A survey of British diners has found that almost 60 per cent would prefer to leave a discretionary tip rather than pay a service charge.
According to the research by Maritz, the majority of diners (88 per cent) see tips as a way of rewarding good service with as many as 79 per cent saying they`d withhold a tip if they felt they`d had a bad experience.
With Brits generally being poor at complaining, Maritz says making tipping discretionary could be an easier indicator of customer satisfaction.
"Tipping serves a valuable function in empowering customers to promote good service," said Stephen Harwood, Client Services Director for the Hospitality Industry at Maritz Research: "But, customers also want the discretion to choose when to leave a tip. Including service in the bill makes an assumption that all aspects of restaurant service have been good and could mean that the restaurant owner loses a key indicator of restaurant performance."
The research also found that 65 per cent of the 1,039 diners questioned felt under pressure to tip and almost half said they`d prefer to dine in a restaurant where no tip was expected.
Meanwhile, Unite and the Daily Mirror are still urging restaurants to sign their Fair Tips Charter which aims to get a fair deal for all waiting staff and stamp out scams that leave them short.