A Handbook to Tipping in Dubai

Restaurants and tipping in Dubai0

In some places around the world, tipping is expected when you go to a restaurant or use valet parking. It might even be looked down upon if you do not tip. On the contrary, in some other parts of the world, people don’t appreciate it if you pay anything to the waiter outside the regular bill.

So what about Dubai? Should you tip, or should you not? In fact, things are much more relaxed in Dubai. Millions of tourists visit here every year. There is a mixture of cultures everywhere here. So people are generally understanding and are used to other customs and their conventions. For that reason, there is no hard and fast rule. 

Another thing is that, in the UAE, its against the law to add tips to the bill or anything else of that kind other than the price of the food in restaurants. Still, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tip.

Restaurants used to add an extra amount as service charges in the bill. But this was banned according to the consumer protection law. But restaurants in luxury hotels and other special places like an amusement park or a cinema can charge you 10 percent more.

Though it is not compulsory, it’s customary to tip in some places like high-end restaurants and hotels. Unlike the US, nobody will make any fuss if you leave the restaurant without tipping. So whether you tip or not, you won’t get into any dispute over it.

Tipping Culture in the US vs. Dubai

Americans are known for their generous tipping habits. Even though they borrowed this habit from the Europeans, and they took it a level further. Europan tip generally ranges from 10- 15 percentage. In the US, anything less than 15 percent is bad manners.

It even affects the laws. Employers can pay less than minimum wage for workers who get tips. Although that is not the case in Dubai, people agree to work at lower wages in hopes of receiving tips. Keep in mind that there is no mandated minimum wage in Dubai.

How much should I tip

Let’s suppose that you chose to tip instead. How much should you pay then? In the US, you should tip at least 15% of the bill. Anything less than that means you are unhappy about the service and will probably never visit that place ever again. There is nothing like that in Dubai.

People usually tip a fixed amount to save the effort of calculation or just let the waiter keep the change. Anything above 15 percent of the bill amount will be larger than necessary to pay in Dubai. Those receiving it might even look at you in surprise. In most cases, a tip of 10 or 20 AED a good tip. 

Restaurant waiters

If you really liked the service, you can pay 15 percent of the bill as the tip. But expect to get a look of surprise from the waiter. Most of the time, it will be considered too big of an amount. People only accept tips from European visitors. It will be more convenient to simply round the bill amount.

Bellboys/valets

If you have change, a tip of 5 or 10 AED would suffice, especially if they had to carry your heavy luggage. But you don’t have to fumble through your pocket if you don’t have change.

Taxi Drivers

You can tip them the same way as the valley or a bell boy. In this case, you can also let them keep the change. They would be happy to do that.

Delivery drivers

In the case of delivery drivers, rounding up the bill amount to the nearest figure will make a tip and also make things easier for you and them. 

That being said, most people won’t expect you to tip. Not will they ask you any tip. So you can choose as you wish without feeling any cultural taboos. Nevertheless, service workers continue to receive tips from foreign tourists, and that makes a huge part of extra income for them. Tourists usually tip their tour guides and desert safari drivers. So in Dubai, tipping is not necessary, it’s more of a bonus.

What else can you do instead of tipping in Dubai

If you choose not to tip and do what the Romans do in Rome, there are a few options for you. Leaving good feedback about the service you received will do great for the employee. Taxi services like Uber and Careem have an option to do that by default. 

Whom should you not tip

Tipping government employees and civil servants falls under bribing and can get you into jail. 

Which workers get the most tip in Dubai

In Dubai, waiters in restaurants, food delivery drivers, beauticians, and maids get the most tips. Following them are maintenance servicemen, laundrymen, and taxi drivers. Drivers of online taxis do not get tips that often from the customers. This can be due to the fact that the all payments are online, and there is no chance of rounding up the fare or letting them keep the change.

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