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"Service not included"

87 replies

Oobis · 28/07/2015 13:09

Am I completely wrong in my thoughts on this? I really, really hate seeing this printed on bills in restaurants (in this country), as as far as I know, it is completely untrue. Unless the restaurant is contracting self employed waiting staff, in what possible way is the cost of the service not included in the bill? And if it is not, how am I to know that the waiting staff are receiving the full amount I choose to pay them?
I'm not averse to tipping staff for good service at my discretion, but I confess that where they claim service to not be included in the prices they have calculated they need to charge to cover their costs and make a profit, I choose not to - I don't like this way of demanding tips. I've not worked in hospitality for many years, so if I am completely wrong and I am sending these poor, destitute staff home penniless, I shall change my ways. Or at least eat at establishments who have the decency to pay their staff.

OP posts:

SoupDragon · 28/07/2015 13:10

it simply means the tip is not included. I thought everyone knew that.


19lottie82 · 28/07/2015 13:11

I HATE it when restaurants add an "optional" 12.5% service charge to a bill. I always cross it out and refuse to pay. Saying that I always leave a tip (in cash) , unless the service was bad.


InTheBox · 28/07/2015 13:13

It serves a purpose. A lot of restaurants have a 12% or whatever charge included - written on the bill so people can decide accordingly how much if at all to tip. By saying 'Service not included' I suppose is an eloquent way to say 'please tip large, we don't get fuck all.'


Mygardenistoobig · 28/07/2015 13:14

I don't like it when they add on a service charge though. The price stated on the menu should be the price you pay .
If I then want to give the staff a tip I will.

I'm like this with everything though I want to know the final price for what I am buying. If I visit a web site and they show a price and then start adding on all the compulsory extras I don't buy it. State the correct price to start with if you want my custom.


Oobis · 28/07/2015 13:22

Service is not the same as tip though. I know the tip is not included - that's a discretionary amount which I may or may not give. Service is what they get paid for being there and providing the service.

OP posts:

happygirl87 · 28/07/2015 13:24

When they say service not included they mean tip not included (in the UK at least). It has no bearing on staff pay at all and that's not what it's referring to!


SoupDragon · 28/07/2015 13:25

Service is not the same as tip though. I know the tip is not included - that's a discretionary amount which I may or may not give

Yes it is the same. Sometimes the tip is added, called a "discretionary service charge" which you are entitled to remove.


Oobis · 28/07/2015 13:29

Well, if that is the case, indeed IABU. I still don't like it though. In my view, a tip is offered, not asked for, however they word it!

OP posts:

MaidOfStars · 28/07/2015 13:30

Service is not the same as tip though

Agree with ^. In this context, it is.


MaidOfStars · 28/07/2015 13:33

They are telling you that the price you pay hasn't included a 10% tip. Thus, should you want to make sure your server/bar staff/whatever get a little bit extra, you need to leave something separately.

Are you getting confused with the premise of a "service charge", which is often "optional" but sometimes compulsory for big parties/at peak times?


irregularegular · 28/07/2015 13:35

But it's just a conventional turn of phrase. It's reminding you that (unlike a growing number of restaurants) they haven't added a 'optional service charge' to the bill and therefore in this country you need to pay a 10% tip. In the US it would be 15-20%. In some other countries it would just be small change, if anything.

I always leave a tip in these circumstances, unless the service is dire. Though I remember being absolutely incredulous at a previous thread which revealed that a large number of people don't.

It's a slightly odd convention, but as far as I'm concerned it is definitely a convention.


MaidOfStars · 28/07/2015 13:41

This is an example breakdown.

Food: £100.
(Optional) service charge: 12.5%.
Total bill £112.50.
Tip: 10-15%.
Therefore, leave maybe £15 on the table (depending on how much you paid for your bill, whether you asked for the service charge to be removed or not).

The service charge is paid to the restaurant, right into their coffers, and very unlikely to be passed on to serving staff. There is no legal requirement for them to do so.

The "service is not included" is a reference to the tip part of payment. It just uses the same word as used in another charge.

For reference, a "cover charge" is usually a small set amount per diner to cover things like bread rolls, water, etc.

If optional, I ALWAYS ask for the service charge to be removed.


