1. Oh my god I would never leave less than 15%, what is WRONG with people. I am so millennial that it hurts, and I can’t even imagine doing that to someone, no matter how horrific the service was. I am so lucky to have a job that involves regular hours and much less stress than they deal with every day, and 15% is the *baseline*. If they’re great, which servers usually are, I’ll tip above that.

    Of course, it’s easy when you don’t go out to eat very often and understand the *total* cost of doing so, but still. That 33% of millennials absolutely need to shape up or just learn how to cook at home.

    • Emily, It seems that 20% is the new normal. I’d be fine with people making the case for 15% or 18%, but to consistently tip under 15% is unreasonable. If you’re consistently receiving that bad of service or whatever the excuse is, maybe that’s another reason to stay home 🙂

  2. I don’t tip at fast casual restaurants (Culver’s, Panera, Chipotle, etc.) where a tip jar is available, but at a real restaurant, I tip a baseline of 15% plus up to 25% for great service. I waited tables and made great money, but I also think I was a great waitress (or really a great salesperson).

  3. Dave

    I’m a millennial and I’d be surprised to see anyone leave less than 15%. I had never heard that we were bad tippers before so this is news to me.

    I’ll generally leave about 20% on top of the after-tax amount, however recently I learned that the pre-tax amount is what the tip should be based on so I’ll probably tip on that amount going forward.

    Millennials should stop eating out so much, though. It’s blowing a hole in people’s budgets (if they even have one). Restaurants are so expensive in the big cities where most of us live – it’s really not worth it. At least focus on the cheap eats places.

    • I was really taken aback by those statistics. As a fellow millennial, I feel like my friends and I tip well. Almost everyone I was friends with in high school and college worked in the food service industry.

      Since tax in my area is around 10%, I actually use the tax to calculate the tip by doubling it. Sort of lazy, but it works!

      And you’re right on about millennials destroying their budgets with eating out. When my husband and I were dating, we’d go out to a sit-down restaurant probably 2-3 times a week. Now we don’t even do that in a month! It’s a bit horrifying when you crunch the numbers.

  4. I’ll freely admit to tipping only 15% only if the service was abysmal and the food was terrible, but only if the wait staff gave no apologizes as to why it happened that way. The tip usually falls somewhere between 20% and 25% though. I really, truly hate that our country’s restaurants still rely on the the tip system at all. Our country is in the stone ages with the tip system. I shouldn’t have to pay the restaurant employee’s salary, but I will of course, until all restaurants change their policy.

    • I think tipping 15% is fine, especially if service is poor. What I can’t wrap my brain around is consistently tipping under that regardless of the quality of service. I’m so with you on getting rid of tipping. It’s really an antiquated system.

  5. Eating out costs a lot of money, you can definitely make the same type of food for way cheaper. Don’t get me started on tipping. I’ve always thought tipping 10% before tax is good tip but now that move juts makes me look like a cheapass.

    • Ha! I was taught that 15% is the minimum, but I have heard from others that they leave less. Maybe it’s regional. It would be interesting to see if the survey considered location and type of restaurant (Olive Garden vs. 5-star dining). That makes me feel better about the millennials stats – maybe people are just genuinely raised to believe different things.

  6. I’m a boomer, but I generally tip between 15-18% of the pre-tax amount (usually closer to 18%). If I tipped less than that, my gen x wife would kill me, as she thinks 20% is more acceptable. But I completely agree with your premise. While I don’t like the tipping system, if you can’t afford to do it properly, you don’t belong at a restaurant. And even if you do it properly, cooking at home should be the norm and eating out a special treat…it’s better for your budget as well as your health.

    • I feel like if eating out is a special treat, I’m more inclined to tip well. I suspect that part of why those stats are so abysmal is because millennials eat out quite a bit and are trying to save a buck. Just a hypothesis, though.

  7. I’m definitely not a millenial. I tip well in full-service places. I can never figure out what to tip in places where I stand in line to order, carry my tray to the table but where the waitstaff fills my drinks and clears the table.

    • Oh! Good point. That is tricky. The way the survey read to me, it seems that it was referencing full-service places. Proof that I’m totally confused by some tipping is in my post on frozen yogurt 😉

  8. Im a millennial and I very rarely tip and never 15% or above. But I live in England where waitresses wages are much higher (I waitressed and was on £7ph, about $10.50). There is also far less of a tipping culture and tips are given for good-exceptional service only (not just because they did their job, they need to have gone above and beyond expectations). It seems the issue is that the government needs to reform legislation so that the employer pays the pay cheque rather than the customer.

    • You’re right that it’s completely different in the States. It’s definitely a broken system. But since I know how terrible the servers’ wages are, I feel pretty terrible not tipping well.

