Tipping restaurants in America

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No:1 Final Fantasy Fan
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PostTipping restaurants in America
by No:1 Final Fantasy Fan » Sun Nov 16, 2014 3:43 pm

I'm not sure what to do about tipping. Last time I went to the US I tipped about 15% as I heard its that standard over there (like at Hard rock Cafe etc).
But this time I'm going to be eating at a nice restaurant Nobu in Vegas. I heard its good practice to tip 20% at nice restaurants. But if my meal comes to say £80 does that mean I should tip £16? I'm going with my cousin so if we both eat say 100 with total bill being £200 should we be tipping the full 20% £40?
I don't mind as I think the service and food will be brilliant so as a one off for eating at an expensive restaurant I don't mind tipping.

But my cousin said he'll only tip like £5 because he thinks if everyone tips 20% then the waiters will get ridiculous amount of money since the food is quite expensive. He also said as its a one off then it won't matter tipping just £5 each.

I really don't think thats right and I'm going to tip the full 15-25% regardless of food price. Infact I will make up for the stingy tight tip that my cousin is planning on giving and just pay 20% minimum of the total bill for us. As I do appreciate at high end restaurants that waiter are better trained, provide higher quality service and probably has less tables to turn over per shift.

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KjGarly
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PostRe: Tipping restaurants in America
by KjGarly » Sun Nov 16, 2014 4:11 pm

If theres a service charge then thats basically the tip, if not pay up!

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PostRe: Tipping restaurants in America
by Ironhide » Sun Nov 16, 2014 9:54 pm

I wouldn't give them that much.

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Ad7
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PostRe: Tipping restaurants in America
by Ad7 » Sun Nov 16, 2014 10:29 pm

Unfortunately 20% is an expected amount :dread:

Watch for merkins that automatically put the amount on to your bill assuming you'll give nothing as you're british. Happened to us once and we only realised we'd given some snot nosed gooseberry fool two lots of 20% tips the next day :x

Tipping :simper:

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Lagamorph
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PostRe: Tipping restaurants in America
by Lagamorph » Sun Nov 16, 2014 11:26 pm

Unless they actually give you some amazing service to earn it, don't tip.
It's a reward for going above and beyond, not just doing the job you're already getting paid for.

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Minto
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PostTipping restaurants in America
by Minto » Sun Nov 16, 2014 11:54 pm

I tipped the minimum if the service was duff. One of the girls in a place we went to gave us free drinks as we tipped her so much, like 20 bucks for a meal that was 50. Her service was class though and she was smoking hot as well.

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Lagamorph
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PostRe: Tipping restaurants in America
by Lagamorph » Mon Nov 17, 2014 12:22 am

If the service was duff why did you tip at all?

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PostRe: Tipping restaurants in America
by Jay Adama » Mon Nov 17, 2014 12:25 am


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PostRe: Tipping restaurants in America
by Lagamorph » Mon Nov 17, 2014 12:40 am

Mr. Pink. Finally a man talking sense.

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PostRe: Tipping restaurants in America
by Drumstick » Mon Nov 17, 2014 9:28 am

I must say that I totally understand where Mr White is coming from but I find myself agreeing with Mr Pink.

When I was in San Francisco last year, my friend went to the bar to get a pint. He was quoted $4 and handed over a $5 bill... and then stood there waiting patiently for his $1 change. A few moments later, the previously friendly barman said, with a now particularly gruff voice, "In America, we tip". I was astonished. It is optional, buddy, not mandatory. If you don't want to tip then you don't have to. Not to mention the fact that it took five minutes for my friend to get served.

I was there for three weeks and I did my fair share of tipping, but only when I felt it was merited. I just don't find the basic level of service tip-worthy. Surely, if people stopped tipping automatically, then it would act as a catalyst for those that found their tip figures dropping off a cliff to up their level of service.

As for the question posed in the OP of this thread, your cousin can tip whatever he feels the service he's received is worth. I have to say that I never had a problem tipping in Vegas, the service was always excellent in the establishments I went to, so he might have a change of heart when he experiences it himself. If he doesn't then you shouldn't feel under any obligation to make up the difference.

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PostRe: Tipping restaurants in America
by Lagamorph » Mon Nov 17, 2014 10:39 am

I find Canada even worse really. There they outright tell you the price of something and then point out that doesn't include the tip.
One bar in Toronto my friend and I got some drinks, from the bar rather than a waitress service, and all the barman did nothing more then turn to get bottles from the fridge and open them, then had the cheek to say "That'll be 10 dollars and tips not included". When we refused to tip for that he told us to leave.
And a club in Montreal told us that to get in it was "20 dollar entry and you have to tip the bouncer", the bouncer who did nothing but temporarily remove a rope while you walked in. We only did it that time as we'd already got a taxi to the place and didn't want it to be a wasted journey.

