Tipping Point

Picture of james McGintyBefore travelling to the USA, I was warned that tipping was a bit of a minefield and that everyone expected to be tipped if they provided any sort of service.

It turns out that who gets tipped in the USA, is little different from the UK, and probably most other countries. You carry your own bags in hotels and pump your own fuel, most toilets are unattended. I haven’t had cause to use a taxi or a hairdresser so the only people I have had to tip are serving staff in restaurants.

There are definitely differences between the USA and UK when it comes to restaurant tips.

When presented with the bill in many restaurants it shows the suggested amount, depending on whether you want to give 15, 18 or 20 percent. I believe in the UK the norm is 10 – 12.5 percent

Very often the amount to tip is based on the after tax amount and not the actual price of the meal.

One restaurant actually added the tip at 18 percent before presenting the bill, which I find a little cheeky, but being a generous soul I normally tip 20 percent then round up, so they lost out on that one.

What I really like is the way that serving staff ask for a tip.

Mostly, when you leave cash in the presentation wallet or in the tray with the bill it is a variation of “would you like any change?”.

Credit cards are easier as there is normally a space to write in the amount. If there is not, the server will use a variation of “Would you like to add the tip to the bill or will you leave it in cash?”

On one occasion when payment was made at the counter I saw the server look at the credit card slip (America doesn’t do chip and pin yet) and say “Did you leave the tip on the table sir?”, at which point the embarrassed customer reached into their wallet and rather sheepishly handed over five dollars.

The thing that really struck me about tipping is that, generally service is very good and the servers believe that they deserve a tip . They therefore have no qualms about asking for it.

If you are providing a good quality service and your presentation is designed to sell, make sure you have no qualms about asking for money at the end of that presentation.

If the presentation is not designed to sell directly, make sure you have a good call to action at the end which is designed to extract the result you are looking for.

Remember “Quality Service Deserves Quality Payment”