Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Do you tip?


in Singapore is almost unheard of, mainly due to the fact that most restaurants' bills come included with 10% service charge. So I was pleasantly surprised that the practice is not widely practised over here in London, though I do see there is a gradual trend of restaurants following suit.

But I do realise that Londoners are not exactly big on tipping. In fact, one told me that she doesn't usually tip for lunches and do so only for dinner (5%-10%).

Well, if Britons invented tipping, the Americans practically took it up to the next level. I understand that some serving staff in the States practically rely on tips, which can be more than their wages, for a living. As a result of which, patrons are sometimes expected to tip up to 20% for services rendered regardless of the quality.

I was just wondering, what's your view on tipping?

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Eaststopper said...

My personal rule of thumb is 10% of the bill, if I know that I am coming back again.

FĂ«anor said...

In the States, you quickly realise that the waiters make very little from their salaries, and unless you are completely disgusted with the service, you pretty much automatically hand over 12.5-15%. In New York, it's quite simple - just double the tax, which always appears on the bill. Here it's a bit varied, as you point out - e.g., people don't seem to tip in pubs, and 10% appears to be the norm in most restaurants (although some are slimily charging 12.5%, without even the option of refusing it).

SheR. said...

I tell ya please do TIP in London!!
Not only do the measly waiters survive on that.. the rest of the kitchen staff.. yes.. the CHEFs do too!!! So please... tip generously! 10 to 20 % please. I ensure your food will taste proportionately better and bigger portions too!

cchiovitti said...

This is one thing that shocked us "ugly Americans" in London - none of the restaurant bills had a spot to add in a tip on the credit card bill. It was very frustrating. We learned to carry cash to leave for a tip and that it is very rude to ask the server why no space is left to add in a tip.

I live in the middle of the US and standard tipping procedure is - base rate 15% of the total food bill. 20% or more for service above and beyond and 10% or less if the service is sub-par.

Most people don't realize that people who work for tips do not make minimum wage on their paychecks. Back when I was a waitress, the restaurant estimated what the average server made each hour in tips and then deducted that from minimum wage to determine your hourly rate (what they paid you). THEN - taxes, including taxes on your estimated tips, came out of that adjusted hourly rate. So, for me I got minimum wage minus estimated tips for a total of $1.40 per hour (that was my salary). Taxes then came out of that, so a 40 hour work week would give me a "pay check" (the actual amount of my paper check from my employer) of around 2 or 3 dollars. Yes, that's it. Everything else had to come from tips.

Varun said...

I don't earn yet,so I have no right to hand out tips off my father's money.simple as.

EastCoastLife said...

I usually add 10% for tips and more if the service is good.

For my regular restaurants, I give each staff an ang pow before Chinese New Year. :)

Avatar said...

I don't! Period.

Gary A said...

I think tipping is pretty much an American thing. The rules of tipping aren't easily understood.

You tip wait staff in a sit down restaurant, but not in a fast food restaurant.

You tip cab drivers, but not bus drivers.

Women often tip their hair stylists outrageously, men might tip for a haircut much less.

Tip a parking valet, but not too much.

Deb said...

That's one art I unfortunately havent mastered yet, since my travels take me around the Asian region only, where tipping is not expected.

Sheila said...

I think people do tip in pubs in England, frequently, usually in the format of "have one yourself", but that isn't usually meant or taken literally.

Anonymous said...

Yes in the USA we do tip - many service jobs are less than minimum wage because tips are standard. In restaurants we tip approximately 15%, more for good service, less for bad service, and it's never about the food. The server has no control over the quality of the food but they can make or break the whole experience.

Dutchie said...

It would make me feel like I'm grovelling for tips if I were a waitress. I think employers should pay their staff a decent wage n not expect their guests to do it for them.

Janrafi said...

yes. as a common courtesy especially if there's no service charge

C K said...

I would have probably done the same. The last thing I want is to have something extra added to my food the next time I patronise the restaurant.

Put it another way, the service or the food must be good enough for a return visit. For that, a tip is well deserved.

Though most restaurant that charge an obligatory 12.5% service charge offers excellent service, the staff from some are pretty indifferent to their customers.

Also, I heard that there are some establishments that treat the tips/service charge collected as earnings and does not distribute it to their staff. There's really no way of knowing, is there?

But if the tipping is done only after the meal, how would that make a difference to the meal? Or were you referring to the repeat customer?

I didn't know that the chef has a cut in the tips as well. So how does the distribution go? Can I assume that the chef will take the largest cut?

