I'll be honest... I don't want to tip. However, I've talked about this custom in length with my cousin Derek and he's explained it well to me a number of times and maybe I'm starting to see why it is done.
The wages here in the states are very low for restaurant staff such as waiters and barstaff... he said they are paid about $2 per hour and you and I both know that is shocking. Tipping actually makes it possible for them to make a living. So if you don't tip they don't earn much at all.
Tipping started when the government decided not to pay bar and wait staff very much because they earned so much through tips so the mandatory wage was dropped to an unbelievable low.
Tipping goes a little like this:
10% for normal service (even a little bad)
15% for good service
20% for great service
My cousin has even said for excellent service - beyond the call of duty - he has paid upto $500 in tips as their waiter went the second, third and fourth mile in making sure everyone was 'wowed' with an incredible tangible - tastable menu selection. The business lunch was a huge success and a very positive outcome was reach for all.
So you can see the answer is... to tip.
tipping at restaurants and bars is an american custom. by law in the united states servers only receive 1/2 of the minimum wage so to make a living they depend on tips. servers basically are outside contractors to bars and restaurants. this system helps to keep food and beverage prices low. the customary tip is 15-20% of the bill. in many restaurants for large parties a tip maybe automatically added so besure to check your bill. tips are not manditory and if the server is not up to expectations then tip less. if a server does a great job tip more.
Unlike the UK it appears that some Americans do not get a reasonable wage. Everyone else is expected to suppliment sub standard wages so you can presume that you are not only paying for the service but paying the staff as well. Be aware that this is a culteral differance and expect to give away your hard earned pocket money. Play along and support their system, you are a guest in their country. Although the poor stay poor supported other poor people, and the bar/resteraunt owners make more profit and pay super low wages, what can I say, it's the American way.
I dont tip based on the price of my food. It goes by the service provided. I dont feel I should pay a higher tip because I choose a pricier food item(seafood vs. chicken for example). Dont get me wrong I understand that the waitstaff need to make a living, we all do, but dont count on making that living on a percentage of the cost of my meal.
In Orlando, do as we locals do:
If service is excellent, tip 20%
15% is customary
If your waiter/waitress is being intentionally rude, leave them a quarter, because that stings more than leaving nothing
Tipping is expected almost everywhere to supplement the low wages that people get.
The normal level that people are expected to is between 15-20%.
I don`t agree with tipping, especially if you receive bad service but I still end up doing it anyway.
I am an American. Not only an American, but an American waitress. American cultural standards dictate that you tip 15-20 percent for your service when you make the conscious decision to sit down and enjoy lunch/dinner at a restaurant and have another human being take care of your every whim. Should you not receive the level of service that you expect, than yes, less than 15 percent is sometimes warranted, and I speak as I waitress who is understanding if I get too busy to make sure that everyone I'm waiting on has everything they need when they need it. Please understand, however, that not only are you, as Europeans, entering this country with a very favorable exchange rate, but the people who are taking care of you (and much better as I understand it, than the service staff in your native countries) are doing so because our entire income is dependent upon our tips. Two or three dollars an hour doesn't pay bills here, and as the consumer reaping the benefits of cheaper menu prices, as well as the benefits of service that exceeds your expectations only in the hopes of opening your wallets, you need to be more rewarding when you receive good service. Your alternative is to go to the quick service "restaurants" available at all theme parks, or eat fast food. No tipping necessary, and the service will reflect that.
In addition to this, you should know that whatever tip you leave your server has to be shared with a foodrunner, a busser, and a bartender. I tip out 4% of my sales, regardless of how well I'm tipped all day, so if I wait on nothing but British people whose parties aren't large enough to warrant me adding an automatic gratuity, it is in fact possible for me to leave work with less money than when I arrived.
Don't get me wrong...I understand that my current job is not the most practical source of income based upon the fact that the main source is dependent on the whims of individuals. I know this. I also have two Bachelor's degrees that I hope will get me somewhere, once I can find a job, but in the meantime, my source of employment is waitressing at $3 an hour, but at least at my theme park, I briefly have health insurance.
Bottom line: if you don't want to tip an appropriate amount, don't go to a sit down restaurant.
And don't forget that the main reason you encounter such great service here is because we are attempting to live off of your tips (or lack thereof).
