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Restaurant etiquette

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1.  Tips are part of the cost of your meal in the US.  In most places, the tip should be 15%; in places with higher costs of living, like New York City and San Francisco, they go higher.  If the meal and service are adequate, not to tip is very rude.  However, a tip may be adjusted downward when service is inadequate.

2.  A customer has the right to expect:
-Prompt service
-Polite attitudes from staff and management
-A clean table and restroom
-Properly prepared food and drinks
-To receive what they actually ordered
-To be charged only for what was actually ordered
-To have coupons, discounts, and promotions honored by the restaurant within the designated time frame
-To know that food and drinks are not made with ingredients they must avoid
-Not to be disturbed by staff, other customers, or their children
-To be allowed to finish one's meal while the restaurant is open for business
-To have errors by staff in service or etiquette corrected

3.  Customers do not have the right to expect:
-To bring food or drink in from outside the restaurant
-To allow their children to roam about without supervision or to disturb others
-To treat staff with rudeness, regardless of problems
-To disturb other patrons, regardless of problems
-To demand any food or drink not on the menu
-To have properly cooked and served meals or drinks comped by management
-To linger once the meal has been paid for, especially after closing time
-To be allowed to smoke in "non-smoking" restaurants or areas of the restaurant


--- Quote from: Friend of Eeyore on March 01, 2009, 02:32:54 PM ---Are we sure that 15% is the standard?  These days I think I've heard 18-20% is more standard.  (In Michigan, with a 6% tax, the trick seems to be if you're in a group that you add 25% to your portion, thus 19% tip with the 6% tax.) - Oh, and I'm not in a huge metro city like New York - I'm in Lansing, and do this no matter what city I'm in, be it big or small

My Dad, who goes out less, tends to start at 15% and take it up or down depending on the type of place - a diner/Denny's might get only 10%, an Applebee's/Chili's would get 15%, a Morton's/Bravo Cuccino would get 20%.  However, my husband and I go out often, as much as 3+ times a week to a sit-down, and we use 20% as our base (taking it down if necessary, and sometimes even going up).

Something to add to the tip section also, perhaps:
a) Tips should be based on any cost before coupon or other reduction - you tip based on the items you got, not what you actually pay for.  Thus if you have a two-for-one coupon, you double the entree cost for tip.  (If it's a two for $20 type special that the restaurant is offering on the menu, I'd tip on the $20.  But not if I had a 2 for $20 coupon that is not being used restaurant-wide- there I'd tip on the original cost)
b) Many people will calculate tip on the cost before tax.  This is etiquettely acceptable, but not required.  You may tip on pre-tax or post-tax cost, whichever is easiest for you.

--- End quote ---

In most parts of the country 15% is standard.

I believe 15% is still acceptable, though some routinely tip 20%+. 

I'm wondering why the percentage is higher where the cost-of-living is higher, such as NYC (where I've never been)?  Aren't the menu-prices therefore higher - so the server would pocket more from a 15 or 20% tip, no matter what?

I'm quite glad I live in the UK, looking at these tip quotations.

In the UK, standard is 10%, if that. Wait staff are paid a higher wage (i.e. the restaurant pays them for service, rather than the customer) and this is reflected in the food prices. Essentially, we tip if service is good - that's it.

10% is considered very good in the UK, and certainly not expected. Wait staff have been known to appropriate my 50p change as their tip - in which case, since I'm generally a good tipper, they're welcome to it.


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