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Tipping in restaurants

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Tipping in restaurants

Let me say right at the start that I have no problem with tipping for good service and probably err on the generous side. However, it seems to me that things are getting a bit out of hand in New York. To start with a local sales tax, 10% ?, is added to the bill - could this not be included as VAT has to be in the U.K.? But then many restaurants we visited show "suggested gratuity levels" of between 18% and 22%. All this makes what starts out as being a reasonably priced meal quite an expensive one.

Do the staff actually see these gratuities? Or are the owners using tips to make up the basic pay of their staff? Will we soon be paying extra for the chef to cook the meal?

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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1. Re: Tipping in restaurants

Restaurant policies may vary, but I believe that waitstaff do get the tips.

We generally tip 15-20% on the pre-tax amount of the bill.

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2. Re: Tipping in restaurants

Ask around. Many of your countrymen (including, perhaps, yourself) are flying across an ocean to go shopping, even with sales tax added. Restaurant meals are reasonably priced by your standards, which I suppose means compared to London, where taxes and service charges are not so obvious.

Brooklyn, NY
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3. Re: Tipping in restaurants

NYC really isn't getting out of hand.

-10% is incorrect.

-It isn't included as VAT as it is in the UK as the US and the UK are different countries/etc with different tax structures.

-Yes, the staff sees the gratuities.

Brooklyn, NY
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for New York City
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4. Re: Tipping in restaurants

"Do the staff actually see these gratuities? Or are the owners using tips to make up the basic pay of their staff?"

It's both. Tips ARE the basic pay of wait staff. They essentially ONLY get paid tips. Wait staff are exempt from normal minimum wage laws, and most are paid basically nothing. So yes, they definitely see the tips. It's what they pay their bills with.

The sales tax is under 9%. Why do you care if it's VAT or sales tax? You pay it either way. If you think food is too expensive ehrn you add in the tax and tip, don't eat in restaurants. But 18-22% is the going rate for average service in restaurants. That's what you should be paying.

5. Re: Tipping in restaurants

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