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

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  • Voyager2002
    Voyager2002 Posts: 15,345 Forumite
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    Please bear in mind that a service charge goes to the business not the waiter, and so is not a tip. So my response to the situation the OP describes is always: I prefer to tip in cash. That way, my tip legally belongs to the person who served me, rather than being an extra payment for the food that I have just paid for once.

    The amount of the tip is of course a separate issue, and let's not get into that discussion now.
  • Altarf
    Altarf Posts: 2,916 Forumite
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    At least we don't live in the US where as standard its around 20%

    And in the US most states don't have a minimum wage (and where they do it is very low), and the cost of the meal in a restaurant reflects this.

    Before the minimum wage applied in the UK I could see some point in tipping. But now? Why should someone tip a minimum wage worker in one industry who has done a good job, but not someone in another industry.

    And even in the same industry it is not consistent. Why tip a waiter who serves you in a restaurant, but not the person behind the burger counter? Why tip a taxi driver and not the train driver?

    I understand why some restaurants apply a service charge to larger parties, because a large party will never leave the same proportionate tip as a couple or small group. A couple who had a £30 meal may leave £3, but would a group of 20 leave a £30 tip?

    But as for service charges being applied to all customers, it is quite simply a con by the restaurant to allow them to show the prices on the menu 10-15% cheaper than they really are.
  • Jew
    Jew Posts: 276 Forumite
    edited 20 July 2012 at 12:10PM
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    I completely agree with you man.
    Altarf wrote: »
    I understand why some restaurants apply a service charge to larger parties, because a large party will never leave the same proportionate tip as a couple or small group. A couple who had a £30 meal may leave £3, but would a group of 20 leave a £30 tip?

    Actually, from experience, when I'm in a group, we always over-tip and leave too much money — simply because everyone puts a little more than they owe.

    Plus, the restaurant just made money from 20 people in one night and booking... I think they got their profits.

    Plus, what if some people in the group don't want to pay the service charge, or think 15% is too much? After all, different people have different budgets.
  • cte1111
    cte1111 Posts: 7,390 Forumite
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    I just say "Can you take the service charge off please?" and smile. I agree that it is a bit awkward sometimes but I don't like being forced to tip like this so am prepared to bear the possible awkwardness.

    If they ask if there was anything wrong, then I say if there is and if not then just give a straightforward answer, "No there was nothing wrong with the service but I don't like percentage service charges like this".
  • Jew
    Jew Posts: 276 Forumite
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    cte1111 wrote: »
    I just say "Can you take the service charge off please?" and smile. I agree that it is a bit awkward sometimes but I don't like being forced to tip like this so am prepared to bear the possible awkwardness.

    If they ask if there was anything wrong, then I say if there is and if not then just give a straightforward answer, "No there was nothing wrong with the service but I don't like percentage service charges like this".

    Cool thanks!

    When they confront you, do you leave a smaller tip in cash afterwards?
  • giraffe69
    giraffe69 Posts: 3,562 Forumite
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    When they confront you, do you leave a smaller tip in cash afterwards?

    I went somewhere recently. There were 8 of us. The food was ok or better but the service was just awful. At the end we resolved to pay the food bill but not the service charge. They were a touch aggressive to begin with and were "going to get the manager" but never did. I think you are in a stronger position if there is a confrontation and you are paying cash.
  • starrybee
    starrybee Posts: 1,917 Forumite
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    Surely the easiest way round is to pay in cash instead? :)
  • Jew
    Jew Posts: 276 Forumite
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    starrybee wrote: »
    Surely the easiest way round is to pay in cash instead? :)

    I don't always carry cash around.

    Also, it's more risky — because they can just bring you the wrong amount of change (i.e. including the service charge)
  • starrybee
    starrybee Posts: 1,917 Forumite
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    Jew wrote: »
    I don't always carry cash around.

    Also, it's more risky — because they can just bring you the wrong amount of change (i.e. including the service charge)

    So go to a cashpoint..

    Although if you're going to a be a stickler for change I guess there's no point. I always put down whatever I want to leave and walk out.
  • Jew
    Jew Posts: 276 Forumite
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    starrybee wrote: »
    Although if you're going to a be a stickler for change I guess there's no point. I always put down whatever I want to leave and walk out.

    Good plan.
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