As an American who has travelled to the UK and continental Europe I understand that the custom of tipping is seldom put into action due to superior wages for certain workers (ie: waitrs/waitresses, bell hops, etc) outsideof America. Although this may seem like an expected taking of your hard earned money you must stop and crunch the numbers, then compare the services rendered to those you receive in your home countries. A fast food meal for two people with no special menu extras cost me $40 in the UK!! First the exchange rate is VERY generous and some people from the UK and Europe even travel to the States to purchase Christmas gifts in the winter season just because the generous exchnage rate makes the trip worth it. So I know that a simple meal at a local Orlando diner plus a standard 15-20% tip still is much cheaper then your meals purchased at home. Perhaps it was my unfortunate experience or the fact that I was used to superior waiting service back in the States but on several trips I've taken abroad I found waiting staff treating me as if they were doing me a favor by even talking to me, and sure took their time with my every request. I figure it all evens out, bt by all means dont feel obligated to tip when it isnt warranted even if you go to a place were gratuity is automatically added to the bill you are welcome to speak to a manager and explain why you feel the person serving you doesn't deserve a tip and it will be taken off the bill and perhaps a little something extra as well for your trouble. Orlando thrives on tourism and truly enjoys serving you in any way it can but weigh the differences before you jump to the conclusion that your being bamboozled.
Many people are right, servers make below minimum wage because their tips put them over. If restaurants had to actually pay servers $10 - $20 an hour, you'd see service charges added to your bills or you'd see the cost of meals skyrocket. Remember, restaurants will never just eat the cost of their employees. Businesses, no matter what country they're located in, exist to make money. Anything that business pays out trickles down into YOUR food costs. Instead of looking poorly upon tipping think of it as a good thing. You get to reward good service and punish bad. With the alternative, you have virtually no recourse (besides complaining, which will probably result in... nothing...) and your food will cost a considerate amount more.
If you had coupons or went in for a special, tip off of the ORIGINAL cost of the meal. Lets say you have a "free appetizer" coupon. Your pre-coupon total was $40, but post-coupon it's $33. Tip off the $40. Your server still had to wait on you while you ate your appetizer, still had to bring it to you and clear off your plates. You sat there for a longer amount of time because of the appetizer... those all add up to tipping off the original bill.
You should tip servers 15 - 20% for good service -- NOT 10%. 10% is for average, or below average, service. It is a nice treat to tip more if you feel the server goes above and beyond. If you ever get angry about having to tip, look at the cost of your meal and think about how much more it would cost if you quadrupled ($12) or quintupled ($15) (or more) your server's hourly wage. Bartenders should get $ 1 - $2 for mixed drinks (depending on the complexity), .50 to $1 for beer (depending on bottled vs. tap). If you're actually sitting at the bar, you want to factor in how long you're sitting there. You sit there for a few hours watching the game and drink three beers, it's insulting to tip $3.
Tip 10-15% of your bill while at restaurants. Cast members working inside the parks of disney are not allowed to take tips. If an offer of a tip is made to a cast member they are to say 'thank you, but I cannot accept tips'. If a second offer is made they are to repeat the line. If a third offer is made they are to graciously accept the tip, then contact their supervisor to handover the tip. I know this because I worked at Disneyworld
Typical U.S. tipping and cultural rules apply here. Most people are very laid back. Please be a safe and kind driver. Traffic becomes nuts and people act stupid. Just be nice and people will be nice to you.
Tip about 10% - 15% if you are happy with your service in restaurants. That's about average. When people in Orlando wish you a nice day they do mean it. It's so nice, but if someone in UK said it to you it would sound so phoney.
Unlike here in the UK where tipping is not a normal everyday event, in the USA particularly Florida tipping is customary and EXPECTED, it is usual to give around 10 - 15 % of the final bill as a tip to your server of taxi driver, for porters at airports or stations a tip of $1 per case carried/handled is usual, and Coach Drivers on excursions I think around $ 2 or 3 per person per day is about right, these guys usually do look after you and some go to extrordinary lengths to ensure your time with them is trouble and stress free, they really care, I think most deserve the tips you give, there are exceptions to the rule and of course where you hae not found good service then don't tip, complain. the Americans are great at complaining..if its not right then don't suffer it complain..but do it properly don't get nasty, if you complain in an assertive but reasonable manner you are far more likely to have a satisfactoy outcome to your grievence....be polite and reasonable....The Floridians want you to have a great time, but do it without treading on their or other peoples toes, respect others space as muchas your own and you'll have a great time