So, what’s going on with the tips in NYC (and the US in general)?
Part 1: How much tip should I leave?
It’s pretty simple. You are supposed to leave 15%-20% tip on the amount of your total check. This rule applies to all the below:
- Bars (even if you are not seated)
- Hair salons
- Manicures / Pedicures
- Cafes (when you are seated)
This rule does not apply to the below (that means you don’t have to, but you can leave a tip if you want):
- Dunkin Donuts
- All other cafes (when you take coffee to go)
Don’t worry, you don’t need to walk around with a calculator, even if all phones have one. Some people, double the tax. I have found out that using this trick sometimes results to a little bit lower tip. What I do most of the times is that I double the first number of the total amount. For instance, if the amount is $ 31.00, I will add a $ 6.00 tip (3*2=6) which equals to 19%. If the amount is $ 49.50, i will add a $ 8.00 tip which equals to 16%. Of course if the place and the service are very good, I would suggest a 20% tip.
Part 2: How should I pay the tip?
You can pay your bill and the tip in every possible combination:
– Bill and tip cash. I believe that’s easy.
– Bill and tip on your card. This part, also, always confuses tourists. Yes, it is possible. When they bring you the bill (eg. $50.00), you give them your card. Then, they return with the card’s merchant’s and customer’s copy, where they’ve pre-charged the $50.00 (or they’ve taken a pre-approval, I’m not really sure). You add the tip on the merchant copy (eg. $10.00) and you sign. You take your card and you’re good to go. No, they don’t need your card again in order to charge the tip you added. You’re good to go. Go!
– Part on the card and part cash. Yes, you can do that as well. You can split your bill and pay a part cash and a part on your card. That means, if your bill is $70.00 you can tell them to split and put, for example, $50.00 on the card and give them the rest cash. Then, you can add the tip either on the card (as previously; be careful, it should be on the total amount, not on the card amount – in this case the tip would not be $7.5 – $10.00, it would be $12.00 – $14.00). Same way, you can split with your friends between more than one cards (only cards) or cash and cards. Most of the restaurants accept to split the bill to as many cards as you like (we’ve given them up to 6 different cards without any issue!). But, there are a few places that 3 cards is the maximum they accept. If, for example, you are four and the total bill is $200.00, two of you may want to pay cash ($50.00 plus tip) and two may want to use their cards. You would have to say to the waiter how much you want them to charge on each card and give the rest cash. Then you add the tip, either on the card or you leave it cash.
* Note that in many places for parties of 5 or more, gratuity is already included (most of the times 20%). If your party is 5 or more, check before you add tip!
P.S. Is it any clearer now?