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Tipping in Florida

(15 Posts)
pilates Fri 11-Aug-17 03:36:45

Is it normal to have a gratuity and a service charge on a bill in a restaurant in Florida?

OP’s posts: |
theaveragewife Fri 11-Aug-17 03:40:57

Gratuity or service charge usually, not both.

pilates Fri 11-Aug-17 03:51:31

That's what I thought, the above and tax added 30 dollars on to our bill. When you add that up over two weeks it's quite a bit of money.

OP’s posts: |
SenecaFalls Fri 11-Aug-17 04:09:54

It should not be both but it's the amount that determines whether it's reasonable. What was the bill before the added charges?

LinoleumBlownapart Fri 11-Aug-17 04:19:30

It should have tax and gratuity, not double tip. Usually a tip is added only if they sniff a tourist.
So if you spent around $150 then $30 tax and tip would be about right. But if you only spent say $90 then you were certainly charged a double tip.

SenecaFalls Fri 11-Aug-17 04:43:04

By my calculations, your bill before tax and gratuity/service charge should have been about $115 to justify $30. That's based on 6 percent tax and 20 percent gratuity.

lljkk Fri 11-Aug-17 06:13:23

20% is a Big tip. 10% if mediocre service & 15% if good service, usually.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 11-Aug-17 08:35:27

No is the short answer to that question. The gratuity is the service charge.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 11-Aug-17 08:42:01

This is from the IRS (the USA's version of HMRC who were known as the Inland Revenue):-

Tips are discretionary (optional or extra) payments determined by a customer that employees receive from customers.

Tips include:
Cash tips received directly from customers.
Tips from customers who leave a tip through electronic settlement or payment. This includes a credit card, debit card, gift card, or any other electronic payment method.
The value of any noncash tips, such as tickets, or other items of value.
Tip amounts received from other employees paid out through tip pools or tip splitting, or other formal or informal tip sharing arrangement.

Certain factors are used to determine whether payments constitute tips or service charges. The absence of any of the following factors creates a doubt as to whether a payment is a tip and indicates that the payment may be a service charge:
The payment must be made free from compulsion;
The customer must have the unrestricted right to determine the amount;
The payment should not be the subject of negotiations or dictated by employer policy; and
Generally, the customer has the right to determine who receives the payment.

What are service charges?
An employer or employee's characterization of a payment as a "tip" is not determinative. Again, the absence of any of the four factors listed earlier creates a doubt as to whether a payment is a tip and indicates that the payment may be a service charge.
Examples of service charges commonly added to a customer's check include:
Large dining party automatic gratuity
Banquet event fee
Cruise trip package fee
Hotel room service charge
Bottle service charge (nightclubs, restaurants)

Generally, service charges are reported as non-tip wages paid to the employee. Some employers keep a portion of the service charges. Only the amounts distributed to employees are non-tip wages.

(And that is probably also why there was both on your bill).

pilates Fri 11-Aug-17 12:50:30

Thanks everyone. The subtotal of the bill food and drink was 97 dollars, four of us 2 children and 2 adults. One restaurant we went in even had a tourist tax written on the bill, when I asked the waitress what it was even she didn't know.

OP’s posts: |
stuckinny Fri 11-Aug-17 13:00:21

Gratuity is usually automatically added for parties of 6 or more. You can ask for it to be removed if you prefer as its discretionary.

15% is about standard for tipping, though 20% is more the norm.

As unfair as it is, restaurant staff are paid well below minimum wage and rely on tips to provide an income. The wait staff also often have to share their tips with bar staff, runners and bus boys.

pilates Fri 11-Aug-17 13:13:18

I originally left 125 dollars as I didn't want to break in to another big note and the waitress came back and asked for the extra 2 dollars 😲

OP’s posts: |
stuckinny Fri 11-Aug-17 14:04:47

I would speak to the manager and get the gratuity removed. They should be able to do it without any issues (and if they tell you you have to pay it they're lying!)

SenecaFalls Fri 11-Aug-17 14:46:40

Gratuity is usually automatically added for parties of 6 or more.

Some restaurants in areas with high numbers of foreign visitors add a gratuity to all bills because of unfamiliarity with American tipping customs. The average tip overall in the US is around 18 percent. I routinely tip 20 percent. Even if the service is not great, it is often not the server's fault (kitchen, management not hiring enough servers, etc.)

One restaurant we went in even had a tourist tax written on the bill, when I asked the waitress what it was even she didn't know.

I would have asked a manager about this. Tourist tax in Florida is normally a "bed tax" added to bills for hotel rooms and other short term rentals. I have never seen "tourist tax" added to a restaurant bill and I am a 40-year resident of Florida who eats out a lot.

SenecaFalls Fri 11-Aug-17 15:42:13

Following up on Atilla's post, if you see something designated "service charge" on a bill, ask how much of that goes to the server because that should be taken into account when determining the gratuity.

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