What's the right tip?

This is the fourth in a weekly series where I, Jonathan Frakes, ask the Drowned In Sound community questions taken from the show Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction which I hosted from 1998 - 2002.

What’s the right tip?
  • I don’t tip
  • I tip according to the service I receive
  • I tip a fixed percentage
  • I am a generous tipper

0 voters

What do you think of tipping culture?
  • I like tipping as a concept
  • I don’t like tipping as a concept

0 voters

Give us your thoughts about tipping, and how it differs in different places.

Tipping is a nightmare. I’ve put that I’m a generous tipper, because that’s what people I’m with tell me if we’re trying to work out a tip in a restaurant or whatever. I think basically out of awkwardness I don’t want to tip too low.

Just pay people properly and tips become unnecessary.


Currently though I am a generous tipper due to having spent the majority of my working life in hospitality. Always cash, never a card gratuity, and always handed directly to the server.
Also nearly always add a drink for the barperson into any round over 3 drinks.

Yep this. Make everything 10-15% more expensive if necessary, pay people properly, would then occasionally tip for something exceptional.

As it is I’m a generous tipper, also a regular drink buyer/equivalent value giver to bar staff as they generally get the rawest deal money wise

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And because whenever someone did this for me I’d always serve them much faster for the rest of the night but mostly the altruism thing


Really miss working Old Firm games in a Celtic pub and being called Tim. Always a valuable source of free pints.

*I’m still called that.


It’s total bullshit. In my job, if I fuck up or have to deal with a dickhead I still get paid the same. Why shouldn’t that apply to everyone? It’s not even consistent with other service jobs - you can’t pay less for your groceries if there’s a queue or the checkout assistant doesn’t smile at you enough

As @Hostile_17 says, non-optional service charge (or just include it in the food prices if it’s a flat %) is the way to go.


I got a Deliveroo on Friday and forgot to tip the driver and I can’t do it retrospectively because I ordered on the website rather than the app and I felt bad about it all weekend

I tip according to my bank balance which sometimes means not tipping but if that wasn’t an issue I’d tip everyone generously.

Tend to do a big tip day on payday weekend. Then I hope the rest of the month they’re kind with my meagre to non existing offerings.

Genuinely puts me off visiting the US (a little bit, not saying it’s a dealbreaker) – do you have to tip everyone? If it’s one of those hotels with a guy at the door, do you tip him, and how much? Is a dollar insulting? Is five wildly generous? You can’t tip $5 every time you go in and out can you? Fuck it, I’m staying home.

I tip generously on Uber and Uber Eats to make up for the guilt of using Uber and Uber Eats and it’s nice when they make use of the “Thanks for the tip!” functionality and you get a wee notification later that day/evening


I also always say “Do you actually get the tips if I add it on the card machine?” and then change my policy based on their answer


Best one was during Cheltenham week some guy who was watching the racing in my pub won £20k so gave me £250 to put behind the bar to ‘get you and your mates as drunk as I am’. That was a good afternoon.


aka the Ticketmaster model: you think it’s cheap until you get the final bill and there are loads of add-ons.

Business should be upfront about how much something costs, and that includes restaurants. If a plate of food costs £23, make it clear on the menu. Not charge £20 and add 15% when the bill comes.

And make sure you pay all your staff enough so that they don’t have to rely on tips, or a handout from the service charge.


This is good if you can guarantee that the serving staff will see the full amount.

We weren’t allowed to accept tips and used to get them pro rata’d over the whole year, as we used to only really do private events (weddings, conferences, etc.) - got split between the front of house, kitchen, events team, gardeners, etc.

Would have to tell people I couldn’t accept cash tips and they would give us cigars and stuff (#cambridgelife) as if it were some smart loophole - mate I’m seventeen what am I going to do with this? (Answer: smoke it on the top floor of vodka revolution on a student night, obviously)


Tips are very good for if you want to make that really good joke about “I’ve got a tip for you” and then it’s like “always make sure you wash your glasses first” or what have you

Do we really think tipping would stop being a thing if staff were paid appropriately? I have my doubts.

Counting out my tips at the end of a shift was the highlight of my service industry days even if it was next to nothing. Whatever I had in tips was what I could spend on getting some dinner on the way home from the co-op. Always hated the super busy days when staff hadn’t shown up and I ended up working three times as hard and there’s bound to be a drop in service as a result no matter how hard you try and so you get fewer tips for doing more work than ever.