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Should you tip when you eat out in Australia?

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In some parts of the world, notably the United States, workers in the hospitality industry rely heavily on tips to supplement a meagre hourly wage.

That's not the case here in Australia and, although tipping is becoming more commonplace in restaurants and cafes, it's still regarded as a gesture of appreciation.

With this in mind, it's only necessary to tip if you're really happy with a restaurant's food or service.

tip or not to tip eating out australia

If you have a lengthy wait for the menu or food, or the service is below your expectations, there's no obligation to tip. In terms of how much you should pay, a straw poll of colleagues suggests a tip of about 10% is standard.

A handful of spare change in the counter coin jar is seen as adequate at "cheap eats" venues. Other diners round up the bill by a few dollars.

If you feel the wait staff have been particularly attentive, pay your tip in cash rather than adding it to the credit card bill.

This way you know the money's going to the right person rather than being pooled in general restaurant revenue. If your budget is tight, simply thanking floor staff for great service will be a much appreciated gesture.

If you're dining as part of a large group, some restaurants may automatically add a gratuity to the bill, often calculated as a percentage of the total tab.

When this happens, there is no compelling reason to add an extra tip of your own other than as thanks for an outstanding experience.

A former Chartered Accountant, Nicola Field has been a regular contributor to Money for 20 years, and writes on personal finance issues for some of Australia's largest financial institutions. She is the author of Investing in Your Child's Future and Baby or Bust, and has collaborated with Paul Clitheroe on a variety of projects including radio scripts, newspaper columns, and several books.
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