26/01/2024 Many workers in the hospitality sector are heavily reliant on the tips they receive from appreciative customers. But where in the UK are the most generous tippers to be found? A new survey reveals all.
Many workers in the hospitality sector are heavily reliant, rightly or wrongly, on the tips, they receive from appreciative customers. But where in the UK are the most generous tippers to be found, and who are the most-tight fisted in the country? A new survey reveals all.
The Scots may have a reputation for being, how shall we say, rather careful with their money. But a new survey has revealed that they are actually the most generous in the UK, being more likely to tip than the rest of the country.
Perceived wisdom has it that the Scots are a tight-fisted bunch, but a new survey reveals they are actually the most generous tippers in the UK
Turning the time-honored stereotype of the tight-fisted Scot on its head, the research by foreign exchange provider eurochange discovered that a massive 98% of those north of the Border claimed to tip restaurant staff on a regular basis, followed closely by Northern Ireland where 95% of those surveyed said they tipped, while England and Wales were not that far behind, with 93% and 92% respectively.
However, while the vast majority of Brits fork out a tip for hard-working waiting staff, it is the Scots once again who are most generous in the size of their tips, with 19% leaving 15% or more as a tip for the staff. This compares to 12% of respondents in England being prepared to leave a similar-sized tip, followed by Wales where only 10% were prepared to cough up a similar sum. In Northern Ireland, only 8% were willing to dig into their pockets to tip at that level.
In England, Northerners were most likely to tip, with those in the Midlands being most reluctant to leave a gratuity
"We wanted to shed some light on tipping habits across the UK and were surprised by some of the findings,” said eurochange's managing director, Charles Stewart. “It's great to see so many people showing their appreciation for good service, despite the tide of economic pressures like the cost of living crisis and rising inflation, but it's also worth remembering that tipping is not mandatory in the UK and should always be at the customer's discretion."
The reasons for refusing to tip were not given, but in another survey, conducted by comparethemarket.com, the main factor provided by 39% of respondents was that it was outside what they had budgeted for, while over a third (35%) said that staff was being paid anyway, so why should they subsidize wages, with more than a fifth (22%) saying that the expectation to leave a tip made them feel uncomfortable.
The survey also revealed some interesting discrepancies in England. Northerners were most likely to tip, with only 6% saying they never did so, while those in the south weren’t far behind with 7% refusing to tip. However, those least likely to tip at all were those in the Midlands, where 10% of those surveyed refused to dip into their wallet to leave a gratuity for restaurant and bar staff. The Midlands were also the tightest tippers, with only 10% saying they tip 15% or more, and the North faring slightly better with 11% saying they tip 15%+. The South was the biggest tippers though, with 12% of respondents tipping a minimum of 15%.
But tipping while abroad can be a minefield if you are not aware of the customary practice of the country you’re visiting, warns Stewart. “Tipping on holiday is a different story,” he confirms. “It’s worth bearing in mind that hospitality staff in lots of our favourite holiday destinations rely on tips to make ends meet.”
Tipping can be a source of confusion for visitors to other countries, as it might be customary in some places while in others it might not be expected or even discouraged.
In Spain, tipping is mainly up to the customer, though is much appreciated if you do want to leave a small sum
In Spain, for example, tipping is generally optional, though it is considered polite to leave a small sum of change when paying for a drink or a meal, particularly if you received good service. A tip of around 5 – 10% is common in restaurants but is not expected in bars or cafes. In France, however, tipping is the norm and a service charge is often included in the bill. It is customary to leave an additional 5 10% if you are happy with the service, while in cafes and bars rounding up the bill is usually enough.
In Italy, Greece, and Portugal tipping is not expected but always appreciated, with a gratuity of 5 – 10% common in restaurants, though as in Spain it is not expected in bars or cafes so you really don’t have to tip unless you particularly want to. In some more touristy parts of Greece, a service charge may be added to the bill, and Greek law stipulates you must receive a receipt after any transaction.
In the US the waiting staff will take it as a personal insult if you dare not leave a tip of at least 15%
In the US, however, the culture is very different with waiting staff who are paid a very low basic wage being heavily reliant on generous tips to earn a living, In fact, failure to tip is considered pretty rude across the pond, and it’s commonplace to tip between 15 – 20% in restaurants, bars, and cafes. In hotels, it's also common to leave a small tip for housekeeping staff, in the region of $2-5 per night.
Similarly in Mexico, tipping is expected and is another destination where the service charge is often included in the bill. Even so, leaving an additional 10 – 15% is common practice if you are satisfied with the service. In cafes and bars, however, rounding up the bill is enough.
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