HK – mandatory 10% gratuity at restaurants

Posted: July 15, 2014 in breakfast, dinner, drinks, expensive, food, lunch, POV
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The majority of restaurants that cater to the non local dining experience have a mandatory 10% gratuity.  A gratuity is fine so long as the service warrants it.  When you dine in HK restaurants, you will find the service sub par for the most part.  An acceptable level of service at the NA norm would be dining at the hotel restaurants but you get the sticker shock when the bill arrives.  If you dine at the local establishments and the street food vendor, there is no gratuity so one never expects service.  HK restaurants take the 10% mandatory gratuity to a new low.  HK restaurants are not known for exemplary service and adding a mandatory 10% tip on top of the invoice is a kick in the teeth.

When they instill a mandatory gratuity on my bill, the first thing I do is pay with the credit card.  I might as well rack up the points and airmiles.  There are some dining establishments doing away with the mandatory gratuity but they are few and far between.  Another thing that is worth seething over is the fact you need to have a packet of tissue handy.  You will see everyone on the streets of HK carrying a blue and white packet of Tempo facial tissue.  They penny pinch at the restaurants so it protects their bottom line and profit margin then turn around and charge one a mandatory 10%  tip.  It’s no wonder most diners at HK establishments demand exemplary service and go about mistreating their restaurant staff.  It’s a terrible downward spiral that knows no bounds.  Let’s be honest for a second, we know the tip jars do not make it to the server.  The owners take a large cut.

The restaurants worth tipping will not accept tips.  The restaurants not worth tipping require it.  This is HK.  You will come to love the nuances and weird dichotomies that are prevalent in this place.  Don’t try to understand it.  Embrace it and don’t let it bother you.  Some things are just not worth fighting over.  Take your money and spend it elsewhere.  Vote with your patronage.

  1. Lisamaree says:

    So true! My favourite “jook” shop refuses to let me tip them, even though their food is ridiculously cheap and decidedly delicious! Yet I go to other places where not only do they charge the 10% but they round up to the nearest $5 or $10 and their food and service is atrocious! Joys of Hong Kong!

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