Should Australia follow other countries where tipping is expected?

Published: 12 May 2017


Overseas tipping is a foregone conclusion… a cultural institution that goes without saying: you tip for everything.

But on home-soil, we aren’t even tipping our waiters, let alone bellboys, cabbies, or the Dominos delivery driver.

Tipping etiquette is a tricky one in Australia, because we absolutely love forking out for food, but according to new research from OpenTable, only a small portion of us are willing to put our money where our mouths are when it comes to gratuities.

Are we stingy, is it because food is often twice as expensive as it is overseas, OR do we just pay our hospitality staff enough that they don’t need tips?

It probably boils down to a combination of all three.

The study showed that a shocking 21 per cent of Australians say they never tip at all, and a massive 80 per cent say they are confused about tipping etiquette.

Gen Y’s are the stingiest and most money conscious, with around a quarter of Gen X likely to offer a gratuity.

Regular Sydney diner, Joseph Tavella, dines out around three to four times per week, and says in his opinion it all comes down to the service.

“It’s pretty circumstantial, if I feel like my waiter or waitress did a great job, super attentive, then I tip them and I’m more than happy too.

“Some of my friends, they tip all the time, they think that’s the norm, and on the flip side some of them never tip,” he said.

He recognised our much friendlier wages compared to overseas, and says that’s why we shouldn’t have an issue not-tipping; because our staff aren’t dependant on it.

Unlike in the United States where they can be paid as little as $4 an hour.

“I don’t believe it’s completely necessary, we’ve been a little influenced by the United States, tourists who are coming here and don’t understand, so they tip and then it’s become almost an expectation.

“If it is part of their culture, then yes I do. So if I’m going to America, I know I need to tip because they aren’t making a lot of funny, it’s part of their culture.”

Mr Tavella also said there is a big difference between tipping over something casual, like a kebab, and a big dinner with lots of people and lots of service.

“If I’m with a bunch of friends, and we’ve had a big meal and there’s a lot of people and a lot of work that’s gone into what we’re doing, or we’ve been a bit rowdy, then we will tip.

“But if it’s something casual between two or four people and there’s nothing really special about it, then I’m not tipping.”