An Australian health coach travelling abroad in America has detailed her disdain for having to pay tax and a tip on top of the ‘regular price’ for food and drink purchases.
Bec Hardgrave, who is from Brisbane, Queensland, took to TikTok on Thursday to share her experiences ordering meals in the US, and how much it differs from Down Under.
‘Okay so there are two things in America that blow my mind and that’s tips and tax. I’m still very confused on the topic but I’ll try and explain it to you,’ she said.
Bec Hardgrave, who is from Brisbane, Queensland, took to TikTok on Thursday to share her experiences ordering meals in the US, and how much it differs from Down Under
‘So basically I’ll go to a café and order an avocado on toast and it will be like $7 but just wait it’s not $7 because when you get to the cash register and pay for the avo on toast it’s $7 plus the tax on top of that and then a minimum tip of 18 per cent to your waiter or waitress even if they didn’t talk to you.
‘I probably sound like an a***hole but they literally ask you for a tip wherever you go even if the waiter is pressing one button. It is mental. And the fact tax isn’t included means it’s a complete surprise at the register.’
Australian pay a Goods and Services Tax (GST) on products but it’s added to the final price before that item even hits the shelves, making it far easier to calculate.
In America wait staff rely on tips of 18 per cent or more to create a liveable salary.
Her followers were aghast with the news, saying they couldn’t believe how expensive products were when the tax was added.
Feeling confused, Bec posted a TikTok video and said: ‘I’ve been told that mains are entrée and entrées are mains – can someone clear that up for me?’
‘Do you really have to tip for take out? I’m haunted by a memory of trying to tip for sushi to go in LA and they looked at me like I was nuts,’ said one woman.
‘We have it better in Australia, we don’t realise until we go overseas the major difference between our country and other countries,’ said another.
Bec also noticed on her travels that every entrée she ordered was ‘massive’ compared to the main course when dining out.
In Australia, the UK and New Zealand, an entrée is a smaller dish that is served before the larger main meal – but this isn’t the case in America.
Unaware of the difference in portion sizes, Bec jokingly said her clothes ‘no longer fit’ and she has trouble fitting into her jeans.
While travelling around America, Australian health and fitness coach Bec Hardgrave (left) noticed every entrée is ‘massive’ compared to the main course when dining out. On one occasion she ordered a nachos that looked like it could be shared between two (right)
‘I’m an Australian travelling in America and I have a bone to pick with you Americans, so listen up,’ Bec said in the video.
‘Basically every time I’ve gone to a diner or a restaurant the entrées are massive!’
‘And I’ve been told that mains are entrées and entrées are mains – can someone clear that up for me? Because I’m very confused and my clothes no longer fit.’
She continued with a laugh: ‘I can’t do my jeans up anymore so if someone could let me know, that’ll be appreciated.’
On one occasion she ordered a nachos with guacamole, sour cream, tomatoes, beans and cheese – but the ‘entrée’ was the size of a huge plate that looked like it could be shared between two.
In the comments other TikTok users explained why entrée are larger than mains in the US. ‘Appetizers are like the ‘snack’ before the meal and then the entrée is the main dish!’ one person wrote
In the comments other TikTok users explained why entrée are larger than mains in the US.
‘Appetizers are like the ‘snack’ before the meal and then the entrée is the main dish!’ one person wrote.
But Bec, still sounding confused, responded with: ‘Then what are the mains?! I swear every menu has appetizers entrée and mains!’
Another person added: ‘Americans call ‘mains’ ‘entrée’ due to dining etiquette in 19th century.
‘In 19th cent, they generally had up to 15 courses, with ‘entree’ defining the start of ‘mains course’.
‘When this etiquette changed after and ‘mains’ only consisted of one course, rather than four or five, ‘entrée’ become the definition’.’
The short video has also since been viewed more than 7000 times.
WHY AMERICANS CALL AN ENTREE A MAIN COURSE:
The word ‘entree’ was imported from France to the United States at the end of the 19th century, by French chefs in chic New York restaurants
At the time, meals were often comprised of up to 15 courses – though this changed in the 20th century when meals became simpler and less courses were served
Prohibition and the Great Depression upended eating habits and beauty standards changed
Despite the entrée being cut from menus (along with many other courses cut), the term ‘entrée’ remained on American menus
So entrée lived on, but not in its original form. In the US, the entrée became the main course, and appetizers or starters became the first course.
In France, the entrée stuck with its translation (‘start,’ ‘beginning,’ ‘entry’) and position of being the course before the roast, thus becoming the first course
In the UK, Australia and New Zealand today, the word entrée refers to a starter course or courses, coming after the appetizers but before the main course