Conventional wisdom regarding tipping when dining out long suggested diners add an additional 15% gratuity for the waitstaff when signing for the meal before leaving an establishment. Though that may still be an acceptable barometer, a recent Bankrate poll found that many adults now tip at least 20% at sit-down restaurants. The same poll found that 22% of consumers now tip at coffee shops as well.
Modern tipping etiquette can be confusing, as consumers have undoubtedly noticed the presence of tip cups at establishments where gratuities have historically not been the standard. Confused consumers can take solace knowing they’re not alone, as Bankrate also found that 15% of adults are confused about who and how much to tip. Tipping etiquette is not set in stone, but the following are some points consumers can keep in mind the next time they face a situation where a gratuity may (or may not) be called for.
Standard sit-down restaurant etiquette remains the same Various consumer etiquette experts note that tipping trends might have skewed upward, a fact of life that the Bankrate poll indicates.
A 15% tip on a sit-down meal at a local restaurant remains acceptable, but diners can use that as their starting off point. Especially attentive servers may warrant a tip at 20% or above.
Though it can be tempting to tip less than 15% if the service is not what diners had hoped for, it’s important that diners consider the lingering effects of staffing issues that many restaurants continue to confront. Such issues arose during the pandemic and many restaurants are still short of qualified waitstaff.
So unless a waiter is personally unpleasant or confrontational, diners can tip at 15% even if the service was slow.
Tips are still standard for bartenders as well The tipping standard remains the same at the bar, where tradition suggests tipping $1 per beer or glass of wine and $2 per cocktail. Cocktails merit a larger tip because they’re harder to make and require more of the bartender’s time.
When running a tab, take note of how many drinks you’ve had when paying the bill and tip accordingly.
And much like diners might pad the tip for exceptional service from the waiter, patrons can increase their tips for bartenders who were attentive and made an especially good cocktail.
Tip for takeout at your own discretion Every consumer has undoubtedly confronted a tip request when paying for takeout. Various etiquette experts note that tipping at takeout is entirely up to consumers. It’s perfectly acceptable to deny such requests.
Diners who want to tip when picking up takeout need not follow the 15 to 20% rule that’s customary at sit-down restaurants. An extra couple of dollars is enough for diners who choose to tip when picking up takeout.
Open-bar events may not require tips Hosts of open bar events often pay for serving staff gratuities up front, so there’s typically no need to tip bartenders or servers at such gatherings. Some establishments even forbid staff from accepting gratuities.
If a bartender is doing an excellent job handling a large crowd, consumers can offer a tip but should not insist it be accepted if the bartender says gratuities are already included. If a tip cup is out on the bar, the standard bartender tipping etiquette can be applied.
When tipping staff at bars and restaurants, diners can keep standard tipping etiquette in mind. Going a little higher than the standards suggest can be called for when service is exceptional.