Half of British diners would still leave their waitress a tip despite receiving bad service in a restaurant it has been claimed.
A survey conducted by Which? magazine has found that diners either choose not to remove their service charge from their bill after bad service, or do not realise they are being charged.
It also found that a quarter of diners tip on top of service charges, although the magazine claims this can happen without the consumer realising if a credit card slip or machine is left open for a tip.
The Good Food Guide editor Elizabeth Carter says: “Tipping in restaurants is a thorny problem. How much should you leave, and when should you withhold a tip? Most restaurants say service charges are optional, so customers should feel comfortable putting a line through the suggested tip if they feel the service didn’t merit it.”
The biggest tippers in the UK were found to be in the south of England, where 62 per cent say they leave at least 10 per cent, the amount considered to be the accepted minimum for good service. Diners in the north of England were labelled the least likely to tip, with 70 per cent claiming they do at least sometimes.
Earlier this year, research analysts Maritz discovered that the majority of diners (88 per cent) see tips as a way of rewarding good service, with 79 per cent saying they would withhold a tip if they believed the service wasn’t up to scratch.
"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."