10 things about American restaurants that people from outside the US may find strange

kid eating restaurant

The American dining experience is vastly different state to state and restaurant to restaurant, but still wildly different from other countries‘ expectations. American restaurant sales reached nearly $800 billion in 2017, according to the National Restaurant Association, but with Americans spending about $55 billion a year on dining out, that’s quite a few tourists dropping serious money on American cuisine.

Here are the things about American restaurants that people from other countries may find strange.

Tipping is not only pretty much mandatory in the US, but is expected to be at 15-20%.

Adding an additional payment to a meal for the hard work and good service of the staff is not required in several countries, such as Brazil, China, Belgium, and Australia.  

In the US, restaurant workers are legally allowed to be paid below minimum wage because tips are expected to make up the gap. According to the US Department of Labor, tipped employees are legally allowed to be given as little as under $5 an hour by their employers.

This contrasts to the fast-food workers in Denmark who make $20 an hour. Even in countries where tipping is standard, it’s polite to only leave about 5-10% as a tip.

The waiters are more likely to introduce themselves in hopes of a tip.

Partly because your opinion of them contributes to how much money they’ll make, American waiters are chattier. Because tips aren’t customary in many other countries, the experience tends to differ.

Ben McPartland for The Local France wrote that „the majority of wait[ers] in the US … give you the impression you have made a new best friend for life, as soon as you walk in the establishment.“

You may or may not prefer the alternative, which can be a waiter who you will only see to take your order, deliver your meals, and hand over the check.

Kids can order off their own menu.

There are plenty of think-pieces on the legitimacy of children’s menus in American dining culture because they don’t typically exist elsewhere. Children’s menus in the US are often for people 12 and under and feature items like chicken tenders and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches regardless of the restaurant’s type of food.

In many other countries, children under 12 will order off the adult menu, which some people argue leads them to try and crave different foods.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Source: Business insider

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