AA Hotel and Hospitality Services clear up dinner table confusion

With festive dining in full swing across the UK, restaurant staff will be working flat-out to meet demand at the busiest time of year. But new research shows Brits are uncertain about how to show appreciation for good service. So how should diners spread the festive bonhomie?

Over half (54 per cent) of British diners find the UK tipping etiquette confusing and awkward according to the latest *AA populous survey, and 81 per cent of restaurants surveyed independently say they would welcome clear legislation on where money from tips should go. At a time of year when so many of us will be dining out, AA Hotel and Hospitality services clears up the confusion.

The survey of 19,317 restaurant-goers shows that there is bewilderment around how much to tip, how to tip and uncertainty about who gets the money left as a tip.

  • Over half of customers said they felt awkward about tipping because they were concerned their tips would not go to the waiting staff.
  • A third of customers never know how much they should tip. Young people were the most confused about this and over half felt the most inclined not to tip at all.
  • Uncertainties around using credit card machines to add a tip affected 75 per cent of the over 55s, while a third of Brits overall found the process confusing

An independent survey of **75 UK restaurants showed that they were all pro-tipping but would like the process to be made more transparent.

  • Almost all (96 per cent) of UK restaurants welcome tipping
  • Restaurants are divided on their policies regarding optional service charges with an almost even split (54%.17 per cent) between those excluding and including service on their customer’s bill
  • 81 per cent of UK restaurants would welcome new legislation that requires all restaurants to share tips with waiting staff
  • Over three quarters (73%) offer the ability to tip via credit or debit card.
  • Over half exclude service charge from their customers’ bills

A spokesperson from AA Hotel and Hospitality Services said:

“Tipping is optional and while there is no legal obligation to leave one, our research brings to light a social dilemma affecting the majority of British diners. Perhaps this survey points towards a lingering British embarrassment surrounding money or perhaps it’s time for more clarity for both consumers and those in the hospitality industry. It’s always advisable to ask whether the service charge is included on a bill at the end of a meal. If not, a standard tip tends to be 10% of the total. However, this amount is discretionary and if your service or dining experience has been exceptionally good or unusually disappointing the amount you leave can reflect your experience accordingly.”


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