Tipping: Is it ever OK to skip the tip?

Tipping etiquette can be the source of some hot debate. Most people who have worked in the service industry say tipping is always mandatory and a 20% tip should be the standard across the board. But when to tip and how much can often be a source of confusion for customers, especially in the age of on-demand delivery.

So, are there exceptions? Here’s a handy guide to the scenarios when it’s appropriate not to tip:

Sit-down restaurants

The Emily Post institute recommends a pre-tax tip of 15-20% and this is pretty much the standard. Servers rely on tips because even in states where the minimum wage is higher than the national average, the minimum wage for tipped workers can be also low as $2.13.

Delivery

Apps like UberEats and Postmates don’t require tips, although some offer suggested gratuities on their checkout page. (Uber on Tuesday just added the option to tip.) Grubhub founder and CEO Matt Maloney strongly encourages a 10-15% tip. After all, delivery drivers aren’t salaried workers and they’re delivering food straight to your door.

Takeout

You’re not obligated to tip for takeout, according to etiquette expert Melissa Leonard. 10% gratuity is recommended for extra service like curbside delivery or particularly complicated orders.

Buffet

Protocol for wait staff at a buffet is similar to that of delivery. A 10% tip, pre-tax, is considered standard by the Emily Post Institute.

Bar

Leonard recommends giving $1-$2 per drink if a bar doesn’t have a tip jar.

Tip jars

Tip jars are fairly ubiquitous at cafes and coffee shops, and this can cause some confusion. Customers don’t have an obligation to tip, according to The Emily Post Institute, but if you’re a regular customer or the barista gives you something extra special, a tip is appreciated.

Bad service

“If it’s really poor service, give 10%. Your tip will reflect the service and management will see that,” said Leonard. This is because some restaurants divide tips among the staff so not tipping could affect more than just your server.

Foreign countries

This requires a little bit of research on your part, depending on the country you’re visiting. In Australia and many European countries, the minimum wage for servers is higher than in America, so tipping is not expected. In some countries like Japan, tipping can even be considered rude.

USA Today


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