TIPPING/SERVICE CHARGE – why a % and not fixed – should they be capped??

Back to Forum

This topic contains 15 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  SwissExPat 1 Nov 2017
at 13:39
.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)

  • MartynSinclair
    Participant

    Why is the culture of tipping based on a % of the overall bill and not a fixed amount. If a meal is enjoyed by 2 different tables of guests in the same restaurant, one table enjoys an excess of fine wines, whilst the other table keeps on soft drinks, has the waiter worked harder and just because one bill is higher than the other, should the tip be different?

    Restaurants generally, do not pay their staff based on the turnover of the covers/bills they produce, so why are customers challenged when they do not leave a large enough tip based on the % of the bill.

    I have spoken to a few people who cap tips especially on 4 figure bills (whether £ or $). Does a waiter really deserve a £400 tip on a £2,000 bill?

    The follow on question, is why are tables of 6+ charged a minimum or extra service charge. Surely if the table needs two waiters, 50% of something is better than 100% of nothing and the establishment will win, with an increased bill size anyway. Its as if the restaurants themselves are scared of hard work..

    Before people quote the answer as “its tradition”, consider that there are examples of fixed tips & fixed service charges in the service industry already….

    I only realised from the recent discussion on TIPS that a tip should be based on the net bill amount and not the gross, after tax amount….

    I believe good service should be rewarded, but do people consider this should be an unlimited amount & compulsory to the customer…?

    Has anyone any examples of when a tip/service charge is considered too high or unreasonable and they have capped them OR is the 10% – 25% just considered as part of the meal cost??


    K1ngston
    Participant

    Great question Martyn, I have already stated that I hate the “tipping culture” in the US, I dont like anyone bullying me into doing something against my will…In Asia there is a limited tipping culture and here in Singapore there is a compulsory 10% service charge added to the bill, there is no question of asking for more and this can me amended upwards if you see fit and deducted if there was truly no service ….

    The very notion of a “preferred tipping rate” annoys me intensely, I chose your restaurant to eat in if you don’t pay your staff enough money where is that my issue? And then to suggest to me what that amount should be before I even get the service is nonsensical…


    Locod190
    Participant

    Well said K1ngston, 200% agree


    stevescoots
    Participant

    In the states I usually work on 10-15% and cap at $100…unless I plan to go back often then i might stretch to 20% but never go above the $100


    K1ngston
    Participant

    $100 above and beyond the cost of the meal Steve? Do you know how mad that sounds?? I mean I know why but seriously you are basically doing what the restaurant should be doing which is paying their staff…. Madness !!


    AlanOrton1
    Participant

    I don’t think what Steve has said is in the least bit mad. In Singapore, if you have a SG$1,000 meal (not that hard given the cost of alcohol), you automatically have $100 added, regardless. SG$2,000 meal and $200 is added etc.
    While a little generic, it is horses for courses. In the US, my experience has always been a 15-20% tip is the norm and is widely adhered to. Whether international visitors etc agree with this, think it is wrong etc is by and large irrelevant. It is what it is.
    Woking a lot in the US, I regularly see US colleagues leave in excess of 20% on a very regular basis in restaurants, and on the gross amount, not the net.
    I cannot really comment on whether they cap it or not, but my gut would say the majority do not.
    In answer to Martyn’s last question – I really do believe people see the tip (in the US at least) as part of the overall cost of dining out / cost of the meal.


    capetonianm
    Participant

    As I get older and grumpier and couldn’t give a damn what others think, I am increasingly opposed to this hideous practice, or blackmail, of tipping. I appreciate the countries and places where ‘service’ is included and where that is stated.

    I do not see why someone should expect extra for doing the basic job they are paid for. Should the service be exceptionally good, then I am always willing to ‘tip’ generously, but for ‘average’ I don’t see why I should dig deeper into my pocket.

    When I worked for an airline I was sometimes offered quite generous ‘tips’ for sorting out problems, or even in one case when I picked up a very elderly lady’s suitcase and checked it in for her, she probably assumed I was a porter and wanted to ‘tip’ me. I was also offered backhanders for ignoring excess baggage, upgrades, etc. The whole thing is fraught with difficulty and refusal can offend. At one place, we had to put a sign on the counter saying : “Our staff are not allowed to accept gratuities or extra payments of any kind.”

    I won’t tip where service is less than good, and I have taken to crossing it out and deducting it if I felt so doing was appropriate. In such a case I will usually make a point of speaking to management and explaining why.

    As stated above ‘it is what it is’ but it may be that enough people take a stand, service industry employers will start to pay their staff a better wage and encourage them to give better service. Where is that extra money going to come from ………… ah ……!


