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How much does it cost now?

Gateshead, United...
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How much does it cost now?

It's difficult for us here in the UK to get a good grasp of costs in the USA when trying to budget in advance of a visit. Would anyone like to tell me the cost of (a) a main course in an average to good New York city restaurant (b) an average sort of cost for desserts and beer/soft drinks in restaurants and (c) The cost of a small and a large beer in a bar? I already know that drinks and food in the US are much more expensive than they seem at first glance - in the UK, the price you see is the price you pay, and tips are discretionary.

Am I right in thinking that most people in the US tip nearer to 20% than 15 unless the service is really bad, so I should add 30% to prices to get the total including tax and tip?

I have seen a very similar thread on here but it dates from 2012 and was closed due to lack of activity. Thanks.

New York City, New...
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1. Re: How much does it cost now?

It's a mistake to lump NYC with all of America. The big mistake average tourists make coming to NYC is eating at the big national chains with names they know. TGI Fridays, Applebees, Hard Rock Cafe etc. are BIG rip offs with mediocre to poor quality food in NYC. I think food is overall much less expensive than in the UK but drinks are more expensive. You also have to add tips and taxes to the price of a sitdown meal which adds ~25%. I usually double the tax (~8%) for a tip so that,s a bit over 16%. I don't think 20% is typical.

Menupages.com

Includes menus with prices for most restaurants here. If you eat 3 meals/day, $100/day per person should be more than enough on averageand you can eat for a lot less.

Edited: 06 June 2014, 15:19
Whitestone, New York
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2. Re: How much does it cost now?

a) and b): You can see the menus, with prices, or hundreds of restaurants at Menupages, which is a great resource for finding a place to eat.

www.menupages.com

As you state, the sales tax is not included in the listed price (just as the sales tax is not indicated on any price tag of an item in a shop), and neither is the tip -- and the wages of the server are paid by customers in the form of a tip, it is very wrong to refuse to tip unless the server really gave you bad service. As a result, when you look at the price of an item in a restaurant, add 1/4 (or 25%) of that price onto it to get an idea of what you will really be paying after tax + tip.

c: What do you consider "small", and what do you consider "large"? You should also know that it is very common in the US for people to buy bottles of beer at a bar, or even cans. This always shocked my father (who is now 90) when he saw people doing that, because in his day the whole purpose of going to a bar was to get draft beer (as a boy he used to "rush the growler", or get a pail of beer, from the local tavern for his parents' dinner, but no one knows what that means anymore, and it would be illegal to sell beer to a child!) In any case, the whole drinking culture in the US is very, very different from what you know in the UK -- and while most real bars would have it, when it comes to restaurants you should not expect to find draft beer everywhere.

Linda

Edited: 06 June 2014, 15:24
Whitestone, New York
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3. Re: How much does it cost now?

NYWhiz, we cross posted -- and it looks like great minds work alike!

Linda

Calne, United...
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4. Re: How much does it cost now?

Interesting that you say that 20% tip is not typical. Is that just in NY as we were always under the impression that tip should be around 20% with more for excellent service? That's certainly what we generally tip in Orlando (we are regular visitors) and what we tipped in Vegas last year.

Brooklyn, NY
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5. Re: How much does it cost now?

I consider myself a generous tipper so 20 would work for me(i often tip more.)

If 20% works for you, know that many people do that. Some do less. Some do more. There no hard and fast rule.

Dallas, Texas...
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6. Re: How much does it cost now?

I usually tip 20% - sometimes a bit higher for outstanding service. Interesting article on "tip creep" from the Today Show website: today.com/food/25-new-standard-tipping-depen…

NY Times states that 20% is more the norm at higher end restaurants. http://www.nytimes.com/fodors/top/features/travel/destinations/unitedstates/newyork/newyorkcity/fdrs_feat_111_10.html?n=Top%2FFeatures%2FTravel%2FDestinations%2FUnited+States%2FNew+York%2FNew+York+City

Sydney, Australia
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7. Re: How much does it cost now?

20% is a good amount to tip because it's easy to work out.

Portland, Maine
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8. Re: How much does it cost now?

NYC restaurants almost always have menus with prices posted outside. So you can roughly determine your costs before you decide to go in.

San Diego...
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9. Re: How much does it cost now?

In NYC (and where I llive in San Diego) it's very easy to tip at restaurants. I just do as NYWhiz says and double the tax. So, if the tax is $2.50 your tip will be $5.00. Very easy to just double the tax.

I only recently discovered that my cell phone came with an 'EZ Tip Calculator.' I don't have a smart phone just a regular one. I know other countries phones would not have that. But I would guess there must be a free App for Tipping out there if you are bad at mathm which I am. I set my standard at 15% and round up and it pretty much comes out the same as doubling the tax.

<<we were always under the impression that tip should be around 20% with more for excellent service?>>

I don't know what the tax is in Orlando or Vegas so it may not work there to double the tax. You are being generous if you always tip 20% or more. But, if you can afford it and are happy to pay it then fine.

New Jersey
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10. Re: How much does it cost now?

NYC is the most expensive city in America to eat especially their restaurants and even chain. As soon as you leave NYC it is between 10 - 30% cheaper.

Actually 15% tip is the normal, not 20%. NYC sales tax is 8.875% and will be added on the bill. Overall I find NYC still cheaper than London & other European cities to eat and shop.