Frank Bruni reports today that waiters in New York are being stiffed by foreign tourists used to service being included on their bill (service compri in French). Bruni feels the waiters' pain and wracks his brain for an elegant, non-boorish solution that won't embarrass the unknowing, presumably well-intentioned diners:
"But I find myself wondering if, in restaurants with especially high percentages of foreign tourists, it wouldn’t be such a bad idea for a few lines of type on the menu, or even a few lines of type on the check, to say something alone the lines of: 'A gratuity of 15 percent or more of the pre-tax cost of a meal is standard, and very much appreciated.'”
While pondering the above-named solution, Bruni also wonders aloud if restaurateurs can take these lousy foreign tippers into account when paying their waitstaff.
So, serious eaters, what's a waiter to do? Suffer in silence and take the financial hit? Gently inform the offending parties about American tipping customs? Or has Bruni come up with the most elegant solution, namely a couple of lines on the bottom of the menu? And should those lines be translated into many languages?