Tipping at Restaurants in Paris

Old Aug 7th, 2002, 05:07 PM
  #1  
Mike
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Tipping at Restaurants in Paris

It's been over 25 years since I've been to Paris, but remember that at most restaurants, tax & tip was normally included in the price of the meal, and if the service/food was good, you left some extra pocket change. Is this still the case, or do you have to ask if it's not printed on the menu? I would assume that if you asked in English if the price included tip, you would get a hearty NO!!
 
Old Aug 7th, 2002, 05:16 PM
  #2  
sandra
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Most places have tip included and it is printed wither on the menu or on the actual bill when it comes. If it is not included it will also be printed on the bill. I have found that most places are very honest and will tell you.
 
Old Aug 7th, 2002, 06:01 PM
  #3  
LaFemme
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You can always ask."Compris?"
 
Old Aug 8th, 2002, 01:40 AM
  #4  
Vincent
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It is exactly as you describe it, from your previous experience: tip is really meant as an extra and not as a hidden compulsory charge, as in the US
 
Old Aug 8th, 2002, 02:15 AM
  #5  
jim
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A good way to make friends with your local waiter is to not pay the "included" tip on the bill, cross it out, pay for just the meal with you card, and leave the tip in cash.
 
Old Aug 8th, 2002, 06:32 AM
  #6  
stacy
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Hi, Vincent,<BR><BR>Now you've confused me. When you complain about the tip in the US being a "hidden compulsory charge", does that mean that a tip in the US is something different from the service charge included on a bill in France? Does the service charge in France go to the restaurant rather than to the waiter? And is the non-compulsory tip still **expected** in a French restaurant? In either case, what is a common percentage for someone to leave as an additional tip, if there is already a service charge included in the bill? (I cannot visualize leaving "pocket change" at Taillevent! )<BR>
 
Old Aug 8th, 2002, 07:53 AM
  #7  
Gretchen
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With regard to "cross it out and leave it in cash" it isn't on the bill--it is included. You do not need to leave another penny unless you want to. In bistros a suggestion was 10FF (now a ? or 2). At a * restaurant probably 10? or more for exceptional service.
 
Old Aug 8th, 2002, 07:55 AM
  #8  
Martine
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The tip is always and everywhere included in the price on the menu. You never have to count what will be on the bill because it is the exact sum of what you ordered. And the tip is already in it. Easy, no? You don't have to give an extra tip (most people do not give ), but if you do, the waiters will of course be grateful.<BR>The great difference between the US and Europe in this tip affair is that in the US the waiters are much more friendly , expecting a large tip. You will probably see the difference in Paris sometimes. Waiters are more indifferent to the customer, although of course it is not always like that...
 
Old Aug 8th, 2002, 08:14 AM
  #9  
Vincent
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To take your Taillevent example, it is likely that, for a dinner for two, you will pay, say, 350 euros (ie that's the amount of your bill). Out of this sum 15 %, ie 52 euros will anyway go into the waiters' common pot. So, in US terms, consider your "tip" as 52 euros: you're right, no need to leave a few euros extra ! That said, if you are really happy with the service, you can leave a few coins. But, in most restaurants, they will also be put in common and these "real tips" will be equally divided among the waiters.
 
Old Aug 8th, 2002, 08:52 AM
  #10  
gigi
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When we were in Paris, my boyfriend and I found it too difficult to leave a restaurant table without leaving SOMETHING- being from NA, it just FELT wrong, like not flushing the toliet. When we had not so great food and service, we would leave some change. If we enjoyed our meal and had good service, we would leave a few euros. If we really enjoyed our meal and had excellent service (and excellent service in Paris is really excellent) we would leave about the same percentage of tip as we would at home. Why not? It's showing appreciation for the wonderful time you had. Some of the meals we had in Paris were just as memorable as any of the sights and museums we toured.
 
Old Aug 8th, 2002, 09:29 AM
  #11  
Christina
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I think it's a law that it has to be included in the price in restaurants (the 15 pct service charge) and I've never seen a place where the menu did not state that it was included (usually small print at the very bottom in back). <BR><BR>I think Vincent's remark about the US compulsory tipping is referring to the fact that in the US, it is expected that you must tip (and for some reason I see people claiming it should be 18-20 pct rather than the old 15 pct, I don't know why). Some places do add it to the bill in the US, but generally you are regarded and/or treated badly i you do not tip. In the US, tips are not really tips but subsidized wages that the customer pays instead of the restaurant owner. I think IRS assumes a certain percentage of tips for restaurant personnel and I know state wage and hour laws allow them to be paid below minimum wage because of tips. Where I live, I believe they are allowed to be paid about $3 an hour and the law states that if they do not make minimum wage through tips, their employer is supposed to pay them the difference. Now, I'm sure in reality that may not happen a lot (the employer actually paying it), but it is the law. Of course, waiters in nicer restaurants do end up making more than minimum wage through tips if they have any business at all.<BR><BR>I tip in the US even when the service is not very good (maybe 10 pct) or certainly not exceptional when I tip 15 pct (unless it's really awful) because I know that is considered part of their salary.
 
