Service charge has been added to bills without question for some time now but we still seem to forget to a)check at what percentage the restaurant you’re in sets it and b)factor it in when you are budgeting for your meal choice.
Service can be anywhere between 10-15% in London and many would argue that putting a service charge automatically on a bill gives little inclination to give great service and also takes the decision away from the customer.
Things you should know about service charge are that firstly, legally you can’t be made to pay a service charge and a service charge must also, by law be clearly stated on either the menu or on a clear sign so that you are able to see it before you eat.
Of course if service is below par don’t be scared to waver the service included, it is discretionary after all and if your meal is terrible and your food took over an hour so come out then you need to be crossing that extra amount off your bill!
And don’t feel guilty if you have fair reason. You are not supposed to pay for the service of carrying the food to your table. That cost is included in the cost of the food that is indicated on the menu.
It is also a legal requirement to include all taxes and other obligatory charges in the prices displayed therefore by not paying the service charge you’re not leaving the restaurant short. Nor are you leaving the staff short as unlike the US waiters, waitresses and chefs are not paid below the minimum wage and don’t use tips to make their wages up. Also as a final note the most common way for that service charge to be split it half to the staff and the other half into the restaurants pocket.
If you feel the service has been great with your one waiter and waitress and want to be sure that your tip goes to them then there is nothing wrong with you bucking the service charge and leaving a tip of your own choosing.
Remember, it is legal to refuse to pay a mandatory service charge if the service was considered inadequate.
Though did you know that in a cocktail bar when change is delivered on a silver plate at the bar the staff expect some or all of it to be left as a tip. Just something to keep in mind if you want to keep your bar service speedy.
Image : Experience Solutions