Diners tip despite bad service Which? poll finds half won't cut service charge

25 September 2008

dining room of a restaurant

The Good Food Guide names its best UK restaurants

Half of consumers wouldn't ask for a service charge to be reduced or removed from their bill if they received bad service in a restaurant, says a new Which? survey.

The poll, published today, found three quarters of diners sometimes tipped and 85% varied the amount depending on the quality of service.

But in cases of bad service, 49% said they wouldn't demand a reduction or removal of a service charge and 24% said they leave an extra tip on top of service charges.

Optional service charges

Good Food Guide editor Elizabeth Carter said: ‘Most restaurants say service charges are optional, which means customers have every right to deduct the charge if they've not had good service.

‘But many customers are reluctant to put themselves in awkward situations by removing service charges.’

More than half of people surveyed said they usually leave tips of 10% or more, with one in five choosing smaller amounts of around 5% even if they receive good service.

Regional differences

Those living in Northern Ireland are most likely to tip – 87% of them leave extra at least sometimes.

The Scottish are the most frequent tippers, with 55% always leaving extra. Those living in the north of England are least likely to leave a tip.

The most generous tippers live in the south, where 62% reported tipping 10% or more, but in Northern Ireland just 31% of people tip this amount.

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