$93 meal nets restaurant staff a $2,000 tip

Emma Woollacott
The receipt with the $1,500 tip.
The receipt with the $1,500 tip.

A customer at a US diner bought a $93 (£60) meal for himself and a friend - and then left stunned staff a $2,000 (£1,300) tip.

The man, who was a regular at the Blue 44 restaurant in Northwest Washington, ordered a three-course meal on Monday: fried chicken and gumbo, washed down with Old Chub Scotch Ale. And after the customer praised the gumbo, owner Chris Nardelli gave him four pints of the okra dish to take home for free.

It was only later that bartender Laura Dally checked the credit card receipt and saw the huge tip, which came with instructions on how to divide it up.

Half was for chef James Turner, with the rest split between Dally and Nardelli. And scrawled on the receipt was "Thank you for gumbo".

The restaurant has now renamed the dish Generosity Gumbo.

"Chicken and Andouille sausage gumbo is still on special, so stop by and try a bowl of your own!" Nardelli says on Facebook. "This delicious dish is not on our regular menu so come by while supplies last!"
Tips tend to be higher in the US - TripAdvisor says the norm is 10% even if you aren't totally happy with your meal, rising to over 20% for outstanding service. In the UK, it says, 10% is generally considered plenty.

Research earlier this month from online restaurant booking service OpenTable found that 87% of Brits always leave a tip, amounting on average to 9% of their bill or £4.18 - rather less than the Blue 44 staff received. The Scots are most likely to tip, with 91% always doing so, while Londoners leave the most at £5.68.

"Our research shows the UK is a nation of discerning diners, most of whom are happy to leave a little extra for restaurant staff so long as the service they receive is of a high level," comments OpenTable managing director Mike Xenakis.

This isn't the case with everybody, though: last year, David Cameron was criticised for failing to leave a tip after a £26.45 meal of burgers and Budweiser beer for himself and his wife Samantha.

But, said Joshua Coelho, manager of the Five Guys American Diner in Solihull, "We didn't really care".

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