Questioning the now-standard 20 percent “gratuity” – and I wonder when restaurants will just start calling it a service surcharge? – a third-detective-novel-set-in-Dallas-writing FrontBurnervian has this to say:
I was in New York last weekend (as luck would have it staying on the same street where the Con-Ed steam pipe went Al Queda a day later) and ate out quite a bit in Midtown. Most restaurants have a card printed by American Express which they include with the bill. In a half dozen or more languages, the card reads something like this: “Our foreign patrons often inquire if service is included. In the US, the diner usually compensates the waitstaff with an 18% to 20% gratuity which they must add manually to the bill. Service is not included.”
See that? Not included.