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Mastering UK Tipping Etiquette: A Guide for Hospitality Business Owners

4 min read

In this article we’ll cover:

Understanding and implementing proper tipping practices is essential for hospitality business owners in the United Kingdom. Ensuring that your staff is well-informed and customers are satisfied with their experience can lead to increased loyalty and revenue. In this article, we will explore the nuances of tipping etiquette in UK hotels and restaurants, providing guidance for business owners looking to enhance their establishment’s reputation and customer experience.

Grasping the British Tipping Culture

Tipping in the UK is less obligatory than in some other countries but remains an integral part of the hospitality industry. Generally, customers are expected to tip a percentage of their total bill, typically between 10-15%, as a sign of appreciation for good service. As a business owner, it’s essential to educate your staff on the importance of providing exceptional service to warrant tips and ensure customer satisfaction.

Navigating Restaurant Tipping Practices

To create a positive dining experience for your customers, it’s important to understand the standard tipping practices in UK restaurants:

  • Encourage your staff to provide attentive and friendly service, warranting a tip of around 10-15% of the total bill.
  • If your establishment includes a service charge in the final bill (usually around 12.5%), make sure this information is clearly displayed on the menu and the bill to avoid confusion. In these cases, customers are not expected to tip additionally.
  • Train your staff to graciously accept tips when they are offered and to respect the customer’s choice not to tip if they are unsatisfied with the service.

Managing Hotel Tipping Etiquette

Hotel tipping practices can vary depending on the type of service provided. Here are some guidelines to help you manage tipping etiquette within your establishment:

  • Bellhops/Porters: Inform your staff that it is customary for customers to tip £1-2 per bag, depending on the size and weight of the luggage. Ensure that your staff provides swift and courteous service to warrant these tips.
  • Housekeeping: Encourage guests to tip housekeeping £1-2 per night by providing a small envelope or note in the room with information on tipping practices. Emphasize the importance of maintaining a clean and comfortable environment for guests.
  • Concierge: Train your concierge team to provide exceptional service, such as securing reservations or tickets, which can lead to tips of £5-10. Ensure that they are knowledgeable about local attractions and events.
  • Room Service: Remind your room service staff that a tip of 10-15% of the bill is customary, unless a service charge has already been included. Instruct them to deliver orders promptly and professionally.

Addressing Tipping in Pubs and Bars

In UK pubs and bars, tipping is less common, but it’s important to create an environment where exceptional service is appreciated:

  • Train your bartenders to provide attentive and friendly service. While tips are not expected, customers may choose to leave a small tip or offer to buy the bartender a drink (known as “having one for yourself”) as a gesture of appreciation.
  • Ensure that your staff is aware of this practice and knows how to graciously accept such gestures from customers.


By mastering UK tipping etiquette and implementing these practices within your hotel or restaurant, you can create an environment that fosters exceptional service and customer satisfaction. Educate your staff, set clear expectations, and watch your hospitality business thrive as a result of increased customer loyalty and revenue.