We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Service charge vs. gratuity

Wayland...
Level Contributor
488 posts
59 reviews
Save Topic
Service charge vs. gratuity

I know this topic has been covered on the forum before, but not within the past six months. During a recent trip to Bequia, I noticed that most restaurants charged a 10% service charge, and most - but not all - left room on a credit card bill for an additional tip. For the ones that don't provide that space, is an additional tip discouraged? And for the ones that do, is a tip beyond the service charge expected? My only awkward moment of the trip occurred during lunch at De Reef. Service was okay, but not great, so I didn't intend to add an additional gratuity. The bartender called me over to make sure that I had reviewed my bill before signing. It may have been the sunburn, but I'm pretty sure I blushed.

England, United...
Level Contributor
1 post
3 reviews
Save Reply
11. Re: Service charge vs. gratuity

If a service charge is automatically included on my bill I will always ask that it is removed since, in most cases, it is discretionary (and you are not bound by law to pay it).

Also this money is rarely seen by the staff who actually provided the service, instead the company put the money back into their business.

The only way to leave a tip is to give cash to your waiter ( I fyou think thye deserve something and want them to receive it personally.

New York, N.Y., USA
Level Contributor
46 posts
1 review
Save Reply
12. Re: Service charge vs. gratuity

There may also be some cultural expectations about tipping that are at work here -- and I mean between Europeans and North Americans. In the U.S., at least, most workers in restaurants -- even high-end restaurants -- are paid minimum wage (with few or no benefits) and rely very heavily on tips for the largest part of their income. Europeans unfailingly are surprised at my (NYC-bred) instinct, in their eyes, to overtip tremendously, which I try to rein in overseas. In the States, one is expected to tip between 10% and 20% of a bill in a restaurant, based on numerous, ephemeral factors that, in turn, baffle my acquaintances from Far Away when here. To not leave any tip at all is almost never done, unless something absolutely unspeakable has happened. "Service charges" are frequently added in better restaurants, but usually only for larger tables, which I've always taken as a step to ensure that a disagreement among tablemates doesn't result in harm to the wait staff. Having said that, I've never been quite sure of the tipping etiquette expected by people in the Caribbean. Is it American? Is it European?

New Orleans...
Level Contributor
213 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
13. Re: Service charge vs. gratuity

I agree sneilesq, 10-20% is reasonable; and very much appreciated by our Bequia friends serving tourists and locals alike. I have seen some very rude & ungrateful behavior by some tourists who leave nothing but a bad impression....

Colchester, United...
Level Contributor
105 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
14. Re: Service charge vs. gratuity

I personally believe that a lot of businesses intentionally try and put customers in a predicament where they feel obligated to tip, this is not nice.

Regardless of a customer leaving a disappointing tip or no tip at all, waiters/waitresses should not frown because at the end of the day it is at the discretion of the customer whether he/she leaves a tip. Tipping is becoming too much of an obligatory issue in my view, especially when a percentage usually 10 % service charge is added I think it is cheeky asking for extra. Customers should be left to tip at their leisure.

UK
Level Contributor
582 posts
1 review
Save Reply
15. Re: Service charge vs. gratuity

Do bear in mind many people who stay a long time don't leave tips at their regular places each time they go in but instead unobtrusively leave a lump sum at the end of their trip - so just because you don't see someone leaving a tip ... don't necessarily assume they are not showing their appreciation.

Edited: 2:02 pm, May 30, 2012
London, United...
Level Contributor
45 posts
1 review
Save Reply
16. Re: Service charge vs. gratuity

Sadly this trend to include a service charge within the bill then invite a further contribution on the card payment machine is increasing and should be resisted. I wonder how many people fall for it? If patrons wish to tip beyond the charge its best to leave cash on the table. That way it should get to the staff and not the owner who should be paying better anyway - or who should incorporate proper wages into the base price.

Unfortunately service at de Reef is generally not good,maybe one reason why people are moving to Mango's where you usually get a smile off the staff - something of a rarity in Bequia where service is generally passable to hit and miss. Of course you could argue this is part ofthe island's charm.

I wish more people could complain, maybe service will imrpove across the board.......... ho hum, sounding like a grumpy old man.

Wellington, United...
Level Contributor
154 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
17. Re: Service charge vs. gratuity

Many local people appear "grumpy" and seem aloof to many tourists; particularly those from the US more used to over-the-top and, to my mind, false smiling service.

Local people are quite shy but if encouraged in conversation will readily give one of those beautiful, full smiles and done with absolute genuine friendliness.

Colchester, United...
Level Contributor
105 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
18. Re: Service charge vs. gratuity

As an original local myself, I will not say people appear “grumpy” and unapproachable. I believe it is due to the tourists being unfamiliar with the culture and like you said it’s like tit for tat. If you are forthcoming in conversation then it opens that door, as a local you don’t want your guests to feel pressured with locals tackling them everywhere they go on the island. So a word of advice to visitors, engage with the locals and they will go that extra mile to make your stay comfortable.

As for tipping I believe it is preposterous to add 10% to a bill and EXPECT extra tips, I’d be more than happy if they just tweaked the prices for goods a bit, remove the compulsory 10% and give consumers back that ownership of tipping to their discretion.

19. Re: Service charge vs. gratuity

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 9:41 am, June 22, 2013