The NYT reports on a default tip policy for foreigners at a Thai restaurant in Hawaii. Even worse, it’s surreptitiously delivered.
But lately a small notice on a menu in Waikiki prompted an outcry — and in some quarters, nods of recognition — about the island’s dealing with foreign visitors. The notice, at a Thai restaurant called Keoni by Keo’s, informed “non-English speaking guests” — in English — that a 15 percent gratuity would be added to their check, an apparent reaction to a custom of some guests, particularly those from Asia, to not tip their waiters.
The restaurant’s owners, who removed the notice from their menu after a local television station reported it, did not comment. But some other tourism-reliant businesses said they understood the restaurant’s motivation, even if they were surprised it posted the notice.
Hank Taufaasau, the owner of Hank’s Cafe Honolulu, said Asian guests often did not add a gratuity. “It’s not part of their culture,” he said. “They spend a lot of money, but they don’t tip.”
Mr. Taufaasau emphasized that he did not approve of Keoni by Keo’s actions, but his assessment of the cultural divide was echoed by waiters and managers as well as on primers included with checks at several establishments.