DEBATE: To tip or not to tip?

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Personal, friendly service is what makes a guest’s restaurant experience really special, and while some hotels leave it up to a customer’s discretion to reward staff with a tip, others are now automatically adding a charge at the end of the bill. Is this right or should the pressure be left off the guest?

YES
Stuart Procter, managing director, GG Hospitality says:
“At Café Football, we apply an optional 12% service charge to the bill. It reflects the confidence we have in our staff. However, restaurants should always clearly state that it’s optional. It’s also an interactive way of engaging with our customers.”

NO
Adam Raphael, Editor, Good Hotel Guide says:
“To tip or not to tip? That choice should be left to the customer. Instead customers are being dragooned into paying a 12.5% ‘discretionary’ service charge. Into whose pocket does this charge end up? We are almost never told. Guests are so embarrassed by the servile process involved in tipping that few of us complain.”

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NO
Glen Taylor, operations manager, The Coach House at Middleton Lodge says:
“Tipping is to reward a person who has done an extra-ordinary job. It is essentially an added incentive for that individual; therefore it should not be seen as an obligation. When The Coach House opens in October 2014, our staff will all be trained to the highest standard, yet it’s up to the discretion of the guest whether they would like to leave a tip.”

YES
Robert Nadler, CEO, Nadler Hotels, speaker at IHS14 says:
“I normally expect a 10% – 12.5% tip to be on the bill and will always tip extra for exceptional service. The most important thing however, is that it’s absolutely clear whether it’s included or not; it would also be nice to know who it goes to!”

NO
Andrew Townsend, CEO, Legacy Hotels, speaker at IHS14 says:
“I take the view entirely from my perspective as a customer – I am of the view that any tips paid over should be at the customer’s sole discretion subject to how they feel the service on that occasion has been for them against their expectations. I hate it when additional charges are levied by some operators, often bizarrely for groups of 12 or more; I have no idea why a group of 12 is more justifiable than three tables of four. Any gratuity should be for service over and above expectations – do well and get it – don’t and then miss out.

YES AND NO
Sarah Barge, restaurant manager, Purdeys a Restaurant on the Langdale Estate says:
“Everything we try to do is about making things easier or simpler for our guests so that they can concentrate on relaxing and enjoying themselves. With a multicultural, international client base it is much easier for the guest if the ‘tip’ is included on the bill. There is no worry about giving too much or too little; remembering if they tip in the UK and if so how and how much. However, there is a real satisfaction when a guest provides a personal gesture of thanks to one of our team.”

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