Tipping in America can seem complicated, especially if you're visiting from a place where tipping is not the norm. Here's how to keep your waiters, waitresses, bartenders and cab drivers happy, while also fighting wage inequality in the USA.
Taxi drivers should get tipped 10% of the fare, but a minimum tip is
Lyft, a ridesharing operator, offers an in-app method for tipping. Uber also introduced tipping functionality in 2017, and it's recommended to tip 15–20% for a great service, 10–15% for good service, and 10% for mediocre service. Don't forget, your Uber driver will rate you, too.
When you retrieve your car from the valet, US $2 is a standard tip. Some people also tip when dropping the car off. If your valet driver has sprinted three blocks to get your car in a timely fashion, US $5 is a nice gesture.
Tip concierge US $1 per bag (
Tip cafe or restaurant staff 18% for good service, 20% for excellent service, and 15% for poor service.
Many restaurants and cafes will be recommended how much to tip at the bottom of your receipt, which removes a lot of confusion for customers. Many restaurants will include a gratuity on the bill for groups of eight or more; look over your check before paying to avoid leaving two tips.
The only time it's acceptable to not tip your waiter or waitress is if you’ve had a terrible time, and you’re confident it’s the wait staff’s fault. Don't take a chef's inadequacies out on your wait staff. Always communicate what the problem was before you leave; you might get a free dessert or a discount for your trouble.
For cafes or takeaway restaurants that do not offer table service, you are not typically obligated to leave a tip. However, during the pandemic, you should tip around 15-20% for takeaway or delivery.
No tip is required for a barista, but dropping any loose change into the tip jar is always a nice gesture.
For room service, tip US $5 minimum, but check to make sure the tip hasn't been included on the bill.
The tipping economy extends beyond cabs, restaurants
For spa services or a trip to the hairdresser, tip 15–20%. Coat checkers should get
Cash tips are always appreciated, so try to keep some dollar bills handy. (Though, during the pandemic, it's best to put these in an envelope.) If you're paying for a two-for-one special or are using a discount coupon, your tip should still be based on the full price.
Many Americans in the service industry work for low hourly wages and feed their families on the tips they earn, so failing to tip is a serious, and personal, affront. It can get ugly when confronted by an angry worker who, quite rightly, believes you’ve ripped them off.
Always tip discreetly; don’t make a big deal out of it. However, don’t tip if it’s not deserved. Perhaps provide the person with polite feedback to let them know why you are not tipping, and maybe they'll take your advice on board for future customers
Fair and generous tipping is more important now than ever. With indoor drinking and dining limited or banned in many places around the country, the number of patrons has been cut back substantially, along with the opportunity for servers to receive tips.
The same is true for skycaps and housekeeping staff, now that travel has been so greatly reduced. If possible, consider raising your normal tipping rate. It's good etiquette to tip now for restaurant takeout services (other than fast food) and for grocery or food delivery - 15%-20% is a good guideline. Keep in mind that delivery fees are not a tip, and don't typically go to the delivery person.
Also keep in mind that service-industry workers are at a potentially high risk of catching COVID-19 because they deal with the public all day. Do your part to help protect them (and yourself) by wearing a mask in public areas, in your rideshare vehicle, and/or whenever requested, and by practicing social distancing and good hygiene.
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