Great table and great food, but without great service one could consider the food to be simply mediocre. A waiter can be responsible for dressing up or dressing down the taste, value and experience of the overall evening. We are now accustomed to ‘tipping’ as a way of saying thank you for allowing us to spend our hard-earned money at your establishment. Thank you for not dressing me with ‘the dish of the day’, and thank you for making my custom worthy of your venue.
In the UK it is customary to leave 10% of the total food bill as a way of saying thank you ‘gratuity’ to the waiting staff for great service. It is simply a monetary contribution and a gesture of goodwill for an evening spent without a glitch! But the crucial point is; should we feel ‘gratuity’ is optional or obligatory?
In the UK, gratuity is an optional tip in most venues, however, there are some establishments that include a ‘mandatory service charge’, which means the customer is liable to pay in addition to the bill irrespective of whether you deem the service worthy or not! We must expect good food and above all we must insist on great service when we venture out, and we should only offer a tip when it is truly well deserved. Yet how many times have we visited a restaurant and felt obliged to tip even though we have felt cheated? Why do we feel compelled to tip but not question where our generosity actually goes when the service charge in included in the bill?
According to HM Revenue and Customs all tips or service charges an employer distributes to their staff will be liable for PAYE tax and NICs. In fact some employees use your gratuity to top up the pay of their staff that are on the National Minimum Wage. When gratuity is included in the food bill and paid by credit card some companies also charge an admin fee. The solution is to leave the well-deserved tip as cash on the table saving tax, insurance and admin fee.
It is our choice to eat out, it is our choice to tip, and it is above all our choice who receives the gratuity when we feel it is deserved.