    Inquisitive
    Participant

    All tips and/or service charges need to be abolished. Why only restaurant/eatery business consider tipping is essential?
    I spent a few years in USA where I received fantastic service in Macy’s or in a Furniture shop, the people who serves there do not expect tip. Even Walmart where the floor workers are paid little amount provide good service when needed.
    So tips in restaurants is farcical and going out of control.
    Even a fixed service charge as collected in some countries are unfair – as similar services provided in other sectors do not have this extra charge.
    Restaurants all over the world need to build all cost in menu price and service shall come as a goodwill of patronising the establishment.
    Having said that I feel the service at US restaurants are quite good and I do not have any issue giving 15% tip. But I like the idea of OP about having a fixed amount if tip culture to continue


    stevescoots
    Participant

    $100 above and beyond the cost of the meal Steve? Do you know how mad that sounds?? I mean I know why but seriously you are basically doing what the restaurant should be doing which is paying their staff…. Madness !!

    If its a 2000 USD USD tab i don’t think that’s bad


    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    A great annoyance of mine is when they add service and at the bottom is a line, left blank, saying “Tip”. I’m more annoyed when I don’t notice then add a tip on top of the tip.


    stevescoots
    Participant

    A great annoyance of mine is when they add service and at the bottom is a line, left blank, saying “Tip”. I’m more annoyed when I don’t notice then add a tip on top of the tip.

    Mine too and i don’t then give a tip unless its exceptional service beyond what one should normally expect. This has been creeping into HK a lot, particuarly in chain establishments they have the 10% service charge and then a space for tips. I hate that’s its in the UK too now, the staff shove the EPS machine in front of you and the first thing you see is do you want to leave a gratuity, trying to guilt you into it


    SwissExPat
    Participant

    On Martyn’s initial point about the wine (or no wine).

    One of my favourite Dublin restaurants (L’Ecrivan) the bill arrives with the total spent on Food separated from the overall total… I assume for this very purpose or calculating an appropriate tip [and I have never seen this elsewhere]

    This raises an interesting point (I like finding potential inconsistencies in a system to highlight the problem). IN the USA there is a significant culture of Bring Your Own wine (BYO) with a Corkage charge. In this case, what should the tip be?


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    The restaurants very cleverly arrange the tip by including it into the bill or we the customer, just sign it onto the credit card payment system. The advantage for someone able to claim the expense, its far easier to do so via one payment, rather than a separate payment in cash -hence, we all just accept and pay.

    However, I would bet people would feel very differently if the tip was paid in cash. Again, paying a 100 £ or $ tip with 2 fifties on a bill of 400 £ or $ will probably have a different feel, especially if it was personal expenditure. There is a win win paying in cash. Waiters are getting 100% of the tip, without an establishment deduction (unless they agree to split) & as a customer, I am able to tip what I wish to tip, not what I am being told to tip.

    I have started to pay tips in cash and yes I do cap payments. Sometimes based on the time spent at the table i.e. how long has the waiter been providing the service & certainly how good the service has been. Food sent back, but dealt with professionally, does not mean a low tip . After the main course and before the bill arrives I am getting into the habit of discretely asking for the bill with no service charge included. Only in the USA has there been a snide comment.. in the UK, never….

    I have a regular boys night out where the food is complimentary, but irrespective of what we eat / drink the tip is always £20 per head… and we are always thanked by the all the staff…

    Its also interesting to ask a restaurant, how much they pay their waiters, especially when the service is bad. I have on occasion asked why am I expected to pay their staff, more than they do….

    I have recently been on the QM2, where the tipping culture is very complex and traditional. You are recommended (for the staterooms we had) to tip $12 per day per person and you can have this added to your bill as an auto payment. I always chose to tip in cash and direct to the staff. Our room steward for the first week did not benefit, as we never saw him, but our waiters, were incredible and certainly benefited from our group with a larger than average tip after the 2 weeks… The room steward for our second week, was also incredible and benefited way above average…. often knocking on our door, just to ask if he could do anything..

    Bottom line for me, is I like to control my expenses…


    SwissExPat
    Participant

    On the point of many suggesting that tipping is a poor form of remuneration and that restaurants should pay their staff appropriately, simply consider the situation where tipping is not the culture and you have a very negative experience with the Waiting Staff… how do you react? what can you do? That is why I am very much in favour of having a tipping culture when it comes to restaurants.

    You have an immediate voice to make your feeling known… and you can also reward very good service directly.

    If I am in a Michelin Star restaurant where the staff are there as a career and relatively well paid, then my tipping scale reduces


    K1ngston
    Participant

    I hear what you are saying SwissExPat but your argument doesn’t necessarily ring true in the US where you are expected to pay a tip on potentially shoddy service. If you have a particularly poor experience will you a) reduce the tip or b) not pay a tip I doubt it as the “expectation” is to pay??

    To the original point I like to make the decision to recognise good service I do not like the expectation that I have to come what may!!

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription

To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below

Polls