Tipping is common practice if you have received a good service for something such as a meal, taxi drive, assistance with luggage or a clean hotel room. But, the rules and etiquette surrounding tipping can be extremely confusing. Often, many people don’t know when to tip, whether it is expected or how much to give. And to make matters worse, it varies enormously from one country to another. For the lowdown on all you need to know about tipping, read on.
Most people would recognise the most popular time when you’d give a tip is after going out for a meal. But eating establishments vary enormously, so tipping etiquette can cause a great deal of confusion.
If you’re eating at a coffee shop, cafe or self-service establishment, then giving a tip is not expected or standard practice. You also wouldn’t need to leave a tip if you are going out for just a drink or picking up take-away food.
However, any other eating establishment with waiter or waitress service – such as restaurant, hotel or pub restaurant, generally you can expect to give around 10% of the total bill for a tip, provided you’ve had good service. You should never feel obliged to give a tip if you didn’t get the service you would have expected.
Check your bill before giving a tip. If service is already included in the bill, then you don’t need to leave a tip.
Whether you leave a tip and how much when dining can vary a lot depending in which country you are in. In the UK, because all workers are on at least the minimum wage, receiving a tip isn’t an essential element for boosting income. However, in countries such as the USA where the wage for many food service assistants is low, they are usually quite reliant on tips to help boost their income.
Many people also associate tipping with travelling by taxi. You aren’t obliged to leave a tip, but you may choose to round the total cost up if the taxi driver has been helpful in collecting your bags. If you’re travelling overseas and are escorted by a guide, then tipping is also often expected, but what you can expect to give varies from one country to another.
There are lots of instances when staying at a hotel that you might consider leaving a tip. You normally wouldn’t expect to leave a tip for room service, but you may decide to tip the maid or the porter if they were particularly helpful. This is especially so in foreign countries, especially poorer ones where staff are often reliant on tips from tourists. However, check that service charge isn’t already included as is the case in some countries such as Dubai or China.
If you are travelling overseas, then it’s always worth researching the rules of tipping for that country before you go there, so that you know what to expect. Some countries have a no-tipping culture, for instance, so your tip might get refused.
About the author
This post was written by Crispin Jones for The Restaurant Choice, a supplier of gift vouchers for a wide range of restaurants and dining out chains.