America is probably the country that most people associate with tipping. It causes debate after debate about how much should be left as a tip or in fact, more recently, whether tips should be left at all.
History of tipping in the United States
Tipping didn’t really become common practise in the US until after the Civil War ended when worldly and wealthy Americans would return from Europe and tip to show their social superiority.
A custom, which is believed to have originated in Europe, now takes centre stage in one of the world’s leading economies. It’s not considered optional, but compulsory. And compulsorily large at that. But, it’s not always been such a given - in the early 1900’s anti-tipping laws were created in the US to stop the custom. However, by 1926 all of these laws were overturned and tipping has gone from strength to strength since – until now.
There has been much debate recently about whether to tip or not, even Trump’s administration has waded in to try and overturn the previously accepted tip-pooling rule set by the Obama administration. Some major restaurant owners in the US have also eliminated tipping in their restaurants and instead raised the salaries of the staff.
More recently, there was debate on social media around an $11,100 tip which Jay Z left for a $80,035 bill he had received when out celebrating a friend’s birthday in Manhattan. Some people were criticising him for leaving only 15%.
How much to tip in USA restaurants, bars, taxis, hotels and service industry
So what is the acceptable tipping amount in the US, if 15% isn’t enough?
· 15-20% of the pre-tax bill for waiting staff.
· 10% for servers at a buffet.
· $1-$2 per drink for bar tenders (or 15-20% of a bar tab).
· $2-$5 a night for housekeeping.
· $2-$5 for a valet.
· 15-20% for your taxi driver.
· 15-20% for your hair dresser.
· 15-20% for a manicure or a massage.
· $2+ for pizza delivery.
· $2 for the first bag and $1 thereafter for porters and hotel staff.
Tipping is a subject will continually split opinion, more so in the US than in other countries where it isn’t as common practise. But, stick to the percentages above and you should be fine.