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How do I know if the tips are included in expensive restaruants?

How do I know if the tips are included in expensive restaruants?

Old Sep 10th, 2007, 06:54 AM
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How do I know if the tips are included in expensive restaruants?

Hi Folks,
We're about to launch, and this may seem like a frivolous question, but when the bill is over 200-300 USD, I'd like to know so I don't get into anything like I read once on these pages--management chasing us down and causing a scene! I know to look for the 'service compris'...but what if it's not there? Should I ASSUME anything?
Oh, yes, I guess I'm talking mostly about Paris, but we'll be in Madrid, Rome/Florence and Montreux also---thanks as always for the help!
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Old Sep 10th, 2007, 07:44 AM
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Hi R,

In France and Italy a 15% SC is included in the price.

If you wish to leave a small tip for extra good service, that is up to you.

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Old Sep 10th, 2007, 10:59 AM
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It will be included in Paris, you don't have to guess. It's the law, so you can indeed assume that there. Otherwise, ask them if the service is included (I believe it should be mentioned on the menu or bill, look for it). do NOT ask if the tip is included, don't use that word. It is service and tips are never included as the word by definition is something not included in the regular price/bill, but is something extra.

YOu are spending $300 for a meal? wow
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Old Sep 10th, 2007, 11:06 AM
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Christina, thanks for carrying on my crusade about saying "service" and not "tip". My favorite was one night in Paris when I heard the people at the table next to us ask "is TIP included?" The waiter clearly said, "No. No tip is included", so the people left quite a bit. He was being honest -- only service, not tip IS included in the bill. Not ten minutes later the people on the other side of us asked "Is service included?" to the same waiter, and he replied honestly, "Yes. Service is included."

Service and a TIP are NOT the same thing throughout Europe, although those terms may be used interchangeably in the US.
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Old Sep 10th, 2007, 11:08 AM
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Neo is absolutely right.

Even when certain tourists ask if the service is included, some evil waiters will go as far as to say "service included, tip not included".
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Old Sep 10th, 2007, 11:11 AM
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Wow! I've never seen a consensus on this subject before.

Officially a service charge of 15% is included in the bill in France, however this is not technically a tip.

You will get a different angle from owners, workers and lawyers....
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Old Sep 10th, 2007, 12:09 PM
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Thank you, mille fois! for helping me 'crack the code'! Service!! vs tip!ok.And as for the megacheck, there will be three of us, there are some very nice-sounding restaurants, and, with the exchange rate, this may be just the start!! Vacations, gotta love 'em!
R
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Old Sep 10th, 2007, 12:25 PM
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kerouac wrote: "Even when certain tourists ask if the service is included, some evil waiters will go as far as to say "service included, tip not included". "

Of course, the tourists are laying themselves open by asking in the first place. The answer is as certain as if one asked if the use of a chair is permitted. The server sees an opportunity to induce somebody to give over some money, and takes it. That server would probably not feel particularly hard done by if the question was not asked, and no tip given.

waring wrote: "Officially a service charge of 15% is included in the bill in France, however this is not technically a tip."

I wonder what technically constitutes a tip. Many people from the US have been conditioned by the tradition in their own country that what they give the server is, for the most part, the server's basic income -- by which I mean that income without which the server could not afford the necessities of life. In many European countries, anything given as a tip is in addition to the basic income that is provided by the employer.

[In Britain and Ireland, servers depend more on tips than is the case for most of continental Europe.]
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Old Sep 10th, 2007, 12:32 PM
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I can tell you from my experience at Al Covo last week -- no tip is not automatically included in Italy.

My receipt of 84 euros for lunch came with the note that they didn't include a service charge (this was highlighted with a highlighter).

I found this so amusing that I took a photo of it with my digital camera. I'll post it here sometime.

Al Covo included a 5 euro cover per person.

The menu said that they will charge a service fee of 12.5% (I think) of parties of six or more, if I remember right.

I think I way undertipped. I left 5 euros.

Da Fiore didn't charge a cover (unusual for Italy?). The bill was 229 euros. I left 10 euros.

I had dinner at Pied-a-Terre with yk. They added a service fee of 12.5% to our bill. That's fast becoming standard in London now.

Personally I leave 0-10% depending on how I feel. Usually I tend to leave about 5% if the restaurant is nice. It's probably not enough judging by recent trends.
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Old Sep 10th, 2007, 12:35 PM
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Padraig, this really does get complicated, and as I said, there is rarely a consensus.

From a French servers point of view, they used to get tipped in the regular manner if you like, the tips making up a significant portion of their monthly salary.

The Socialists decided it would be nice to tax these tips, thus they introduced a 15% service charge to be run through the establishment tills.

As such staff salaries fell through the floor and Ségolène Royale will never win public office on the back of the votes of the catering and hosptality industry, which is significant.

Your average French server will receive the minimum wage, plus tips, and the 15% service charge does him or her no help whatsoever.
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Old Sep 10th, 2007, 02:45 PM
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waring,

service compris has existed more or less for 40 years. No need to blame the Socialists for that.

I just was in Berlin and there the service is included. My cousin, who is in the Berlin service industry (taxi driver, told me to just round up a 72+€ bill to 75€.
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Old Sep 10th, 2007, 02:46 PM
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waring, I don't dispute that it is a little complicated; even more, it is highly contentious (especially here!).

The minimum wage in France (for a 35-hour week) comes out at 1280 euros a month. Every server in full-time employment is paid at least that much. Not a huge income, but I think you will agree that it is enough to cover basic living expenses. That is the point I wanted to emphasise: in France tips are income over and above what is needed for basic living expenses.
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