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Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,407
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Trumpy Offline OP
Member
Hi Folks,
I've been to the US twice, the first time was on a business trip in 1990, the second time was on a package tour from California in a crescent down through Texas and up through the Eastern states.
I know that you have to tip people that give you good service, but where does this begin and end?
Reason I ask this is because a mate of mine who is still in the US, says that he has to tip at least 20% of the restaurant bill, or whatever they stipulate at the bottom of the check.
Is this a normal thing?

Sorry to be so off-topic, but when I was in the US, it was whatever you nominated when you pay the check?

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,662
Likes: 4
G
Member
Yup 15-20% is pretty much standard and it is reflected in the wages the wait staff gets paid. The assumption is they make most of their money in tips.


Greg Fretwell
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,407
Likes: 2
Trumpy Offline OP
Member
Greg,
That's pretty awful.
I mean, where your weekly take-home pay is based upon the gratuity you get from customers, not from your actual boss, seems a bit on the nose.
Is there a minimum wage in the US?
Sure, if you have a very minimum skill-set (like you left school with little or no qualifications), you aren't going to get paid that well.
However, I just feel that a lot of the employers (particularly in the hospo industry), use this tipping system so that they don't have to give an extra cent to the people that actually help their business run.

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,662
Likes: 4
G
Member
The thinking is that your customer IS your boss in the service industry. Your wages are influenced by the quality of your service, not the government or the whims of what your boss wants to pay. In most establishments the wait staff ends up making more money than they would from any sort of wage. If you end up in a place like McDonalds where they don't tip, you are going to be making something near minimum wage but these days even McDonalds pays more than minimum wage. There is a big push to raise the minimum wage to $15US but a lot of people think that will simply end up eliminating a lot of low wage jobs. It will also, no doubt, change our attitude on tips when prices rise to pay for that wage increase and those people in higher scale establishments where several hundred bucks a night is not unusual, might end up losing money.
I know lots of people in server world and if you work in a decent place, it ends up being a very lucrative job. Even in places like "Outback" (An OZ themed steak joint) my buddy's kid was making $300 a night on tips, in about 5 hours.


Greg Fretwell
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,279
Likes: 3
Member
Mike:

Basically 15-20% is considered "normal" for the wait staff. Most places I know of "pool" the tips, and split at the end of the shift or night. The busboys usually get a cut also. That said, some places have a ''gratituity" (sp) charge added to the bill for parties of xx. You have to look at the bill so you don't wind up looking like a "rich guy".

My personal take is I tip based on the attitude and service the server provides to me and my wife, or group. I have left minimum (10-15%), and most times >20% for exceptional services. The local places that are sucking wind with the restrictions here usually get an extra as I feel for them. This is my personal choice, as times are tough for some.


John
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 367
M
Member
I don't know how it works in the US but here in Canada if paying by debt or credit cart the payment terminal (or most of them) gives you the option of either allowing you to enter in a dollar amount of your choice or you can hit one of the preset buttons to select a tip %. On Saturday the pizza chain I go to had the presets at 10% 15% 18% and 20%.

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,279
Likes: 3
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The credit/debit card 'add the tip' may result in the actual amount that the servers get is reduced by the credit/debit card 'fee' that the establishment pays to the card company/bank.

I found that out by talking to a few servers. One place I frequent takes 7% of the 'tip' for "handling". So, as I am very satisfied with the service at this place, I leave the tip in cash!

Yes, there are some places that have what mbhydro listed above, and others that have a blank line to insert the $$ amount of your choice.

Dining out is becoming really tough with the restrictions here, as winter is here, and indoor is limited to 25% occupancy. NYC just closed down all indoor dining!! (Bummer)


John
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 367
M
Member
I guess it depends on the owners. When I was an investor in a pizza restaurant 20 years ago, we as owners made the decision to absorb all the credit card costs so our staff got the full amount of the tip.

Here in Manitoba we have been the same for the last month or so as NYC with all indoor dining closed. Its just takeout (come in masked or contact less curbside) or delivery. I feel sorry for the restaurants as Skip the Dishes, Uber Eats etc take a big chunk of the bill for their service charges.

Its interesting on how things change. This time last year the banks had signs asking people to take off their sunglasses and scarves as they figured you were going to rob them if you kept them on. Now they have somebody at the door making sure your face is covered and giving you a mask if you left yours in the car or at home.

Last edited by mbhydro; 12/18/20 04:53 PM.
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 910
Likes: 1
N
Member
Originally Posted by Trumpy
Hi Folks,
I've been to the US twice, the first time was on a business trip in 1990, the second time was on a package tour from California in a crescent down through Texas and up through the Eastern states.
I know that you have to tip people that give you good service, but where does this begin and end?
Reason I ask this is because a mate of mine who is still in the US, says that he has to tip at least 20% of the restaurant bill, or whatever they stipulate at the bottom of the check.
Is this a normal thing?

Sorry to be so off-topic, but when I was in the US, it was whatever you nominated when you pay the check?


You do not "have" to tip anything, but are encouraged to do so, some will add a gratuity of whatever percentage they decide to the check for larger groups, I prefer to leave a tip at the table, myself.

I find it disgusting that some restaurants count tips as part of the minimum wage. frown

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,662
Likes: 4
G
Member
It is the federal government that counts tips as part of the minimum wage. The "tipped job" minimum wage, although lower, is still the minimum. The employer has to pay that no matter what.
This really still depends on where you work tho. Tips may be horrible in some low end joints but a waiter in an up scale restaurant will make so much on tips, the minimum wage check he gets is a pittance compared to what he takes home.
My sister and all 4 of her daughters have worked in server world. My wife lived around about 20-30 of them when she ran the country club. The wait staff manager refused to be put on the executive payroll because she picked up more tips as a part time, fill in server, than managers made. There were some full time servers who made as much as the general manager in season.


Greg Fretwell
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