Paris Restaurant Tipping

Sep 13th, 2005, 02:49 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
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Paris Restaurant Tipping

I know that "service compris" means that a percentage (15-20%) has already been included on the bill when you get it. And if we received great service etc, we are free to add an additional sum (the VAT tax is always there so I won't go into that). Some restaurants now show "Net A Payer: 100.oo E" as an example. The VAT is shown, but no mention of Service Compris. We have concluded that this is a tourist trap to get you to think that no tip has been included and if you ask the server about this you will get a ten different answers, all of which end with "no tip has been added". We have concluded that this is BS and in fact the service compris is built into the price of the food items. Am I off track with this line of thinking?
winesipper is offline  
Sep 13th, 2005, 03:47 PM
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I don't know about scam or not, most tourists wouldn't even notice something like that. I've seen that term at various times on different bills, I think some places just have always used that phrasing.

I don't ask anyone whether a "tip" is included. I don't speak to waiters in English, anyway. You know this will get into the whole rigamarole as some people feel tip and service are different things, but they are the same thing to me as the only thing I tip for is perceived service. I don't tip extra in the US when some restaurant adds on a service charge (which more seem to be doing now). The whole idea that tip isn't included because it won't go to the server etc doesn't persuade me in the slightest, if they are required to pay higher wages and benefits, then it does go to them in my opinion, if it is paying for that.

As far as I know, they haven't changed the law, service is included. Usually that full phrase would be something like "net a payer, taxes et service compris", so they just drop the ending. I've seen net a payer on hotel bills, I think.

I think most tourists wouldn't even notice these things.
Christina is online now  
Sep 13th, 2005, 03:52 PM
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As I've said about a million times, if you ask most French waiters "is a tip included?" he will say "no", and he is right as no TIP is included. Tip basically means something extra for special service. On the other hand if you ask most French waiters "is the SERVICE included?" they will respond "yes" and it is. There is a difference between "service" which is included and a "tip" which is something extra you may want to leave for extra special attention or service.
Patrick is offline  
Sep 13th, 2005, 03:56 PM
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To carry that idea further in answer to Christina's post, I think most waiters would totally disagree with her that tip and service are the same. They know that the service charge levied as part of the bill by the restaurant is collected by the restaurant. They also know that a "tip" is something extra that a customer might leave and the waiter gets to keep. Most waiters would feel that what goes to the restaurant and what goes in their pocket are two totally different things. I would feel that way too.
Patrick is offline  
Sep 13th, 2005, 04:07 PM
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Once in Nice I asked a waiter in French whether service was compris, and he replied "non!). Our French friends were furious when we told them the story, because of course the law is that service must be included.
Underhill is offline  
Sep 13th, 2005, 04:11 PM
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I don't remember in the past going into any restaurant in Paris where service is not included...I always assume service is included unless I happen to see a specific statement it is not included and I have yet to have a waiter run after me demanding his or her tip. So I assume I am doing it right.
xyz123 is offline  
Sep 13th, 2005, 04:15 PM
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I haven't had any waiters run after me either. I'm pretty sure, however, that the menus all said 'service compris' somewhere so maybe that's why. For sure don't ask if the tip is included as you will be told that it's not. Made that mistake in Strasbourg...lucky waiter.
francophile03 is offline  
Sep 13th, 2005, 06:42 PM
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"Service Compris" is printed on the menu, not on the check.

Many waiters probably don't quite understand the question.
djkbooks is offline  
Sep 13th, 2005, 07:11 PM
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"Many waiters probably don't quite understand the question."

I think most waiters DO understand the question "is tip included?" They know especially that Americans are often tippers. They also know that when someone leaves a tip in addition to the service charge which many people (particularly Americans) do, then they get to keep it. They also know that a tip is NOT THE SAME THING AS SERVICE charged by the restaurant. Who can blame them for wanting more money for their job? I think the average French waiter is far smarter than many of you are giving them credit for.

How hard is it to understand the difference between a "tip" and "an included service charge levied by the restaurant"? Some people don't seem to understand the difference, but I don't believe those people are the waiters.
Patrick is offline  
Sep 13th, 2005, 08:14 PM
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From all the waiters in all the restaurants that have served us over the years, I have not met one that would not understand the question.
When it comes to their job, service/tip/English and French , they can answer most questions regarding the bill. And there is always a manager or Maitre 'D who can help.
Meanwhile, I might just be naive or think the best instead of the worst in people, but I would not automatically think that getting a bill that does not spell it out to you, means that this is BS or that they are a tourist trap.
Scarlett is offline  
Sep 14th, 2005, 04:27 PM
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Just returned from France and it was obvious that they did not expect anything extra.We did leave an extra tip when we felt the service was above and beyond.I have to admit the service in France was incredible.
cindymal is offline  

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