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Perhaps some market sectors deserve special treatment

Phuket Tipping: A User's and Abuser's Guide

Monday, August 11, 2008
SERVICE CHARGES, tips, extras, call it what you like. The wages of many people on Phuket rise or fall depending on the contentment level of the people they serve in restaurants and resorts.

From next year, it will be illegal in Britain for employers to use tips to top up the wages of lowly-paid workers.

Would that work on Phuket? We wonder.

We've heard that some resorts offer consistent tipping levels year-round to attract staff.

And that means they tempt staff from other resorts, but if there's a really bad low season, those staff are more likely to lose their jobs.

And we were also told about one restaurant that paid waiting staff just 1500 baht a month, relying on tips to bring their wages up to the minimum wage level of 6000 baht a month.

We asked a number of restaurants and resorts for their view on tipping.


The White Box, Patong: A spokeswoman said that staff earned 3000 to 4000 baht a month in tips to supplement their wages, which began at 6000 baht a month. July and August had brought customers from Australia and sustained tips at the same level as last year. Weekends were good for customer numbers and tipping.

Babylon Beach Club, Bang Tao: Too busy to have the time to discuss tipping.

Angus O'Tool's, Karon: A spokeswoman could not reveal the details but said the restaurant had no service charge. Tips brought staff an extra 2000 to 3000 baht a month, with this year not as profitable as last year. Wage rates began at minimum level of 6000 baht a month.

Lim's, Kalim: A 10 percent service charge is split between staff, with wages beginning at 6000 to 6500 baht and tips adding 2000 to 3000 baht during the low season. Last year was better, with 5000 to 6000 baht coming in tips in the low season. High season would boost tips to 6000 or 7000 baht a month. Lim's attracts four-star or five-star resort guests but faces increasing competition.

Boathouse Wine and Grill, Kata: A marketing spokesperson said staff were guaranteed the extra 10 percent service charge, and that amounted to about 2200 baht a month. Customers sometimes tipped, as well as paying the service charge. Tips could add 3000 baht in low season or as much as 10,000 baht in high season, on top of their wages. This year was much the same as last year, although rising costs had pushed up menu list prices.

After Beach Bar and Restaurant, Kata: A spokesman said there was no service charge but staff could do extra hours for overtime. Low season usually brought tips amounting to about 1400 baht. In high season, this could rise to 2000 baht. Salaries ranged from 6000 baht to 8000 baht. Tips were better this year.

Limoncello, Royal Phuket Marina: A spokesperson said that information about tipping was confidential. But the restaurant has a 10 percent service surcharge.


Kata Beach Resort, Kata: A 10 percent service charge operates on rooms and restaurants. A spokesman declined to say precisely how much the service charge was worth to staff. But this year was as good as last year. The occupancy rate was still about 85 percent, the spokesperson said.

Hilton Phuket Arcadia, Karon: Service charge of 10 percent on rooms goes to the staff but the restaurant staff depend on tips. These vary from 5000 to 6000 baht in low season and up to 10,000 baht extra a month in high season.

Novotel Phuket, Patong: The service charge of 10 percent went to everybody but only the food and beverage staff and spa staff received tips. It varied depending on season between 1000 baht and 3000 baht. Competition was growing more intense, with new resorts opening. Minimum salary was 6000 baht a month.

Blue Ocean Resort, Patong: A spokeswoman declined to comment and said the information would have to come from someone more senior.

The Mangosteen, Rawai: A spokeswoman said the minimum wage was 6000 baht with service charge of 10 percent adding about 5000 baht a month. Last year was better for staff incomes.

Phuketwan can only echo the words of Britain's Business Secretary, John Hutton, who said: ''When people leave a tip, in a restaurant or elsewhere, they expect it to go to service staff and as consumers, we've got a right to know if that actually happens.

''This is an issue of fairness and common sense, and it's one many people clearly care a lot about.''

Care to tell us your experience about tips, either as a consumer or employee? Just fill in the Comment box below. It's easy!


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Monday May 20, 2024
Phuketwan - Your sweet Phuket, every day


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