Eyeballed for tips in Melbourne restaurants

What’s going on with restaurants in Melbourne?? When paying my bill by card I get asked if I want to leave a tip. What the heck is this all about. It is so confronting being eyeballed for a tip. I’m not sure if they realise that we are in Australia and waitstaff are not paid a pittance as they are in the States. Secondly, if I do get exceptional service I’m more than happy to tip but I do not appreciate being nudged to do so when paying. I’ve noticed this trend has really taken off in the last month or so and at different types of restaurants. I find it extremely off putting:(


I always wonder who gets the tip. If paying by cards, the additional monies goes directly into the restaurant’s bank account. It is possible, that it fills the pockets of the owners rather than the staff that provided the service.

I never tip in Australia even when the service is very good. If the food and service is good, it means recommending to friends/family and also return business from us…which is worth far more than a tokenistic gesture of a few dollars.

Agree that staff are paid well in Australia compared to the US…where tips are used to supplement the base hourly rate to being it uo to a more acceltable level.

What I have noticed in many countries (esp. Asia) which have never tipped or had tipping culture, the US tourists tip everything and it creates an expectation if you are a westerner and speak English, you will also tip. Something which can be annoying for an Australian.


We can be smug about our hospitality workers on an hourly basis, but reality is most of them work casual and only a few hours a week here, and a few hours there, and when it is all added up it could be a little or a bit.

Regardless I rarely tip, but there are a few establishments that are so over the top with service I am happy to add a few $, and not because the card terminal asks.


Tipping has become more prominent in light of the loss of penalty rates for Hospitality workers. It may become even more evident as the penalty rate cuts expand over other types of employment. Hospitality workers (wait staff and similar) are not well paid for their hours as others would think, many of them being young and therefore can be subject to “junior” rates of pay (under 21 years of age) which depending on your age start at $11.76 per hour (casual) or $9.41 per hour if full or part time.


That may be the case, however the rates in the States are a lot lower and they virtually are tripping over to please.


There was no smugness in my comment. If they do not work enough hours here, Centrelink picks up the tab.

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Apologies if you took it personally. There was no personal attribution intended, but a national/cultural attribution of our disinclination to embrace tipping because ‘we’ pay our staff at decent levels was.

While there is income support and I endorse it, I do however question that it has come to government’s responsibility to make up pay to minimalist levels for any worker, when government has long made policies that continually marginalise workers, remove their entitlements, and make them essentially casualised nomads without security going from contract to contract or having to put many jobs into their lives that might equal one job at the end of the day.


While this topic started about tipping it also reflects what politics, policy, and legislation have done to damage the workers rights and this has led to the demand by workers for tips to help cover their needs.

No Centrelink do not always pick up the tab. There is a large under employed workforce that receive no Centrelink support for a number of reasons including parental income or assets, & income too high for receipt of benefits but still lower than the poverty rate. And the rate of income in Australia to put someone into the poverty region here (relative poverty) is different to what it is in the States.

Comparison with pay rates in the USA is perhaps not the best way to interpret what is fair or right. Many there are also below what would be considered fair rates of pay and it requires people to work extreme hours just to survive (and not very well at that). Do we want that system? Trickle Down economics among a number of other US policies is shown to be a failure.

As @PhilT states the Governments over a long time have destroyed what we used to consider fair pay for fair work. Some of the signs of that failure to address the off kilter policies is increased casualisation of the workforce, unfair rates and rights of employment, homelessness, debt stress and many other socio economic concerns. If workers were given fair pay then they would pay more tax, spend more thus increasing profitability of businesses, invest more, improve the superannuation savings, likely not require or demand tipping, and it would also help reduce the burden on Government paid benefits for all sectors including Age Pension.


At the end of the day in my books a tip is earned not an expectation. As I said if service merits I do tip, if I’m eyeballed I do not tip. Simple!


I also think that as a society as a whole, we have also been responsible for this. We tend to now have expectations for cheap low margin services/items…which only become profitable with high sales volumes. No or low profit for small business means no or low wages.


Yes I agree with your point that it is a privilege rather than a right.

