Post # 1
I went out with a group the other day and the bill (with 20% service charge) was $73…I tipped on the original amount but now I am thinking I should have taken 15% from the total including service charge?
What is customary?
Post # 2
- Wedding: August 2013 - The Liberty House
That service charge should have already included the tip.
Post # 3
we were told it was not to be considered a tip
Post # 4
not necessarily. It usually specifies whether gratuity is included in the service charge or not. A service charge is not intended to be mandatory gratuity and in the US the IRS defines them differently. A tip can only be something that is optional and left to the customer to determine the amount. A service charge is mandatory with a non-negotiable amount from the vendor.
For catering and restaurants the service charge is intended to pay for the extra assistance that is required when you have large parties and is usually split between the entire restaurant crew. The wait staff usually do not see that amount directly in their pocket as a gratuity. That may be different in other countries where service charge is synonymous with gratuity.
To answer the actual question, I was always taught to tip on the subtotal before taxes and fees.
Post # 5
so is the service charge a fee?
Post # 7
I usually don’t tip when there is a service charge included.
Post # 8
I call and ask if the service charge goes to the server or to the house. If it’s to the house, I do not tip on the service charge – only the bill subtotal before tax.
Post # 9
I have never heard of a 20% service charge that wasn’t considered a gratuity. I wouldn’t have tipped anything extra unless it was absolutely incredible service and even then I would likely just round up the bill rather than do a percentage.
Post # 10
I’ve also never heard of a 20% service charge that wasn’t a tip. I wouldn’t tip on top of a 20% service charge.
Post # 11
in your case, I would have paid for my share+tax+20% service charge. I may round up the number so it’s easier for the group.
I have always thought service charge is a way for the workers to be guaranteed a certain amount of tips.
Who told you it’s not considered a tip? If that’s the case, I will need to eat out even less often.
Post # 12
the server told us, he said to please tip the normal amount because they don’t see those tips, it doesn’t go to the servers
Post # 13
- Wedding: June 2021 - Glacier National Park-Montana
Why do you eat at this shady restaurant? Service fee plus tip is insane.
Post # 14
- Wedding: April 2017 - City, State
I’m honestly surprised the server had to audacity to tell guests HOW to tip. That’s insanely inappropriate. I wouldn’t go back to eat there if that’s how they’re trained.
If the service charge didn’t cover a tip, which I also think is weird considering the size of the charge, the only appropriate thing he could say was that gratuity was not included in the charge.
Post # 15
I just encountered this in Seattle at a restaurant where the service fee (18%) was added so their prices wouldn’t go up after a minimum wage law change. The receipt and the server made it clear that it was not gratuity.
In that case, I’d tip on the total before the service fee or tax.
In general, I think this is happening more places as a way to keep prices seemingly low while maintaining profit margins. I don’t love it but I’ve heard of it being done in my city as well at restaurants and smaller retail stores as a “cost of living” fee.