05 March, 2010

Tip For Your Supper

The newly enforced (and long overdue) ruling in Dubai against the levying of service tax at restaurants has turned the cards in our favour, for both expats and locals alike. For many a night out we’ve failed to take into account with how much weightage that 10% obligatory service charge is reflected on our tabs; especially at the more fancier eateries and watering holes. Quite the damper it was, yes.

And now that the days of the dreaded service tax have been put behind us, our meal bills are considerably less exorbitant and our wallets slightly lighter. What we fail to realize however, is that although the charge has ceased to exist, the kind folks who serve us our meals are still very much alive.

In fact, now there’s more a reason than any to actually tip our servers and busboys; for now we can be certain that this little gratuity from our end really does make it to their pockets and is not another addition to the sum total of the outlet’s logbook instead.

Just like we’re encouraged to give credit where credit is due, let’s also tip those who are clearly deserving of it. Pay that 10% anyway, just because your waitress delivered service with a smile. Exchange a ‘loaded’ handshake with the valet who retrieved your car, even though you’ve got the parking ticket stamped. Let your cabbie keep the change, and spare the gas attendant a few for having taken the trouble to wash your windows.

We’d all like an appreciative pat in the back at the end of a job well done. And in times like these, it’s best sometimes to let the money do the talking.


Anonymous said...

Tipping is fairer, unfortunately most of it ends up back back in the managers' hands. Ask the pump attendants and waiters.


Grumpy Goat said...

Hear! Hear!

Hammad said...

I am personally against the idea of tipping at all.

1) Basic economics teaches us, that whatever amount our tips will (approximately) sum up to, this will automatically be adjusted in Employees' Salary because more tip would mean he'll be ready to work in lesser salary.

2) Giving tips also encourages employees not to give good service to customer who doesn't volunteer to give tips.

A rather formal and better way is to provide employees' better salary, build this cost into cost of operations, and charge this cost to customers.

nzm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nzm said...


But make sure that you pay the tip in cash, and directly to the person who you want it to go to.

Adding a tip to your credit card payment will most likely not go to the staff.

bertn said...

Is the service charge the same as the tip? If so, 10% is rather low isn't it? Tipping here is not obligatory but almost always done as a matter of course. However, when you are dining with a group, tipping is usually included in the bill and it is anywhere from 18% to 20%. I am not an apostle of tipping but I do tip for good services and I tip more when I have one too many drinks, good service or not LOL.

Anonymous said...

I definitely agree that it's best to check with the staff, as at many restaurants in the UAE the service charge goes directly into the restaurant's takings. Still relevant because there are some "tourist" restaurants that are still allowed to charge for "service".

Anonymous said...

I have been to a couple of restaurants in Europe and the servers actually demand a tip at the table.

Christine Luscombe-Whyte said...

I have never tipped in my life, and don't intend to start now. That's why I always hated a standing service charge!

El Shahlab said...

If I like the service and the food, I make sure I tip, and in cash.

But usually I'd consider it 'Sadaqah', voluntary charity. Some of the poor guys work for continuous 12hr shifts, and sometimes under harsh circumstances, just to provide for their families back home.

Paraglider said...

Percentage tipping is stupid. It is no harder to carry to a table a 120 Riyall steak than a 30 Riyall salad. And the salad probably takes more effort in the kitchen. So why should the steak attract the higher tip?

Anonymous said...

A tip is a gesture of gratitude towards the person who served you. If he or she served you well, you tip them well, and vice versa.

It's like saying: "Thank you!" Last time I checked, giving thanks was a good thing.

Fed up diner said...

Tipping in general is a patronsing and demeaning practice. "Compulsory" tipping is an abhorrent convention designed to obscure the true cost of a meal served in a restaurant. When I choose to purchase a meal in a restaurant my contract is with the owner, not the staff. They are employed by the owner to provide service, not by me. Its a job like any other and should not be the subject of an alternative method of remuneration. I dont have tip the shoe shop sales assistant when they sell me a pair of shoes. Why should I have to tip the waiter when he sells me a plate of food?

Anonymous said...

El Shahlab, sadaqah? jeez.. no, it's not. You know what, you should try waiting tables for a month.. let's see if you think it 'chartiy'.

Tipping encourages better service. I'm not sure what part of that is escaping people from around this part of the world. You tip well, the people waiting on you will want to do a better job to get a better tip. It's really very very basic.

Anonymous said...

Fed up Diner,

I'll tell you why. Because, the waiters get paid peanuts and for the most part rely on the tips as their main source of income. If they were paid adequately, whatever you would have paid in tips would be seen as an increase in your order.

So, the question is, would you rather have pay X (value of meal) + Y (value of service / tip) in one sum, standardized.. or have Y variable to act as incentive for better service?

Think about sales people in general who work on commissions. They make most of their income from commissions and as such are more inclined to perform.

I'm a big fan of performance based pay, but it looks like I'm in the minority here.

El Shahlab said...

Anon 12:29,

What's wrong with it being a Sadaqah?? I am tipping the waiter, but I am not telling him/her it is Sadaqah, that's just between me and god.
I don't know how is that related to me waiting tables? Is this like a punishment for me for doing a good deed?
You're talking about Sadaqah as if its a bad thing. Clearly you don't understand the concept of Sadaqah(voluntary charity) in Islam.

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