Hospitality industry Fourth explored diners’ biggest bugbears, tipping and what consumers really look for when choosing where to dine, in its survey of 1,000 people in the UK.
London leads the way with diners leaving a 10.75% tip on average, according to the data.
Diners across the south of the country tend to be more generous, tipping an average of 9.05% of the bill compared to their northern counterparts, who tip an average of 8.34%.
What consumers like
Good-quality service and variety are the key elements that tempt British diners to eat out.
The survey showed that food quality is a focus for UK consumers, with 78% of diners listing it as the most important factor driving their dining out choices.
Figures showed that diners from the north-east are the most cost-savvy, with 45% picking value for money, and highlighting offers and discounts as their main attraction when deciding where to eat.
The research also analysed who diners preferred eating with when they go out.
Across the board, the findings highlight that as a restaurant-going public, Brits would rather dine with their pet than their colleagues.
What consumers don’t like
Fourth communications director Catherine Marshall said: “While it’s clear that the UK’s dining scene continues to prove popular with consumers because of its vibrancy, quality and choice, our survey unearths some of the habits, idiosyncrasies and frustrations experienced by diners across the country.”
Price is the most common source of irritation among diners.
London diners are most likely to put up with rude service, with 14% of people surveyed highlighting it as an annoyance when dining out.
On the contrary, 30% of diners from the south-east noted rude service as a main frustration.
Diners from the Midlands and Wales are the least confident in their own kitchens, with people in these locations more likely than any other to go out for dinner because they don’t like cooking or believe that eating out tastes better than what they can prepare at home.
Marshall continued: “What it demonstrates is that operators with estates across the UK need to be pragmatic to the cultural nuances and demands of each region.
“Differing approaches to tipping is indicative of the convoluted and often confusing nature of this practice, both in how much to leave staff and also how to split up tips.
“With the Government proposing new tipping legislation in the Queen’s Speech, a new industry body for forming very recently, and several consumer-facing tech businesses innovating in the area, we look forward to engaging and supporting operators as the industry looks to identify a sector-wide approach.”
In the Queen’s Speech on 14 October, it was announced the Government will deliver new legislation to ban employer deductions from tips.
The new Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill means workers in restaurants, pubs and hotels will receive 100% of their tips in order to make it transparent to customers how tips are shared out among employees.
However, the new bill spurred various reactions.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The code makes it clear to businesses, employees and customers how tips can be fairly shared so that all team members get what they deserve, and customers can be confident that the money they tip is going to the correct place.
“Legislation on tipping threatens to add another unwanted burden on businesses at an already very hectic time.”
The Licensees Association chief executive Nick Griffin said: “Of course, the devil will be in the detail of any bill and while it may grab headlines to say staff will receive 100% of all tips, there is still much we need to understand about how this is to be done.”
Griffin added that while the key to any adopted system is that it is transparent and fair, it must be ensured any relevant taxes are levied at source on increased income to make life as simple as possible for employees.