extra plate if that? Otherwise I pretty much agree with others in that all together my tab would have been about the same had we split dishes or not.
                                                                                                If a server puts together a Caesar salad tableside for me (is that done anymore?), fillets a fish or creates a dessert complete with a fire show then, yeah, they've earned a bit more.

                                                                                                1. k
                                                                                                  kengk RE: singlemalt Sep 27, 2012 03:23 PM

                                                                                                  I generally tip around 20% on the total bill. Round up or down depending on the total experience.

                                                                                                  That said, tipping should be outlawed. Pay the servers what the market dictates and add the price to the menu.

                                                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: kengk
                                                                                                    gaffk RE: kengk Sep 27, 2012 05:01 PM

                                                                                                    That is so reasonable it will never work ;)

                                                                                                    1. re: gaffk
                                                                                                      hill food RE: gaffk Sep 27, 2012 08:39 PM

                                                                                                      oh god I know, I wish we in the US would just adopt that as the standard and cut all the confusion (and threads like this)

                                                                                                      1. re: hill food
                                                                                                        DeppityDawg RE: hill food Sep 28, 2012 05:37 AM

                                                                                                        Once the tipping genie is out of the bottle, it is impossible to get him back in again. The practice of restaurant tipping is appearing in places where it was previously unknown, and in all places where it exists (in my experience), the amount/percentage tends to creep higher and higher over time. I know of no case where the change has gone in the opposite direction, i.e. where restaurant tipping has been reduced or eliminated after having been standard practice for a long time.

                                                                                                        1. re: DeppityDawg
                                                                                                          Harters RE: DeppityDawg Sep 28, 2012 07:04 AM

                                                                                                          That may be the case in north America, DD. But I'd be reasonably confident in suggesting tipping is on the decrease in the UK. It used to be the case that the "going rate" was 10% and it still is (except in London where it has crept to 12.5% in the last year or so) - although there is a sense that many folk no longer tip at that rate. To counter-balance, restaurants (again, mainly in the London area) are replacing traditional tips with a service charge -- presumably on the basis that folk have to take positive action to ask for it to be removed from their bill or reduced. Not just restaurants, by the way, but reductions in tipping is affecting other service industries, like taxis, where it used to be traditional. Society is changing and voting with its wallet.

                                                                                                          1. re: Harters
                                                                                                            DeppityDawg RE: Harters Sep 28, 2012 08:10 AM

                                                                                                            Are the rules described here still in effect?

                                                                                                            It sounds like the UK was creeping towards the American model (of below-minimum wages) but it only ever reached 20% of restaurants before the practice was declared illegal (bravo!). Now all waitstaff are supposed to make at least the minimum wage. Maybe this is why some people have stopped tipping as much in UK restaurants?

                                                                                                            1. re: DeppityDawg
                                                                                                              Harters RE: DeppityDawg Sep 28, 2012 08:36 AM

                                                                                                              As you say, something like 20% of places (according to the union) were using this sharp practice. Just about all of them were chain restaurants. It was to do with the increase in the use of the service charge in place of traditional tipping and the law really hadnt caught up with the consequences of the change.

                                                                                                              With the reduction in the numbers of folk tipping at the "going rate", I hope we're seeing the start of a move to the French model where service is inherently included in the menu price and no further tip is required. In the meantime, a growing number of places levy the service charge and distribute it to all staff, not just the servers. I like that as concept.

                                                                                                              1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                DeppityDawg RE: Harters Sep 28, 2012 09:37 AM

                                                                                                                But apparently a restaurant can also just keep all of the service charges and credit card tips and not distribute them at all (except of course indirectly, in the form of fixed wages). The BBC article suggests that the customer should find out what the restaurant does and either avoid restaurants that do not redistribute (so would they disclose this?) or tip extra in those cases, in cash (which strikes me as preposterous).

                                                                                                                The situation is not so different in France, in fact. Some restaurants pay a fixed wage and do not have a service charge. In principle, customers are supposed to pay attention to this, and tip accordingly more if the menu doesn't specify "service compris". But I don't know anyone who actually bothers.

                                                                                                                The American model would really be the simplest, if (1) there really were "an" American model, as opposed to different rules for every city and every state, and (2) people actually just applied a fixed percentage, full stop, instead of constantly searching for reasons to give more or less in every single situation.

                                                                                                                1. re: DeppityDawg
                                                                                                                  Harters RE: DeppityDawg Sep 28, 2012 10:07 AM

                                                                                                                  Don't forget, in the UK, we have a fundamentally different attitude towards tipping than do north Americans. I regard it as an extra voluntary payment, not a requirement. Many folk I know do not tip, or tip minimally.

