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.

Because the majority of people don't leave a tip.

My friends daughter works in a restaurant, lots of people leave a few coppers.

They must put it on the menu though.

DoYonisHangLow Sat 15-Mar-14 18:41:54

I quite like it tbh as I never have cash handy.

OTOH I dislike it as I bet the money doesn't go to the right people.

You can alway take it off if you want to though and either tip cash or not tip at all if the service didn't warrant it.

I can't bring myself to get worked up as its so common place and hardly a new thing.

NurseyWursey Sat 15-Mar-14 18:43:59

I don't mind at all.

When we go out and there's quite a few of us, I think the waiting staff do an excellent job of keeping us all happy, have the food down on time, making sure we're topped up with drinks...

Least I can do when they're on minimum wage is give them a tip or pay the service fee.

I live in North America where a 10% tip would mean that they were shockingly poor at everything. I don't mind a service charge as long as the service is good and I don't have to tip extra.

HermioneWeasley Sat 15-Mar-14 18:45:25

YABU and petty.

badtime Sat 15-Mar-14 18:45:57

You can ask them to remove it, you know.

They can't force you to pay it. They may get arsey, though.

whatever5 Sat 15-Mar-14 18:55:18

I doesn't make much of a difference to me as I always leave a tip anyway unless I'm unhappy with the service. I do find it very annoying if they try to get a tip as well as a service charge though. You have to watch for that in some restaurants.

SometimesLonely Sat 15-Mar-14 18:57:37

If you are given a bill that includes a service charge, just cross it out and pay what's left if you're paying in cash. It is not compulsory to pay a 'demanded' service charge. If I were presented with a bill like that, I'd leave nothing extra.

You can do the same if you're paying with a card. Just cross it out. Don't be told what you have to do.

ooerrmissus Sat 15-Mar-14 19:02:25

It's basically a suggested tip. It has to be 'discretionary' as if it wasn't the restaurant would have to pay tax on it. You are perfectly entitled not to pay it if you prefer. You say you would have left a tip that was a few pounds more. Well then the restaurant have just done the maths for you.

Perfectlypurple Sat 15-Mar-14 19:03:57

Yanbu. I want to leave a tip dependant on service. I would not trust that the tips went to the right people this way. I like to leave a tip on the table or hand it to the person who served me. It is not up to the restaurant to decide what tip should be left. And I have worked in this industry as a waitress.

tiggytape Sat 15-Mar-14 19:06:42

I don't mind too much as long as it is very clear on the bill so customers don't end up paying it plus a tip as well.

Tips are discretionary but, unless there was a huge problem with the food or service, I would always factor in paying it as part of the overall cost so this way it is just done automatically.

Nomama Sat 15-Mar-14 19:19:31

It is discretionary and I'd use it as a guideline. But I always check cos I hate it and thunk it presumptuous. I also think it encourages crap service.

One restaurant (posh, very much a treat) and we had a waitress who evidently wanted to be a model. She used the restaurant floor to practice her walk, turned beautifully, held a pose and walked on.

Sadly she forgot to bring the fucking food.

So we paid the exact amount minus the tip on a card and left her a penny tip.

I also emailed the following day to explain why we had been so mean and to reassure them that the food we did receive was lovely.

LessMissAbs Sat 15-Mar-14 19:28:09

YANBU. If the restaurant wants a tip, then they should leave it up to the customer. A tip is discretionary. I don't need the amount worked out for me and so strongly suggested.

I can't believe customers are that mean with tips. The only time I worked as a waitress to help out friends with a staff shortage, I was absolutely hopeless, yet the tips left were incredibly generous.

Its probably something that would make me avoid that restaurant in future, unless its food was so incredibly good I just had to go back (which tbh isn't usually the case with most restaurants, which are just about ok).

somethingwillturnup Sat 15-Mar-14 19:38:07

Having a DH that works in a restaurant, and doing psychology, there is method in their madness. It has been proven time and again, both anecdotally AND in experiments that the bigger the group, the smaller the tip. DH always points out the service charge (which in his restaurant only applies to groups over 8 iirc) and most folk still pay it anyway.

PP are correct - it is discretionary and can be taken off the bill. In fact, you're probably better doing this, as credit card tips are taxed, cash tips are not.

WooWooOwl Sat 15-Mar-14 19:40:37

You don't need to leave a tip if the service charge is already on there.

I get annoyed when run of the mill chain restaurants do it, but it's expected at more upmarket places where you are pretty much guaranteed good service.

SparklySocks Sat 15-Mar-14 19:41:36

YANBU. 9/10 I would leave a tip anyway, I only wouldn't if the service was awful. I resent service charges and usually don't pay them whereas I would have left a decent tip.

msrisotto Sat 15-Mar-14 19:44:12

YANBU - I don't like the american system of compulsory tipping - i want our restaurants to pay living wages with tips being an optional extra if service has been outstanding.

EurotrashGirl Sat 15-Mar-14 19:45:22

YABU, this is pretty standard in the UK and you don't HAVE to pay it.

wowfudge Sat 15-Mar-14 19:46:43

The 1p tip was meaner than no tip Nomama! But I'm with you - yes I tip, but when service is lacking I mentally start knocking bits off the tip.

Once in the US a waitress wrote 'suggested tip 18%' did the maths for us on our bill! Probably because she knew that as Brits we are not used to paying 15-18% or more as a norm for good service. She shot herself in the foot as DP was so annoyed he would only leave 10%.

K8Middleton Sat 15-Mar-14 19:48:39

Gosh to people really worry about this? Why ruin a perfectly nice lunch for no reason? Silly.

1. You were told. It was the bill. I expect it was also on the menu.
2. It is discretionary so you don't have to pay it.
3. You are NOT expected to pay a service charge plus a tip so your point about that is redundant.
4. If you are worried about how tips are distributed then take the service charge off and leave your cash tip.

I think that covers it.

MrsMot Sat 15-Mar-14 19:49:21

It's added by law in France, makes life much easier.

alwaysneedaholiday Sat 15-Mar-14 19:54:39

It doesn't bother me at all - I would quite enjoy asking them to remove it if I'd had crap service wink

HighwayRat Sat 15-Mar-14 20:14:14

likeI said I didnt check the bill till after it had been paid otherwise I would have removed it and left a cash tip. It just seems presumptuous to me and that annoys me, dp was fine with it.

It didn't ruin our nice lunch I was wondering if it annoyed anyone else.

It wasnt clear anywhere that it would be added, it wasn't written on the menu and id spent about 15minutes deciding what I wanted so had studied it well

K8Middleton Sat 15-Mar-14 20:24:03

You didn't see it because your dp paid the bill. You say he was fine with it so let it go.

You sound more annoyed that you didn't get to dictate the process than annoyed about a service charge.

Let it go.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Sat 15-Mar-14 20:34:33

What bothers me is not being sure it goes to the waiting staff. I always tip (see my nickname for reason!) but I want it to go to the person who did the high chair lugging, baby admiring and child plate washing - not to just add to the company's profits.

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.

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.

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.

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

10% ... ewww cheap place

12% is a mainstream service charge

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

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 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 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)

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 ...

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

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.

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!!!

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>>

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.

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.

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).

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.

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....

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