Tipping in Ireland when visiting restaurants, a Chefs guide.
I’ve lived in Ireland all my life and worked in the hospitality industry for many years as a chef.
Tipping in Irish restaurants has always been a subject many need clarification on, especially tourists. I will explain everything you need to know about Tipping in Ireland in Irish Restaurants in this article.
Is Tipping Mandatory in Ireland?
Tipping in Ireland is not mandatory, but it is considered good practice if you believe your service or food was good and you wish to show your appreciation.
In most restaurants in Ireland, no service charge is added to your bill in most restaurants.
In some restaurants, if you book a large party, they may add a service charge to cover the use of the space. If you are informed of this, then no tip is expected.
When you receive your bill, always check just in case to see if a service charge has been added at the end. If you see one, then I wouldn’t tip.
From working in the hospitality industry for years, I wouldn’t say I like seeing a service charge added to the bill. All costs should and normally are worked into the cost of the food, so there shouldn’t be a need.
I would only agree with a service charge when there is a large party booked. From experience, when large parties book a restaurant, they normally never tip.
I wonder if they think someone else has tipped or if they think giving you their business is enough. It annoys me when I have worked cooking meals for a large party, and I find out they never tipped.
Large parties tend to be a lot of work for the kitchen but, most importantly, the front-of-house staff. I don’t know what it is with large parties, but their manners tend to be left at home.
Do You Tip Waitstaff in Ireland?
In most restaurants, not all, but most, the tips are shared out between the front of house and the kitchen staff. If you tip a member waiting staff, tips are normally put together at the end of the week or month and split between the staff.
This is how it has worked in every restaurant I have worked in, and if I worked for a restaurant that didn’t share the tips equally, I would leave.
It should be fine if you tip the waiting staff or leave your tip at the till before leaving. If you are unsure, ask a member of the waiting staff how tips are handled in the restaurant.
How Much to Tip in Irish Restaurants?
How much you tip is down to you. People normally say that between 10% and 20% is enough. From working in restaurants for many years, waiting staff are normally grateful for a kind word and a tip.
If I were to suggest a sum of money to tip in an Irish restaurant, I would say anything over €5 would normally do. If the service and food were exceptional, I would tip €10.
Tipping based on a percentage of the bill is not done, and the waiting staff normally wouldn’t base a tip on how much you spend.
If you have had a bad experience where the food wasn’t up to scratch, or the service could have been better, I wouldn’t leave any tip.
By the way, if you are thinking of visiting Cork I have a fantastic article on the best Restaurants in Cork you might like to read.
Who are the worst tippers?
I’ve been working as a chef for many years in Irish restaurants, and from my experience, the worst tippers are Americans.
It may be the case that they believe the tips are included in the bill or that they are unsure if they need to tip.
I have always found it strange that, coming from a culture where tipping is the norm when American tourists visit us, they tend not to tip at all. Don’t get me wrong, they are fantastic and love the food and service; they don’t seem to tip.
As a chef, I love having American tourists visit restaurants I work in because I love showing them real Irish food. I will always go that little bit extra when preparing their food because I want them to see how good our food is.
The most important thing for me as a chef is that when a tourist leaves, they leave full and with happy memories. If they haven’t tipped, I am not too bothered about it.
The front of the house will almost always make the tourists feel comfortable and welcome, so it would be nice if a tip were left as a thank you.
So if you are an American tourist visiting Ireland reading this, remember, if the service and food are good, leave a little tip if you can; even if it’s something small, the gesture means more than the value of the tip.
Leaving Reviews of Restaurants in Ireland.
I decided to put this one in here as a bonus feature for those visiting Ireland.
In Ireland, we use Yelp sparingly, as other countries might. Google Business and TripAdvisor are the two main places for giving a good or bad review.
When you visit a restaurant, pub, hotel or cafe in Ireland, snap a little photo of your visit on your mobile phone and upload it to the business’s Google page.
If your experience is good, leave a rating and a little review. Giving reviews on the Google business page is a great way to inform other tourists and helps the business rank locally.
If you have had a poor experience, maybe leave a rating and explanation of why your experience wasn’t the best and how they could change it.
You could always leave them a review on Tripadvisor, too, but the Google Business page is normally plenty to share your visit.
If you take a photo of the food you have ordered, take the picture before you eat and try to make it look as good as possible. As a chef, I hate seeing food which I have put a lot of time into creating a look like trash in an image, half-eaten and posted for everyone to see.
Help the business by posting the best image you can. Sometimes leaving a great image and a nice review, if they deserve it, is more welcome than a tip and shows the business you appreciated the service.
Tipping in Ireland, final tips.
You don’t need to tip your bartender in pubs, it’s not normally done, and most bartenders won’t even know what to do with it.
Taxi, don’t tip your taxi drivers. The taxi rates in Ireland are pretty high, and tipping is unnecessary. If you like, you can tell your driver to round up your fair when paying.
I think I have only ever tipped a taxi driver, maybe once, which was an apology for having to listen to a drunk friend for 20 minutes.
In hotels, tipping is not expected. It’s something people see in movies a lot, and maybe in some countries, it is expected, but in Ireland, it isn’t.
Leaving money in your room to thank the cleaning lady is probably also bad. From my experience, cleaning staff in hotels are told they could lose their jobs if they remove anything from a hotel room that is not their property.
Yes, it might be a nice gesture to leave them a thank you, but if they take it, they will probably spend their shift worrying about if they will get in trouble.
When visiting Ireland, first off, enjoy your stay. If you visit a restaurant with fantastic food or service, leave a little tip as a thank you. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, but at minimum, I would tip €5 if you can afford it.
If you are visiting and on a strict budget and feel you can’t tip, let the server know you enjoyed the service or food and thank them. Servers don’t often get thanked for their work; when they do, it’s appreciated and can make their day.
If you don’t tip, then at the very least, try to leave them a positive review on their Google Business page or TripAdvisor, only if they deserve it.
Positive reviews will always benefit a business, and we most appreciate your effort.
Enjoy your stay while visiting Ireland, and I hope you leave with many great memories.