Tipping is something us Brits are becoming a bit more comfortable with but we have a long way to go to catch up with the Americans. In the USA you will be struck but the service, waiting staff are friendly and knowledgeable about their food; always happy to provide you with free refills for your soft drinks (often without being asked), and…..expect a decent tip.
Waiting staff in the US are taxed based on a percentage of their orders as their low salary is supplemented by their tips – EVERYONE tips in America, even for bad service…yes you tip for bad service.
The general rule of thumb is that you tip 10% for poor service, 15% for decent service, and 20% for very good service. Most Americans always leave a tip of around 15/18%. If you don’t leave a tip or just leave a few cents it’s not unheard of for people to be chased out of a restaurant. It is the done thing so please remember to tip your server!!!
Not only is service very good in the USA but feel free to ask for substitutions, i.e. if you want your chicken grilled and not fried, or your dinner comes with mushrooms and you’d rather have green beans – just ask, they’ll almost always do it without charge. They will also take complaints very seriously.
Personally I’d rather pay a little more and get first class service. Nothing upsets me more than going for a meal in the UK, you often have to stand in line and order yourself, pay first, and then get the food almost thrown at you by your server.
The only exceptions to this are fast food establishments; although you’ll often see a tip jar on the counter it’s fine to just leave a buck or a few cents.