Tipping, New York City
Tipping on this scale is surely the biggest scam ever to befall a nation. The number of people employed in the service industry here is crazy, to the extent that in some high end restaurants you could well have been served (from the maitre d’, table walker, coat checker, waiter, water pourer, toilet attendant etc) by 8 different people by the time you leave.
Unfortunately the only people really benefiting from this arrangement are the many hoteliers and restaurateurs in America. By putting the onus on you, the customer, to pay the bulk of the wages of these people, they gain two fold.
Firstly, their businesses become extremely efficient and slick, packed with eager to please employees.
Secondly this comes at minimum cost to themselves, and in some cases such as the toilet attendants and taxi whistlers in Vegas, I suspect it’s even free.
Even more genius is the way its now been ingrained into the American way of life, and you will struggle to find anyone who finds it odd to have to pay $1 (60p) every time they have a p*ss.
i don't understand why none of the posts here are actually from the traveller's point of view. new yorker waiters, waitresses and bartenders expect tips because the cost of living in nyc is high? perhaps they fail to realize that a lot of tourists come here on a budget and don't care to pay 20% in tips for everything... sure, if the service was exemplary, there would be no doubt about it, but if you're a budget traveller and you're receiving poor to moderate service, i see no reason for tipping anything higher than a couple of dollars if you can afford it...
poor waiters and waitresses can and must expect a poor tip from a poor customer; that's a social convention much more concrete than the insane 20% tipping policy new york restauranteurs live by. they need to stop living on good faith in people's generosity and demand money from the people they work for, like the rest of the planet...
after all, are'nt the only other 'industries' that depend on people's generosity charity/beggars?
i can't WAIT to get chased down, so i can educate these un-selfconscious leeches...
Look I know that the tipping customs are different in Europe, but for cryin out loud leave a decent tip. I noticed that a lot of the people complaining about the custom are from Europe and I just want to remind you that we don't have a lot of the benifits that you have, like National Health Care and higher wages. Many service people in NYC make about two dollars an hour. I work in a resturant and sometimes cringe when it is a European who is picking up the check. I pay my bills and put myself through school on the tips that I earn. I am not saying that you should reward bad service, but keep in mind this is our custom and please respect it.
I recently returned from NYC. We went to Bubba Gumps Shrimp Co. and our waitress was horrible. So was not personable, we only saw her twice, once to get our orders and give us our drinks. The bartender paid more attention to us and talked to us more than she did. I have worked in the restaurant industry before only getting paid $2.15/hour so I understand how important tips are to live day to day. However, you EARN THE TIP. If you get horrible service, you dont leave a tip. If you get average service, you tip anywhere from 10-20%, if you are very pleased with the service and have no complaints than tip above 20%. I left the waitress $1.25 tip. I do not feel bad. I also have to work for the money I earn and will not just give it away becuase of their hourly wage. If they want a good tip then they need to give good service. It's simple, no mater where you go.
This picture is of the bartenders. He actually took our camera and ran off. He gave it back a few minutes later and this is the picture he took. He was hilarious.
The size of tips expected by some service providers in New York is astronomical compared to UK standards (Although nowhere near as bad as Las Vegas). Typically $1 to $2 per drink in bars, room maids $2 - $5 a day for cleaning your hotel room and taxi drivers up to 20%.
All this soon adds up, and has run into hundreds of $$ for us on some trips. Although I don't have a problem with tipping itself, many VT forum articles have some New Yorker whinging about how these impoverished locals are earning "the minimum wage" and how "they need these tips just to survive".
Let's just look at that for a second...
...I've never worked in a bar, but I'm assuming a reasonably competent barman could serve one drink in one minute - from taking the order, pouring the drink, collecting the cash and sorting the change. On a busy night (ANY night, in ANY semi-decent New York bar) that's a minimum of 60 drinks a hour. That's at least $60 a hour basic wage, with the bar salary on top.
If I've got my facts wrong, and these workers are indeed on the poverty line, then what happens when these hundreds of thousands of service workers are on their days off, and they visit bars, hail taxis, get their hair cut, and have a package delivered?
Are we as tourists gullibly meant to believe they too are dishing out $2 tips for each beer they buy.
I think not.
That said, I left a reasonable tip in most places, and in those that I didn't, I never got any remarks. (Mainly to the toilet attendants who like to make you feel "special" by turning the tap on and giving you a sorry sheet of kitchen towel).
Following the link below, some muppet has written a whole web page on the etiquette of tipping. Follow his advice and a trip to a restaurant will cost you about $40 before you even order the food.
I have found that tipping in New York is very customary. Its normal for every drink you buy, to leave a $1 for the person that served you.
I know that in the UK its not very common to leave tips at the bar (every attempt I have made, the money was given back to me), but remember to leave a tip after you have bought a drink or you might get frowned upon.