  9. I completely agree. Tipping is just part of the cost of eating out.

    I have not left a tip before but it’s only when bad service merges with rude service. It’s one thing to be incompetent and trying – or even not trying, but not rude about it. I dropped a plate of calamari all over a table and the patrons once when I was serving and was not one bit surprised to not get a tip, but if a server did that to me, I’d totally still tip them. If they were mean and nasty about it, I wouldn’t.

    • As the Queen Klutz, I don’t think I could ever not tip someone for having a spill or whatever. The only time I’m tempted to tip less is when people are really rude. I figure I see such a small part of what serving really entails, who am I to judge? If I really get frustrated with a place, I tip and just don’t come back.

  10. Thank you!!!! I hate when people justify bad tipping. I used to work in service, and am technically a millennial. One of the sickest justifications I’ve ever heard is that they’re doing then a favor by motivating them to get a better job. I’m totally with you… If you can’t afford the tip, you can’t afford eating out. Similarly, if you can’t afford a tip, go pick the dang thing up yourself.

    I leave a $5 minimum then 20% once the percentages start going down. I don’t dine fancy very often lol. If it’s awesome service, I up my numbers. There have only been a couple times in my entire life when service was so wretched I left less.

  11. To be honest, I have been to a restaurant where I didn’t give a single tip. It may look bad on me, but to be candid I was still struggling to pay off my thousands of debt and going to a restaurant that evening was a treat I was forced to give myself in order to encourage myself and not to give up in quest to be debt free. Particularly, haven’t notice that large proportion of my income went into paying debts.

    • I could be wrong, but it sounds like this was a rare thing for you, not routine. The poll makes it sound like these were people who dined out regularly and consistently did not tip well.

  12. Jover

    I think this is horribly oversimplistic generalization of Millennials. Many of us work (or have worked) in restaurants and other service industries (Hello Uber!)
    In restaurants, I always tip 20%+ and sometimes as much as 100% for particularly enjoyable service. Uber drivers always get $5 from me, even on Minimum Fare trips.
    Having said that, I hate that our culture requires tipping. Pay your servers a decent wage and remove the need for a tip altogether!!! People say it will degrade service quality, but I think people would have a better attitude if they knew they were going home with a decent paycheck, not at the whim of poor tippers.
    And the worst tippers I know of are from “The Greatest Generation”, not Millennials. My grandparents tip a buck per person, no matter how much the bill was…. I always carry extra cash on me when dining out with them, so I can toss extra the server’s way on the way out.

    • I don’t know that a survey can be anything other than a generalization. 🙂 If someone can’t afford to tip, then don’t go to a tipping restaurant. There are lots of other options for dining (and other activities) that don’t result in someone not getting paid. That’s great that you’re so cognizant of people who under-tip. I also think there’s a lot of interesting conversation about restaurants and other venues that have done away with tipping, which is why I included that link. It would be great if our culture made that shift, but until then…

  13. I’ve always felt it dumb that tips are based on a percentage of dollars spent. If I order water and a appetizer, I pay less tip then the guy who orders a steak and a martini? Dumb. With as much water as I down in a meal, I’m probably more effort for the server than the martini steak guy.

    But it ‘s world we live in, so tip the standard 15%. More than that would be when it’s excellent service or if the bill is so low that I’m okay with it.

    I used to deliver pizzas…..and there’s a reason I don’t order pizza delivery anymore. It’s easy enough to drive or walk to pick it up myself and save the extra cash. 😀

    • That’s a really interesting way to look at it. When I’m out at a bar, I tip $1-$2 a drink, not a percentage. I hadn’t really thought about it in terms of sit-down meals.

      As for delivery, we’ve never had a meal delivered to our house in almost four years. Like you said, it’s easier to pick it up or cook it myself.

  14. As a millennial, I cannot tell you how many times I have had to explain how to calculate a tip to my peers. To be fair, I was in a liberal arts degree with peers that definitely DON’T do math, but multiple times I had to explain the “just move the decimal and double it” rule. Even then, they still felt really unsure. One friend uses her phone to calculate it every time (which, good on her for taking the initiative to figure it out how she needs to), but she just couldn’t fathom how easy 20% is to calculate.

    Not making fun–it’s really something that I just can’t fathom!

  15. Aaron Jacobs

    Remember to tip your rideshare driver. In 2017 a trip less than 4 miles will often pay a driver $3.19, especially if there are more than one person please tip. You’ve got to understand they might drive 10 or more minutes to get to you not knowing it’s a short trip, then wait for you to enter the vehicle. I’ve unfortunately worked many hours only fitting in 2 minimum trips. The booking fee or service fee the driver gets none of, then only 75% of the actual fare. Trust me a buck or two makes a huge impact.

    • I would never not tip a driver. I’ve only used Lyft once (I’m such a suburbanite), but I tipped $4 on a $6 ride. And I’ve previously always tipped cabbies. I figure it’s exactly like you say. $1 to me isn’t going to make or break my spending (because I plan it out!), but it can make a big deal to someone who banks on tips.

