Restaurant check at the end of a meal

Disclosure:  This article was written by a proud Yorkshireman for Totalorlando.com!

If you are an American or Canadian, this article won’t really affect you, but you still may want to read on to find some cultural differences between your two great nations and Great Britain!

There’s one thingfor sure; Americans generally love the Brits and vice versa.
Despite, and because of our mutual histories, there’s a deep rooted bond that will endure many tough tests to come.
There’s an exception however! 
One group of Americans could easily be forgiven for groaning at the sound of a British accent: Hard Working Restaurant Staff!

Brits generally don’t Tip and it’s not because they are mean!

Put simply, the British public simply does not automatically tip for general restaurant service.
Brits like me, may on odd occasions offer a tip under exceptional circumstances, but other than that, we are morally free to pay the bill and walk away without raising a waiter’s eyebrow!
Occasionally, tips are left in British restaurants, and the smiles on the faces of the staff clearly reveal the gratitude for the consideration and unexpected generosity!
Seasoned travellers and business people in the UK instinctively offer a tip for a meal, particularly in more upmarket restaurants, but, having said that, there wouldn’t be a fuss if you paid and left without leaving the extra money.
Tipping a meal in the UK is purely optional and throughout the mainstream, not expected!

But USA Restaurant staff rely upon the tips as their wages!

As of 2017 Florida’s regular minimum wage is $8.10 an hour
With the exception of restaurant workers where the minimum wage is only $5.08 an hour!
Effectively employers assume that their waiting staff will get sufficient tips to make their wages up!
Should the worker have a bad week for tips, the restaurant owner does not make up the difference.
In other words; If you don’t tip at the appropriate rate, YOU as the diner are effectively underpaying the unfortunate workers!
Most importantly, diners shouldn’t make the assumption that a hard working employee taking 10 tips an hour is making a fortune.  Most restaurants and some state laws, determine that tips are ‘pooled’ amongst their hourly working staff.

Suggestions on how much you should Tip in an Orlando Restaurant

10% for unacceptable service
15% for acceptable service
20% for excellent service
25% for outstanding service
*This includes theme park table service restaurants.
The first thing you will notice is that even for bad service, a 10% tip should be provided.
However, there’s an important note to add.  We strongly suggest that you do not resort to such a low tip without making your server aware of the problem with your meal or service as soon as possible.
Staff working for tips will always make their very best efforts to put a problem right to get their 5% back!
Also remember that many staff have the authority to find you an ‘add-on’ such as a complimentary drink, or dessert, to make up for any problems.
Equally, if a waitress offers to remove an item from the bill, it is always good etiquette to give her that as credit towards her tip!
Even if you’ve had bad service, give her the credit for doing her bit to put things right!
Deciding when to pay 15% is really easy.  If your service was as you’d expected, and the food tasted good, then 15% it is!

When should you tip more than 15% in an Orlando Restaurant?

For many guests, that this is really difficult to decide, so we’ve made some personal points that you might want to consider for a big tip:
  • If the waitress was always helpful and on time
  • If the food tasted exceptionally good
  • If the waitress offered you special discounts or credits
  • If the waitress took a special interest in you and your group
  • If you dine there regularly and the waitress knows you personally
  • If you managed to get a special order to your liking
  • If your kids particularly liked the waitress
  • If the waitress helped you with offers/combos/deals that weren’t printed
The list can go on, but basically, if there’s a connection with the staff member, it is always great to show your appreciation, particularly if they’ve done something that makes your dining experience that little bit more special!

Where you don’t need to tip for meals in Florida?

Tips for counter service restaurants, kiosks and street vendors are not expected, but, if any of the rules from the 20% list apply, we would always suggest some sort of tip, even if it is a small amount of change.  The monetary value is less important than the kindness of the gesture!

Final thoughts on tipping Etiquette in USA Restaurants

By now, you should have a fairly good idea of when to tip and by how much in an Orlando restaurant.
Our last kind of advice is that the hard working staff deserve their tips, and in fact need their tips.
Even if service is bad.  Not paying a tip, is quite frankly as close as a normal American could possibly get to ‘theft’, and that is not an exaggeration!
  • Either make the staff aware that you are unhappy, or tip the 15%!
  • Never tip below 10% under any circumstances! It’s simply offensive!
  • Consider calculating Tips on the full prices if discounts are offered*

 Some helpful resources about tipping in the USA:

Excerpt from Orlando’s leading food critic – Scott Joseph
(And by the way, any time you are tipping on a discounted meal, you should calculate what the gratuity would have been if you had paid full price; that’s only right.)