In America in general, not just nyc, it's customary to tip service people. Often, waitstaff work for an hourly wage of about $2 so tips make up most of their salary. 15% is the usual and 20% for exceptional service with a haircut or restaraunt. I worked my way through college bartending adn waitressing so I always tip at least 20% but that's a little over the top. (okay a lot over the top)
Tipping a cab driver $1 or $2 depending on the fare is acceptable.
and I believe the tipping for a doorman is $1 to hail a cab and $1 a bag if he helps with your luggage.
As a former NYC bartender, and a native NY'r, I'm here to tell you that most bartenders get between $25 & $35 for the entire shift they work, and the rest is all tips. It's rare that they're even paid a minimum wage! A bartender can make or break your good time at the bar. Most people agree, and that's why it's one of the most competetive jobs going.
Ok, they may seem like they're getting rich, but perhaps that is their only shift at the bar? Add that to their high cost of living & their possible $1200 rent, and they're getting by like any new yorker.
If you got this far, perhaps you'll find your way into a good NYC bar, and not some tourist trap. A good bar has a buy back policy, meaning that every 3 drinks you buy, your 4th will be free. If you're not tipping, you're not gonna get that buy back, are you?
Yes, $1 a drink is standard, Of course if you're treated like pure & utter ***, it's a different scenario, isn't it? take your stuff & walk.
Now that I've left NYC for Europe, I can tell you that I wish we had the tipping policy over here!
It breeds brilliant customer service skills.
Tipping is mandatory, get used to it. Many people here discuss whether or not it is fair that so much personell is being tipped, but since it's customary to do so, you'd better do it to.
So where do you tip?
Taxidrivers, chauffeurs, restaurants, bars, hotels. It's not necessary to tip in shops, deli's or fastfoodstores.
How much do you tip?
Simply add about 15% to the bill and round it up to complete dollars. If you are buying something cheap like a beer for $5,- just add 1 dollar it. Don't just tip with cash money, when paying with your creditcard you can fill in how much you want to add to the bill.
Looking at it from the bright side, in bars they do give you a round after you had some beers. Basically that pays back your tips.
As a Brit, we are used to our bar staff and waitresses getting paid well and service is always included. Even at home, we do tip for good service, but in NYC, it's obligatory. My friend actually got chased after receiving rubbish service in a bar and even though she left a small tip, that wasn't good enough. If you're not sure about tipping, ask a local. I did. I got told that it was around a dollar per drink. OK I suppose but budget for it in your spends because after a week of clubbing and eating it builds up. I tipped between 15 and 20% when eating.
Let me just add to the great tipping debate. Bar staff's pay is largely from tips. They actually pay tax on the estimated tips from the total they ring up on the cash register at the end of the night. So if you don't tip at least one dollar per drink you are actually costing them money. Now whether you "agree" with this system or not seems a little besides the point. All I know is that trying to get a drink in a busy bar is much easier in New York than in London. And whoever heard of a European barperson giving free drinks to good drinkers like they do in New York!
Tipping is a much bigger deal in NYC than in the UK - you are expected to leave about 20% at restaurants, a dollar a drink at bars and doormen, taxi drivers and porters all need a couple of dollars.
However, at restaurants don't feel obliged if service isn't included: We went to a cafe for lunch and it wasn't very nice and was overpriced - we didn't have much change so left 10% and the waitress called us cheap and was quite rude. Service wasn't included so I think it was really out of order for her to say anything to us as tipping should be at your discretion. It spoilt the aftrenoon as we were all stewing about it. So - if you do't think its worth it, then don't feel bad about leaving a tip of your choosing!
The prices quoted do not include New York 8.25% sales tax, which applies to hotel rooms (plus a 5% hotel tax and $2 hotel fee per room per night). Clothing and footwear under $110, prescription drugs, and non-prepared food bought in grocery stores are exempt from sales tax.
Tipping is more or less compulsory in the US. Remember that service is never included on a New York bill, unless you're in a large party at a restaurant (six or more people), in which case it is noted. Tip cab drivers and waiters 15-20%, coat-checkers $1, bellhops around $1 per bag, hotel maids $1 a day and bartenders between 50¢ and $1 per drink, depending on what type of environment you're in. (by let's go).
This is what I usually do (of course, this varies person to person, budget to budget)
Taxi: Nothing outstanding- round the total up to the next dollar, then add a dollar. (i.e. total is $5.45...round up to $6...add another dollar $7, paid)
*some taxi drivers may say they "don't have change". Make sure you have singles to avoid overpaying them out of frustration of not having change.
If they were really great drivers (helped outstandingly with luggage, gave tips about travel, etc) add whatever else. If they were horrible, you're not obligated to give anything. (you might want to at LEAST round up to the next whole dollar to avoid waiting for change)
Restaurants: typically, double the tax (Tax is about 8%...so tip is about 16-20%)
My first time in NY I took a cab hotel back to the airport. At the end of the ride, the good man behind the steering wheel said and I quote ".. dollars + tip". I thought that was so funny, like he was afraid I was going to forget to give him a tip :)
Something else I wasn't used to at first was when buying something in a music store, they charged more than the price on the cd. It's some extra tax you have to pay, so beware...