Monday, September 6, 2010

USA Lesson #3

EATING OUT.... and trust me, at American prices, you WILL do it often!

I have good news and bad news...

First, the Good News!

When you order something to drink in a restaurant in the US, you get FREE REFILLS! That is the same in a "real" restaurant AND in places like McDonalds! Drinks usually cost you a couple of dollars, but as you drink it all, YOU GET MORE! My husband's favorite thing to do before we leave a fast food place is to FILL IT UP ONE MORE TIME so he has a drink for the road!

(Only place this is not true is Starbucks! Sorry!)

Also, speaking of drinks...
you will get ICE in your drinks so get ready!
The kind that makes your drink cold... amazing concept, huh?

Ok now for the bad news!

Did you know that in the US, waitresses are only paid $2.30 per hour??? Yes, that is about 12dkk... PER HOUR.
The reason is because waitresses in the US WORK FOR TIPS!
It is very important that you know this because
#1- Not only is it VERY VERY bad manners to visit a foreign country and not know its tipping practices; but
#2- If you ignore this practice, you are affecting someone's livelihood.

Note: IF YOUR WAITRESS IS AWFUL--- and you get no service whatsoever, you are NOT obligated to Tip!

As a STANDARD practice, it is considered normal to leave 15% as a tip. If he/she is GREAT, you leave 20%. Again, good thing you guys are good at math....
If you charge your meal on a credit card, you just write in the tip on your receipt. Otherwise you leave cash. Remember, TIPS are their salary!

And even with the 20% tip on a meal, you are STILL going to come out ahead when you compare what you pay for a meal in the US compared to a meal in Denmark!

One More NOTEWORTHY Item related to Eating Out--
You are usually in and out of a restaurant (the real know, that you SIT DOWN in and have a waitress) in less than an hour!! None of those leisurely dinners like we have in DK! The minute you sit down, someone comes over to take your drink order, and within 20 min of your arrival, I guarantee you will have your food! So eat up! They need your seat for the next group!! :-)


  1. And, be prepared for selections as there will definitely be more than 3 entrees on the menu!

  2. Yea, better learn to ask for no ice every time you order a drink unless you like uncomfortably cold and diluted soda. (yuck!)

    If you get a rewards card at Starbucks (just a gift card that you register online) and use it five times, then you start getting free refills. Combined with free Internet (no registration, username or password required anymore), this is awesome :-)

    About tips, I am not that great at math, but someone taught me to just double the sales tax written on my receipt. But I rarely eat out because I hate the way the waiters constantly bother you to make you leave as quick as possible at the same time they try to kiss your ass for tips. First they give you a 3 meter long menu, and every time you have almost read a line they come and disturb you "are you ready to order?", and you rarely have time to enjoy your food or company as they continually disturb you by filling up your glass and cup and asking how the meal is. I really miss the Danish waiters who give you privacy and time.