NAME AND SHAME. Restaurant service charges



  • Becles
    Becles Posts: 13,164 Forumite
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    I don't leave tips on the table anymore. A friend was eating once and saw a customer walk past a table that had just been vacated, and he pocketed the tip :eek:

    I only tip if the service is good.

    However, I ate in a restaurant with no service charge added this week. We waited 15 mins for them to come back and take the order, 20 mins for drinks to arrive, 50 mins for main courses to arrive, we had to remind them twice about the free childrens ice cream, then I was overcharged as the adult meals were on 2 for 1, but they billed me for both meals. None of the waiting staff were friendly or courteous, and simply went through the motions with little enthusiasm. It was very quiet too, so there was no obvious reasons for all the delays and no apology was given.

    As I left the waitress reminded me service wasn't included and I hadn't left a tip. I replied that I only tip good service and as I was very disappointed I didn't think I should pay a service charge. She gave me a filthy look and walked off :(

    I felt it was easy not to leave the service charge. If the service had been included, you would have to get the manager involved and leave less than the bill which would put people off complaining I think.
    Here I go again on my own....
  • CAHA
    CAHA Posts: 45 Forumite
    Wow...! What a thread...! Never in the field of human conflict have I read so much about such a small but important subject...being someone who has travelled extensively for over 50 years I have always felt uncomfortable with the ethos of tipping...still don't enjoy paying the bill in the the norm seems to be 20 - 25%

    I like the Australian concept...very similar to sailing on a cruise with one of the big boys (Silversea, Seabourn, Radisson Seven Seas) where tips are not expected and the service is superb.

    So surely the solution is to pay staff a decent wage - not expect the customer to do it indirectly via tipping. What happened to the basic minimum wage? Are we suggesting that those whose skills or work ethics are at the lower end of the scale should be paid more because they work in a do our civil servants at the lower end of the pay scale feel about many tips has the much abused receptionist in the Social Services received over the years...what job satisfaction has she got for a salary little more than those serving beans on toast or washing pans in a kitchen...?

    Gosh what a subject...this is going to run and run...I am stopping because I have to go but could go on and on and on...

  • I 100% all the time pay cash for tips. I think it's an absolute cheek when restaurants add a service charge. Being English most of us become embarrassed to refuse to pay a tip, especially when we are in a group.

    I was once in a group of pretty much strangers and the service charge came to around £40. I refused to pay the percentage they added automatically and said I would pay no more than £2. I thought a £20 tip was sufficient and the fact that the service was slow to say the least made me feel like not paying any. I bowed to peer pressure and paid the £2. The look of disdain on some of the groups faces was surprising.

    Why do we English feel obliged to go with the 'expected'!!! I'm pretty sure the Americans do what they feel like!!!

    Good service = Good Tip not a license to rip us off!!!

    Rant over. Have a nice day everyone.

    P.S. This is my first post. I'm no longer a Post Virgin!
  • SidB_2
    SidB_2 Posts: 3,329 Forumite
    Becles wrote:
    As I left the waitress reminded me service wasn't included and I hadn't left a tip.
    That's disgraceful.
    Every silver lining has a cloud...

    Feb 2009 - Won a pole dancing lesson - Too bad I'm a 45-year old beer gutted male !!
  • rchrisp
    rchrisp Posts: 191 Forumite
    as an Aussie ex pat i do miss the Australian no tipping rule!

    just to clarify, what exactly does the law state re refusing to pay the service charge when it is automatically added on?


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  • I agree with Martin that we ought to cross through the service charge box on the bill and pay in cash instead. The whole thing's getting out of hand.

    I first came across this problem a couple of years ago, when a waitress from a very large pizza chain stopped me from writing in the gratuity box on the credit card slip because the staff didn't get any of it – the management kept it all. I thought this was disgraceful and tipped her in cash instead. I then asked at two other branches of the same chain when I ate there, and found the same thing. I then made it a habit to tip in cash. The only reason I'm not naming the chain now is that recently the staff have been confirming that they are getting the tips. I do think though that we ought to name and shame all the restaurants that are still keeping the tips for themselves, and I'll be making it a point to ask the staff whenever I eat out.

    The other disgraceful practice that is on the increase is where restaurants that have already levied a 10–15% service charge on your bill, then provide you with a credit card slip with a blank gratuity box for you to fill in. I used to make the mistake of adding an extra sum here, so in some cases I was paying an extra 25–30% in service charges for my meal. The waiting staff never tell you not to fill in the gratuity box, of course! They stand there, watching me fill it in, knowing full well that I'm paying twice. So now, right from the beginning when I'm ordering from the menu, I try to remember to make a mental note of whether or not a service charge is being levied. It's always printed somewhere on the menu, although I've noticed it's quite often tucked at the bottom of the page in very small type! If a service charge is being levied, then when the bill arrives I cross through the gratuity box on the credit card slip. If any of you find the thought of that embarrassing, just mention to the waiter that you've noticed on the menu that service is included already, isn't it?
  • Loobeylou
    Loobeylou Posts: 901 Forumite
    So ... can any legal eagle out there advise exactly what your rights are if you are confronted with a 12.5% (or whatever) service charge added to your bill?

    Are you obliged to pay it, or do you have a right in law to refuse to pay the extra which has been slapped on your bill?
  • IvanOpinion
    IvanOpinion Posts: 22,181 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post Combo Breaker First Anniversary
    CAHA wrote:
    I like the Australian concept...very similar to sailing on a cruise with one of the big boys (Silversea, Seabourn, Radisson Seven Seas) where tips are not expected and the service is superb.
    Ah! I can but dream (have not quite attained that level in the market) ... the only one I have tried is Seven Seas but I hated their Cod liver Oil. :D

    Past caring about first world problems.
  • Dormouse
    Dormouse Posts: 5,617 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Like Australia, in Scandinavia people don't expect tips (and that includes taxi drivers and hairdressers, too!). Obviously, there's nobody stopping you from tipping if the service is superbly impressive, but that's the exception rather than the rule. Does seem a much fairer system, I have to say.
  • I only ever tip if the service I receive is above and beyond what I should reasonably expect, whether in a restaurant, taxi or wherever. In hairdressers, as far as I've noticed, if a tip is given it's quite often meant for the junior who washed your hair or made you a cup of coffee and not the stylist.

    Digressing slightly, the scenario I hate is tipping coach drivers... surely they are already being paid to do the job when you hire the vehicle? (Maybe someone knows whether they too rely on/expect tips as part of their basic income.) I cringe when some soppy soul comes round with an envelope 'for the driver', regardless of how well or pleasantly he's done his job. Not sure how many you can seat on a coach/bus, but if everyone chips in 50p or £1, that's a fairly hefty bonus! :beer:
    If I hadn't seen such riches, I could live with being poor...
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