to get annoyed when service charges are added to the bill?

(52 Posts)
HighwayRat Sat 15-Mar-14 18:35:33

We went out for a grownup lunch today, lovely food, nice restaurant. Got the bill which dp grabbed so he could pay, I had a look at the bill and they'd added a 10% service charge on top of the bill. I was angry that I'd not seen the bill first as I'd have made them remove it. We left no tip because of it.

why do they get to add this 'discretionary' charge on and not tell you about it, or even ask? if the service costs more then increase prices!! If there hadnt been the added charge the tip we would have left would have been about £2 more, and tbh its put me off eating there again.

BackforGood Sun 16-Mar-14 15:06:05

YANBU at all.
If the restaurant is going to take an extra 10% off you, then it should be clear and up front and put it on the prices of each item on the menu.
A lot of people - most I'd have thought? - will take into account what a meal is going to cost as one of the deciding factors in choosing to eat at that venue or not, so it's sneaky and underhand to state one thing, then put something in the small print about the fact they are going to add 10%

Don't get me started on theatres adding stuff onto the price you pay, over and above what the advertised ticket price is though....

The different groups I go out for meals with always leave a group tip, in cash.

Usually at least 10%, can be more.

I never put a tip on a card, because I don't believe the staff get this, I always leave a cash tip.

UncleT Sun 16-Mar-14 12:44:05

No Sometimes, no business. I was actually still a student at that time, but although relatively young was already pretty restaurant savvy (eating having become something of a hobby when I found a well-paid part-time job towards the end of the first year).

MammaTJ Sun 16-Mar-14 09:35:44

I once went to a restaurant and the service was awful. They added a service charge. I refused to pay it. They accepted that.

In the nicer restaurants, we ask for it to be removed and tip in cash, to every server who has served us that evening. There is one restaurant we used to frequent where we would take a case of the chef's favourite beer for him to share with the kitchen staff at the end of the night. Having worked as a pot washer and waitress I just want to offer recognition of the work they are doing to give the customers a good dining experience. Whilst it may seem extravagant, we used to get so many freebies in return (including hundreds of pounds worth of wine/champagne) it worked out to our benefit.

JessieJayne Sun 16-Mar-14 08:51:34

I don't mind leaving a tip sometimes (but I certainly don't always) but I will not be told what to leave. If I think a tip is warranted and it says 10%s service charge added, I deliberately leave a different amount <<stubborn>>

hollyisalovelyname Sun 16-Mar-14 08:48:44

I think service charges should be abolished. Proper staff wages should be incorporated into the costings/price of the meal.
If the service is good, then tip.
DH and I always leave a tip, my parents did too. My dc's ( those old enough) do also- it's what they see being done. Of course if we received cr*p service we wouldn't.
Am often amazed at the meaness of people in relation to tipping when at a function.
If girlie night out we always tip and I don't see any meaness - i've nice friends grin
I hate mean people!!!

Moltenpink Sun 16-Mar-14 08:36:19

I work in a hotel, about 2 years ago we introduced the 10% charge added on the bill in two of our restaurants. I was dubious and thought we would have a lot of unhappy customers. What actually happened is we get one or two complaints a day, but the benefits far outweigh these.

I would estimate tips tripled overnight, this meant that all the behind the scenes staff could have a share for the first time. Pot washers etc now all get an extra £50 in their wage. Staff retention and job satisfaction improved, so our staff are more experienced and better at service.

I was really surprised how many customers obviously just hadn't been tipping before! A lot of our clients are corporate though, so I guess it's just easier for expense claims if it's there on the bill.

Nomama Sun 16-Mar-14 08:31:31

wowfudge the penny tip is something I use whenever I want the waiting staff to know they were crap. I used to waitress so I know how much it winds them up but I also know the difference between service being hampered by circumstances and a lazy or indifferent waitress.

You just have to think ahead and pack a penny when you go out to eat smile

SometimesLonely Sun 16-Mar-14 07:57:07

Well done to you, UncleT. I like that story. grin Uncomfortable for you and your companions at the time though. I hope it ewasn't a business meal ...

rumbelina Sun 16-Mar-14 06:53:47

I worked in a restaurant where the service charge went to the chefs. I was waiting staff and we would try to tell people though a lot of the regulars knew. I check now as do like to tip for good service.

DangerRabbit Sun 16-Mar-14 06:38:29

I prefer to leave cash tips as i have heard that restaurants use credit card tips to top servers' wages up to the minimum wage - ie so the � goes to the restaurant not the server.