      • Loki fur

        What why! Do u not understand the concept of Uber and Lyft. Uber was created to be a cash free transaction. If they wanted you to tip it would be included on the app. People like you create messed up expectations.

        TBH many of you guys tipping 20% as a base is crazy. I grew up with 15% being base and going above it meant you went above and beyond getting below it means something lacked. This is how me and my husband both grew up which were in upper middle class society.

        The food is already over priced due to the “atmosphere” of it all. Europe doesn’t have tipping and eating out is similarly priced yet the pay their employees.

        Any way, I agree with the article. Hey millennials do not eat out. Because according to this article decreasing the demand for eating out is going to make these waiters lives better.

        Think before you speak. Millennial make up the majority of the working force. Let’s just cut them out and watch you 5 person staff on a Friday night go to 2 because the demand is gone.

        Part of me wants to post that “smart” meme where it says! If you don’t have customers you won’t ever get tipped.

        • I think you argue both sides here. You bring up Europe, which pays servers a living wage, and then you say that workers should keep working even if they don’t get tipped. Honestly, if all I made were $2 an hour (no tips), it would make more sense to stay home. Cut my shift. I’ll go work somewhere that actually pays me enough in gas money to get there and back.

          And Lyft does include tipping in the app. So there’s that.

          • Julia Casey

            I have to say Penny, I love you and your comments. You are spot on with regards to tipping and the mentality with the current generation.

            As a former server, I become livid when I hear people say that they’ll go out to dinner but can’t afford to tip so they leave under 10% tip or something heinous like that. If you can’t afford to tip, you cannot afford to go out to dinner and that means you should stay home. Tipping in the United States is part of the culture, and it’s included as part of the expense when you’re going to go out for a meal. If you don’t have enough to tip, don’t spend as much on your meal because you need to leave at least 18 percent, or more than that if you had good service or better. I always leave at least 20 percent for just average sub-par service, and I’ll go up to 60 or 70 percent depending on if I am alone or how much the bill is or if it’s near a holiday. I know that those extra $5 or $10 tip will mean so much more to the server than they will to me.

            I can’t believe how stingy people are becoming; it’s fine if you move to Europe where service industry positions make a living wage. Unfortunately here in the US, service positions still depend on tips for the majority of their earnings and the culture is not going away any time soon. Until then, if you’re in the US, you will need to tip waitstaff, hairstylists, manicurists, rider share drivers, bartenders, bell hops, etc etc etc.

            It’s part of life here and until hourly wages go wayyyyy up, everyone needs to be aware of this fact.

            It really makes me mad to know some people feel so blasé about negativity effecting others’ earnings.

        • Julia Casey

          How does driving a person safely through the busy, crazy, traffic-filled streets of a major metropolitan city from Point A to Point B – having that person’s life in their hands – not warrant a tip? This is my problem with millennials; hey literally have zero concept of how the service industry works. I give the guy who brings my pizza to my house a $6 tip for a 5-minute drive and walk to my door, yet safely and soberly driving on intense, crazy streets for 10 miles in my personal vehicle (earning .70 cents per mile ONLY) doesn’t seem worthy of a tip? Drivers have your life as a responsibility! You don’t think that’s worth $5 as a “thanks for getting me here alive, in one piece!”

          In taxis, I’d pay $80 for a ride to the airport and I’d always always tip the driver $20, so the drive to the airport would cost $100 automatically- $80 + $20 tip. Now, wih Uber and Lyft, that same drive only costs me $30 and I tip the driver $10 so it’s only $40 on Uber, TOTAL – and I’ve had work associates ask “why are you tipping him so much?” HOW IS $10 “SO MUCH”?? That’s nothing compared to what cabbies made, and cabs are smelly, grimy, cabbies are rude, and horrible terrifying drivers. Yet people tip Ubers less money and the cars are clean, drivers nice, and it doesn’t smell.

          What is wrong with this picture?

          Tip your Uber/Lyft drivers, they make NO money! Please don’t be super cheap about this, or the prices will rise.

  16. I would say I’m on the cusp of being on my way out as a millennial, but even so. I never leave less than 20%, even when it’s a cup of coffee or a scoop of ice cream. Possibly more if service is outstanding. And I agree, if you can’t tip, then don’t go out. End of story.

    • Julia Casey

      We need more of you around!!

      Your parents raised you well. They should be proud.

      I often wonder what went wrong when I read comments about failing to tip, or only leaving 6% because “that’s all they had left” or some other poor excuse…….

      Tipping is part of the cost of going out to dinner. If you can’t do it, you shouldn’t be going out to eat. Period.

      • I agree completely (Ha. Of course I do, I wrote the post!). Until things change dramatically in the States, tipping is part of the meal. If you can’t tip, go somewhere that doesn’t have waitstaff.

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