Australian Restaurant Etiquette: Your Guide to Dining Out Down Under
Australia is divided on tipping. The US has a 15%-20% tipping policy. Many restaurants in the UK add a 12.5% service fee. If they don’t, customers tip 10% unless the service is poor. In Australia, there are no rules.
Anecdotally, my sources from Australia’s top-tier restaurants report that more customers tip than half. What about cafes and less expensive restaurants? Take-out food is also possible. Operators at the lowest end of the spectrum are most likely to expect pocket change or a few dollars more on their bill.
PayWave, which allows any transaction below $100 to be paid electronically, led to a decrease in tips.
John Kanis, a veteran restaurant owner from the Lucas Group (Chin Chin Kong, Baby and Kong all in Melbourne), says, “I would say that the industry has definitely been impacted.” It was a huge hit with our staff when it was introduced. Then, as people got used it, the situation stabilized. My estimate is that tips are now between 5% to 10% lower than they were before.
“But I visit places all the time that don’t ask for tips. They still haven’t got over the hump and I have to ask them how to tip. They would be taking a bigger hit.
Why tip? It’s the right way to thank someone for their hard work, politely acknowledge them for their efforts, or because it’s part of a long tradition.
Jess Ho is the branding expert for Channel Seven’s Restaurant Revolution. She also owns the South Melbourne wine bar Smalls. Tipping is not the reason d’etre but a weekly bonus.
“I don’t do it to get tips. She says she does it for hospitality. Many people view it as a wage supplement, rather than a bonus. It encourages professionalism, regardless of how you view it.
What about tipping etiquette Example: Do you tip take-out? Answer: only if the waiter performed a magnificent feat, such as bagging the food in an aerodynamically-designed aluminium foil swan.
Or, should you tip a bad service provider? Answer: no. Absolutely not. This would be a joke on the entire system. Although tipping is for excellent service, inveterate tippers might argue that it’s not for sufficient service. In the USA, tipping is in the range of 15% to 20%. However, in Australia, the general rule of thumb is 10%. However, a cafe will accept 5%.
Do you have to tip waiters individually? Yes, you can tip individual waiters $20. However, restaurant etiquette usually requires that it be deposited in the communal tip pool.
Is it possible to be certain that the tip is going to the waitstaff Despite the fact that tipping is illegal, you cannot be sure. It’s a game that involves trust and can be ruined by the negligence of a few. It is important to note that leaving cash instead of a credit card gratuity will increase the chances of your tip reaching the right people.
If gratuity is added to the bill, you have the right to refuse to pay it. Except for exceptional service, you don’t need to tip.
Who tips in Australia? Ho said that students either tip heavily or not at all. Tourists: “Yes, definitely.” Young families: no. The wealthy, or those who spend a lot, tend to be more successful than the rest. You can be sure they won’t tip if they say it was a great night. It’s an act of overcompensation.
Kanis says, “The bottom line, you can’t tell who’s going tipping and who isn’t.” Kanis believes it’s a good thing. “Restaurants were meant to be democratic places. It would be a disaster for the industry if you could profile people.