In the United States, restaurant servers often rely on tips from customers to supplement their meager wages, as they are not paid a living wage by their employers. This practice contrasts sharply with Europe, where servers generally receive a livable wage, and tips are reserved for exceptional service.
A New York City waitress recently voiced her frustration on Twitter after a group of European customers left what she deemed an inadequate tip on a $700 bill, expecting them to adhere to the American custom of tipping at least 20%.
Madison Tayt, the waitress, expressed her disappointment when the European diners left only $70 on their sizable bill, even though she believed she should have received closer to $140 based on the 20% tipping standard.
In a since-deleted Twitter thread, Tayt wrote, “Lmao, I f**king hate Europeans sometimes, on God. This table just left $70 on a $700 check after chilling for HOURS. My manager even asked about their service, and they were OVER THE MOON about their service, so he explained the customary tip is 20 percent, and they were like, ‘ok’ and left.”
Tayt went on to express her frustration that there was an American at the table (apparently the girlfriend of one of the European diners) who failed to intervene. After her tweet gained attention, she deleted it and attempted to stay out of the public eye. Fortunately for her, she did not disclose her place of employment, so it is unlikely that her employer became aware of her complaint about the European patrons.
Responding to a comment describing Europeans as “basically the worst customers,” Tayt conceded that she would be willing to “overlook” cultural differences between Europeans and Americans if they at least tipped appropriately.
She explained, “I understand a lot of the qualms with European’s behavior in restaurants comes from cultural differences (camping at tables, being a little brusque or forceful, etc.), all of which I’d be willing to overlook if they at least tipped appropriately.”
Joe Stefanelli, CEO of Cryptech Solutions, chimed in, explaining that in many parts of Europe, a 10% tip is considered standard for excellent service. He recounted his experience in Amsterdam, where he tipped 25% and was questioned about his generous tip. Stefanelli suggested that instead of criticizing European customers, Tayt should “get out and explore the world more” to better understand global customs and practices.
This incident highlights the cultural divide between American and European practices when it comes to tipping and wages for restaurant servers. While it is essential to understand and respect different customs, it is equally important for individuals to be aware of local norms and expectations when visiting another country.