                                                                                                                  I also travel to France where, as you say, nobody checks about service. The assumption is that service is always included (and my understanding is that this is the legal situation). I can't recall a menu ever saying "service compris". Until the UK gets itself into that situation, I'm content that restaurants should be transparent about their policies. Here's a couple of examples from places near me that I like:

                                                                                                                  "Our tariffs are fully inclusive of service" (Bodysgallen Hall, North Wales)

                                                                                                                  "Service charge is payable at guest's discretion and distributed to all staff and not to any part of the company" (Choice Restaurant, Manchester)

                                                                                                                  1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                    hill food RE: Harters Sep 28, 2012 12:14 PM

                                                                                                                    I, too, am a fan of clarification.

                                                                                                          2. re: DeppityDawg
                                                                                                            hotoynoodle RE: DeppityDawg Oct 12, 2012 12:19 PM

                                                                                                            i have been working in restaurants in boston since the late 80s. tip percentage has always fallen between 15-20% -- for decades. it hasn't crept up AT ALL. being a tourist city, we have hundreds of thousands of out-of-towners and folks from other countries who leave less than 10%. servers are still paid $2.63 an hour unless they work in a union hotel setting.

                                                                                                    2. s
                                                                                                      singlemalt RE: singlemalt Oct 12, 2012 12:02 PM

                                                                                                      Wow, 106 responses and quite a diversity of opinion. Now, here's the deal and why I posted this in the beginning. I know some folks who actually do this when they go to a restaurant, even when abroad. This thought of doing this makes me sort of shiver when I think of what the restaurant personell must think it this practice. But, then again, I don't go to restaurants to please the restaurant personell, so that should not be an issue. Furthermore, this couple engages in this practice, not to save money, but to enjoy good food and watchl their caloric intake as well. So, it is as much of a health issue as anything.

                                                                                                      But, somehow, deep down I find the practice egregious anyway. Aside from what personal feelings the practice evokes, I have thought about people who do this, and if they are aware, as I am acutely, that they are, in fact, presenting themselve as two people who are requesting the same level of service of any two people who are ordering separately. In other words, they are requiring two wine glasses,, two tops, etc for only one meal. The staff at the restaurant is doing the same amount of work as if two folks had order two meals, execept that they didn't.

                                                                                                      Using this view, I would think that a tip should reflect the extra effort for one meal that the staff has to go to. The trick is how much should one tip for the extra? Is it fair to expect them to double the tip on their total bill? i.e. maybe tip 40% rather than 20%? Or, would it suffice for them to add a small amount to their customary tip of 15 or 20%. Say add 5 or 10 dollars, depending on the size of the bill?

                                                                                                      I know their is no answer to this question, but I wanted to clarify why I brought it up in the first place. Thank all of you for taking time to respond. (BTW, FWIW, somehow I still inwardly blanch at the thought of travelling around Italy splitting plates. Just me. )

                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: singlemalt
                                                                                                        hotoynoodle RE: singlemalt Oct 12, 2012 12:24 PM

                                                                                                        american portions being what they are, an appetizer and entree are usually just too much food for me,so i will often order 2 apps. i don't have a sweet tooth, so never get dessert. i do almost always have a drink or some wine. being in the business i tip generously, but don't feel compelled to tip on what a bigger appetite might have ordered in my chair. that's too much of a stretch. what if that imaginary guest had ordered a 5-pound lobster and a magnum of opus one?

                                                                                                        the exception here is if i am sent freebies, or items are comped, because i know the owners/manager/bartender, etc. this happens often, so i do try to figure what that would have added to the bill and tip based on that.


                                                                                                        "(BTW, FWIW, somehow I still inwardly blanch at the thought of travelling around Italy splitting plates. Just me. )"

                                                                                                        european portions are human-sized, unlike most in the states, and i can and do often finish what i am served. i don't need to split plates there.

                                                                                                        1. re: singlemalt
                                                                                                          singlemalt RE: singlemalt Oct 12, 2012 03:41 PM

                                                                                                          OMG! I just noticed that I used the wrong form of "there". I am so-o-o embarrassed. I will have to hide for a while.

                                                                                                          1. re: singlemalt
                                                                                                            Nudibranch RE: singlemalt Oct 13, 2012 10:58 AM

                                                                                                            But it's not "one meal". Watching their calorie intake, had each person ordered their own separate meal they would not have ordered an app, a side dish, a main and a dessert.
                                                                                                            I mean, if one person had ordered the side dish and main, and the other the app and dessert, and NOT shared, would you consider that "two meals"? The app-and-dessert combo is something I do frequently because of how big some apps are.

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