Despite rising costs, spending in restaurants rose by 20% in 2022, compared with 2021. And while there’s no expectation to tip in the UK, there’s a lot of evidence to suggest Brits readily reach for their wallet after buying a product or service.
For instance, 36 percent said they would always tip a person as a matter of course, and over half (60 percent) claimed to add a gratuity if they are impressed by the service. Thankfully, only 7 percent of people surveyed said they would never leave a tip, forcing the most frugal diners into the minority.
The overriding opinion among people who said they would never tip is that they shouldn’t have to part with extra money if they’ve already paid for a service. There were also a handful of respondents from this like-minded audience (13%) who said that bosses should pay their staff correctly, rendering tips redundant. The least likely people to refrain from tipping belong to those who earn £15,000 or less, for obvious reasons.
In true British fashion, 22 percent of respondents said they would tip even if they’re unhappy with the service they’ve received, while 24 percent leave larger gratuities during the festive season.
There must be something in the water up north. Because statistics show that as we head northward, more people are willing to leave a tip. Scotland tops the generosity charts, with Glasgow (55%) and Edinburgh (51%) leading the charge for gratuities paid for products or services.
Large swathes of Liverpool, Sheffield, and Newcastle all purport to reward their hospitality sectors handsomely, while 35 percent of Mancunians prop up the front runners. In contrast, the most frugal diners live in Birmingham, Norwich, and Plymouth, where 10 percent of respondents admitted to never leaving a tip.
Unsurprisingly, 63 percent of our respondents said that the number one reason for leaving a tip is to show that they’re satisfied with the service provided. Likewise, half would do so if they liked the person — men twice more likely if they fancy them!
However, there’s also arguably an overriding sense of deference that permeates British hospitality culture. Around a third of people surveyed (33%) said they tip out of common courtesy, while 19 percent argued it was rude to do otherwise.
But life after the pandemic could end such generosity, with a fifth of respondents admitting to having less disposable income for gratuities. Despite these challenging times, 26 percent of people said they would dip into their pocket for people who might have struggled due to restrictions.
The pandemic has meant most businesses have moved to card payments for fewer contact points and more sanitary environments. However, before the restrictions, 91 percent of people said they always tipped in cash. The primary reason for this (64%), it seems, is because customers want to ensure gratuities are passed directly to the people serving them. Over half of the people who said they tipped by card pre-pandemic said it was for ease.
A controversial point affecting pandemic life is the “Covid Fee.” While most people (70%) haven’t encountered such a charge, 13 percent said they have, which has resulted in 16 percent tipping less money. Moreover, half of the respondents (54%) said they wouldn’t tip if a business enforced a Covid Fee.
It’s young people who are the most mindful of helping struggling businesses, with 16-29-year-olds twice more likely (23%) to tip during the pandemic compared to 60+ customers. Statistics also show that the latter age segment is less likely to tip on card (51%), untrustful of how employers share the money among staff.
Many Brits are making a conscious effort to reward the hospitality sector, but research suggests that waiters were also the most tipped profession before the pandemic started. Results show that 41 percent of people rank them first in their list of most deserving occupations. Pre-pandemic, barbers and hairdressers were second (21%), while taxi drivers formed 18 percent of responses.
What’s interesting is that as we approach post-pandemic life, 30 percent of people have started to tip barbers and hairdressers — up 9 percent. Takeaway delivery drivers have also seen tipping rates rise by 5 percent. In terms of the least favourable sectors for tipping, 56 percent of people said they don’t reward postal workers and over half refuse to pay tradespeople gratuities (54%).
It seems that the size of tips has gone up, too. Research suggests waiters receive a fifth more than before the pandemic began, while 1 in 10 people now give 20 percent extra to coffee shop employees. Surprisingly, 35 percent of people said they’d leave a bigger tip when paying with cash, and only 13 percent are more generous when using a card.
We’ve all become wiser to the incredible work produced by our NHS during the pandemic, which is perhaps why 31 percent of Brits say they would love to start tipping healthcare workers. Likewise, nearly a quarter of our respondents said that supermarket staff deserve gratuities, while 22 percent showed high praise for carers. Bus drivers, delivery firms, and retail workers also look set to earn more tips post-pandemic.