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Are the British bad tippers ?

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Devon, UK
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Are the British bad tippers ?

Just wanted to get some feedback on this question after our visit to NYC last week.

My DW commented after we got home that she felt that in some of the restaurants we visited, we appeared to get treated differently to other non UK diners, for example, being seated on more out of the way tables or ones near the kitchen door, being seated after others who had arrived later than us and not getting similar service to those tables around us. I also noted that when I asked for the check, this often arrived with some thing like "Service NOT inlcuded" written prominently near the total.

I suppose it is not so much part of our culture and also, more often than not these days, UK restaurants include service in the price and it isn't the norm to tip the barman every time you buy a pint in the pub.

So my question is, are we Brits generally seen as poor tippers in the US or are all tourists treated the same or is DW just being paranoid ?

As it happens, I was working out my 15 to 20% gratuities on the total including the tax, so left more than needed most times. Oh well, didn't hurt and maybe redressed the balance a bit. Also remembered to leave the chambermaid four dollars each day (one for each of us).

Mineola, New York
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1. Re: Are the British bad tippers ?

I would have to figure that your accents gave you away and based on what you say, you were probably treated the way you were based on the lack of tipping by your countrymen. I know there have been several tipping discussions here over the years where many UK residents have asked why they had to tip...

Cincinnati, OH
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2. Re: Are the British bad tippers ?

Your accent may have given you away, not as any particular nationality, but just because you are not locals. I don't think tipping has anything to do with it. My family has had the opposite reaction, everybody thinks we're locals and we're constantly asked for directions. My kids love it! We're from Ohio. We live on the Ohio river at the base of the Applachian Mountains. (A few hundred miles, but light years away from Midtown) Because we travel there alot, we have learned to respect what's important to the locals. And we try really hard to act accordingly. So far, it's worked out really well for us. I don't think it was was anything personal for you

New Orleans...
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3. Re: Are the British bad tippers ?

In response to the initial question: stereotypically? Yes, absolutely.

It's very clear that not everyone from the UK is a poor tipper, but it does seem to be an unfortunate stereotype. I've seen people on this forum in the past few days boasting about leaving a tip that would amount to less than ten percent. And really, the supposed standard of 15-20% is even a little outdated at this point. Call me crazy, but I would say that average tips start at 20%. From what I've seen here, Brits do seem to calculate on the very short end of that 15%, as well.

Granted, this doesn't excuse any poor service you might have received, but it could explain it a bit. Much as the Ugly American stereotype still lingers around the world, it seems that the UK is dealing with its own monster.

Anglesey
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4. Re: Are the British bad tippers ?

I agree that we have the reputation for being poor tippers, but I do think there are a lot of us who probably tip very well.

I will always tip in the US - if it is great service then I tip accordingly and go well over 20% so long as I know they are getting it and it hasnt just been added onto the check.

If it is mediocre service or below par then they do only get the 10% minimum

Southend-on-Sea...
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5. Re: Are the British bad tippers ?

All the guides I read (including American guides on the internet) before my trip advised that the standard tip in New York was 15%-20% so we used that at as our guide. If service was acceptable we tipped nearer to 15% rising to 20% for good service.

Only once did we tip around 10% and that was when the waiter's attidude was grumpy and was poor. Did the waiter recognise this I did I just reinforce his probable view that British tourists are poor tippers.

I would be very surprised if lower tipping is restricted to British visitors as tipping throughout Europe is lower than America and often lower than the UK.

Earlier this year I visited Andalucia where the locals tend to simply round up when tipping. Our tips of circa 10% were considered very generous. Incidentally standards of living are generally a lot lower in Andalucia.

New York City, New...
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6. Re: Are the British bad tippers ?

I think people from abroad forget that waiters here live off their tips. Their salaries are way below minium wage and most of it gets taxed. Hence the larger tips.

What we do is just double the tax and then round it off to the higher dollar. If service is great, we'll tip more.

Mineola, New York
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7. Re: Are the British bad tippers ?

I know that one summer when my son worked at a waiter in a suburban restaurant, he would find that when people with foreign accents sat at one of his tables he would many times get very sub par tips (sometimes as little as $10 on close to $200 bill of 6 people). If he had that kind of experience in a suburban restaurant, I can only imagine that at a restaurant in a tourist area the experience is only amplified. Yes, waiters and waitress in the USA depend on tips as a huge part of their salary and I guess many travelers have taught them that folks not from the US are bad tip risks. It's all about fitting in when you travel...when in Rome!

New York City
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8. Re: Are the British bad tippers ?

i agree with Frank...."when in Rome" is indeed correct.....you may have tipped perfectly well while you were here, cjlb, but unfortunately many of your countrymen do not and you paid for that......many don't know our system and haven't bothered to learn it.....as an American, i often am confused when I am abroad about when to round up and when to leave 10% and when to do nothing.....every country has its own customs and it is important to learn them.

Southend-on-Sea...
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9. Re: Are the British bad tippers ?

Frank, I agree with your comments "when in Rome" and always research each country before I travel.

In both my trips to America I have generally had very good service and tipped accordingly. I never felt I got poorer service because I was English. If however a waiter was to give me second class service in the expectation of a low tip I would happily meet his expectations!

Tampa, FL
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10. Re: Are the British bad tippers ?

I've heard many foreigners on the Orlando forum discuss how they hate tipping. It's a hot topic on that forum. My friend was a waitress, and it was always a joke that foreigners tipped poorly as did people from the North. I've never been a waitress so I have no idea if this is true, but I guess they base these things on experience. I always tip 20% if service is decent. If service is outstanding, I tip more. If service is poor, I usually evaluate the situation of why. Did the server have numerous tables, how busy was the restaurant, does the server appear to be new, etc? Then I base my tip accordingly. There is however no excuse for being rude. If you noticed that you were seated after someone else that arrive later than you, why didn't you question it? Also, if there were other tables available that you would have rather sat at, then why didn't you ask to be seated there? I think it's important to let your servers know what you expect. For example, if you're in a hurry, let them know. I'm sorry you had a bad experience. :o)