This is How Much You Should Actually Tip Your Server Gallery

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Even though it's not practiced in many parts of the world, tipping is still going strong in the U.S. Although a handful restaurants of have done away with tipping and instead tack on a service charge or include the cost of service in the price (even though Danny Meyer recently reversed course and brought tipping back to his restaurants for a variety of reasons), at just about every restaurant, bar, and coffee shop, you're going to need to leave a tip, like it or not.

Even if you believe that tipping is an inconvenient and arguably outdated practice, it's still something that you're bound to encounter quite often, so you might as well become a master of what to tip in every situation. There's no official rulebook for how much to tip; it's largely dependent on the quality of the service, but there are baselines for everything. For example, plenty of people think that a dollar per drink at a bar is acceptable, but that's just not the case in every situation.

To determine the right amount to tip a waiter, a bartender, or a barista, we reached out to multiple members of the service industry to get their takes on how much to tip. We also pulled data from multiple online surveys and polls of industry workers regarding how much customers usually tip, and how much is preferred. So the next time you find yourself rummaging through your pockets to tip the delivery guy, or calculating the tip on that lengthy bar tab, you'll know exactly how much to fork over.



"Twenty percent is the new normal, not a nice tip," one industry veteran told us, and that's certainly the case. "I tip 25 to 30 percent every time, because I know how hard the industry is," he added. While you're certainly not obligated to tip 30 percent, going past 20 is par for the course for good service. Most waiters depend on tips in order to make a living, and even if service is poor it's not always the server's fault. We wouldn't advise venturing any lower than 17 percent.



If you're just picking up dinner from your local Chinese restaurant, leaving a tip isn't a necessity, but a buck or two is always appreciated. If you're picking up a large order, however, you should plan on tipping at least 10-15 percent, because boxing up all that food isn't easy and takes up valuable time. 



Delivery tipping has lots of variables, and as opposed to restaurant tipping, it doesn't always come down to the price of the food. Three dollars should be the baseline for delivery (if you think about it, even that's a small price to pay for someone who brings you dinner when you're in your pajamas). If it's raining or cold, if the delivery person had to travel far, or if the delivery is especially heavy, a couple extra bucks will be certainly appreciated as well.



A good rule of thumb at the bar? The longer it takes to make your drink, the more you should tip. If you're ordering a beer, a buck is fine. If it's a simple cocktail, like a vodka soda, make it two. Anything that involves a cocktail shaker is worth a $3 tip. If it's a lengthy tab, tip 20-25 percent. If it's a crowded bar, tipping well on your first round might keep you top-of-mind for the bartender, and if you have one too many and are a nuisance, tipping well is the least you can do.





The majority of tippers at coffee shops toss whatever loose change is returned to them into the tip jar, and there's certainly nothing wrong with that. But if you're a regular, or if your drink took an especially long time to make, tipping a dollar or more is nice. 


Drink Server

If you're sitting in a lounge area and only ordering drinks, treat the server like you would any other when it comes time to tip, with a minimum of twenty percent. All those martinis aren't easy to walk with across a crowded room!


Coat Check

It's standard (and expected) to tip the coat check attendant a dollar per coat when you're on your way out. 


Room Service

At this point, most hotels have taken to the practice of adding a service charge onto the room service bill, so check the tab when you receive it and make sure gratuity is covered. If it isn't, 15 to 20 percent of the total room service bill is expected. And we definitely suggest you order room service if it's offered by one of the best hotel restaurants in the country. 

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