I hate when restaurants do this. Shouldn’t I be able to decide?

In Europe, it’s customary for the service charge and tip to be billed into your charge for eating at a restaurant. This is something that’s universal across the continent, and sometimes it’s even considered rude to leave an additional tip on the table, though I’ve been known to do it for exemplary service, mainly because I’m an American, and we’re taught to tip servers in the United States.

However, when at home in the US, tips are rarely billed into the final charge for a restaurant, and it’s customary to leave a 15% or more tip on table as you leave. It’s rare for a restaurant to include this charge pre-billed into the receipt, and it’s something that I find really annoying of restaurants here in the US.

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Tip Receipt

I was dining at the Johnny Rockets in South Beach Miami not too long ago, and included in the receipt was an already charged 15% tip. The service I received was fine, and was in accordance with a 15% tip, however, I feel weird about someone else already suggesting that and determining what they feel it is worth, before I have a chance to decide. Of course, I could have altered the bill by either adjusting the tip higher or lower, but I still feel as if there is something awkward with having a tip pre-charged.

It’s not something I see every day in the US, but when I do, I’m always a bit shocked.

What do you do when you receive a suggested pre-billed tip on a receipt?

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  1. says

    I HATE that! In fact it backfires a bit when I eat at places that do this. I was a server when I was younger, I am VERY generous when I tip usually unless you blatantly are horrible. (I understand busy, I understand demanding tables but I don’t forgive chatting with your friends while I wait for a drink refill.) So places that add 15% turn me off and that is ALL you will get. Could have had 20% if only….

  2. Noah Mark says

    Have to do that here in South Florida too many people from other countries either forget, don’t know, or intentionally do not tip.

  3. says

    What irks me is that they add a 19% service charge and have the nerve to leave a line for additional tip, hoping you “forget” you already paid. South beach is notorious for this!

  4. Andy says

    I think this probably has to do with the change in tax law where a gratuity added to a check is no longer considered a tip by the IRS. As Angelina states a lot of bars and restaurants in South Beach would add a tip of 15% – 20% but the new law makes it an accounting nightmare for the restaurant/bar so they have made it voluntary whilst still adding it. It probably just about gets around the law. In defense of the restaurants and bars down there, they have a lot of foreign tourists so if they didn’t add the tip the servers/bartenders would lose out.

  5. JimC says

    Just to add in my own personal experience in South Beach. Had nice dinner with the waiter being fine–not great, but not bad either. Left a 20% tip on the gratutity line, only to find out that there was already a 18% tip added to bill. The service was definitely not worth a near 40% tip. Upsetting since the extra line for additional tip is confusing and especially with the mood/dim restaurant lighting. Be careful. First and last time that has happened to me.

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