Is It Rude Not to Tip at a Restaurant in the U.K.? 10 Honest Responses

Dolores Quintana

Tipping is a hot topic everywhere, especially in tough economic times. The United Kingdom, consisting of Britain and Ireland, has a different yet not entirely unrelated culture to the United States.

Recently users in a prominent internet forum regarding issues and culture in the United Kingdom debated if refusing to leave a tip was considered rude. Many of the people who responded were very opinionated on the subject.

1. “Go Take a Run and Jump.”

The first poster used an intense yet humorous tone in their response. Finally, they said no and added that tipping is something that servers should not expect but appreciate when it happens. 

2. Resentment of Obligatory Charges on Bills as Tips

Several commenters noted that they felt a certain resentment towards the 15% service charge levied by restaurants to compel customers to leave a tip.

One counseled that a customer can ask the restaurant to remove the amount, and more than one person thought it was a good idea to decline the service charge and tip the staff in cash to ensure that the wait staff gets the tip. 

3. Cheeky!

Many people thought requiring tips was “cheeky” and would refuse to tip on general principles when asked to leave a gratuity. One commenter said indignantly, “I'm a perfectly grown bloke,” and implied that asking for a tip offended him. 

4. “No, This Isn't America.”

A particularly onery commenter claimed to be a restaurant manager. They stated that they weren't in the United States and that tipping wasn't standard and should be something that staff appreciates when given to them. 

5. Does the Staff Get the Tip?

An excellent point that responded to the original person's question was that customers should ask management how much the staff gets from customers' tips.

They were shocked to find that sometimes the servers received only 50% or less of the amount. One confessed that a restaurant admitted that the waitpersons didn't get any tips. 

6. What About the Cooks

Another user issue was whether the back-of-the-house staff or the cooks received part of the tip amount. One commenter said, “If I've had a great experience, then a considerable part of that, or I'd argue the majority is down to the cooks.”

Some felt strongly that the work of the cooks contributed the most to the quality of their meals and the overall restaurant experience.

7. Stingy People

One almost painfully honest comment referred to normally stingy British people, not Americans, who tipped generously at 20%. This user felt that these gracious people were “mental.” 

8. Surprised by the Responses 

Two people seemed disturbed by most responses, whereas people seemed to delight in not tipping. One felt that not tipping seemed very rude and a way to make a point about being dissatisfied with the service at the restaurant. The other stated that it made them feel bad for the waitstaff.

9. Restaurants Are Responsible for Paying Their Workers 

A frustrated commenter stated a vital concern. They noted that while they worked with the public, their job differed from one where they could receive tips. They believed it was the restaurant's responsibility to pay their workers a liveable wage, not the customer's job, which is a crackerjack point.

10. Can You Afford the Meal if You Can't Afford to Tip? 

The responses to this question made one commenter feel like they “grew up in a parallel universe.” They suggested they always tipped service people, takeaway delivery people, taxi drivers, and hairdressers, as does everyone they know.

They finished up by asking a pointed question to others. If you can't afford the tip, can you afford the meal or the service? 

This thread inspired this post.


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