Brits ask: Is it rude to remove the service charge at a restaurant?

Brits ask: Is it rude to remove the service charge at a restaurant?

August 14, 2023

Is it rude to remove the service charge at a restaurant? Britons question tipping culture in restaurants – wondering if service charges should be added to the bill

  • One Brit was left feeling  ‘urked’ when he failed to spot the charge on his pub bill 

Britons have been left pondering over whether or not it is rude to remove the ‘service charge’ from a restaurant bill.

In the US tipping culture is commonplace, but in the UK the exchange is one steeped in murky water.

Several Brits have taken to a Reddit thread to share their thoughts on whether it is impolite to take off the service charge, and the resounding response was no.

Many justified their stance saying the UK doesn’t depend on tipping culture like other countries, many cited the US as an example.

One person argued: ‘No that’s why we have a high minimum wage.’ 

Another chimed in: ‘Not rude at all, we should be doing our very best to reject this Americanism. It has to be one of the worst cultural exports that’s come out of there.’

‘I missed it on my bill at a pub in London a few weeks ago and it still irks me.’ 

File photo of a man paying for a restaurant bill with his credit card. Many Brits agreed on the Reddit thread that it was not rude to remove the service charge from the bill

File image of two friends enjoying a meal. One commenter said we should reject this ‘Americanism’, branding it ‘one of the worst cultural exports’ to come out the country

Someone else quipped: ‘No, they rely on you thinking it’s rude or embarrassing to remove it.

‘What is it for? Service? I expect to be served in a restaurant…’

One individual who claimed to be a UK waitress said she even asks for the service charge to be removed when she goes out for food.

‘We don’t even get the service charge as wait staff! Technically they do give us a portion but it’s a very small portion.’

She continued that she is unable to take the charge off of someone’s bill without permission but loves when people ask.

But not everyone was in favour of taking off the charge, some believed you should handle it the the British way – pay for it and then complain on your way home. 

Many chimed in to the debate saying it was rude to automatically add a service charge to begin with

One user who claimed to be UK waitress went as far as to say she ‘loved’ when people asked to remove the tip because wait staff only see a ‘very small portion of it’ according to her. Pictured: A waitress sets a table at Jamie’s Italian restaurant in Canberra

While others said removing the service charge is unfair on hospitality staff who work hard and aren’t well paid.

One person wrote: ‘Service hospitality jobs don’t pay well. Businesses are still struggling after COVID, available hours are down and Costs are higher. 

‘A more American approach is required because simply put, the basic wage doesn’t pay the bills. ‘

They added: ‘Basically judge accordingly, if the service is good, pay it or remove and tip the staff directly’

One commenter agreed stating that if service is good you ‘shouldn’t’ remove the charge. 

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