Today we want to tell you how american restaurants are different than the Italian one.
The first thing we notice when we sit at the table is that 90% of the times there is no table cloth, later on we will get a paper placemat, like the one we find in the dining halls. Very rarely we find the table set with glasses and silverware. However almost all the time, if there are kids with you, you can get drawings to color or small activities they can do with crayons.
In the middle of the table there is never bread or breadsticks, but if there is something, are chips with all the weirdest sauces, and even if ketchup is always included, you have to ask the waiter to get mayo.
Despite what people think, drinks are not as expensive as in Europe and the water that everybody think is unaffordable, is free! Right, it took us a couple of dinners to understand and be sure about it!
Usually almost all the drinks have ice in them (we can’t really get why they are so obsessed), therefore if you don’t like your drink too cold remember to order it without ice!
In some places, mostly fast-food, you can refill your drink for free or at a very cheap price, compared to the one we initially paid! You just have to go to the dispenser and pick the soda you want!!
For those who don’t know what we are talking about, refill means that you can pour soda in your glass as many time as you want. As for the water, since it is free, in places that are not fast food, is automatically poured by waiters when the glass is almost empty. But aren’t they going to have a loss? Well the answer is no, because places that offer this service also serve meals that are eaten quickly, so after a couple of glasses you don’t feel the need to keep filling your stomach with liquids and you are ready to leave.
Another very common thing in the U.S.A. are the boxes to carry leftovers home. Yes, as we all know portions are huge, so if you can’t finish everything don’t worry about it, you can ask for a box and bring your leftovers home without being looked bad. Actually waiters are the first ones that ask you if you want one! Smart solution against wastes, since you would pay for food that you couldn’t eat.
Last thing we want to talk about is the tip. First of all you have to tip in places that offer a table service, not fast food were nobody serves you.
How does it work?
Once the check arrives you have to tip the waiter that served you based on your satisfaction with place/service/food. It is a percentage of your total check and usually is 15%. If you are very satisfied you can tip the 20%. In some checks you can find the different options already calculated, so you can avoid doing all the math, and just decide how much you want to tip. If we pay with cash we simply have to leave more money in the black folder they give you. If we pay with the card, the waiter take your card, pay and then brings you the receipt.
You have to write on it how much you want to tip, add it to the price of your meal and then write the total. But if we already paid, how do they get tipped? Basically they keep the receipt you signed, that is also associated to your card, and only later they withdrawal the money from your bank account!
We hope we were able to give you a more or less complete idea on how restaurants in America work and if you have any other question, don’t be afraid to ask and leave us a comment below.