Eating Out & Tipping Trends

If you are like me, you have seen first-hand the struggle many businesses – especially restaurants – are having hiring enough employees right now. An acquaintance who owns a prestigious restaurant company in our metro area said they are so short-handed, they are running at only 50% capacity.

As a result, I’ve been tipping extra since the pandemic began last year. I like restaurants and want to encourage their staff to come to work and keep the industry going. Where I used to give about 20%, I’ve been rounding bills up to 25%.

Hell, I’ve even been tipping counter-service restaurants that I don’t think really deserve tipping. Anything to help people out right now and encourage them to come to work.

According to this Bank Rate survey, many people adopted these behaviors during the pandemic, but now people are reverting to their old behaviors. Tipping is now about the same as it was before the pandemic. The pandemic premium has gone by the wayside.

A few numbers from the survey are interesting: 1) about 25% of people skip tipping completely in sit down restaurants: 2) only 59% of people tip food-delivery drivers; and, 3) few people tip in coffee shops. Just 24%.

The survey also explores tipping in taxis/ride shares, hair dressers, hotel housekeeping, and teachers. Overall, most Americans are confused about tipping and folks from other countries think tipping in the USA is pure madness. Adding to the mayhem are restaurants now charging ‘health insurance’ and ‘social justice fees’.

Once most people get back to work, I’ll return to my pre-pandemic tipping patterns. For now, I think employees and businesses need a little help and I’m happy to voluntarily provide it. M

How Have You Been Approaching Tipping Lately?

Image Credit: (c)

9 thoughts on “Eating Out & Tipping Trends

  1. I totally agree

    I have been doing the same …..whether it’s for my hairstylist , house cleaner , or Instacart delivery person

    I’m adding an extra 5%

    what the heck it’s worth it and you really can’t take it with you 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes – a ‘Pandemic Premium’ to reward service workers who are helping businesses get restarted is great right now.


  2. Tipping has reached a tipping point. When I by corn and tomatoes from a local farmer van nearby, I tip the young man or woman 30%. They are college kids, up early to harvest, and sell produce during all hours on a hot day. Price for this local produce doubled this year. But I add the big tip anyway. Value received by me results in value given by me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah – it’s pretty clear to see who is putting in the effort and who isn’t. I’m not a big fan of the places with tip jars to ‘reward’ someone to put my order in a register and watch me swipe my card. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes. I have definitely tipped significantly heavier since the pandemic began. Like you, as things return to normal, I’ll return to a more normal 20% level. I’ve doubled up a few tabs for our smaller local businesses that have struggled to continue operating over the past year.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve also started tipping significantly more during the pandemic, including at counter service and take out (~10%). I’ll probably continue it.

    I tend to think about it in terms of putting money into the economy. I’ve come to think that by tipping, I’m giving money to people that will likely use it quickly and have a high velocity of the money…..HS kids, folks that earn very little, etc. It hasn’t replaced my DAF or charitable giving, but I think of it as another way to share my abundance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah – that’s the perfect way to think about it. It’s a charitable gift to help people out, even if you can’t write it off your taxes!


  5. Im not a fan of the tip jars everywhere either. If they can put it out there and make a few extra bucks then I cant fault them but Im not a supporter of it. If I put in a super large order and they did a lot of running around to put it all together for me, then maybe I’d toss in a few $ for them in that case.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree – I’ve been more willing lately to throw in a buck or two, but I won’t be doing it once we are beyond the pandemic employment shortfall.


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