Tipping in Kenya, Why Kenyans Won’t Tip

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Tipping in Kenya, Why Kenyans Won’t Tip

coins left to pay for a coffee at a cafe. Tipping in Kenya is not very popular

Let’s talk about tipping. That extra cash you give, for great service most especially in the hospitality industry, that’s a tip. Wikipedia, (because it knows everything), defines a tip, also called gratuity as the sum of money in addition the basic price, given to certain service sector workers for a service performed or anticipated.

Tipping is not mandatory but in some Western countries it is part of their culture. While not mandatory in these countries, it is often customary to give a tip. The tipping culture in Kenya is significantly different. Despite the fact that over the years it has become more popular,  especially in high end restaurants, hotels and cafes, it still doesn’t compare to other countries.

Image of a lady seating at a cafe. Tipping in Kenya hasn't caught on

Tipping in Kenya

Tipping in Kenya is more popular with tourists than it is with the locals. Tourists visiting for a Kenyan safari or staying at Kenyan hotels and restaurants for the first time are constantly looking up the tipping culture and the tipping etiquette in Kenya.  The locals on the other hand, don’t always tip.

Some Kenyans have argued that you shouldn’t be expected to pay extra for a service you are entitled to. That it is unreasonable for you to pay more to someone whose job it is to provide that service. One argument put forward to counter this is that employees in some industries aren’t paid as much therefore tips will supplement their incomes. In response, some have argued that it is not the customers’ obligation but the employers’ duty to ensure that they (the employees) are paid well enough.

Employees also have something to say about tipping in Kenya. Unlike in other countries, they do not always expect a tip. Most of them appreciate it but do not expect it, especially not from the locals. Clearly there are a lot of arguments concerning this. To discover which side of the tipping coin Kenyans fall on, Yululate held a twitter chat on tipping in Kenya.

Image of man with empty pockets illustrating tipping in Kenya

Kenyans have varied opinions about tipping in Kenya


Let’s just say you lot are funny.

Image of a tweet on Tippingg in Kenya

One said that they tip only if the server doesn’t hit on their girlfriend..

Image of a tweet on Tippingg in Kenya

He is not a tipper. he shows appreciation by saying thanks, then asks for water to wash down the meal..lol

But the banter aside, those against tipping in Kenya mentioned that sometimes the pressure to tip not only inconveniences customers but it puts a damper on the dining/lunching experience, making it awful. Some said that they felt shortchanged for being expected to tip.

The general consensus however was that while it is not a must, Kenyans, will tip for great service. But only if they have the extra cash. Might not be much, but most say they would leave a tip if their service providers went above and beyond to make their customer experience excellent.

Image of a tweet on Tippingg in Kenya

Image of a tweet on Tippingg in Kenya

Some Kenyans leave the small change as tips

Image of a tweet on Tippingg in Kenya

Great service for the win!!

Also raised during the twitter chat was the fact that most customers will not only not tip because of bad service, they will also not complain. Instead, they will take their business elsewhere.  This paints a picture for businesses who are yet to master the art of customer service. It makes it important for businesses to acknowledge that customer service is key and that they should improve on it, lest they lose their customers.

image of Customer Service Meme explaining tipping in Kenya

Customer Service Meme
(Google Images)

So should you tip? And how much should you tip?  Leave us a comment below and let us know. You can also review businesses, their products and services on Yululate.com.



Zeddy Kosgei
Zeddy Kosgei
Journalist with a passion for writing. Follow on Instagram-@zeddykosgei //Facebook-Zeddy Kosgei//Twitter- @zeddykosgei

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