Tipping Etiquette in Australian Restaurants

What's the proper way to say thanks for a great time, polite acknowledgment of a difficult job, or simply because it’s a noble tradition? Some restaurant owners see tipping as a weekly bonus rather than the raison d’être of the job. In the US, the rule is to add 15% to 20% to the bill. In the UK, many restaurants add a 12.5% service charge – and if not, people normally tip about 10% unless the service was bad. 

However, in Australia the rules are there are 'no rules for tipping', although, Australia’s upper-tier restaurants anecdotally report that more than half of their customers tip.

So, what about tipping etiquette in Australia? We have put up a frequently-asked-questions list about tipping etiquette in Australia, that may help solve any confusion of tipping.

·         Question 1- Do you tip for takeaway?

Answer: Only if the waiter packed your food magnificently within a fraction of a second in an aerodynamically-designed container.

·         Question 2- Should you tip bad service?

Answer: No. Definitely not. That would make a mockery of the whole system. Tipping is for good service, although ingrained tippers would argue it’s for “good enough” service.

·         Question 3- Can you tip individual waiters?

Answer: Well, generally restaurant etiquette demands that tips go into a communal tip pool, but yes, you can choose to tip your server individually at the end of the meal.

·         Question 4- Can you be sure it’s going to the wait staff?

Answer: Unfortunately, you can’t. However, the chances of your tip making it to the right people increase by leaving cash rather than a credit card.

·         Question 5- How much should I leave for a tip?

Answer: There's no fixed amount for tipping. If you've had good service, and if in doubt, leave 10%.

[Our Previous Blog : Top Things To See And Do In The Whitsunday Islands]

·         Question 6- Do you only tip in restaurants?

Answer: Ultimately good service is what a tip is for, so if you have received good service in a cafe, then why not.

·         Question 7- Should you still tip for bad service?

Answer: It should be a reward. If you don't get good service, don't tip.

·         Question 8- Should big groups leave more than 10%?

Answer: Tipping is discretionary, but if you have a large group you should probably pay a tip in recognition of the increased strain on staff.

·         Question 10- Should you tip for bad food and great service?

Answer: If you get average food but the waiter is trying to make sure that you have a great time, don't punish the waiter. What you're tipping for is the service.

Furthermore, if you ever find a token is included on the bill, you can always ignore paying a tip. You really needn’t tip on top of it unless service was so good that it would have made angels weep.

Jonathan Campbell

Aussie Trip Advisor, 12H Nob Hill, Roseland NJ 07068

Aussie Trip Advisor hand-craft Australian itineraries on a fee-for-service basis