Revealed: how much you should tip for services in Dubai?

New guide is published to make this decision easier for you; reveals who gets the best tips in emirate

No matter how frequently you go to restaurants or hand out tips to your favorite barber in Dubai, it can be difficult to decide who and how much you should tip.

A 10 percent tip on a restaurant bill is seen as pretty standard in some cities, but in others it can be seen as an insult to the waiter.

Now, Dubai-based online platform ServiceMarket.com has put together a guide to make this decision easy for you, based on a survey of more than 250 UAE residents. 

The survey revealed that UAE residents are great tippers, with almost half of respondents saying they tip “everytime” or “most of the time”.

The quality of service matters, as more than 50 percent of the respondents only gave tips when the staff did a good job, and the amount depends on how happy they are.  

So who gets the most tips in Dubai?

The survey suggested that waiters/waitresses and food delivery persons are the luckiest of all with over 74 percent of respondents saying they tip them all or most of the time.

This is compared to laundrymen and Careem/Uber drivers who very rarely get tips. 

These are the full results of which professions are more likely to receive tips in Dubai:

Waiter/waitress (79 percent)

Food delivery person (70 percent)

Salon technician/hairdresser/beautician (63 percent)

Cleaner/maid (53 percent)

Home services companies (maintenance, moving, painting) (45 percent)

Taxi driver (37 percent)

Laundryman (30 percent)

Careem/Uber driver (20 percent)

So how much should you tip? According to ServiceMarket.com, here's a guide. 

Restaurant staff: Many people think that they don’t need to tip if the bill includes service charges. However, the services charges are usually kept by the restaurants and not distributed among the staff. So, be sure to tip the waiters even if there are service charges. The customary amount is between 10 and 15 percent of the bill.

Taxi/Careem/Uber drivers: Many Dubai residents also choose to give tips to taxi as well as Careem and Uber drivers. You can either give AED5 or AED10 to the driver or just let them keep the change. 

Hairstylists and spa staff: You can either tip AED5 or 10 percent of the bill, whichever is more.  

Supermarket staff: Many people choose to ask one of the staff members at the supermarket to help them pack and bring the groceries to their car. Small change should suffice. 

Delivery drivers: There is often a small fee for delivery of items to your home. But if you don’t want the drivers to fumble through their pockets to look for change and want to show appreciation for their service, you can round it up to the nearest currency note and let them keep the change. 

Home services staff: It is also customary to give a tip of AED5-20 to staff that provide home services in Dubai such as cleaning, maintenance, moving and painting.

Valets, bellhops, and housekeeping staff: In Dubai, the standard tip for valet service, bellhops and hotel maids is between AED5 and AED10 per night of stay.

ServiceMarket.com is a Dubai-based online marketplace that provides quotes and online bookings for moving, home services, and home and car insurance services in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the rest of the UAE, through a network of more than 300 partners.

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Posted by: PSJ

Instead of trying to influence the tipping habits of a couple of million residents and millions of tourists, the restaurants should be made to comply with a law stating that the service charges are distributed among their employees. With the systems in place already, I don't think it would be too much of a challenge to link the service charges collected by establishments and their distribution via WPS to employee accounts.
In this way there is no ambiguity regarding where the service charges finally end up and restaurants/service providers cannot use this charge as additional margin.

Posted by: Dave Reeder

I rarely tip in restaurants for three reasons. Firstly, I see a tip as a reward for extra service not just for bringing and clearing plates. Secondly, there is nearly always a service charge on a restaurant bill, so why am I being morally blackmailed into paying it twice? Thirdly and most importantly, the people who do the job of getting me a great meal are the guys working the stoves - how often do you see diners even bothering to ask the wait staff to thank the chef and his brigade? I say remove service charges and the expectation of tips, adjusting menu prices accordingly and create a level playing field with a clear policy of 30% of the service charge equivalent going to front of house and 70% going to kitchen staff (including the vital pot wash!).

Posted by: gordon

If I remember correctly, when the UAE banned service fees from being added to the bills in restaurants, it was decided that we should tip direct, however the hotels were then given an exemption for certain reasons, I don't suppose it was to do with the drop in revenues.

As such I pay a tip to the restaurants that are not in a hotel, but why are we expected to pay a service fee and a tip. I may be a bit simple, but I thought a tip was to pay for the service? So who keeps the money? if it is the restaurant then what service are they providing?

People may say, but we should tip the waiter/waitress, what about the dishwasher, the cleaner, the cook etc?

The idea of the tip (service fee) being paid into a pot was to distribute to the staff.

I believe that the price quoted should be the total price you pay, and the price quoted should include all the fees, tips etc.

Posted by: MattJ

Fantastic to read this article for future reference on travels to Dubai and abroad in the Middle East. Thank you Arabian Business.

Posted by: Nick James

If a restaurant is charging a service charge, it should go to the staff, but the restaurant owners are greedy, hence why restaurant staff in Dubai are so miserable.

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