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Tipping and added service charges

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Tipping and added service charges

We have eaten at three restaurants in London at this point. Each of them has added a service fee of 12.50%. At each of them we questioned the staff and were told this was an additional charge the restaurant owners add, but the staff do not get any of that money. We are Americans, we are used to tipping well, and we are definitely fine with tipping.

What we are not fine with is being gouged. There was this same issue in Curacao when my family visited there and left us with such a bad impression we have no interest in going back, ever.

So is it the same thing here? Maybe going to staff, maybe going to the restaurant? Is there any way to know for sure? When we visited the UK in the past I only remember this occurring at more expensive restaurants and the servers told us they got that money (the whole staff shared).

Edited: 21 October 2012, 21:13
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61. Re: Tipping and added service charges

We like the UK system but it took us a while to figure it out. At first we were flumexed when the check did not appear and we had to ask for it.

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62. Re: Tipping and added service charges

I do wish Managers would tell their staff (sorry, in American English - "Team leaders would tell their team") to only approach a customer while eating a meal IF the customer is requesting service, not to constantly harrass them with the "is everything all right" "can I top that up for you" "do you need anything else" which is usually spoken right at the point when a fork full of my food is about to enter my mouth. Thankfully I've only encountered this intrusive behaviour in the US.

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63. Re: Tipping and added service charges

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64. Re: Tipping and added service charges

carolh yes I agree that there is a cultural difference and a big one.

I can only speak for me regarding service and I don't like over attentive staff interrupting my meal in any shape or form.

I really do not see any need for it.

As for paying the bill then I would be extremely annoyed if I got presented with it without me asking for it.

Re table availability then if I arrived somewhere without a reservation then I would find out how long the estimated waiting time was.

Any more than half an hour then I would go elsewhere.

As for the length of time that a table is allocated to you generally that is up to you.

There are restaurants though that do operate on the old system of 2 sittings but they are in a minority.

I do dine out regularly and I can honestly say that I have never come across a situation where I have felt rushed to eat up and go.

After my main meal I am known to ask for a little time to let it settle before ordering dessert and I have never had a problem with that either.

Hope that answers your question.

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65. Re: Tipping and added service charges

ChrystinP post 8.

I checked out the Crowne Plaza Umami Kensington and Little India and no info on voluntary or any other type of service charge. Giraffe either have a tipping system or a voluntary Service charge put on your bill at different branches. Their website says these go to the staff minus 10% handling cost for tips.

Personally I am against tipping as a way to pay employees. In my opinion it is up to the employer to pay wages - that has to be one of the first responsibilities of a business. Interfering with wages is not my job.

Rewarding some employees for performing as the boss required, or better, is the bosses responsibility in the form of performance related bonuses.

I am amazed when I see some posts saying; ' I pay a tip as well as the voluntary service charge - if the service was good'. I expect very good service in the menu price, the contract - that's why I went there.

On the other hand I won't be upset if occasionally things go wrong - that happens in any business for reasons we will never know, behind the scenes.

In UK we confuse service with a favour.

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66. Re: Tipping and added service charges

but" Rustrip-"your location is France and theses posts are over 3 months old

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France
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67. Re: Tipping and added service charges

"In UK we confuse service with a favour."

"You" may do. "We" don't

France
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68. Re: Tipping and added service charges

@barbexpat

I travel - and you are reading this thread at post 67 - it's a perennial, perplexing, pulse rising, sometimes parsimonious subject - taking the simple pleasure of eating into the world of employment, low pay, profit, tax, embarrassment.

TIPS are a totally inadequate pay system

France
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69. Re: Tipping and added service charges

@Paul F

"In UK we confuse service with a favour." I should have said: I was quoting Anne Ashworth - Times Columnist - who was writing about what is the expected service standard in retail in UK.

If the service wasn’t confused with a favour – why pay more as a voluntary service charge?

If not a favour then was it the expected contractual result?

But voluntary service charges are added as a norm.

If something very special happened then perhaps more money is necessary or “Thank you very much” as a thank you.

Glasgow, United...
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70. Re: Tipping and added service charges

Whether it not you were quoting anyone and there was nothing to indicate that you were, such a blanket statement is inaccurate.