Tipping

Old May 2nd, 2002, 06:03 PM
  #1  
Luis Hippolito
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Tipping

In restaurants, is the tip included in most bills? How to know? Is it labeled "propina"? What is the usual percentage included in the bill and is any "extra" expected?
 
Old May 2nd, 2002, 07:03 PM
  #2  
xxx
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You are wrong. Tips are not included in any bills that I know of in Europe. Service charge levied by the restaurant that goes to them is usually included, but that is not a tip -- something you give to a server who has offered special help or service.

5 to 10% is appreciated by servers anywhere in the world when they have offered you special help or service and there is already a service charge included in the bill which helps to pay their salary.
 
Old May 2nd, 2002, 07:18 PM
  #3  
amy
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Thank you, xxx, whoever you are. When I was reading Polly Platt's "Savoir Flair", I about fell over when I read recommendations exactly like yours. All of the guidebooks (and I went through them) talked about service compris.

Here we had been going to France often and probably undertipping unintentionally every waiter in the country. I hoped it wasn't so.

So I talked to two of my native French friends. They said absolutely, Polly was right. For breakfast or at the bar, you are supposed to give the waiter the small change. For a good meal at a good restaurant with good service, 5% is the minimum; 10% is their norm.

If you don't believe, them, me or Polly, then read "Le Divorce" by Diane Johnson. There's a scene where Isabel's American brother and sister-in-law arrive and after eating out, have a discussion about the tip. The sister-in-law argues that "everyone knows" the tip is included. Isabel, the heroine, having lived a few months in France, knows her French friends would have tipped the waiter quite a bit.

Interestingly, Polly says Americans tip their taxi drivers more than the French do. My French friends also agree--they tip for extra help, not very much for the regular service. However, my husband and I plan to keep with our "American" large tips anyway.



 
Old May 2nd, 2002, 07:47 PM
  #4  
Uncle Sam
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XXX,

I'm confused. It is has been my understanding tht the service charge is included in the total.

Any additional, and I usually give an aditional 5 to 10% is because you choose to do so.

Some folks even recommend just rounding out to the next whole, frank, mark, etc.

US
 
Old May 2nd, 2002, 10:43 PM
  #5  
paula
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in Europa the waiters etc. get (mostly) well payed for their work. so every tip is a additional income for them. it is not like in the USA where it is a "must" to tip 10 and more percent. just count: the waiter in a small café has 10 tables, changing of guests is about every hour, is he works 8 hours, and there is only one guest per table giving 1 Euro he will have 80 Euro every day, taxfree. thats more he will earn on a regular job. And of course, he get's payed for his job too by his boss.
 
Old May 3rd, 2002, 04:13 AM
  #6  
amy
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Uncle Sam: When in France,even without knowing the Polly Platt rules, we probably tipped at least 5% in good restaurants and many times tipped 10%. We have always left "la monnaie" for snacks and breakfast.

However, before when we left 10% or a bit more, we thought we were being "generous," and it was disconcerting to find out we unintentionally had been cheap.

As to the comment that the waiters in France are paid well compared to US waiters, in general we've had a far different level/kind of service, too. Many times we will get such comments as, "Sir, you have ordered well. Madame, you have ordered not so well, may I suggest...". I will never know the waiter's name as in US but I will definitely know his opinion on the sauce.

 
Old May 3rd, 2002, 04:47 AM
  #7  
elaine
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for more opinions on this subject:
http://www.bparis.com/newsletter1464...attrib_id=1946

www.worldexecutive.com/cityguides/paris/etiquette.html

www.tipping.org

http://193.114.50.10/travel/dos.asp
 
Old May 3rd, 2002, 10:30 AM
  #8  
bee
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I think many people find this a confusiong subject because in the US, what's referred to as a tip really serves two purposes - (1) the service charge, in return for the fact that you are receiving service, whether it is spectacular or ordinary and (2) a true tip, where extra money is given in thanks for particular help/service beyond the regular expectations of the job. In France, (1) is normally already included in a restauraunt check, so (2) is what you're leaving as a tip. The analagous situation in the US would probably be ordering room service in a hotel - you see that a service charge is automatically assessed, but you probably give the person who brings the food up to you an additional cash tip in addition.
 
Old May 3rd, 2002, 11:47 AM
  #9  
Ann
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I didn't realize I was being paid well when I worked as a waitress in England. Boy, that 2.50 an hour (at an upscale restaurant) really put me into the lap of luxury, I can tell you.
 
Old May 3rd, 2002, 01:24 PM
  #10  
xxx
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Gee, Ann, you really must have screwed up. Listening to a lot of the tightwads on this forum who claim you shouldn't tip waiters in Europe, you should have been driving around in a Ferrari and enjoying your vacations in your villa on the Riviera. While their salaries may not be as dependent upon tips as waiters in the US, one would seldom consider a typical waiter at a standard restuarant in Europe to be "striking it rich". Since they often regard their job as a career unlike many waiters in the US, I feel it is only appropriate to "reward" their extra service and attitude when it is present (and it usually is) with a little something extra.
 