Old Aug 8th, 2002, 11:51 AM
  #12  
Tippie
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The comment about crossing out and leaving change when paying by Visa??? On my recent trip a frenchman explained that if I did want to leave something extra AND was paying by Visa that it would be appreciated that I leave the extra in cash so that it went directly to the waiter not the restaurant owner. He also added that "...of course tipping is not necessary.". Now in the Latin Quarter where many, many Americans can be found, servers are becoming quite bold and expecting tips! Waiters/Waitresses in France are paid a living wage without the need for supplement.I wish we did that here. Its nice to be able to take my time in a cafe and not feel rushed to leave so someone else can come and leave more money.Anyway, I round up the bill to the nearest Euro and leave that. If its an amount that is ridiculous, say 5 cents, then I might add in 50 cents or a Euro. The tipping thing is our American custom and for some it goes against our nature not to leave something, but it really isn't necessary. Finally, I do tip Taxi drivers throughout France and have found them to be most gracious and grateful.
 
Old Aug 8th, 2002, 12:13 PM
  #13  
RnR
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Tipping is a simple matter. By law, the total includes the gratuity - but the tip amount may or may not be shown on its own line. Beware - some restaurants do not list it as a gimmick to scam you into paying an extra 15-18%. But the tip is there, never fear, so you do not have to pay more. Restaurants do not give customers the benefit of the doubt when to comes to leaving a tip! Now, if you've had great service, and wish to add more, by all means do. In the lessor places, simply leave the change, no matter how small, on the plate - that will do it. In the more upscale places, you may add 5-10% more, and/or simply give it to the one or two who actually pored the wine, the water, served the courses. You so not need to tip anyone else, and cretainly not the maitre d or owner - even when they stand by the door to escort you outside. They in all likelihood did zip for you - and that sort of "bring out the staff from the kitchen" is 20s stuff. Leave that to the kings, rock stars, media folks, corporate types.
 
Old Sep 17th, 2002, 07:36 PM
  #14  
Ty Baines
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It's an interesting phenomenon, actually. Many Europeans are quick to lambaste Americans for being culturally ignorant--refusing to learn the native language, being socially inept and boorish, insisting the world adapt to them rather than vice-versa--and yet Europeans visiting America are just as guilty of failing to mold to the native culture. I would think it's no secret to even the most novice European traveler that tipping at least 15% is the cultural norm in U.S. restaurants. And yet how many continue to feign ignorance and round up on a $98.00 check? Probably there's justfication in much of the negative sentiment inspired by 'ugly Americanism,' though I wonder then why such presumably enlightened continentals so often fail to follow their own dogma, and, when in New York (or Chicago or L.A.), do as the locals do, and leave a suitable gratuity?<BR><BR>American waitstaff earns $3.09 per hour. Many waiters, after declaring tips (based on a percentage of their sales) don't even get a paycheck. (The tax on their reported tips devours the microscopic hourly wage they earn.) And yes, I paid my way through college waiting tables, and there was nothing worse than having six well-bred, well-dressed French guys settle into your station.<BR><BR>As big as a travesty as it is for someone to enter a shop without saying "Bonjour, monsieur," or likewise to order coffee with dessert, instead of after it, it is every bit as reprehensible to go to dinner at an American restaurant, receive good service, and leave a three percent gratuity. N'est-ce pas?
 
Old Sep 17th, 2002, 08:24 PM
  #15  
Sue
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Mike, I have a perfect example of what you were asking. I was at a Paris restaurant where one American woman asked if the tip was included (she may have even said it in French, but used the word "pourboire") and the waitress replied, "No." Another American woman asked (in French, but there was no doubt she was American) if the "service" was "inclu" and the waitress replied, "Oui." I have never seen this fine distinction between "tip" and "service" and it seems to me to be just one way to justify saying "no."<BR><BR>I usually leave an extra euro or two in cash, but I eat in modest places.
 
Old Sep 18th, 2002, 02:51 AM
  #16  
Carmen
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Once again, let's put it this way:<BR>Most European waiters earn a decent wage no matter how many table they wait. Their salary will be the same whether they wait 1 or 20 tables, so the "term" service is not an exact percentage of your check that goes to the waiter, it just means the waiter will be paid decently.<BR>On the other hand, "tip" is the money (small change) you "voluntarily" give to the waiter if you're happy with their service.
 
