Tipping and Gratuities
This page is aimed at the overseas visitor who is not familiar with the social conventions for tipping in the UK.
- What is the normal amount to tip in a restaurant?
- Always check whether service charge is included on the bill. If it is, then there is no need for a additional tip. As with the credit cards it might happen that the staff doesn't get anything from the service charge so if the bill's not too high and you particularly liked the service, simply ask them, and if that's the case, do tip them.
- 10% is a nominal amount, and is usual if the staff have delivered normal, adequate service. In practice, it is a sliding scale from 0% to 25%; reserve 0% for venues to which you never wish to return.
- What is the customary way of leaving a tip?
- This is normally done discreetly by leaving an amount of cash behind after paying the bill.
- Some restaurants have a plate for tips by the cash till.
- Many credit card receipts have a space for Gratuity. You can use this to add on a tip, but I personally prefer striking a line through this space and leaving a cash tip.
- Actually if you want to leave a tip on a cheque or credit card, ask the waiter if the staff get the money. A recent case has given restaurant owners a green light to put non-cash tips towards employee's basic wages. If in doubt, leave a cash tip.
- What about takeaways and self service?
- It is not usual to tip in takeaways. It is customary to tip the driver for home deliveries, but the companies discourage it. For buffet service, use your discretion.
- Does one tip in pubs
- The short answer is no.
- Even when eating pub food, there is no expectation to leave a tip. The exception to this is for establishments that are moving into the restaurant business.
- If you want to show appreciation of the publican or bar tender, buy him or her a drink. This is the customary way. Note: they may sometimes choose not to take the drink immediately or in front of you, as they may want to stay sober while they are working.
- What other places are tips expected?
- Taxi rides - rounding the fare up to the nearest £1 is the norm. If you are on expenses and have a cooperative driver, they will add the tip into the receipt for you.
- Hotels - bell boys carrying your luggage appreciate a tip - £1 coin is probably about right.