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Question on Eating Out: Tax, service charge, any others?

Pasig, Philippines
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Question on Eating Out: Tax, service charge, any others?

Hi everyone, I hope this post finds you & all other affected New Yorkers in a better situation.

I am trying to budget my spending for meals and so I'd like to ask what taxes/fees restaurants charge on top of the cost of the food? And how much (or what percentage)?

Here where I'm from, VAT & service charge are already built into the cost so it's easier to compute.

Do these percentages vary per restaurant, or is it the same for all?

Thank you.

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Question on Eating Out: Tax, service charge, any others?

Taxes are already included. You just have to add a tip from 15% to 20% and more if you really received good service, i.e.. in a rated restaurant where you have several courses and more than one waiting on you, that deserves the top bracket and more. If a sommelier is involved a share for him as well.

Melbourne
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2. Re: Question on Eating Out: Tax, service charge, any others?

Taxes are included on the final bill but (please correct me if I'm wrong!) from my visits to the US, I've found that taxes are NOT included in the advertised/listed prices.

Mesa, Arizona
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3. Re: Question on Eating Out: Tax, service charge, any others?

Taxes are NOT on the menus, but are added on the final bill. SOme restos do add service charge. if they do, I would not feel obligated to any additional tip unless the service was spectacular.

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Question on Eating Out: Tax, service charge, any others?

Sorry, that's what I meant to say, taxes are in the final bill not in the price of each item. When you get your bill taxes are included. Usually restaurants add the service (tip) to a group of 6 or more, in which case you do NOT have to leave anything more unless you want to.

Pasig, Philippines
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5. Re: Question on Eating Out: Tax, service charge, any others?

Thank you for the clarification!

May I ask what percentage the tax is?

New York City, New...
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6. Re: Question on Eating Out: Tax, service charge, any others?

8.875% in New York City.

7. Re: Question on Eating Out: Tax, service charge, any others?

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Dallas, Texas...
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8. Re: Question on Eating Out: Tax, service charge, any others?

Tip ("service charge") is rarely included but it always added when paying the check. 15% for mediocre service, 18-20% for good service. Many will tip more for excellent service.

You also tip on drinks at a bar.

Eating some meals at restaurants without table service can save you money. If you place your order, pay at the register and pick your meal up to take it to a table, you don't tip. Even casual places that bring your food to you after you order and pay don't require a tip. In general, if you pay when ordering, vs paying after eating, a tip is not expected.

New York City
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9. Re: Question on Eating Out: Tax, service charge, any others?

Taxes are usually not included on prices in the US. When you shop at Macy's, taxes are not included on the price tag, but are instead added at the cash register. In the same way, taxes are not included on the menu price in a restaurant, but are instead added onto the bill at the end. Taxes are imposed by the government, not the restaurant, so every restaurant in a jurisdiction (and in our case, that jurisdiction is the City of New York) would OF COURSE charge the same tax (and I am astonished that anyone would think that taxes were imposed by any authority other than that of the government, or that a government would actually pass a tax law that specified that different tax rates should be paid by patrons of nearly identical businesses in the same town; is that really how taxes work where you are from, with a different rate of VAT being charged in different shops and restaurants?)

In order to calculate the true cost of a meal, you need to add sales tax (which is what the tax restaurants charge actually is -- and note that NYC sales taxes are not value-added taxes, so you cannot get them refunded to you when you leave) -- which in NYC is 8.875%, and a tip, which ranges from 15% as a bare minimum for adequate service, to 20% or more for service which is good or better than good. Thus, when you look at prices on a menu, expect at the end to pay at least 25% more than the price listed: if the price is $10, you will actually pay $12.50 or more; if the price is $20, you will actually pay $25.00 or more, and so on.

Edited: 07 November 2012, 06:34
London, United...
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10. Re: Question on Eating Out: Tax, service charge, any others?

If you are not from the US, it's quite likely on some places you'll get something along the lines of "Not all our visitors realise that it';s customary to tip 20% on bills in the US, I'm just mentioning it becaue not all our visitors are aware of this".