How to ask for optional service charge 12.5% to be taken off?

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  • richardw
    richardw Posts: 19,458 Forumite
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    Jew wrote: »
    Thanks guys! Good tips!



    ...and get spit in my food? :P

    If you think that is likely, avoid that restaurant.
    Posts are not advice and must not be relied upon.
  • Jew
    Jew Posts: 276 Forumite
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    richardw wrote: »
    If you think that is likely, avoid that restaurant.

    I don't know, is it likely?

    And I can't know until I've eaten there... and I'm asking this in regards to restaurants that are either new to me, or well-known...
  • greenface
    greenface Posts: 4,871 Forumite
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    Firstly i dont like when the charge is put on for service charge and always ask it to be removed from the bill . If the service is good i normall round up to the £ above 10% (so a £68.32 bill gets £7 tip)I pay this in cash seperate from the bill and there is a better chance of the service staff and cooks getting it. If the service is rubbish and/or food rubbish ask them to remove it and pay the flat amount but please tell them its not up to standard as they can improve this way. Often people never tip no matter how good the food and service was and i dont blame them either. You dont have to and how often do you tip the friendly helpful boy/girl who is serving you your monthly shop in asda or local newsagent etc. Staff get a wage if its low its upto the owners to increase the pay or price of the food to cover and risk custom.
    :cool: hard as nails on the internet . wimp in the real world :cool:
  • Jew
    Jew Posts: 276 Forumite
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    greenface wrote: »
    Often people never tip no matter how good the food and service was and i dont blame them either. You dont have to and how often do you tip the friendly helpful boy/girl who is serving you your monthly shop in asda or local newsagent etc. Staff get a wage if its low its upto the owners to increase the pay or price of the food to cover and risk custom.

    Agreed.

    That's why I'm looking for ways to ask easily, without any added talking.

    I think it's very strange how one has to ask... something like this would be illegal in Germany, for example.
  • Idiophreak
    Idiophreak Posts: 12,024 Forumite
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    I don't really see the big issue. So you weren't happy with something and want the tip taking off. If they ask why you want the tip taking off, you tell them what you were unhappy about. Job done.

    I really don't think it's unreasonable for them to want to know what they've done wrong...and in my experience, it very rarely turns into any kind of scene...
  • Jew
    Jew Posts: 276 Forumite
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    Idiophreak wrote: »
    I don't really see the big issue.

    The big issue is that they are adding things to the bill, often without clear notice prior, and the only way to have them removed is by asking.

    There is a barrier there. Especially when in a group, or with people you are trying to "impress". Even if the service is bad, people are unlikely to ask to remove it, just because of that awkward barrier.

    Also, for tourists, there's a language barrier, not everyone knows what "discretionary" means. Optional would have been a better word to use, and even then, people may not know. British people complain of being ripped off when they travel, but they are doing the same in London.

    Frankly, I really think it should be outlawed. As I said, consumer rights are a big thing in Germany, and this would not be tolerated there.
  • Idiophreak
    Idiophreak Posts: 12,024 Forumite
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    Jew wrote: »
    The big issue is that they are adding things to the bill, often without clear notice prior, and the only way to have them removed is by asking.

    So, out of curiosity, what would you view as being a better way of having the charge removed? ESP?

    "Asking" really isn't that hard. You just use your words.

    I understand where you're coming from re: foreign tourists etc, but people being foreign doesn't change the reason the charges are added in the first place - it's just harder to wait on large groups of people.
  • Jew
    Jew Posts: 276 Forumite
    edited 12 July 2012 at 3:57PM
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    Idiophreak wrote: »
    So, out of curiosity, what would you view as being a better way of having the charge removed? ESP?

    "Asking" really isn't that hard. You just use your words.

    Before more clever comments, maybe take a look at my initial post... I'm not looking for a discussion with you. It is clear to me that doing this is wrong and that I need to look for solutions.

    I want to look for easy ways around it — good things to say, tips like that, etc.
    I understand where you're coming from re: foreign tourists etc, but people being foreign doesn't change the reason the charges are added in the first place - it's just harder to wait on large groups of people.

    That's not my concern. It should be included in the prices. Don't have a restaurant business if something's too "hard" for you that you need to add hidden surcharges at the end.

    I've even seen places say that any more than 5 people and they will add a mandatory 20% service charge. Where is the logic there? How come when you buy everything else in bulk you get a discount? I this case, you even bring them more customers, and they rip you off?

    Like it or not, most British people avoid confrontation like this. Even if the service has been bad, most people will not ask for the service to be taken off. In other words, they are playing on psychology to earn more money in a fraudulent way. It's the same as when you find a flight for a certain price, enter all your details, and at the very last step, you're told that there's going to be an additional fee. Even if there was an asterisk at the beginning, this is fraudulent in my mind. And the EU government is doing something about it now.
  • Idiophreak
    Idiophreak Posts: 12,024 Forumite
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    Jew wrote: »
    Before more clever comments, maybe take a look at my initial post... I'm not looking for a discussion with you. It is clear to me that doing this is wrong and that I need to look for solutions.

    But what's wrong with just "ask for the thing to be removed" as a solution? You think it's un-British? It's really not that hard...especially if you have good reasons for wanting it taken off. You don't need to make excuses or use "tips and tricks"...you just tell the truth. Even if it's just that "I don't give tips".
    Jew wrote: »
    That's not my concern. It should be included in the prices. Don't have a restaurant business if something's too "hard" for you that you need to add hidden surcharges at the end.

    I've even seen places say that any more than 5 people and they will add a mandatory 20% service charge. Where is the logic there? How come when you buy everything else in bulk you get a discount? I this case, you even bring them more customers, and they rip you off?

    It's just not the same thing. With service, the more people you're serving, the more time it takes. Waiting on three tables of two is much faster than waiting on one table of six.

    On a table for two, or four (which is most people), why should I pay more just to subsidise the group of 12 in the corner that are making a racket, slowing down our food order and taking up all of the waitresses' time? Seems entirely fair that large groups, who take up proportionally more of the staff's time, should pay more. The only thing I'm not sure about is why it's optional...
  • Jew
    Jew Posts: 276 Forumite
    edited 12 July 2012 at 4:17PM
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    Idiophreak wrote: »
    It's just not the same thing. With service, the more people you're serving, the more time it takes. Waiting on three tables of two is much faster than waiting on one table of six.

    On a table for two, or four (which is most people), why should I pay more just to subsidise the group of 12 in the corner that are making a racket, slowing down our food order and taking up all of the waitresses' time? Seems entirely fair that large groups, who take up proportionally more of the staff's time, should pay more. The only thing I'm not sure about is why it's optional...

    I disagree.

    That's a very flawed business practice — at least for the long-term.

    The more business you bring them, the more potential returning customers there will be — thus, more likely to bring profit in the future. You have a chance to impact the views of a whole group with one set of actions as a waiter, instead of having to repeat the same thing 3x at a different table for the same effect.

    Also, I do not see how a group order takes longer than 3 regular orders. Where are you getting your stats from?

    If you instead charge an even higher service charge, then it looks bad, and people will feel ripped off and unlikely to return.

    Groups are likely to talk amongst themselves -- if the majority likes it, that opinion gets shared, if the majority doesn't like it, then the same applies. If one person doesn't like something, the others can talk them out of it. If there's one person in the group that likes it, and all other's hate it, even that person can be talked out of liking it. Groups are very impressionable — thus, leave a good impression.
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