Wed. Nov 29th, 2023
    New Article: The Changing Landscape of Tipping in America

    Tipping has long been a part of dining culture in America, but it seems that the tradition is evolving. According to a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 57% of Americans now tip 15% or less for a sit-down meal at a restaurant. This finding challenges the traditional etiquette that suggests tipping 15% to 20% is customary.

    The survey revealed that almost 1 in 5 individuals, or 18%, tip less than 15% for an average restaurant meal. Even more surprising, 2% of respondents admitted to not tipping at all. Additionally, 37% of those surveyed stated that 15% is their standard tip.

    “The U.S. has a more highly developed tipping culture than most other countries,” said Drew DeSilver, co-author of the study. “But there’s such a lack of agreement about [it].”

    Tipping for restaurant meals remains the most common form of gratuity in the service industry. However, experts suggest that tipping behavior is no longer solely determined by service quality. Instead, social approval has become a stronger motivator for tipping, according to one expert.

    “People’s willingness to tip, even in restaurant settings, is going down,” explained Michael Lynn, a professor at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. He cited the phenomenon of “tip creep,” where tip prompts have become increasingly prevalent in various situations, even for services traditionally not tipped. The requested tip amounts have also risen in recent years, which has contributed to the decline in tipping.

    This shift in tipping behavior may be attributed to what is known as “tip fatigue.” Studies show that tip amounts have declined in recent years, and the percentage of people who always tip restaurant waitstaff has decreased as well. This trend is particularly notable after a surge in tipping generosity at the beginning of the pandemic when people sought to support service workers.

    While the lack of consensus on tipping norms and the influence of social approval make it challenging to establish a standardized approach, the changing landscape of tipping in America is a reflection of shifting consumer behavior and economic conditions. As tipping continues to evolve, it’s important to consider the broader factors at play when determining gratuity.


    What percentage of people tip 15% or less for a sit-down meal at a restaurant?

    According to a Pew Research Center poll, 57% of people tip 15% or less for a sit-down meal at a restaurant.

    What is the standard tip for a sit-down restaurant meal?

    Traditionally, it is customary to tip between 15% to 20% for a sit-down restaurant meal.

    Why are people tipping less?

    There are several factors contributing to the decline in tipping. One reason is “tip fatigue,” where people feel overwhelmed by the increasing expectation to tip in various situations. Additionally, the rising cost of living and inflation have impacted household budgets, making it harder for individuals to tip at higher amounts.

    What is the role of social approval in tipping behavior?

    According to experts, social approval plays a significant role in tipping behavior. People are more likely to tip to gain approval from their dining partners, waitstaff, and others. Service quality, although important, is a weaker predictor compared to social approval.

    How has tipping behavior changed during the pandemic?

    At the start of the pandemic, people exhibited greater generosity in tipping to support service workers facing economic challenges. However, as the pandemic wore on and economic pressures continued, people’s willingness to tip has declined.

    – Pew Research Center: [Link]
    – CNBC: [Link]