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PostRe: Tipping restaurants in America
by mrspax » Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:14 am

[iup=3615785]No:1 Final Fantasy Fan[/iup] wrote:I'm not sure what to do about tipping. Last time I went to the US I tipped about 15% as I heard its that standard over there (like at Hard rock Cafe etc).
But this time I'm going to be eating at a nice restaurant Nobu in Vegas. I heard its good practice to tip 20% at nice restaurants. But if my meal comes to say £80 does that mean I should tip £16? I'm going with my cousin so if we both eat say 100 with total bill being £200 should we be tipping the full 20% £40?
I don't mind as I think the service and food will be brilliant so as a one off for eating at an expensive restaurant I don't mind tipping.

But my cousin said he'll only tip like £5 because he thinks if everyone tips 20% then the waiters will get ridiculous amount of money since the food is quite expensive. He also said as its a one off then it won't matter tipping just £5 each.

I really don't think thats right and I'm going to tip the full 15-25% regardless of food price. Infact I will make up for the stingy tight tip that my cousin is planning on giving and just pay 20% minimum of the total bill for us. As I do appreciate at high end restaurants that waiter are better trained, provide higher quality service and probably has less tables to turn over per shift.


Three very simple rules.

Standard service = 15%
Excellent service = 20%
VERY poor service = tip 1 cent (doing this leaves no doubt you are making a point as opposed to having just forgot)

All the wheres and whatfors about the morality of it is irrelevant. It's 'optional' but you have to be some kind of arse to not play by the generally accepted cultural rules. When in Rome... Plus, relatively speaking, eating out is cheap in the US (for the fact that tipping makes the service industry's wage a living wage). If your cousin plans to pull that stunt - especially in a fine dining establishment such as Nobu - they will (rightly) be chased down the street by the waiter. And if I was a member of the public who saw it, I'd trip him up to make sure the waiter got his hands on him. No tipping when you have had good service in the US is incredibly rude. If you can't afford fine dining prices plus a reasonable tip, don't eat there.

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PostRe: Tipping restaurants in America
by mrspax » Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:19 am

[iup=3616143]Lagamorph[/iup] wrote:When we refused to tip for that he told us to leave.


The fact that any North American would not have found this in the least bit unreasonable suggests you need to learn a bit more about the foreign culture you are visiting.

A dollar a drink. It's the way it works.

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PostRe: Tipping restaurants in America
by PaperMacheMario » Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:46 am

[iup=3616172]mrspax[/iup] wrote:
[iup=3616143]Lagamorph[/iup] wrote:When we refused to tip for that he told us to leave.


The fact that any North American would not have found this in the least bit unreasonable suggests you need to learn a bit more about the foreign culture you are visiting.

A dollar a drink. It's the way it works.

Even if the service isn't good?

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PostRe: Tipping restaurants in America
by mrspax » Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:47 am

PaperMacheMario wrote:
[iup=3616172]mrspax[/iup] wrote:
[iup=3616143]Lagamorph[/iup] wrote:When we refused to tip for that he told us to leave.


The fact that any North American would not have found this in the least bit unreasonable suggests you need to learn a bit more about the foreign culture you are visiting.

A dollar a drink. It's the way it works.

Even if the service isn't good?


See previous post.

1 cent.

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PostRe: Tipping restaurants in America
by mrspax » Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:48 am

It doesnt sound like the service was bad though anyway. It just seems that it was deemed that the service provided wasn't worthy of a tip. That view is culturally ignorant.

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PostRe: Tipping restaurants in America
by Drumstick » Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:59 am

What do you make of the barman not actually giving my friend his $1 back? Surely that is not on?

[iup=3616172]mrspax[/iup] wrote:The fact that any North American would not have found this in the least bit unreasonable suggests you need to learn a bit more about the foreign culture you are visiting.

A dollar a drink. It's the way it works.

You appear to have more experience than I do on this subject. Can you answer Mr Pink's question of why tipping in McDonald's is not seen as "generally accepted" and something that everyone should do, but virtually nobody does, yet tipping is actually expected in other establishments? It seems like a double standard to me and one that I don't understand.

[iup=3616170]mrspax[/iup] wrote:All the wheres and whatfors about the morality of it is irrelevant.

It's more the principle for me.

[iup=3616170]mrspax[/iup] wrote:Plus, relatively speaking, eating out is cheap in the US (for the fact that tipping makes the service industry's wage a living wage).

