In a study of 19,317 people, more than half said they felt awkward about tipping because they were concerned their tips would not go to the waiting staff.
A third of diners said they were unsure about how much they should tip. Young people were the most confused about this and in excess of 50% of this age group felt the most inclined not to tip at all.
There was also uncertainty around the use of credit card machines to add a tip with a third of Brits finding the process confusing.
The issue also meant some confusion with food operations that had differing views on the process of tipping. An independent survey of 75 UK dining-out venues showed that they were almost all pro-tipping (96%) but would like the process to be made more transparent.
Venues were divided on their policies regarding optional service charges with 54.17% not adding a charge to the bill while 34.72% did add a discretionary charge. The remaining 11.11% only charged for dining groups.
Of those venues surveyed, 81% said they would welcome new legislation that required all restaurants to share tips with waiting staff. Just shy of three quarters (73%) offered the ability to tip via credit or debit card.
AA Hotel and Hospitality Services customer support manager Caroline Walford said: “Tipping is optional and while there is no legal obligation to leave one, our research brings to light a social dilemma affecting the majority of British diners.
"Perhaps this survey points towards a lingering British embarrassment surrounding money or perhaps it’s time for more clarity for both consumers and those in the hospitality industry. It’s always advisable to ask whether the service charge is included on a bill at the end of a meal.
"If not, a standard tip tends to be 10% of the total. However, this amount is discretionary and if your service or dining experience has been exceptionally good or unusually disappointing the amount you leave can reflect your experience accordingly.”