Some things are thought to be typically British: queuing, separating hot and cold taps, and tea with crumpets. But, when it comes to tipping culture, where does the UK stand? At Crown Currency, we’ve taken a deeper look at tipping in the UK to understand if it’s expected and, if so, in what circumstances.
What is the Tipping Culture in the UK?
Compared to other countries, such as the USA, tipping culture in the UK isn’t as extensive, and while it is customary to leave a tip in certain situations, it isn’t mandatory, and you are not expected to tip.
In many cases, you’ll find a pre calculated optional service charge added to your bill that is taken from the overall total bill (usually 10-20%) and this is considered as the tip. This, like tipping itself, is not a mandatory payment and can be removed if asked, but most people will pay it rather than leave a tip in cash.
Why is Tipping So Common in the UK?
Tipping has become increasingly popular over the past few decades in the UK and has been heavily influenced by other Western cultures. It’s also become a symbol of appreciation for good service, and depending on the level of generosity given by the customer, a good way of ensuring you’re remembered in the future.
There is also an economic factor as to why tipping has become common practice in the UK, especially in the hospitality industry, where staff are typically on minimum wage and rely on tips to help supplement their income.
When Should You Consider Leaving a Tip?
While tipping isn’t mandatory in the UK, there are certain situations in which it is becoming increasingly expected to leave a tip.
Tipping Waiting Staff
When you receive excellent service in restaurants, a tip for your waiter is always appreciated. It’s also worth noting that many restaurant owners use the service charge on the bill as a way to make up their employee’s wages, which means the full amount doesn’t go directly to your waiter.
What is a Fair Tip to Waiting Staff in the UK?
Standard practice when tipping in restaurants is to leave between 10-15% of your total bill. So, should your meal come to £100 GBP, a tip of £10-£15 ($18-$28 AUD) would be sufficient.
Tipping Cab Drivers
It is also becoming common to tip a cab driver in the UK, especially if they’ve managed to navigate you to your destination while avoiding heavy traffic. Many rideshare apps allow you to tip directly from your phone, but cash is also appreciated.
What is a Fair Tip to Cab Drivers in the UK?
Most people in the UK tip their cab driver by rounding up the total fare to the nearest pound or adding around 10% on top of the fare for good service.
Tipping Hotel Staff
Leaving a tip for hotel workers, such as porters who carry your luggage or concierge staff who provide additional services, is also considered appropriate in the UK. You can also leave housekeeping staff an additional gratuity, but this isn’t as expected.
What is a Fair Tip to Hotel Staff in the UK?
For porters, a tip of around £1-£2 GBP ($1.80-$3.70 AUD) per bag is the standard amount. For a concierge, the tip amount is up to you and will ultimately depend on your satisfaction with the service and the level of discretion provided.
UK Tipping Etiquette: How to Give a Tip?
There are a few different ways you can tip in the UK, depending on both the situation and your personal preference. However, as some places (particularly restaurants) add a service charge to the bill, tipping, in this instance, is completely optional.
Should you wish to leave an additional tip on top of the service charge, you can either leave cash on the table when you leave or hand it directly to your waiter. Or, if you’re in a pub or bar and want to tip your bartender, you can either round up the bill or leave some loose change.
When tipping in hotels, handing cash directly to the staff is the best option. You can also leave a small tip (usually a few pounds) out for housekeeping staff, making sure to leave them a note explaining it is a tip for them.
Top Tip: Tips made using card machines often don’t go to your server, so it’s best to leave a tip in cash wherever possible. You can get excellent rates on AUD TO GBP here.
Are There Any Cases Where You Should Avoid Tipping in the UK?
The most common instance where you should avoid tipping in the UK is when a pre calculated service charge has been added to the bill, and you should always check to see if it’s there. In many cases, this service charge is optional and can be removed, making it easier for you to tip your waiter in cash and giving you control over how much you want to tip.
There’s also no need to tip at fast food restaurants or takeaways in the UK, as these establishments tend to operate on a self-service basis, meaning that tipping isn’t expected.
You also don’t need to worry about tipping if you’ve made a very small purchase, like buying a single coffee from a coffee shop. Many places will have a tip jar that you can throw your loose change in, but again, this isn’t expected.
Like everywhere else, you also aren’t expected to tip if you have received poor service from anyone, whether they’re waiting staff or a cab driver.
Heading to the UK? Get the Best Rates of British Pounds at Crown Currency
Before you head to the UK, make sure you get the cash you need not only for tipping but to experience everything the country has to offer. At Crown Currency Exchange, you’ll find the best rates on AUD to GBP with zero commission fees and no hidden costs. Find your nearest Crown Currency Exchange store here, and get all the information you need from our friendly team of experts.