According to a recent survey by restaurant technology company Popmenu, most consumers said that during the pandemic, they paid more than 20% of tips to restaurant staff.
Over the years, countless articles generally recommend tipping between 15% and 20% in sit-in restaurants, but only more than half of customers tip their servers 20% or more, and one-fifth tipping exceeds 25%.However, only 38% of customers tip Delivery workers 20% or more.
But does this mean that social norms have changed in terms of tipping? Is 20% the “new 15%”, and should you pay 25% or more for great service?
“The benchmark for basic services is 15%, but if you have extra cash or feel inspired, then do it and tip more,” Lizzie, great-granddaughter of etiquette expert Emily Post and host of Emily Post’s Awesome Post said the Etiquette podcast. “I won’t tell everyone there that they absolutely must tip 20%, especially if it doesn’t meet your budget.”
Having said that, Post said that people should not be stingy in paying at least 15% tips for decent service, because restaurant staff rely more on tips than other jobs. Under federal law, employers can pay restaurant employees less than the minimum wage—as low as $2.13 per hour—if the tips they receive total $7.25 per hour.
“If you gave me a 5% tip when I was a waiter, I would consider you a bastard or unfamiliar with our tipping customs, unless there is an obvious bad thing, such as I spilled a drink on you,” Post said.
The survey also found that 6% of customers usually do not tip at all, which Post considers “ridiculous”.
“My advice to these people is to never let your tip speak for you,” Post said. On the contrary, if the service is below the standard, she recommends paying 15% and talking to the manager to resolve your concerns.
“Ultimately, I want to see workers pay higher wages,” Post said. “In that case, we don’t need to rely so much on tips, but pass the money on to customers. This is a matter of our own discretion.”
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