When it comes to using a discount voucher or coupon, it is often not the actual presentation of the voucher when you pay that can cause a problem but whether or not to also tip for service received and, if so, what amount to base that tip on. Tip etiquette is important in the US.
Let’s say that you buy a Groupon voucher that is half price or a two-for-one deal at your favorite restaurant. When reaching for the bill, most people look at the total and work from there but that isn’t strictly the right etiquette when you have taken advantage of one of the online vouchers, or any discount voucher, that is related to service received.
What should be remembered is that, although you paid less, you still got the full service. The voucher system is to encourage people to come into the business, and so benefits the business and owner. This same benefit doesn’t trickle down in its entirety to the staff who served you. If they rely on tips as their income, as so often happens in restaurants, they probably dread the use of vouchers because this can make a very real impact on their bottom line.
Think about it for a second, they are taking the spending the same amount of time serving you as they would do on a table paying full price. If the service was good, don’t they really deserve the same tip that they would have gotten before?
Whilst this shouldn’t really come into the equation, you can also look at it this way – you got a great deal with your voucher. Even with the normal tip, you are probably ending up saving a fair amount of money. Wouldn’t it be nice to pay a little forward?
Whilst you are certainly under no obligation to tip on the full value of the service that you received, such consideration will certainly be appreciated by the staff. If you had a complaint about the service or felt that it wasn’t quite up to the normal standard, you can always reduce the percentage of the tip accordingly – just be sure to, once again, work on the full amount of the meal.
If the service has not been up to scratch, why not also bring it up? What you may find happening is that the server feels that you have stiffed them on the tip simply because you are cheap, rather than because it was that you were unhappy with the service received.
The decision is up to you at the end of the day. If you are not really sure what the right etiquette is in terms of tipping, there is nothing wrong with phoning up ahead and asking straight out whether or not tips are considered part of a thank you for a job well done and what tips are typically offered.
It can be really confusing at times – do you tip the stylist who does your hair, the person who washes your hair, or do you tip them both? If so, what is appropriate? What about the manicurist? It goes on and on. Rather find out ahead of time whether or not a tip is “appreciated”. (This tends to be code for expected if you found that the service was good.