Though typically in poorer paid regions of the world it has become an expectation rather than an earned response. Many times the tip is automatically added to a bill. As an example if you take a cruise most times a standard tip cost is built into your fare and if you want superior service you add a personal tip on top, Similar experiences exist in Thailand and similar Asian destinations. Australians are many times perceived as poor tippers because we are so unused to tipping.


But taking that back to the OT, sans policy shifts ‘expected (eyeballed)’ tipping is somewhat of a cultural attack whereby proper wages could be eroded by discretionary tipping, taking us into the US system where staff compensation (income) becomes increasingly dependent on whim.

I can only speak for myself, but I prefer to pay $20 for a meal and know everyone got a fair shake rather than $15 and know the staff could not pay their bills unless I left a tip. If service is exceptional I have no worries that everyone gets a fair shake and then some via a tip - but only when they deserve it.


This has happened at (middle of the road and fine dining restaurants. Surely the fine dining would have enough in their charges to factor paying staff properly. If they don’t, I don’t understand why it needs to be the diner’s problem.


Mostly they are not paying their staff past the bare minimum they have to and that is still the legal/proper rate of pay, just that the rate is inadequate. The businesses in large part want to maximise their profit for the owners and I still see signs indicating a 10 or 15% extra surcharge for public holidays and weekends (mostly introduced so they could help offset penalty rates in the past) when they no longer pay their staff penalty rates.

The reality is that we don’t have to give the restaurants that encourage tips our patronage and thus we can avoid paying any tip to the staff at a business that allows it’s staff to ask/require tips. By the same token if we dine at such a place we then can expect to be asked for a tip and should then consider paying one.


Why should we expect to be asked to pay a tip and then must pay a tip?? The price for the meal including service is listed on the menu. It’s offensive to be asked to pay more. However, if there was exceptional service (which ordinarily there isn’t) then I will choose to tip, without being pressured.


We can choose to eat at a premises knowing that we may be asked for a tip or we can choose not to eat there, but we cannot be required to pay a tip. If it offends to be asked then that probably precludes eating at the establishment, if I was offended by being asked after the meal I would note my displeasure, not pay the tip and I would probably not attend there again. If I wished to eat there again I would know that I am going to be asked and I would not be offended by the request as I had been made aware of the conditions for eating there, but I might not still pay a tip.

Of course the Menu could also be altered to indicate Tipping was encouraged but not required and I believe this is perfectly legal to do, but I may be corrected on this. The illegal act would be to require a tip.


I am a put off by this item since it presumes a tipping culture, or minimally ‘sells’ tipping, however the comments on adding a tip to a card are instructive.


No. Never.
Slightly OT but similar vein - Same applies for any other surcharges/etc - public holidays, credit card - anything additional - if it is clearly and obviously documented on the menu then it is my choice whether to pay, as I see the menu as the ‘price list’, the sales document if you will, and thats OK - I feel it is advertised properly. Any minuscule sign at the register or fine print inside the back cover of the menu is irrelevant. Had a local restaurant try hit me with a 4% credit card fee a couple of years ago - on the strength of a sign at the register that was literally the size of a business card that I was supposed to see on the way in … didn’t pay the fee. Haven’t been back.


Several years ago my nephew worked for a coffee shop that never paid penalty rates.

Seriously? You really have to be desperate to start jumping through the obstacles successive governments have placed in the way of unemployed people seeking entitlements. More importantly, Centrelink should not be picking up the tab when people are willing and able to work but are underpaid and insecure in their employment.

We should be reversing the increasing casualisation of the workforce, and looking to government policies that actually consider workers’ rights and not just employers. I would be unsurprised if some in the current government actively encouraged tipping as an excuse for lowering real wages even further.


Why do you compare the wages to the US? compare it to eg. Switzerland, nobody there would work for the “money” paid in AUS! Australien waiters and hospitality are still lowest paid people in AUS. therefore a friendly or fast service deserves a tip anytime. But no tip by card, the money paid by card, goes to the owners bank account. I doubt strongly that it finds the way from there in to the pocket of the waitress!