Old May 3rd, 2002, 05:17 PM
  #11  
amy
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Ann and XXX: You both seem to understand the horror my husband and I experienced with our former ignorance on this issue. We both worked our way through college on tips. We promised ourselves we would never, ever treat waiters as some slime treated us (at the same time, we were "good" waiters so we do expect a level of appropriate service that may actually be tougher than expectations of some of the "cheap" tippers). We actually thought we were being generous in France, and here we were, relative tightwads.

Still, no waiters seemed to be upset when we returned, so perhaps we weren't too cheap.

Anyway, it's lovely in France when the waiter doesn't do that "Hi, my name is Parker, and for tonight's special, mahi-mahi in essence of frangipangi accented with..." but instead demonstrates a consistent understanding what goes with what to please the palate throughout the entire meal. It should be rewarded. It's an art form.
 
Old May 3rd, 2002, 06:21 PM
  #12  
Luis Hippolito
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So, to summarize all the thoughtful (and sometimes contradictory) responses to my original posting: Is a 10% tip OK in most cases if service is good? Merci....
 
Old May 3rd, 2002, 06:56 PM
  #13  
Patrick
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Yes. A 10% tip (in addition to the service charge)is more than adequate when you have been given excellent service by a server. If nothing special has been done for you, then 10% is too generous. By special, I mean that perhaps the waiter took extra time to explain things to you in English that you didn't understand, or translated much of the menu for you, or helped you select a nice wine, or answered your semi-unrelated questions about the region, other restaurants, or general tourism advice.
 
Old May 4th, 2002, 07:48 AM
  #14  
elaine
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what Patrick said.
 
Old May 17th, 2002, 08:02 AM
  #15  
Getting
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Tipping is not customary in Europe.

I was ridiculed in London by business men when I left 15% on a check that was stamped "service not included". They told me that you NEVER leave more than 10% and usually less.

In Scandinavia, I was told by Swedes to pick up every kronor of the change. They pointed out that you're paying 18% service included plus 20something tax. They said that it doesn't impress anybody to leave extra, and they actually think you're foolish.

In Italy, I was told bluntly many times by many people (off duty waiters included) that Italians do not tip more than very small change rounding off, but large percents are "expected from Americans". Personally, I find that offensive, I believe that Americans should make it our duty to destroy that expectation. If you do decide to give your waiter a well-deserved good tip, call him over and hand it directly to him. I've seen many situations where a waiter who did not serve the people at all spotted the tip first and grabbed it. Moments later, the poor slob who knocked himself out for the tippers came to clean up and found nothing. Don't let any waiter give you the nonsense about "the service is included but not the tip". The service IS the tip.

In Germany, when you pay the bill, you give the server an extra Euro or so when he gives you your change. For some reason, it is considered rude to just leave it on the table when you leave.

In Spain, Spaniards rarely tip, but it's expected from foreigners. I've gone out with Spanish relatives in large groups, and no tip was left. They looked baffled when I offered to leave something and didn't seem to think it was necessary. It actually seems optional for everyone. One time when I didn't tip at all because I thought the service was awful, the waiters were thanking me and telling me to return and didn't seem offended at all.

In France, it's optional. It's included by law whether the menu and bill say so or not. Some people leave small change or about 5%. 10% is strictly for tourists who don't know any better. You might want to see if the included service is 12% or 18% before deciding to leave extra.

I've pretty much settled on the above personal rules after many years of travel in Europe and speaking with many Europeans who I believe were being honest with me. The fact that every American guide book suggests something different gives me the impression that the situation is quite flexible, so don't worry about making mistakes. It seems that many people do different things without giving offense. I think a lot of Europeans are threatened by what they consider American over-tipping. They fear it might raise the amount of tipping expected from them. What actually seems to happen is a two tier tipping expection - less or nothing for the local people and American style percents in addition for the service charge for foreign visitors.
 
Old May 17th, 2002, 08:14 AM
  #16  
Patrick
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I have a couple of long time friends from the London area who have a condo here in Florida. A group of us often eat out together here and in London and usually split the check. One particular English friend always makes a deal here about how he doesn't believe in tipping more than 10% as that is what is customary at home. I have finally managed to convince him to change his policy in the US by telling him I was unaware that from now on I would have to tip 20% everywhere I went in London. When he insisted that was too much for England I reminded him that since it was apparently proper to tip according to your own customs even when in a foreign country -- as he was doing here in the US, that I guessed I would have to do the same. That means that I'd have to tip my customary 20% that I'd leave in the US even when I am in England. Last week we all had dinner together again here in Florida. This time he left 20% -- we had great service by the way.
 
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