Brits are the ‘rudest guests and worst tippers'

24 September 2009 by
Brits are the ‘rudest guests and worst tippers'

British people are the rudest guests and poorest tippers, according to a straw-poll of front-of-house staff conducted by Caterer.

The survey of waiting staff conducted by found that 38% thought British people were the rudest guests, followed by the Americans, who received 19% of the vote.

British guests were also found to be stingiest, with 50% of waiters outing them as the poorest tippers, however the Irish, French, Scandinavians, Italians, Spanish and Eastern Europeans also came under fire. Bizarrely, the Americans were also found to be the politest guests, with 23% of waiters voting for them, while French and Japanese guests came joint-second with 14% each.

On a more positive note, 95% of waiters thought they had a career to be proud of, and 85% felt they had a clear career path.

When it came to bringing theatre to the table, almost a quarter (23%) of waiters felt that this side of service was dead, but 95% still felt that waiters should be trained in traditional skills like flambé and gueridon work.

In a separate survey, luxury hotel group Von Essen found that 96% of its customers thought waiting was a job to be proud of, while 85% felt it offered a clear career path.

When it came to front-of-house skills, the customers were more positive about the nature of waiting, with 97% of guests believing the age of theatre at the table was still alive and kicking, and 100% supporting the idea waiters should to be trained in traditional skills like flambé and gueridon work.


  • A woman asked me to cut her hair before a wedding
  • A customer sent back toast three times because it was the wrong shade of brown.
  • Would I be interested in running a "Dungeon" ?
  • Can you put my paper out (It was on fire)
  • To sit down and eat the guest's meal for him
  • Serving a lady in her nightgown in the middle of a busy restaurant.
  • I was asked to cut up a steak for Barbara Cartland's dog
  • To replace a guest's cheeseburger with something else. He didn't know why he'd ordered it, he was vegetarian
  • To predict what they would order - I did

For a more in-depth look at front-of-house issues, see Caterer's feature focus, In the front line

Customers still pay service charge after bad service >>

Poor service isn't enough to stop the British tipping >>

Rude waiter sacked from Halifax restaurant >>

British guests have mastered the art of making complaints >>

By Gemma Sharkey

E-mail your comments to Gemma Sharkey here.

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