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Old 4th January 2011, 10:10   #61
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Default Re: Can a customer be charged for Service (at a restaurant)?

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Originally Posted by jassi View Post
This is normal in a lot of places in the US (no practical experience but from reading waiter's rant ) and is done to avoid cheap customers who come in large groups and consume the waiter's energies and then don't tip him. Note again this is in the US, where waiters are expected to make their pay in tips and the waiter would be better off serving 5 tables with 2 heads each who will tip instead of one table with 10 heads who won't tip!
Well this is done in almost all restaurents in USA because if a group is going together for lunch or dinner it is dutch by default untill someone say I will pay for you.
Tipping is ubiquitous so in a group it is preferred that there is an easy way to split the tip.

However as I said before Indian socio-economic milieu is different here people atleast show courtesy of offering to take up the bill.

Secondly overall service charges in any industry are way less then western world so adding some 10% amounts to extortion.
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Old 4th January 2011, 10:28   #62
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Default Re: Can a customer be charged for Service (at a restaurant)?

i do agree with opinions ranging from No tipping to tipping, the practices in the US & Europe.

I infact for the first time came across this service charge in Bangalore & was taken aback. Somebody here rightly said, its ok for the service to be charged, if mentioned or informed.

I'm upset to see Shankar balan saying that we "INDIANS ARE CHEAPOS". Are we going to rate somebody great or low only by TIP one is paying? This gives out a meaning that that a Rich man is seen high and the other low.

@ Phamily man: +10 to whatever you have said about giving alms. I am with you in this. I do give alms but only after a lot of thought and only to the deserving.

@ Amit-I was in LITTE ITALY opposite Prestige Acropolis behind the SVC mall and not the one at indiranagar. I presume both are the same.

NFS's point is very true. Hard earned money, its one's right to decide whether to part or not to.

All said & done, i personally felt its not correct to charge a customer for service without the knowledge & this amounts to cheating. It should be done openly & the customer needs to informed before hand.

Last edited by nandans2005 : 4th January 2011 at 10:32.
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Old 4th January 2011, 10:34   #63
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Default Re: Can a customer be charged for Service (at a restaurant)?

Very interesting to see this thread have 4 pages+ in 4 days!
I too was shocked to see the service charge silently appear a few months back. Now its creeping into the bills at most places, was a few only sometime back. Indians being cheapos- its more an awareness thing. Labour is cheap here, anyone giving a service is taken lowly and none has been taught to pay tips hence we don't. How many have seen the BIG Car guy give 1-2 Rupee to the parking attendant who helps move the car, or maybe even not and drive off
None should take it personally, i do not, but world over its known that indians do not pay tips and they do not know that its not in our basic culture. That said, things are changing for the good with global exposure teaching us to value those who serve
I really want to know where did this move initiate and what are the legal implications, none HAS to pay service charge,its more out of own will
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Old 4th January 2011, 11:56   #64
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Default Re: Can a customer be charged for Service (at a restaurant)?

Maybe this tipping obligation started in the old era when service industry was unheard of and western economies were more of industrial in nature.

Today they are the major contributors to many developed country's GDP. Many of these sectors operate on 5-7% profit margins. Yet they pay good salaries to their employees. They don't expect thier employees to survive on TIPS.
If so why can't the Restaurant businesses that has a 50% and above profit margin pay it's employees a decent wage and make them less dependent on TIPS. That's absolute greed on the part of restaurant owners.

P.S: I know a sucessfull South Indian Restaurant chain with even overseas branches, which discourages patrons from tipping. It hasn't created a dent in their profits and they are still doing roaring business with more than Rs. 500cr turnover.

Last edited by Daewood : 4th January 2011 at 12:04.
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Old 4th January 2011, 12:00   #65
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Default Re: Can a customer be charged for Service (at a restaurant)?

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Vsometime back. Indians being cheapos- its more an awareness thing. Labour is cheap here, anyone giving a service is taken lowly and none has been taught to pay tips hence we don't. How many have seen the BIG Car guy give 1-2 Rupee to the parking attendant who helps move the car, or maybe even not and drive off
Point is why we should see from white men's prism ? Do you mean Japanese are al-chepos and mad becuase they feel humiliated if someone tips them.

Secondly are you really prepared to follow to the extent people do in USA ? I have noticed in good hotels no one picks up the morning news paper in person when the service trolley brings to door of the suit because that would mean a tip . They just wait inside the room for noise to subside and then pick up the morning paper opening door a little .
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Old 4th January 2011, 16:35   #66
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Default Re: Can a customer be charged for Service (at a restaurant)?

I had a different experience when I and my family visited BBQ Nation at Wakad (Pune) recently for lunch. It is located on the terrace of the Sayaji hotel. As most you probably know, BBQ Nation has a fixed menu buffet with fixed prices "per head". The only variation is between the price of the veg meal and the non-veg meal (the non-veg meal costs slightly more).