Really? I would have thought that the server would be more than willing to answer your query about where to leave you tips. :)

Just curious, if you're expected to fork out 10% even for sub-par service, why wouldn't that be included into the bill right from the start? Doesn't really make sense, does it?

Hold on a second... you lost me there. So the better your service, the more tips you get, the less your employer pays you? What kind of logic is that? I have always thought that tips is over and above the wages that your employers pay you. What the...

But of course. But in time to come, I'm sure you'll tip generously when you encounter appreciate good service. :)

You know what? That's pretty generous back in S'pore. I'm sure you're treated like a VIP at the restuarants that you frequent. That's what I tried to do over at Saponara as well. We do get small treats every now and then when we eat there.

Really? Any particular reason why?

@gary a,
One of those unwritten rules eh? Me for one, would never want to mess around with my barber...

Welcome to the club. I was quite taken aback when I went to the States last year when the staff gave me an ugly stare when I forgot to leave a tip. Well, that was the first and the last time I did that. Hmm, and I have always kept the mentally calculate the total cost of the meal with tips inclusive for budgeting purposes.

You know what? I have never tried that before. Hmm... interesting. Will do that the next time round.

@broadway matron,
Spot on. I'm a sucker for good service. The funny thing is that even if the food sucks, I'll still return if the service is warm.

I think that's the Asian (or at least South East Asian) mentality. Like I mentioned in my post, in Singapore, I normally tip only when the service is good. Do they have this practice over at your 'one horse' town as well? :p

Yep. Agreed. That's the decent thing to do, really.... provided that the service is decent as well. :)

WeblogLearner said...

Irregardless of the service? That must be bad expectation from customers. If a service is great, tipping is not a problem, but if it was bad, i can even complain and let that person be reprimanded by the way he/she serves/works.

waitingkitty said...

Tipping is not very much practiced here in HK as there is a 10% service charge. So, I am not really used to tipping...

Anonymous said...

I don't tip and it's not the norm here..:)

SheR. said...

Ha.. we have a tipping system in our restaurant which is pooled then distributed (to the Chefs, Waiters have different system) according to the number of shifts you work and the level of importance of your Section. I usually get quite a considerable bit more than the pastry guys. :P I love Posh restaurants. The last time Madonna came with Guy, my friend got a 80 quid tip! Love them all!!!

Designing Hilary said...

"Women often tip their hair stylists outrageously, "

Well ... yeah! *lol* Unless one wants to look freaky. ;D

Avatar said...

Well, I'm in Malaysia and IMHO we rarely do such a thing.

Perhaps its' a cultural thing overseas but things start to get out of hand when waiters etc. start to expect it.

Employers should treat their staff better and increase the prices of their food if necessary. Well, that's my opinion, but I'm sure many would disagree.


Dutchie said...

ck, we hv 2 VAT implements. Non luxury items (supermart included) charges 6%. For the rest (n all service sectors) a 19% charge is added on top of the bill.

Restaurants incorporates the 19% into the bill. That's why a 3-course Western dinner is easily 45 euro per guest. During the festive season, the prices r raised 2-3 times higher.

Of course the serving crew loves a tip (taxfree). It is however, not compulsory here.

Tell u a strange encounter we had when we went on a 7D tour in M'sia.
When we alighted the coach at the tour office in Sg, most of our fellow-travellers were dishing out ang pows to the tour guide. Is this a new practice ??

We were not pleased with his leadership - he stuffed us from production factories to over-priced sales showrooms instead of giving us more time to soak up the culture. It's 1hr for the former n 20mins for the latter. Several sightseeings were scraped bec we ran out of time (wasting, more like it, at the factories). Needless to say, we will never book a tour with this agent again !

uncommon said...

Tipping in the USA. I live half in Atlanta, and half in London, and all I can tell you is that if I eat out in Atlanta, I get a stupendous meal, well cooked and delightfully served for about a fiver (UK). Of course under those circumstances its EASY to tip big and I do.

Here in London the service is always horrible, slow and surly, and the prices extortionate. Once or twice I've been told a tip was appropriate, even though the restaurant was charging 15% as a service charge.

This was at a place selling a small plate of spaghetti bolognese for nearly thirty quid. Must have cost at least 15 pence to prepare. It was junk and crowded, with no elbow room.

At my Mexican restaurant in Atlanta, my folks know exactly what I want, deliver it with a smile, piping hot and I treat them well.

London is toxic for eating out.


Andy said...

Tipping is a really funny topic, especially when it comes to Americans. Americans tip like crazy as it is so ingrained in the culture, many people not only expect them but also depend on them. I only tip if I know it is customary, else people start to expect it.