How many times have you been in a situation where you have been unsure of whether or not you were expected to tip your waiter? We’ve all been there, scrutinising the bill, trying to determine a gratuity in line with the level of service we have received. But is gratuity only expected in cases of exceptional service? Does it only apply to restaurants? What about hairdressers and car guards? Tipping may be widely practised, but it is still an incredibly confusing societal norm. Here is what you need to know.
The idea of tipping (acknowledging a certain level of service by overpaying on a bill or service fee) has been around since the early 17th century. It is said to have originated in England, where ‘tip’ was supposedly an acronym for ‘To Insure Promptitude’. Now, some 400 years later, tips form an integral part of the salaries service workers can expect to earn, especially if they are going above and beyond to give you the best possible experience while enjoying a meal or indulging in a spa treatment. While tipping is entirely discretionary and dependent on the level of service you receive, knowing what is considered standard in various situations can not only help you decide if the service that you’ve received was up to scratch, but can also assist in budgeting and planning your activities.
HOW MUCH TO TIP IN SOUTH AFRICA
Waiter: 10% of the bill is considered standard in South Africa. Some restaurants charge predefined service fees for larger groups.
Bartender: Anything from small change to 10–20% of the total order, dependent on amount of and types of drinks ordered
Cab driver: Round up to the nearest 10 in a metered cab for short distances. Leave up to R20 for longer distances, depending on the service.
Hotel housekeeper: R50 per day per room cleaned
Beauty practitioner: 10–20% for spa treatments.Tipping in hair salons isn’t standard but up to R20 can be given to the person who washes your hair.
Car guards: Small change up to R10