I was quite happy with their service, and when the bill arrived (2500/- approx. for 4 people), I paid it by card and left a cash tip for the waiter (100 bucks, which I feel is decent).

To my surprise, the waiter ran up behind me even as I was leaving, and returned the money to me, saying "Sir, service charges are already included in the bill. We do not accept tips." with a smile.

(To clarify, their bill does not explicitly mention "service charge" as a percentage of the bill, though VAT is calculated as a percentage and added to the total. My guess is that their "per head" charges encompass their "service charges" too, thereby eliminating separate "tips" as well as separate "service charges" entirely.)

This left me confused whether it was a good idea to tip the Sayaji hotel valet or not. Finally I decided it was, and tipped the guy 20 bucks; he graciously accepted it.

As far as the debate about compulsorily "service charges" goes, I am completely against such a practice. The cost of the waiters' wages must be factored into the list price of the food. Apart from this, the choice of offering a "tip" must be left to the discretion of the diner. If the diner is happy with the "service" (and not "food") offered by the waiter, the waiter will get a tip. If the diner is unhappy with the service, he/she must have the choice to refuse a tip. Why pay "service charge" for "lousy service"? Then again, there will always be a section of people who are too stingy to offer tips, no matter even if they get 5* service.

All in all, I feel the BBQ Nation model works best. No tips, and no "service charge" either. Just pay for what you get, with taxes.

One of my friends follows a curious practice whenever we visit any restaurant. He tips the waiter in advance, a small tip, with an indirect indication that there's more to be had. This ensures that the waiter gives very good and prompt service. If he does well, he gets another small tip, else no tip. Works well most of the time.

On a lighter note, I have seen some of the famous "Puneri Patya" in some smaller, traditional eateries in Pune. They say something like

"Aamchya yethe karmacharyanna puresa pagaar dila jaato"

meaning: "Employees at our place are paid sufficiently well".

Basically, it is (reticently) meant to discourage tippers.

Last edited by bblost : 4th January 2011 at 16:56. Reason: Please refer forum rules. Indirect reference to alcohol are not allowed. Thanks.
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Old 9th January 2011, 15:17   #67
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Default Re: Can a customer be charged for Service (at a restaurant)?

Hotel fined Rs 1.5 lakh for charging Rs 5 above MRP costs - The Economic Times

They charged service charge over and above the service charge they already charge over the MRP. i.e (MRP+ServiceCharge) + 10% of (MRP+ServiceCharge). Daylight freaking robbery. Reiterates the point I was trying to make..

Please note that I am not against the service charge (conditions apply) but the blatant cheating in charging it twice.
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Old 9th January 2011, 15:38   #68
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Default Re: Can a customer be charged for Service (at a restaurant)?

Sorry for my going OT, but to make matters worse on the pricing above MRP, many eateries have the following sign as well":

"OUTSIDE BEVERAGES NOT ALLOWED"

How legal is this ? Can I not carry packaged water or soft drinks and consume it openly inside the restaurant ?
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Old 9th January 2011, 15:43   #69
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Default Re: Can a customer be charged for Service (at a restaurant)?

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Originally Posted by mooza View Post
Sorry for my going OT, but to make matters worse on the pricing above MRP, many eateries have the following sign as well":

"OUTSIDE BEVERAGES NOT ALLOWED"

How legal is this ? Can I not carry packaged water or soft drinks and consume it openly inside the restaurant ?
It's 100% legal. It's their hotel.

Do you allow random strangers to carry packaged water or soft drinks & consume it in your house?
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Old 9th January 2011, 16:20   #70
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Default Re: Can a customer be charged for Service (at a restaurant)?

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Do you allow random strangers to carry packaged water or soft drinks & consume it in your house?
Seriously man thats the most skewed analogy you could have given...

Unless moosa sells water and softdrinks to all his guests who come visiting.
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Old 9th January 2011, 16:46   #71
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Default Re: Can a customer be charged for Service (at a restaurant)?

Including service charge in the bill is a move in the right direction. THis is the norm in countries like Singapore. Service is uniformly good but in case it is exceptional you are free to leave some more tips- however there is no compulsion.

After I returned from abroad, I automatically started doing the 10% calculation. I remember once when I took a bunch of my boys out to dinner and drinks I left 500/- on a bill of about 5.5K. Everyone including the manager escorted us out of the place with loud exhortations to please come again LOL. Most people cap out at 50/- or 100/- at most, no matter what the bill is, which seems unfair since tips form a big component of the waiter's income.

Another tip, slightly off-topic: Please leave tips in cash rather than add it as a secondary item on the credit card bill. I have been told that restaurant owners don't pass on the credit card additions to their staff, which is really disgusting (but understandable- this is India!) At smaller places, I actually take the chotu to the side and press a note in his hand discreetly!
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Old 9th January 2011, 20:15   #72
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Default Re: Can a customer be charged for Service (at a restaurant)?

