Tipping in the USA – The Best Guide for Diners, Hotels & Taxis

Petr Novák

Tipping is a common practice in the USA. For professions like waiters and bartenders, tips are directly considered in wage determination. The minimum wage is prevalent, and additional earnings come from tips. What then is the appropriate tip in the USA?

Tipping in the USA – The Best Guide for Diners, Hotels & Taxis | © Petr Novák

The recommended tipping rate in the USA is 15-20% of the amount on the receipt, excluding tax. This is particularly the case in bars and clubs, where simply rounding up to the nearest dollar would not leave a favorable impression.

Some establishments automatically include tips in your bill. Look for service charge, gratuity, or tip on your receipt. If you are unhappy with the suggested tip, notify the server. This charge is optional.

Tips aren’t expected in fast-food restaurants, but a recent trend involves jars labeled tips placed at the cash register. They are used for leaving small tips. You may also see these in bakeries, pastry shops, or bistros.

Table of Contents
  1. How to Tip in a Restaurant, Bar, or Hotel in the USA

How to Tip in a Restaurant, Bar, or Hotel in the USA

Tipping is discretionary. If you are satisfied with the service, you can tip more.

🍽️ Tipping in a Restaurant

Waitstaff and bartenders usually receive 17-20% of the total bill, excluding tax. A tip exceeding 20% signifies high satisfaction. Dissatisfied customers give at least 15%, typically with a polite explanation of what they were unhappy with.

🍟 Tipping in a Fast-Food Restaurant

Tips are not expected, but you may leave your leftover change in a jar labeled tips.

☕ Tipping in a Coffee Shop

In coffee shops similar to Starbucks, tipping isn’t common, and usually, only spare change is given. Generous customers give around $1.00.

🍸 Tipping at a Bar

The average tip for a beer is $1.00, though $2.00 will make a better impression. For cocktails, an additional $2.00 is usually tipped, and the longer it takes the bartender to prepare the drink, the larger the expected tip. The same rules apply when paying the bill as in a restaurant.

🏨 Tipping in a Hotel

On average, porters receive $2.00 per suitcase, with the minimum being $5.00. In cheaper hotels, $1.00 per suitcase is common, in more expensive ones, $5.00. Maids are given $1.00–$3.00 per day, while $1.00–$2.00 is given for room service. Concierge services are tipped $5.00–$10.00 based on the effort required.

🚕 Tipping Taxi Drivers

Customers typically tip 10-20% of the fare. Higher tips are common for trips to remote areas where it may be difficult for the driver to find another passenger. Economical passengers usually round up the fare to the nearest dollar.

🅿️ Tipping Parking Attendants

It is customary to tip $2.00 when picking up your car. A $1.00 tip is considered average, and $5.00 or more is deemed generous.

💈 Tipping in a Hair Salon

Typically, a 20% tip is expected. Tips less than 15% are given by stingy customers, whereas a tip over 25% indicates satisfaction with the service.

🛍️ Tipping in a Store

A tip is typically expected for bagging purchases, usually between $1.00 and $3.00.

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