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16th Feb 2023

Food writer sparks backlash after saying ‘no one in Britain deserves a tip’

Jack Peat

He said British workers deliver “barely passable service”

A food writer has provoked a social media storm after arguing that no one in Britain deserves to be tipped.

Writing in The Telegraph, William Sitwell said UK workers expect tips “when they deliver barely passable service” in comments that have ruffled a few feathers.

Unlike in the US, where staff rely on gratuities to get by, the UK has a higher minimum wage and therefore less of a tipping culture.

But when it comes to restaurants and, in some cases, delivery services, many decide to add a little on to help workers out.

Sitwell, however, says tipping in the UK should not be a thing because British workers don’t deliver the same standard of service as in the US.

The comments have divided opinion on social media, with one person saying it speaks to archaic hierarchical structures.

Bylines reporter Adam Bienkov also pointed out that Sitwell is the heir presumptive to the 200-year-old Sitwell Baronetcy, a title in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom.

While others pointed out that Sitwell is Eton educated and the godfather to Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg’s kids.


It’s not the first time Sitwell has come in for criticism for articles he’s written.

He was forced to stand down as editor of Waitrose Food magazine after suggesting a series on “killing vegans, one by one”, back in 2018.

The Telegraph piece has since been edited to ‘Tipping for groceries? You must be joking’.

But Sitwell did go on to speak to GB News for a segment on the ‘customer service crisis’.

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