Is it Rude to Not Leave a Tip?

Most of us have done it at one time or another, for one reason or another; we were broke, the service was bad, or we weren’t sure whether tipping was appropriate or not.

But, is it considered rude to not leave a tip? Find out by reading the full and in-depth answer below!

Is it Rude to Not Leave a Tip?

Not leaving a tip, in Western countries specifically, is often seen as incredibly rude. 

The fact of the matter is people who work as waiters and waitresses are often paid far less than minimum wage by their employers. 

That means, when you don’t leave them a tip, they aren’t earning enough money to pay their bills at the end of the month.

How Rude Is it?


On a scale of 1 to 10, not leaving a tip rates 8 on the rude meter. Bear in mind that our rating is based on the assumption that we are talking about not tipping in a Western-oriented country like Mexico or the United States.

In many Asian countries, it is the opposite; leaving a tip in Korea or Japan is considered a very rude thing to do. That is why it is important to understand a country’s culture and tipping etiquette before embarking on a visit.

Why is it Rude?

In most countries where the wait staff relies on tips, not tipping is akin to purposefully shorting them on their paycheck. That is because the minimum wage for waiters and waitresses is much lower than the regular minimum wage for the country. 

For example, in the united states, waitresses have made approximately $3 an hour for the last couple of decades, whereas the minimum wage has been approximately $5 to $10. 

In reality, people who rely on tips tend to make far less than those preparing the meals or managing the establishment do. Even delivery drivers, historically, have made at least standard minimum wage.

Common Questions

When is it rude not to tip?

If you receive good service, you should always tip the wait staff. These employees are paid far less than the rest of the staff and in essence, rely on your gratuities to earn a full wage and pay their bills like everyone else.

When is it ok not to tip?

In western countries, it is not ok to not tip unless your service and food was terrible. Even in the case that the food and service was just “ok”, you should tip. These employees that serve you food, and drinks, and take care of you while you are eating are counting on your tip to make up for their tiny paychecks. If they take good care of you, you should tip them for it. If they don’t take good care of you, or are flat out rood, that is when it is ok to not tip.

Why should you always tip?

You should always tip if you are in a country where tipping is proper etiquette for several reasons: the food was good, the service was good, the price was low, and it is the polite thing to do. In some places, gratuities are included in the bill, but if they aren’t you should still tip.