Why don't you tip more?

8 April 2011

At the end of a meal the age-old question of how much to tip, or whether to tip at all, seems engrained into the British psyche.

I have a real hatred of people who automatically refuse to tip, after years of running around waiting on tables and getting paid well below minimum wage.

Many people think the price for the food includes service but unless stated, it probably doesn’t.

It’s common for waiting staff to get paid below minimum wage and rely on tips to make up the shortfall. I worked for several well-known restaurant chains while at university and this was standard.

Although the national minimum wage will increase to £6.08 an hour in October for those over 20, many restaurants will continue paying below this and expect tips to bring up the amount.

And when you do leave a tip this quite often doesn’t actually go the person serving you.
If you pay on card some companies will automatically take a cut of this, leaving the waiting staff out of pocket.

Other places split the tips between all staff so the £10 you’re leaving for one person will actually go to everyone working there.

After living in America for a year I became accustomed to tipping and would always automatically add on 15% to the price of a meal but it makes me angry people in the UK are so reluctant to tip.

If you’re unsure always ask the person serving what the policy is and if you can, always leave cash. This means it’s more likely to get to that person and instead of lining the CEO’s pockets.