I never thought I'd say this but I miss tipping. You heard me. I wish there was tipping in Australia. Without it you get no service and I don't mean bad service I mean NO service. Mark and I have eaten at a number of restaurants that have required us to order at the counter. We've always thought it a bit ridiculous to have to go up when we are paying $20+ for an entree but it seems to be common here because of the no tipping policy and the high minimum wage.
Tonight however we hit the breaking point. We are on Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays. There are a number of restaurants and since we've been at anchor for over a week we thought we'd treat ourselves to a nice meal. We heard the steakhouse on the island was good so we decided to go. When we got there we were told there was a 10 minute wait for a table. No big deal we went to the bar to get drink. The bartender opened a tab for us. Okay, that's fine. We can have it transfered to the table right. Wrong. We got seated and were told that we had to go up to the counter to order. Not that big a deal at McD's but seriously they wanted me to pay $40 for a steak and $7.50 for my side dishes and I had to get up to order them. Oh and if I wanted another drink I had to go order that myself too.
There was a table of four ladies dressed to the nines for there big night out. They probably spent $15x2 (appetizers) + $40x4 (steaks) + $7.50*4 (sides) + $55 (bottle of champagne) + $45 (bottle of wine) = $320 minimum and they got no service. Would you do it? We just couldn't. Mark took his time to finish his drink because after all no one was going to come over to our table to take our order and we walked out. If I'm spending that kinda cash in your restaurant the least you can do is take my order and bring me my drink. So yes I now appreciate tipping in the US. Just another reason to love the red, white, and blue.