Tipping is only nominally
optional in America. Although tipping in US is technically voluntary, if you
leave a restaurant without paying the extra cash, you will very certainly be
pursued by a waiter who will demand to know why.
For a person who visits the
United States for the first time, this country's tipping culture can be
confusing. How much are you expected to give? When and when is it appropriate
to tip? What if you don't follow through? How did this entire ritual begin in
the first place?
Simply put, the low wages of
waiters and waitresses are the reason for widespread tipping in US. Every state
decides its own minimum wage, although federal law sets the minimum pay for
tipped employees at $2.13 per hour. Therefore, tipping in America is a means to
help these workers obtain a fair wage because their pay is so low.
Keep reading this article to
find out some important things about tipping etiquette in US.
should you tip?
Workers' rights in the
United States differ from those in many other countries in Europe and around
the world. The minimum wage is low, and in some states, waiters, cleaning
staff, drivers, and other low-wage workers receive even lower wages.
These workers would be
unable to pay their costs for basic requirements if they did not receive tips.
As a general guideline of
tipping in US, you should tip anybody who works in the service industry—that
is, anyone who assists you with a service. Servers are often courteous and
knowledgeable and work hard for a living.
Service providers who are
frequently tipped include waiters, bartenders, doormen, tour guides,
hairdressers, and even food delivery people.
But keep in mind that not
everyone can benefit from tipping in America, since some industries prohibit
employees from accepting gratuities.
teachers, USPS mail carriers, flight attendants, and some fast-food workers,
for example, are not permitted to receive tips.
do you figure out how much to tip?
Calculating the appropriate
tip is more complicated than it appears. When the check comes at the end of the
meal, you decide to tip 20%, but what percentage do you use?
As the rule of thumb of
tipping in America, you can take the whole sum including tax at the bottom and
use that as your baseline.
20% is easy to work with and
you won’t need the calculator on your phone. Just take the last digit off and
then round up the remainder. For example, if your total is for $127.14, the
rounded number you get will be $13.
Now multiply the result by
two (in this case, $26), and you've completed the calculation.
does tipping in US hotels work?
First and foremost, do not
tip the person that checks you in. This is a common misunderstanding.
However, you are expected to
tip for additional services immediately after check-in - $1 to $2 per bag when
it is delivered to your hotel room is appropriate, and you may want to give the
concierge $1 to $5 depending on how difficult the task you've requested them to
assist you with is.
Housekeeping is among the
most physically demanding occupations in the hotel industry, with some of the
lowest pay. It's also the most underappreciated role in hotel tipping in US.
Even though we habitually
tip nearly every single service industry worker, only approximately thirty
percent of guests tip the personnel who clean their rooms. So, it’s a good idea
to tip your hotel maid.
Make sure the tip is
visible, such as on top of the pillow or blanket, so the maid doesn't believe
it's just your money laying around.
you tip if the service was poor?
You might be debating whether
or not to tip if the service wasn't quite up to par. Because the waiter wasn't
attempting to satisfy you, why should you bother tipping them when the service
was merely adequate?
The answer is that you
should tip unless the service was particularly bad. When the waiters go home
and have to find a way to pay the bills or take care of their children, the
tips make all the difference and this is what tipping in America comes down to.
However, if something
actually goes wrong, don't be hesitant to seek help from somebody if you don't
feel the problem is being fixed. If the problem is fixed, give the person who
assisted you a tip. In general, customer service in the United States is
restaurants, when should you tip more or less?
There is no doubt that the
most amount of tipping in US happens in restaurants. When you go to a
restaurant, there are situations when you really do have to tip more or less,
but getting this right can be rather difficult.
Expect to tip more at a fine
dining establishment when the service includes people perform the cooking or
preparing the food right in front of you, a sommelier pouring the drink into
enormous glasses, or live performers.
It can be difficult to know
how much to tip, so follow the trend of the regulars - sometimes entertainers
and sommeliers are tipped directly. However, in other situations, the final tip
will be distributed across all staff members.
Alternatively, unless you
wish to thank someone who was especially helpful, you don't need to tip at a fast
food restaurant or getting a sandwich to go for lunch.
If you're in a fancier
restaurant with piano music, don't tip the pianist unless you see a tip jar,
which is uncommon. In more casual establishments, you can tip musicians.
When musicians perform near
your table, you don't have to stop eating. Simply smile and wait for them to
finish. Then thank them by tipping.
you tip if the restaurant has already included a gratuity in the bill?
Whenever the restaurant or
any other establishment adds a gratuity charge to a party's bill automatically,
it is known as auto gratuity.
This gratuity is generally
equivalent to 18% of the bill and would only be given to parties of six or
eight people. This policy is usually printed on a restaurant's menu to inform
customers before they get their bill.
Automatic gratuities were
once commonly used to ensure that a waiter was suitably compensated for
handling a large group. A table of this size might seek to divide the bill,
which could cause confusion or miscalculation, leaving the server underpaid.
If you are not familiar with
tipping in America, note that if you go to a restaurant with a large party of
more than 6 or 8 people, tips may be automatically added to your bill as a
service charge, depending on the establishment.
It'll normally be set at 20,
21, or 25%, with a disclaimer on the menu to let the customers know. If you
believe the restaurant's gratuity is excessive, you are entitled to a refund.
When speaking of tipping in
US, cash is the best option. However, tips can also be added as a line item on
the receipt if you pay with a debit or credit card. You'll have the opportunity
to write down the amount of tip before signing your receipt when your server
Your waitress will bring you
the bill at the end of your dinner and take your debit or credit card. The
waitress will then swipe the card to complete the transaction and brings back
two copies of the receipt. One of the copies is for the restaurant and the
other one is for you.
These are usually labeled as
merchant copies and consumer copies. You'll make a note of the tip and sign the
merchant copy of the receipt.
The complete amount of your
meal will be included on your receipt. An empty line will display below the
cost of your food if the restaurant accepts server tips. This is where the tip
will be written.
Keep in mind that tipping in
America with a credit or debit card is usually processed through the payroll
system of the restaurant. As a result, it will take more time for the tip to reach
the waiter than a cash tip.
A cash tip might just be a
better option if you want to make sure that the server receives their tip fast.
Since the law standardized
tipping in US nearly 60 years ago, it became ingrained in the country’s culture.
The custom of tipping has grown so ingrained in American culture that some
employees take it for granted. So much so that if they are not tipped, they
will become enraged.
Tipping in America can be
puzzling for visitors from nations where it is not customary to tip. Make sure
you understand the standard tipping method wherever you go, as there are no
universal tipping rules, even from hotel to hotel.
Ultimately, tip the amount
you're comfortable paying and consider a number of suggestions before making a
We hope this article about
tipping in US would be helpful and answer all your questions.