British reader, Jack F., would like to enlighten the American tourists on proper tipping and etiquette when visiting the United Kingdom.
This is more of a change of perspective for any American visitors, than a story. Whilst the site is great, and I love the anecdotes, some parts are inconsistent with how we work in the UK!
If I serve a table damn well, everything happy, starters, mains and desserts, 10% is normal. I am happy and content. 15% is rare and is only for seriously good service, I get 15% 1 in 50 tables or so. At the end of a busy lunch and dinner all day shift, I can expect to walk away with £30-50. We get ours average % calculated when we are cashed down, and a normal range is 6-8% for a normal day, with 8-10% for a good day. Averages above 10% are almost unheard of. I am a university student, and work at a mid-sized family-owned Italian restaurant in my home town, when I am back with my family for the summers. 50 hours a week, hard work, earning the money. I earn the minimum wage (£6.08/hr, US$9.57/hr), and get to receive 50% of my tips, the other half going to the kitchen, bar and managements staff. This is a fairly normal set up, and whilst there are variations in tip-pots at other UK restaurants, nothing varies hugely.
Another difference is that whilst we do work in sections, we do not have a hostess or host. Simply a manager (or a waiter, if we happen to be nearby and free) seats people from the door. There is no rotation, we just sit the customers at the best possible tables for the appropriate number of people. Some sections are better than others, but we roughly move around day by day.
Finally, we do not have a check for the customer to write down their tip. This takes the formality and strong suggestion of tipping away, and often, people do not realise that they should tip. All card payments go through a digital machine, which is handed to the customer and asks if they wish to add a tip, but most people ignore the screen and proceed to type in their PIN. (Our way of signing for your card.)
Oh, and a final thing. It pains me to say this, but black people do not tip. Nobody says this, but I think us waiters with more experience have noticed this. I am a smart, confident and charming young man, and any tables of girls, ladies or families are prime targets for my big-tippers. Anyway, yes.. Thought I’d just give my two cents on how things work here. Everytime I read a story here and it goes “…and they ONLY gave me 15%”, I think (fuck me, I wish I get 15%!).