Tipping(U.S.A. also)

Old Sep 3rd, 2002, 09:14 PM
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Tipping(U.S.A. also)

We've just returned to the U.K. after our 3rd visit to Canada.We eat out every day.
In guide books and also holiday programmes we are told to tip at 15%. Indeed on one bill in a restaurant the server had written in "in Canada the normal tip is 15%".
My husband has always gone along with this and on our average bill of $180(for four ) it is a fair amount.
This year it has led to quite some conflict with my 15 year old daughter who works in a restaurant locally.She says that it is rare now for people to tip and if they do it is usually a nominal £2-3.She got quite annoyed at the amount we left and said she was sure no-one else left that amount.
We know that the remuneration system is different in that in tha U.K. there is a minimum hourly wage and that over the Atlantic tips are an essential part of one's income.
How much do you tip?Are we the only one's who stick to the recommendation?
Old Sep 3rd, 2002, 09:59 PM
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In Canada serving staff, including waiters and buspersons, also receive minimum wage which is anywhere from$6-8/hr. In pounds that works out to about 2.5-3.5/hr. Most waiters work a 4-6 hour shift or maybe two 4 hour split shifts. It's bloody hard work for that and any tips he or she gets they rightly share in most cases with the bus and kitchen staff. Revenue Canada also does a basic 'estimate' of what the waiter gets in tips and he or she is taxed on that amount whether or not it was actually earned.

So as far as I'm concerned - and by the way I've never been a restaurant worker - a good waiter deserves that 15% for making my meal as enjoyable as possible. If he or she has been surly or inattentive then I am free to not tip and if he or she has been really good than I am happy to tip more. Although there is some debate over whether 'tips' comes from 'to insure proper service' I think it is a wonderful incentive and reward and am not offended by it.

I am however offended by compulsery service charges which in many places go directly or largely to the management or for lousy service. And frankly I think the server who had written you that little note was out of line unless he or she overheard you talking about it. In any event it was declasse.
Old Sep 3rd, 2002, 10:38 PM
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I forgot to mention that one inequity with the flat 15% guidline is that it takes the waiter just as much effort to serve a $20 entree as a $40 one so why does the $40 meal deserve twice the tip as a $20 one? I guess this goes to prove that no system is perfect and I'm not looking for a solution to this - just thought I'ld mention it.
Old Sep 4th, 2002, 05:37 AM
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One other factor that should be kept in mind:

When you pay with your credit card and include the tip in the total, in many restaurants, that collected tip DOES NOT GO to the server. In the best case scenario, tips collected in this way are accounted for and revert part to the staff. However, in many restaurants, the server never sees a penny of those collected tips.

When I pay for my meal with a credit card (and this goes for everywhere I do), I will leave the tip on the table and cross out the "tip" space on the bill I sign.

I normally leave anywhere between 10-20%, depending on the quality/degree of the service. 10% is usually given when when I'm at a restaurant where table service (drinks) is combined with buffet service. 20% is for when the service was attentive and very good - sadly, not often.
Old Sep 4th, 2002, 06:08 AM
John K
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Hi Frances,
Since you mention "U.S.A. also" let me answer for the United States. Standard tip in the USA is 15%. In places like New York tips tend to be closer to 20% for good service and in some rural areas people tend to tip a little less. The British are notorious for "stiffing" waiters when they come to the US as your system is quite different hence, I suspect, the note "in Canada the normal tip is 15%". I cannot speak for Canada but in the United States if you put the tip on the credit card the waiter or waitress DOES get the tip. A restaurant would never dare take the tip away from the waiter or waitress. Your daughter is way off the mark at least as far as the US is concerned. Everyone here does tip and no it is not a rare occurance by any means (except maybe among British toursts
Old Sep 4th, 2002, 07:08 AM
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Frances, in New York City, the tax is 8-1/4% so I usually double the tax and round it off. If the service is really terrific, I'll tip 20% but always before the tax is added to the total. If the bill is $100 plus tax, I tip on the $100. In Canada they increase the tax on the alcohol part of the bill and the restaurant tally is very high due to the taxes. Again, tip before tax is added.

I usually leave the tip in cash because I've heard some restaurants charge a small service fee to the wait staff because they also pay a percent to the credit card company.

IMO, tips should be abolished and wait staff be given a decent wage by the restaurant. The whole concept of tipping is outmoded.
Old Sep 4th, 2002, 04:01 PM
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Yes, 15% (pre-tax) is the normal tip for competant table service. At least that is what I leave. It used to be 10% (who negotiated the raise?) My father-in-law still leaves 10% and is greated warmly by the staff when we go out together.

I have read that %10 is considered appropriate in the UK. When I am there I always feel a bit guilty only leaving 10% but seems to go over well with wait staff. Your daughter's comment's shed some light on that.
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