From a former waitress: There's a mistake you're making when you tip.

There are no two ways around it: tipping in Australia is bloody confusing.

In fact, new research from Open Table finds 80 per cent of us are feeling pretty clueless about what exactly we should be doing.

Your thought process at the end of a typical evening at a restaurant might go a little like this:

1. But but but it’s not an innate part of our culture.

2. And the food is expensive.

3. Heck, most people don’t like to tip.

4. I don’t like to tip.

5. … But, I feel rude not tipping.

6. I’m not an asshole.

7. OK, fine, I’ll cough up some dough.

8. Wait, how much? 5%? 10%? 20%?

9. Ah crap, I have no cash. OH WELL.

Image via iStock.

Alas, as you go to swipe your card, a dreaded question flashes up on the screen. It's imploring you to tip, because it's 2017 and there is no escape. "HOW MUCH?", the machine prods.


To make matters even more awkward, the restaurant manager bears down on you as you try to decide just how stingy you want to be.

So, it's perhaps without surprise that as a result of our increasingly cashless society, a lot of people these days are leaving tips electronically.

But as a former waitress, I can tell you there are bosses out there who don't treat tips as fairly as they should.

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The hospitality union, United Voice, has previously stated credit card payments are a "huge problem", and they tell Mamamia it's possible for electronic tips not to land in the hands of the people who worked to deliver you great service.

"Tips via credit cards are OK, but cash does increase the likelihood of the tips reaching front of house and kitchen staff - for whom they are intended," said a union spokesperson.

About half of Australian diners are keen to tip 10 per cent of the total bill - but only when they're happy with their experience, according to Open Table's figures.

That's because, unlike in the USA where hospitality workers rely on tips for their livelihood, we see tips as more of a 'thanks', a nod of appreciation. They're an afterthought.

Yes, you should be tipping. Love, wait staff everywhere. (iStock)

So when you tip, tip wisely. It's advised that you ask your server whether gratuities are distributed among the workers or go towards the restaurant.

But truly, the best way to ensure your $10 tip is passed onto those working on the main floor and in the kitchen is by leaving cash.

Even if you aren't sure whether or not you will tip at the end of your meal, plan ahead.

Drop by an ATM to withdraw a little cash before you enter the restaurant. Your waiter will appreciate it.