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Old 07-27-2013, 01:39 PM   #1
markmcalear
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Gratuity and deluxe dining plan

I was 4 days into a 7 day trip to WDW when I noticed that I had an 18% gratuity added to all of my meals. In UK we do not have this, we tip at our discretion and it is not usually based on a percentage of the bill.

Is it acceptable to ask for the gratuity to be left off the bill when I ask for it? I would much prefer to leave a cash tip of an amount of my own choosing.

Which brings me nicely to my next question, is 12-18% the norm in USA? Usually I would tip £5-10 (roughly $8-16) depending on quality of food and service etc. I very rarely tip at a buffet style restaurant as apart from my drinks, I have served myself.
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Old 07-27-2013, 01:44 PM   #2
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unless your party is 6 or more the 18% gratuity shouldn't have been added to the total - it is a suggested amount.

Disney will automatically add the 18% to the bill if your party is 6 or more
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Old 07-27-2013, 02:13 PM   #3
markmcalear
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My party was 6 (2 adults, 3 children, 1 infant).

So is the 18% fixed or can I ask for it to be removed so I can leave a cash tip?
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Old 07-27-2013, 02:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markmcalear View Post
My party was 6 (2 adults, 3 children, 1 infant).

So is the 18% fixed or can I ask for it to be removed so I can leave a cash tip?
Fixed.
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Old 07-27-2013, 04:51 PM   #5
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!5 to 20 % is the norm in US. That is a big part of a servers income. I know a lot of people tip a little less on buffets. Sorry if it is a shock to those from other areas to see this.
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Old 07-27-2013, 05:38 PM   #6
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No, you can't ask to have the tip removed so that you can leave less than 18% tip in cash.

When you have a party of 6 or more it is considered part of the bill and you have to pay that 18% or it is considered not paying your bill. They won't allow that.
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Old 07-28-2013, 04:43 AM   #7
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You can pay the 18% in cash. Nowadays, 18% is becoming a pretty normal minimum though some people still use 15%.

I've heard of people talking to the manager and being allowed to leave a smaller tip, where there were major problems with the service. But assuming service goes as expected, you're not really going to get out of paying 18%.

Instead of truly looking at it as an option, I'd simply look at it like something you are buying. You are buying waiter service, at a cost of 18%.

You wouldn't refuse to pay the listed price for a soda. You wouldn't say, I'll have the large Coke, but I want to pay $1.75 instead of. $2.99.
18% is the price of being served.
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:03 AM   #8
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Yes thats fine if it is for a service whereby the charge is mandatory. I ask as I was recently in a restaurant here and they cheekily added a 12% service charge to the bill (there were only 2 of us). That is the only time I have ever encountered that in UK.

I get your soda analogy, however there is a huge difference in the service received from table service and buffet service, that is mainly why I asked.

Do I object to paying 18% for a lesser service? Of course I do. Can I do anything about it? Apparently not.
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:20 PM   #9
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Here are the unwritten rules of USA tipping in 2013:

18-20% is the "new" normal when it comes to tipping. You tip based on the sub-total before tax, not the final total.

If you have a party of 6+, then you're sort of stuck with 18% - it's restaurant policy almost across the country.

That tip, even when using a dining plan credit, can be left as cash, as far as I know.

If you did have particularly weak service, you can discuss it with a manager. They will take care of you. If your party is less than 6, it's a lot easier to leave less of a tip for poor service or service that didn't involve much work.

I'm not sure about other countries, but in the US, wait staff makes far less than minimum wage (I think it's something like $3-$4/hr). That's why tipping has gone up a bit, and why it is customary to leave 18%+. Minimum wage in the US is still too low (in my opinion) for people to survive on, so a waiter/waitress who makes less than minimum wage definitely needs the tips.

Of course, it's probably not so bad at Disney, where restaurants are usually booked solid all day long, the prices are nice and high compared to most other basic table service restaurants in the country, and they serve a lot of people, so I imagine they make good money on tips.
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Old 07-28-2013, 10:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markmcalear View Post
Yes thats fine if it is for a service whereby the charge is mandatory. I ask as I was recently in a restaurant here and they cheekily added a 12% service charge to the bill (there were only 2 of us). That is the only time I have ever encountered that in UK.

I get your soda analogy, however there is a huge difference in the service received from table service and buffet service, that is mainly why I asked.

Do I object to paying 18% for a lesser service? Of course I do. Can I do anything about it? Apparently not.
I think you implied earlier that you want to tip less for buffets. Do you really think a buffet server works any less than a regular server? Buffet servers have to constantly remove dirty plates from your table, refill your drink probably 3 or 4 times and they have to bus your table when you leave in most cases. They do twice as much work as standard servers.
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Old 07-29-2013, 01:57 AM   #11
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I was only asking as the tipping etiquette is clearly different here in UK.

Now I know, 18% it is.
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Old 07-29-2013, 09:17 AM   #12
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Quote:
If you did have particularly weak service, you can discuss it with a manager. They will take care of you. If your party is less than 6, it's a lot easier to leave less of a tip for poor service or service that didn't involve much work.
However, attempts to resolve weak/poor service when it occurs generally result in a much mor satisfactory dining experience.
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Old 07-29-2013, 12:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinnieLovesMickey12 View Post
I think you implied earlier that you want to tip less for buffets. Do you really think a buffet server works any less than a regular server? Buffet servers have to constantly remove dirty plates from your table, refill your drink probably 3 or 4 times and they have to bus your table when you leave in most cases. They do twice as much work as standard servers.
Absolutely correct! Some of the best service we have ever had has been at buffets. Those servers had our drinks filled throughout the meal, plates cleared and cutlery replaced the moment we got up to go back to the buffet and generally I feel that they do a lot of work!! Yes, this does vary, but it varies more by restaurant and server than it does by a flat out buffet vs TS restaurant.
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Old 07-29-2013, 02:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markmcalear View Post
I was only asking as the tipping etiquette is clearly different here in UK.

Now I know, 18% it is.
Do not feel bad about not knowing. IMO it is very very common for travelers from the UK and Canada to be surprised that it is customary to tip 15% - 20% (18% norm) here in the US.
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:13 PM   #15
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Closing this now, as all tipping and gratuity discussion on the restaurant boards is confined to the Tipping INformation Thread on the main board, and the OP's question was answered.
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