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Originally Posted by Spitfire View Post
Seriously man thats the most skewed analogy you could have given...

Unless moosa sells water and softdrinks to all his guests who come visiting.
The point is - if it's my hotel, I decide what people can bring in.
I may put in a rule that all male customers who come in should be wearing a skirt - it may be stupid, but it cannot be illegal.

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Including service charge in the bill is a move in the right direction.
Best would be if it's included in the cost of the items itself. When I buy a packet of toothpaste - I don't charged as
- Cost of chemicals Rs. 5
- Cost of employing people who pack it - Rs. 10
- Cost of transporting it - Rs. 5
Total - Rs. 20.

It should be the same in restaurants. They should price the items on the menu in a way that it allows to pay whatever they need to pay their waiters & busboys.

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Originally Posted by noopster View Post
Most people cap out at 50/- or 100/- at most, no matter what the bill is, which seems unfair since tips form a big component of the waiter's income.
May be it shouldn't be a big component of the waiter's income. Did you tip the salesman 10% when you purchased your car?
No, you didn't because you assumed he would be paid by his employer & how much & what was no concern of yours. You didn't
think it was necessary to tip him because he was helpful & good when you bought the car, right?

Last edited by carboy : 9th January 2011 at 20:21.
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Old 9th January 2011, 21:22   #73
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Default Re: Can a customer be charged for Service (at a restaurant)?

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Originally Posted by noopster View Post
After I returned from abroad, I automatically started doing the 10% calculation.
Nothing personal but I can't resist mentioning that we have a habit of accepting anything American/western way as a standard. Be it calling a "Bill" as cheque or toilet as restroom, or mentioning INR figure in millions instead of lakhs/crores or using mm/dd/yy as a date standard.. One shouldn't generalize a habit picked from US for rest of the world. There are other countries who are equally advanced but tipping is not a part of their culture. I am sorry to say that we seem to be in a identity crisis.


Quote:
Originally Posted by carboy View Post
May be it shouldn't be a big component of the waiter's income. Did you tip the salesman 10% when you purchased your car?
No, you didn't because you assumed he would be paid by his employer & how much & what was no concern of yours. You didn't
think it was necessary to tip him because he was helpful & good when you bought the car, right?
+1 to that. Adding service charge is just a pretext of charging money over the prices printed in the menu which should otherwise have been inclusive. It is nothing but extortion. If the restaurant industry wants to develop a culture of tipping like the west they should allow the practice to evolve rather than impose.

Last edited by huntrz : 9th January 2011 at 21:30.
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Old 9th January 2011, 22:26   #74
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Default Re: Can a customer be charged for Service (at a restaurant)?

For the guys insisting on tipping - a tip is no different from a bribe. People serving you are already paid for doing their job; and the tip is over and above that payment.

When you pay a 10% tip on a 4 member group's bill you have increased a waiter's daily income by approx. 25%. A waiter would be serving about 30-40 tables a day; and if even 5 people tip at that rate (ei., 10%), I am sure that he will be richer than the owners themselves in no time. And I am not joking.

I once read in a cinema magazine (a non-gossip one) that good hotels / lodges are refusing to provide accommodation to film stars and film crew - reason?? They paid unreasonably high tips that rest of the customers got very poor service. And there was also a (probably) apocryphal story of the 3 star hotel's owner dressing up as a room boy and lining up outside the lead actor's room as he was leaving out, expecting a handsome tip!!!
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Old 9th January 2011, 23:46   #75
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Default Re: Can a customer be charged for Service (at a restaurant)?

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Originally Posted by BaCkSeAtDrIVeR View Post
For the guys insisting on tipping - a tip is no different from a bribe. People serving you are already paid for doing their job; and the tip is over and above that payment.

When you pay a 10% tip on a 4 member group's bill you have increased a waiter's daily income by approx. 25%. A waiter would be serving about 30-40 tables a day; and if even 5 people tip at that rate (ei., 10%), I am sure that he will be richer than the owners themselves in no time. And I am not joking.
In cultures where tipping is expected, both these assumptions are wrong.

1. Waiters/Cooks/rest of staff are expected to "earn" the wages by treating the customer exceptionally well. Non performers wont last beyond few months.
2. Waiter does not get to keep the tip. Its shared by every employee.

Personally, I support this culture because as a customer I am able to give feedback that directly impacts the service givers.

In industries like cruise, some employees have nearly "minimum wage" salaries. Unless they delight customers, they don't get anything.

Of course, like any system this is misused. But I prefer this to the system where all employees are paid the same regardless of service provided to customers.

Last edited by NetfreakBombay : 9th January 2011 at 23:47.
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