Lurkedforever1 · 28/07/2015 13:57

I read it as 'we pay nmw so if the staff have provided decent, let alone excellent service please show they're appreciated'. Depending on the place I also mentally add on either 'we pay them badly to pocket all the profit' or 'it's nmw because we're cheap as fuck and a small struggling business nobody is coining it in from so please give them a tip'.
If it's the former I'll actually ask the waiting staff how their system works, i.e does the tip get added to the staffs wages as a bonus. If not I've been known to tip them cash separately or buy them actual drinks or similar so they get it not the money grabbing management


GraysAnalogy · 28/07/2015 14:47

I hate this. I'm 100% happy to tip as long as they haven't been rude, but labelling it as a 'service charge' gets my back up. If I want to give them a tip I will, I don't need a receipt with service charge not included. You pay your servers wages not me.


PtolemysNeedle · 28/07/2015 15:42

I agree with you completely.

I know the tip isn't included in the bill, because it can see that a 'service charge' hadn't been added. I don't need to be told, and I don't see what difference it's supposed to make anyway. I can decide for myself if a top is warranted.

It makes no difference to whether the service recieved is worthy of a tip or not, so why put it on there?


FarFromAnyRoad · 28/07/2015 16:00

Added 'service charge' doesn't always go to the staff. I ate recently at an expensive and up-itself fish restaurant and decided to query the 'service charge' and where it went. I asked if it went to the staff and was told 'No' - it goes towards maintenance, laundry of tablecloths etc. Once I'd unscrewed my catsbum face I told the manager I wouldn't be paying it - he shrugged and was probably calling me every cunt in the book, but I don't care. Instead I gave a tip to our waiter - and even then had to do that in an underhand way because he said if it was seen it'd be taken off him.
Bloody disgraceful behaviour!


Tuskerfull · 28/07/2015 16:13

But it's just a conventional turn of phrase. It's reminding you that (unlike a growing number of restaurants) they haven't added a 'optional service charge' to the bill and therefore in this country you need to pay a 10% tip.

No no no no. You do not "need" to leave a tip. A tip is completely optional and discretionary, as is the amount or percentage.


irregularegular · 28/07/2015 16:16

Legally, you don't "need" to, obviously. However, as a convention I think you do. I don't think I have ever been out for a meal with someone who has suggested not leaving roughly a 10% tip, possibly more. Apart from a handful of times when there has been a real problem with the service.


DrDre · 28/07/2015 16:28

I've worked in a restaurant and the tips never went directly to the staff, the manageress took them all and we got a small % of it.


MaidOfStars · 28/07/2015 16:35


So if I handed you a tenner, you had to hand it over?


happygirl87 · 28/07/2015 17:14

Maid they've been handed over in the few places I've waitressed, and either split equally or used for staff party. Supposed to encourage team work...


DrDre · 28/07/2015 17:32

I washed the dishes but the waiting staff had to hand their tips to the boss.


MistressOfAll · 28/07/2015 18:27

Where DD works (no service charge on bill Grin ), tips are pooled in a jar. At the end of every day, one person's job is to add the tips and divide by how many staff hours worked that day. So if you do a 10 hour shift you get half of someone on a five hour shift. If you've already left for the day, yours is kept for you. Each worker including washers up etc get the same.


kellyandthecat · 28/07/2015 18:37

irregularegular no wonder you were astounded because as far as I'm concerned it's never been a convention in the UK to leave a tip at a restaurant beyond maybe leaving the change. when foreign visitors have come to stay with us it is often noted in their guidebooks so I think you're mistaken. At a very fancy place perhaps it is conventional but please let us not go down the american route of non-optional 'optional' tipping by the customer instead of the owner paying their staff properly

my understanding is that in some us states the minimum wage for waiters is actually lower than for other people! terrible system.


LHReturns · 28/07/2015 21:57

Agree with Kelly. In the UK if service charge is included (and I am happy with the service) then I pay it, but I don't tip on top of this. As far as I know service charge AND tip are not required here. If I really like how a waiter / waitress has looked after me then I might put cash right into his/ her hand discreetly, once in a while.

OP, agree with you generally. Service not included irritates me, especially when we have already swiped my credit card by the time I realise! Scrabbling for cash etc.

Or what about when they add a service charge AND the card machine asks if you want to tip as well?! Bugs me...decide how much you want for service and ask for it ONCE. And ideally make sure my actual sever gets it.

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