Britons want transparency on tipping, survey shows

Most Britons think service charges should no longer be added to restaurant bills and want tighter regulations to make businesses more transparent about tipping, a survey has found.

Two thirds of people (63%) want to see the removal of discretionary service charges from their bills and 58% think the entire tip, except tax deductions, should go to employees, the poll for the Institute of Customer Service (ICS) found.

The survey also found 84% want the Government to amend consumer protection laws so that businesses are clearer about the cost of service and cover charges in the leisure, hospitality and tourism sectors.

The ICS said customers should be able to offer a payment directly to those who service them, but only if they choose to and at an amount they think is appropriate.

It said the arrangement would lead to employees understanding that they would be the direct recipient of a reward if they work hard to provide an excellent service, and businesses would benefit from more engaged staff delivering better service and therefore improving their long-term relationship with customers.

ICS chief executive Jo Causon said the findings, part of the organisation's response to the Government's consultation on tipping, gratuities and service charges, showed that "a new normal is needed, where greater transparency inspires greater trust between consumers and organisations".

She said: "The current lack of clarity, consistency and understanding around how service charges are paid to, and received by, employees is creating mistrust amongst consumers and dissatisfaction amongst employees.

"Customer priorities are changing. They are more concerned with employee attitude, behaviour and competence than they are with price - and they want to reward great service properly.

"We also know that engagement increases when employees feel they are treated fairly, meaning that a transparent approach to tipping is more likely to build engagement and, with it, excellent levels of service."