I agree, but the food industry's living wage has long been a problem in North America. My belief, misguided or not, is that if people stopped automatically tipping for average service and only tipped when the service received truly merited one then something might be done about it.

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PostRe: Tipping restaurants in America
by Corazon de Leon » Mon Nov 17, 2014 12:36 pm

[iup=3616200]Drumstick[/iup] wrote:What do you make of the barman not actually giving my friend his $1 back? Surely that is not on?

[iup=3616172]mrspax[/iup] wrote:The fact that any North American would not have found this in the least bit unreasonable suggests you need to learn a bit more about the foreign culture you are visiting.

A dollar a drink. It's the way it works.

You appear to have more experience than I do on this subject. Can you answer Mr Pink's question of why tipping in McDonald's is not seen as "generally accepted" and something that everyone should do, but virtually nobody does, yet tipping is actually expected in other establishments? It seems like a double standard to me and one that I don't understand.

[iup=3616170]mrspax[/iup] wrote:All the wheres and whatfors about the morality of it is irrelevant.

It's more the principle for me.

[iup=3616170]mrspax[/iup] wrote:Plus, relatively speaking, eating out is cheap in the US (for the fact that tipping makes the service industry's wage a living wage).

I agree, but the food industry's living wage has long been a problem in North America. My belief, misguided or not, is that if people stopped automatically tipping for average service and only tipped when the service received truly merited one then something might be done about it.


I'm not entirely sure why people don't tip in fast food restaurants in North America (although I saw people tip in Whataburger all the time), perhaps fast food workers are better paid than bar workers or waiting staff. Certainly they should be tipped if this is not the case, and I tended to give them my change rounded up to the nearest five dollars. My experience of America and Canada is that these people are paid almost nothing for their work as there is no minimum wage; it's not uncommon in bigger cities such as New York, Toronto or San Francisco for 70-90% of the wage of these people to be provided by tips. Which is pathetic, but North America is much more kill-or-be-killed than the UK.

My experience of America over the last couple of months was similar to what's been posted - it would be culturally ignorant not to play by the accepted rules of the country which you are in, and in North America tips are an accepted extra cost for eating out, or buying drinks in a bar. I made a few friends who worked bar jobs over there and they all repeated the same thing when asked about it - without tips, they would have been homeless. I'm not surprised that the barman kept your friends' dollar - although he was pretty rude about it, I fall firmly in the camp that says your friend should have left the tip.

With that in mind, your last paragraph in essence amounts to "If we drastically cut the wages of vulnerable low-skilled workers by not supplementing their meagre income, something might happen." I know that's not at all what you mean, because over here there is a principle involved in tipping service workers - I only tip if I've had good service. But in America, that isn't the case, you really need to leave principles at the TSA checkpoint.

It's nigh-on impossible to get legislation passed that actually helps poorer sections of society, they've been trying to get minimum wage bills passed for years with no success. I think there's another round coming up soon(Alvin will know better than me) - hopefully it'll get in this time around, but I'm not overly confident.

EDIT: To answer the original question Final Fantasy Fan, if your cousin tips a fiver in that restaurant then he will be righteously chased down the street, as has been suggested. It might be worth having him look up the wages of service workers in the States. It's also worth remembering that upmarket restaurants sometimes share out the tips, so no-one will be getting what he thinks they are in all likelihood.

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PostTipping restaurants in America
by mrspax » Mon Nov 17, 2014 1:13 pm

Drumstick wrote:What do you make of the barman not actually giving my friend his $1 back? Surely that is not on?


I suspect the damage had been done in you guys arguing the toss. Maybe not right, but I'd say socially you guys made the first (big) faux pas

Drumstick wrote:It seems like a double standard to me and one that I don't understand.


I agree. But it is nevertheless the social norm in the host country. I don't think the views of tourists are that relevant when it comes to this particular issue as the general North American public just get on with it. Despite the breakfast scene in Resi Dogs being quite iconic, nowt has changed.

Drumstick wrote:It's more the principle for me.


Fair play. But understand that your principal in this matter is an affront to those in your host country. If you don't like that culture, don't for one second expect them to bend to your ideals.

There are plenty of things done in this country that visitors find weird. We would not find it acceptable if visitors disregard them and deem them silly. Queuing politely springs to mind :)

Drumstick wrote:My belief, misguided or not, is that if people stopped automatically tipping for average service and only tipped when the service received truly merited one then something might be done about it.


I'm with you here. Not our place to start that revolution though I am afraid!

Last edited by mrspax on Mon Nov 17, 2014 1:18 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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PostRe: Tipping restaurants in America
by Lagamorph » Mon Nov 17, 2014 1:16 pm

If it's not the paying customers place to start that revolution then whos is it?

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