UncleT Sun 16-Mar-14 05:42:34

Once, having had my main course turn up just as the other four at the table were having theirs cleaned away, I complained to the management and they blamed it on a service and kitchen error. I told them I wasn't happy and that they will need to remove the service charge (10%), it had pissed us all off and made the meal less enjoyable. What ensued was a massive argument led by an aggressive manageress who basically said that we had to pay or the staff would lose out, we were being unfair and couldn't leave until we paid the whole bill. It ended up with me having to call the Police after we were physically prevented from leaving by now not only the manageress but also her kitchen staff, after we'd left the money for the bill minus service on the table. They backed off after the call was placed, on leaving the place we cancelled with the cops. This was in London. It's only ever happened once, but it completely took the piss.

jammiedonut Sun 16-Mar-14 02:39:49

Meh I work in a restaurant. My staff keep credit card tips (we take the cash out of the till and put in tip bucket) and they are shared equally between FOH and BOH. As a manager I am not allowed to touch their tips either. Not all places are as unfair as those described above, but I always ask my server how they would prefer to be paid their tip.
It's worth noting though that a card tip will be taxed by the time it reaches your server (if done correctly). I don't see the point in leaving 10% to lose 2% to the tax man so always try to leave cash.

ravenAK Sun 16-Mar-14 02:01:41

Having worked in the trade, I never pay service charges. It's used as an excuse to keep wages down. Also, you can't be sure it's actually reaching the staff who deserve it...

I do tip, generously, if I've had good service & can bung it directly to the waiter in cash.

It's hard cheese on the washers-up etc though! In my publican days they always got an extra end of shift pint to compensate for never seeing a tip. It was also the convention that any of the waiting/bar staff who received a really good tip (more than a shift's pay) got a round in once we'd finished serving.

wobblyweebles Sun 16-Mar-14 01:06:03

I'd be delighted it was only 10%...

I don't like it because it fosters the idea that you have to tip. I remember coming across this as a student, when several of us had budgeted carefully to go out and the rich kid ended up having a temper tantrum because we all insisted we weren't wasting our cash paying a tip when the service had been terrible. She'd got to the age of 18 believing it was 'the law' and that we were all stealing by not wanting to pay. hmm

If they put the total, then a line for discretionary tip and the new total, that's not too bad as it makes it clear. But not great when they just slip it in on the end and hope you don't notice.

RafflesWay Sat 15-Mar-14 22:27:17

Totally agree Canyou. My DH wasn't concerned for himself as of course he was very well paid but for his junior staff he used to get really frustrated and often argued with management about it. He finally left the industry many moons ago and is now retired but he STILL goes on about it! And don't even get him started on service charges as he ALWAYS asks for those to be taken off and tips cash but half for waiting staff and half to the kitchen. (I think he is sometimes viewed as rather odd grin)

canyou Sat 15-Mar-14 22:04:05

Raffles I also used to feel like you DH but I gave up, It can cause such bad feeling between kitchen and front of house staff. The only place I worked where kitchen staff got tips, the kitchen got 5% of the days tips to divide 4 ways we ended up tossing it in a box and sharing it a Christmas and hope everyone in the kitchen got around £100 for the whole year
TBH I would prefer no tips and a fair wage all around

RafflesWay Sat 15-Mar-14 21:52:55

Never pay the service charge as this does not reach the staff. Also seriously pees me off that only waiting staff receive tips. My DH was an executive head chef in luxury hotels for many years and used to get really upset that the restaurant manager and his staff earned loads in tips and never a round coin for the "behind the scenes" staff who quite frankly work the hardest of all.

canyou Sat 15-Mar-14 21:43:39

I have worked 20 years in catering. I always leave a cash tip on the table that way waiting staff get the tip and either keep it or put it into the tip bucket to be split between staff. In ally years working I have never seen the staff recieve the service charge or tips paid by credit card --in Irl the employer can legally keep tips paid by card but not cash tips--angry

GertTheFlirt Sat 15-Mar-14 20:54:34

10% ... ewww cheap place

12% is a mainstream service charge

Silverdaisy Sat 15-Mar-14 20:52:47

In my experience (and as someone has already said) the larger the group the meaner the tip is.

That being said I have worked in many restaurants and when a tip is added onto the credit card the staff never get it. It is just swallowed up I the days takings. So I will always leave a cash tip, and leave the way it is distributed as per the routine in the restaurant.

I have only worked in locally owned places though, maybe chains are different.

LittleprincessinGOLDrocks Sat 15-Mar-14 20:46:44

I have these removed, I think it is rude to presume I want to pay anything above the cost of the meal for the service.
That's not to say I never leave a tip, because I do when the service has been good, but that is my way of saying "you went above and beyond, thank you!". When the company add a service charge it is almost rewarding mediocre / poor service as much as good service.
Why they had to start doing this I don't know. There was nothing wrong from the consumers point of view with the old system.

skittycat Sat 15-Mar-14 20:42:52

Yanbu. It is very presumptuous and annoying. It takes an exceptional level of service for me to leave a tip at all, and adding a 'discretionary' amount on to the bill is just plain irritating. It's my choice whether/what I tip, putting something on the bill does not make me want to tip, it puts me off.

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