Old Sep 18th, 2002, 10:30 AM
  #17  
ttt
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ttt
 
Old Sep 18th, 2002, 12:37 PM
  #18  
customer
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Personally I like the European system that includes service in the bill , you can add something if you wish but you are not obliged to.<BR>Restaurants are expensive in the US, why don ´t the restaurant owners pay decent wages...? To me it is not fair. I pay decent wages in my business and I do not expect my clients to pay extra .<BR>In my experience in some areas where a 15% service is included in the US, like in South Beach in Miami,<BR>some waiters recur to all kind of tricks to get a second 15% service, like for instance , with a black marker they highlight the total amount to be paid , in doing so, they carefully cover the line in the slip that shows that a 15% service has already being added by the restaurant.<BR>They say in Rome do as the Romans do so while in Europe I see no reason to give a 30% tip, but each one should do what they feel is right.<BR>On the same token Europeans should tip here.<BR><BR>
 
Old Sep 19th, 2002, 02:00 AM
  #19  
clairobscur
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Ok...I'm going to try to clarify things once again: <BR><BR>The "service" is always included, by law. But it's not a "tip" (I don't intend to explain how this "service" appeared and became mandatory) <BR><BR>The "service" doesn't go to the waiters, but to the owner (note that most french people *don't know* that and assume it goes to the waiters). The owner may or may not give it back to the waiters (by adding the "service" part on their paychecks). They have some fiscal incentives to do so. The majority of the owners keep the "service", however, and there's no way to tell. Large cafes and restaurants tend to give back the "service" to the waiters, little places tend to keep it.<BR><BR><BR>Now, the tip : The majority of people do tip, but there's really no generally agreed upon rule about tipping. Depending on the people (often imitating what their own parents used to do or what they friend do) :<BR><BR>-Some people never tip (usually believing that the 15% service goes to the waiter)<BR><BR>-Some people tip only when the service was particulary good or when they know the waiter.<BR><BR>-Most people give what amount they think is adequate. For some, this could be just tipping with the spare change, for other some "fixed" amount they find adequate (say, some euros), without regard for the price of the meal or even the number of guests, some give a tip proportionnal to the cost of the meal. Some people tip according to the quality of the service, some always tip basically the same, except when the service was really really awful or really really good. Some people only tip the employees, some people give tips even when they're served by the owner.<BR><BR><BR>And yes, waiters are payed at least the minimal legal wages, and some are paid much more. So, they won't starve if they don't receive any tip, though for some, depending on the place, tips can make a significant part of their income (for instance a student working as an extra at minimal wages during summer at some tourist resort). Anyway, their income is supposed to be mainly their paycheck (with possibly a variable part based on 15% of the restaurant income : this famous "service", as already stated). Note however that though waiter is a career in France, it's not necessarily a well-paid one, especially given the usually long work hours (except in upscale places where the skilled and trained waiters can be quite well paid).<BR><BR><BR>So, there's definitely no general rule you could follow. But the good part is that you can make your own rules according to what you think tipping should be. <BR><BR><BR>Do not hesitate not to tip (or tip less) if the service wasn't satisfying. Here, tip is still what it's supposed to be : a gratuity to reward a good service (in theory, since in practice most people just do what they're used to do, except in extreme situations).<BR><BR><BR>If you feel you need a "rule" to follow, tip 10% when you're satisfied. That's perfectly fine.<BR><BR><BR>By the way, I was refering here to tips in restaurants. In cafes, people usually leave spare change as tip (the waiter *will make sure* there will be spare change. For instance, instead of giving back to you a 2 Euro coin or 5 Euros bill as change, he will give you back an assortment of little coins to make sure you'll find convenient to leave a tip). Once again, if you really can't figure out by yourself how much change you should leave in a cafe, leave 10%.<BR>
 
Old Sep 19th, 2002, 02:27 AM
  #20  
clairobscur
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Ty Baines,<BR><BR>I never went to the US, but for having discussed about this issue with french people who went there, most are actually totally unaware that tip is "mandatory" there. They're even more unaware that american waiters can be paid below minimal wages, or must pay taxes for tips they're "supposed" to have received.<BR><BR>Also, since 15% is clearly over the french norm for "tips" (the money you leave on the plate, as opposed to what is already included and printed on the bill), they're extremely unlikely to leave as much money, even if they tip. People just assume it works the same way that it does here.<BR><BR>Also, even if they're told a tip is an absolute norm in the US, they are likely to still somewhat *feel* they're taken advantage of, or that it's a sort of scam, and to be still reluctant to follow the rule. It's difficult to forget and ignore your own cultural norms. It takes some effort and open mind.<BR><BR><BR>Personnally, if I were an american waiter dealing with a french tourist, if it's possible, I would just add by myself 15% to the bill (of course Murphy's law states that if you do that, the tourist will happen to be the only one who's perfectly aware of the american norm and will be pissed off).<BR><BR>
 

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