'If service is included why isn’t it in the bill?' blog discussion

edited 8 February 2010 at 10:37AM in Martin's Blogs & Appearances & MoneySavingExpert in the News
39 replies 4.4K views


  • I HATE tipping..

    I will do it when I have had really good service but only because I know that employers do underpay staff in restaurents, hotels & hairdressers in the expectation that customers will make up their wages - although I fail to see why I should subsidise a mean employer...
    I also know that the taxman takes his bite of the extra in the assumtion that they will be tipped 10%.....
    but I do fail to see why some jobs are tippable (is that a word?) and not others....why a waitress and not a shop assistant?

    and I really really hate it when I am expected to pay for good service without being asked if I have received it!!!
    (I do have a tendency to ask for it to be taken off out of pure spite!)
  • Like many others here, I dislike the idea of being obliged to tip at restaurants. In my view it should be at the customer's complete discretion whether to tip or not. If this was the case, I'd tip only if the waiting staff had been really attentive and superb all round.

    At present this would probably be only about one meal out in ten, given the service standards in many restaurants. But such a system would hopefully up the waiting staff's game in the UK, something that's sorely needed. If they were only tipped on results as it were, then surely service standards in British restaurants would quickly rise!!!???

    As an aside to this, I suppose we can count ourselves lucky that we aren't in the USA or Canada. I visited these two places recently and the whole tipping process is a nightmare. They want 18% and expect it as a right. If you don't give it to them or not enough, then they become very "unhelpful" all of a sudden.

    They also add on their equivalent of VAT onto the bill as well and in Toronto they seemed to have three lots of VAT when eating at a restaurant, normal VAT, another VAT for food, and a third VAT for alcoholic beverages.

    All these, plus the 18% tip would turn a reasonable £30 meal for two stated on the menu into a quite unexpected and rather steep £50!! Total nightmare!!!!
  • The best thing to do is ask where the tip goes. There is no consistency even across chain restaurants. Often it's left up to the server, some are generous and tip the barmen and table clearer (busser) but often it never goes back to the kitchen!
    See, this I have trouble with.

    I worked for a brief spell as a kitchen assistant and it is a tough enviroment.
    Then you get people like my Grandma who insists on all sorts of weird things (different potatoes, mixing and matching between options) and... well, she's a lot more trouble for the kitchen than the wait staff.

    Do away with it all I say.

    Why is it that I should tip wait staff and not asda drivers?
    They both bring me food. :D
    This is my opinion. There are many others like it but this is mine
    :kisses2: Fiancee of the "lovely" DaveAshton :kisses2:
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  • Tipping is an outdated system that nowadays is just a means for employers in certain industries (restaurants, taxi firms, hairdressers, etc.) to pay their employees low wages on the grounds that tips will make up the difference.

    It all started many years ago when the rich landowner's families with little to do were invited to each others houses for long summer visits, grouse shooting, etc. This made a lot of extra work and added hours for the house servants. It became customary to give some gift or money to the servants as a thankyou for what they had done over and above their usual duties when guests departed.

    There is absolutely no reason to give a tip to anyone just for doing their job. There is certainly no reason whatever to give a tip to a proprieter or self employed person.

    Note that many restaurants do not pass on to their staff the full amount that they added to your bill, they take off an amount for 'administration'.

    If you tip a taxi driver why don't you tip a bus driver? Why 10%? It is just as much effort to deliver a plate of egg and chips as it is a plate of chateaubriand (excuse spelling if incorrect).

    I spend a lot of time in France where tipping is now much less common, I have been told it is illegal to ask for a tip and that bills must be all inclusive. If you have a coffee brought to you outside at a bistro and it is priced the same as inside, it is then usual to leave just a small token of a few 'coppers'.

    Many years ago all Trust Houses Forte hotels had signs saying that their staff were paid proper wages and were not allowed to accept any gratuity. Would it not be good if others did the same?
  • ThinkingOfLinkingThinkingOfLinking Forumite
    11.8K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    I've done some nasty jobs for minimum wage and the only tip I got was to wear a stab vest (I was a security officer!)

    I don't believe at all in paying someone extra to do their job. I never tip.

    I rarely go to London but 2 of my favourite restaurants; owned by the same person, charge 10% and as they are pricey places; I spent over £60 on dim sum for myself let alone drinks etc, it gets exessive.
  • I'm resurrecting an old post here, but just stumbled across it.

    The answer to why service is not included can be summed up in three letters - T A X. Let me explain why...

    a. Couple go out to dinner and get a bill for £100 food and drink plus £12.50 service. The service was wonderful, the business doesn't keep any of the tip itself, and the waiter will get the money himself, so the £12.50 is paid.

    HMRC take 20% of that service charge off the waiter (basic rate Income Tax) and the waiter goes home with £10 in his pocket.

    b. Same couple now get a food and drink bill for £112.50 as service is compris (included in the price). The business still intends to give the proceeds of the higher prices to the waiter. What does the waiter get now?

    Firstly as the service was compris, it's subject to VAT, so £2.19 disappears off to the Government leaving £10.31. That's subject to employer National Insurance @ 12.8% (NI is always payable if the service is compris), leaving £9.14. Then the employee pays their National Insurance too (11%) which takes us down to £8.14. Finally don't forget basic rate income tax, after which your waiter goes home with £6.51 in his pocket and HMRC collect £5.99.

    So the end result if you include the £12.50 service in prices instead of showing it seperately? The waiter loses a further £3.49 to Messrs Brown and Darling.

    Until the tax laws change, service will never be included in the prices here in the UK, as that is what drives behaviour.

  • The reason service is not usually offered or expect in France is because there's a minimum wage and the French consumer generally feels that that is sufficient for the job so tipping is unnecessary. I feel the same now applies here so only tip for exceptional service.
  • But also philfrommanch, the French tax system is set up in such a way that there are no financial benefits to having service charged separately unlike here where the tax difference is so great that it becomes the tail that wags the dog.

  • KTM_GordoKTM_Gordo Forumite
    106 Posts
    As a customer, the tax situation is neither here nor there. I am paying for a meal and, unless I'm otherwise expected to fetch it from the kitchen myself, the person bringing it to my table is an inclusive part - same as the chef.

    I was more than a little put-out when I had a meal in London on Friday and when it arrived there were three long, black, hairs stuck to the slice of lemon on the plate. I sent the meal back, but they still saw fit to charge the full price, plus "service" (which was was heartily mediocre).
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